About Moral Education

temple devotees

 

The scriptures of Sanatana Dharma abound with moral teachings.

Ramayana teaches us great principles like:

  • Truth is at the foundation of the world.
  • Importance of duty.
  • Importance of unity.
  • Importance of righteous living.
  • All are equal.
  • Importance of humility.
  • Importance of whom you keep company with.
  • The danger of bad advice.

Mahabharata is a ready reckoner and encyclopedia of moral teachings.

Not only scriptures in Sankrit, but books, and teachings of Saints in vernacular languages also focus on morality and virtuous living.

Some examples are Tirukkural of Tiruvalluvar, works of Namdev, works of Tukkaram, and teachings of Sant Ramdas.

These lofty principles were taught to children in the form of stories and even games.

In English, we learn the alphabet using “A for apple, B for ball”.

In Tamil Nadu, children used to learn the Tamil alphabet using a set of precepts called Aathichoodi written by Saint Avaiyar.

The 13 vowels were learned from:

  1. அ - அறம் செய்ய விரும்பு - Always wish to do good deeds.
  2. ஆ - ஆறுவது சினம் - Anger always subsides.
  3. இ - இயல்வது கரவேல் - Help others as much as possible.
  4. ஈ- ஈவது விலக்கேல் - Don’t stay away from charity.
  5. உ - உடையது விளம்பேல் - Do not boast about your possessions and skills..
  6. ஊ- ஊக்கமது கைவிடேல் - Never lose hope.
  7. எ- எண் எழுத்து இகழேல் - Do not hate numbers (maths, etc.)
  8. ஏ- ஏற்பது இகழ்ச்சி - Do not beg.
  9. ஐ - ஐயமிட்டு உண் - Eat only after you feed someone.
  10. ஒ - ஒப்புரவு ஒழுகு - Change according to the world.
  11. ஓ - ஓதுவது ஒழியேல் - Keep learning.
  12. ஒள - ஒளவியம் பேசேல் - Do not talk bad about others.
  13. ஃ - அஃகம் சுருக்கேல் - Do not obstruct progress.

Similarly for other alphabets also.

We should remember that such teachings stay for a lifetime.

An officer of the British Educational Service in India wrote that those who underwent the traditional system of education felt the presence of a living God and maintained high moral standards.

A proverb said: With the study of English, humane qualities disappear.

What is the situation today?

Religion is going one way; morality is going another way.

In ancient India, moral living was an essential part of religion.

Spiritual progress was only for those with a pure heart and principled living.

A Guru would impart knowledge to a disciple only after testing and ascertaining his moral strength.

Even when teaching a simple stotra, there were injunctions.

निन्दकाय कुशिष्याय खलाय कुटिलाय च ॥ 

दुष्टाय परशिष्याय घातकाय शठाय च ।

वञ्चकाय वरघ्नाय ब्राह्मणीगमनाय च ॥

अशक्ताय च क्रूराय गुरूद्रोहरताय च ।

न दातव्यं न दातव्यं न दातव्यं कदाचन ॥ ९॥

Meaning - do not teach this to those who talk ill of others, cruel, crooked, those who harm others, wicked-minded, those who break promises, those who engage in illicit relations, etc.

Today, God has become someone who protects you from troubles.

God is someone you should pray to for health, wealth, job, success in examination, good spouse, children, etc.

We have forgotten that we are obliged to live life as God teaches us via the medium of the scriptures.

God will protect and help only those who live righteously.

What needs to be done

Temples have become the nerve centers of Sanatana Dharma.

A vast majority of Hindus depend on temples for their connect with the religion.

But the activities at most temples are confined to rituals and prayers.

An initiative to impart moral education both for children and adults should be started at the temple level everywhere.

This should be at an international level with a well-designed multi-level curriculum.

This will definitely contribute towards improving the quality of life and happiness in the society and also retain the status of India as Jagatguru.



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