“1957 – EDUCATION”
THE ANANDA MARGA APPROACH TO EDUCATION
Sometimes people ask “Why does Ananda Marga open schools – the government is already providing this service?”
The answer to this question lies in the unique approach to education found in Ananda Marga Schools which in fact makes them as different from other schools as night is from day.
Shrii P.R.Sarkar (BA’BA’) has said that “educated is he who has learnt much, remembered much and made use of his knowledge in his life” and that education is knowledge which leads to complete liberation of the individual.
All other knowledge is but an approximation of true knowledge. Thus, from the start, the approach of Ananda Marga is to impart a teaching which will have a direct effect on a person’s life and not to inflate him with various “facts” which are learned under pressure in a short time and forgotten in an even shorter time after the exam is over.
Equally, the goal is not to produce “good citizens” who unquestionally consume all the products produced by the industrialists and who fit into the system like well-oiled parts in a big machine.
The goal of Ananda Marga education is to impart a teaching that will enable a person to know who he is truly his, where he has come from and where he is going.
The goal lies deeper than just giving someone vocational training, rather it is in the formation of the moral and spiritual character of the individual.
Many criminals are adopt at reading writing and mathematics but we can not say that they are good examples of the current educational system.
How does Ananda Marga accomplish something which the present schools have failed to accomplish?
Specifically, how does Ananda Marga encourage the individual to walk on the path of self-knowledge and become someone helpful to the advancement of society?
In Ananda Marga Schools you will find many of the same things which are taught in all other schools, i.e., reading , writing, science, geography etc but under lying this is a teaching which is directed at the development of human values in the individual.
Shrii P.R.Sarkar has summarized this method by dividing up to the word EDUCATION.
Each letter — ( E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N etc) stands for a human value which is emphasized in the Ananda Marga School system :
E – Stands for “Enlargement of Mind”-the child is shown graphically that he or she is part of a Great Universe. He is shown that there is more to the world than his own little town or country, rather, that he is a citizen of this whole Universe. By the process of meditation, which is a daily part of meditation, which is a daily part of the program, the mind begins to expand and an outlook develops which will prevent the formation of narrow sentiments such as racism and provincialism.
D – is a composite known as ‘DESMEP’.
D – ‘Discipline’ – the student learns that whatever he or she sets out to do must be carried through to completion, and that working in a harmony with those around him or her brings a great happiness to everyone. This is a self discipline which will stay with the individual for his whole life and not simply ‘discipline’ imposed in an atmosphere of fear and soon abandoned in a spirit of rebelliousness in the absence of authority.
E- ‘Etiquette’ – how is one to behave in the company of others?
Teaching includes common courtesy and manners which help a child to express his natural love for others.
S- ‘Smartness’ – neatness and orderly appearance of clothing and environment are emphasized, as this will have an uplifting effect on both the mind and society.
M – ‘Morality’- from an early age the concepts of morality are taught in the form of stories and plays. The Ananda Marga concept of morality propounds that morality is a means of establishing the mind in a state if oneness with the cosmos so that even the thought of harming another being will not arise. This definition is best expressed and expanded upon in Guide to Human conduct by Shrii P.R.Sarkar(Shrii Shrii Anandamurti).
E – ‘English’ – why English? For the present moment English is best suited to be the world ‘lingua franca’ and second language. If humanity is to escape from the curse of global war, communication between all people is essential. Thus English is taught in all Ananda Marga schools.
P – ‘Pronunciation’ – what is learned should also be expressed clearly. Through songs and rhymes children become successful in pronunciation.
U – stands for ‘Universal Outlook’ – the child is learning that human society is one and large family. All human beings are brothers and sisters. They may wear different clothes or speak another language, or even have a different colour of skin, but these differences are superficial.
C – ‘Character’ – by the example of the teacher the child learns that his every expression must be an expression of morality. These values are made to become part of his essential nature and not merely a facade.
A – ‘Active Habits’ – this means that the child understands how to use his time and resource well and not to waste them. By practical examples the young child can learn how to always be occupied in good actions.
T – ‘Trustworthiness’ people must have confidence in us, that is, what we say should correspond to what we think. Shrii P.R.Sarkar has said that such an individual whose thought, work and deed are harmonious is the best category of human beings.
I – ‘Ideation of the Great’ – the ideal of the human life is the Supreme Consciousness. In any action and at every moment the human being should be thinking on the positive aspect of his experience ie that is part of the great consciousness which is guiding this universe. This is a non-sectarian sentiment and does not interfere with any faith or religion.
O – ‘Omniscient Grace’ the child comes to understand that this Universe is not a hostile place but that love is the strongest force existing. This value can only be taught by a teacher who himself is expressing much love and care for the students.
N – ‘ Nice Temperament’ in whatever situation that might arise, the child is encouraged to express himself in a cheerful manner and not to injure others by sharp criticism and uncontrolled anger.
These values expressed in the breakdown of the word ‘EDUCATION” constitute the hearts of the Ananda Marga concept of education. The children who grow up with them embody the hope for the future well being of human civilization, and it is for this reason that Ananda Marga has taken up the program of starting schools in all corners of the world.