Acharya Tulsi - Fifty Years Of Selfless Dedication: Jeevan Vigyan (The Science of Living) What? and Why?

Published: 05.10.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015

Man has been progressively developing ever since the earliest times. There are three developmental dispositions in him: jigyasa (desire to know, inquire, investigate), bubhusha (desire to be or become anything), and chikirsha (desire to make or do or perform).

Man has jigyasa. At all times he wants to discover new facts.

He has bubhusha. He wants to become something. He wants to change himself He does not want to remain as he is

He has chikirsha. He wants to do something.

Man wants to remake himself, wants to become something and wants to do something These three dispositions have helped the various stages of development. Today development has reached a very high stage, for which education has been chiefly instrumental.

Education has been the chief determinant of all development. The basic meaning of education is practice. Nowadays we have forgotten this meaning. Today by education we mean studying. Now practice is of two kinds: that meant for acquiring and that meant for properly using. One has to first acquire or know and then put it to proper use or experimentation. Education in the past consisted of these two stages, first acquiring and then using. Acquiring or knowing is also education but it is not the whole of education. Putting to proper use what one has acquired or learnt is an important part of education. These sequential stages are as true of religious education as of mental education.

Today religion is repeatedly faced with the question: Why is it not being effective?

A man went to a hermit and asked him, 'why is religion so ineffective these days?'

The hermit asked: How far is the king's palace from here?

The man replied: Two hundred miles. Do you know it?

Yes, I do.

Have you actually got there?

How could I? I am right here. I can't get there unless I go there.

At this the hermit said: Now you've got the answer to your question. You know the king's palace, but you can't get there unless you proceed in its direction. The same is true of religion also. People do know what religion is but unless they act according to its precepts - unless they advance towards it - religion will have no effect on them.

There is an analogous story of great significance. A disciple went to his guru and said: ‘Gurudev! Since time immemorial people have been trying to know why religion proves ineffective. The same question is troubling my mind today.'

The guru knew the trends of the times. He said, 'My son, go and bring a pitcher full of liquor.'

The disciple was amazed to hear the word 'liquor.' He wondered what sort of demand it was. The guru and liquor! He was nonplussed.

The guru repeated himself: 'What's the matter? Go and bring a pitcher full of liquor.'

The disciple went away and returned with a pitcher brimming over with liquor. Placing it before the guru he said: 'I've obeyed your order.'

The guru remarked: 'Drink the whole of it.'

The disciple was further amazed.

The guru said: 'Be careful. You have to take the liquor but without swallowing it you have to spit it out.'

The disciple began the exercise. He would take a mouthful of liquor and would at once spit it out. It did not take long for the pitcher to be empty. He went to the guru and informed him: 'Gurudev, the whole pitcher has been emptied.'

Did you get drunk or not? Not in the least, Gurudev.

You say you have emptied a whole pitcher full of liquor and still you are not drunk.

Gurudev, I would have got drunk only if I had swallowed the liquor. How could I be drunk when not a drop went down the throat?

You have yourself answered the question asked earlier by you.

I don't understand how.

Look. People practising religion never internalize it. They do it most superficially. In a manner of speaking, they never take it down their throats but just spit it out. How can then religion have any effect on them? How can it 'intoxicate' them?

Education is proving ineffective these days as its process remains incomplete. The full process requires that one acquires it first and then puts it to use, tries it out in life. Know and experiment. But today the latter part -  using, experimenting - has been all but forgotten.

Patanjali was asked: 'How can one control one's mind?'

He replied: 'In two ways: Practice and freedom from all worldly desires.'

Likewise Arjun asked Lord Krishna: 'How can the mind be controlled?'

Lord Krishna gave the same answer and said: 'Parth, the mind can be controlled by practice and freedom from all worldly desires.'

In the present we have given up practice-oriented education and have retained education confined merely to acquiring knowledge. This has lamed it and therefore it is not yielding the desired results. As we have seen, all the three dispositions of man - jigyasa, bubhusha and chikirsha - are mediated and helped by education. In other words the skill of doing something, the courage to change and become something and the ability to know or acquire something are all the gifts of education. We should also know the respective scope of jigyasa, bubhusha and chikirsha. The temporal and spatial contexts of these are also worthy of consideration, since no thorough investigation of anything is possible in the absence of their knowledge.

