Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jeevan Vidya

A couple of years back I came across a very scientific and deeply insightful education module that teaches what is life. And almost all of the last month we have been struggling with implementing this in our Slum training centers and also take it to our rural training centers.

The title of this education module explains succintly what it is -- Jeevan Vidya -- education that explains life as it is in reality. The belief is that once we understand life as it is, it will positively impact our decision making and hence impact our life in a way that is more tuned to harmonious living.

It all begins with understanding the lack of harmony generated in the World ever since the human beings came into being. The fact that human beings have the power of imagination but without understanding of reality we start taking wrong decisions and hence create problems and only compound them in the process of trying to solve them.

The philosophy itself will take a bit more to explain and you could look at the site Jeevan Vidya. Here is a teaser though:

Let's look at the following questions:
1. Do you believe that if you have lots of money and a method of making money it will lead to happiness?
2. Do you believe that happiness is synonymous with comfort?
3. Have you oscillated between materialism and spiritualism and not found a balance as far as happiness is concerned?
4. Are you confused between the means and ends towards the purpose of this life?
5. Are there certain relationships you believe are just impossible?
... and so on. Jeevan Vidya helps resolve all these and more.

Understanding life Jeevan Vidya style helps us understand reality and hence be able to address all problems in life (yes ... all :-)). Of course no one is saying it will be easy or comfortable and neither is it a religion or religion oriented philosophy. It is quite logical and something that all of us can learn to examine in our lives ourselves.

So one begins with examining the assumptions that we all are living with. For example, an assumption that most of us operate with is that when we fulfill the needs of the body - the 'I' becomes happy. Another way of saying the same thing is that we amass clothes or cars or even mobiles thinking they will fetch us respect from our fellow human beings. The premise being that all of us are seeking happiness and respect but since we confuse 'I' with the 'Body' we go all wrong in all major decisions of life.

If we take this one level deeper -- needs of the body --- food, clothing, shelter, exercise, rest -- are all limited in nature and also periodic. Whereas the needs of the 'I' are happiness, respect, trust etc that are by nature unlimited and required perpetually. When we understand this and look at our life -- our focus changes. Mine has.

We are realizing that all of us need to learn, understand and start examining our assumptions so that we dont continue to create models (of education and training) that are in themselves leading to creating even more disharmony in the world.