Qualitative research methodologies: Ethnography


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

There are several methodological approaches commonly used by qualitative researchers in social sciences. Ethnography is the study of social interactions, behaviours, and perceptions that occur within groups, teams, organisations, and communities. Its roots can be traced back to anthropological studies of small, rural (and often remote) societies that were undertaken in the early 1900s, when researchers such as Bronislaw Malinowski and Alfred Radcliffe-Brown participated in these societies over long periods and documented their social arrangements and belief systems.

The word ‘ethnography’ is derived from the Greek ἔθνος (ethnos), meaning “a company, later a people, nation” and -graphy meaning “field of study”. Ethnographic studies focus on large cultural groups of people who interact over time. An ethnography is a means to represent graphically and in writing the culture of a group. The word can thus be said to have a double meaning, which partly depends on whether it is used as a count noun or uncountable. The resulting field study or a case report reflects the knowledge and the system of meanings in the lives of a cultural group..

Gerhard Friedrich Müller developed the concept of ethnography as a separate discipline whilst participating in the Second Kamchatka Expedition (1733–43) as a professor of history and geography. Whilst involved in the expedition, he differentiated Völker-Beschreibung as a distinct area of study. This became known as “ethnography,” following the introduction of the Greek neologism ethnographia by Johann Friedrich Schöpperlin and the German variant by A. F. Thilo in 1767. August Ludwig von Schlözer and Christoph Wilhelm Jacob Gatterer of the University of Göttingen introduced the term into the academic discourse in an attempt to reform the contemporary understanding of world history.[11][12]

Herodotus known as the Father of History had significant works on the cultures of various peoples beyond the Hellenic realm such as nations in Scythia, which earned him the title “Barbarian Lover” and may have produced the first ethnographic works.

Ethnography means trying to understand behavior and culture by going out and talking to and observing people wherever they are, while they’re doing whatever they do. It means entering someone’s world for a while, be it a couple of hours or a couple of days, or like our anthropological forefathers and foremothers, a couple of years.

Ethnography is a set of qualitative methods that are used in social sciences that focus on the observation of social practices and interactions. Its aim is to observe a situation without imposing any deductive structure or framework upon it and to view everything as strange or unique.

Ethnographic research is a qualitative method where researchers observe and/or interact with a study’s participants in their real-life environment. Ethnography was popularised by anthropology, but is used across a wide range of social sciences.

Within the field of usability, user-centred design and service design, ethnography is used to support a designer’s deeper understanding of the design problem – including the relevant domain, audience(s), processes, goals and context(s) of use.

Ethnography, as the presentation of empirical data on human societies and cultures, was pioneered in the biological, social, and cultural branches of anthropology, but it has also become popular in the social sciences in general—sociology, communication studies, history—wherever people study ethnic groups, formations, compositions, resettlements, social welfare characteristics, materiality, spirituality, and a people’s ethnogenesis. The typical ethnography is a holistic study[7][8] and so includes a brief history, and an analysis of the terrain, the climate, and the habitat. In all cases, it should be reflexive, make a substantial contribution toward the understanding of the social life of humans, have an aesthetic impact on the reader, and express a credible reality. An ethnography records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations, using concepts that avoid causal explanations.

The aim of an ethnographic study within a usability project is to get ‘under the skin’ of a design problem (and all its associated issues). It is hoped that by achieving this, a designer will be able to truly understand the problem and therefore design a far better solution

The central aim of ethnography is to provide rich, holistic insights into people’s views and actions, as well as the nature (that is, sights, sounds) of the location they inhabit, through the collection of detailed observations and interviews. As Hammersley states, “The task [of ethnographers] is to document the culture, the perspectives and practices, of the people in these settings. The aim is to ‘get inside’ the way each group of people sees the world.”

A major difference between ethnography and other types of research is the depth and intimacy of our work. We get up close and personal with our research participants. By spending time with people as they go about their daily lives, we develop a better understanding of the cultural .

Features of ethnographic research

  • The ethnographic method is different from other ways of conducting social science approach due to the following reasons:
  • An ethnographer conducting field interviews, Valašské muzeum v přírodě
  • It is field-based. It is conducted in the settings in which real people actually live, rather than in laboratories where the researcher controls the elements of the behaviors to be observed or measured.
  • It is personalized. It is conducted by researchers who are in the day-to-day, face-to-face contact with the people they are studying and who are thus both participants in and observers of the lives under study.
  • It is multifactorial. It is conducted through the use of two or more data collection techniques – which may be qualitative or quantitative in nature – in order to get a conclusion.
  • It requires a long-term commitment i.e. it is conducted by a researcher who intends to interact with people they are studying for an extended period of time. The exact time frame can vary from several weeks to a year or more.
  • It is inductive. It is conducted in such a way to use an accumulation of descriptive detail to build toward general patterns or explanatory theories rather than structured to test hypotheses derived from existing theories or models.
  • It is dialogic. It is conducted by a researcher whose interpretations and findings may be expounded on by the study’s participants while conclusions are still in the process of formulation.
  • It is holistic. It is conducted so as to yield the fullest possible portrait of the group under study.

It can also be used in other methodological frameworks, for instance, an action research program of study where one of the goals is to change and improve the situation.

Areas of Ethnography

Ethnography is most useful in the early stages of a user-centred design project. This is because ethnography focuses on developing an understanding of the design problem. Therefore, it makes more sense to conduct ethnographic studies at the beginning of a project in order to support future design decisions (which will happen later in the user-centred design process).

Ethnographic methods (such as participant observation) could also be used to evaluate an existing design – but their true value comes from developing an early understanding of the relevant domain, audience(s), processes, goals and context(s) of use.

We would normally recommend that ethnographic methods are used for very complex and/or critical design problems. More complex design problems (in terms of their domain, audience(s), processes, goals and/or context(s) of use) are likely to need the deeper understanding which ethnographic studies can bring. Equally, highly critical systems (where failure or error can lead to disaster) could also justify significant ethnographic research.

Ethnography as method

The ethnographic method is different from other ways of conducting social science approach due to the following reasons:

An ethnographer conducting field interviews, Valašské muzeum v přírodě

  • It is field-based. It is conducted in the settings in which real people actually live, rather than in laboratories where the researcher controls the elements of the behaviors to be observed or measured.
  • It is personalized. It is conducted by researchers who are in the day-to-day, face-to-face contact with the people they are studying and who are thus both participants in and observers of the lives under study.
  • It is multifactorial. It is conducted through the use of two or more data collection techniques – which may be qualitative or quantitative in nature – in order to get a conclusion.
  • It requires a long-term commitment i.e. it is conducted by a researcher who intends to interact with people they are studying for an extended period of time. The exact time frame can vary from several weeks to a year or more.
  • It is inductive. It is conducted in such a way to use an accumulation of descriptive detail to build toward general patterns or explanatory theories rather than structured to test hypotheses derived from existing theories or models.
  • It is dialogic. It is conducted by a researcher whose interpretations and findings may be expounded on by the study’s participants while conclusions are still in the process of formulation.
  • It is holistic. It is conducted so as to yield the fullest possible portrait of the group under study.
  • It can also be used in other methodological frameworks, for instance, an action research program of study where one of the goals is to change and improve the situation

Forms of ethnography:

Confessional ethnography; life history; feminist ethnography etc. Two popular forms of ethnography are realist ethnography and critical ethnography. (Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, 93)

Realist ethnography: is a traditional approach used by cultural anthropologists. Characterized by Van Maanen (1988), it reflects a particular instance taken by the researcher toward the individual being studied. It’s an objective study of the situation. It’s composed from a third person’s perspective by getting the data from the members on the site. The ethnographer stays as omniscient correspondent of actualities out of sight. The realist reports information in a measured style ostensibly uncontaminated by individual predisposition, political objectives, and judgment. The analyst will give a detailed report of the everyday life of the individuals under study. The ethnographer also uses standard categories for cultural description (e.g., family life, communication network). The ethnographer produces the participant’s views through closely edited quotations and has the final work on how the culture is to be interpreted and presented. (Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, 93)

Critical ethnography: is a kind of ethnographic research in which the creators advocate for the liberation of groups which are marginalized in society. Critical researchers typically are politically minded people who look to take a stand of opposition to inequality and domination. For example, a critical ethnographer might study schools that provide privileges to certain types of students, or counseling practices that serve to overlook the needs of underrepresented groups. (Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, 94). The important components of a critical ethnographer are to incorporate a value- laden introduction, empower people by giving them more authority, challenging the status quo, and addressing concerns about power and control. A critical ethnographer will study issues of power, empowerment, inequality inequity, dominance, repression, hegemony, and victimization.

Data collection methods

According to the leading social scientist, John Brewer, data collection methods are meant to capture the “social meanings and ordinary activities” of people (informants) in “naturally occurring settings” that are commonly referred to as “the field.” The goal is to collect data in such a way that the researcher imposes a minimal amount of personal bias in the data. Multiple methods of data collection may be employed to facilitate a relationship that allows for a more personal and in-depth portrait of the informants and their community. These can include participant observation, field notes, interviews, and surveys.

Interviews are often taped and later transcribed, allowing the interview to proceed unimpaired of note-taking, but with all information available later for full analysis. Secondary research and document analysis are also used to provide insight into the research topic. In the past, kinship charts were commonly used to “discover logical patterns and social structure in non-Western societies”. In the 21st century, anthropology focuses more on the study of people in urban settings and the use of kinship charts is seldom employed.

In order to make the data collection and interpretation transparent, researchers creating ethnographies often attempt to be “reflexive”. Reflexivity refers to the researcher’s aim “to explore the ways in which [the] researcher’s involvement with a particular study influences, acts upon and informs such research”. Despite these attempts of reflexivity, no researcher can be totally unbiased. This factor has provided a basis to criticize ethnography.

Traditionally, the ethnographer focuses attention on a community, selecting knowledgeable informants who know the activities of the community well.[16] These informants are typically asked to identify other informants who represent the community, often using snowball or chain sampling.[16] This process is often effective in revealing common cultural denominators connected to the topic being studied.[16]Ethnography relies greatly on up-close, personal experience. Participation, rather than just observation, is one of the keys to this process.[17] Ethnography is very useful in social research.

Ybema et al. (2010) examine the ontological and epistemological presuppositions underlying ethnography. Ethnographic research can range from a realist perspective, in which behavior is observed, to a constructivist perspective where understanding is socially constructed by the researcher and subjects. Research can range from an objectivist account of fixed, observable behaviors to an interpretive narrative describing “the interplay of individual agency and social structure.” Critical theory researchers address “issues of power within the researcher-researched relationships and the links between knowledge and power.”

Another form of data collection is that of the “image.” The image is the projection that an individual puts on an object or abstract idea. An image can be contained within the physical world through a particular individual’s perspective, primarily based on that individual’s past experiences. One example of an image is how an individual views a novel after completing it. The physical entity that is the novel contains a specific image in the perspective of the interpreting individual and can only be expressed by the individual in the terms of “I can tell you what an image is by telling you what it feels like.” The idea of an image relies on the imagination and has been seen to be utilized by children in a very spontaneous and natural manner. Effectively, the idea of the image is a primary tool for ethnographers to collect data. The image presents the perspective, experiences, and influences of an individual as a single entity and in consequence, the individual will always contain this image in the group under study.

Risks associated with Ethnography

As stated above, ethnographic studies consist of the researcher observing and/or interacting with subjects within the environment which the (future) design is intended to support. The two main potential weaknesses with ethnographic studies are:

Researcher-Ethnographic researchers need to be very highly-skilled to avoid all the potential pitfalls of an ethnographic study. Some of these include the detail & completeness of observations, as well as potential bias (and mistakes) in data collection or analysis.

Subjects-It is essential that any studies’ subjects are as true a representation of the larger user audience as possible (assuming that the study has been designed this way). It is also vital that the subjects are open and honest with the researcher. Of course, both of these issues are related to the quality of the researcher themselves and their role in the study’s design.

As we can see from the above, most of the risks associated with ethnographic studies relate to the researcher, either directly or indirectly. This, of course, means that the choice of ethnographic researcher is critical to a study’s success. We recommend choosing a researcher with a proven background of past involvement in successful projects across varying domains.

Advantages of Ethnography

One of the main advantages associated with ethnographic research is that ethnography can help identify and analyse unexpected issues. When conducting other types of studies, which are not based on in-situ observation or interaction, it can very easy to miss unexpected issues. This can happen either because questions are not asked, or respondents neglect to mention something. An ethnographic researcher’s in-situ presence helps mitigate this risk because the issues will (hopefully) become directly apparent to the researcher.

Ethnography’s other main benefit is generally considered to be its ability to deliver a detailed and faithful representation of users’ behaviours and attitudes. Because of its subjective nature, an ethnographic study (with a skilled researcher) can be very useful in uncovering and analysing relevant user attitudes and emotions.

It can open up certain experiences during group research that other research methods fail to cover.Notions that are taken for granted can be highlighted and confronted.

It can tap into intuitive and deep human understanding of and interpretations of (by the ethnographer) the accounts of informants (those who are being studied), which goes far beyond what quantitative research can do in terms of extracting meanings.

Ethnography allows people outside of a culture (whether of a primitive tribe or of a corporation’s employees) to learn about its members’ practices, motives, understandings, and values.

Disadvantages of ethnography

  • Access: Negotiating access to field sites and participants can be time-consuming and difficult. Secretive or guarded organizations may require different approaches in order for researchers to succeed.[45]
  • Bias: Ethnographers bring their own experience to bear in pursuing questions to ask and reviewing data, which can lead to biases in directions of inquiry and analysis.
  • Deep expertise is required: Ethnographers must accumulate knowledge about the methods and domains of interest, which can take considerable training and time.
  • Descriptive approach: Ethnography relies heavily on storytelling and the presentation of critical incidents, which is inevitably selective and viewed as a weakness by those used to the scientific approaches of hypothesis testing, quantification and replication.
  • Duration and cost: Research can involve prolonged time in the field, particularly because building trust with participants is usually necessary for obtaining rich data.
  • Sensitivity: The ethnographer is an outsider and must exercise discretion and caution to avoid offending, alienating or harming those being observed.
  • subjects may not act naturally during a short study. Longer studies normally counter-act this because the subjects grow to trust the researcher and/or get tired of any pretence.

We would generally recommend that an ethnographic approach may be suitable for the early stages of a user-centred project that deals with a particularly complicated or critical design challenge. This is because ethnographic methods allow a particularly deep understanding of a design problem’s domain, audience(s), processes, goals and context(s) of use. These ethnographic methods can also be very useful in discovering and exploring previously unknown issues.

Perhaps the most critical decision within an ethnographic study is the choice of ethnographic researcher. This individual will design, conduct and analyse the study’s findings – so it is essential that they have the skill and experience to make sure the study is representative, accurate and fair.


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Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

India In Indian religions moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष mokṣa “liberation”) or mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति “release”) is the liberation from samsara, the [[cycle of deat] and rebirth]

The concept of Moksa is perhaps the biggest idea in man’s quest of happiness. Sri Ramashankar Bhattacharya says that the science of Moksa is an experimental science of mental power. The history of human existence is a history of endless effort to eliminate sorrow and attain happiness. This is human nature. But we do not get what we want. We are a miserable lot. Death alone is the full-stop to our sufferings. But if we accept this idea of death, it would mean a tragic blow to the sense of human adventure, freedom and effort. We cannot be satisfied with less than immortality. More than that, Immortality must be accompanied by joy. This state of eternal joy bereft of all sufferings is regarded as Moksa or liberation. This liberation in itself seems to be a purely negative idea; but since the search for absolute freedom involves the search for ultimate purpose of the life of the individual (Parama Purusartha), there is a positive aspect also.

