On world human rights day…

The world, without humans, is in complete order. No pollution, no war, no using natural resources haphazardly. These resources are available for life on earth. But humans have snatched it away from others. When we talk about human rights, we have to understand that only a human is responsible for his misdeeds.

To live rightly, man has been educating himself from thousands of years. But somehow that education has gone against him.

If you divide education into two parts, the first one is technology. Among all animals or among the whole of life, human is the weakest species of nature. Therefore, to fill the void, he has developed thinking which is required for food, clothes, shelter, communication, transportation, language and medicine. These things are a must for humans to survive biologically and he has been tremendously successful in this area. Technology wise, he has achieved the ultimate which is artificial intelligence and we won’t be wrong if we compare it to ‘Aladdin’s Chirag’. It can fulfill all needs of human beings. In fact artificial intelligence is capable of doing most of the things humans themselves can do.

The other part of education, in which again humans have worked very hard, is to create value education, and good behaviour through (so called) religion, psychology and therapy. But yet we see that humans have deteriorated in behaviour. Morals, integrity, kindness, honesty, humility, pity and tolerance are qualities that are not seen in us anymore.

So, while we humans have been successful in technology, we have failed completely in behaviour. It is therefore important to understand what is required.

We need nature’s resources for biological protection. The problem is distribution of resources. 1% of humans are using 80% of Earth’s resources while the remaining 99% are left with only 20% resources. Division of people creates the problem of distribution.  And this division is created by thinking.

Thinking has given success to technology but at the same time it has failed humanity in relationships. Thinking, yields results when the approach is materialistic as material is made up of fragments. But life is not material and cannot be fragmented. Life is one. So, when technology is applied to life it acts as a butcher to bring destruction to life through war or through diseases which destroy the human body itself. Technology is a product of thinking. But, this same thinking when applied to life divides life into different nationalities, castes, religions and traditions. And in that difference, one finds uniqueness. Human wants to dominate and survive against the billion of enemies he has created through diverse thinking. Thinking, created for biological survival, has become a human’s biggest enemy.

Human has worked hard to create ‘psyche’ which is nothing but accumulation of past knowledge and experiences. He has used this psyche to solve all problems. In reality, problems are created only due to accumulation of knowledge and thinking that we use inappropriately. We have to accept this existence of psyche as a challenge and think of it as a problem to solve.

If we do not use thinking, past knowledge, experiences and perceptions in the area of relationships and behaviour (which are alive and can change anytime) it will benefit us in the area of behaviour. Because, decisions based on the past misguide us.

We need to stop educating children through awards, punishment, comparison and competition which are areas of measurement, thinking and technology. They strengthen the psyche and create pressure which causes thinking (inappropriately) and creates division. The entire education pattern has to be changed where technology is a must for biological survival and not to create division in humanity.

“The wrong means used for the right purpose may bring the wrong result since means (not the purpose) is the end.”

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Are children learning resilience? How do you build resilience in children?

What is Resilience?

Resilience is related to elasticity (malleability, plasticity, flexibility, adaptability, adjustability or fluidity). It is like stretching a rubber band. Once you leave it, it has to go back to its original shape, to where it was. Similarly, humans should have the capacity to bounce back to normal once the situation is over. In this way, they show resilience. But the brain has lost its elasticity due to accumulation of past knowledge and memories.

Why are we not resilient today?

The reason why we are not resilient is due to the things we choose to keep in our memory. Memory related to food, clothes, shelter, transportation, and communication is necessary for biological survival. Similarly, we have technical knowledge/memory which can also be linked to the same. But there is another kind of memory which is not linked to survival. These are memories related to our nationality, religion, personal community, or any memory of hurt that we may have experienced in the past. These kinds of memories are in fact dangerous as they lead to disturbing emotions. Due to this, our mind loses the capacity to experience sensitivity, openness, care, and consideration. These memories create the individual, ‘me’.

That ‘me’, having knowledge of these past memories and experiences, has created a distance between people. And this knowledge is in fact ignorance, as we use our past experiences to determine today’s actions, and do not look at what is happening in this moment. When we use knowledge, memory and thinking in relationships, it becomes a liability as it creates enmity in humanity. We are constantly fighting with each other, through comparison, competition, award and punishment.

Where has our education gone wrong?

Our method of educating children through award and punishment and creating comparisons and competition is the error committed by our education system. It is similar to training animals in a circus through carrot and stick. This is an error because this system does not work with humans due to their capacity to think.

