Thursday, February 18, 2010

role of parents in child's education - मातृपितृकृताभ्यासो


the child taught by mother and father becomes qualified.
the child doesn't become learned just by being born.

mAtRi-pitRi-kRitAbhyAso guNitAm_eti bAlakaH |
na garbha-chyuti-mAtreNa putro bhavati paNDitaH ||
hitopadeshH - preface 28

मातृपितृकृताभ्यासो गुणितामेति बालकः ।
न गर्भच्युतिमात्रेण पुत्रो भवति पण्डितः ।।


indian parents put a lot of stress on education, whatever they can afford, or sometimes even what they can't afford. this has given indians an edge almost everywhere they go for higher studies. as the saying goes, a king is respected only in his own kingdom, the wise is respected everywhere. to the point that even president obama is urging US to focus on education. and this is also seen in many asian cultures. indian parents support even the child's college education.

while in US i saw many undergraduate students taking all sorts of odd jobs on campus to support themselves, and sometimes it did impact their studies. it is also true that higher studies in US have become exorbitantly expensive for average joe.

continuing from the last post, where king sudarshana ponders upon the pros and cons of hard work and education, here is another shloka that signifies the role of parents and education to the child's success.

as we have seen in the opening shlokas of hitopadesha, they stress on the importance of education and how it cultures and makes a person worthy for the society. here we see role of parents in making a child qualified, worthy and successful in society.

mere having taken birth is not enough. human child is born much before it is ready to survive on its own. most other animals come out in life ready to fight and survive, oviparous and viviparous. a giraffe baby stands in minutes and trots in a few more! immediately after hatching a chic starts to run fast enough to give you a good workout catching it. the parental support required is very little in most animals.


but a human baby needs support, guidance, help all along in every aspect of life for considerable duration. be it eating, walking, talking, learning skills, to be dropped for soccer or violin practice! the mother plays critical role in the beginning (including soccer moms). anthropologists say that language was most probably developed by women because while men had to work silently on the hunt, women back in the cave/home would talk with the kids and other women to pass time. there is a reason why it is called 'mother-tongue'.

mother tells who the father is, father shows the guru, and guru shows the divine (god)! hence this is the sequence in which they are held in reverence. also, this is the sequence in which they are important in a person's life. a baby only cares for mother, growing child starts to look up to father, school kids think their parents know nothing compared to the teachers, and once beyond the guidance of teacher, somewhere along life we realize the importance of divine, when the understanding grows to comprehend the supreme spectacle of all, the glory of the manifest and unmanifest!

so it is not enough to take birth. by birth we are just like animals - food, sleep, fear, procreation. and after this shloka, comes 'mother is enemy, father competitor who don't educate their children'.

while it is true that children are like arrows shot from the bow, and we can't control them (khali gibran), and we shouldn't even try to. but it is paramount duty of parents to make all efforts to give the child skills to survive and education to success in this world. the parents have the most influence on a child.

when parents do this as their duty, children see that and reciprocate with respect and care. childen don't listen to you, they watch you. how you live is more important than what you say. when parents do this with a sense of burden on their economic security for old age, their sense of privacy and 'free will', children sense that as well, and when grown up, look for glossy brochures of senior's home.

the role of a parent is critical in the development of the child. genes at physical level, education and environment and care at the mental level.

don't neglect your children's welfare.

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and now the language aspects of the shloka -

mAtRi-pitRi-kRitAbhyAso =
abhyAsaH = practice, study, training
kRita = done
mAtRi = mother
pitRi = father
kRita-abhyAsaH = who has done abhyAsa
mAtRi-pitRi-kRitAbhyAsaH = one who has been taught, trained, educated (even indirectly) by the mother and father

guNitAm_eti =
guNa = virtue, qualification, skill, etc
guNitAm = learned
eti = goes towards
i.e. goes towards the state of being qualified

bAlakaH = boy, child (for today's inclusive context)

na = not
garbha-chyuti-mAtreNa = merely by coming out of the womb
garbha = womb
chyut = displaced, fallen
achyuta = not fallen, displaced, hence unblemished, name of kRiShNa
chyuti = displacement, fall
mAtra = mere, only
mAtreNa = by merely (-eNa suffix, karaNa 3rd vibhakti)

putro = putraH = son, child
bhavati = becomes, happens
paNDitaH = learned

trailing -aH becomes -o due to sandhi.
so, 'putraH bhavati' becomes 'putro bhavati'


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