The essence of education is enlightenment, engagement and encouragement
If we wish to educate others about something – especially something that requires moral strength, discipline, and diligence – we need to provide them three broad things: enlightenment, engagement and encouragement.
Enlightenment: Enlightenment means showing others the way, providing them the vision to see which choices lead to which consequences. Instead of just prescribing certain things and proscribing other things, education provides them a holistic worldview for informed decision-making, thereby giving them the intellectual conviction to make the right choice. For example, to teach others sensual restraint, we need to logically explain why such restraint is beneficial, not hand it down as a diktat.
Engagement: Engagement essentially means providing people practical tools or methods to tread the way they have chosen. If they aren’t provided such practical aids, they won’t be able to persevere. For example, to teach someone to exercise daily, we may need to provide the appropriate exercise equipment and connect them with a group of regular exercisers in their age group.
Encouragement: Whenever anyone does anything new, they often face moments of doubt and discouragement. We need to provide them the confidence that they can succeed. Even if they err and need to be corrected, we can focus not on their mistake but on their potential. With that positive focus, we can inspire them to follow the process that unleashes their potential.
Significantly, Krishna integrates all these three when teaching the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna. The whole book enlightens him about dharma, the right course of action, by analyzing which actions lead to which consequences. To help him engage in dharma, the Gita outlines various paths that aid him to live according to the principles of dharma. And the Gita concludes by encouraging Arjuna, assuring him that Krishna loves him determinedly (18.64) and will protect him from all consequences if he surrenders (18.66).
No wonder the Gita’s education is so dramatically successful: it makes a despondent Arjuna determined (18.73).
Think it over:
- Why does education need to be enlightening?
- How can education provide engagement?
- Why does education need to be encouraging?
18.66 Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
To know more about this verse, please click on the image
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