Character Building, Emotional Intelligence, & Spiritual Growth Essential for Holistic Education & Nation Building”: Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj At RV University

Bengaluru, India (June 14, 2024) – RV University on Friday hosted an insightful talk by Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj, Head of the Rajkot Centre of Ramakrishna Mission, on the topic “Value Education – Why and How?”. The discourse emphasized the urgent need for a holistic approach to education that integrates intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development to address contemporary societal challenges and foster well-rounded individuals.

Hosted jointly by RV University and RV College of Engineering, the event was attended by key dignitaries including Dr. K.N. Subramanya, Principal of RV College of Engineering, Prof. (Dr.) Y.S.R. Murthy, Vice Chancellor of RV University, and guests, faculty, staff, and students of the respective institutions.

In his address, Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj highlighted societal challenges such as increase in mental illnesses, suicides by students, drug addiction, and consumerism. He underscored the urgent need for value-based education to counter these challenges, emphasizing the importance of not only intelligence quotient (IQ), but also emotional quotient (EQ) and spiritual quotient (SQ). He also elucidated that true success and happiness stem from the cultivation of a holistic personality that encompasses physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual dimensions.

“Education alone is the panacea for all of India’s problems,” emphasised Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj. “But not just any education – we need man-making education, education that builds character, that instills values, that ignites the spark of divinity within each student. For without character, without that inner moral compass, all the knowledge, all the wealth, all the material progress in the world is meaningless. It is character that shapes nations, character that builds a better future.”, said Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj, Head of Rajkot Centre of Ramakrishna Mission during his discourse.

In his welcome address, Vice Chancellor, RV University, Prof. (Dr.) Y.S.R. Murthy said, “Today, when we look around, we find that depression and other mental illnesses are increasing. student suicides are occurring at even in the best of our best institutions. Often, there are media reports about violation of medical ethics by doctors, or professional ethics by lawyers, engineers and others, all of whom are educated. We find that perpetrators of terror acts are often highly educated ones though radicalised. Education devoid of values can only produce rascals and devils who are a drag on society. Today, Students and teachers alike are at cross roads – often confused and do not know which direction to take. We need a strong moral compass. Value education can certainly help all of us including students, teachers and non-teaching staff,” added.

In the thought-provoking discourse, Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj also distinguished between apara vidya (worldly knowledge) and para vidya (knowledge of the Absolute), cautioning against the neglect of India’s rich spiritual culture. He expressed deep concern over the erosion of values, rampant corruption, underlining the need for remedial steps.

Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj also noted that ancient Indian education recognized the importance of spiritual knowledge and the spiritual quotient (SQ) several thousands of years ago, which modern science has understood only now. He asserted that a nation’s greatness lies in its citizens’ enlightenment and emphasized the pivotal role of parents and teachers in shaping future generations.

In the discourse, Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj also drew upon the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, who stressed the vital role of education in nation development. Quoting Swami Vivekananda, he reminded the audience, “No amount of politics would be of any avail until the masses in India are well educated, well fed, and well cared for.” He highlighted the responsibility of educational institutions in shaping the moral character of students, emphasizing that “the future of India depends upon the future citizens who are now in schools and colleges.”

The discourse also explored the concept of spirituality as a means of connecting with one’s inner divinity and finding purpose in life. Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj underscored the importance of meditation, self-reflection, and engagement in selfless service as pathways to spiritual growth.

The discourse concluded with a lively Q&A session where students and faculty had the opportunity to interact with Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj. He also addressed a wide range of questions on topics such as personal growth, societal challenges, and the role of education in shaping a better future.

The event was a resounding success, leaving a lasting impact on the students, faculty, and staff of RV University. Swami Nikhileswaranandaji Maharaj’s message of hope, resilience, and the power of education resonated deeply with the audience, inspiring them to strive for personal excellence and contribute meaningfully to society.

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