That’s why classrooms are not igniting or building happiness in me. Classrooms do not excite me. When classrooms were not exciting, I was unhappy. But I wasn’t sure why I started fearing school. Who made me afraid of classrooms? We are introduced to a new box of understanding which is the fear box in the classroom.
Teachers might have done their best to explain the concept in most classrooms. The problem lies there – in concept learning. In fact, the concept need not be taught in-depth. What I should know is concept-based real-life applications. If we talk about a flower — why I like a flower? Is it because of the understanding of how plants produce flowers? I am concerned about that. Instead, what matters to me about a flower is its colour, its shape, and its fragrance. If a butterfly comes to a flower, it is because of its fragrance or the colour to identify it and because of the honey it produces. So, it is the real-life connection in a context that is more interesting, exciting, and not the concept.
Once I have an urge to connect my life with something, when I have an interest that excites me for a real-life application to something, then I am very keen to understand the context and finally the concept. I like flowers, I like its smell, I like its colour, my mind is so happy, my real application is the happiness I feel when I see a flower. It is that happiness that attracts me towards it.
If I am connected with it in real life, when I go near it I will think a little more. When do I need this flower? Right now I have no need. I am happy to see it remain in the yard. If I think that I need to keep the flower in my room as it always makes me happy, then I will pluck it and bring it to my room. And, it is the context that connects deeper with my real-life application.
And then when I am fully involved with real-life application and the context in which I am happier to adopt it, and if I am taught about the concept and the teacher asks me, ‘Son, are you happy now? Do you know how this flower has been created, what gives the flower its colour, why it produces honey? Just like you, the plant has a purpose within it and from where it gets its existence.
I get a new revelation that everything in the world goes back to the five elements. All the colours come from the combination of the five minerals, metals that are in the soil – earth, the first element; water, the second element; breathing – air, the third element; the solar system provides energy by combustion, which is the fourth element; and plant occupies the space, which is the fifth element. So anything that is happening in the world, in real life, or in the non-real life, it is the energy that works to combine and recombine; but all goes back to the five elements. How happy and energised I am, once that class is finished.
Now, I will start exploring through my real-life connections into the world. Similar is real-life skill. Education is all about building a real-life connection and learning real-life skills. If these two concepts are lost, even if the teacher teaches the concept, the child is bored and will study only to please the parent, to get good marks because the parent said so, and to get a job like his/her parents. The child is forced to undergo boredom in classrooms.
I also wish to talk about real-life skills. Life skills differ from life connection. Life connection ends in happiness; life skill is something that we use in a particular situation. I will go back to my real-life story (something that I have mentioned a million time). Still, I want to repeat it for the benefit of the new readers.
Let me talk about the Hindu temple of nagas. The majority of the South Indian states, especially Kerala, are known for their snake temples. People might make fun of this as they think how can snakes, creatures who bites one to death, have temples and be worshipped? Then a believer will say, you don’t know anything. Snake is god. When gods are unhappy, the snake will come to your home, bite you and kill you. The only way out is to set up a temple for the snake god, offer prayers there and god will withdraw the snake.
Sadly, the concept is not understood properly. Because of the real-life connection and real-life skills, both have not been analysed. Imagine you weigh 65 kilos of body mass. How are your bones, your flesh, your muscles made? It is the sum total of the food you eat from the earth. If I have to see earth or the soil, it’s there in your physical body and this body will be taken back to the earth after the soul passes away from your body. It is one element.
Seventy per cent of your body is filled with fluid, that is water from nature. The body heat – air-conditioned at 98 degrees Celsius – it is directly or indirectly taken from the solar system’s heat and energy – heat or fire is in you. Have you ever thought about it? Can you live without breathing for a second? The air in the atmosphere is circulated in the body – the fourth element. Your body occupies the space – the fifth element. You are nothing but the combination of five elements with a consciousness given by the soul which comes from the Supreme space, through your parents.
So what is a five-hooded snake temple? It is you and what does it tell you? These five elements that are inside you are your friend and your enemy. If you don’t know how to balance them, if you don’t know how to contain them, if you don’t know how to work with them, it will kill you. When you go to the snake temple, you pray to the five elements. This is the real-life connection, real-life skill-based thinking that comes into you to understand and you are praying for yourself. Of course, this is not much known. Fortunately, or unfortunately, a snake will come from somewhere and the person will go to the snake temple and offer prayers and money. As you walk out of the temple, a real five-hooded snake waits for you. Inside was your god, outside it is not your god, it is an enemy. The context has changed and god becomes your enemy. Now, your life-skill will tell you either to run or to kill the snake.
So, the skill is to find the technique or to find a way to get away from danger, or behave sensibly in a given situation. If life-skill and life-connections are established in a classroom, the context will be analysed. Once the context is analysed, a child will be willing to learn the concept to further explore and connect back to life. As long as this doesn’t happen in classrooms, it will go down to unhappiness.