Monday, 10 August 2009

Vidya Dadati Vinyam

Vidya dadati vinayam,
vinaya dadati paatrataam,
paatratva dhanamaapnoti,
dhanat dharmam tatatsukham

Education gives Humility; Humility gives Character; from Character one gets Wealth; from Wealth one gets Righteous (dharmam) life; from Righteousness one gets Happiness.

Neither the thief can steal it, nor can the king take it
neither divided amongst brothers, nor too heavy to carry,
The more you expand it, the more it increases
Knowledge is the prime wealth

Maithreyi asked sage Yagnyavalkiya “What happens to one's hard earned academic knowledge when one dies? Will it be carried over to next janma?” Sage said “No, it won’t, it burns down with the mortal body”.

Why it is so that in modern times, people with education or knowledge become arrogant. I am not saying all the people are like that. But majority become victim of their EGO. The question is if it gets burned down with the mortal body, what is the point of getting arrogant and cynical about it? When Einstein was praised for his great scientific work in 'theory of relativity', he very politely said that "he is like a fortunate insect sitting on a small piece of land and finding out the piece of land is earth, which is spherical not flat". Do we get people like this today? Some people think that being egotistic & arrogant is a much needed tool to survive in this world. They argue that they use it as a weapon, so that other people should not take them for granted. Don’t you think ego arises either because of superiority or inferiority? In both cases, we have the fear of not being taken as granted or underestimated.

We take education in order to survive in this world – to earn our bread & butter. Good education is a ticket towards success and success breeds EGO. Knowledge is something which we acquire through experience and thus adds to wisdom. In modern times, we are being measured as per our success & wealth, not as per our knowledge & wisdom. Knowledge without wisdom makes a person cynical, self- centered & arrogant. Educated people, somehow inculcate a feeling that they are more knowledgeable and whatever that they say is correct. Is it happening more because values are changing?

In olden times our rishis & munis use to acquire knowledge through penance and their devotion to their gurus. They never attended any so-called modern universities and yet,they wrote great epics. In today’s time we won’t consider people who have not been to school or university as educated or knowledgeable. With whom we should find fault – our system or our perception?

According to me, our education, knowledge & wisdom should give us an understanding, compassion & empathy towards other people’s situations, nature & behaviour. "VIDYA DADATI VINAYAM...VIDYA VINAYEN SHOBHATE,,,,. The more you are loaded with knowledge & wisdom, the more humble you will be.

How true it is in modern context?

Do you feel that people with knowledge and higher education are really humble and understanding towards other individuals?

Please post your comments.


  1. Nina Ji:

    I am extremely impressed with your commentary on "Vidya Dadati Vinyam". It is but natural to have EGO when you acquire anything more than ordinary people have, be it knowledge, power or wealth. Goswami Tulasidas has said in Shri Ramcharitamanas, "There is no one born in this world who does not become egotistic after acquiring greatness, however constant communion with saints and seers(Satsang) keep him humbled"

    Didn't Kabir say, "Never be proud, death has thee in clutch, sure someday it will smother thee at home or not as much."

  2. Thanks for asking me to comment on your Blog. In modern times when everything is measured in terms of financial success, it is difficult to prorate the education and humbleness. In majority cases the humbleness has nothing to do with the institutional education. In this materialistic world, people study to get university degrees to get a good job or to do business to become financially successful. This is the reason that as per my analogy people are more 'Sakshara'(expert in memorizing books)than 'Sikshit' (mentally educated). Mental education does not come from the outer knowledge but by looking inward, self searching, controlling the senses and 'Gunas' which are described as Tamo Guna, Rajo Guna and Sato Guna. As such getting degrees for the purpose of earning livelihood is not a real education or the Gyan. The real Gyan is eternal which in turn brings humbleness, politeness and righteousness.

    Lord Krishna has described the real education or 'Vidya' in verse 19 of the Chapter-4 of Srimad Bhagwad Gita that " One whose every undertaking is devoid of motivation for fruitive desires and sense gratification and who has incinerated all activities in the fire of pure knowledge; the spiritually intelligent describe him as educated".

    The presence of EGO also depends upon the 'Varna' of the people. Here the Varna does not mean the caste system but the 'SANSKARA' of a person. A person born in higher caste may have the lower varna sanskara and or a person born in so called lower caste may have the higher varna sanskara. This also casts a greater influence in determining one's level of EGO.

    Furthermore to my mind, there is no expression such as 'superiority complex'. In fact it is another form of inferiority feelings that other people should not underestimate them. As a result people brag about themselves, their wealth or knowledge and we call it superiority complex. The real Gyan gives the sense of humbleness with the feelings that other people may be having or knowing more than me. The mentally uneducated people may call it inferiority complex

    I recollect a poem of a famous urdu poet Mohammad Shah Gaud - " Kis kis ko chasme hikarat se dekhiye ae Gaud, Sub humse hain jiyada, koi humse kum nahin". Means why to look down upon anybody, everybody is having more than me".

