A school or any academic institution has been succinctly defined by an eminent educationist as a seat of wisdom, a light of the world, a minister of faith, and an alma mater of the rising generation. A true educational institution is a veritable haven for sincere and ardent seekers of knowledge and wisdom where students learn to live the noble ideal that the end of education is character and the end of wisdom is freedom.
In the days of yore, the entire course of an individual’s life span was likened to a retreat in which the individual progressed in four progressive stages of development – Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa, connoting the stages of learning, family and progeny, withdrawal and silent contemplation, and renunciation. The socio-cultural traditions were grounded on the bedrock of the four-fold motivated efforts or Purusharthas – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha meaning righteousness, commerce, aspiration and liberation. Conducting the commerce of life in a righteous manner, never wavering from the aspiration for liberation from the continuum of birth-death was the way of life of the people. In such a vibrant social system, children were initiated into the domain of learning from a tender age, within the precincts of the forest academies Gurukula where the young initiates lived with their teachers. The teachers were paragons of virtues and wisdom. The halo of total accomplishment crowned their personality. After attaining mastery over all the sciences and arts, they fervently prayed to be blessed with virtuous and deserving pupils to whom they could impart their knowledge gained through arduous penance, and thus sustain the teacher-taught tradition of Higher Learning guru-shisya parampara
Unfortunately, such a splendid value-oriented system of education comprising of both teaching and learning is now a far cry. Instead of individual perfection and excellence, students today are caught in a competitive rat-race for material success in terms of job placements, social security and economic prosperity. Educational institutions of any denomination today are profitable business enterprises. Even the scope of education has dwindled down to mere transferring of information to the students without any commitment for their inner transformation into good human beings.
Two types of fads are very much in vogue today. Firstly, parents prefer to get their children educated only in private schools most of which are no less than private business houses. Secondly, almost all parents regard it as a normal routine to send their children to private tutors for extra coaching and guidance. Both these trends are symptomatic of a real dearth of quality education in the true sense of the term. The country is dotted today with schools, colleges, universities, tutorials and training centers, where education is blatantly bartered for humungous monetary gains. Students carrying elephantine loads of books and stationary to their schools or to the tutorials are a common sight today. The other side of the truth is still more appalling. Economic deprivation compels countless number of promising students to remain at home and undertake menial chores to make a living instead of getting proper education and furthering their latent skills. Many parents cannot afford the exorbitant fees levied in standard schools.
“Education is for life and not for a mere living;
What liberates is education;
The end of education is character and the end of wisdom is freedom;
Students must become Vidyarthis – seekers of knowledge and not Vishayarthis- seekers of material desires”
these are the lofty maxims which are lived and practiced in all the schools, universities and colleges run by Organizations, Trusts, Foundations and Centres round the world that follow the teachings and tenets of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Prashanti Vidya Mandir is one such school which was founded in the year 1984 at the express command of Bhagawan to an ardent devotee from Sikkim. Bhagawan is the life and soul, inspiration and goal of this school. The school does not profess or represent any religious dogma, creed or cult since Bhagawan’s definition of dharma as the discovery of one’s true and innate nature transcends all the isms and schisms created by man in the name of religion. Prashanti Vidya Mandir is a residential school where the medium of instruction is English. Although the school follows the syllabi and text books prescribed by the Government, an extensive array of co-curricular programs combined with a value-oriented approach makes this school a unique centre of Higher Learning and Human Excellence.
PVM provides tuition free education in order to encourage children from all walks of life to avail of quality education. The school functions on the postulate that the individual student is the fulcrum of all its activities and existence, and the holistic development of the individual personality is its own only goal. Within it’s precincts), that children will learn the universal symbiosis between the head, heart and the hands. PVM is designed as an institution of perfection and excellence where the students are groomed up to emerge as self-starters endowed with the acumen to lead from the front.
A devout group of enterprising people endeavoured to found a Charitable Trust called SPACE, an ellipsis for Society for Promotion of Art, Culture, Education and Environmental Excellence way back in 1995 with its Head Quarters in Gangtok, Sikkim. Consisting of ardent followers of the Principles taught by Bhagawan, SPACE has now stepped forward to independently lend patronage and support to Prashanti Vidya Mandir. SPACE acquired a substantial tract of land measuring approximately 20 acres at Majitar Village. Hemmed in between the towns of Melli and Jorethang, Majitar is an idyllic location for a Centre of Human Excellence envisaged by SPACE as Dharma Nilayam or the Abode of Dharma. Establishing the School within the sylvan milieu of Dharma Nilayam is a flagship goal that SAPCE is endeavoring to realize with zest and determination.