The four challenges ahead of us

The four challenges ahead of us

There are four central challenges that we face today. They need to be engaged on a war-footing. According to Mata Amritanandamayi, they include transforming a system of education that disregards values, removing an obsession with sophistication that disregards culture, changing a lifestyle that disregards health and discarding a model of development that disregards nature.

The challenges can only be met by elevating spiritual education and putting such education at the forefront of our national agenda. The system of education that we have created in post-independent India has accorded primacy to developing analytical intelligence at th-e expense of neglecting emotional, spiritual, social and cultural intelligence. This calls for corrective action. Unless such action is initiated, our education will remain lopsided and weighted heavily in favour of the intellect at the expense of the heart. The inner and the outer need to be merged.

Consumerism has led us to become obsessed with displaying a kind of sophistication at the expense of culture. By culture, is meant our system of shared values that have stood India in good stead over the years. We need to embrace our culture by investing time and energy in understanding it.

The influence of globalisation has caused us to embrace a model of development that disregards nature. Instead of nurturing the earth, we are re-cklessly ravaging it. What goes by the name of natural disasters is nothing but irresponsible destruction of our environment. Satisfying legitimate human needs must be reconciled with maintaining natural equilibrium. Development must aim to be in harmony with nature. The Gandhian idea of simple living and high thinking has deep relevance today.

Finally, reckless living has contributed to creating a lifest-yle that disregards health. We are no longer shocked by drugs, tobacco and alcohol. The price we pay is reflected in rising mortality, poor health, social tensions and lack of direction among young adults who are too easily caught by these temptations.

Mata Amritanandamayi is signaling to us that it is time to reverse the trend. We ignore them at our own peril.
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