They are advanced in so-called education, but they do not know what is "I." The everything, they are claiming, "my and mine," but they do not know what is "I."
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© 2004 - Hansadutta das
[Posted March 5, 2007]

The Beginning of Education: Don't Leave Religion Out

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Srila Prabhupada
Newsweek - March 12, 2007 - LISA MILLER Are Americans Ignorant About Religion? The Gospel of Prothero A Boston University professor argues that Americans, though 'spiritual,' are woefully ignorant about religion.

This month, HarperSanFrancisco will publish Prothero's new book "Religious Literacy," a work whose message is far more sober than its author's affect. In spite of the fact that more than 90 percent of Americans say they believe in God, only a tiny portion of them knows a thing about religion. When he began teaching college 17 years ago, Prothero writes, he discovered that few of his students could name the authors of the Christian Gospels. Fewer could name a single Hindu Scripture. Almost no one could name the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Prothero, who went to Yale in the early 1980s and speaks of his all-night bull sessions on politics and religion with reverence, realized that to re-create that climate in his classroom, his students first had to know something. And so he made it his job to (1) figure out what they didn't know and (2) teach it to them. He began giving religious literacy quizzes to his students, and, subsequently, to everyone he knew. Almost everybody failed.

...The book proposes a solution that is at once controversial and familiar: teach religion in public schools. Prothero believes that before graduation from high school, every American should take a Bible course and a world-religions course—dispassionate humanities courses whose purpose is not to catechize or evangelize but to educate. In colleges, he argues, we have science requirements, so why not religion? When Harvard decided recently not to make religion part of its core curriculum, "it missed an opportunity," he says.
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lecture at a primary school, Montreal, June 11, 1968

God consciousness neglected

Why Our Schools Don't Have a Prayer A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Student: Many people are frightened about the way the schools are failing apart ... students not even learning how to read and write, many turning to drugs and robbing and raping their teachers.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. What is the value of this kind of schooling?

Student: Not an awful lot.

Srila Prabhupada: It is all cheating. You have left God out. That is the height of cheating. So naturally the rest of your so-called schooling must also be cheating.

Suppose you are doing a mathematical calculation and you start by figuring, "2 + 2 = 3." After that you may use the most sophisticated techniques and formulas, but your whole calculation will be wrong. more

Prabhupada: So one intelligent boy should come forward. Who is intelligent, most intelligent boy? You come forward? Come on. Eh? Somebody come forward, some of the boys. Come on. You come on. No? All right. Very good. Stand up here. Can you say what is this? What is this?

Boy: Hand.

Prabhupada: Whose hand?

Boy: Your hand.

Prabhupada: Your hand. And what is this?

Boy: Your head.

Prabhupada: My head. Yes. And what is this?

Boy: Your knee.

Prabhupada: Yes. My leg. And what is this?

Boy: Your clothes.

Prabhupada: My cloth. Similarly, you have got your head, you have got your hand, you have got your leg, you have got your coat, you have got your pant, but do you know where you are?

Boy: I am here. [laughter]

Prabhupada: You are here, but that is your coat, that is your pant, that is your hand, that is your leg, that is your head. But where you are? It is your coat, it is your pant, it is your hand, it is your leg. Where you are? Do you know that? Can you say, any of the boys or girls here, where you are?

Boy: No.

Prabhupada: No? Oh. So you are not taught in this school where you are? Then what is that education? You do not know where you are.

Boy: I do know where I am. I'm in this school.

Prabhupada: You do not know, because as you say you are here, here your coat is there, your pant is there, your hand is there, your body is there, but you cannot explain where you are. All right. Sit down. I shall explain. [laughter] This is the defect of modern education. We are educated in a way in which we have misunderstood, "This is my body. This is my hand. This is my leg. This is my country. This is my mother. This is my father. This is my school." "This is my," I know. I have the concept of "my." But who is conceiving "my"? We have no information where it is. In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke [SB 10.84.13]. Under misconception we understand my body as myself. I say, "It is my body," but I misidentify my body with myself. Is it not? So the basic principle of mistake... Yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke. According to Vedic literature, this body is prepared in three elements: fire, water, and clay. So I am not the combination of fire, water, and clay. Then I am this house, I am this room. So yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke [SB 10.84.13]. So basic principle of my knowledge is false, that I am considering this material body as "I am." And if the basic principle is wrong, then, in relationship with this body, because I am born in this land of America... "I am born" means my body is born. Or because my body is born from another body, my father and mother, so I think that "This body is my kinsman, and this country is mine," and so on. But the basic principle is false, that "I am considering, falsely identifying myself with this body. But I am within this body." That is a fact.

