Innovation is the spark which brings wise traditions to life

Ramanuja was a brilliant educator...There is a story about him and a teacher that he studied with. The teacher gave him a sacred mantra which was so powerful supposed to take him to heaven. The teacher gravely cautioned him not to share the mantra with anyone - it was not to be given out indiscriminately and doing that carried the apparent penalty of going to hell. Ramanuja promptly went away and taught the mantra to hundreds of people. The teacher was furious. He demanded to know what the hell Ramanuja thought he was doing. Ramanuja simply replied that if one man had to go to hell to liberate hundreds of others then it was the most empowering use of the situation. The teacher was speechless. Great men are always great innovators and selfless (as far as is practically possible).

Having seen up close the education systems of several countries around the planet...I know an innovator when I see one. Ron Clark is a wonderful example:

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=qc9TrHlqq_I
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=LOxHZVx7XHs&feature=related
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x56m62_ron-clark-story-2006_shortfilms
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Clark

India needs a revolution in education. The law here says that a school cannot be a business. Absolutely stupid! Every school is a business...if you don't get the business side right its very very hard to get decent education. Of course you can go to an extreme on this and there are of course lots of expensive mediocre schools. But in India the mass of schools have teachers who are not paid even close to a dignified wage. That MUST change. Now there is a challenge.... Something tells me this is the next evolutionary wave in the work that Mohammmed Yunus pioneered - taking micro-finance to education.

If we don't value our teachers...our world is not a very intelligent place. Which is more often than not what it sadly is.

Some background on Ramanuja from Wikipedia:

His life:

From a young age, his intelligence and ability to comprehend highly abstract philosophical points were legendary. He took initiation from Yadavaprakasa, a renowned Advaitic scholar. Though his new guru was highly impressed with his analytical ability, he was quite concerned by how much emphasis Ramanuja placed on bhakti. After frequent clashes over interpretation, Yadavaprakasa decided the young Ramanuja was becoming too much of a threat and plotted a way to kill him. However, Ramanuja's cousin Govinda Bhatta (a favourite of Yadavaprakasa) discovered the plot and helped him escape. An alternative version is that one of Yadavaprakasa's students plotted to kill Ramanuja as a means of pleasing their teacher, but Sri Ramanuja escaped in the afore-mentioned manner. Yadavaprakasa was horrified when learnt about the conspiracy. Ramanuja returned to Yadavaprakasa's tutelage but after another disagreement, Yadavaprakasa asked him to leave. Ramanuja's childhood mentor, Kancipurna, suggested he meet with Kancipurna's own guru, Yamunacharya. After renouncing the life of a house-holder, Ramanuja travelled to Srirangam to meet an aging Yamunacharya, a philospoher of the remergent Vishishtadvaita school of thought. Yamunacharya had died prior to Ramanuja's arrival. Followers of Ramanuja relate the legend that three fingers of Yamunacharya's corpse were curled. Ramanuja saw this and understood that Yamunacharya was concerned about three tasks. Ramanuja vowed to complete these--

* Teach the doctrine of Saranagati (surrender) to God as the means to moksha.
* Write a Visishtadvaita Bhashya for the Brahma Sutras of Vyasa which had previously been taught orally to the disciples of the Visishtadvaita philosophy.
* That the names of Paraśara, the author of Vishnu Purana, and saint Śaţhakopa should be perpetuated.

Legend goes that on hearing the vow, the three fingers on the corpse straightened. Ramanuja accepted Yamunacharya as his Manasika Acharya and spent 6 months being introduced to Yamunacharya's philosophy by his disciple, Mahapurna although he did not formally join the community for another year. Ramanuja's wife followed very strict brahminical rules of the time and disparaged Mahapurna's wife as being of lower subcaste. Mahapurna and his wife left Srirangam. Ramanuja realized that his life as a householder was interfering with his philosophical pursuit as he and his wife had differing views. He sent her to her parent's house and renounced family and became a sanyasin. Ramanuja started travelling the land, having philosophical debates with the custodians of various Vishnu temples. Many of them, after losing the debates, became his disciples. Ramanuja standardized the liturgy at these temples and increased the standing and the membership of the srivaishnava school of thought. He wrote his books during this time. Ramanuja, who was a Vaishnavite, might have faced threats from some Shaivite Chola rulers who were religiously intolerant . Ramanuja and a few of his followers moved to the Hoysala kingdom of Jain king Bittideva and queen Shantala Devi in Karnataka. Bittideva converted to Srivaishanavism, in some legends after Ramanuja cured his daughter of evil spirits, and took the name Vishnuvardhana meaning "one who grows the sect of Vishnu". However, the queen and many of the ministers remained Jain and the kingdom was known for its tolerance. Ramanuja re-established the liturgy in the Cheluvanarayana temple in Melukote In Mandya District and Vishnuvardhana re-built it and also built other Vishnu temples like Chennakesava Temple and Hoysaleswara Temple.

The setting of his life:

By the 5th century, the South Indian religious scene was diverse, with popular religion existing alongside Vedic sacrifice and non-Vedic traditions like Buddhism and Jainism. Indeed, the title character of the sixth century Tamil Buddhist epic Manimekalai is advised at one point to study the various Hindu schools of philosophy, such as Sankhya and Vaisheshika as well as Buddhism, Ajivika, Cārvāka, and Jainism. It was in this context that fears of a Buddhist or Jain takeover spurred a large Hindu revival that reached its peak in the 7th century and continued nearly into the 2nd millennium.

The popular aspects of this revival took the shape of several mystical and passionate bhakti movements, represented on the Vaishnavite side by the twelve alvars. The alvars came from a variety of social strata; their ranks include shudras and one woman. The intense devotionalism of their poetry and insistence that caste and sex are no barrier to a relationship with the Divine is uncharacteristic of classical Vedic thought, which laid a strong emphasis on the performance of the social and religious duties proper to one's place in the social structure. Some of these were collected into a definitive canon known as the Nālāyira Divya Prabandha, or "Four Thousand" Divine Composition, by Nathamuni in the 10th century, and came to be seen as a source of revelation equal in authority to the Vedas in the Śrīvaiṣṇava community.

On the philosophical side, this period saw the rise of the Vedanta school of philosophy, which focused on the elucidation and exegesis of the speculative and philosophical Vedic commentaries known as the Upanishads. The Advaita, or non-dualist interpretation of Vedanta was developed in this time by Adi Shankara and later by Mandana Mishra. It argued that the Brahman presented in the Upanishads is the static and undifferentiated absolute reality, and that the ultimately false perception of difference is due to avidya, or ignorance. Sri Adi Shankara was regarded one of the most profound scholars and preached to uphold the basic tenets of Vedic philosophy.

The goal of proving the Vedantic legitimacy of the popular conception of a personal deity and a genuine personal identity essentially characterizes Ramanuja's project, and the Advaitin school presents a natural object for his polemics. It is this synthesis between the classical Sanskrit writings and the popular Tamil poetry that is the source of one of the names of Ramanuja's system: Ubhaya Vedānta, or "Vedanta of both kinds."

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Mind is the closest thing to our Reality...Be careful how you use it. Businessman, yogi, teacher, addicted to laughing...