Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saffronization of Education...

A lot has been talked about the 'saffronization' of text books in India by the self-proclaimed pseudo-secularists. Most of us led to believe that indeed the NDA government has denied us the knowledge that we deserve and we voted them out of power. A little bit of study into this would show up where as a country we are heading towards and what kind of knowledge we are denied with.

The Chavan Committee (1999) strongly urges education about religions as an instrument of social cohesion and social and religious harmony. Let us look at an example.

National Curriculum Framework for School Education (pg-19 & 20) states “All religions therefore have to be treated with equal respect (Sarva Dharma Sambhav) and that there has to be no discrimination on the ground of any religion (Panthnirapekshata)”. Page 57 states “The students may be encouraged to enhance their computational skill by the use of Vedic Mathematics

It is shocking to see that just at the mention of Vedic Mathematics, so much of furor is created. We have to note that pg-57 barely gives a suggestion and is not making anything compulsory. There are certain methods in Vedas, being used for enhancing computational skills by NASA. And so much has been ridiculed about ‘Indian Astrology’ as a subject.

The Hindu Dharma practices mathematics in everyday life. Another example from a simple ‘sankalpa’ mantra that is recited before any pooja or a good intended event as part of our Dharma would show us how much Hinduism is not a religion but a Dharma – to be practiced.

Adhya Brahmana; dvithiya praarthe
Swetha varaaha kalpe
Vaivasvatha manvanthre
Ashtavimsathi thame
Kaliyuge prathame paathe
Bharatha varshe
Baratha: kande
Meroho: dhakshine paarshve
Saalivaahana sahaapte
Asmin varthamaane vyavahaarike
Prabhavaathi sashti samvathsaaraanaam madhye
‘sarvajit’ naama samvathsare
Dhakshinaayane; Sharad rithou;
Kaarthika maase; sukla pakshe
Panchamyaam Subha thithou
Vaasara: sthira vaasara yukthaayaam
… nakshathra

Before understanding this sankalpa, some brief on how Hinduism calculates ‘time’! Hinduism explains the time calculation in relative terms to the life time of ‘Lord Brahma’ – the birth God!

What is the ‘Life time’ of Brahma?
His ‘Life time’ is defined as – 100 ‘Brahma’ years with 360 days per year – equivalent to 432 crore ‘earth’ years; His ‘night’ also constitutes of such 432 crore ‘earth’ years;

The end of a ‘DAY’ of brahma, is the universe’s end (the d-day!). Then ‘Lord Brahma’ sleeps for his ‘night’ time (another 432 crore years!). When his next DAY starts, the universe again starts a new cycle of life and evolves for the next 432 crore years!

Every ‘day’ of Brahma is split into 14 parts – each called as a ‘Manvanthra’. There is a head for every ‘Manvanthra’ called ‘The Manu’. The current time frame comes under the ‘Seventh Manu’ named ‘Vaivasvatha’.

Every Manvanthra constitutes of 71 Maha Yugas; 4 yugas constitute one Maha-yuga. The following are the yuga calculations;

Krutha yuga – 17,28,000 Years
Thretha Yuga - 12,96,000 Years
Dwapara Yuga- 8,64,000 Years
Kali Yuga - 4,32,000 Years

A above total of 43,20,000 years constitute a ‘Maha-yuga’.

Each Manvanthra has 71 Maha Yugas; and there are 14 Manvanthras; So
14 X 71 = 994 Maha-Yugas;

6 Maha-yugas are given for the transition period of every Manvanthra to the next; so:

994 Maha-Yugas + 6 Maha-yuga makes to 1000 Maha-Yugas. This is called a ‘Kalpa’ and constitutes Bhrahma’s One DAY. Currently we are in ‘Swetha varaha kalpa’.

To understand better, if we start from the lowest denomination:

1 Maha-Yuga = 43,20,000 Years;
One Manu’s period (Manvanthra) consists 71 Maha-Yugas: 71 X 43,20,000 = 30,67,20,000 Years
There are 14 Manvanthras: 14 X 30,67,20,000 = 429,40,80,000 Years;
6 Maha-Yugas for Manvanthra’s transition:6 X 43,20,000 = 2,59,20,000 Years;
Add the above for 14 Manu’s period: 429,40,80,000 + 2,59,20,000 = 432,00,00,000 (432 crore) Years; which equivalent to BRAHMA’S ONE DAY!

With the above information as a background for our understanding, going back to the Sankalpa Manthra:

“Adhya Brahmana: - During Current Brahma’s 51st year
dvithiya praarthe – in the First Day
Swetha varaaha kalpe – in Swetha Varaha Kalpam
Vaivasvatha manvanthre – In the times of ‘Vaivasvatha’ Manu
Ashtavimsathi thame; Kaliyuge prathame paathe – In the first part of Kaliyuga that comes for the 28th time;
Jambudhveepe – In a place called ‘Jambudhveepam’ that is a part of earth’s seven parts’
Bharatha varshe – In the land called ‘Bharatha Varsham’
Baratha: kande – In the Baratha kandam (continant)
Meroho: dhakshine paarshve – To the south of Mount Meru
Saalivaahana sahaapte – In the times of king ‘Saalivahana’
Asmin varthamaane vyavahaarike – With such information
Prabhavaathi sashti samvathsaaraanaam madhye – from the list of 60 years that starts with ‘Prabhava’
‘sarvajit’ naama samvathsare – in the year of ‘Sarvajit’
Dhakshinaayane; Sharad rithou; - During the time when Sun traverses facing South; in so & so weather time (Spring, summer etc)
Kaarthika maase; sukla pakshe – in so & so month; moon ascending or descending phase;
Panchamyaam Subha thithou – in so & so day ….
Vaasara: sthira vaasara yukthaayaam
… nakshathra ….”

Now come back – we generally live with the English calendar that is so simple – we are in year 2007, December 15th etc. This is because our education system has tuned us not to think beyond 2000 years!

If ‘saffronization’ can bring in such a knowledge that enables us to think beyond just 2000 years then why to oppose this? The sample we have seen is just a single ‘sankalpa’ manthra that we use on a daily basis. If that alone can make us think so big; what about the rest of the Veda that none of us ever bother to even read once? And look at what kind of holistic picture of time our vedic maths is capabile of giving us? What are we missing here? Who is responsible for this?

As a nation we should be ashamed about ourselves; We don’t take pride in our own culture; our own knowledge; The first question one would ask for such posts is ‘Why should I believe this’ & ‘Where is the proof’. For them my request is ‘Why not you believe this?’ and ‘Do we have any proof against this?’ (When you don’t question the existence proof of Jesus Christ 2000 yrs back, when you don’t question about NASA’s claim and snaps of conquering the universe, why you question this alone). Belief is the fundamental engine for growth and innovation!

When something is good let us try to believe and build – may be we will be surprised! Is this what we call 'saffronization'? Then shall we not demand for more of it as a nation?

.. to continue …


Vijay Kumar said...

Brilliant. I think this is profound and needs to be propagated. We need to see that more and more people are made aware of such aspects of Hinduism

Krishnapadman said...

Ramki -

This is wonderful information. I have started listening to Velukudi krishnan's Bhagavatham discourse. Bhagavatham's first canto has the secrets of birth and the concepts of the years of brahma and how brahma himself was created.

It is quite interesting to note that these many years are still there and remaining number of years in kaliyuga is given in the panjangam. While thinking of all these information what we are doing in IT right now seems to be very silly :-)