Educated or Literate?

When I see educated people (those who have professional degrees) doing irrational stuff and so called uneducated (those who have not studied as much) showing no signs of any kind of resistance, I wonder what is the real meaning of education and who do we really called ‘educated’. If you get a chance, start observing people around you. Discrimination with lower strata either with the power of wealth, degree or authority is visibly seen in our society irrespective of how much education you have earned. In terms of behavior in public, you will see many acting aggressively using abusive words for a mere scratch on their expensive cars or throwing litter on the streets or not obeying traffic rules just because it’s a chalta hai attitude. Certain acts are so ingrained in us that we hardly apply our brains to figure out what is the right thing to do. On the contrary, there are aged aunties or uncles in our societies who understand the meaning of life probably because of their experience, show extreme kindness towards everyone. People with extreme humble backgrounds live in simplicity with so much of acceptance with whatever they have and earn their living with dignity and humility. Some street vendors are so kind and soft spoken with their customers, despite thriving on daily earning, are always ready to give you stuff on credit, be it a vegetable seller or your gol gappe and chaat wale bhaiya. Even the flower vendor who drops flowers at your place for morning prayers will not mind if you give him money later. There are also some children who feel for the beggars on the street. So does that mean when we study, earn degrees and become educated, we become further away from our core values. And is there no role of degrees in our lives. Of course, they do, they help us in learning skills to get decent jobs and earn our livelihoods. But that alone is not called education. The real education starts early and covers all aspects of our life. Education means not just gaining knowledge about science and maths but also about core principles of living life. Life just doesn’t happen to us because we take birth and nor it’s a journey full of joy and sorrow until death. Human life is to be cherished for a lot of other reasons. It gives us a chance, a hope to understand our key purpose and a whole lot of opportunities to learn our lessons through our experiences and move towards our goal. Once we become aware of our purpose in life, for self, for our families, for our society, for our nation, we truly become educated. When we acquire more, we get more attached to it and not wish to let it go. We aspire to earn more, get a better job, a bigger car and the list is endless for such material things. The more we get attached to materialism, the less considerate we become for human values. Abundance doesn’t make you a sinner, in fact that’s a sign of success, only the attachment does. Without getting into spirituality, let me give you five practical things to focus on. One, look around and notice what all you receive free from nature without it asking anything in return. So should we not at the least think about accepting with gratitude and not abuse and misuse the treasure of nature. Which simply means in terms of actions, not waste water, not throw garbage on streets or water bodies, care for plants either at home or in park. Second, consider everything living be it animals or birds or even insects to be wonders of creation and please be aware of not harming them and wish to feed them with food or simply compassion. Third, we all have filters through which we see people around us, filter of family values, social upbringing, cultures, beliefs and attitudes. For once, try and remove these filters one by one and focus on self. Fourth, children are the most untainted forms of human life, ensure that they retain their freshness of curiosity and learn through observations. Don’t feed them with your belief systems, let them form their own. Fifth, maintain cleanliness all around you, not just physically but also keep your mind clean of impure thoughts, not just inside your house but also your surroundings.
One should be called educated only when one sees life and its many forms as interconnected. When one leads a simple life with all filters removed and have reverence for all kinds of life forms. When one does service for others and feel happy within. When one treats human with respect and dignity irrespective of social strata. When one stops judging others with various ingrained beliefs and focus on improving self instead.
Be cautious and conscious about your own thoughts and actions in day to day life. Get educated!


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