Of education and knowledge…

अकारादेव निर्यान्ति समस्तान्यक्षराणि च ।
चराचरप्रपञ्चोऽय मीश्वरादेव जायते ॥

The alphabet begins with the “A” sound, so does the Universe begin with the universal consciousness.

The first couplet mentions not the letter A, but the sound ‘a’. This sound is one of the primary sounds that make up any alphabet, and the first of all. The ‘a’ sound begins in the thoracic region – the other two primary sounds ‘u’ and ‘m’ originate in the throat and the mouth respectively.

Together, they form ‘AUM’, the primordial sound of the universe.

The ‘a’ sound accompanies and energises the other sounds, and serves not just as the beginning, but also the enricher and the cause of the integrity of all the other sounds.

In the same manner, the universal consciousness that is known by various names and forms, serves as the source of life, the origin of what we know as the Universe.

ईशस्य ज्ञानरूपस्य विना पादनिषेवणम् ।
सन्त्वधीतानि शास्त्रणि न तैरस्ति प्रयोजनम ॥

Of what use is learning and education, if they do not lead to one worshipping pure knowledge?

Reaching the height of knowledge, which is awareness, should be the goal and culmination of education. The goal of knowledge is steadfastness, a stillness that leads to clarity and abolishing of the “I”, which is our ego. A person who’s humility does not increase as his learning increases, will not reach anywhere.

As we learn more, as we gain more knowledge, we realise that we are not different from each other – be it humans, animals, nature or anything else in this Universe.

वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता – The steadfast, having controlled all his senses, sits focused on me (the universal consciousness), so says the Bhagavad Gita. Our education should make us humble, focused on eliminating barriers of race, religion and species, and worshipping the good in us all – say the wise.