Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bridges of Wellness on the Eastern Way!

Happiness of the soul,senses and mind results in health and the way to get it is to work for the happiness of others said sage Charaka, an ancient practitioner of Medicine in India. Education, Self Realisation and Service are the ways to attain such happiness/wellness. Development of the resources of body,mind and soul and, understanding of both spiritual and material-visible and invisible,manifest and unmanifest-aspects of reality is the goal of education. Practices for the access of both the component of reality and in the process discover one's uniqueness and position in the universal scheme of things is self realisation. Dedicating oneself to the happiness of others who need rather than indulge in self gratification is service which is the foundation for prosperity with peace.

Every being is connected with everythingelse-living and nonliving-in the world. Experiencing the unity of beings and nurturing these bonds nurtures the self better in a lasting way. Separation from the unity is the cause of misery. Aim of Psychological Counselling and Psychotherapy is to reestablish the connectedness of beings, help discover one's potentialities and position and, empower the client to relate to the world around in service. This Eastern way is well illustrated in scriptures such as Vedas and Upanishads, Bhagavadgita and Yoga.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Language, Mother Tongue and the Tongue of the World in Multilingual India

Language is the medium of expression, an expression of thought, it communicates message. Hold on, it is much more. Language is not merely an expression of thought but is thought itself, said Vygotosky, a Russian Psychologist. Media is the message, said McLuhan. Look at this language/expression: most of the Westerner would say "I am angry", where as the Easterner would say "anger came to me",( 'gussa agaya' in Hindi; 'kopa bantu' in Kannada). Is it not a totally different world view ?, one identifies with the emotion and the other is separated from it. Language depict world view.

Mother tongue is the language through which we get to know the world within and around, the milieu's perception of life is ingrained in it. We will be alienated from our people, culture and society if we are not rooted in the mother tongue. Hence,there is lot of sense in making mother tongue the medium of instruction in our schools. Yet, is it enough to get imbibed only with my and my culture's view of the world in today's multifaceted, multidimensional and globalised world? How would you expect me to be tolerant of the diversity of living of multitude of people around me in the world? Languages are the means of engaging myself with the diversity of the world to enhance my growth. Further, often, like my mother tongue kannada, it is not adequate to know the world in its entirety as of now. In fact there is hardly any good book on science and technology in that language yet. Should I suffer all my life not knowing reality offered by science having restricted myself to learning of and by mother tongue only? Kannada people can become first class citizen of the world, not the next class of citizen and , we should never miss him any opportunity to become so.

We have a situation in India where those who know English and got education in English schools get posh jobs and those who come from mother tongue only end up in low paid or menial jobs. The poor and the Dalits belong to the latter category. Are we not contributing to the widening of the gap between the have and have nots, to the social inequality? It makes lots of sense as well to introduce a 'global' language,English, as a subject along with the subject/medium of instruction of mother tongue from the Standard 1st in the school. Studies on monolingualism,bilingualism and multilingualism on cognitive status of young children would support the contention that learning more than one language offers greater stimulation of the mind without being a burden which might even contribute to a more tolerant, more open, more creative and more robust personality.

Mother tongue offers me the rootedness, my identity. The root to grow into stem , branches, leaves, flowers and fruits needs water, air, sun, earth and space and a global language can contribute a vital element in all these. I want to be myself and that self of mine long to include the whole world, relate and respond to all that is in this world of today. Mother tongue and a global language such as English must be given equal priority in our Education from day one for the sake of the child, the society and the world and for God's also as He would love the universal person, viswamanava, and the world as a unit of family,vasudaiva kutumbakam !

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ecstacy,Orgasm and Peak Experiences

Abraham Maslow,Psychologist,spoke of Peak Experience wherein the individual feels intense delight being in top of the world,loosing one's identity and merging with the Whole. This experience is more frequent during early childhood, he said,and gradually tappers off by the time he enters 9th year especially when sex typing by the society occurs. The experience is in fact similar to the mutually/simultaneously enjoyed sexual orgasm, "drug"/alcohol induced state and spiritual/Meditative experiences as well! It all points to show that there exist in the being a state- an altered state of consciousness, a fourth state(after waking,sleeping and dreaming) which is highly growth promoting and resulting in a different perception of self and the world ,a more holistic,realistic and all embracing view contributing to greater effectiveness.

Our Education must involve all these. Spirituality is too serious and mundane 'affair' to be left alone to religious people to develop!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sex Education in Indian Schools

Recently there was a big controversy in the public on the introduction of sex education in schools from 6th Standard onwards as per the directions of National Council of Educational Research and Training which is in turn acting on the advise of National Aids Control Organisation and WHO. The public outcry was mainly on the ground that it teaches only how to have safe sexual intercourse using condoms to avoid AIDS for 11year old children just prior to the attainment of their puberty. The presumption that Indian children start having sexual intercourse immediately after they attain puberty and it is alright if they do so by using condoms was indeed shocking to majority Indians ! " It is just not in our culture", they said.

There is a lot of cases of child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, ignorance and myths on sex among Indian youth.Sex education on sexual hygiene,sexual diseases and healthy sexual practices including the structure and functions of sexual organs are needed although the particular topics and methodology now introduced may be objectionable. Hence, the Government decision now to stop entirely sex education in schools may be equally objectionable.

Sex education need to go little deeper as well in the interest of better perspective on human sex on scientific grounds. Sex is not a biological instinct in human beings as hunger and thirst are, the survival is not engendered by lack of sexual activity. In the lower animals sex is determined by glandular secretion controlled by autonomic nervous system and is governed by specific seasons as well where as in human beings sex is triggered by sensory stimulation governed by voluntary nervous system and have no seasonal variations. In other words sex is in our control, we are not driven by biological urges. However,just because sex is not a biological instinct in humans it does not mean that it is a less of a force in determining behaviour as many psychological needs, such as need for power,may have much greater force in driving behaviour than even biological need. Further, sex is not merely sexual intercourse but many other activities also. In fact for Sigmund Freud sex is all those activities in which two or more people come in close physical contact such as mother and child and friends, a sort of physical intimacy. Freud also points out that it is not sexual organ alone which is erotic but many erogenous zones on the body as well such as lips, breasts, anus and skin. Psychological needs not satisfied may have devastating effect on ones growth as John Bowlby found that 'maternal deprivation' in the early formative years of the child would result in delinquent and criminal behavior later on. Harlow's experiment on monkeys/chimpanzees showed that reared in by the surrogate mother made up of hard wires produced antisocial behavior as compared to those reared with surrogate "soft"(made up of wools) mother although all other biological needs are met adequately for both the groups. More over sex is not a blind force in human beings as it has been found that it is triggered by voluntary attention to sensory stimuli as well as the fact that when engrossed in a deeply meaningful professional or other activities the interest and frequency of sexual activity decreases drastically in humans.

Sex also has spiritual dimensions in human beings. Mutually and simultaneously derived sexual orgasms in the couples give raise to an altered state of consciousness which is akin to the fourth state of consciousness albeit a brief and laboured one ! that is associated with deep meditation. The deep relaxation and a pleasant yet intense alertness has the capacity to bring fresh insight on ourselves and on life contributing to the growth.

Further, the positive sides of social customs and mores must be reckoned with for a better bonding with people around which offer sustenance to our very existence.

Sex education should involve all of these :the Body(structure and functions of sexual organs, sexual inter course, sexual hygiene and diseases,processes and practices), the Mind( intimacy, warmth and care) the Soul(altered-fourth-state of consciousness) and the society; physiological,psychological, sociocultural and the spiritual dimension of sexual behaviour in human beings.