Written by London Swaminathan
Date: 28 August 2016
Time uploaded in London: 8-45 AM
Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks for the pictures.
I came to know about the beautiful concept of teaching in ancient India when I interviewed Mayuram Sri A V Swaminatha Sivachariar in London on Friday. He is running a Vedic School in Mayuram.
When I asked about the courses available at his school, he told me that they teach certain portions of Vedas and Agama for five years; the course is recognised by Tamil Nadu Government; and the successful students can be employed as priests in Hindu temples.
When I asked about the general education they get, he told me Mr Sankaran, a philanthropist from Australia, teaches English to Veda Patasala students. He is doing this charity work even in the villages helping all the communities.
Asked about the general knowledge to survive in the world, Sri Sivachariar told me that he knew very well the need for such things because of increasing demand of qualified Hindu priests overseas. So the students are taught general knowledge as well.
But when I expressed my unhappiness that the students are not even getting a qualification like SSLC (school final exam in Tamil Nadu), and their survival in the world would be difficult, Sivachariar gave me some amazing details about the Hindu concept of teaching:-
He quoted the following couplet: –
one fourth from the teacher, one fourth from own intelligence,
one fourth from classmates, and one fourth only with time.
AchAryAt pAdamAdatte, pAdam shiShyaH swamedhayA |
sa-brahmachAribhyaH pAdam, pAdam kAlakrameNa cha ||
When I heard it, I felt very happy and fully satisfied. I compared it with what my children did in London. Yesterday I gave the details from his interview that Hindus were pioneers in introducing eight-day holiday in schools, revision in classes, introducing finger calculators and introducing new memory techniques.
Many jobs are learnt in the field and on the job. In the olden days many of the artists and artistes never went to school, but learnt them on the job under the tutorship of elders or parents. But Veda Patasalas (Vedic Schools) had a mixture of old and modern elements. Only 25 % of education comes from the teachers and the rest comes from experience, maturity, discussion and self-efforts.
Even the Bhagavad Gita says,
“Let a man lift himself by himself; let him not degrade himself; for the Self alone is the friend of the self and Self alone is the enemy of the self. (BG 6-5)
And Buddha also said,
“The Self is the Lord of the Self” – Dhammapada 160
Like in Western schools, the students are asked to discuss among themselves what they have learnt, they are asked to learn on their own and rest came from experience and maturity.
It is very interesting to know that they have been following it in Vedic schools for thousands of years. A teacher teaches the same subject to all the students, but one or two students stand out; they become scientists or scholars or leaders. Why? It is because they learn 75% on their own.
If we create an awareness about this 25%+ 75% learning and follow it, it will help the students a great deal. In places like London, the students are asked by the teachers to come with points for discussion on a topic. One group will support and another group will oppose it. Students prepare most of the materials with the help of parents and computers.