As the goal of all existence, moksha is the ultimate purpose behind Hindu religious beliefs and practices and is conceptually a form of Hindu salvation/liberation. Moksha is an important element in all faith traditions of Indian origin. The Buddhist view of nirvana, the state of liberation from suffering, is similar to moksha, and Hindus view nirvana as the state a person enters into after achieving moksha. Jainism shares the Hindu view of moksha with the caveat that all karmas, even good, must be annihilated prior to attaining moksha since karma necessitates consequences. Hindu Dvaita conception of moksha.

Right from the time we are born as human beings and till the time we die, all of us remain chained to our deeds and, therefore, to sorrow. Moksha is liberation from all sorrow and attainment of enlightenment. Moksha has been talked in Hindu religion as the final goal of life. Moksha is liberation from all sorrow and attainment of enlightenment Moksha in Hindu religion refers to liberation from the cycle of births and deaths as human life is believed to be one full of pains and sufferings

It means liberation from the cycle of births and deaths to escape from the harsh realities of life that is full of sorrows. It is through truth alone that man can attain liberation from reincarnation and all the pain and suffering that every human being is subjected to in all his lives. It is when a human soul realizes that it is just a part of the larger soul or is being that an individual attains liberation or Moksha. The soul of an individual is referred to as atman while the soul of the Supreme Being is referred to as paramatman. It is when atman vanishes into paramatman that one is said to have attained Moksha.

Moksha is the liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth known as samsara. As such, moksha is the ultimate goal of Hindu religious practice. The believer achieves moksha through self-realization. It is the highest pursuit (Moksa eva paramapurusartha). The genesis of the idea of Moksa is traced in “the endeavor of man to find out ways and means by which he could become happy or at least be free from misery”, as in the state of `sound sleep’.

In Hindu traditions, moksha is a central concept and included as one of the four aspects and goals of human life; the other three goals are dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), and kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment). Together, these four aims of life are called Puruṣārtha in Hinduism.

Moksha is the liberation from rebirth or samsara.This liberation can be attained while one is on earth (jivanmukti) or eschatologically (karmamukti).The idea of samsara originated with new religious movements in the first millenniumBCE. These new movements saw human life as bondage to a repeated process of rebirth.

In some schools of Indian religions, moksha is considered equivalent to and used interchangeably with other terms such as vimoksha, vimukti, kaivalya, apavarga, mukti, nihsreyasa and nirvana. However, terms such as moksha and nirvana differ and mean different states between various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The term nirvana is more common in Buddhism, while moksha is more prevalent in Hinduism.

Liberation. In Indian religions and Indian philosophy, moksha, also called vimoksha, vimukti and mukti, means emancipation, liberation or release. In the soteriological and eschatological sense, it connotes freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. In the epistemological and psychological sense, moksha connotes freedom, self-realization and self-knowledge.

Some similar words

Mokugyo A wooden fish, also known as a Chinese temple block is a wooden percussion instrument. The wooden fish is used by monks and lay people in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. A wooden drum carved from one piece, usually in the form of a fish, also known as a Chinese temple block or Mokugyo, is a wooden percussion instrument. It is often used during rituals usually involving the recitation of sutras, mantras, or other Buddhist texts. The wooden fish is mainly used by Buddhist disciples in China, Japan, Korea, and other East Asian countries where the practice of Mahayana, such as the ceremonious reciting of sutras, is prevalent. In most Zen/Ch’an Buddhist traditions, the wooden fish serves to keep the rhythm during sutra chanting. In Pure Land Buddhism, it is used when chanting the name of Amitabha. The Taoist clergy has also adapted the wooden fish into their rituals. Mondo In Zen, a short dialogue between teacher and student. The Mondō is a recorded collection of dialogues between a pupil and a Rōshi (a Zen Buddhist teacher). Zen tradition values direct experience and communication over scriptures. (Some teachers go so far as to instruct their pupils to tear up their scriptures.) However, sometimes the mondō acts as a guide on the method of instruction. One example of a non-Buddhist mondō is the Sokuratesu-no-mondō, the Japanese translation of the “Socratic method”, whereby Socrates asked his students questions in order to elicit the innate truth from assumed facts.

Nirvana Nirvana is a concept in Buddhism that is believed to be the end of all sufferings.Nirvana in Buddhism is believed to be a state of mind that is attained when one reaches enlightenment. It is a state of mind when human emotions become stable, and the feelings or emotions get dissolved. It is also called enlightenment as the founder of the religion himself attained. Nirvana is the highest individual attainment in the life of an individual and a state of mind where all pain, hatred, greed, desire etc. melt and dissolve. These are the feelings or emotions that are believed to be at the root of all the pain and suffering that a human being goes through. It is when there is inner awakening the individual realizes what reality is. This is when a person has become a Buddha, the enlightened one.

Concept of Moksha in Indian Philosophy

The theoretical rationale behind the concept of mukti is based on two basic ideas. First God is the giver of salvation to the worshipper if the worshipper obeys his commandment & surrender.

The other idea is man by own effort attains to salvation by his good works. “Ramanuj’s marjar theory. Where the off spring is taken to a different place by the mother cat (self surrender). Other is markat theory (were monkey the off spring stick to mothers stomach to be carried to another place. Man by his own good work attains to heaven this is also what the natural religious propagate against revealed religions.

Not only we have two different theories one based on faith of surrender and other based on self effort but what is Moksha is also very differently defined by some of our schools of philosophy.

“The nature of moksha differs widely, as conceived in the various systems. It may generally be represented as achieving self-perfection, and it will suffice for the present to draw attention to but one point about it.

While some Indian thinkers maintained that could be achieved in this very life (jivanmukti). This distinction persists in the age of the systems also. But whether here or elsewhere, the ideal of moksha is assumed in all the systems to be actually attainable. It may, or course, be held that a goal like self-perfection is never actually reached, but is significant only in so far as its deliberate choosing and its persistent pursuit are concerned.

Broadly, there are two different approaches to the conception of liberation in Indian Philosophy :

(1) The Materialistic Conception of Moksa of the Carvakas, and

(2) The Non-materialistic Conception :

(a) Positive Conception – Vedanta & Jainism.

 Salokya – Residing in the world of God (Vaikuntha) = Ramanuijists.

 Sampya – Blessed fellowship = Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha, Caitanya etc.

 Sarupya – Becoming like God in Nature and Form = Gita.

 Sayujya – Becoming one with God = Advaita Vedanta.

(b) Negative Conception : Buddhism

.  Nirodha – Cessation of suffering = Nyaya-Vaisesikas & Mimamsakas.

 Uccheda – Nihilism = Madhyamika Buddhism.

(c) Neutralistic Conception :

 Samkhya

 Yoga. But some of the Buddhists texts, and some Naiyayikas and Mimasakas go so far as to prove a positivistic conception of liberation


The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. The Vedas are a large body of religious texts originating in the ancient Indian subcontinent. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apaurueya, which means “not of a man, superhuman” and “impersonal, authorless” The Vedas are a collection of hymns and other ancient religious texts written in India between about 1500 and 1000 BCE. It includes elements such as liturgical material as well as mythological accounts, poems, prayers, and formulas considered to be sacred by the Vedic religion. Vedas are also called Shruti (“what is heard”) literature, distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called Smirti (“what is remembered”). The Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, and texts that have been more carefully preserved since ancient times In the Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma. The Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis (sages), after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot.

In Vedas it is clearly shown that the “Atman” and “Brahmann” are two synonyms terms. If we see fou mahavakyas (important quotes) of Vedas, they are “Ahm bramhasmi”, “Ayamatma Brahmann” “Tattvamasi” and “Pragyanam Bramhan, they all Indicates knowing pure form of Atman as Brahman is the chief aim of human life. “The diversity given in everyday experience may only be an appearance of Brahmann and therefore false, as different school of thought interpreters it differently.

According to one school, it is not the whole of truth, unity also is equally real. And yet it appears to be the sole truth, owing to an inveterate habit of our mind which should be traced to our ignorance (avidya) of the ultimate reality. This is what is meant by Maya-the power or the principle that conceals from us the true character of reality. When maya functions it hide bramhan and it presents what is not real. If ignorance is the cause of birth and rebirth than Jnan is the only way to obtain moksha. The ignorance may be regarded as negative, as it gives rise to a misapprehension, making us see the manifold world where there is Brahmann and only Brahmann.”

The goal of life is to overcome this congenital ignorance, by attaining full enlightenment or jnan. The enlightened state is called release or moksha. It is attaining one’s true selfhood in Brahmann “Moksha is infinite peace, freedom from sorrow, eternal bliss. Extinction of desire is extinction of sorrow. Realization of the Atman extinguishes sorrow.

Moksha is merging of the individual soul in Brahmann”. The central theme of Vedas is soul+bramhan is one. one+one=1. (As two drop of water unites with another two drop ,is still be one drop ) Bramhan+Atman= Bramhan. moksha here means achieving which is already there and leaving which is not there. “The self (Atman) is spoken of in one place as the essence of the world, and when we trace the idea in the Brahmanns and the Aranyakas we see that Atman has begun the mean the supreme essence in man as well as in the universe, and has thus approached the great Atman , “we are all divinities”

The self transcends both the knower and the known. As it cannot be differenced from anything else , it is infinite like space, but as it is without dimensions, it may equally well be called a point. This lay behind all successional existence, and the realization of union with it brought deliverance from the samsara”. “Observation of the physical world suggested cycles of origin and decay; the dawn was reborn daily, and this rebirth (punarbhava) was the mythological statement of the maxim that whatever has a beginning in time must also have an end. Connection with material form (however refined) thus involved production and dissolution, where re-death (punarmrityu) corresponded to rebirth.

As Vedas consist of two parts poorva mimansa (Karmkand) & Uttarmimansa. (jnankand). Vedas are more concerned about karma. The continuity of the product of a man’s life is explained in the doctrine of the ‘deed’ (karma). Every deed was regarded as producing something; it had a value, and this value remained even when the physical form of the agent and the external content of the action disappeared.

Accordingly it was laid down that ‘the deed does not perish’ (karma na kshiyate, )Death conveyed each person into a new environment of happiness or suffering suitable to Bramhasmi, Tattvamasi etc. It means, I am that- that I am, realizing it is moksha. In the Rig Veda, we find the concept of Maya which is – which is not.

The ignorance is the cause of births and rebirths. When with the help of ‘Tap’ the ajnan is destroyed and jnan shines, that is moksha. “Moksha is infinite peace, freedom from sorrow, eternal bliss. Extinction of desire is extinction of sorrow. Realization of the Atman extinguishes sorrow. Moksha is merging of the individual soul in him, which dispels avidya and appearance of the world ,In some books like Ramayan and Mahabharat even the god’s are under the law of karma therefore the law of karma is supreme.


The Upanishads a part of the Vedas, are ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism. Etymologically, the name Upanishad is composed of the terms upa (near) and shad (to sit), meaning something like “sitting down near”. The name is inspired by the action of sitting at the feet of an illuminated teacher to engage in a session of spiritual instructions, as aspirants still do in India today. The Upanishads are a collection of texts of religious and philosophical nature, written in India probably between c. 800 BCE and c. 500 BCE, during a time when Indian society started to question the traditional Vedic religious order. More than 200 Upanishads are known, only 14 are considered to be the most important. The names of these Upanishads are: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhadaranyaka, Svetasvatara, Kausitaki, Mahanarayana and the Maitri of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main (mukhya) Upanishads. The mukhya Upanishads are found mostly in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas

The early Upanishads all predate the Common Era, in all likelihood pre-Buddhist (6th century BCE),down to the Maurya period. Of the remainder, 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktika canon, composed from about the last centuries of 1st-millennium BCE through about 15th-century CE. New Upanishads, beyond the 108 in the Muktika canon, continued to be composed through the early modern and modern era, though often dealing with subjects which are unconnected to the Vedas.

In Upanishad teachings knowing the true nature of self or Atman as bramhan is moksha. Moksha in Upanishads is freedom from bondage. Avidya is bondage vidya is moksha. Vidya is knowledge of Brahman and Atman as one and in all creatures, moksha is becoming bramha (Bramha Bhavna) becoming all (sarva bhavna) vision of the self of the universe (ek atma darsana) it is complete autonomy (svarajya) or freedom (ananda).

It is clearly mentioned in Upanishads that knowing ourselves as bramhan is the only way of liberation or moksha .It is said in Shevatashvar “He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman. This is the secret teaching. Only by knowing it can one cross the ocean of birth and death; there is no other way of liberation.”  It is said in Mundaka “The eye does not go there, nor does speech, nor does mind we cannot know it. We cannot teach it. Also just as rivers, leaving their names and forms, merge in the ocean, so a wise man, arising above name and form, becomes one with the absolute.

In the Chhandogya Upanishad there is a dialogue between Uddalak and Svetketu. The father teaches his sons Svetketu in the beginning sat alone was without a second. Sat thought “may I be many” then it evolved itself in to this manifold world, thou, O Svetaketu! art that, tat tvam asi, Svetketu. This teaching blends the subject with the object the inhabitable with the infinite the microcosm with the macrocosm, the self with the not self, None of them can be taken as independent and separate both are relative terms and like the two sides of the same coin, both are manifestations of the same sat


The Bhagavad Gita bhagavad-gita, lit. “The Song of God”, often referred to as the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (chapters 23–40 of the 6th book of Mahabharata).The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Indian text that became an important work of Hindu tradition in terms of both literature and philosophy. Although it is normally edited as an independent text, the Bhagavad Gita became a section of a massive Indian epic named “The Mahabharata”, the longest Indian epic, consisting of 18 brief chapters and about 700 verses: this is the section known as the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna.

Gita teaches that by fulfilling his class function to the best of his ability, with devotion to God and without personal ambition, a man can find salvation, whatever his class. The teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita are summed up in the maxim ‘your business is with deed and not with the result’

. In the, Gita, we find that the status of souls is that of different fragments or sparks of God; hence Moksa must be the unity with Purusottam-indeed a blissful state. However, it must be sameness of nature (Sadharmya) with God, and not Identity (Sarupya).

But in the Upandisads, as in the Advait Vedanta, the realization of Oneness with God is the ideal of man, which is a state of ecstasy and rapture, a joyous expansion of the soul. The supreme experience is freedom, and the word jnana is employed to refer to both the goal of the adventure as well as the path leading to it.

On account of this confusion some have been led to think that jnana as a path is superior to the other methods of approach, and that cognition alone persists, while the other elements of emotion and will fall out in the supreme state of freedom. There does not seem to be any justification for such an opinion. Freedom or moksa is unity with the supreme self. The freed soul is beyond all good and evil. Virtue is transcended in perfection. The mukta rises above any mere ethical rule of living to the light, largeness and power of spiritual life. Even if he should have committed any evicts which would in ordinary circumstances necessitate another birth on earth no such thing is necessary. He is freed from ordinary rules and regulations.


Jainism, founded about the 6th century bce by Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th in a succession of religious leaders known either as Tirthankaras(Saviours) or as Jinas (Conquerors), rejects the idea of God as the creator of the world but teaches the perfectibility of humanity, to be accomplished through the strictly moral and ascetic life. In Jainism, moksa and nirvana are one and the same.When a soul (atman) achieves moksa, it is released from the cycle of births and deaths, and achieves its pure self. It then becomes a siddha (literally means one who has accomplished his ultimate objective).Attaining Moksa requires annihilation of all karmas, good and bad, because if karma is left, it must bear fruit.

The ultimate goal of Jainism is for the soul to achieve liberation through understanding and realization. This is accomplished through the supreme ideals in the Jain religion of nonviolence, equal kindness, reverence for all forms of life, nonpossessiveness, and through the philosophy of non-absolutism (Anekäntväd).

