Students Corner- Opinions, Expressions and Experiences
“Blood donation is a life-saving act.”
On the auspicious day of 2nd October, Vikasana, the social impact club of students of 2 year MBA program flagged off Daan Utsav 2019 celebrations by organizing Blood Donation Camp and Registration Drive for Stem Cell Donation. A total of 66 units of blood were collected and 30 students registered themselves as stem cell donors.
Our student Sankalp Nandanwar EPGP – 2019-2020 has penned an article that was published in The Hindu – Business Line on Campus.
The article is about “how smart companies can use data governance tools for smoother compliance”
Read the article :
THE SELF-LESS EGO
contributed by Rahul Rao (FPM 2018)
I am not going to analyse mind, self, and ego physically as in what really constitutes them (in terms of the neurological processes) but will talk about their psychological significance, which everyone experiences.
How do we feel the “self” usually?
Everybody knows what their name is, how they look like, how comfortable/uncomfortable they feel in social situations, what all normal/abnormal fantasies they have had in their night or daydreams etc. All such physiological and psychological knowledge resides in our consciousness as the shape of our being which we usually refer to as our (small) self. This self is the accumulation of thoughts that we have had about our lived or unlived experiences. Unlived experiences refer to those thoughts which we build about ourselves in our mind consciously/sub-consciously without any corresponding tangible experience in the physical world — for eg. thinking about how others are better than us or do others perceive us as smart or foolish etc. As a result, the final self-structure at any point in time in our life is determined by the cumulative sum of past and present circumstances in the physical world, plus all the unsolicited thinking done by the mind.
Now, this (small) self is different for different people as people live in different physical and mental circumstances. So, this differentiating reality of self is well acknowledged by our mind such that the idea of self for any person is essentially an isolating process. Such an isolating process is what I call the “ego”.
What is “THE SELF”?
One might be thinking why the title is named the SELF-less ego. So, this takes us to another realm of a feeling which is unadulterated by any circumstances – physical or mental. This is an eternal feeling of being conscious. Yes, whatever state we find ourselves in, we are always conscious about it. We are conscious about our waking realities, about our dreams and nightmares, and about those numerous deep sleep periods that we have had in life. And, we are conscious of our changing circumstances and hence, our changing egos. We have seen people saying that I used to be an angry child in my childhood, but now I am a calm person, or I used to be very bad at academics earlier, but now I have improved. It means that people acknowledge their changing personalities or changing (small) self/ego. However, the feeling of being conscious does not change. This unchanging feeling of being conscious (or consciousness per se) is what I call “THE SELF”.
(NOTE: This consciousness is referred to as the non-dual reality in the Indian school of philosophy “Advaita Vedanta”. But, the Advaitins take forward this idea of pure consciousness (aka Turiya) and take it as the originator of every other physical reality in the world such that a person is, in reality, one with the entire world, i.e. one with all other persons, all animals, and plants, earth, mountains, etc. This idea of a single consciousness as the only reality and all other physical realities being its projections is essentially an exercise towards the spiritualization of the world. Though this looks like a very romantic idea but either because of my realism or inability to seek any insights into such a spiritualizing process, I am going to stick to the only reality of consciousness that I always feel hung onto or it to be hinged onto me.)
“SELF” vs “self”
By the self in small letters, I mean the ego, while by the self in capitals, I mean the SELF, which is eternally conscious.
The ego/self is essentially a structure put together by our thoughts while in SELF, there is no thought but always a feeling which lets one realize everything else, know everything else, and think everything else while it stays along. But with time, we start thinking of ourselves as something different from this eternal and unanchored feeling of (large) SELF. One can imagine this (large) SELF as a vast ocean while the (small) self as an anchored port. The (small) self gives you an isolated identity that you are you and not anybody else. That you are a name, a body, a mind which is so and so intelligent or dumb, a mind which has so and so fears, a person who has so and so relationships and so on. We start liking this phenomenon as it gives us pleasure and security. We feel secure from the otherwise drowning feeling associated with the eternal SELF, which is without any anchors and leaves a person amid a vast unending ocean. We like the security it so much that we tend to carve out a shore entirely for ourselves and build a lighthouse and what not there for our mind to rest, for it to feel safe and comfortable there.
