‘Hurt only attracts hurt, so we heal the root'
Sri Acharya Samadarshiniji is a senior disciple of Sri Bhagavan and Amma, the founders of Oneness University, a center for human transformation based outside Chennai. Acharya Samadarshiniji tells Roana Costa that while other universities teach you to survive, the Oneness University teaches you to live.
Q. How is the Oneness University different from other universities?
A. The Oneness University is a university for universities. It is a place where students the world over, young and old, come to learn life. In conventional schools you learn to survive, at Oneness University you learn to live. Education as it is today is destroying the child. It equips one with enough information to earn a qualification but doesn't instill the passion to learn. Most engineers don't know the actual of learning, they know enough to write a question-and-answer examination. This is reflected in the architecture of the houses in Mumbai. They are painful to look at since they have no sense of beauty or creativity. Education today lacks feeling.
Q. How would you define education?
A. The word education comes from the word educate, which means to bring forth what is already within. The ultimate purpose of education is to bring out the potential within. In the process of learning, we become competitive and so comparison enters. I believe that people at any age should be able to learn. The child should be exposed to some of the greatest minds and not teachers who mouth texts. Subjects like history become interesting when a teacher delves into the mind of humanity and talk about great ideas rather than just wars of the past. Subjects like maths can be made fascinating if a great mind converts it into images. If we can achieve this,education will go along way. We should record great minds and have video sessions. However, I am not saying that we should dispense with teachers.
Q. What do teachers need to bring into the classroom?
A. For most teachers teaching is just a job and not a passion. In a way you can't blame them because their salaries aren't a lot. Since they are busy trying to survive they can't concentrate on bringing out the best in a student. Our system is fundamentally flawed. Teachers need to be trained, and at Oneness we have programmers for teachers. We address them as individuals and awaken the responsibility in them. We show
them how to enter the world of a student and make them realize that all students aren't the same.
Q. Most schools have a subject called Moral Science. What are your views on this?
A. When I was in class three, we were told to relate one act of goodness that we did every day. This exercise didn't educate us, as most of us ended up lying in moral science. My teacher never communicated feeling, as she herself didn't learn the lessons on compassion. Students need to have video sessions on people who have struggled to show how goodness was born in them.
Q. How do you teach people living at Oneness University?
A. We conduct programmes for corporates and seekers from all over the world. We take people through processes just like a caterpillar goes through a process to become a butterfly. At Oneness we take people through a process to heal the pain and show them how to deal with it. Hurts in relationships have repetitive patterns as they settle in the unconscious. Hurt attracts the hurts. At Oneness we heal the hurt at the unconscious level and heal the root. For example if a person has a bad relationship with his or her mother, then he or she will have problems with women. The world is full of troubled people-you can't spread a carpet, but one can wear slippers.
Q. Do you think holistic education could prevent terrorism?
A. Terrorism can be prevented. It occurs because of poverty,lack of formal education, hurt from society that is discrimination on the basis of caste and religion,hurt by life which one can't deal with, and lack of vision for life. We have worked on 900 young people from AP between 16 and 30 years and prevented them from becoming Naxals. IAS officers brought them to us. For terrorism to stop, we need education to spread and increase opportunities of learning.
Q. What causes anger inside people?
A. Anger comes from internal struggle and that manifests as anger against other people. If you try to forget anger, it comes out at the slightest provocation. The core issue that needs to be addressed is non-acceptance or inadequacy. Aggression that comes from non-acceptance is painful as it is rebellion and not an honest need to grow. Happiness is acceptance in oneself and when you can make a difference to someone Else's life. Happiness comes when you serve someone, whereas pleasure comes from serving oneself.
FOR A CAUSE: Sri Acharya Samadarshiniji