Jains believe in the philosophy of karma, reincarnation of worldly soul, hell and heaven as a punishment or reward for one’s deeds, and liberation (Nirvän or Moksha) of the self from life’s misery of birth and death in a way similar to the Hindu and Buddhist beliefs .

The Jain philosophy believes that the universe and all its entities such as soul and matter are eternal (there is no beginning or end), no one has created them and no one can destroy them. Jains do not believe that there is a supernatural power who does favor to us if we please him. Jains rely a great deal on self-efforts and self-initiative, for both – their worldly requirements and their salvation. Jains believe that from eternity, the soul is bounded by karma and is ignorant of its true nature. It is due to karma soul migrates from one life cycle to another and continues to attract new karma, and the ignorant soul continues to bind with new karma.

To overcome the sufferings, Jainism addresses the path of liberation in a rational way. It states that the proper Knowledge of reality, when combined with right Faith and right Conduct leads the worldly soul to liberation (Moksha or Nirvän). One can detach from karma and attain liberation by following the path of Right Faith (Samyak-darshan), Right Knowledge (Samyak-jnän), and Right Conduct (Samyak-chäritra) Moksa, the last of the Jaina moral categories, is the gist of Karma-phenomenology and its relation to the Science of the Soul.

Mukti is total deliverance of the Soul from karmic-veil – Sarvavarnavimuktirmuktih. As Umasvami says, Moksa is the total and final freedom from all Karmic-matter; in other words, the non-existence of the cause of bondage and the shedding of all the Karmas. Asrava is the influx of the Karma-particles into the Soul. This influx is caused by the actions of the body, speech and mind.

As the Karmic inflow is the principle of bondage and its stoppage is a condition of Moksa, so Samvara is opposite to Asrava. Samvara literally means controlling. But Samvara only arrests fresh-flow of karma-particles. What we require is not only stoppage of the fresh-flow, but also dissipation of the old one.

This shedding or dissipation called Nirjara is possible by austerities. Umasvami has used two prefixes – VI (Visesarupena), PRA (Prakrstarupena) in defining Moksa, meaning thereby that Moksa is the total and exhaustive dissolution of all karmic particles, which is the condition of omniscience. The Agamic verse “sukhamatyantikarm yatra” etc. admits the experience of eternal bliss in the state of Mukti. “It is the safe, happy and quiet place which is reached by the great sages.” Jaina claim for attaining a state of eternal happiness in the state of Moksa faces a serious dilemma. If it is a product (of spiritual Sadhana), it is non-eternal, and if it is not such a product, it must be conceded that either it is constitutional and inherent or at least impossible of attainment.

So the very conception of Jaina Self and bondage makes the enjoyment of eternal happiness well-nigh impossible. This might be a logical objection. But the Jaina idea of Moksa is one of Infinite Bliss, which follows from the Doctrine of Four-fold Infinities of the Soul.

The Doctrine of Constitutional Freedom and Four-fold Infinities holds that the Jivas possess four-infinities (ananta catustaya) inherently, which are obscured by the veil of four Ghatia (destructive) Karmas. but the Jaina doctrine of Constitutional Freedom of the Soul and the Four Infinities presents a difficulty. All the doctrines, of Moksa-Sadhana then seem to be quite meaningless. Bondage and Moksa are both phenomenal, not real.

As Samkhya-Karika says – “Of certainity, therefore, not any (Spirit) is bound or liberated.” We think that the Soul is constitutionally free. But this freedom cannot be manifested without spiritual discipline. This is in consonance with the Jaina doctrine of Satkaryavada which makes a distinction between the Manifest and the unmanifest. The Jainas work out a scheme of `manifestation’. The logic is simple. If what is non-existent cannot be produced, the effect is existent even before the operation of the cause. Jivan-Mukti and Videha-Mukti : The Jainas, recognize the existence of Jivana-Mukti together with Videha-Mukti. Jainas, believe in release through the dawn of wisdom and the annulement of nescience, Jivana-Mukti is the one and only legitimate concept.

Mukti refers to the soul, not to the body; and the dissolution of the body is neither an inevitable pre-condition nor an integral feature of Mukti.” Mosha literally means `release’, release of the soul from eternal fetters of Karma. Nirvana (Buddhist) is derived from the Pali root `nibuttu’, which means `blowing out’. However, instead of taking it in a metaphorical sense of `blowing out’ of passions etc., it is taken in the literal sense of extinction.

The Jiva attains Moksa when he is free from the snares of Karma (Karma-phala-vinirmuktah moksa). The Moksa is either Bhava (Objective) or Dravya (Subjective). When the soul is free from four Ghatiya Karmas (Jnanavaraniya), Darsnavaraniya, Mohaniya, Vedaniya), it is Bhava Moksa; and when it is free from Aghatiya Karmas (Nama, Ayu, Gotra, Antaraya), it is Dravya-Moksa. After freedom from Aghatiya Karmas (action-currents of non-injury), the Soul attains a state of never ending beatitude. A person attains the state of Omniscience when Mohaniya (Deluding), Jnanavaraniya (Knowledge-obscuring), Darsanavaraniya (Faith-obscuring) and Antaraya (Obstructive) karmas are destroyed. After the attainment of Kevala-Jnana a person is free from all kinds of Karmas and attains final liberation.

The Soul comes into its own and regains infinite knowledge, infinite bliss and infinite power. When the Jiva attains freedom, it rises higher and higher and reaches the summit of Lokakasa which is called Siddha-Sila (Region of the Free and Liberated). It may be pointed out that this is a new conception. Jaina concept of Dharma and Adharama (Medium of motion and rest), present in each object, leads us to think that there must be a fixed state where the motion must stop. Moksa in Jainism is not something new. It is a rediscovery of man himself through self-realization.

True happiness lies within. `Look within’ is what Jainism says. “Self-realization is the ideal of systems such as Nyaya-Vaisesikas and the Samkhya too.” Advaita-Vedanta also is a philosophy of self-realization par-excellence. The Karma-phenomenology of the Jainas is the realistic and the externalistic approach.

Constitutional freedom of the soul is a logical necessity. This is simple Satkaryavada. Madhavacharya commenting on Jainism concept of Moksha, writes in his book Sarvadharma Sangrih:- “Asrava is the source of bondage and the thing which covers it is sanvar. Infiltration of karma is bondage and separating from them is moksha, when eight type of karmas destroyed one attains moksha.

By the jain philosophy it seems that evil exists somewhere outside man and soul draws evil. Like a peace of iron drawn to itself by peace of magnet. Some people collects good karma (Punya) in their inner feelings (sanvar) and some destroys bad karmas (Pap) nirjara. Person who gets four things jnan, darshan, Veerya and sukkha is not bound and soul whose eight karmas are destroyed gets infallible liberation”.


Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, He came to be called “the Buddha,” which means “awakened one,” after he experienced a profound realization of the nature of life, death and existence. He taught that awakening comes through one’s own direct experience, not through beliefs and dogmas. Instead of teaching doctrines to be memorized and believed, the Buddha taught how we can realize truth for ourselves. The focus of Buddhism is on practice rather than belief. The major outline of Buddhist practice is the Eightfold Path. The Buddha discouraged his followers from indulging in intellectual disputation for its own sake, which is fruitless, and distracting from true awakening. Nevertheless, the delivered sayings of the Buddha contain a philosophical component, in its teachings on the working of the mind, and its criticisms of the philosophies of his contemporaries. According to the scriptures, during his lifetime the Buddha remained silent when asked several metaphysical questions. These regarded issues such as whether the universe is eternal or non-eternal (or whether it is finite or infinite), the unity or separation of the body and the self, the complete inexistence of a person after Nirvana and death, and others.

In Buddhism the concept of liberation is Nirvana.It is referred to as “the highest happiness” and is the goal of the Theravada-Buddhist path, while in the Mahayana it is seen as a secondary effect of becoming a fully enlightened Buddha (Samyaksambuddha).

Buddhism nirvana means “going out” i.e. to mean complete nothingness. Nirvaan is often compared with the extinction of the flam of a lamp. As oil of lamp consumed the flame of lamp ends. Similarly when the desires and the passions consumed a person obtains nirvana.

According to Buddha’s third and fourth Nobel truths are (iii) there is cessation of suffering & (iv) there is a way leading to this cessation of suffering this state is called Nirvaan. In the state of nirvana, False individuality that disappeared while the true being remains as the rainbow is a mixture of fact and imagination, so is individuality a combination of being and non being.

“Buddha does not attempt to define nirvaan, since it is the root principle of all and so is indefinable. It is said that in nirvana, which is compared to deep sleep, the soul loses its individuality and lapses into the objective whole”, “The individual consciousness enters into a state where all relative existence is dissolved. It is the silent beyond. In one sense it is self extinction in another absolute freedom”. According to fourth nobel truth right knowledge is the means of removing evil. Avidya or false knowledge is accepted as cause of evils as we have seen in upanisiadic philosophy also.

Buddha does not believe in existence of soul, then Nirvaan only means going out of the chain of births & rebirths and ending in to nothingness or going out of existence. Buddha has rightly used the world nirvaan which means blowing out”. The Buddhist notion of nirvana is not annihilation as some scholars described it. In the Therarada tradition it is realization of the state of perfect peace and in the Mahayana it is realization of perfect bliss. It is described as “amatapadam.” Nirvana is deliverance from suffering and suffering is symbolic representation of imperfection of life.

“According to Buddha cessation of avidya (false knowledge) & its works happen not of “Nirvaan” or “Mukta”. In the Upanishads the adjectives which sages have used for Atman (pure self), Buddha has used for nirvaan. Atman is neti-neti, Nirvaan is also defined by negative terms. Atman & nirvaan are beyond the range of senses & intellect and it is anirvachniya (unelectable). Neti-Neti negates matters related with Atman, not of Atman, negative terms negates matters related with Nirvaan not of nirvaan. Atman & nirvaan both are calm. Complete cessation of avidya is accepted in both Atman & Nirvaan”.

In Buddhism the main thrust is on universal salvation rather than individual. For example Buddha preach “O Monks, move around for the well being of every one, for the happiness of every one showering compaction on the entire world, for the good for the welfare, for the happiness of divine and human.18 Buddha insisted on sangha jivan. He prescribed the practice of bramhaam vihars and advocated yog sutra of patanjali. He advocated the pursuit of pragyan and practice of sila some time Buddha says Nirvaan is freedom from psychophysical wants and mundane existence.


Samkhya, also Sankhya, Sāṃkhya, or Sāṅkhya (Sanskrit: सांख्य, : sāṃkhya – ‘enumeration’) is one of the six schools of classical Indian philosophy. Sage Kapila is traditionally considered as the founder of the Samkhya school, although no historical verification is possible. It is regarded as one of the oldest philosophical systems in India.This is the most significant system of philosophy that India has produced.” Professor Garbe, who devoted a large part of his life to the study of the Sankhya, consoled himself with the thought that “in Kapila’s doctrine, for the first time in the history of the world, the complete independence and freedom of the human mind, its full confidence in its own powers, were exhibited When we study sankhya we don’t find concept of moksha as stated in other schools of Indian philosophy. According to sankhya salvation is only phenomenal since bondage does not belong to purush. Bondage and release refers to the conjunction and the disjunction of purusha and prakriti resulting from non-discrimination and discrimination. Prakriti does not bind the purusha but itself in various shapes. Kapila is once a realist and a scholastic. He begins almost medically by laying it down, in his first aphorism, that “the complete cessation of pain … is the complete goal of man.” He rejects as inadequate the at- tempt to elude suffering by physical means; he refutes, with much logical prestidigitation, the views of all and sundry on the matter, and then proceeds to construct, in one unintelligibly abbreviated sutra after another, his own metaphysical system. It derives its name from his enumeration of the twenty-five Realities (Tattivas, “Thatnesses”) which, in Kapila’s judgment, make up the world. Broadly, the Samkhya system classifies all objects as falling into one of the two categories: Purusha and Prakriti.

The Samkhya recognizes only two ultimate entities, Prakriti and Purusha. While the Prakriti is a single entity, the Samkhya admits a plurality of the Purushas. Unintelligent, unmanifest, uncaused, ever-active, imperceptible and eternal Prakriti is alone the final source of the world of objects which is implicitly and potentially contained in its bosom. The Purusha is considered as the intelligent principle, a passive enjoyer (bhokta) and the Prakriti is the enjoyed (bhogya). Samkhya believes that the Purusha cannot be regarded as the source of inanimate world, because an intelligent principle cannot transform itself into the unintelligent world. It is a pluralistic spiritualism, atheistic realism and uncompromising dualism.

To understand the concept of moksha according to Samkhya system oh philosophy we must understand that the Sankhya system is an exponent of an evolutionary theory of matter beginning with primordial matter. In evolution, Prakriti is transformed and differentiated into multiplicity of objects.

Evolution is followed by dissolution. In dissolution the physical existence, all the worldly objects mingle back into Prakriti, which now remains as the undifferentiated, primordial substance. This is how the cycles of evolution and dissolution follow each other. Tis concept provides the base of mukti which accordingly is the final stage of evolution. Sankhya theorizes that Prakriti is the source of the world of becoming. It is pure potentiality that evolves itself successively into twenty four tattvas or principles.

The evolution itself is possible because Prakriti is always in a state of tension among its constituent strands -

* Sattva – a template of balance or equilibrium;

* Rajas – a template of expansion or activity;

* Tamas – a template of inertia or resistance to action.

The Mukti obeys causality relationships, with primal Nature itself being the material cause of all physical creation. The cause and effect theory of Sankhya is called Satkaarya-vaada (theory of existent causes), and holds that nothing can really be created from or destroyed into nothingness – all evolution is simply the transformation of primal Nature from one form to another. The evolution of matter occurs when the relative strengths of the attributes change. The evolution ceases when the spirit realizes that it is distinct from primal Nature and thus cannot evolve. This destroys the purpose of evolution, thus stopping Prakrti from evolving for Purusha. Same may raise a question about jivanmukta that when he had attain moksha why he has to suffer for his bad deeds? The writer of the Sankhya Karika has explained it that as the wheel of the pot maker continues to move after the potter has taken away the completed pot because of its previous speed and stops automatically after some time. According to samkhya philosophy complete cessation of suffering is liberation of moksha.

According to Samkhys, consciousness is not a mere quality but the soul’s very essence. The soul is pure, eternal and immutable. Hence it is not blissful consciousness (ananda svarupa) or stream of consciousness (caitanya pravaha) or material consciousness (caitanya-deha-visita). The Self (Purusa) of Samkhya remains untouched either by joy or sorrow, migration, bondage and liberation.

Bondage and liberation are phenomenal. The latter requires the formal and final cessation of all the three kinds of sufferings without a possibility of return. This neutral and colorless state of Kaivalya is again an unattractive picture with no appeal to the aspirant.


Yoga is Practice of Meditation and Samadhi for Renunciation, Self Discipline for Self Realization The Yoga system of philosophy was founded by Patanjali. He authored the Yoga Sutras or the aphorisms of Yoga. This system explains the practical process of heart purification which may qualify the individual to experience the absolute Divine. Yoga is literally, a yoke: not so much a yoking or union of the soul with the Supreme Being, as the yoke of ascetic discipline and abstinence which the aspirant puts upon himself in order to cleanse his spirit of all material limitations, and achieve supernatural intelligence and powers. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yug, which meant “TO UNITE“. The yoga system provides a methodology for linking up individual consiousness with the Supreme Being. Various schools of yoga systems are: Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma yoga, Ashtanga Yoga (practical application of Sankhya Philosophy), etc. The Yoga system of philosophy accepts three fundamental realities, namely, Ishwara, Purusha and Prakriti or the primordial matter. Patanjali says that scriptures are the sources of the existence of Ishwara. Ishwara is omniscient and is free from the qualities inherent in Prakriti. Patanjali defines Yoga as ‘Chittavriitinirodha’. Yoga is the restraint of the mental operations. Patanjali names some obstacles to the path of Yoga. Explain the practical process of heart purification which may qualify the individual to experience the absolute Divine. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yug, which meant “TO UNITE“. The yoga system provides a methodology for linking up individual consiousness with the Supreme Being. Various schools of yoga systems are: Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma yoga, Ashtanga Yoga (practical application of Sankhya Philosophy), etc.

