In the previous episode, we had witnessed Vidura’s important point of discussion wherein he says that “Luxury” and “Education” can never go together. In other words, he asserts that if a person scores high on his education and if he is striving to excel more and more in it, he should be able to and be prepared to sacrifice his luxuries and other forms of pleasures. This is because, if the mind is getting carried away with the worldly luxuries, it would find its “sweet spot” in it, and would not co-operate when it comes to knowledge improvement and learning something new. Even today, it is a proven practice that if we’re striving hard to improve our educational qualifications, we’ve to “sacrifice” and “let go” of many things in life.
In ancient days, there was a practice called “Gurukula”, wherein the student goes to the place of his teacher for a period of 12 to 14 years, experience a hardship-filled life and learn his lessons with it. He is not going to get even good food to eat. Normally, the food that is served to these students at the place of the teacher is not of a high quality standard. For instance, when we consume food everyday, many of us have the practice of adding one or two spoons of ghee to it. Usually, consuming ghee with food is considered to be of a higher standard, however we cannot expect this in a “Gurukula”. Normally, instead of ghee, food is served only with oil, which is considered to be a tad inferior. If, as a student we would question why are we given oil instead of ghee, the immediate reaction from the teacher is to throw us out of the “Gurukula”. This might sound harsh to many people, but the real point behind this is that, if we’re starting to give importance to our taste and are craving for good food, it means that our mind is no longer prepared to learn something new. If our mind starts to focus on the food and its taste, it gets shut for learning! This is the reason why ancient “Gurukulas” gave more importance to the learning part, rather than other physical requirements like food, clothing, shelter, etc. If we look at the facilities that a “Gurukula” offers, everything would be a bare minimal – Right from food (as mentioned above), to shelter, to clothing and other forms of basic requirements of a human being.
Even today in the present scenario, many of us would have observed that those people who succeed in their academic education would primarily be from poor families, who struggle to meet their three meal requirement per day! For instance, if we look at the people who come out as state / national toppers in the 10’th and 12’th board exams today, many would be from very ordinary or poor families. When media people go and take interviews from these successful children, they would recall the amount of challenges they face at home, without food, without proper electricity, without proper infrastructure to study, etc. and such people would know the value of obtaining good education and high marks in the exams! Even normal children, when they study for board exams, we would be able to witness that they would sacrifice their sleep, burn the midnight oil and study with all the seriousness, so as to score good marks. This is how the practice is, even in today’s world too.
One big example is our own former president of India – Dr. Abdul Kalam. When he was a child, it was a known fact, he was brought up in a remote town called Rameshwaram in south Tamil Nadu, wherein he did not even have a electric light at his house to do his studies. He did most of his studies under the street light and to make a living, he used to sell newspapers to local residents and make money with it. Such was the level of poverty during those days and Dr. Kalam was able to come over all this, and be successful in his education! In fact, he was so much revered as the “People’s President” in India only because of the struggles he had faced all through his life and the way he had mitigated all of them and come out with flying colours!
Thus the message from this episode is that, if we’ve to excel in our academic education and professional life, we’ve to at some point in time, sacrifice on our luxuries and pleasures. If our mind is going into the worldly pleasures and starts to go behind luxuries, it is going to become very difficult to focus our concentration on education. This is exactly what Vidura is saying here too. If we’ve to become successful in whatever we’re doing, we need to compromise on our comforts and luxuries, so as to achieve what we need to!
So for today, let us think over this important point and we shall wait till the next episode to witness Vidura’s next point. Stay tuned! 😊