Invitation To Health ► Health Of Thought ► 06 ►Value Of Literacy

Posted: 16.03.2017

Value Of Literacy

Is there any bond between lack of education and poverty? Many poor people are uneducated. From this it can be concluded that the cause of their poverty is lack of education. Educated poor are also not less in number, and therefore this fact gets reversed. There are countless forms of education. Professional education cannot be measured through the weight of arts, science, and literature. In human brain, there are innumerable apartments. There are numerous functions conducted by them. For all these there cannot be one universal rule.


Let one-sided opinion shatter

In India now there is literacy movement going on. There is a worry that if people are not made literate rapidly India may be on the top of illiterate countries. It seems that literacy is regarded as the criterion of development. Ignorance is surely darkness. In it an individual cannot find/realize himself/ herself nor can find others. Knowledge is essential and there can be no alternative to this; there can be no two opinions. The first step of knowledge is learning letters. Knowledge of letters alone is knowledge if this lopsided opinion breaks down then the literacy movement can become quite meaningful. Education, understanding, thinking power, and discriminative intelligence—ignoring these literacies cannot be given merit. If literacy movement gets combined with character development, then in true sense it can be given merit.


Literacy and conduct

Today's question is—an educated person is engaged in bank robbery, displaying his/her skill in theft, takes wine, uses intoxicant stuff and an illiterate person is free from all these vices. Is literacy a boon for him? Is illiteracy a curse for others? This question has not arisen from right type of thinking. Character is not related to literacy or illiteracy. It is related with awakening of internal consciousness. Literacy is related with civilization, culture and material development. The capacity to understand facts is also associated with literacy.

The first sojourn in the journey of truth is literacy. For the development of conduct awareness of conducive and detrimental, well-being and ill-being is necessary. How will it be without knowledge? Ayurveda is a discipline (śāstra) to make us aware of benefits and harm or good health and ill-health. Such a 'discipline' is verbalized in language. One who has no knowledge of letters for him what will be the value of 'discipline'. If there are no eyes, then what will be the value of mirror. We cannot think of entering inside by keeping the first door closed. Even though the sources of literacy and conduct are different, their division cannot be thought of. It will be proper to weigh them together by putting both on the two scales of the same weighing machine.


Both are relative

The problem of poverty is biggest problem of India. In many countries of the world with some difference of degree this problem exists. Its cause is not lack of education alone or defect in system alone. There is a circle of causes. There should be no difficulty in accepting that lack of education is a major cause. In this context, the worry of India is understandable that it is necessary to have cessation of illiteracy. 'If the entire country is literate (educated) and all people have the capacity to read and write then the background for development can be prepared. Conduct can be given primacy. The voice of 'Acāraḥ prathamo dharmaḥ' (Conduct is the first moral observance) needs to be pronounced. From this the attitude of evaluation of conduct emanates. There is no information about its source of origin. From the point of view of origin knowledge has primacy. "Jñānam prathamo dharmaḥ" (Knowledge is the first moral observance) without evaluating this "Acāraḥ prathamo dharmaḥ" (Conduct is the first moral observance) This maxim cannot be evaluated. In fact, we people are more lopsided. We provide absolute value to something which is relative. Knowledge and conduct both are relative. Without knowledge conduct has a little value and without conduct knowledge also has a little value. The combination of the two alone can be given full value.


Literacy: first step

The inner realization (or insight) is not related with literacy. Its source is within human being. Some illiterate persons are more intelligent, more discriminative and more moral than literate persons. The light of inner realization does not get manifested in all. Literacy is an ordinary process. Inner realization is not an ordinary process. It is a personal accomplishment. We can employ ordinary process. A literate person reads something. Reading something means—he grasps the thoughts of others, in the light of others' experiences enhances one's own stock of knowledge. One who does not know reading, before him there is no royal road to new knowledge, only foot paths and they are very narrow. What shall be the life of a person, who does not read something new every day, does not get new knowledge. In the absence of education there is possibility not only of economic poverty but also poverty of thought. Literacy is not the development of education but it is its first step. In its absence, how shall there will be marching ahead. Therefore, to march towards literacy is a necessary motivation for national development. Will the voice of this motive remain unspoken and unheard?

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Title: Invitation To Health
Author: Acharya Mahaprajna
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013