The Yoga system of philosophy accepts three fundamental realities, namely, Ishwara, Purusha and Prakriti or the primordial matter. Patanjali says that scriptures are the sources of the existence of Ishwara. Ishwara is omniscient and is free from the qualities inherent in Prakriti. Patanjali defines Yoga as ‘Chittavriitinirodha’.

Yoga is the restraint of the mental operations. Patanjali names some obstacles to the path of Yoga. They are called ‘Antarayas’ and they include:

 Vyadhi (illness),

 styana (apathy),  Samsaya (doubt),

 Pramada (inadvertence),  Alasya (laziness),

 Avirati (incontinence),  Bhrantidarshana (wrong understanding)

,  Alabdha Bhumikatva (non-attainment of mental plane)

 Anavasthitatva (instability).

In addition to the obstacles mentioned above, Patanjali accepts five more obstacles called: 1) Dukha (pain),

2) Daurmanasya (frustration,

3) Angamejayatva (fickle limbs),

4) Svasa (spasmodic breathing in)

5) Prasvasa (spasmodic breathing out).

Patanjali speaks about Jatyantara Parinama or the phenomenon of the evolution of one species or genus into another species or genus. Matter is the root of ignorance and suffering; therefore Yoga seeks to free the soul from all sense phenomena and all bodily attachment; it is an attempt to attain supreme enlightenment and salvation in one life by atoning in one existence for all the sins of the soul’s past incarnations.

Such enlightenment cannot be won at a stroke; the aspirant must move towards it step by step, and no stage of the process can be understood by anyone who has not passed through the stages before it; one comes to Yoga only by long and patient study and self-discipline. The stages of Yoga are eight:

I. Yama, or the death of desire; here the soul accepts the restraints of ahmsa and Brahmacharia, abandons all self-seeking, emancipates itself from all material interests and pursuits, and wishes well to all things.

II. Niyama, a faithful observance of certain preliminary rules for Yoga: cleanliness, content, purification, study, and piety.

III. Asana, posture; the aim here is to still all movement as well as all sensation; the best asana for this purpose is to place the right foot upon the left thigh and the left foot upon the right thigh, to cross the hands and grasp the two great toes, to bend the chin upon the chest, and direct the eyes to the tip of the nose.

IV. Pranayama, or regulation of the breath: by these exercises one may forget everything but breathing, and in this way clear his mind for the passive emptiness that must precede absorption; at the same time one may learn to live on a minimum of air, and may let himself, with impunity, be buried in the earth for many days.

V. Pratyahara, abstraction; now the mind controls all the senses, and with- draws itself from all sense objects.

VI. Dharana, or concentration the identification or filling of the mind and the senses with one idea or object to the exclusion of everything else. The fixation of any one object long enough will free the soul of all sensation, all specific thought, and all selfish desire; then the mind, abstracted fromthings, will be left free to feel the immaterial essence of reality .

VII. Dhyana, or meditation: this is an almost hypnotic condition, resulting from Dharana; it may be produced, says Patanjali, by the persistent repetition of the sacred syllable Om.

VIII. Samadhi, or trance contemplation; even the last thought now disappears from the mind; empty, the mind loses consciousness of itself as a separate being; it is merged with totality, and achieves a blissful and god- like comprehension of all things in One.

Nevertheless it is not God, or union with God, that the yogi seeks; in the Yoga philosophy God (Ishvara) is not the creator or preserver of the universe, or the rewarder and punisher of men, but merely one of several objects on which the soul may meditate as a means of achieving concentration and enlightenment. The aim, frankly, is that dissociation of the mind from the body, that removal of all material obstruction from the spirit, which brings with it, in Yoga theory, supernatural understanding and capacity.

In the days of the Upanishads, Yoga was pure mysticism an attempt to realize the identity of the soul with God. In Hindu legend it is said that in ancient days seven Wise Men, or Rishis, acquired, by penance and medi- tation, complete knowledge of all things.

In the later history of India Yoga became corrupted with magic, and thought more of the power of miracles than of the peace of understanding. The Yogi trusts that by Yoga he will be able to anesthetize and control any part of his body by concentrating upon it; he will be able at will to make himself invisible, or to prevent his body from being moved, or to pass in a moment from any part of the earth, or to live as long as he desires, or to know the past and the future, and the most distant stars.

There are four forms of yoga, which can be used to realize supreme reality which leads to moksha:

There are four forms of yoga, which can be used to realize supreme reality which leads to moksha:

1) Bhakti, the way of devotion

2) Karma, the way of action

3) Jnana, the way of knowledge

4) Raja, the eightfold or eight-limbed path of the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali

Yoga explain the practical process of heart purification which may qualify the individual to experience the absolute Divine.

Patanjali say in his yog sutra that cessation of avidhya is moksha or kevalya. By the purusharth (efforts) of man qualities (satva, Rajas & tamas) becomes nil, means, it goes there from where it came (pratiprasav).

Chitishakti (Atman) knows and enjoys its own form is kaivalya. According to patanjali after attaining kaivalya man has no rebirth alike baked seeds as they cannot grow again when they are baked. It is explained by Madhavacharya in his book Sarvadarshan Sangrih,

Kaivalya state is explained as absolute independence. It is not a mere negation but is the eternal life of purusha when it is freed from prakriti.

Avidya is earlier explained as the cause of bondage of purusha. It can be destroyed by true knowledge. When one acquires true knowledge of self, all false notions disappears. In this state it remains untouched by worldly affairs.

In yoga philosophy we get the concept of jivan mukta also. “The disciple in the form of Samadhi remains conscious (as shown by its description as samprajnat) of having attained the discriminative knowledge which is the means to release, but in the next step (asamprajnat) he transcends it and the condition has been described as sleepless sleep. As in sleep, one becomes here oblivious of the world and even of his own existence. As an individual but yet it is not a blank since. Purusha exists then with its effulgence all un obscured.

In this final stage, all operations of the internal organs are suspended and spirit returns to itself, so to speak. The disciple than becomes a jivanmukta. In the stage of jivanmukta the fruit of good and bad actions which has already ripened has to suffer by the sage. It is the cause by the sage when attained true knowledge and is yet suffering mundane life in order to experience the karma that is already ripened. (tisthati samsakaravasat akrabraivaddhrtasarirah).

Similarly, in Yoga, freedom is absolute isolation of Matter from self. It is only when we can effect a cessation of the highest principle of matter (citta = mahat = Buddhi) that the state of absolute isolation and redirection of our consciousness is possible of matter (citta = mahat = Buddhi) that the state of absolute isolation and redirection of our consciousness is possible.

However, there is clear ambivalence in Samkhya doctrine of release in so far as it says “it is the spirit (Purusa) that is to obtain release, and yet the apparently predominant characterization of spirit is such that it is impossible that it should either be bound or released.” Unlike Samkhya-Yoga, the Self in Sankara is not only consciousness but also blissful consciousness.

Unlike Samkhya-Yoga and Nyaya-Vaisesika, what is needed is an intuition of identity instead of an intuition of difference. Unlike Purva-Mimamsa, Moksa in Advaita Vedanta is not only destruction of individual’s relation with the world (Prapanca-sambandhavilaya), but dissolution of the world itself (Prapanca-vilaya). Ramanuja believes that there is both identity and difference between God and Man. Man’s body and soul are real. The soul’s is not pure and impersonal consciousness, but a thinking substance with consciousness as its essential attribute.

Hence, Moksa is not self-annulment in the absolute, but a self-realization through self-surrender and self-effacement – the supreme satisfaction of religious emotion. The liberated soul is not God, but neither is he separated from His all-comprehensive existence. This is Sayujya-bhakti (unitive devotion).

To Madhva, the distinction between God and Self is real. Though the Jiva is absolutely dependent upon God, he is active and dynamic. Hence, Moksa is `blessed fellowship’ and not a mere identification. Thus in the state of Mukti, there is not only the utter absence of pain but also the presence of positive bliss. To Nimbarka, with whom the soul is both different and non-different from God (Bhedabheda), complete submission results in both God-realization and self-realization which is endless joy and bliss.

Suddhadvaita school of Vallabh regards the relation between God and Soul as that of whole and part. Duality and distress go together. The moment the soul is one with God, we get final release which is utter bliss. To other Vaisnavites like Sri Caitanyadeva, Jaideva, Vidyapati, Candidasa etc., to whom the ultimate reality is love and grace, liberation means love through divine grace. Bhakti is Mukti.


Nyaya by Sage Gautam is Logical Quest of Supreme, Phases of Creation, Science of Logical Reasoning The first of the “Brahmanical” systems in the logical order of Indian thought is a body of logical theory extending over two millenniums. Nyaya means an argument, a way of leading the mind to a conclusion. One of the six DARSHANS (orthodox systems) of Indian philosophy, important for its analysis of logic and epistemology and for its detailed model of the reasoning method of inference. Like other darshans, Nyaya is both a philosophy and a religion; its ultimate concern is to bring an end to human suffering, which results from ignorance of reality. It recognizes four valid means of knowledge: perception, inference, comparison, and testimony. It is called Nyaya because it is constituted of five “laws” – Pratijna, Hetu, Udaharana, Upanaya, Nigamana. Nyaya includes formal logic and modes of scientific debate. It explains the logical constructs like antecedent and laws of implying. It expounds various modes of scientific debate and methods for debate, like tarka, vitanda, chala, jalpa and so on. The Nyāya school of Hindu philosophy has had a long and illustrious history, Nyāya went through at least two stages in the history of Indian philosophy. At an earlier, purer stage, proponents of Nyāya sought to elaborate a philosophy that was distinct from contrary darśanas. At a later stage, some Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika authors (such as Śaṅkara-Misra, 15th cent. C.E.) became increasingly syncretistic and viewed their two schools as sister darśanas. As well, at the latter stages of the Nyāya tradition, the philosopher Gaṅgeśa (14th cent. C.E.) narrowed the focus to the epistemological issues discussed by the earlier authors, while leaving off metaphysical matters and so initiated a new school, which came to be known as Navya Nyāya, or “New” Nyāya. Our focus will be mainly on classical, non-syncretic, Nyāya. Its most famous text is the Nyaya Sutra. The sutras are divided into five chapters, each with two sections. , 10 ahnikas and 528 sutras. It accepts 4 pramanas and 16 padarthas. According to Nyaya, midhya jnana (nescience) causes sansara and tatva jnana (gnosis) brings liberation.The work begins with a statement of the subject matter, the purpose, and the relation of the subject matter to the attainment of that purpose.

The ultimate purpose is salvation—i.e., complete freedom from pain—and salvation is attained by knowledge of the 16 categories:

1) means of valid knowledge (pramana);

2) objects of valid knowledge (prameya);

3) doubt (samshaya);

4) purpose (prayojana);

5) example (drishtanta);

6) conclusion (siddhanta);

7) the constituents of a syllogism (avayava)

; 8) argumentation (tarka); 9) ascertainment (nirnaya);

10) debate (vada);

11) disputations (jalpa);

12) destructive criticism (vitanda);

13) fallacy (hetvabhasa);

14) quibble (chala); 15) refutations (jati);

16) points of the opponent’s defeat (nigrahasthana).

Gautama announces, as the purpose of his work, the achievement of Nirvana, or release from the tyranny of desire, here to be reached by clear and consistent thinking; but we suspect that his simple intent was to offer a guide to the perplexed wrestlers in India’s philosophical debates. He formulates for them the principles of argument, exposes the tricks of controversy, and lists the common fallacies of thought. “Upvarg or liberation is absolute cessation of pain and rebirth. Commenting on nyay concept of moksha. “liberation is the complete extinction of the special qualities of the soul viz. cognition, pleasure, pain, desire, aversion, volition, merit, demerit and impression.

The soul is free from cognition in the state of liberation. Cognition is produced by the intercourse of a sense organ with an object, the conjunction of manas with the soul. But the body, the sense organs and manas are destroyed in liberation. So there can be no cognition in it.

In liberation the soul is devoid of merits and demirts and consequently free from pleasure and pain”. According to nyaya Ignorance is the root of all suffering and rebirth and only complete knowledge (jnana) of the true nature of things will bring aparvarga or deliverance. Error is thus seen to be the cause of pain and eradication of error is the goal of man.

Moksha is not the destruction of self but only of bondage In the nyaya philosophy preexistence is proved by the logic that there must be a future where we can experience the fruits of our deeds and past to account for the difference in our lots in the present. According to Vatsayayan. The commentator on nyaya sutra. “The fruition of all one’s act comes about in the last birth preceding release”.

Nyaya philosophy does not accept joy (anand) in the state of liberation it says liberation is release- from pain. Radhakrishan commenting on nyaya view of moksha “It is defined negatively as the cessation of pain and not as the enjoyment of positive pleasure for pleasure is always tainted with pain it is caused as much as pain”.

Uddgotakara another commentator on nyaya sutra urges that if the released soul is to have everlasting body, since experiencing is not possible with out the bodily mechanism. The state of mukti is neither a state of pure knowledge nor of bliss but a state of perfect qualitylessness in which the self remains in itself in its own purity.

The nyay vaishesika tradition uses the terms moksha, upavarg and nihsreyasa to the state of perfection. Upavarg may be understood as going beyond the trivargas of darma, artha and kama comprehending them after their fulfillment nihsreyasa can also be understood in the some way as discussed earlier. Through tatvajnana (knowledge of real) at there is atmalabh (self realization) but divine grace is also helpful. Perhaps this is the first school of philosophy which educates the grace of god and somewhat reflection on the concept of law of karma. “According to nyaya moksha is not self transcendent pain & pleasure but all its specific qualities that is devoid at thought, feeling and will. Moksha thus becomes a condition of perfect gloom from which there will be no reawaking”.


As Gautama is the Aristotle of India, so Kanada is its Democritus. The founder of Vaisheshik philosophy is known to us by the name of his theory “Kanaad” (atom eater, or atom theorist), because he was the first person in the world (460-370 BC) to propound the atomic theory of matter. According to this theory, God has created different substances from several basic atoms of matter. This philosophy is very close to the Nyaaya philosophy. Vaisheshika system was formulated not before 300 B.C., and not after 800 A.D. Its name came from vishesha, meaning particularity: the world, in Kanada’s theory, is full of a number of things, but they are all, in some form, mere combinations of atoms; the forms change, but the atoms remain indestructible. Thoroughly Democritean, Kanada announces that nothing exists but “atoms and the void,” and that the atoms move not according to the will of an intelligent deity, but through an impersonal force or law Adrishta, “the invisible.” Kanada Vaiseshika darsana has 10 chapters, 20 ahnikas, 370 sutras. It accepts 2 pramanas (criteriafor verifiability) and 7 padarthas. Vaiseshika is one of the earliest darsanas hypothesised. According to it, atma-manas contact causes the nine Gunas – buddhi, sukha, dukha, iccha, dvesha, prayatna, dharma, adharma, sanskara. This is the samsara for atman. Realising this and separating mind from atman so that the Gunas get dissolved and do not arise again, is Moksha. This is possible through satkarma, sravana, manana and so on.

