Published: 07th June 2020
Don't fight online education, alter education system to include yogic way of life: Dushyanth Sridhar
Indic Scholar Dushyanth Sridhar spoke about self-discipline, yoga, ancient versus modern medicine and the new normal at temples
The education system in India is not entirely wholesome and should be tweaked – some things should be added – to create many, many generations of realised souls rather than telling someone at the age of 50 and 60 about the yogic way of life, said indic scholar Dushyanth Sridhar while discussing how education needs to evolve post-COVID. He said, "Youth listen to their teacher, who may be an undergrad, and not to their grandparents, who might have PhDs. As a student, we should know the best of both worlds – Eastern as well as Western."
He was in conversation with SASTRA Deemed-to-be University Vice-Chancellor S Vaidhyasubramaniam and Senior Journalist and author Kaveree Bamzai as part of The New Indian Express' Expressions webcast. He also vehemently spoke about how students and parents must not oppose online education simply because it is new, but take what is good from it.
Answering a question by S Vaidhyasubramaniam about how the current generation of students should be taught about the virtue of self-discipline, especially while studying online, Sridhar said that it has to come from within. “Ramayana has a two-step process. Hanuman is a self-made individual. He was the only monkey who knew nine types of grammar. Before levitating to Lanka, he didn’t even know he could go to Lanka. Once he was reminded about his ability by Jambavan, he was able to get his lost power back and was able to fly.”
In Valmiki’s Ramayana, when he couldn’t find Sita initially, he wanted to commit suicide at one juncture. “The very next second he thinks what repercussions will his actions have on Sugriva, Rama and Lakshmana. He says that he will motivate himself and find Sita. Similarly, self-discipline to a very small extent can be taught by an institution but it is upto the individual to realise and practice it. If he fails to do so even after the pandemic times then we have to live with it. He has to live with it and we have to live with such people in the society,” added Sridhar.
Speaking about the convergence of ancient and modern medicine attempting to find a cure for COVID, Sridhar, who is an alum of BITS Pilani and has worked with tech companies like TCS, said, “We are looking at raw nature for solutions. Ayurveda and siddha are largely preventive in nature and modern medicine is more curative. They work in different fields. But we can touch both fields. Before Corona happens, I can take turmeric, black pepper, jeera, let them boil and have it with honey. But suppose I get Corona, I can go to the doctor and take the generic or specific drug. We should appreciate both.”
Responding to Kaveree Bamzai's question about the discipline that people showed during the lockdown, Sridhar said that he believed it was temporary, "I have a firm belief that we won't continue to show that in the months to come. Whatever steps we are taking right now with regards to social distancing, not spitting is with absolute fear over what if Coronavirus comes to me. What is happening right now is illusionary and superficial. My value of nature is immaterial whether there’s Corona or no Corona. Otherwise, it isn't about discipline but survival."
When asked about how going to temples and reaching out to God would change, Sridhar, who has extensively researched the Bhagavad Gita, said, “Temples were never meant as places of worship but as a congregation of various cultural activities. That is why it was constructed with stone. But houses weren’t constructed with stone. Kings and commoners wanted temples to survive for generations. We have very strongly believed that God is everywhere. But God is untouched by the characteristics of the object. Even sitting at home I can practice my religion. After the Corona period, I want to visit the Brihadishvara Temple but that is not to deny that he is not everywhere. He is there at my home as much as he is there at Brihadishvara Temple.”