It has led our children to excel in technology and academics, but spoiled behavior through award, punishment, comparison and competition. Children have learned to use their memories to manipulate, to get even with people, and to put others down for personal gain.  Had we educated children with love, care, and consideration, the scenario today would have been completely different. We would have learned to amicably co-exist, and co-operate rather than compete.

What can we do to build resilience in children today?

A compass always points out directions correctly, as it sees things (directions) as they are. If we follow the compass of life and see people as they are, without feeling the need to accept or reject them, we can develop compassion. The meaning of compassion is care, love for everyone, and ability to be happy. The purpose of education is to teach a person compassion, humanity, and humility, and to discard everything that comes in between relationships. The ending of sorrow is the blessing of compassion.

We have now created a ‘habit’ or a ‘pattern’ in our minds that broods on unwanted memories to guide our actions. This habit prevents us from being resilient. These habits cause us to be stuck in past hurts and memories, impacting our ability to bounce back. It is important to learn what creates this habit. Understanding and maturity are required to become aware of ourselves. Only awareness of faulty habits will help us change them. Resilience will be built only if we can rid our minds of faulty habits and bounce back to normal once a crisis situation is over.

Please share your thoughts, questions, and your experiences on how you have helped build resilience in your students.

Message for Teachers

Humanity has learnt from evolution, experience and education. Till date, all kinds of measurements and artificial intelligence have developed. Today or tomorrow, this artificial intelligence will replace intellect. We have invested millions of years in developing formulas in the name of education.

The biggest question for the future is: what are educational institutions going to do when they will have no academic business? Or will the education be superficial? When robots do not leave any work for intellect, what education will be given to students?

These students are coming to school for learning. Education is learning and learning is of 2 types:

  1. Accumulation: technical knowledge for biological survival
  2. Insight: removing the ignorance from humanity

Till today, so called education has given importance only to academic learning, and that has tremendously damaged human behaviour and strengthened human ego. There is fragmentation in humanity due to comparison, competition, award, punishment and so many divisions.

The purpose of education is therefore to act on this ignorance (the journey of humanity took a wrong  turn because of this ignorance of developing the psyche).

Mechanism of intellect: Intellect is basically a product of, and has been developed through, memory, which has created knowledge, skill and instinct. All this is the business of memory. Today, scientists are ready to accept that memory is measurable and therefore material. So intellect has a materialistic approach. We can draw a parallel between memory, hair and nail. If we cut our hair or our nails, it will not hurt. This is because, by itself, it is material. Just as we have learnt to enhance our nails with paint and hair with style, similarly have we enhanced memory with good behaviour and attitude.

Just as Bhagirath worked hard to bring Ganga on earth, education has to bring intelligence on earth. Without that, humanity will not survive. This intelligence is not measurable and so, not the business of ego. Ego is about violence, fear, sorrow, attachment, measurement, cunningness, vulgarity, division, enmity and fragmentation. Intelligence is more about love, care, consideration, compassion, helpfulness, healing, genuine social work, and developing real relationships.

Our approach/ focus has to be on perception. When perception is based on our memories of past experiences, it creates imagination. When we perceive without memory and measurement, we perceive what is. ‘What is’ is what is actually happening. It is a product of the whole. When we rely on intellect/ memory we are actually thinking ‘what should be’. These are based on individual ideas and desires. It has limited capacity and is too small to act on the whole.

We can therefore say that ignorance is related to thinking. Thinking is based on intellect and therefore mechanical. Intelligence is natural.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When both perception and brain are live, something new is created and that is capable of wiping out the darkness/ ignorance of the brain. This is insight. Insight is only possible when one learns to perceive what is, without recognizing. When perceiving, it is useful to refer to memory only when necessary. Otherwise one must remain with what is. That is Abhyas (learning). One must understand that the main aim of education is to get rid of illusion.

 

Message for students

Dear Students,

Why do we educate ourselves? Why is it that after 25-30 years of learning also, we are not able to fulfil our needs of food, clothing and shelter? Animals train their young ones for hardly 2 years. This training is more than sufficient for them to survive biologically. Whereas, even after 25 years of learning, there is no guarantee that man will be able to get a job to look after himself. Therefore, it is important to find out why we go to school if it is not to solve the problems of human society. Where has education gone wrong?

