January 16, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore
Mr. Pramod Kumar, Assistant Professor, teaches mandatory classes in Cultural Education to first year engineering students at the Coimbatore campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
His article titled Freedom of Choice was recently published in the December 2010 issue of the highly respected Vedanta Kesari magazine. A hundred year old spiritual and cultural monthly, Vedanta Kesari is published by the Sri Ramakrishna Math.
Mr. Pramod’s article argues that Vedic scriptures can assist today’s youth in making correct choices at critical turning points of their lives.
“Youngsters in India often rebel against rules and regulations in the name of freedom-of-choice or freedom-of-expression,” Mr. Pramod writes in the article.
“The list of their complaints is long and they all have one bottom line: It’s my life and I will do as I wish.”
Mr. Pramod argues that many young people are beginning to resist traditions that have been laid down by their forefathers to ensure that the dharma of each member of society is preserved, and peace and prosperity is ensured for all.
“Parents should not impose career choices on us … marriages need not be arranged in today’s world; we should have the right to choose our life partner,” he hears the youth of today lament.
Mr Pramod suggests that it is interesting to study this conflict from the Vedanta perspective.
“What do our Shastras say on this issue? Do they recommend freedom of choice for individuals?” he asks.
“The principle of interconnectedness is the key to understanding the nature of freedom granted to every individual,” he underlines. “This concept must be taught to our children from a young age so that they perceive the interconnectedness of all beings …”
“To declare that, this is my life and I have the freedom to do what I wish, is a cantankerous attitude and not conducive to our collective well-being.”
He goes on to argue that a cursory glance at the multiple crises humanity is experiencing around the world today such as global warming, terrorism and harsh economic disparities, are all a result of this fundamental error.
“Individuals and nations want to survive and grow at the expense of others, with gross disregard to this principle, not realizing that the world is round and what we do to others is eventually going to come back to us,” he argues.
“Every choice we make should therefore be evaluated with the principle of interconnectedness and only that freedom of choice which does not violate this principle can be considered beneficial.”
Mr Pramod suggests that the freedom young people enjoy today are due to their ancestors performing their duties, or in other words – living their dharma. He says that the youth of India must be equipped to understand the inherent dharma of every situation so that they can make the right choices.
“In order to have clarity and confidence to make the right choices, an individual must have knowledge of scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and Yoga Sutras. Our seers have condensed the wisdom of Vedanta and their life experiences in these scriptures and hence they can guide us through many a crises which we are bound to encounter in life,” he argues.
Mr Pramod’s article being published in such a prestigious journal speaks volumes about the sort of input Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham students are receiving.