Unknowingly, this pleasure-seeking activity becomes a habit of the mind, and in no time, the base of self-structure is complete. I suppose this does not take more than 4-5 years since birth, but it depends upon the individual’s mind and circumstances. In today’s world with all the information always lurking around, this feeling of (small) self gets set even much earlier in kids who have so much to possess, so much to know, and so much to gain through the five sense organs that they want it to be with them even more tightly.
Upon this base of self-structure, we start putting all the new experiences – physical or mental – in a particular way such that each self/ego has its own peculiar structure. If one observes closely, they will find it to be true that no physical or emotional circumstance is experienced by any 2 people alike, but they mould and interpret these circumstances in their way based on their pre-existing self/ego which in turn was made by thoughts in a similar way only. However, if one observes even more closely, they will find that there have been instances of altogether new experiences in their life where we do not think at all before experiencing those circumstances or adjust the given information according to our past priors. This kind of feeling is often generated when we are encountered with breath-taking moments like while sitting in a boat amid a calm ocean or seeing the mesmerizing sunset or sunrise at a beach or in the mountains.
Such experiences make one believe that there is something beyond our petty ego or self-conception about ourselves. And that we have been stupidly missing it all the time until now. This realization makes one look for ways to negate the (small) self/ego and search new avenues of realizing the (large) SELF. Thus, one starts the search for a method of realization of SELF. Usually, people try meditation, start reading spiritual books, philosophy, attending religious functions or seminars, etc. I have myself tried almost all of these. However, there is a different kind of realization that I encountered. It is as follows:
When the mind has been habituated of thinking along with experiencing, then it is challenging to teach it experiencing alone. Even when there were specific experiences of utmost unadulterated joy, the mind would own them as soon as the moments of sole experience were over. My mind simply does not know how to leave any experience without owning it for “Rahul – my self/ego”. I think that this is the case for everyone else, too if not then please share your method/experience with me.
After experiencing some joyful and thoughtless moments, in all its serenity and genuinity, the mind wants me to feel all philosophical and religious doctrines that I have read and known so far. So, I think that feelings like “I am the world” or “I am one with everything else” or “I am not the body, not even the mind” etc. are all nothing but tricks of thought only. Because as soon as the mind now knows that there is a feeling of (large) SELF, it wants to capture it too for the (small) self. This makes me agnostic about the people who call themselves realized souls. As for why someone would still care about any characterizations of the self/ego when they have realized the SELF. It is merely a logical contradiction.
How does a realized self look like?
What will be his/her characteristics if any? I think that asking such a question is not meaningful from the perspective of the realized person, but it might be worthwhile exploring from the perspective of other people.
Will it be a pure feeling (i.e. feeling in the most profound way) whenever one is in the company of such a realized person? The feeling can be of any form for the other (unrealized) person like joy, love, gratitude, etc. However, this feels to be an appropriate description of the followers of any cult leader, too, like the followers of Osho or Sri Sri, they feel the highest level of ecstasy when they are in the company of their cult leader.
So maybe we should revert to the original question that what would be the feeling felt by a realized self and try conjecturing about it. Will it be of a divine nature meaning again the same thing i.e. pure feelings of the most intense nature with no adulteration by thought whatsoever. That is, the realized self will not discriminate in feeling the most intense way towards other beings. He/she will bear the same attitude towards everybody as there is no reason to be angry with or jealous of somebody for such a realized person. Since he/she does not attribute himself with any particular circumstance in his/her life but merely is experiencing all circumstances alike.
Such a nature is described in the scriptures as well for the one who is awakened and has been able to remove the veil of ignorance due to Maya. So, it appears that the scriptures are logical but their alignment with the empirically real world is probe-worthy and should not be taken on the face value of any high talks by any Guru (that they have seen or have been the enlightened ones).
I would like to conclude by saying that the ego/self could never be without SELF (since a person always feels the eternal consciousness within his being) but the ignorance associated with this isolating process gets entrenched too profoundly that we become bound to commit the error of thinking ourselves as only that which is prescribed by the self-related thought process, and are not able to look beyond the immediate reality of ego/self (i.e. body and mind). How to successfully remove this ignorance or if there is another realm of reality altogether that we miss as the link in such a debate upon SELF & ego is some questions of psychological and philosophical inquiry.