There are four dimensions of education: bodily development, mental development, intellectual development and emotional development. Between them these four encompass everything relating to the individual's development. In this context let us now consider the present education - its successive stages and its methodology. It does not sound appropriate to call the present education system faulty. Anything operational is successful. If we want to examine the good and bad points of a thing, we have to think of its results and achievements. Looking to the results of modern education, it cannot be said that it is useless. The results we are getting are related to the type of education being given. It is producing good doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers - all of them experts in their respective fields. How can we then say that the education system is wrong or faulty? When its achievements are commendable, how can we say that the education system is not good? This raises the question: What after all is its problem?

Our system of education is not a balanced one In a balanced system of education all

the four dimensions of the personality develop in a balanced manner. The body, the mind, the intellect and the emotions have all to be developed. Modern education stresses only two of these four dimensions, the physical and the intellectual. The other two are neglected. As a result while there has been a considerable development of the body and the intellect, mental and emotional development has been lagging behind. It has created an imbalance Let us have a look at the achievements of this unbalanced system of education.

Today the educational institutions are facing many problems, which are far more in the case of colleges and universities than in that of primary schools. The problems grow intolerable with the increase in intellectual development. How can we under these circumstances expect the students to be disciplined? Educational institutions, the family, society and the country all expect that the students should be disciplined and that they should have a good character. We want education to develop character, discipline, restraint and toleration. Somehow this is not happening. What we are witnessing is the occurrence of vandalism, violent agitations and arrogance. The reason is obvious. Modern education has nothing to offer for the students' mental and emotional development. Our schools are full of teachers of physical exercises and yogic postures as well as of those who dole out enormous quantities of materials for intellectual development, but they have hardly anyone who can take care of the students' mental and emotional development. The Government is not in the least worried about it, nor does the present system of education offer any method for solving the problem. We want to reap the fruits without sowing the seeds and blame the system of education for everything How surprising! It is a clear indication of topsyturviness.

What is happening today is that desirous of seeing due importance given to the building of character and to discipline, but finding both neglected in practice, man feels relieved by

laying all the blame on the system of education. He forgets that it is in vain to seek the effect when the cause is absent.

The Science of Living visualizes a balanced system of education. In fact Science of Living and balanced system of education axe being used synonymously. And the word 'balanced' implies equal importance given to bodily and intellectual development on the one hand and to mental and emotional development on the other. It alone can make education balanced.

What are the facts involved in a balanced education?

The first fact is a balanced vital force (pran dhara). The development and balance of the vital force is essential for mental and emotional development. It courses through two vessels - ida (a tubular vessel - one of the principal channels of the vital spirit, that which is on the right side of the body) and pingala (the right of 3 tubular vessles which are the chief passages of breath and air). These names belong to ancient Yoga philosophy. In modern physiological terms they are called Para-sympathetic Nervous System and Sympathetic Nervous System respectively. Unless these two flows of the vital breath (pran) axe balanced, we cannot realize the ideal of the type of student we cherish. If the right course of the vital breath is hyperactive, the tendency to indulge in insolent and irresponsible behaviour as well as in violence and vandalism is roused. If, on the other hand, the left course of the vital breath is hyperactive, the individual suffers from inferiority, fear and weakness. A balance between the two courses is vital for a balanced development of personality.

Modern medical science has established the truth that it is the left lobe of the human brain that is connected with all learning activity. Logic, mathematics and language are all related to the left lobe. Though scientists do not yet know everything about the human brain, it has been proved that whereas the left lobe is responsible for the development of the intellect and of knowledge, it is the right lobe

that determines spirituality, inner consciousness and all mental attitudes.

The modern malady lies in a disproportionate growth of the left lobe at the cost of its right counterpart. Over-development of one and retardation of another has created a serious imbalance.

The second fact involved in the Science of Living is the establishment of a biological balance.

The third is creating faith in one's own competence. Man is unaware of his potentialities. From the point of view of philosophy infinite knowledge, power and joy inhere in man. Modern science reiterates the same hoary truth.

