APN News

  • Thursday, October, 2020| Today's Market | Current Time: 04:00:23
  • Edited by Rainjiita Raffaella Simonetti (Source Pninews.com)

     There is an ancient and still very topical debate about what values the school must teach.

    The educational systems of each culture reflect the values of the society in which they are born and at the same time have the power to influence the society in which they are inserted. However, many school curricula do not teach the values of living, let alone reflect the cultural values prevalent locally. The traditional school system is based essentially on the pure transmission of abstract knowledge and handed down from on high.

    Nowadays, in different places around the world, we are witnessing an assiduous and profound search to give a new face to educational institutions in order to be able to form more complete and aware human beings. Men and women of the future are expected to have not only the knowledge but also the practical skills to deal with concrete situations, involving daily scenarios involving working and relational conundrums. Future generations are also supposed to be able to deal with the major environmental, economic and social problems of our planet.

    How are we to help them to that? With what resources?

    In the 1980s, the great Indian philosopher P. R. Sarkar pointed to the practice of yoga and the Neohumanist ideology as a decisive direction. Since then several steps forward have been taken.

    In 2016 yoga was recognized by UNESCO in the World Cultural Heritage list, and although it originated primarily in India, its practices belong to humanity itself. Kemetic yoga, for example, is a recently rediscovered yoga which originated in Egypt.  In recent years, whether by fashion, or by evolution of the collective consciousness, the practices of yoga and meditation which originated in India have become increasingly present in the educational world and in schools. Nepal is indeed the first country in the world to have made yoga compulsory, and it is certainly not the only one where there are trends of this type. In Italy, Balyayoga and Bimbinyoga methods are incorporated into the regular primary school curricula along with other, more standard teacher trainings. Other projects are dedicated to early childhood yoga. One such is  the nursery school run by Avadhutika Ananda Devapriya Acarya, missionary responsible for the projects run by AMURTEL (Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team – Ladies} in Romania, specifically in Bucharest and Panatau. In these schools,  children are educated to alternately listen to themselves and to others. They have moments of singing followed by moments of meditation, where they withdraw their attention from the turbulence of the outside world, bringing it to the peaceful place in their inner world. Expanding on the yogic ideal of connectedness between food, health, morality and ecology,  kindergarten meals are organized with vegetarian food so that the new generation can understand and learn food possibilities which are better fortheir own health andfor the health of the planet.

    Another interesting example is the project “Friends“, promoted by the Transcendental Meditation Movement and co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. Welcomed by several municipalities in Europe including that of Bolzano in South Tyrol, Italy, it gave the opportunity to five classes (fourth and fifth grades) of M.L.King elementary school to experience the benefits of meditation during school hours on an ongoing basis.Children themselves say that they are calmer, better focused, interact better with others, and now able to manage their anxiety for testing. Teachers have noticed increased attention spans and considerable improvements in interpersonal relationships.The children in fact seem to be much nicer to each other.

    Neohumanist Education (NHE) has revolutionary educational principles propounded by Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar. Its motto is  “Sa’ Vidya’ ya’ vimuktaye: Education is that Which Liberates!” It includes a pedagogical mode that encourages human beings to experience love for themselves, and to extend that love to all other creatures, animate and inanimate.

     The main approach of NHE is to create spiritual urge among students. And practice of yoga can be the useful tool to achieve this goal. Neohumanism is the psycho-spiritual philosophy which emphasizes and aims to inspire the devotional sentiment and this devotional sentiment would be the ultimate basis of feeling of interconnectedness among all beings. NHE is firmly rooted in Neohumanism.

    Yogic practices of asanas, meditation and kirtan provide them with tools to cultivate and maintain this awareness in everyday life. Students learn to value all entities, seeing them  as Divine creatures worthy of respect and nurturance. They learn to identify geo-sentiment, which  assumes that parcels of land belong to specific people instead of the Divine, and they learn that the land is to be used for the benefit of all, even though some people may control certain parcels. They learn to identify the pernicious aspects of socio-sentiment, which assumes that one branch of humanity is somehow better than another. They learn to identify the so-called “humanistic” sentiment, which assumes that human beings can dominate and exploit animals and plants without regard for their well-being. They learn, through forest trips, plantations, and animal experiences, that our human race depends on these other species. They learn to develop their own spirituality, and to develop the Awakened Conscience and rationalistic mentality which will help them make decisions better. They learn to transition from Atma Sukha Tattva , the principle of selfish pleasure, to Sama Samaja Tattva, the principle of Social Equality. Thus they learn to make informed decisions that are good not only for themselves but for all creatures of the world.

    Neohumanist schools and kindergartens in the world are many, and we would be happy to help the reader find the closest one. Or we could help you start one!

    Editor of this article is a Yoga Teacher for children in Italy – Contacts: [email protected]

    Authors: Bhavanii Valentina Polo – Yoga Teacher based in Italy, working both with adult and children and always inspired by traditional yogic teachings – Contacts: [email protected]

    Sudiipa, Mara Grandinetti, Ayurvedic therapist, Yoga educator, Managing Director and founder of Anima Yoga & Ayurveda Center in South Tyrol, Italy – Contacts: [email protected]

    Sunandita Bhowmik, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Education, CoochbeharPanchananBarma University (CBPBU), Coochbehar-736 101

    Dr Pashupati Steven Landau MD, a Board Certified Family Practitioner of Medine in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. He has helped his wife Shivapriya in starting 4 Neohumanist schools in the USA. He is also an Acarya in the Ananda Marga system of yoga, and President of AMURT in the USA, which itself runs Neohumanist programs in Bangladesh, Lebanon and Indonesia.