According to Vaiseshika darsana, Guna-nasha forever is moksha. According to Vaishashik absolute cessation of all the pain is liberation. Atman does karma due to false knowledge. Karma (action) is the source of all Pap (Sin) and Punya (auspicious). When Atman gets true knowledge it stops action. Now pap, punya & karma worn out then soul separates from body & mind and realizes its own nature. In moksha the liberated soul retain its own peculiar individuality and particularity and remains as it is knowing nothing, feeling nothing, doing nothing.

The concept of moksha in the schools of vaisheshika and nyay is not different. Like, Nyaya, the Self in Vaisesikas has cognitions of things when it is connected with the body. So it is only when the soul is free from the qualities (either pleasure or pain) produced by contact with name and form (atmavisesa gunanama atyantocchedah), or as Sridhara would say navnama atmavisesa gunasnama atyantocchgedah Moksa, that liberation is possible. It is the absolute destruction of nine specific qualities of the Self. To save this view from the charge that Moksa comes perilously near the unconscious condition of a pebble or a piece of stone, the Vaisesikas propound a doctrine of Inherent Felicity in the state of Moksa.


Sanskrit mīmāṁsā, literally, reflection, investigation, from manyate he thinks. It is an orthodox Hindu philosophy concerned with the interpretation of Vedic texts and literature and comprising one part dealing with the earlier writings concerned with right practice and another part dealing with the later writings concerned with right thought —called also Purva Mimamsa, . Meemaansaa philosophy is attributed to sage Jaimini (c 350 BC). Its author, Jaimini, protested against the disposition of Kapila and Kanada to ignore, while acknowledging, the authority of the Vedas. The human mind, said Jaimini, is too frail an instrument to solve the problems of metaphysics and theology; reason is a wanton who will serve any desire; it gives us not “science” and “truth,” but merely our own rationalized sensuality and pride. The road to wisdom and peace lies not through the vain labyrinths of logic, but in the modest acceptance of tradition and the humble performance of the rituals prescribed in the Scriptures. Meemaansaa is also basically atheistic.

Mimamsakas, regard the soul as eternal and infinite, with consciousness as its adventitious attribute, dependent upon its relation to the body. It survives death to reap the consequences of action. Since the Mimamsaka school belongs to the ritualistic period of the Vedic culture, the final destiny of an individual is regarded as the attainment of heaven – the usual end of rituals (Svarga kamoyajete). But latter on, the idea of heaven is replaced by the idea of liberation for they realized that we have to fall back to the earth as soon as we exhaust our merit. The concept of heaven was indeed a state of unalloyed bliss (at least temporary).

But the state of liberation is free from pleasure and pain, since consciousness is an adventitious quality of the Soul. It proclaims that the Soul does not die with the body, but passes from the body of the dead to the body of the one to be born.

The purpose of the migration of the Soul is to reap the rewards and punishments of the deeds of the previous lives to which it was attached. An Individual Soul can attain liberation from rebirth by means of knowledge and performance of duties. Knowledge alone will not help attain liberation. It is necessary not only to perform worldly duties, but also to perform religious rituals prescribed by Vedas.

Prabhakara holds that Self itself can only be cognized by mental perception. Or at the time of salvation there being none of the senses nor the manas the self remains in pure existence as the potency of knowledge without any actual expression or manifestation. So the state of salvation is the state in which the self remains. Devoid of any of is not characteristic qualities such as pleasure, pain, knowledge, willing, etc. , for the self itself is not knowledge nor is it bliss or ananda ; but these are generated in it by its energy and the operation of the senses. The self being divested of all its senses at that time, remains as a mere potency of the energy of knowledge, a mere existence. To Prabhakaras, Moksa is the realization of the Moral Imperative as duty (Niyoga-siddhi).

To Kumarila, it is the “Soul’s experience of its own intrinsic happiness with complete cessation of all kinds of misery,” which is very much like the Advaitic conception. The general conception of Bhattas is the realization of intrinsic happiness (atmasaukhyanubhuti). Parthasarathi Misra and Gagabhatta deny this. Narayanabhatta, Bhattasarvajna and Sucaritra Misra clearly admit the element of happiness in the state of Mukti, since to them, Soul is consciousness associated with ignorance (Ajnanopitacaitanyatmavada) during embodied existence.

Moksha is brought about when a man enjoys and suffers the fruits of this good and bad actions and thereby exhausts them and stops the further generation of new effects by refraining from the performance of kamya-karmas (sacrifices etc. performed for the attainment of certain beneficent results) and guarantees himself against the evil effects of sin by assiduously performing the nitya-karmas .This state is characterized by the dissolution of the body and the non-production of any further body or rebirth. Jaimini and Sabara pointed the way to a life in heaven, but not to freedom from samsara.

But according to Prabhakara, liberation consists in the total disappearance of dharma and adharma, whose operation is the cause of rebirth. It is defined as “the absolute cessation of the body, causes by the disappearance of all dharma and adharma. The individual, finding that in samsara pleasures are mixed up with pain, turns his attention to liberation. Mere knowledge cannot give us freedom from bondage, which can be attained only by the exhaustion of action. Knowledge prevents further accumulation of merit and demerit. Evidently the followers of Prabhakara do not regard karma by itself as sufficient for effecting release. Liberation is the cessation of pleasure as well as of pain. It is not a state of bliss, since the attributeless soul cannot have even bliss. Moksa is simply the natural form of the soul.

According to kumarila, moksa is the state of Atman in itself, free form all pain,asserts that liberation cannot be eternal unless it is of a negative character. Parthasarathi also holds that the state of release is one of freedom from pain, and not enjoyment of bless. Kumarila, however regards moksa as a positive state the realization of the Atman, and this comes very near to the Advaita view. He thinks that knowledge is not enough for liberation. He believes that release can be attained through karma combined with jnana.


Sanskrit Vedānta, literally, end of the Veda, from Veda +anta end; akin to Old English ende end First Known Use: 1788. One of the six orthodox systems (darshans) of Indian philosophy and the one that forms the basis of most modern schools of Hinduism. Its three fundamental texts are theUpanishads, the Bhagavadgita, and the Brahma Sutras, which are very brief interpretations of the doctrine of the Upanishads. Several schools of Vedanta have developed, differentiated by their conception of the relationship between the self (atman) and the absolute (Brahman). They share beliefs in samsara and the authority of the Vedas as well as the conviction that Brahman is both the material and instrumental cause of the world and that the atman is the agent of its own acts and therefore the recipient of the consequences of action Vedant philosophy was first expounded by Baadaraayan in c 650 BC. In his book Vedaant Sootra, also called “Brahm Sootra”. Baadaraayan claims that he has not put anything new – all was only the summary of Upanishadik teachings – but the claim does not seem to be totally justified.. There are three main approaches in Vedanta:

 Shankara’s strict non-duality (advaita)

 non-duality with qualifications (such as Ramanuja’s vishishtadvaita)

 duality (Madhva’s dvaita) Each contain their own view on the concept of moksa, or liberation, that is consistent with their philosophies; however, all three schools remain loyal to the overall understanding and worship of Brahman, and claim to hold the truths in reference to the Upanishads.


According to the Advaita (non-dual) school of Hindu thought, this self-realization comes through the recognition that one’s atman (self) is one and the same as Brahman—the pure, absolute reality comprising the entire universe. In the Dvaita (dualistic) school of thought, true self-realization comes through attaining a loving union with the Supreme Being, often manifested in the form of a god such as Vishnu, while maintaining one’s own existential uniqueness. Advaita Hindus emphasize meditation and thoughtful action in achieving moksha, while Dvaita Hindus emphasize loving worship and devotion to a deity.

According to the Advaita-tradition moksha is achieved by removing avidya (ignorance) regarding our misidentification with the five koshasand mayad comes to an understanding that the observable world is unreal and impermanent, and that atman or consciousness is the only true existence.

Moksha is seen as a final release from illusion, and the knowledge (anubhava) of one’s own fundamental nature, which is Satcitananda. Advaita holds that Atman, Brahman, and Paramatman are all one and the same – the formless Nirguna Brahman which is beyond the being/non-being distinction, tangibility, and comprehension. Advaita focuses on the knowledge of Brahman provided by traditional Vedanta literature and the teachings of its founder, Adi Shankara.

Advaita Vedanta emphasizes Jnana Yoga as the ultimate means of achieving moksha, and other yogas (such as Bhakti Yoga) are means to the knowledge, by which moksha is achieved. Shankar has given us a theory of concept of maya (illusion) or adhyas (superimposition). According to advait vedant philosophy this world is adhyas of bramha it is not result of world is only illusion is real & changeless. Because of maya or avidhya (false knowledge) jiva comes in bondage. Pure soul or Atman is mixed with beginningless avidhya like milk & water in such away that the natures of both do not appear separate. Mind etc. are maya’s product but jiva believes that these are his attributes. It does not separate itself from it and does not feel its true form.

According to Shankar moksha is realization of one’s own true form which is eternal and which can not be seen because of maya or avidhya. Radhakrishnan commeting on Shankar’s view of avidhya & moksha. Writes “Moksha is a matter of direct realization of some thing which is existent from eternity, though it is hidden from our view when the limitations are removed the soul is liberated”. Avidhya, maya or adhyas is said to be the cause of bondage. Avidhya is beginningless but not eternal. By true knowledge (jnan) avidhya vanishes and one attains moksha according to my view, in shankars philosophy we do not find any state called moksha because knowing your own form is not a different state. “

According to Shankar “the freed soul assumes the form of his true self. Moksha is not the abolition of self but the realization of its infinity and absoluteness by the expansion and illumination of consciousness”.30 In Brahman sutra Shankar declares in many passages that the nature of liberation is as state of oneness with Brahman by moksha world as said earlier as maya or addhyas does not destroys but ones view according to world changes. It can be explained by an example when we watch a play, we know we are not the part of play we are just seer of the play. Same way after attaining jnan of one’s own self one becomes seer of the worldly affairs explained by Shankar as drishta.

Says Hiryanna “The individual self is Brahman itself, and its supposed distinction from it is entirely due to the illusory adjuncts with which it identifies itself”. According to Shankar moksha is oneness with Brahman. Here it means that the identity of the self with is not to be newly attained, it is already there and has only to be realized in one’s own experience.

The main idea of Shankar’s schools of philosophy about moksha is that the ultimate and absolute truth is the self which is one though appearing as many in different individuals. It is said in Upanishads “that art thou” tat-tvam-asi it means that he is truth. It is the state of advait (non-dualism) between and jiva “jivo Brahman aaiv na parah”. According to Shankar moksha means one attains one’s own form, in the state of salvation, the true form of self is “sat, chit, anand” its nature is truth which is unchangeable in all the course of time, which is consciousness and not jad and anandghan.

According to Shankar anand means a state of soul, where except anand no other state or feeling exists. Mandayk Upanishad says A Through knowledge of Brahman one becomes Brahman. Radhakrishna commencing on the Mandukya Upanisad writes, “samkara observes that the turiya or the fourth (intergral experience) is realized by merging the three others (waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep) in it. The highest includes the rest, while transcending them. The phrase used “prapancopasamam” means the sinking of the world in Brahman, and not its denial. We posess faculties capable of responding to orders of truth, the use of which would change the whole character of our universe. When we attain to the state of turiya, we shall have reality from another angle, lit by another light; only this angle and this light are absolute.


In Dvaita (dualism) traditions, moksha is defined as the loving, eternal union with God (Vishnu) and considered the highest perfection of existence.The bhakta (devotee) attains the abode of the Supreme Lord in a perfected state but maintains his or her individual identity, with a spiritual form, personality, tastes, pastimes, and so on. Dvaita explains that every soul encounters liberation differently, and each soul requires a different level of satisfaction to reach moksha.Dualist schools (e.g. Gaudiya Vaishnava) see God as the most worshippable object of love, for example, a personified monotheisticconception of Shiva or Vishnu.Unlike Abrahamic traditions,

Dvaita/Hinduism does not prevent worship of other aspects of God, as they are all seen as rays from a single source. The concept is essentially of devotional service in love, since the ideal nature of being is seen as that of harmony, euphony, its manifestessence being love.By immersing oneself in the love of God, one’s karmas (good or bad, regardless) slough off, one’s illusions about beings decay and ‘truth’ is soon known and lived.Both the worshiped and worshiper gradually lose their illusory sense of separation and only One beyond all names remains.


Ramanuja’s Vishistadvaita (qualified monism) states that Brahman makes up every being, and to find liberation one must give up his will to the Lord. Here too moksha is defined as the loving, eternal union with God (Vishnu)

Ramanuja insists that the karmas should be performed in an absolutely disinterested manner simply to please God. When the soul performs these actions, it will realize that only this performance con not lead to liberation. Hence it will turn towards the study of the Jnanakanda, the Vedanta, which teaches the nature of God, soul and matter. The soul will now realize that matter and souls qualify god who is their inner ruler, that they form the body of God who is the real soul.

Ramanuja admits that knowledge is the immediate cause of liberation, but this knowledge is real knowledge and not the ordinary verbal knowledge. Otherwise all those who studied Vedanta would obtain liberation. The real knowlege3e is identified by Ramanuja with the highest bhakti or devotion which is obtained by prapatti or self surrender and by constant remembrance of God as the only object of devotion (dhruva smrthi) which remembrance is also called pure meditation (upasana) or dhyana or nididhyasana (concentrated contemplation).

It is very important to note that constant meditaion itself is not the highest bhakti (which is the me thing as real jnana), but only a means to realize it. Enjoined actions (karma) and ordinary knowledge (jnana) are means to realize ordinary bhakti which may be indentified with prapatti or flinging oneself on the absolute mercy of God and with constant remembrance and contemplation of God called smrti, upsana or nidhyasana.

This ordinary bhakti which means prapatti and upasana is itself a means to realize the highest bhakti which is pure jnana or the immediate intuitive knowledge of God which is the direct cause of liberation and which dawns only by the grace (prasada) of God.

Salvation, according to Ramanuja, is not the disappearance of the self, but its release from the limiting barriers. For disappearance of the self will be the destruction of the real self (satyAtmanasa) . One substance cannot pass over into another substance. The released soul attains the nature of God, though not identity with him. It is egoity that is opposed to salvation, and not individuality.

For Ramanuja there is no Jivanmukti. One attains to fellowship with God after exhausting all karma and throwing off the physical body. In the state of release the souls are all of the same type. In the released condition the souls have all the perfections of the Supreme except in two pints. They are atomic in size, while the supreme spirit is all pervading. Though of atomic size, the soul can enter into several bodies and experience different worlds created by the Lord but it has no power over the creative movements of the world, which belong exclusively to Brahmann.

The Vishishtadvaita philosophy distinguishes two classes of the released: those who are intent on service to God on earth and so do it in heaven and those (kaivalins) who are altogether isolated from the rest, since they achieved their end by constant meditation on the real nature of their won soul. The picture of the heaven where the redeemed souls dwell is not much deferent form the usual description. It only differs in details of dress, custom and landscape from the paradise of the popular imagination. In his theory of moksa,Ramanuja does not do justice to the mystics, who thus hunger for becoming one with the supreme.

The most significant point of agreement among the various schools of Indian philosophy is the recognition of liberation or release (Moksha) from the cycle of rebirths as the highest of human ends or values. The Indians generally speak of four values-artha, kama, dharma and moksa. Of these, the first two, which respectively mean “wealth” ahnd “pleasure”, are secular or purely worldly values. The other two, may, in contrast, be described as spiritual.


