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Bodhi for Educators – A Participant’s Account

Bod­hi was a five month long course offered in 2021 for those pas­sion­ate about the Indic phi­los­o­phy of edu­ca­tion. With par­tic­i­pants from all over the globe, the pro­gram was designed to bring out the edu­ca­tion­al philoso­phies that have their roots in India. Dar­ma Arju­nan, a par­tic­i­pant from Malaysia shares her expe­ri­ence of the course.

This five month long Exec­u­tive Pro­gramme was an eye-open­ing expe­ri­ence for me. As a Malaysian who lacked the nec­es­sary Indic foun­da­tion, this course pro­vid­ed much-need­ed expo­sure to the fun­da­men­tals of Indic thought process and edu­ca­tion mod­els.

Ini­tial­ly, I was involved in projects encom­pass­ing edu­ca­tion, pol­i­cy and my post­grad­u­ate dis­ser­ta­tion. These projects were fund­ed whol­ly or par­tial­ly by per­sons who were not well-versed in Indic knowl­edge sys­tems. On top of that, Malaysia’s legal sys­tem was mold­ed by its colo­nial mas­ters. Malaysia did not have a Dr. B.R. Ambed­kar to draft her Con­sti­tu­tion. There­fore, the ini­ti­a­tion towards indige­nous knowl­edge was not thor­ough. Nation­al cur­ricu­lums are still designed to keep its post-colo­nial con­struct and Anaa­di Foundation’s course helped me bridge this divide. I includ­ed var­ied input in my pre­sen­ta­tions to the Malaysian pub­lic and it was met with a wel­com­ing response from all eth­nic­i­ties in Malaysia.

Sim­i­lar­ly, for my post­grad­u­ate the­sis, I pro­duced a cri­tique on the Euro­pean Union Draft Direc­tive on Cor­po­rate Due Dili­gence and Cor­po­rate Account­abil­i­ty. In my the­sis, I pro­posed a rec­om­men­da­tion to align the Indic Purushartha frame­work with the EU’s objec­tives for cor­po­rate lead­er­ship and sus­tain­abil­i­ty. In spite of the EU’s short­com­ings, the fac­ul­ty mem­bers were grate­ful for the Indic con­tri­bu­tion to achieve their social jus­tice ideals. Present­ly, this pro­pos­al has gar­nered more inter­est and I am keen to pur­sue my Ph.D. in the field to pro­mote human rights, the envi­ron­ment and good gov­er­nance.

Recent­ly, I took a step for­ward to enroll for the Rash­tram School of Pub­lic Policy’s Sri Aurobindo’s online course. This was whol­ly due to my expo­sure to his thoughts in the Bod­hi Pro­gramme and proved to be a sig­nif­i­cant step for me because it unearthed the Glob­al South bal­ance which was miss­ing in my Glob­al North edu­ca­tion mod­el. It is of the participant’s hum­ble opin­ion that the miss­ing links in today’s chal­lenges are solu­tions that Indic thought lead­ers can ver­i­ly pro­vide for. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, due to neg­li­gence or human error, their con­tri­bu­tion is not reflect­ed in the inter­na­tion­al agen­da for mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism. Present­ly, I am fol­low­ing tutored lec­tures on his books, The Human Cycle, The Ide­al of Human Uni­ty, War and Self-Deter­mi­na­tion. His over­ar­ch­ing ideals are sore­ly lack­ing in present day inter­na­tion­al trade law lec­tures. There­fore, I intend to look into his lit­er­a­ture in the future as part of my post­grad­u­ate con­tri­bu­tion to the field.

Pure­ly, in the area of self-devel­op­ment, I explored San­skrit and its roots with Latin. To my sur­prise, the Indic aspects are firm­ly acknowl­edged in their lit­er­a­ture. From there, I decid­ed to dig deep­er on both sides by enrolling for a sim­ple starter course in San­skrit and Latin to find com­mon threads that bind these civ­i­liza­tions togeth­er. In the same vein, these efforts will be doc­u­ment­ed for my post­grad­u­ate ambi­tions in the future.

In oth­er spheres, my knowl­edge of the Gita and Vedan­ta is enhanced by incor­po­rat­ing it in my week­ly class­es with the Glob­al North. It pro­vides clar­i­ty to the intel­lect which trans­lat­ed to action, cre­at­ing mean­ing­ful change. These actions are a healthy com­bi­na­tion of the Bod­hi Pro­gramme and the inter­ac­tions with my class­mates in Lon­don. I am blessed to have authen­tic input from oth­er parts of the world that cel­e­brates the val­ues and teach­ings of India’s trea­sure to the world at large.

Fur­ther to that, the study of neu­ro­science and its effects were explored in this Course. I do not have a back­ground in this field of study. How­ev­er, the Course speak­ers made the sub­ject approach­able to the layper­son. I learnt to make the mind, the most impor­tant tool, to seek out improve­ments in my dai­ly life. Epi­ge­net­ics is a field that caught my inter­est dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Its impor­tance became clear­er after the speak­ers com­plet­ed their slots for the Course. Nat­u­ral­ly, the mul­ti-dimen­sion of the fac­ul­ties of the mind was the focal point in Bodhi’s course struc­ture.

As an edu­ca­tor, pol­i­cy ana­lyst and legal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the biggest real­iza­tion after com­plet­ing five months with Anaa­di Foun­da­tion was the lack of philo­soph­i­cal and edu­ca­tion­al acu­men among influ­en­tial per­son­al­i­ties in edu­ca­tion, pol­i­cy and in the Malaysian Par­lia­ment. Despite their mass fol­low­ing on social media and in the Malaysian Press, their actions imply lack of foun­da­tion­al skills that is part and par­cel of their Indic her­itage, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the ser­vices they offer.

As a con­clu­sion, I fer­vent­ly hope this body of knowl­edge reach­es oth­er cor­ners of the world, sim­i­lar to that of Bol­ly­wood celebri­ties’ influ­ence. Indic cul­ture should be uplift­ed through its var­i­ous thought lead­ers’ prisms. Its sig­nif­i­cance should be cel­e­brat­ed in pub­li­ca­tions and includ­ed in the edu­ca­tion syl­labus for oth­ers in the world to pick up and find a mean­ing­ful pur­pose in their lives.

I thank the facil­i­ta­tors and course par­tic­i­pants for mak­ing this course an inclu­sion­ary process for a Malaysian nation­al to under­stand her her­itage bet­ter. The ben­e­fits were warm­ly received by recip­i­ents of my projects. Like­wise, this online course brought much clar­i­ty to many Indic con­tro­ver­sies that appeared in the Malaysian lens. It is cru­cial for Indic nar­ra­tives to reach oth­ers who may have been led astray by oth­er lens­es that seek to drown out the Indic voice.

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