As school terms begin, students, schools, parents and teachers face the education grind once again. Last year, over 9000 students committed suicide unable to bear the burden of expectations of parents, teachers, society, and even themselves. Here’s Sadhguru’s message, spoken during a Times of India interview on International Day of Yoga. He appeals to parents, teachers and children to invest 30 minutes every day in doing yoga for a harmonious body and balanced mind.
Sadhguru: Most of the decisions you make come from a place of fear. You fear that if your children don't get the best education, they will end up on the streets. As a parent myself, I know your concern is valid. After all, as a society we still don't have a safety net that ensures that nobody will get crushed in life. But understand that things are better today than they were 20 years ago. As an economy, we are growing at 8-10 per cent. This means, all your concerns about how to earn a living will come down. How to make a life is what you need to look at. And nobody can make a life out of the activity he does unless he can put his heart and soul into it. So, it's important the child chooses what he or she wants to do; never mind how hopeless it looks economically.
You say you are friends with your children. But if your friendship is a trick to get what you want, then you are a bad friend. If you are a genuine friend, you'd see what needs to be done to enhance your child's life. You'd pay attention. If you really pay attention to how your child sits, stands, thinks, responds to situations, you'd know what he or she needs. Right now though, all you have is a readymade formula – MBBS, engineering! You are applying this formula forcefully to a life, even without knowing if that is what this life really needs.
Try this: Let your child invest 30 minutes a day in yoga. Yoga is a tool that will help one do better in the education race as well. It brings inner balance, sharper intellect, better focus. The University of California has done studies on those who did the Shambhavi Mahamudra (a powerful kriya) and found that in three months, neuronal regeneration in the brain is 241% higher than normal. So, it's scientifically proven that doing a little yoga will make your child more intelligent and balanced; they won't be distracted by this and that; they will manage their hormones better. Invest 30 minutes a day, and in six months of practice, the child would have gained at least 2-2.5 hours extra in a day and in one year of practice, you would have gained four five hours extra in a day, simply because you do things more efficiently. And while you are at it, try some yoga yourself. It will help you drop your anxiety and get rid of parental peer pressure.
We should make a world where every child can strive for his full potential without wanting to kill himself. That takes a certain amount of dedication. It won't happen by just paying school fees. Let's work towards making that world possible.
Can I begin by telling you a truth? You are romanticizing your problem a little too much. You have no idea what struggle your parents are going through. The circus they have to do to provide for you, to keep your life going, to make it all happen, you cannot even imagine that! In spite of all that, they are trying to be nice to you.
Don't make a problem out of nothing – you either study this or that, what's the big deal? But, it's in your hands to assure your parents that “I may not become an engineer, but don't worry, I'll do well in my life.” If you are able to give them this assurance, it may not settle things immediately, but they will see the point eventually. Right now, many of you are not able to give them this assurance. They freak out because they are convinced you will end up on the streets. If you don't want to do what your parents think is best for you, you should show competence in some other field you like, and tell them, “Don't worry.”
I want you to remember one thing: all those people you worship as Shiva, Rama, Krishna or Jesus Christ, none of them ever cracked IIT or whatever exam. You worship them because they lived their life well. That's what you need to do – live well. The human mechanism is the most sophisticated machine on the planet. The problem is you have not even read the user's manual of this super computer. Yoga is that user's manual. It will help you become balanced internally, it will make you joyful by your own nature, help you do your best. In doing your best, there is success. You may not be better than someone else, but you will be the best you can. And then, you can handle anything that life throws at you with grace.
The education system doesn't give you freedom to do what you think is the best. The expectation from the system and parents is so strong that sometimes, you don't even have the time to have an extra word with your students. But even with all these challenges, I am telling you, you can make a difference to developing a human life to its full potential. You can take three minutes out to see, really see, what it is that your students actually need.
The way our education system is right now, it's all about imparting information. There are so many ways in which you can impart this information, but if you remember to put a small spark of inspiration in all these young lives that come to you to learn, that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Information may be useful, it may help them pass an examination or get a job, but if you put that spark of inspiration, they will value you all their lives.
Every teacher should look at this: in what simple way, with what little act or word at the right moment, can I inspire these children in front of me. This much you can do, no matter what the system is. And how can yoga help? If you are interested in human wellbeing, then, in is the only way out. Even if you spare two minutes a day before you begin a class, and get everyone to close their eyes, a change will begin to happen. And you can champion that change. That's yoga!