Knowlegde is power

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I’ve been wanting to write for a long time now. My children have been forcing me to write… but it never happened for two years now. Finally, my daughter-in-law said “I always learn something from your mails and stories, why don’t you write in a blog! We set up a site way back in November 2012, which forced me to write… I spent two months wondering what to write… and finally settled for an interesting thought and observation I have.

I’ll start with a small advice which was passed on to me by my departed father: old men are wise and that too fathers are always wiser, right? His advice was about education vs. wealth. As an Indian I have grown up looking at the pictures of gods and goddesses all my life. I am sure most of you know that Goddess Saraswati is the goddess of education and knowledge and Goddess Laxmi is the goddess of wealth. I wonder how many people really thought of or glanced at the depiction of both of them in either the Vedic symbolism or in the Indian philosophical perspective. Vedas are one of the oldest books known to mankind, yet they are also relevant and even modern in its thoughts, that can cater to the unending quest of the human mind. There is meaning for everything if one really wishes to learn, everything is given for a certain reason with certain inner meaning.

Take for example Goddess Laxmi. The goddess of wealth stands on the lotus with wealth (gold coin to be precise) falling from her hand. Wealth provides comfort, luxury & material enjoyment for the body. On the other hand Goddess Saraswathi, the goddess of words, knowledge and inspiration, clad fully in pure white sits gracefully either on a rock or on lotus playing her veena (lute). In Sanskrit the word ‘Sara’ means ‘essence’ and ‘swa’ means ‘self’. Thus Saraswati means ‘the essence of self’. She is known as the awakener of the consciousness to right thinking or right states of mind. She represents intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, music, the arts, eloquence and power. While Goddess Laxmi represents material wealth related to body and senses, Goddess Sarswati represents the purity of thought, word and deed.

A deeper meaning is that knowledge and education is like a rock which once gained cannot be moved. They are solid foundation that, rain or shine, sits like the rock. It’s a permanent gift one can give to oneself. No matter how hard one may try, they will not be able to steal it from you. Wealth on the other hand, is fickle. Like how with every passing wind, the lotus standing on water will sway from side to side, wealth always sways unsteadily. Unless one is really careful, it’s difficult to hold on to the wealth. In an instant, wealth can be blown away. Over the years I have seen people born with a silver spoon losing their money in a short span of time. However, a few years of hard work and dedication to education will reap healthy benefits in the longer run.

Moral of the story is: Give primary importance to education: It is the true key to success. I remember my son when he was in first or second standard singing his school anthem will full gusto “Knowledge is power! Knowledge is power! (I don’t think he understood the meaning back then) An education can also help you to manage your wealth.

I know one might say Bill Gates is a school dropout. Well there is only one Bill Gates out of 7 billion in the world right? Unless otherwise you are pretty sure that you are born in the right place at the right time with right luck, (did you check your horoscope this morning?), give the highest importance to education. That’s what I have been preaching my children all along!!

Na chor haryam, na raaj haryam, na bhratra bhajyam na cha bharakaari,
vyaye krate vardhate eva nityam, vidhya dhanam sarva dhan pradhanam

Meaning: The wealth that cannot be stolen, neither abducted by state, nor can be divided amongst brothers, Neither it is burdensome to carry, The wealth that increases by giving, That wealth is knowledge and is supreme of all possessions.