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Namah Journal


Evolution Next — XI

Dr. Alok Pandey


Evolution is not a simple straight line nor is it exhausted with one brief life. If evolution is real then logically we have to bring in the idea of next life. This changes our entire perspective on child education and upbringing. We need to help them prepare for the future. This needs a new understanding and a new initiative.

If we take into consideration the Indian thought and experience on the doctrine of rebirth, then we have to concede that not only humanity in general but individual beings (souls) are becoming increasingly complex having gone through many lifetimes of evolution. There is more and more accumulated experience of the race as well as the individual preserved in some adytum or psychological recess of our being that we need to take into account. This memory preserved through lives may be a help or a hindrance in our evolution. It may serve as an evolutionary drag or may erupt suddenly as an evolutionary boost. Past habits come back to haunt us, phantoms of past deeds and now oblivious personalities return in new forms and bodies, waking in us tendencies and impulses that may be discomforting and even unnerving for our present formation. At the same time fruits of long labours may also return upon us enriching us with swift illumination or sudden disclosures. Either way, it may upset our present balance of life located in a certain context of our birth.

It also means that a child holds within itself a whole world of past experiences and future possibilities. The present is not an isolated bit and particle even though it seems to be so, but simply a wave, ascending or descending, ascending to descend and descending to ascend, and it must follow the curve of its growth. It changes the way we look at children. At present we deal with them all the same and prescribe and proscribe the same rules and use the same methods for each one in a bid to create a standard adult of our dreams. But dreams are dreams. Reality is much more complex. Our evolution is many-layered and spans many lives. These differences begin to show up as children grow and manifest what is concealed within them, both as unfinished, unresolved issues and tendencies of the past as well as seeds of the future, whose time has come and which are ready to sprout. While it may be difficult and challenging to tailor-make education for each child accommodating their uniqueness and differences, it may be disastrous to have a uniform and standardised system of schooling, worse still with an eye on producing adults as in a factory, into money- earning machines!

Perhaps we need to find a middle way. Those children who are still undergoing an evolution aligned to the evolution of the mass-consciousness may be kept in one section. Another section can be created wherein children of an exceptional kind, children who are showing signs of an individualisation and complexity, are educated in a different way. The latter should be allowed much more freedom to explore and experiment. The teacher here has to be prepared for out-of-the-box solutions, especially since it is quite possible that a child may have a greater evolutionary possibility and complexity, even be actually more evolved at one level than the teacher himself! This would naturally create an awkward situation; these children may be quite disobedient and disrespectful to their teachers, perhaps even revolt from the way things are since they belong to the future and feel it in their bones. We already observe this happening, since due to the evolutionary pressure and the accumulated experience over long spaces of time many human beings have developed a great degree of individuality that is showing up even in children to some extent. The children of today exercise their choices much earlier as if the age of adulthood is shifting backwards. All this is adding confusion for parents and teachers alike. The only remedy is for the parents and the teachers to themselves enter the fast-forward mode of evolution at every level. Thus, for example, it is not enough for parents and teachers to say that they do not understand technology or are wary of Facebook. This only leads to an increasing gap and does harm to the growing up children who do need some kind of guidance from elders.

However it may be good to remember that this guidance should be best confined to practical matters and the final choice left with the younger one, especially after a certain age. Children, though old souls many, are new entrants to the earth atmosphere when they come back. Between their previous life and this one, there is a lapse of time and also very often a change of space. They need to move with the times and understand the space they are born in. It is here that cultural values have an importance. Just as we need to know the rules of a country we also need to understand the unique ethos of a place where we live. Certain ways of life may work well in one country but not in others. However, there should be no indoctrination that this alone is good. Each country has its own ethos and it works well with them. If a child, after he has grown up is more comfortable with another culture he should be free to emigrate and reside in the country of his choice, provided he is accepted. It is unfortunate that temperament is not yet a criteria for immigration. But as humanity evolves and national boundaries get blurred, people (adults and who knows, even children once they are no more dependent) would be free to adopt another country without any hassle.

There is however one caveat here. Sometimes it is good to have the experience of the contrary for our growth. Living in very different surroundings and circumstances from the point of view of our temperament may be a catalyst for rapid growth. But still the final choice must be with the individual. It may be useful to remember, and children should be brought up in such a way, that we all have been citizens of many countries and climes. This is the best antidote to racism and a healthy attitude that would encourage global unity. Thus we will have two coordinates to navigate our life – one, local and regional; the other global and universal. The first one helps us to adapt to our immediate environment, absorb the best it has to offer and thereby make our birth in a certain country useful from an evolutionary perspective. The second attitude helps us not to be restricted and egoistically attached to our one way of life and helps us to adapt to the larger truth of differences between groups of humanity.

Finally it is important to inculcate in the child the sense of universality. The values of a nation and of other nations are important, but much more important is the value of being human and passing beyond humanity, the value of creation and all that exists here and elsewhere. This can only come if the child is encouraged to discover within him something that uses but is not tied to the circumstances of his birth and parentage. It is the essence of our humanity, the deep unchanging soul with its aspiration for truth and beauty and good. These are the universal values and if a child has them then he is as spiritual as anyone else. This flame for Truth and Light, this thirst for Beauty and Love, this seeking for the Good of all, is the deep spiritual sentiment that marks us as different from ordinary humans. If we have this then we have surpassed the need of formal religion or any structured framework of beliefs or narrow cult practices and fixed dogmas. Such a person will have gone beyond these preliminaries and is now an explorer of Infinity. He is on the Path of No-Path or to put it more positively, he carries the Path within him that is everywhere. He will be guided by the Universal Spirit, the Eternal Guide within and will be led towards his higher destiny. It is only if this has not been born that he needs contraptions and devices that we call as fixed and formal religion which are fast becoming dated, overthrown by the evolving spiritual impulse in man.

In fact we already see something of this happening, in an increasing number of children. If only we do not pull them back to the past and tie them to our dated mode of life. Only if we allow them space and time to grow in an atmosphere of love and freedom and light, without imposing anything, will they then blossom well and find their place in the total scheme of things. Only if we do not insist on our own way of life, but let the vast creative impulse of the Cosmic Spirit express Itself through them, will they then surely grow and get rid of all that has gathered around their feet as the dust of time that our evolutionary journey makes us prone to. More and more we are encountering such children who appear lost simply because they are ahead in the evolutionary march even though younger in age. One day they will make the idea of school redundant or trigger vast reforms in our entire education process right from the way we look at these forerunners of the future.

(To be continued)

Dr. Alok Pandey, an editor of NAMAH and member of SAIIIHR, is a doctor practising at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

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