Basically, the purpose of education/ training/ developing skills was biological survival. But somewhere it has gone wrong, as it is psychological survival that has taken more importance. This has created a division in humanity – as per caste, country, colour, education, skills and experience. This has made it impossible for man to live in society.

In the thousands of years of man’s existence, he must have fought at least 15000-20000 wars. Education also formally began around 10000 years ago. If that education has helped us fight so skilfully in war, but not to live in peace, then we have to inquire where we have gone wrong in education. As it has in fact led us in a completely different direction from the main purpose of education, which is biological survival.

Day by day our conflicts/ dissatisfactions are increasing. We are having problems in our relationships. We can say that most of these problems are due to intellect. This is because our intellect is not pure like artificial intelligence, but a mixture of intellect and ignorance. Here we define ignorance as knowledge in unwanted things (which is not technology).

We don’t know what we are doing. The knowledge of psychology which is not actually experienced by people (and, sorry to say, can never be experienced) comes to people through memory, which is, in fact, second-hand knowledge – from someone else.  Because of this we are neither happy nor creative. Living in the past memory of psychology creates sorrow and loneliness, and is not real but imaginary. To escape from that, we resort to entertainment. Entertainment can be anything which keeps me occupied/ engrossed.

Education that develops this kind of intellect is not helpful. Is it then possible to have education where only biological survival is given importance? Any other area – are we capable to say ‘I don’t know’? This will help us learn. Learning can be understood as being in the present; experiencing things first hand, in the moment, which leads to self-knowledge.

Technology is rational and logical. It is common for the whole of humanity – in the entire world. But people are conditioned differently in all countries. What is good in India may not be good in America. Is it then possible to have knowledge in the area of technology, which is rational and logical, and in the area of psychology, say, “I don’t know”? It is only then that I am open to learning and I am learning. That learning is active present, where we rely on our senses. We experience and therefore we learn.

In not knowing, there is a door to travel. I am not worried or anxious. I can take each day as it comes. Each new day is a new experience. I can then say that I am not dependent on anybody where knowledge is concerned and I have self-confidence because all are like me: none of us know. This confidence in not knowing is intelligence.

There is a difference between knowledge and learning. Knowledge is accumulated – based on memory. Learning involves love, life and attention. It means being whole where all senses work together. So there is no competition or comparison. Comparison is the business of measurement. Measurement is only possible with material. Life, love and living cannot be measured.

Can we then abolish this system of comparison and competition between humanity? When there is no other knowledge except technological which is required for biological survival, it reduces the distance between humans. So war, enmity, envy can be eliminated from the world.

What is the difference between intellect and intelligence?

Intellect is man-made. Man has inquired what it is, acquired it and labelled it as ‘intellect’. He then recognizes and utilizes it in his day-to-day tasks. It is a matter of scientific production and scientific action which involves rationality and logic. It is just like mathematics which is in complete order. Therefore, anything which can be named and measured comes in the area of intellect.

Intellect, which has been made up of knowledge is gathered and accumulated in pieces through evolution or developing process. It is not whole but fragmented. It is similar to watching cinema. Cinema is made up of individual pictures. But they appear continuously at an interval of 16 seconds or less. When something appears before a certain time interval, we see it as being continuous and not fragmented. When, this knowledge which we have accumulated as memory appears on the screen of life, the speed of life goes beyond the speed of light. That screen, which comes in our mind, creates imagination and ideas- these look continuous. But in reality they are fragmented. And any fragment has limitations. They can never become a whole. Even if they come together, they can never be complete.

The mistake humans make is that they think they can solve all their problems through intellect. Humans are much habituated with intellect because it creates entertainment, hope safety, security and many other things which help man survive. Man therefore thinks that if intellect is refused, his life will become miserable. But in reality, this intellect is a bane to him. It has misguided him and put him on a wrong path. It has shown him a wrong direction of life. Man has, in fact, lost his path towards finding the origin.

Intelligence begins when intellect stops acting. Intelligence is a product of patience, peace, love, care and consideration. It involves sympathy, cooperation and accommodation.

In animals, emotions like fear and actions like attack and defence are for biological protection. For example, when a lion is seen, a deer runs away. Whereas, in humans, fears are imaginary. They are the product of knowledge – for example, the fear of something going wrong.

How does one differentiate between intellect and intelligence? One needs to understand the difference between man-made emotions and natural emotions. Man-made emotions are created through award and punishment. We listen to mere words. Because of prior knowledge and conditioning when we listen, what we are actually doing is interpreting. When the whole brain listens or sees, that is the real usage of senses – to listen holistically. One has to inquire what one is listening to. For example, are we listening to the content of what the person is saying or the designation of the person? If the answer is designation, then it is not listening. It is obeying. When you see the other person as equal, only then you understand what the person is trying to communicate to you.

