By Periyava
Translation from Tamil: V. Krishnaraj
உண்மைக் கல்வி : தெய்வத்தின் குரல் (முதல் பகுதி)
True Learning: Deivathin Kural (Part One-65)

PERIYAVA: Jagadguru Sri Chadrasekharendra Saraswati Mahaswamiji (20 May 1894 - 8 January 1994)

The greater the peace in the mind, the greater is the happiness; that is the loftiest ideal of Puruṣārttam or the meaning of man. Greater the descent of peace, the greater is the ascent of hardship. When people attempt to diminish their hardship, they try to inflict hardship on others. The government takes legal action on those, inflicting hardship on the innocent victims, to establish peace and tranquillity. The genuine remediation is people should control the senses and turn their mind away from external happenings. Societal peace and internal tranquillity in our country from time immemorial are inculcated by the fruits of proper education.
The first aim of our country’s traditional education is to obtain mental peace. Nothing is wrong in the advances in physics research. It should be in line with the Path of Dharma, if you intend to establish the highest peace in the land and its people. Barring that, letting the senses go their ways despite scientific knowledge, will help increase problems, difficulties, and misguided thoughts.
True learning helps people attain Ātmajñāṉam and Amaratvam (Soul Knowledge and Liberation). Nothing is higher than that in this world and true education gives that. Arts and sciences have their use and give worldly benefits. They may even help attain Paramātmaṉ. Worldly benefit generally refers to accumulation of wealth, which is useful for many Dharmas including charity and philanthropy. Worldly Dharmas are of use to Brahma Jñāṉam. Ādhi Saṅkara declares Ātmajñāṉam is earned by performing one’s own hereditary vocations properly, austerity, prayer and worship.
The learning that provides and inculcates Soul Wisdom is Paravidya (Supreme Knowledge) and the rest is Aparavidya (Inferior or worldly Knowledge). Paravidya also known as Brahma Jñāṉam gives us direct benefits to know Supreme Satyam (Supreme Truth), incomprehensible to us. It lifts Ajñāna darkness (the darkness from absence of the Light of Higher Wisdom). Dharma Lakṣaṇa (Dharmic Attributes), inaccessible to sensory organs, are knowable only through Vedas and Smṛtis. For cultivation of Jñāṉam, besides perception, inference, technique…Vedas, experience…are the means to knowledge. This is the firm opinion of Saṅkara. The teaching of astronomy, political science, economy, history, science and the West’s investigative techniques, which demand intellect and exercise of the senses, are of help in the scientific advance of our country.
We must exercise caution and patience in the teaching of West’s Āstika (religious) education, the teaching techniques and their mixing (of the spiritual and the worldly). Our spiritual purity, mental purity, good conduct…should be integral with the education. All aspects of education that give easy pleasure to the organs and body should be removed from the curriculum. If we adopt the West’s dress code, public behavior, customs, food, and conversation, we will slowly and steadily lose the grip on our culture, moral fiber…, hurt our spiritual welfare and bring shame and destruction to Bharat, our Land of Great Merits.
Lately, In the Land of Bharat, the people from young age do not practice our native culture, traditions, customs, worship, concentration… They follow the customs and manners of the foreigners, besides learning science. It is crystal clear that it helps people enjoy the trivial pleasures but prevents the attainment of Supreme Bliss of the afterlife. Our primary duty to our children is to teach them to uphold and practice our traditional Dharma, conduct, devotion, spiritual knowledge…