Is education changing the teacher within?
All of us have an inner teacher: our value system, our set of guiding principles that shape our decisions and determine our actions.
For children, the main guiding principle is instant pleasure. Due to this short-sightedness of their inner teacher, their parents often have to force them to go to school and to study. Gradually, while making decisions, they start considering additional factors like duty, long-term prospects and the higher joys of learning. Thus, their inner teacher starts maturing.
Sadly however, our education rarely promotes similar growth of the inner teacher. Most present education drills us to memorize information for getting good grades and a lucrative job. Such education doesn’t provide students any guiding principle other than ‘go where the money is.’ It fails to fulfill an essential purpose of education, as reflected in its Latin root ‘educare’ which means ‘to bring’ or ‘to call’ out that which already exists.
Gita wisdom elucidates what already exists within and how it can be called out. It explains that we are all souls, parts of God. Originally, we are godly like him. Presently, our virtuous spiritual nature is buried under lifetimes of material conditioning. Spiritual education enables us to realize the soul and to excavate its godly nature. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (13.12) indicates that knowledge comprises the internalization of twenty virtues. When we connect internally with our dormant noble qualities, we become empowered to act for our as well as others’ benefit. Thus our inner teacher matures magnificently and becomes our reliable resource for sound decision-making.
Further, Gita wisdom provides the process of devotional service that accelerates the inner excavation. It also connects us with Krishna who is present as the Supersoul in our heart and is the ultimate teacher. When we accept his counsel, we swiftly march towards life’s ultimate success.
“Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona ﬁde spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratiﬁcation; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth – all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.”