;  Chandradhar Sharma, Bhartiya darshan, Alochan Aur Anushilan,

 Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, Vol.II, edited by J. M. Baldwin, mackmilan & co.  Hiryanna, The essential of Indian philosophy,

 Jadunath Sinha, History of the Indian philosophy

,  Jadunath Sinha, History of the Indian philosophy,

 Madhvacharya, Sarvadarshan Sangrih,  Mundaka Upanishad

 Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy,

 S. R. bhatt, History of science, philosophy and culture in Indian civilization,

 Shevatashvar Upanishad-

 Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian philosophy,

 Surendranath Dasgupta, A history of Indian philosophy,.

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Mathematics Laboratory and Lab Method -Activity Oriented Pedagogy in Mathematics Teaching


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Mathematics as a subject is indispensable in the development of any nation with respect to science and technology since mathematics itself is the language of science. In this 21st century where virtually all attentions are shifted towards technological advancements and the mathematics education into the 21st century project is waxing stronger in objectively achieving all its goals in which mathematics is a veritable tool.

The past fifteen years has witnessed wide-spread activity relative to new mathematics curricula for elementary, junior high, and high school pupils. New school mathematics differ very little from old ones as far as subject matter is concerned. Only a few old topics have been de-emphasized and only a few new topics have been added. The chief difference between the old and the new is the point of view toward mathematics. Now there is an equal emphasis on an understanding of the basic concepts of mathematics and their interrelationships, i.e., the structure of mathematics.

The concept of a mathematics laboratory has become very popular in recent years. The phase has blossomed in to popularity so fast that the variety of meanings which have been attributed to it all are struggling to co-exist.

Mathematics laboratory is a room wherein we find collection of different kinds of materials and teaching/learning aids, needed to help the students understand the concepts through relevant, meaningful and concrete activities. These activities may be carried out by the teacher or the students to explore the world of mathematics, to learn, to discover and to develop an interest in the subject.

As defined by Adenegan (2003), the mathematics laboratory is a unique room or place, with relevant and up-to-date equipment known as instructional materials, designated for the teaching and learning of mathematics and other scientific or research work, whereby a trained and professionally qualified person (mathematics teacher) readily interact with learners (students) on specified set of instructions.

The functions of mathematics laboratory

Thus, as highlighted by Adenegan (2003), the functions of mathematics laboratory include the followings: – Permitting students to learn abstract concepts through concrete experiences and thus increase their understanding of those ideas. – Enabling students to personally experience the joy of discovering principles and relationships.

  • Arousing interest and motivating learning.
  • Cultivating favorable attitudes towards mathematics.
  • Enriching and varying instructions.
  • Encouraging and developing creative problems solving ability.
  • Allowing for individual differences in manner and speed at which students learn.
  • Making students to see the origin of mathematical ideas and participating in “mathematics in the making”
  • Allowing students to actually engage in the doing rather than being a passive observer or recipient of knowledge in the learning process.

Design and general layout.

A suggested design and general layout of laboratory which can accommodate about 30 students at a time. The schools may change the design and general layout to suit their own requirements.

Physical Infrastructure and Materials

It is envisaged that every school will have a Mathematics Laboratory with a general design and layout with suitable change, if desired, to meet its own requirements. The minimum materials required to be kept in the laboratory may include all essential equipment, raw materials and other essential things to carry out the activities included in the document effectively. The quantity of different materials may vary from one school to another depending upon the size of the group.

Human Resources

It is desirable that a person with minimum qualification of graduation (with mathematics as one of the subjects) and professional qualification of Bachelor in Education be made in charge of the Mathematics Laboratory. He/she is expected to have special skills and interest to carry out practical work in the subject. It will be an additional advantage if the in charge possesses related experience in the profession. The concerned mathematics teacher will accompany the class to the laboratory and the two will jointly conduct the desired activities. A laboratory attendant or laboratory assistant with suitable qualification and desired knowledge in the subject can be an added advantage.

Time Allocation for activities.

It is desirable that about 15% – 20% of the total available time for mathematics be devoted to activities. Proper allocation of periods for laboratory activities may be made in the time table.

List of materials used in the mathematics laboratory

  • Broom sticks
  • Chart papers, glazed papers, sketch pens.
  • Collage (Paper cutting & pasting)
  • Geo–board, rubber band
  • Graph paper
  • Paper folding
  • Pins & threads
  • Stationery
  • Transparency sheets, cello tape
  • Unit Cubes (wooden or any material)

General Pedagogy for Mathematic Lab usage

The  pedagogy must be developed in such a manner that it helps in the all round development of a learner at the same time it is easily understood by all. That is why, in developing the mathematics  pedagogy following must be specified -

  • Content to be made more relevant to the children’s life and experiences .
  • Effective approach of teaching learning process of the subject must be specified as activities based, learner centered, load free, stress free, enjoyable and effective.
  • It should be aimed at the learner’s 100% competency development and making her/ him a competent person covering her/his total mental growth, which can be, reflected in the day to day actions and whole life activities.
  • Mathematics Pedagogy must be more realistic, practical, useful, suitable and justified upto the learner’s mental ability according to its level rather than stereo type, theoretical and traditional.
  • Scope should be there for removing “fear psychosis” among the learners on the subject with proper instruction for creating interest and love for the subject.
  • Scope to be provided for the use of the essence of mathematics against the success of any type of programme at home as well as outside.
  • To make mathematics more understandable, enjoyable & permanently retained in the mind of the learner more use of fun and activities .

Mathematics lab can be maintained with the help of the community for spreading the message that there is no other subject like mathematics, which is so  interesting, enjoyable and useful and that nothing can be done in this world without mathematics.

Activities in the Math Lab

Activities in the Math Lab  have a great role in mathematics learning and developing various skills in solving problem as well as developing creative and logical thinking.  Activities in the Math Lab  is also a pure mathematics . The pedagogic value of activities in the Math Lab  is now widely recognized which in turn help the low achievers of mathematics and converting them into a lover of mathematics by removing fear-psychosis from their minds towards the subject. For a lover of mathematics, there is all beauty. One finds a huge treasure of pleasure after getting success in the solution of a Mathematics problem. It was the reason why Pythagoras sacrificed hundred oxen to the Goddess for celebrating his discovery of the theorem that goes by his name. In the same way, Archimedes had also forgotten his nakedness after discovering his principle.

The activities in the math’s lab should be appealing to a wide range of people, of different ages and varying mathematical proficiency. While the initial appeal is broad-based, the level of engagement of different individuals may vary. The maths lab activities listed here have been done with students and teachers of different grade levels. The activities are intended to give children an experience of doing mathematics and not merely for the purpose of demonstration.

List of activities

Thiyagumath in his blog ( thiyagumath.blogspot.com ) has suggested some interesting activities. Here is a list of activities for young mathematics students:

1A. To carry out the following paper folding activities:

Finding –

  • Bisector of an angle,
  • Median of a triangle.
  • Mid point of a line segment,
  • Perpendicular bisector of a line segment,
  • Perpendicular to a line at a point given on the line,
  • Perpendicular to a line from a point given outside it,

1B. To carry out the following activities using a geoboard:

  • Find the area of any polygon by completing the rectangles.
  • Find the area of any triangle.
  • Given an area, obtain different polygons of the same area.
  • Obtain a square on a given line segment.

2. To obtain a parallelogram by paper–folding.

3. To show that the area of a parallelogram is product of its base and height, using paper cutting and pasting. (Ordinary parallelogram and slanted parallelogram)

4. To show that the area of a triangle is half the product of its base and height using paper cutting and pasting. (Acute, right and obtuse angled triangles)

5. To show that the area of a rhombus is half the product of its diagonals using paper cutting and pasting.

6. To show that the area of a trapezium is equal to half the product of its altitude and the sum of its parallel sides and its height, using paper cutting and pasting.

7. To verify the mid point theorem for a triangle, using paper cutting and pasting.

8. To divide a given strip of paper into a specified number of equal parts using a ruled graph paper.

9. To illustrate that the perpendicular bisectors of the sides of a triangle concur at a point (called the circumcentre) and that it falls

  • Inside for an acute-angled triangle.
  • On the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle.
  • Outside for an obtuse-angled triangle.

10. To illustrate that the internal bisectors of angles of a triangle concur at a point (called the incentre), which always lies inside the triangle.

11. To illustrate that the altitudes of a triangle concur at a point (called the orthocentre) and that it falls

  • At the right angle vertex for a right angled triangle.
  • Inside for an acute angled triangle.
  • Outside for an obtuse angled triangle.

12. To illustrate that the medians of a triangle concur at a point (called the centroid), which always lies inside the triangle.

13A. To give a suggestive demonstration of the formula that the area of a circle is half the product of its circumference and radius. (Using formula for the area of triangle)

13B. To give a suggestive demonstration of the formula that the area of a circle is half the product of its circumference and radius. (Using formula for the area of rectangle)

14. 1) To verify that sum of any two sides of a triangle is always greater than the third side.

2) To verify that the difference of any two sides of a triangle is always less than the third side.

15. To explore criteria of congruency of triangles using a set of triangle cut outs.

16. To explore the similarities and differences in the properties with respect to diagonals of the following quadrilaterals – a parallelogram, a square, a rectangle and a rhombus.

17. To explore the similarities and differences in the properties with respect to diagonals of the following quadrilaterals – a parallelogram, a square, a rectangle and a rhombus.

18. To show that the figure obtained by joining the mid points of the consecutive sides of any quadrilateral is a parallelogram.

19. To make nets for a right triangular prism and a right triangular pyramid (regular tetrahedron) and obtain the formula for the total surface area.

20. To verify Euler’s formula for different polyhedra: prism, pyramids and octahedron.

21. Obtain length segments corresponding to square roots of natural numbers using graduated wooden sticks.

22. To verify the identity a3 – b3 = (a – b) (a2 + ab + b2), for simple cases using a set of unit cubes.

23. To verify the identity a3 + b3 = (a + b) (a2 – ab + b2), for simple cases using a set of unit cubes.

24. To verify the identity (a + b)3 = a3 + b3 + 3ab (a + b), for simple cases using a set of unit cubes.

25. To verify the identity (a – b)3 = a3 – b3 – 3ab (a – b), for simple cases using a set of unit cubes.

26. To interpret geometrically the factors of a quadratic expression of the type x2 + bx + c, using square grids, strips and paper slips.

27. To obtain mirror images of figures with respect to a given line on a graph paper.

The Mathematics Laboratory method

Though mathematics may deal with some abstractions. But, it is the mathematics teacher who should try to inculcate sufficient interest in the class room transaction so that the subject mathematics may not be treated as dull and tiresome. And the main tool to answer all these for converting mathematics into a loved and enjoyable subject to all is the curriculum and text book which directs the teacher to apply recreational activities for proper and effective mathematics learning.

The term “laboratory method” is commonly used today to refer to an approach to teaching and learning of mathematics which provides opportunity to the learners to abstract mathematical ideas through their own experiences, that is to relate symbol to realities.

Laboratory method of teaching mathematics is that method in which we try to make the students learn mathematics by doing experiments and laboratory work in the mathematics room or laboratory on the same lines as they learn sciences by performing experiments in the science rooms or laboratories. It is based on psychological principles of learning such as ‘learning by doing’, ‘learning by observation’ and so on. Laboratory method is quite competent to relate the theoretical knowledge with the practical base. This approach makes the learning process more interesting, lively and meaningful.

The success of the laboratory method depends on an able skilled mathematics teacher as well as the availability of a well-equipped mathematics laboratory.  According to J.W.A young “ a room specially filled with drawing instruments, suitable tables and desks, good black boards and the apparatus necessary to perform the experiment of the course is really essential for the best success of the laboratory method”.

Laboratory method is a teaching method which allowed the pupil to work with manipulative materials. As far as possible, the pupil has an active role to play. The usual pattern is 10 to have pupils manipulate physical objects, then describe a pattern or rule based on an inductive sequence

The Mathematics Laboratory method is a method of teaching whereby children in small groups work through an assignment/ taskcard, learn and discover mathematics for themselves. The children work in an informal manner, move around, discuss and choose their materials and method of attacking a problem, assignment or task.

  •   This method is based on the maxim “learning by doing.”
  •   This is an activity method and it leads the students to discover mathematics facts.
  •   In it we proceed from concrete to abstract.
  •   Laboratory method is a procedure for stimulating the activities of the students and to encourage them to make discoveries.
  •   This method needs a laboratory in which equipment and other useful teaching aids related to mathematics are available.  For example, equipment related to geometry, mensuration, mathematical model, chart, balance, various figures and shapes made up of wood or hardboard, graph paper etc.

Objectives of Lab method:

  • Apply concepts learned in class to new situations.
  • Better appreciate the role of experimentation in science.
  • Develop critical, quantitative thinking.
  • Develop experimental and data analysis skills.
  • Develop intuition and deepen understanding of concepts.
  • Develop reporting skills (written and oral).
  • Exercise curiosity and creativity by designing a procedure to test a hypothesis.
  • Experience basic phenomena.
  • Learn to estimate statistical errors and recognize systematic errors.
  • Learn to use scientific apparatus.
  • Practice collaborative problem solving.
  • Test important laws and rules.

The basic principles of the new pedagogy for teaching mathematics

More recently, mathematics educators in colleges and universities, along with classroom teachers, have become concerned with the methods used to teach the new content which evolved from the “revolution.” Scott (56, p. 15) has summarized the basic principles of the new pedagogy for teaching mathematics in the following statements :

1. The structure of mathematics should be stressed at all levels.

2. Children are capable of learning more abstract and more complex concepts when the relationships between concepts are stressed.

3. Existing arithmetic programs may be severely condensed because children are capable of learning concepts at much earlier ages than formerly thought.

4. Any concept may be taught a child of any age in some intellectually honest manner, if one is able to find the proper language for expressing the concept.

5. The inductive approach or the discovery method is logically productive and should enhance learning end retention.

6. The major objective of a program is the development of independent and creative thinking processes.

7. Human learning seems to pass through the stages of preoperations, concrete operations, and formal operations.

8. Growth of understanding is dependent upon concept exploration through challenging apparatus and concrete materials and cannot be restricted to mere symbolic manipulations.

9. Teaching mathematical skills is regarded as a tidying-up of concepts developed through discovery rather than by a step by step process for memorization.

10. Practical application of isolated concepts or systems of concepts, particularly those drawn from the natural sciences, are valuable to reinforcement and retention.

Since 1965, discovery teaching, guided discovery, programmed instruction, computer assisted instruction, and inquiry training have been the subject of much study and 3 research. Still more recently, individually guided instruction and activity programs in mathematics have been the subject of action research in many classrooms.


  Aim of The Practical Work: The teacher clearly states the aim of the practical work or experiment to be carried out by the students.

  Provided materials and instruments: The students are provided with the necessary materials and instruments.

  Provide clear instructions: Provide clear instructions as to the procedure of the experiment.

  Carry out the experiment: The students carry out the experiment.

  draw the conclusions : The students are required to draw the conclusions as per the aim of the experiment.

Example  1:

Derivation of the formula for the volume of a cone.

Aims: to derive the formula for the volume of a cone.

Materials and instruments: cone and cylinders of the same diameter and height, at lease 3 sets of varying dimensions, sawdust, water and sand.

Procedure: ask the students to do the following activity.

  Take each pair of cylinder and cone having the same diameter and height

  Note down the diameter and height

  Fill the cone with saw dust / water or sand and empty into the cylinder till the cylinder is full.

  Count the number of times the cone is emptied into the cylinder and note it down in a tabular column.

  Repeat the same experiment with the other two sets of cone and cylinder and note down the reading as before.


1              3 CM     5 CM     3

2              5 CM     7 CM     3

3              6 CM     10 CM   3

Drawing conclusions:

Each time, irrespective of the variations in diameter and height it takes 3 measures of cone to fill the cylinder.