Some time back a technique of super-learning was developed by Dr. Lopnov. It is based on the same principle of man's limitless capacity to learn. By applying it he made a pupil learn thousands of words even though at first the latter was reluctant to learn even five to ten words.

Science has proved that of his infinite potentialities man hardly uses five to seven per cent. He who begins to use ten per cent of it becomes great.

Through the Science of Living students have got to be made aware of their limitless competence and they have to be further made to believe that it lies in their power to activate it.

Creating faith is a great achievement. The great historian Toynbee says that we face two questions concerning faith and bread. Faith without bread and bread without faith can both prove dangerous for us. We need both bread and faith. Again a balanced outlook is called for.

The fourth fact involved in the Science of Living is refinement, which has three forms: refinement of outlook, behaviour and feelings. Nations have risen and fallen according as these three refinements have been present or absent Right outlook, right behaviour and right feelings are basic to all progress

The Science of Living will have it as one of its important functions to effect these refinements in the students.

Here it will not be out of place to ask: What causes our outlook, behaviour and feelings to be vitiated? For this it is necessary to know who or what is their controller. Scientific investigations have revealed that they are controlled by the hypothalamus and the endocrine glands, specifically the pineal and the pituitary glands and the adrenal gland affected by these two. We have to concentrate on the hypothalamus first, which will refine the secretions of the endocrine glands and this in turn will refine our outlook, behaviour and feelings.

It is true that man's outlook, behaviour and feelings are affected by outer circumstances also, but their influence is secondary to that of the secretions of the endocrine glands. While circumstances can be regarded as the instrumental cause, the secretions can be regarded as the material cause. The latter is more important than the former. An analogy might help. In the case of an earthen pitcher, clay is the material cause and the potter and the wheel constitute the instrumental cause. While the latter is important, the former is much more so at the time the pitcher is being made.

To effect refinement is one of the functions of the Science of Living. We must be convinced that it is desirable. We seep, progression everywhere in the world. If we observe any stage of change, we will notice progression there. On this basis we can talk of the 'final' stage. There can be nothing final where there is no progression. Indian philosophy has reflected on every element in the context of progression.

In every field we can observe different kinds of progression. We have to seize the point where refinement can be effective. When a child first joins school he brings with him a certain state of progression. Education should bring about refinement in him. It is not our contention that Preksha Meditation alone can bring it about. What we are stressing is the need for effecting refinement.

When the human mind feels the need for refinement it itself is the outcome of the process of refinement. In this sense the system of education must give utmost importance to the refinement of the students' minds.

Viewed thus the Science of Living means effecting refinement.

We have presented four aspects of the Science of Living:

  1. The balance of the vital force
  2. Establishment of biological balance
  3. Rousing faith in the individual's potentialities
  4. Refinement

All this will yield results of four kinds:

  1. Bodily development
  2. Intellectual development
  3. Mental development
  4. Emotional development


They never fail who die

In a great cause: the block may soak their gore;

Their heads may sodden in the sun; their limbs

Be strung to tity gates and castle walls - 

But still their spirit walks abroad.


A fool often fails because he thinks what is difficult is easy, and a wise man because he thinks what is easy is difficult.


In the lexicon of youth, which Fate reserves

For a bright manhood, there is no such word

As - fail!... Never say "Fail" again


Acharya Tulsi - Fifty Years Of Selfless Dedication
Jain Vishva Bharati Ladnun
Shrichand Bengani


R.P. Bhatnagar


● S.L. Gandhi
● Rajul Bhargava, Department of English, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
● Ashok K. Jha, Department of English, LBS College, Jaipur

First Edition, 1985-2000

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Adrenal Gland
  2. Body
  3. Brain
  4. Consciousness
  5. Discipline
  6. Fear
  7. Guru
  8. Gurudev
  9. Hypothalamus
  10. Ida
  11. Krishna
  12. Meditation
  13. Patanjali
  14. Pingala
  15. Pituitary Glands
  16. Pran
  17. Preksha
  18. Preksha Meditation
  19. Science
  20. Science Of Living
  21. Violence
  22. Yoga
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