Home > India 2012 > Goddess of Learning (no, not me!)

Goddess of Learning (no, not me!)

There she is when you enter R.S. Kinsagara School, sitting on a lotus, playing her veena, holding a book, and looking right at you. When we arrived, there were a few sticks of incense burning at her feet. Some teachers take off their shoes and take a few minutes to do devotions in front of her before going on to their classrooms. Saraswati sets quite a tone.

Going through the doors to her right and left, one enters an open area that leads to a large courtyard. Here’s part of it being prepared by housekeeping staff for the morning assembly. 

At 7:10, children start pouring in. They’re wearing uniforms, and under the direction of prefects, they arrange themselves into lines and rows very close together. Soon the entire space is filled with high school students. I took a video that I hope to share with a little help from the home tech team (can’t insert it from the mobile devices in my travel kit, but I’ve shipped it to Pakis). The statue is of Swami Vivekananda, a famous 19th/early20th century Hindu teacher. (That description doesn’t begin to do him justice, but I’ll avoid going into a barely informed account of his philosophy and impact. Look him up–he’s cool!). Here’s a closeup that also shows the children running in.

A student opened the assembly in a very formal, well prepared speaking style, and she invited the head of school, known as Kiran Sir, to come forward. He asked everyone to close their eyes and then proceded to lead a mass meditation complete with OMs. Afterwards the student speaker invited several other students and faculty members to come forward. A victory by the debate team was recognized (sounded familiar!), a student did a recitation in Gujarati, the national anthem was sung in Hindi, and then Kiran sir delivered what I’d call a sermon on the subject of guru. I asked students later how they felt about these morning assemblies, and they were convincingly positive. I found it extraordinary and uplifting. Every speaker was polished, clear, and dignified. I really hope to share some video from this event. If it works, I’ll put it in a separate post so that you won’t miss it.

All of this represents the first half hour of my time at R.S. Kinsagara School. More soon.

Categories: India 2012
  1. July 7, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Did you get the impression that basically of the students were Hindu, or where their a few Muslims or other faiths mixed in? I’m curious as the impression of the morning meditation time from the perspective of a non-Hindu student.

    Your discription of the morning sounds wonderful!

  2. Deborah Marion
    July 7, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Tina, this is extraordinary! As a meditator and yoga practitioner, I so wish we could introduce the concepts of inner reflection and stillness to the typical school day of American students. Since those mental states are associated with religious teachings in many cultures (and religions), I can see how selling these ideas would be difficult in US public schools. But self-knowledge doesn’t necessarily have to reflect the imposition of a religious belief system. And to see this being encouraged in private schools is inspiring. There are certainly some schools in the US that do this; the Friends Schools for one.

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