This is to introduce an experiment on the basis of Rishi culture, system of education which is in practice for more than 25 years in different Gurukulas of Karnataka. Maitreyi Gurukulam started in the year 1994 and Prabodhini in 1995. It is important to have macro and micro studies when a new experiment is introduced into the field. We would like to submit our ideas in this background.
When we go for this type of projects, center is its modus operandi. Conceptually it should be made very clear. The team under the aegis of Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal, used to sit for longer discussion, four hours each time, once a month, more than two years. Framing the present system is the cream of all those churning of All those experiments in the British regime experimented by the Great luminaries such as Maharshi Aurobindo in Pondicherry, Swami Vivekananda, MK Gandhi, Ravindranath Tagore, Balagangadhara Tilak in Pune and many other freedom fighters who have done experiments in the field of education to bring the transformation in the society including J Krishnamurti, institutions such as Vidya Bharti and so on were analyzed in detail and from them we have taken the positive and suitable things into the present plan.
At the first step we conceptualized the Gurukul system of education and looked at Upanishads for authentic sources. King named Ashwapathi from Upanishad narrates the prevailing social condition as devoid of robbers, irreligious, illiterate and anti-social individuals. This is the actual narration of healthy society. The same parameters or the yardsticks to measure may be considered for indicating a healthy society. A society, an institution, an organization, a college, a village and governance; all these systems can be measured on the above said parameters to portray the health of it. The need of the hour is a healthy society. So, healthy individuals leading to healthy society (Svastha Samaja Samrachana) is main aim and purpose of Gurukulas, considering the primary role of education at different levels: physical, vital, emotional, intellectual and finally spiritual growth. When this domain is identified, “how to materialize the transformation and the manifestation of the divinity existed and established within?” as asked by Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekanandaji also opined that Guru Griha Vasa (living with the Guru for guidance) was the main method to gain knowledge, hence the manifestation of divinity. Acharyas and Matrusris will be guiding the young generation in Gurukulas.
The motive behind identifying the above said domains is to develop an integrated personality. Rama Rajaya concept of Mahatma Gandhi is the guiding force. Aesthetic sense and love for nature displayed by Vishvabharati of Rabindranath Tagore is also included. Patriotism and social reformation are guiding idea from Bhagini Nivedita and Balagangadhara Tilak. The underlying spirit of all these experiments in the field of education invariably imbibe Bharatiyata (Indian-ness).
After this clarity of conceptual idea we made a team to train the young scholars to develop them as Acharya and matrices in Gurukula from 1992 onwards.
Veda and Yoga based culture is the main base for entire Gurukula system. Five areas of study were identified; Veda, Yoga, Vijnana (Science), Krishi (organic agriculture) and Kala Kaushala (fine arts and performing arts). This project is initiated by imparting knowledge with Stri Shakti (women power), because Bharatiya Culture depends upon women power. It was noticed very prominently that Brahmavadini Parampara (lineage of spiritually based women power) alone can establish and empower the healthy society.
Bharat rests upon the Ashrama (stages of a human life) system; Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa; if education is not imparted in the first stage, if not followed healthy Grihasthashrama, having not practiced spiritually oriented activities in the third stage, for one the life will be not really worthy, rather sometimes becomes anti-social. A well-progressed and completely blossomed personality only can be an integral part of healthy society, making the individuals healthy. This particular concept must be taken for structuring the syllabus for education. Hence Panchamukhi would be most suitable areas such as; Veda, Vijnana, Yoga, Krishi and Kalakaushalam. Human being is bestowed with extraordinary Panchaprakoshtha (five chambers of human structure) system, namely; Head, Mouth, Heart, Stomach and Lungs, where education has maximum application. Purification at all these levels is intended.
Inbuilt capacities of human being should be cultured and nurtured; Shraddha, Medha, Prajna, Pratibha and Dhriti; inbuilt emotional and intellectual abilities. Shraddha is purest form of emotion; devotion, sense of respect, generosity, compassion and sharing caring etc. Medha and Prajna are for creativity and innovation, brain power of mankind. Man must be intellectually creative, emotionally pure, spiritually rooted (Adhyatma Adhishthita), socially productive (Samaja Upayogi) and culturally patriotic, ultimately bliss suffused learning technique should be adopted every level. This is the core ideology behind framing syllabus in this direction. Ojas, Varchas, Tejas, Bhrajas are the qualities to fill the personality to make individual vibrant.
Experiment, Examination and Evolutions are the processes involved in refining the ideas of an area of knowledge. Competencies to be evolved at different levels of growth of young children and methodology to evaluate;
- Shraddha – questioning tendency for inquisitiveness, evaluated based on number of questions asked by a child
- Medha – inculcating the understanding and memory, evaluated by
- Prajna – discrimination ability
- Pratibha – creative, scope for innovation
- Dhriti – ability to motivate and culling up energy of all the levels for positive works
Five stages of growth in terms of behavioral conduct (Adhishila and Adhicitta) will be taken care in five years from the age of eight. Education actually starts at eight year of a person. Sheela and Chitta are inner personality; mental and behavioral pattern should be cultured and structured and intellectual abilities; Adhicitta – analysis, synthesis, reasoning, calculations etc, for learning language, mathematics should also be focused carefully. Skill oriented programs may be introduced at this level. Parents play major role especially mother, because there is no proper system in the society, Gurukulas are started. It has been a well-experimented design that being successful.Spoken Samskritam, chanting of Veda Mantras (Vak Yoga – Yoga of speech) may be made compulsory for all round development. In Ahara (food), Vihara (routine), Vyavahara (behavior), Vichara (thought); these areas Yoga component is inbuilt.
Evaluation method; continuous, spontaneous and natural methods would be best against the present system of evaluation. Ghatika (pick and speak), Shalaka (selecting the sentences from the entire text for explanation), Sphurana (flashes of new ideas in different contexts), Vada (debating on a subject) and other suitable methods of evaluations are adopted in the present Gurukulas which can be systematized in a customized conditions. Different Sabhas, Goshthis (symposiums and workshops) would help a lot to examine the progress of a students’ progress.
The committee of Gurukula education has observed the students passed out, being pioneers in their own identified areas, in prestigious education institutions in Bharat and foreign countries.