Volume of cone = 1/3 volume of cylinder

But volume of cylinder =  r2 h

Volume of cone =1/3  r2 h

Example 2:

Sum of three angles of a triangle is 180 degree. “How we can prove this in the laboratory.


To prove that sum of the three angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles or 180 degree.

Materials and instruments:

Card board sheet, pencil, scale, triangle and other necessary equipments.


In the laboratory pupils will be given on cardboard sheet each and then they are told how to draw triangles of different sizes on it. After drawing the triangles they cut this separately with the help of scissors.


Student will measure the angles of the triangles drawn and write these in a tabular form

Figure no.            Measure of different angles        Total

Angle A +B+C

Angle A – Angle B- Angle C

1              90           60                30               180

2              120         30                30                180

3              60           60               60                 180


Calculation: after measuring the angles of different triangles in the form of cardboard sheet. We calculate and conclude their sum.

In this way by calculating the three angles of a triangle the students will be able to conclude with inductive reasoning that the sum of three angles of a triangle is 180 degree or two right angles.

Some More Topics for Laboratory Method

Derivation of the formula for the

  Area of square, rectangle,, parallelogram, and trapezium

  Area of triangle, right angled triangle, isosceles right angles triangle

  Circumference of a circle, area of circle

  Total surface area of cone, cylinder

  Volume of a cone

  Volume of a sphere

Expansion of identities such as (a+b) 2, (a-b) 2 , (a+b+c) 2

Verification of

  Angle sum property in a triangle

  Congruency postulates

  Properties of certain geometrical figures like parallelogram, rhombus etc

  Theorems relating to triangles, circles and transversal properties.


   Based on the principle of learning by doing.

   Based on the student’s self pacing.

   Child-centred and therefore it is a psychological method.

   Develops in the child a habit of scientific, enquiry and investigation.

   Develops the self-confidence and teaches the students the dignity of labour.

   Helps in making clear certain fundamental concepts, ideas etc.

   Is psychological as we proceed from known to unknown.

   Presents mathematics as a practical subject.

   Provides opportunities for social interaction and co-operation among the students.

   Stimulates the interest of the students to work with concrete material.

  Children learn the use of different equipments, which are used in laboratory.

  Helps the students to actively participate in the learning process and therefore the learning becomes more meaningful and interesting.


   Is not possible to make progress quickly.

  All mathematics teachers cannot use this method effectively.

  An expensive method. All schools are not able to adopt this method.

  Can be used for a small class only.

  Has very little of theoretical part in it.

  Requires laboratory equipped with different apparatus.

   Requires a lot of planning and organization.

   Suitable only for certain topics.

It is important to note that while in science experiments provide evidence for hypotheses or theories, this is not so in mathematics. Observed patterns can only suggest mathematical hypotheses and conjectures, not provide evidence to support them. (Sometimes, they may help to disprove a conjecture through a counter-example.) Mathematical truths are accepted only on the basis of proofs, and not through experiment.

In conclusion we can say that this method is suitable for teaching mathematics to lower classes as at this stage teaching is done with the help of concrete things and examples. Math lab makes teaching and learning activity based and experimentation oriented at school stage. It exhibits relatedness of mathematics concepts with everyday life.


Adenegan, K. E. (2001). Issues and Problems in the National Mathematics Curriculum of theSenior Secondary Schools level. Pp.4-5. Unpublished paper.

Unpublished B.Sc.(Ed.) Project, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.

Adenegan, K. E. and Balogun, F.O. (2010): Some proffered Solutions to the Challenges ofTeaching mathematics in Our Schools. Unpublished Seminar Paper at Ebonyi for Pricipals

Alao, I. F. (1997). Psychological Perspective of education, psychology and education series(pp. 48, 91). Ibadan: Revelation Books, Dugbe.

Balogun et al (2002). Mathematics Methodology in Approaches to Science Techniques, Yinka Ogunlade and R. O. Oloyede (Ed).

Ekhaguere, G.O.S. (2010). Proofs and Paradigms: a Mathematical Journey into the Real World. Inaugural lecture, Ibadan University Press, Ibadan. Pp 1-30.

Olademo J. O. (1990). Mathematics and Universe. Journal of NAMSN ACE, Ondo Ifeoluwa (NOD), Ent. Ltd. Pp 30.

Oyekan, S. O.(2000). Foundation of teachers education (pp.17, 240). Ondo: Ebunoluwa Printers (Nig.) Ltd




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Recreational Activities in Developing Mathematics Learning


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

A few sentences from life – funny paradox quotes

  • Don’t go near the water ’til you have learned how to swim.
  • If you get this message, call me, and if you don’t get it, don’t call.
  • Nobody goes to that restaurant; it’s too crowded.
  • The man who wrote such a stupid sentence can not write at all.

Mathematics is the mother of all sciences. Mathematics has its diverse significant values and aims or goals. So, it is regarded as one of the core part of the school curriculum across the world. However, it is widely perceived as a difficult subject, to be tolerated rather than appreciated. It is considered as a major hurdle in passing the final qualifying examinations by the majority of the students, their parents as well as the learned community as a whole. It may because they did not get proper opportunities to study Mathematics. Many teachers, educators and mathematicians have responded to the challenge of teaching mathematics effectively in various ways like developing powerful pedagogical approaches or teaching learning materials and also introducing some innovations in their teaching. Recreational activities are one of the factors which help in effective mathematics learning.

Though mathematics may deal with some abstractions. But, it is the mathematics teacher who should try to inculcate sufficient interest in the class room transaction so that the subject mathematics may not be treated as dull and tiresome. And the main tool to answer all these for converting mathematics into a loved and enjoyable subject to all is the curriculum and text book which directs the teacher to apply recreational activities for proper and effective mathematics learning.

Recreational activities have a great role in mathematics learning and developing various skills in solving problem as well as developing creative and logical thinking. In one-way recreational mathematics is also a pure mathematics and is often difficult to distinguish pure mathematics from recreational mathematics. The pedagogic value of recreational mathematics is now widely recognized which in turn help the low achievers of mathematics and converting them into a lover of mathematics by removing fear-psychosis from their minds towards the subject. For a lover of mathematics, there is all beauty. One finds a huge treasure of pleasure after getting success in the solution of a Mathematics problem. It was the reason why Pythagoras sacrificed hundred oxen to the Goddess for celebrating his discovery of the theorem that goes by his name. In the same way, Archimedes had also forgotten his nakedness after discovering his principle.

Mathematics is a compulsory but interesting core subject in the school curriculum. Recreational mathematics has a vital role in making mathematics an interesting one. Experience shows that the basic principles of learning mathematics can be made easier through mathematical fun, activities and games. If mathematics can be turned into a game it can become child’s play. Class room experience indicate clearly that mathematical puzzles, riddles etc encourage an open minded attitude in youngsters and help them to develop their clear thinking. Shakuntala Devi become famous for her simple mathematical facts converting into game, puzzle etc.

Ramanujan also has no exception in this regard, above all his famous mathematical contributions. In contrary to this, a big percent of students dislike mathematics due to the lack of fun etc. in mathematics textbook as well as in class room transaction.

There is enormous scope of effective learning of mathematics at elementary level through recreational games, magic etc. which not only help in removing fear psychosis of the learners but also help in developing clear concept of mathematics.

The place of fun that is recreational activities in learning mathematics has been studied by the investigator in this study specially at class room as well as school textbook. This paper highlights the finding of the study particularly at elementary level.

Need of Recreational activities in Mathematics Curriculum and textbook

The abstract nature of mathematics makes it appear a very dull and difficult subject. As a result most of the students lose interest in the subject and try to avoid it.

It is necessary to remove this indifference for mathematics from the minds of the students. They need to be motivated. Their interest in mathematics needs to be aroused and nurtured. Thus to remove the years old blame of the subject which creates fear-psychosis and hatred for the learner and to achieve higher aim of the subject which is responsible for developing a child’s inner potentialities, the role of mathematics is vital, for that recreational activities plays a great role for all these.

Recreational activity is such a tool which not only help in developing different mathematical concepts but also help to retain those for a long time in the minds of the learner and there by help in reproduce them as and when required. That is why curriculum for mathematics education must be ambitious and coherent with recreational activities. Also the text books of mathematics to be affordable to every child and at the same time enjoyable, which are also possible by incorporating  Recreational activities. Thus in reforming curriculum and textbook following points to be rightly looked for –

General Pedagogy

The curriculum must be developed in such a manner that it helps in the all round development of a learner at the same time it is easily understood by all. That is why, in developing the mathematics curriculum following must be specified -

(i) Scope should be there for removing “fear psychosis” among the learners on the subject with proper instruction for creating interest and love for the subject.

(ii) Mathematics curriculum must be more realistic, practical, useful, suitable and justified upto the learner’s mental ability according to its level rather than stereo type, theoretical and traditional.

(iii) It should be aimed at the learner’s 100% competency development and making her/ him a competent person covering her/his total mental growth, which can be, reflected in the day to day actions and whole life activities.

(iv) Scope to be provided for the use of the essence of mathematics against the success of any type of programme at home as well as outside.

(v) To make mathematics more understandable, enjoyable & permanently retained in the mind of the learner more use of fun and recreational activities, TLM, practical work, project work, interaction, exploration etc. are to be ensured and to be reflected in the curriculum specially. For this introduction of mathematics lab, mathematics corner etc. in each school/class in necessary.

(vi) Effective approach of teaching learning process of the subject must be specified as activities based, learner centered, load free, stress free, enjoyable and effective.

(vii) Content to be made more relevant to the children’s life and experiences and spiraling of content is necessary in mathematics curriculum at elementary level.

Mathematics club can be maintained with the help of the community for spreading the message that there is no other subject like mathematics, which is so  interesting, enjoyable and useful and that nothing can be done in this world without mathematics.

Curriculum is reflected through the text books to the students and the teacher community. Hence, developing a learner friendly textbook is a challengeable task in present education system which to be – Joyful, Child centric, activity based, competency based and enjoyable to the children. Fear psychosis can be removed by using more number of recreational activities like fun, puzzles, riddles, stories, interesting facts and examples in the mathematics text book. Each lesson must be potential enough to construct the knowledge in the minds of the learner through their experiences in the environment by group activities, peer activities and individual activities for development of each competency by all learners.

Role of Recreational Activities in Mathematics Learning

Whatever good curriculum and textbook are prepared for mathematics education, its success and the learning of mathematics depends on the teacher and the way of their classroom transaction in a learner friendly environment. Here also recreational activities plays a vital role in developing and understanding a mathematical concept in an enjoyable way by relating it to the everyday life activities so that it can be permanently retained and use as and when necessary. Using Fun and Magic can make mathematics learning very exciting and interesting. Games provide opportunities for students to be actively involved in learning. They enable students to experience success and satisfaction, there by build the enthusiasm and self confidence.

But these recreational activities are not only about fun and confidence building, they also, help students to –

¾ Understand Mathematical concepts

¾ Develop Mathematical skills

¾ Know Mathematical facts

¾ Lean the language of Mathematics

¾ Develop ability in mental thinking and reasoning

Many fun can be created in Mathematics learning in the classroom through various activities using TLM like match sticks, seeds, leaves, string, blocks, tangrams, geo-board, puzzles, songs, various games etc. These should be specially reflected in the text books at elementary stage otherwise teacher will not practice these ideas in the class room as teachers and learners are mostly dependent on the text book.

Role of Teacher Educator in different activities for mathematics learning

Teacher educators have one of the key-position to meet the challenges of teaching mathematics effectively. Yes they have responded rightly to meet that challenges in various ways -

• Some have developed powerful pedagogical approaches or teaching learning materials,

• Some have introduced innovations in their teaching,

• Some have worked with teachers,

• Some with students and

• Some others have taken up research to understand more deeply the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Following examples witnessed some such challenges through different recreational activities during long and short term training courses.

ƒ Group forming games by applying mathematical operations creates very much excitement even among the trainees.

ƒ Housie game is also a brain storming activity creates enthusiasm among the trainees .

Likewise many more activities are there. These activities help in drilling the known facts and prepared the trainees/students to grasp any new concept or understand the same properly.

Mathematical games

Games Using games can make mathematics classes very enjoyable, exciting and interesting. Mathematical games provide opportunities for students to be actively involved in learning. Games allow students to experience success and satisfaction, thereby building their enthusiasm and self-confidence. But mathematical games are not simply about fun and confidence building. Games help students to: • understand mathematical concepts • develop mathematical skills • know mathematical facts • learn the language and vocabulary of mathematics • develop ability in mental mathematics.

How to Conduct a School Quiz Bee

A school-wide quiz or bee can be a great way to teach students about certain subjects and test their knowledge. You may conduct a quiz bee that focuses on one subject, such as spelling or a quiz bee that tests students on several subjects, such as math, science, and social studies. You can use a live host for the quiz bee or create a school quiz bee that can be played on a computer or online. You should also take steps to ensure the school quiz bee is organized properly and runs smoothly to ensure it is a great success.

Part1- Organizing the School Quiz Bee

Determine the format for the quiz bee. You should determine the format of the quiz bee, including the subject matter of the quiz bee, the number of students competing in the quiz bee, and how the quiz bee will unfold. Having a set format for the quiz bee will ensure it runs smoothly.[1]

•             Decide if the participants in the quiz bee are going to be in teams or competing as individuals. If your school is fairly large, you may break up students into teams based on classroom so there is enough time for each team to compete in the quiz bee. If your school is fairly small, you may be able to allow the students to compete individually.

•             If there are going to be many teams or students competing in the quiz bee, you may have each team or student compete in heats against each other in their classrooms. The winners of each heat may then go on to the final round of the school quiz bee and compete in front of the entire school.

2.            Outline the rules for the quiz bee. It may be best to keep the rules simple for a school quiz bee, as you want the quiz to appeal to a wide range of students and age groups. You should determine the rules for the quiz bee and write them down so you can reference them and share them with the participants of the quiz bee.

•             For example, you may institute a time limit for each response to a quiz question by a team or individual student. You may allow the host to read out the quiz question to the team and then start the timer. If you are timing the responses, have a timekeeper on hand or use a stopwatch that is large and easy for all participants to see.

•             You may also make a rule about what to do in the event of a tie, such as a rapid fire deciding round where whichever team or participant responds to a quiz question first wins.

3.            Compile the content for the school quiz bee. Consider if the quiz bee will test students on a particular subject, such as a spelling quiz bee, or on a variety of subjects, such as mathematics, science, and social studies questions. You may pull test questions from existing quizzes from previous classes or create new test questions for the quiz bee.[3]

•             You may also use sample quiz questions from standardized tests in the school quiz bee. You may go for a variety of quiz questions, ranging from very easy to very difficult to ensure the participants have a fair chance at winning the quiz bee.

Part2 -Using a Live Host or Announcer

1.            Look for a host at your school. You can conduct the school quiz bee by first finding a host at your school, such as a teacher, a teacher’s aide, or a member of the school’s administration. If you are a teacher, you may host the school quiz bee yourself. The host should be able to be present for the entirety of the school quiz bee.

2.            Bring in a guest announcer. You may also opt to bring in a host or announcer that is not from your school. This could be a parent, a former student, or a member of the community. You may choose a guest announcer who has participated in school events before or someone you believe will make a good host.

3.            Make sure the host is confident in front of a crowd. You should check that the host is comfortable speaking clearly and slowly to students, as they will need to read out the questions in the school quiz bee. The host should also be able to project their voice so they can be heard in a room and have a friendly, encouraging demeanor so the participants in the school quiz bee feel supported while they compete.

•             You may look for a host who has experience with conducting school quiz bees or who is comfortable speaking in front of a crowd.

