Thursday, July 28, 2016

Jottings : slice of Life - 29

Jottings : slice of Life - 29
Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist and professor of comparative religion, mentions a beautiful metaphor to indicate Human potential. Sea turtles lay their eggs about 30 feet from the sea, and when the young turtles, size of a nickel, break out of their shells, they immediately start scrambling towards the sea. They don’t have to be taught that if they tarry a moment longer than needed on the shore, they will be scooped up by birds waiting from their delicious arrival. Its biological and psychological structure has been programmed, wired from its inception to move swiftly towards safety. They also know how to swim, and water doesn't unnerve them. These were learnings, instincts hardcoded into them. They come into this world fully formed and equipped to lead lives in a manner chosen fit by millennia of evolution. They have no problems of schooling, tutoring or a learning curve, or even the inclination to learn, grow and transform themselves into something they want to.
But Man is different. The new born human baby is almost physically useless to do anything at all. It wails, its helpless and almost certainly will die if let unattended. It is as if evolution has abandoned its child into hands of unknown, and not equipped its choicest organism ( at least that is what we call ourselves) with instincts necessary to live, thrive and safeguard itself effectively from its predators. The purpose of this post is not to trace this evolutionary path of Human beings. But it will suffice to point out the somewhere along our journey, nature decided to bring us into this world only biologically well formed with eyes, nose and the rest of it, but without absolutely any capacity to survive and adapt. It expects the human child to to be given adequate time for intellectual, cultural development. It relies upon existing Human society, its elders, its teachers to be the vehicle of transmission of acquired written and oral knowledge, skills of survival and channel necessary life instincts for the child to grow inwardly into a fully blossomed young man or woman, capable of handling the world on its own terms and conditions. And the gestation period for this transition to happen is not less then a couple of decades, if not more. Definitely, A Huge span of time for a fragile baby to grow up, when you compare with the turtle that Campbell mentions.
That is why education is so very important, and great, committed teachers almost indispensable. It has been my privilege, honor, pleasure over the years to have worked with so many youngsters in many different ways. Yesterday, My dear friend Aromal mentioned my teaching skills in response to a post of mine. What can I say, but for the fact that I am glad that I chose to channel my energies to be able to touch lives of such talented and committed youngsters as him. I still remember this bright, handsome boy who sat in my class, quite skeptical, with dreams and fire in his eyes. Fifteen years later, his dream is consummated and the fire is even more brighter, and many more vistas to conquer. Well done Aromal. I am with you every step!! The other day, a group of boys who joined the professional world a decade ago, fresh from college, were nostalgic about their journey so far. They were an incredible, brilliant batch of young girls and boys. In that indeterminate period, when one steps out of college, and about to step into the world of adults, there is a short period in between - full of aspiration, brute confidence in themselves , nagging doubts and a mysterious sense of beckoning destiny. It is a crucial phase in a young life at the threshold of adulthood. Because, the world is watching you. The nurturing is done, care given, and you are expected to now become responsible for your future. It is at this time, that you need a mentor to help give you the slightest of pushes into an unknown future - not merely an intellectual thrust, but an attitude, a clear lens to look at life and adjust to it ( Like the turtle who knows it should swim towards water). All the boys and girls from those classes are today growing up wonderfully well. And I watch with pride and happiness their progress.
Even today, I enjoy working and teaching youngsters, though my job has taken to other levels of Higher education. In J krishnamurti’s schools across the world, the fundamental principle is not to create specialists ( that will anyway happen) but to provide holistic education. And I my own small way, I try and inject a life vision into my classes, beyond the mere technicality of it. I have been fortunate to have learnt some valuable lessons at great price sometimes, but never have I allowed them to cow me down. I pass those lessons down as a legacy to my beloved students..
So then, To all the wonderful people in my classes and outside.. Have a great time, and keep it going…
God bless..
Yours in mortality,

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