And how can I understand how I am within this body? I can understand I am within this body by my feeling. If there is some pain or pleasure on my body, I can feel. I am conscious that I am there. In consciousness, I am there. And what is this consciousness? This consciousness is the reflection of real myself. Myself means soul. So as soon as the soul is within this body, there is perception of pains and pleasure, heat and cold, and so many things. That is consciousness. And as soon as the soul is out of this body, there is no more pain, pleasure, or heat and cold. A dead body, if you cut it into pieces, it will not protest. Therefore the soul, or consciousness, the symptom of soul, consciousness, is my self. My consciousness is the symptom of my real self. Similarly, there is another consciousness.

In the Bhagavad-gita there are description of two consciousness. Just like I am conscious throughout my body. If you pinch any part of my body, then I feel. That is my consciousness. So I am spread, my consciousness is spread, all over my body. This is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, avinashi tad viddhi yena sarvam idam tatam: "That consciousness which is spread all over this body, that is eternal." And antavanta ime deha nityasyoktah sharirinah: [Bg. 2.18] "But this body is antavat," means imperishable. "This body is perishable, but that consciousness is imperishable, eternal." And that consciousness, or the soul, is transmigrating from one body to another. Just like we are changing dress. I may have this dress. You may have another dress. I may exchange your dress with me. So this changing of dress going on every moment. How? Now, these children, they are now so small. When they'll become young, this body will grow. We do not know... We say, "It is growing," but growing or not growing, this body will not remain. This body will go; another body will come. Medical science also says that every second we are changing blood corpuscles, and therefore change in the body is going on. So you say or I say that "Body is growing," but in the Vedic language it is said that "Body is changing." Just like a child is born so small from the mother's womb, and it changes body every second. Then he becomes a young child or a boy, then young man, then old man like me, and so on. In this way this changing, body changing, is going on. And the final change is called death. Death means... Just like the too much old garments cannot be used, similarly, this body is the garment of the soul. When it is..., no longer can be used, we have to accept another body. This is called transmigration of the soul.

Now, consciousness, the symptom... The presentation of the soul within this body is proved by consciousness. So from Bhagavad-gita we can understand there are two different qualities of consciousness. One consciousness is that I know about the pain and pleasure of my body, you know about the pains and pleasures of your body, but I do not know the pains and pleasure of your body; neither you know the pains and pleasure of my body. Therefore each and every one of us is individual soul, and our consciousness is limited within the body. Similarly, there is another consciousness and another body. That body is universal body, and that consciousness is universal. That universal consciousness knows your pains and pleasure, my pains and pleasure, and millions and trillions of living entities and bodies. He knows the pains and pleasures of everyone. These are the statements in the Bhagavad-gita. Kshetrajñam cha mam viddhi sarva-kshetreshu bharata: "As individual soul is conscious, is, only of his body, similarly, I am also conscious of everyone's body." The Supreme Personality of Godhead says that "I am conscious of everyone's body," because He is all-pervading. He is all-pervading. That is all-pervading consciousness. So this all-pervading consciousness, or Krishna consciousness, we are preaching, consciousness, all-pervading consciousness, universal consciousness. So our consciousness, when it is dovetailed with universal consciousness, them our consciousness also becomes universal consciousness. What is that? I will give you one example. Just like a motorcar is running at hundred miles speed, and you are running on your cycle at ten miles speed. But if you catch that motorcar, you will also run in hundred miles speed. Although your capacity of bicycle is only ten miles speed, you also run at hundred miles speed. So unless we dovetail our activities with the supreme consciousness, or God consciousness, there cannot be equality, fraternity, or universality as we are hankering after. It is not possible. You can go on crying in the wilderness for universal fraternity, friendship, equality, but if you keep your individuality, individual consciousness, selfish consciousness, there is no possibility of peace or tranquillity in the world. Therefore people are very much anxious at the present moment for peace and tranquillity over the world, but they do not know how that peace can be attained. Peace can be attained. The formula is there in the Bhagavad-gita. Bhoktaram yajña-tapasam sarva-loka-maheshvaram [Bg. 5.29]. You can attain peace only when you understand that God is the proprietor of everything.