Intellect belongs to the partial mind because it is fragmented. But intelligence belongs to the whole mind. Whole mind is not that which has been created by intellect; whole mind is that which has created intellect.  When intellect stops acting, stops imagining, the mind is silent. This silence can wipe out complete ignorance.

Who are Teachers?

Volumes have been written about educational ideals, yet we are in greater confusion than ever before. There is no method by which to educate a child to be integrated and free. As long as we are concerned with principles, ideals and methods, we are not helping the individuals to be free from their own self -seeking activities with all its fears and conflicts.

It is only in individual freedom that love and goodness can flower, and the right kind of education alone can offer this freedom. Neither conformity to the present society nor the promise of a future utopia can ever give to the individual that insight, without which he is constantly creating problems. You say easily that we love our children, but is there love in our hearts when we accept the existing social condition, when we do not want to bring about a fundamental transformation in this destructive society?

An educator is not merely a giver of information, he is one who points the way to wisdom, to truth. Truth is far more important than the teacher. The search for truth is religion, and truth is of no country, of no creed; it is not to be found in any temple, church or mosque. Without the search for truth, society soon decays. To create a new society, each one of us has to be a true teacher, which means that we have to be both the pupil and the master; we have to educate ourselves.

If a new social order is to be established, those who teach merely to earn a salary can obviously have no place as teachers. To regard education as a means of livelihood is to exploit the children for one’s own advantage. In an enlightened society, teachers will have no concern for their own welfare, and the community will provide for their need.

The true teacher is not he who has built up an impressive educational organization; nor he who is an instrument of the politicians, nor he who is bound to an ideal, a belief of a country; the true teacher is inwardly rich and therefore asks nothing for himself; he is not ambitious nor seeks power in any form, he does not use teaching as a means of acquiring position or authority, and therefore he is free from the compulsion of society and the control of governments. Such teachers must have a primary place in an enlightened civilization; for true culture is founded not on engineers and technicians, but on the educators.

A real teacher is one who strives to enlighten young minds not with knowledge but wisdom, not with materialism but idealism, not with indifference but love.

What is creativity?

It is my experience that when people talk about creativity, it is difficult to understand whether they are talking about creativity or manipulation. Manipulation is the art of handling skills and knowledge. The expression of it may seem creative, but it could just be technique. Manipulation of knowledge is mere utility. Creativity is what comes from the heart. When there is love in your heart, then skill and knowledge will be used creatively. Also, when there is need to demonstrate creativity, skill and knowledge will evolve automatically. Take the poet Kabir for example. He did not know how to read and write. But you can still see with what beauty and skill he has used language to express his thought.

For creativity to unfold there is need for space. The first necessity to be creative is silence and peace in mind. When there is noise and clutter, created by thoughts of the past or the future, or by the desires and ambitions within us, then creativity cannot develop. There is no space for the mind to play. When one is in a vocation or profession by choice, then one’s mind is free of expectations and then the work is done with complete patience and love. Then creativity can be expressed. If your profession is not voluntary, if one has been forced into it, then the implementation of action becomes non-creative, confused action.

Creativity exists inside each of us. It is the fire inside. It is not something you can see easily in everyone because it is clouded by smoke – the smoke of ambition, desire – the ego. For the mind to be able to perceive, it must be empty of things. An individual with high self-esteem moves towards self-realization and is capable of creativity. This person is not troubled by the past or the future or by personal desires, but is focused completely on the work at hand, giving it his/her best. This is not possible for a person with low self-esteem. They are constantly worried about achieving their own ambitions, or handling their own fears. They are not able to concentrate on what they are doing. Then where is the space for creativity?

A teacher in class needs to be aware of their own self-esteem, and conscious of not only their self-respect, but also that of the students. This does not mean that one keeps the “me” in focus. That is only the ego talking. If one looks at self-respect only in context of “me”, they are operating from low self-esteem. Then all you see is the smoke, not the fire within. The teacher has to build towards higher self-esteem. To do this, they must be aware of the power they have, the capacity they have to impact others. The true teacher is like the magnifying glass. All who come under it are changed by it. Whether the change is for the better or not is up to the teacher. If s/he focuses only on enhancing the intellect, then the student acquires IQ, which is man-made. This gives clarity of information, but not revelation. But the original intelligence, which is wisdom – this will lead you to revelation.