THE DILEMMA OF MODERN EDUCATION
contributed by Deepika Kumar (PGP 2018-20)
A few weeks back, listening to a lecture in Business, Government and Society, one of the courses in our MBA curriculum, I could not help but reminisce at the countless times I have complained in the past about things that are wrong with our education system, and why they had to change. Now, do not get me wrong, the lecture was great-but one of the questions raised during the lecture was-if it was in our hands, what would we change about the current scenario of education in India, and the question had me baffled, and at a complete loss of words for a while. It made me recollect my thoughts. In this short snippet I pen down my aspirations on what a sound education system should possess, and what I find amiss in India-some points needing urgent attention: –
1. Life skills: Our primary education system focusses on teaching us how to compute and solve equations but fails to instill life skills such as cooking up a basic meal for oneself, keeping one’s abode clean, helping people at home and outside. The biggest failure comes in terms of empathy- which has become rare these days. In the race to earn more and more we have become fastidious and unstoppable, even if urgency requires us to lend a helping hand to someone on the roadside.
2. Risk-Taking: The biggest failure of our education system is its inability to instil problem-solving and risk-taking abilities. No wonder, the moment a child enters college – two options are made available – either enter a high paying job or one that provides income stability and permanence. There is no third option. People choose to walk on trodden paths, with no desire to innovate or take risks. In a country with unemployment on the surge, we cannot afford to let our demographic dividend go waste in this manner.
3. Collaboration Over Competition: – We are taught from the start to be better than others, to fight or perish- and compared to the neighbour’s son/daughter who cracked JEE or went for a Master’s abroad or became a Civil servant. Soon or less, this competition will only drive us mad. We are born with different capabilities and different proclivities – what excites one might not excite another. What our education system needs to teach us is to collaborate instead of competing and exchange ideas for mutual benefit.
If one were to apply basic economics of demand and supply, they would realize that the supply of workforce in conventional money-minting jobs is on the rise and would soon bring down the money-minting aspect of these jobs. Therefore, it is high time the conventional way of teaching students sees an ocean change and incorporates one of the points highlighted above.
The challenge to build a better India hinges on how well the demographic dividend is groomed. It’s not mine or yours to ponder over, it’s our collective problem!
Poems by Students
LAMHO KE LIYE
Duniya ki iss bheed mein lekar sapno ka mela;
Kabhi socha na tha reh paunga mein akela;
Apne ghar se duur, yaaroon se albela;
Bas karte hain yehi Dua, Chalta rahe humara silsila..
Yaadoon mein kaid hain sabke muskurahat;
Palkon mein saaje hain sabke chaahat;
Jiyenge unn lamho ko hum phirse sang;
Sadaa rahenge ek duje ke pyaar mein rang..
Jaise Ginte hain taaroon ko
Gin rahe hain hum dino ko;
Sabse milne ki wo besarbi
Sabke saath jhumne ki wo betaabi;
Man mein hain hum basaye hue
Kya Pata! Kab mitegi humari pyaas
Kya Pata! Kab bhujegi humari aag;
Na kehna pade kabhi,Bas yehi hai dua man mein liye;
Lamha Lamha tarastey thee jin lamho ke liye,
Wo Lamhe aaye bhi toh kuch Lamho ke liye!!!
–Swayam Tiberwal (PGP 2019-21)
Before its too late
Too busy fulfilling the needs of each day
Days, months and years may pass away
Between time to work and to reach the bed
Too late to realize turned into a living dead
Totally occupied making the most one may
And completely blind to see that positive ray
Absolutely deaf to what the heart has to say
Just hoping that things will be fine one day.
Enthusiasm and passion brutally killed away
Situations and responsibilities make life sway
Too young to be aware of true purpose of life
At eighty strikes the baselessness of the strife
Pause and check to keep from going astray
And ensure you make an amazing play
Listen and follow what your heart has to say
Live in your way before life is taken away!
-Yashika Mehta (PGP 2019-21)