The heritage of India also shows that this was the basis of the entire culture that runs as an undercurrent of everything in India -- be it literature, music, painting and sculpture, the performing arts, or religion. It is time that the nation switched back to this fountainhead of the culture. Once this is done the apparent contradiction between science and the so-called religion would all vanish. The latter is only a conglomeration of rituals and rites. The essence of religion however is the way of life which encourages an attitude of spirituality in every facet of our life. The West has now learnt to look at religion and spirituality more favourably. It has come to believe that there is more to each individual than just genetics and environment. This is the right time for the whole world to wake up and realise the futility of looking everywhere outside of Spirituality for the answers to the miseries of the human species.
But in the same breath we should also mention the great disadvantage that India finds herself in, mostly because of the impact of history. In the long history of the Indian civilization education was never separated into education for a living and education in religion-cum-spirituality. Whatever education was there it was always an integrated one. To whatever caste it was given it was never delinked from education in spirituality and human values. Then the British came. In the nineteenth century the pattern of Macaulay for the training of the 'natives' to become clerks in the British administrative hierarchy took shape and replaced the then-existing process of education. For the dubious objective of the sustenance and survival of the Imperialistic bureaucratic machine, the religious and spiritual education was left untouched, without being incorporated into the new pattern of education. When it was thus left to fend for itself, it waned in popularity, not being able to withstand the glamour of English education which apparently provided means of employment, potentialities of understanding and living with all the scientific gadgetry that came to be associated with that type of education. For more than a century and a half, including the period of free India (since 1947), the Indian educational system has only tinkered with the outer fringes, frills and toppings of that system rather than question the very basic error of delinking of Science and Sprituality though Commission after Commission did point out the finger at the dangers of an education without emphasis on the human values. This is where India finds herself now. There are of course a few remarkable exceptions and isolated pockets of excellence. But generally, education for a living -- be it professional, be it academic in the arts and science, be it vocational -- is totally oblivious of the other side of education, which is education in Spirituality. This situation has to be corrected, at least now, after five decades of self-government.
It was the western world however that has been the cause of perpetuation of three myths in the design of education, ever since the time of Copernicus, when the Christian world of religion received its first onslaught from Science. These myths in turn have been the cause for bifurcation of Science and Spirituality and for the consequent gradual loss of human values, in education, and therefore, in the culture. They are not in any way peculiar to India but in the context in which India finds herself today where she has lost the edge in education that she had in the first millenium B.C. as well as in the first millenium A.D., it is important for Indians to consider them as particularly theirs. In simple terms these myths may be enunciated as follows:
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February 20, 1999
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Copyright V. Krishnamurthy