A New Approach In Education Is Needed

By Rudra Shivananda

woman writing on dry erase board

There are inherent flaws in the current education system that has persisted for several hundred years because of a lack in the understanding of human nature. John Locke in the 17th century epitomizes this ignorance when he stated, “I think I may say that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are good or evil, useful or not, by
their education.”

The basic beliefs underlying our education system can be summarized as follows:

1. The child’s mind is an empty cabinet or tabula rasa (blank slate) and education is about filling the cabinet with “correct or useful” teachings

2. It is education which determines the well-being and usefulness of the person since the child is born inherently good but can get messed up due to a bad environment

3. Child-hood impressions are the strongest and we should ensure that there is as much positive input as possible and not find fault with the child

The problem is that in reality, the human consciousness is only one-tenth of our nature and nine-tenths are hidden in the subconscious mind. None of our education systems are trying to address this vast uncharted territory.

According to the yogic sages, we are not born with a blank slate but with the burden of karmic imprints due to our past actions – we are born with “programs” which pre-dispose us to certain emotional and mental reactions. The flaw in our education system is that we don’t even try to teach any system of ethics to overcome the negative pull of our subconscious mind. Ethics is somehow confused with religion in the West and so there is no pursuit of proper behavior in a secular environment. In religious schools, the position is to throw guilt and fear at the child in order to control the negative tendencies, further alienating and confusing the human potential.

There is no easy solution to the current mis-education as there are no teachers who can actually provide the needed therapy for overcoming karmic imprints in grade and high school environments. It is necessary to educate adults who can in due time take over the roles of teachers in our school system.

A top-down approach is needed. There is a need to formulate a yogic system of education which recognizes the role of karmic imprints and can overcome these imprints so that the teacher can be role models for future generations. Currently, our teachers in school are for the most part well-meaning and hardworking but blind to the real problems troubling their students.

The students are not being educated to realize their human potential. We will first have to train a new generation of adults who can become responsible parents and teachers. Each one needs to be instilled with an ethical compass and provided tools to handle sub-conscious imprints, without which he is just a puppet dancing to the strings of his programs. Can this be done in one or two generations? Probably not, but I sense that a start will be made soon to go the next step in human education. In the last one hundred years there have been spiritual people who have tried in various ways to setup better educational systems but these have been isolated and have had little impact on the general education system controlled by governments.

It will be necessary to utilize the wisdom of the yogis and sages within the context of the modern world and to make it relevant to the peoples of our times without burdening everyone with the need to overcome all suffering and attain liberation, for not everyone
is seeking release from this world. It is necessary to provide the means for increasing human consciousness in the practical context of being a better person and attaining more freedom of expression in positive ways. My Master says that human beings must evolve from “man the brute to man the Man and then to man the God.” The current education system is deficient in evolving us to our full humanity because it does not recognize the fundamental reality of karma.

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