This does not mean that information and knowledge is not needed. It is important to develop the IQ of students. Both are needed – be it IQ or EI (emotional intelligence). The integration of both leads to spirituality. In the absence of IQ, man is animalistic. In the absence of EI, man is like a machine. They are separated by a thin curtain – the curtain of care. It is a simple formula – mix IQ and EI with Care and Love, and everything will be creative. That is all that is required.

What are habits?

When we talk of habits, we often fail to recognize the habits we have picked up through the journey of civilization. If we look at habits as of 3 types, then we can understand this.

The first type is biological – these habits are of the nature that apply to our repetitive response to input through our 5 senses and what we know as instinct. The moment the brain starts to process the data, when we start to name it, conditioning takes over.

The second type is physical – This includes all things in our environment, the materials with shape and form. We have words that encompass the description so that as soon as we say the word, the thing is in our consciousness. This habit of automatically converting elements of our environment into words, and then assuming we understand it, may lead to the fallacy of over-simplification, and the disinclination to view anything as it is.

The third type of habit is psychological – our minds process information in the context of memory. Which means everything we think is actually based in a past that is not existing. We accumulate experiences and consign them to memory, which then constructs our perceptions and our prejudices. Our beliefs, our knowledge, our values are all part of this psychological habit, which we consider as a truth, but which in reality is an illusion, a figment of our imagination.

Education needs to help each generation break these psychological habits and encourage the development of real intelligence, that which is present and sees everything afresh.

What is BCG

With a rich history in education spanning 30 years, the Bombay Cambridge Gurukul schools have sent out more than 20,000 students who continue to do us proud. We have had more than 2,000 teachers work with us, some of whom, enriched by their experience, hold important posts in Education and carry forward the BCG legacy.

During this journey, BCG has made significant contributions to prestigious institutions such as UNICEF, Maharashtra government, TISS, Mumbai University, SNDT, and several schools and colleges across the country.

We have been forerunners for student-sensitive education, and introduced concepts which are now being applied in schools across the state and parts of the country. Some of these concepts include: no examinations and competitions till the age of 10; computer education; worksheets; counseling and remedial facilities; 100% participation; HRD in Education; etc.

Our students are a testimony to our success!

“BCG is a philosophy, an idea. It aims to integrate all of human knowledge to create an environment that builds future generation.”

Why Cambridge?

Over the years, much research has been done on education. Teaching has been the subject of interest for scientists, educators, psychologists, industrialists, politicians, artists, writers – almost every field – since education is the base of all disciplines.

‘Cambridge’, in Bombay Cambridge Gurukul, is an acknowledgement of the logical, rational, and scientific nature of education.

The Universe is in complete order. All things in Nature follow the laws of the Universe without exception. Man, on the other hand, has defied and defiled all laws of Nature, to the extent of destroying the Earth and its resources and itself.

Education has the responsibility to restore this disorder, and provide for students an environment that helps them be rational, resourceful, and responsible.

Why Gurukul?

Ancient Indian education has been studied by experts all over the world. And all our ancient texts contain the wisdom of the process of learning. Education has been linked by all saints and wise men as being the road to the ultimate goal of life, which is liberation, complete freedom from self.

The ‘Gurukul’ in Bombay Cambridge Gurukul, is an acknowledgement to the value of this wisdom. Sa vidya ya vimukte.

Ultimately, the fate of humanity rests on our awareness of how the relationships between humans affect the relationship of mankind with the universe. The values of compassion, cooperation, creativity and generosity, reflect courage and confidence are central to the Gurukul philosophy. All humans are one, and if we were to understand that, we would have the sensitivity to be kinder, more generous, and more forgiving.

what about schools?

Teaching children about Physics, Chemistry, Math – this is only 30% of education. We do have to teach them about things which will help them earn a livelihood, but what about the other 70%? The unconscious mind of the student registers everything – and very fast! And how we behave in the classroom is the way they behave in society.  In schools, our effort should be to sow some good seeds in their mind, so that they don’t contribute bitter fruits in society when they grow up. When will we start teaching children how to behave well? How to listen, how to observe, how to care? Today schools spend 90% time on academics, which will be soon taken over completely by technology. Do teachers know enough to teach the most important subjects – resilience, responsibility, appreciation, sensitivity?