Kriya Yoga: A Potent Tool for Education

Bahinabai was one of the most popular female saints of

Maharashtra, India. She was the disciple of the poet-saint Tukaram and a beacon of light in the Reformation and Bhakti movement in her province. Once, four humanitarian scholars visited her. One of them asked her, “We wish to work together but have diverse purposes. How can we work together?”

Bahinabai asked them to share their purposes one by one.

One said, “I want to civilize society.” Another said, “I want to see society prosper.” The third said, “I want to unite society.” Finally, the fourth said, “I want to empower the nation.”

Bahinabai said, “Your diverse goals converge on the program of education. You should work together to spread education among people. That will help you realize your individual goals together.”

I believe education is the process of civilization, socialization, empowerment and skill development. It is only intelligent, empowered and skilled citizens who can contribute to social and national development. Thus, education brings about complete transformation in an individual, society and nation in one go.

The aim of education is the wholesome and holistic development of a child’s personality. It helps develop a child’s
Kriya Yoga: A Potent Tool for Education

physical, mental and spiritual powers. It equips him with the skills and attributes needed to sail through life smoothly. Thus, education is a means and not an end, and its purpose is to help a child grow to lead a joyous, pious, productive and purposeful life in harmony with others. Knowledge of education’s primary goals will help us choose a system of education that will fulfill these goals.

Let’s see how our education system works. When a child comes to school, his mind is tabula rasa or a blank slate. Each academic session adds some information and by the time students leave school, their minds become a repository of borrowed information. Thus, our education system emphasizes quantitative development of the mind. It fails to make our children come up with fresh ideas. It fails to bring about qualitative changes in their minds. Children become more imitative than creative, more informed (full of information) and less discriminative.

Unfortunately, there is no system to change the basic matrix of our mind. The quantitative development of mind without qualitative transformation is like covering a weak skeleton with beautiful flesh. If a gloomy, pessimistic, negative, nervous, diffident and destructive child has its mind infected with anger, arrogance, jealousy, sensuality, poor concentration, weak willpower and intuitive understanding, he remains the same even when his entire education is complete. Although there is wide-spread dissemination of education, there is lack of love, peace, understanding, sensitivity, generosity, good character and greatness.

There is an ancient fable:

A mouse lived in the hermitage of a saint. It was in constant distress because of its fear of cats. The saint took pity on it and turned it into a cat. However, the

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mouse’s problem did not end there; it became afraid of dogs. The saint wanted the mouse to be happy, so he changed it into a dog. Fear, though, followed the mouse like its shadow; the mouse now lived in fear of panthers.

The saint transformed the mouse into a panther to solve its problems. Unfortunately, another problem arose: the mouse-turned-panther saw a hunter and ran to hide itself in the dense bushes. Later, it shared its problem with the saint. At this point, the saint gave up and turned it back into a mouse, saying, “Nothing I can do for you is going to be of any help because you have the mind of a mouse.”

Our education system is like the saint in the story; it transforms us from outside, it adds information but cannot change the basic nature and fabric of the mind. Although people become doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers and reformers, there is no end to problems because there is no fundamental change in their minds and personalities.

Education will never be able to produce wholesome, healthy, balanced and broad-minded citizens until it adopts spiritual practices such as the science of kriya yoga, which transforms the basic fabric of our mind. When a fundamental transformation takes place in the personality of a child, it becomes like a flower that naturally emits the fragrance of desirable behavior and qualities. Unfortunately, our present education system sprays on the perfume of knowledge from outside to subdue the stench of inner ugliness, petrification and negativity. The practice of kriya yoga removes the debris of negativity allowing divine qualities to fill our whole being. Then, our instinctive responses reflect our hidden goodness as it did in the behavior of Swami Vivekanand.

Before leaving for America to participate in the World Parliament of Religion, Swami Vivekanand visited Sharda Devi, the consort of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, to seek her

Kriya Yoga: A Potent Tool for Education

blessings. Sharda Devi was cooking something in the kitchen when Vivekanandji met her. He asked her to bless him since he was leaving for America to propagate the teachings of his spiritual master there. Sharda Devi asked him to wait for some time. Meanwhile, she needed a knife to chop some vegetables in the kitchen. She asked Swami Vivekanand to give it to her. Swami Vivekanand casually picked it up and gave it to her. Sharda Devi said, “Now, I am convinced that you will be honored wherever you go. Your instinctive compassion for everyone will make you a role model for millions.”

Swami Vivekanand could not understand how handing over a knife showed that he was compassionate. Sharda Devi then explained, “My son, people generally hold the knife by its handle when giving it to someone. That means asking the other person to hold it at the sharp end, but you held the knife the other way round, offering the handle, the safer side, to me. This shows your essential goodness. You have divine qualities of love and compassion for others. This will help you liberate mankind from three-fold sufferings.”

The regular practice of kriya yoga makes our mind more receptive, retentive and attentive to new ideas and ensures qualitative development. When the power of the soul increases, it replaces cruelty with kindness, impatience with patience, weak willpower with strong willpower, self-indulgence with self-control, mental sluggishness with enthusiasm, emotional immaturity with maturity, selfishness with a sense of service, self-doubt with confidence, restlessness with calmness, dullness with mental alertness, and imitation with creativity. We naturally become more appreciative, courageous and positive in life.

If education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man, kriya yoga is the tool to express

that perfection.