Swami Vivekananda’s “character building through education”
Swami Vivekananda has said, “It is the patient building of character, the intense struggle to realize the truth, which alone will tell in the future of humanity…”. “We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves….” “Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.”
Education for him means that process by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, and intellect is sharpened, as a result of which one can stand on one’s own feet. Swamiji has emphasised that, “We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far…. Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true…..It is our own mental attitude which makes the world what it is for us. Our thought make things beautiful, our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world is in our own minds. Learn to see things in the proper light.”
Jayanti Gupta is the founder and chief architect of Amar Sanskriti classes which she has specifically designed for children. She first started these classes in Geneva (Switzerland) in the year 2000. Starting with a small group of a few children, the reception these classes received from the Indian community was phenomenal. The group grew in numbers and Jayanti had to rapidly add a number of classes to accommodate different and large sized groups of children. These groups were then organised by age group and the content of the classes were also enhanced to cater for each specific age group. Her classes in Geneva culminated in the year 2004 with a huge staged performance by her students and was attended by a very large audience. Jayanti then moved back to Australia where she has been resident permanently since.
Over the years, Jayanti was supported by many others who shared in her vision and gave of their time, all on a voluntary basis, to either teach the curriculum or to assist the teachers in delivering it to the children.
What is the impact of Amar Sanskriti Classes?
By way of general translation, the words ‘Amar Sanskriti’ mean ‘eternal culture’ where ‘culture’ refers to all its forms and includes the rich religious heritage of India, the customs and values of its people, and which orients itself to character building of the individual. From the many stories based in the Hindu scriptures, philosophy, Vedas and other works, the moral, religious, ethical and philosophical conclusions drawn demonstrate the values that build a person’s character. The stories and their conclusions are presented in the simplest manner that children find both educative and entertaining. Emphasis is placed upon action following learning. The values of sharing and caring are subtly woven into the ideals presented. The effect, inevitably, is an evolution of character, attitudes, manners and ‘culture’ in the children. Clearly, the child is the future adult and this character building will provide him or her with an unshakable character and identity that is truly rooted in their cultural heritage.
The same Amar Sanskriti has now been available to children in Canberra. Here, Jayanti has further refined the curriculum and has drawn from the 'Purnavidya' system (developed by the Purnavidya Trust that is run by direct disciples of Swami Dayananda Saraswati) and other sources of our rich Indian heritage. The curriculum covers the following:
1. Stories from the Panchatantra, Ramayan and Mahabharat 2. Upanishad 3. History 4. Significance of Hindu festivals 5. Shlokas, Stotras and prayers 6. Songs, Puzzles, Games, Drawing, Colouring 7. Skits and Play 8. Yoga and Meditation 9. Teachings from Saints and Leaders
The response to Amar Sanskriti has been tremendous, encouraging Jayanti and her co-volunteers to continue the classes. Classes were being held at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre (HTCC) Florey since 2011. They are temporarily suspended due to unavailability of volunteers.
When classes resume the information will be put up on this website – so do visit us regularly for an update.
If you wish to enrol your children and offer to be a volunteer please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org