    And this is the height of humbleness (VINAYAM), which nullifies the total existance of EGO, provides the endless bliss (ANANDAM) and logically justifies the verse "Vidya Dadati Vinyam-------Dhanat dharmam tatsukham".

    Suman Sinha

  3. Suman ji:

    Very impressive but I thought you were talking about me when you were referring to "Gyan":)

    Gyan Rajhans

  4. Nina,

    It is because of avidya. Vidya,when turns into Gnyan,elevates soul to that level that Ahang bodh disappears. All of us confuse Vidya and Gyan with information. If we collect information from books or any other source, we tend to have a feeling that we know a lot. This is avidya. This is what dies with body. But gyan is immortal, and enriches soul and passes on after death.
    It is good to exchange some fresh ideas.
    Thanks for your efforts.

  5. I feel, it's not just now, but for ages those with greater knowledge have exerted their authority over other. In some ironic ways it's a reflection of their superiority that they forget humility. As far as I remember some great rishi munnis of olden time were infamous for their temper and the curses they slew.

    Simply put, when two minds are not at par, the one ahead may consider the other ignorant, while the latter may call the other egoist. Nina, I am intrigued, what made you write on this topic?

  6. Good job, Nina.
    Keep up the good work. Now I can see finally Nina kumari is doing the thing she can do. Thank you for enlightening us. Loved it.

  7. Ego is a part of human being and I believe that each and every person on this earth have ego more or less.
    If it is only for the arrogance or to ignore people, even if you are very much knowledgable, it is not good but sometime it is necessary to have some ego on your knowledge for not giving any opportunity to others to take any advantage or to evaluate your expertise unappropriately.

    I found this blog interesting and I want to thank Suman and Nina for their honest effort.

  8. Nina,

    Your comments remind me of two famous quotes. One, "Knowledge is power" by Francis Bacon and second, " power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely", by 19th century English historian, Lord Acton. Does your bog refelct some of these sentiments.?


  9. I think the ancient saying of "Vidya dadati vinayam" is not understood correctly by most commentators. First of all, "paatrata" is not character. It is competence. The ancient seers were propounding a theory here. Everybody knows that education gives competence. But, how? They proposed that it is derived via humility. It is a twist on what is apparent with something deeper. It is expected to make us think and see the value of humility in the whole process.

    Is humility necessary to become competent? It would seem so. You become competent through learning and, in order to learn, you have to know that you have a need to learn. Accepting the need to learn is a form of humility. But is that all there is to humility? I think not.

    Does education necessarily give one humility? Only if one is properly "educated," meaning one gets enthralled by the power of ideas and develops respect for all the people that developed these ideas. We see this huge ocean of knowledge out there and realize how little we are in front of it. But education also elevates one to higher levels of knowledge and capability. It is certainly possible to look down on all the people below us and feel superior, instead of looking at the people above us and feel humble.

    So, neither "vidya dadati vinayam" nor "vinayaad yati paatrataam" is a given. It has to be cultivated. The ancient system of schooling focused on doing so. Vidya dadati vinayam was taught on the very first day of school, and the role of vinayam was grilled into the students throughout their education. We don't have that any more.

  10. No one can give happiness or who thinks that some one else gives it, he misunderstood it. it is wrong pride to say that i am doing your duty ,since it is better to perform our duty than doing nothing and by not doing any thing one can not support any oneself,one can not live any longer

  11. I like the topic and ALL the different perspectives posted. In my opinion, even the most educated may not necessarily be "learned". One's class or Varna is dependent on how that individual treats others - not what he wants or earns for himself. What good is a tree if it's unwilling to give shade? Knowing that what sustains this world is not the transactional material that you think you own but what you are capable of giving endlessly - love and empathy - is wisdom.

  12. Very impressed by the quality of thoughts on this topic. How true is the need of egoless wisdom in the modern times to let it grow. Just a couplet for thanking all of you...

    चलो ज्ञान की भर कर गागर विद्या माता के गुण गायें
    अपने विनय शील श्रद्धा से भटकों कुछ राह दिखाएँ
    जो गिरते राहों पर उनको पकड़ा दो अपने ये हाथ
    देता है तुम सब प्रबुद्ध को, है ‘स्वतंत्र’ बस साधुवाद
    ... सशंदु ‘स्वतंत्र’

  13. Interesting

  14. Vidya & Education (current) are different. What the Rishis said is applicable to people who acquire knowledge/wisdom through Vidya.
    Current Education is not created for that purpose but the opposite.
    Vid > Ved > Vidya > Vaidya

    Thank you

  15. So true it is in the reference to modern education. Modern education lacks politeness n kindness. Ppl of higher education lack how to appreciate one's small achievement and success. They are simply proud and rude. Modern VIDYA lacks VINYATA. They are loosing good character as well as ethics.