The Vedic education system the moment you hear these words, the first thing that comes to mind is it is a curriculum for some young brahmin kids and it's all about how to perform the rituals in temples or some other Vedic rituals. This is a very general perception, right? But the fact of the matter is it is a lot more than divine worship. It has many-many elements which are very relevant for each and every one of us in this digital age. And this short blog is about one such concept.
In today's world if you want to acquire knowledge about anything the first place that we all go is the internet, social media. I watch what I want on social media is a myth, I'm getting to watch what I would most like on social media is the reality. It is a highly programmed and orchestrated reality not finding fault with the internet or social media. But the fact of the matter is every like, every view, every subscribe, every digital activity of mine is an input to a large number of monstrous algorithms designed to do just one thing keep you engaged. The second one is today we have a huge information overload you name it you can find it on internet. Now how are you going to figure out what is fact and what is not? And the third is changing times. So what you're learning today in your school and college. The information or the knowledge that you're acquiring how useful it would be by the time you come out of your institution getting into a job or starting your own business.
The beauty of the Vedic education system is it unequivocally focuses on
1) Why you're learning something?
2) What you need to learn?
3) How you need to learn any given concept?
I might sound critical but the fact is in the Indian education system today mostly focus always on the what and the why and how are left out. Now here is one very good solution for all these issues. Addressing the how part of the question
As part of Indian philosophy, there is something called pramanas. There are six of them basically these are six different techniques that you can apply in learning anything under the sun and above as well. But first, let's understand
It is a samskuratham word which is a samdi of two different words pra and means (forward or outward). The English word progress is cognitive to the root word pra in samskuratham and mana means measurement. The English word mensuration is cognate to mana so pramana means measuring or assessing the future ensuring certainty and that's why we use the word promise, right? Promise is also cognate to the samskuratham word pramana. Pramanas in short are the techniques to learn anything with its right content and intent.
Now let's see what they are one by one
Imagine a toddler who never knew what fire is can easily crawl up to a burning candle and try to catch it. But once it burns his fingers he would never ever do that in his life again, because there is a deep lesson that's learned that catching a burning candle will burn your fingers this is acquired through self-experience. In the learning process, we need to involve our sense organs because of a simple reason. Your sense organs often generate a certain kind of emotion and when your emotion is attached to information that becomes a long-term memory. Try to think about it and you will find the sense in what I just said.
Anumaana is all about deep questioning about anything that you learn and in the process of questioning you derive the answers based on logical facts. For instance, take a wristwatch why is it that a wristwatch always has a knob on the right side? Now the fact is the majority of the world's population are right-handed so obviously, they tend to wear the watch on the left hand and operate it with their right hand. So it's easy if a watch knob is placed on the right side counting in the majority of the people. So I don't know if this is actually the reason but logically this could most likely be the reason. And anumana is a very important dimension of learning because it pushes you to question each and every aspect that comes your way in your life and eventually to learn from it.
This is pretty well known to each and every one of you you have your examples in your textbooks which kind of gives a simulation or a miniature version of any given concept. Imagine that I want to learn how a satellite revolves around the earth? Now I can draw certain cues from understanding how the moon revolves around the earth because the concept is exactly the same. Now moon is something that I can visually see and understand there come the pratyaksha the first one into action and as a result of it, I try to derive certain similarities on how moon is revolving around the earth and transpose that understanding towards how a satellite revolves around the earth.
Here the process of acquiring knowledge is based on presumption but your presumption should rely on another fact. For example, there are clouds all over in the sky and wind so now the clouds and the wind is a fact that I'm seeing right in front of my eyes then I presume that most likely it would rain in a couple of minutes. So I'm not really sure if it would rain or not but I'm basing my presumption on the fact that there are clouds and wind already.
It's quite easy to read and understand what appears right in front of our eyes, but the contrary is a bit difficult. Take a glass of water for instance for your brain it is very easy to understand that glass is half-filled with water but learning the fact that the remaining half is not filled with water. That perspective is not so easy because it's not visible right in front of your eyes. So learning through negative conclusion or in simple terms looking at from the other side of the table that is anupalabdi.
This is what all of us have been doing learning from our teachers, elders, books, etc.
Incorporating all these six pramanas in your learning process makes your learning more inquisitive in nature. Questioning each and every aspect from different different directions why is it like that? why it is not like that? what it is? what is not deriving the conclusions? So you keep on questioning each and every aspect that you learn which makes your learning more comprehensive and most importantly you will understand not just what you're learning but in fact why you're learning as well. The times are changing the needs are changing world needs more creators than ever before and for that, an innovative and inquisitive mindset is very very essential. Now I'm not saying pramanas are the silver bullet that's going to solve all the problems. But we need such kind of an inquisitive learning approach to generate more and more creators and innovators who are much needed for our society today. And on that note-taking inspiration from the ancient Indian education system or the Vedic education system would definitely be a sensible choice.
The country that lies north of the ocean and south of the Himalayas is called Bharat. The people here are the children of Bharati. Bharati here refers to Saraswati Devi and the word Bharati comes from the Sanskrit root word brew which means to hold, to carry knowledge. Historically or rather prehistorically India has always been a country of great knowledge and because of our inquisitive learning approach the freedom to question anything, the freedom to question anybody including god with the right intention to learn and understand. And that's what made India a land of secrets. It's high time that we revive the ancient Indian education system which is timeless and is very relevant for our digital age today.
Credit: project shivoham