Actually, God is proprietor of everything. Now, take for example this house. This house is made of wood, stone, clay, sand, and everything, materials. But who is the proprietor of this wood, sand, clay? God is the proprietor. You cannot produce wood. You cannot produce sand. You cannot produce clay. You can simply work as a laborer to bring the clay, to bring the wood, to bring the stone and collect them and stand, make, construct a very big skyscraper house. But actually, the proprietor is God. This land, this land, America, it was lying before you came from Europe, before you colonized. And it may be, some days after, it will be lying here, and you shall have to go. Therefore who is the proprietor of this land? God is the proprietor. In this way, if we study that "Everything belongs to God. I also belong to God, my self, my body, my mind, my activity, my energy, everything..." Just take for example. I am claiming that "This is my hand," but if God withdraws the energy of the hand, your claim for "my hand" at once goes. So we have to develop that God consciousness and Krishna consciousness. When we speak of Krishna consciousness, it is God consciousness. People have become degenerated, forgetting God consciousness. Therefore in the present world there is no peace. Materially, they are very much advanced. They are advanced in so-called education, but they do not know what is "I." The everything, they are claiming, "my and mine," but they do not know what is "I."

So this consciousness, Krishna consciousness, is scientifically presented. It is not a sentiment. It is not a sentimental movement. It is very scientific movement. And the easiest process to come to this Krishna consciousness is by chanting this Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So we are presenting very easy formula for coming to the Krishna consciousness platform. Just a moment before, we were dancing and chanting equally, the boys, the girls, the men, the women. So there is no distinction. Even if we do not understand the language, what is the meaning of Hare Krishna, but because it is transcendental, because it is spiritual, from the spiritual platform, everything is equal. We forget that we are American, or we are Indian, we are child, we are youth, or man, or woman, because in the spiritual platform there is no such bodily distinction. So our request to all the guardians of the boys and girls present here, or the teachers, that they should teach from the very beginning this Krishna consciousness, or God consciousness. Otherwise the future of the world is not very bright. It is recommended in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. We are having our class in our temple: the instruction of Prahlada Maharaja. Prahlada Maharaja was a five-years-old boy, and he was agitating this Krishna conscious movement in his school. The schoolteacher would not allow him to speak about God, but as soon as there was some recess and the child, the boy, five-years-old boy, he would take the opportunity, call his friends and speak on Krishna consciousness. And he said, kaumara acharet prajño dharman bhagavatan iha [SB 7.6.1]. The Krishna consciousness, or God consciousness, should be taught from the very beginning of education. This is the greatest drawback of modern education, that not only in your country or any country they have completely neglected what is meant by God. And in India, they are especially... Now, as soon as there is any question of God, they see phobia: "Oh, this is all nonsense." They have become so clever.

So anyway, my appeal to you, American people, that you are considered to be the leader of all nations of the world. You should take this Krishna conscious movement very seriously. It is good for you. It is good for the whole world. It is individually, collectively, without any consideration of caste, creed, or color. Everyone can chant Hare Krishna, anyone and everyone, at home, on the street. There is no expenditure. Suppose while walking if you chant Hare Krishna, there is no loss, there is no expenditure, but you see how much you are profited by chanting Hare Krishna. This is practical. We don't say that "You come to our temple and give us some subscription. Become our member." That is a secondary question. Our primary movement is that everyone may take advantage of this movement and simply chant wherever possible, at home, at work, on the street, anywhere. There is no regulation where you have to chant and how you have to chant. It is spontaneous. Simply chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. There are only three words there: Hare, Krishna, and Rama, but they are adjusted in a different position. There are sixteen words. So it is not very difficult. You can make an experiment. The children also may take pleasure. We have got our records. If you play those records and chant with it, you will find a transcendental pleasure in you. These are facts. So our request to you, that you take this movement a little seriously, and you will be happy by grace of Krishna.

The Beginning of Education: Don't Leave Religion Out/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY
©2007 - Hansadutta das
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