Part3-Creating a School Quiz Bee On a Computer

1.            Use an existing online quiz. You may also consider using a quiz creation program on your computer to conduct the school quiz bee. You can find quiz creation programs online. Some quiz creation programs are free to use or may require a small fee.[6][7]

•             You can use existing quizzes in the program in your school quiz bee and adjust them to fit your needs.

•             Some programs have an option where you allow the program to conduct the school quiz bee for you, with animations and automated cues that play when a student or team clicks on a question.

2.            Design your own school quiz bee. If you are familiar with how to use animation programs, you may try designing your own school quiz bee program. You may need to use a quiz design program to create a custom quiz for your school’s quiz bee or use animation programs like Adobe Flash.

•             You should include interactive elements into your school quiz bee, such as buttons that trigger audio prompts or a running total of the player’s score on the bottom of the screen. You may also allow the participants to enter in text into the quiz to answer a question or have a results screen at the end of the quiz.[8]

•             You may also include interesting background images in the school quiz bee and make the quiz appear visually appealing so the participants are more engaged in the content.

3.            Test the school quiz bee on a school computer. Before you launch the school quiz bee in front of students, you should do a test run of the quiz on a school computer. You may put yourself in the role of a participant and run through the quiz on your own. Using a school computer to test the quiz can help to ensure it will run smoothly for students at school.

•             You should make sure any interactive elements of the quiz are functioning properly. You should also check to make sure the questions and answers that appear in the quiz are correct, as you do not want a participant to notice an error during the quiz bee.

Part4- Ensuring the School Quiz Bee Goes Well

1.            Enlist participants. Get the word out about the event so students can sign up to compete. Ask teachers to announce it in their classes. Make posters about the event to put up around school. You want as many students as possible to be involved so everyone at school has an opportunity to compete.

•             You may also work with other teachers to put together a list of students to enlist as participants in the school quiz bee. This may be a list of start students or students who show potential and might make good competitors.

2.            Provide sample questions to the participants. You may provide contestants with sample question packets so that they can practice ahead of time. These can be especially helpful if the competing teams plan to practice together beforehand, or if students are unfamiliar with what a quiz bee is like and want to get a sense of the question levels beforehand.[10]

•             You may create your own sample question packets with questions that are similar to the questions in the school quiz bee. You may hand out the sample question packets one week before the competition so the students have time to prepare.

3.            Do a practice round. To get the participants warmed up, you might want to conduct a practice round before the school quiz bee begins. These can be easy questions just so people get the hang of how it works with the reading, the timing, and their answers.[11]

•             Doing this can also allow the participants to get used to the format of the school quiz bee and be better prepared to compete once the event begins.

A magic square as a recreational activity

A magic square is an NxN matrix in which every row, column, and diagonal add up to the same number. Ever wonder how to construct a magic square?

In recreational mathematics, a magic square is a   square grid (where   is the number of cells on each side) filled with distinct positive integers in the range   such that each cell contains a different integer and the sum of the integers in each row, column and diagonal is equal.The sum is called the magic constant or magic sum of the magic square. A square grid with   cells on each side is said to have order n.

In regard to magic sum, the problem of magic squares only requires the sum of each row, column and diagonal to be equal, it does not require the sum to be a particular value. Thus, although magic squares may contain negative integers, they are just variations by adding or multiplying a negative number to every positive integer in the original square.

Magic squares are also called normal magic squares, in the sense that there are non-normal magic squares[5] which integers are not restricted in  . However, in some places, “magic squares” is used as a general term to cover both the normal and non-normal ones, especially when non-normal ones are under discussion. Moreover, the term “magic squares” is sometimes also used to refer to various types of word squares


Iron plate with an order 6 magic square in Eastern Arabic Numerals from China, dating to the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368).

Magic squares were known to Chinese mathematicians as early as 650 BC, and explicitly given since 570 AD,[10] and to Islamic mathematicians possibly as early as the seventh century AD. The first magic squares of order 5 and 6 appear in an encyclopedia from Baghdad circa 983, the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity (Rasa’il Ihkwan al-Safa); simpler magic squares were known to several earlier Arab mathematicians.[10] Some of these squares were later used in conjunction with magic letters, as in Shams Al-ma’arif, to assist Arab illusionists and magicians.[11]


The 3×3 magic square has been a part of rituals in India since Vedic times, and still is today. The Ganesh yantra is a 3×3 magic square. There is a well-known 10th-century 4×4 magic square on display in the Parshvanath temple in Khajuraho, India.[20]

7              12           1              14

2              13           8              11

16           3              10           5

9              6              15           4

This is known as the Chautisa Yantra. Each row, column, and diagonal, as well as each 2×2 sub-square, the corners of each 3×3 and 4×4 square, the corners of each 2×4 and 4×2 rectangle, and the offset diagonals (12+8+5+9, 1+11+16+6, 14+2+3+15 and 7+11+10+6, 12+2+5+15, 1+13+16+4) sum to 34.

In this square, every second diagonal number adds to 17 (the same applies to offset diagonals). In addition to squares and rectangles, there are eight trapeziums – two in one direction, and the others at a rotation of 90 degrees, such as (12, 1, 16, 5) and (13, 8, 9, 4).

These characteristics (which identify it as one of the three 4×4 pandiagonal magic squares and as a most-perfect magic square) mean that the rows or columns can be rotated and maintain the same characteristics – for example:

12           1              14           7

13           8              11           2

3              10           5              16

6              15           4              9

The Kubera-Kolam, a magic square of order three, is commonly painted on floors in India. It is essentially the same as the Lo Shu Square, but with 19 added to each number, giving a magic constant of 72.

23           28           21

22           24           26

27           20           25


Properties of magic squares

Magic constant

The constant that is the sum of every row, column and diagonal is called the magic constant or magic sum, M. Every normal magic square has a constant dependent on the order  , calculated by the formula  , since the sum of   is   which when divided by the order   is the magic constant. For normal magic squares of orders n = 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, the magic constants are, respectively: 15, 34, 65, 111, 175, and 260 (sequence A006003 in the OEIS).

Magic square of order 1 is trivial

The 1×1 magic square, with only one cell containing the number 1, is called trivial, because it is typically not under consideration when discussing magic squares; but it is indeed a magic square by definition, if we regard a single cell as a square of order one.

Magic square of order 2 cannot be constructed

Normal magic squares of all sizes can be constructed except 2×2 (that is, where order n = 2).

Equivalent magic squares

Any magic square can be rotated and reflected to produce 8 trivially distinct squares. In magic square theory, all of these are generally deemed equivalent and the eight such squares are said to make up a single equivalence class.

Number of magic squares of a given order

Excluding rotations and reflections, there is exactly one 3×3 magic square, exactly 880 4×4 magic squares, and exactly 275,305,224 5×5 magic squares. For the 6×6 case, there are estimated to be approximately 1.8 × 1019 squares.

An invariant

The moment of inertia of a magic square has been defined as the sum over all cells of the number in the cell times the squared distance from the center of the cell to the center of the square; here the unit of measurement is the width of one cell.[9] (Thus for example a corner cell of a 3×3 square has a distance of   a non-corner edge cell has a distance of 1, and the center cell has a distance of 0.) Then all magic squares of a given order have the same moment of inertia as each other.



One of the best brain teasers and riddles goes as follows:
There are three switches downstairs. Each corresponds to one of the three light bulbs in the attic. You can turn the switches on and off and leave them in any position.
How would you identify which switch corresponds to which light bulb, if you are only allowed one trip upstairs?

ANS- Keep the first bulb switched on for a few minutes. It gets warm, right? So all you have to do then is … switch it off, switch another one on, walk into the room with bulbs, touch them and tell which one was switched on as the first one (the warm one) and the others can be easily identified :-)


Brothers and sisters, I have none but this man’s father is my father’s son.
Who am I looking at?

ANS- This funny riddle often amuses both kids and adults. The answer is simple – the man is my son.


You are shown two doors – one leading to hell and the second one to heaven and only the door guards know what is behind the doors. One guard is always lying and the other is always telling the truth (of course, you don’t know who is lying). You can ask only one guard one question.
What question can get you to heaven?


A fellow encountered a bear in a wasteland. Both got frightened – fellow ran to the north, bear to the west. Suddenly the fellow stopped, aimed his gun to the south and shot the bear.
What color was the bear?
ANS -Albert Einstein allegedly made this riddle for his scholars.
A fellow encountered a bear in a wasteland. There was nobody else there. Both were frightened and ran away. Fellow to the north, bear to the west. Suddenly the fellow stopped, aimed his gun to the south and shot the bear. What color was the bear?
If you don’t know, this may help you: if the bear ran about 3.14 times faster than the fellow (still westwards), the fellow could have shot straight in front of him, however for the booty he would have to go to the south.


A farmer returns from the market, where he bought a she-goat, a cabbage and a wolf (what a crazy market :-) . On the way home he must cross a river. His boat is small and won’t fit more than one of his purchases. He cannot leave the she-goat alone with the cabbage (because the she-goat would eat it), nor he can leave the she-goat alone with the wolf (because the she-goat would be eaten).
How can the farmer get everything on the other side in this river crossing puzzle?

Take the she-goat to the other side. Go back, take cabbage, unload it on the other side where you load the she-goat, go back and unload it. Take the wolf to the other side where you unload it. Go back for the she-goat. That’s it.


Three missionaries and three cannibals want to get to the other side of a river. There is a small boat, which can fit only two. To prevent a tragedy, there can never be more cannibals than missionaries together.

1 cannibal and 1 missionary there, missionary back. 2 cannibals there, 1 cannibal back. 2 missionaries there, 1 missionary and 1 cannibal back. 2 missionaries there, 1 cannibal back. This one cannibal takes the remaining cannibals to the other side.


If you had a 5-liter bowl and a 3-liter bowl, and an unlimited access to water, how would you measure exactly 4 liters?

ANS- Fill the 5-litre bowl and pour water to the 3-litre bowl, which you empty afterwards. From the 5-litre bowl pour the 2 remaining litres to the 3-litre bowl. Refill the 5-litre bowl and fill in the 3-litre bowl (with 1 litre), so there stay the 4 required litres in the 5-litre bowl.


The day before yesterday I was 25 and the next year I will be 28. This is true only one day in a year.
What day is my birthday?
ANS- He was born on December 31st and spoke about it on January 1st.


Alphametic puzzles (also called cryptarithms) are arithmetic problems which involve words where each letter stands for unique digit that makes the arithmetic equation true. For instance, this is one of the famous equations. Can you solve it?






This is collection of the best puzzles selected out of +10K brain teasers. Link to solution is under each puzzle. The answer is usually in spoiler which you can unhide by clicking the “Show” button. Some of them might be quite hard, however, you don’t need any deep math knowledge. Just basic logic, creativity and patience is needed.


You’ve got 27 coins, each of them is 10g, except for 1. The 1 different coin is 9g or 11g (heavier, or lighter by 1g). You should use balance scale that compares what’s in the two pans. You can get the answer by just comparing groups of coins.
What is the minimum number weighings that can always guarantee to determine the different coin.

Separate the coins into 3 stacks of 9 (A, B, C). Weigh stack A against B and then A against C. Take the stack with the different weight (note lighter or heavier) and break it into 3 stacks of 3 (D, E, F). Weigh stack D against E. If D and E are equal, then F is the odd stack. If D and E are not equal, the lighter or heavier (based on the A, B, C comparison) is the odd stack. You now have three coins (G, H, I). Weigh G and H. If G equals H, then I is the odd and is lighter or heavier (based on the A, B, C comparison). If G and H are not equal, then the lighter or heavier (based on the A, B, C comparison) is the odd coin.

If you like this type of brain teasers, then surely check out other weighing puzzles. There are many easier ones as well.


You are one of 20 prisoners on death row with the execution date set for tomorrow. Your king is a ruthless man who likes to toy with his people’s miseries. He comes to your cell today and tells you:
“I’m gonna give you prisoners a chance to go free tomorrow. You will all stand in a row (queue) before the executioner and we will put a hat on your head, either a red or a black one. Of course you will not be able to see the color of your own hat; you will only be able to see the prisoners in front of you with their hats on; you will not be allowed to look back or communicate together in any way (talking, touching…..).

The prisoner in the back will be able to see the 19 prisoners in front of him. The one in front of him will be able to see 18…

Starting with the last person in the row, the one who can see everybody in front of him, he will be asked a simple question: WHAT IS THE COLOR OF YOUR HAT?

He will be only allowed to answer “BLACK” or “RED”. If he says anything else you will ALL be executed immediately.

If he guesses the right color of the hat on his head he is set free, otherwise he is put to death. And we move on to the one in front of him and ask him the same question and so on…

Well, good luck tomorrow, HA HA HA HA HA HA!”

Now since you all can communicate freely during the night, can you find a way to guarantee the freedom of some prisoners tomorrow? How many?

First guy is a coin toss – let’s wish him good luck.
His job is to establish the parity of black hats visible to him.
He says “Black” if he sees an odd number of black hats; “Red” otherwise.
By paying attention to what has been said, each prisoner will know his hat’s color.

Second to speak hears “Black” and sees an even number of black hats.
He knows his hat is black [odd changed to even - must be his is black] and says “black”.

Third guy has heard “black” and “black” and sees an even number of black hats.
He knows his hat is red [even stayed even - his hat can't be black] and says “red”.

And so on, to the front of the line.

General algorithm:
The first time you hear “black”, say to yourself “odd”.
Each time your hear “black” after that, change the parity: “even”, “odd”, … etc.
When it’s your turn, if the black hats you see match the running parity, you’re Red; Black otherwise.
Call out your color.

If you like this type of brain teasers, then surely check out other logic puzzles. Especially “Masters of Logic Puzzles” series at the bottom of that page might be of interest for you.


There is a truth teller (always tells the truth), a liar (always lies), and one that sometimes answers truthfully and sometimes lies. Each man knows who is who. You may ask three yes or no question to determine who is who. Each time you ask a question, it must only be directed to one of the men (of your choice). You may ask the same question more than once, but of course it will count towards your total.
What are your questions and to whom will you ask them?

There are 6 possible states for the order of the men: TRL, TLR, LTR, LRT, RTL, RLT

There are 8 possible combinations of anwers for questions: TTT, TTL, TLT, TLL, LTT, LTL, LLT, LLL.

Theoretically it’s possbile if you could figure out a way to get any of the 8 combinations of answers assigned to the states, but with the unreliability of Random’s answers, I thought it was impossible. There is always a possiblity in any solution where Random will exactly mirror T or L for answers. He could always lie or always tell the truth and you can never tell when he is lying or telling the truth. This being given, I thought you can NEVER separate 6 distinct answers to apply to the 6 states, and therefore can never be sure who is who.

After a minute though, I saw through my own error in logic. I was always dealing with questions where T and L would give the same answer regardless of the order of the men. I saw that if you can get T and L to give a Yes/NO answer, then you can figure out where R’s worthless answers are. The only way I saw to do this is to ask about the order of the men themselves.

Ask #1 if L is standing on R’s right arm (our left if they are facing us).
The answer gives you a split in the order they are standing:
If YES, then it has to be T telling the truth, L telling a lie, or one of R’s worthless answers, so: TLR, LTR, or RTL, RLT.
If NO, then it has to be T telling the truth, L telling a lie, or R and his worthless answers, so: TRL, LRT, or RTL, RLT.

Now we know, based on the answer to #1 where to avoid R’s worthless answers. We now ask T or L “Is T in the lineup?” If answer 1 was Yes, we ask person 2, if it was no we ask person 3.

The answer now will give us some more info. If it’s Yes, it’s T answering the truth, if it’s no, it’s L answering a lie. So based on who we asked, we now know:

Yes, Yes: Has to be LTR, or RTL
Yes, No: TLR, RLT
No, Yes: LRT, RLT
No, No: TRL, RTL

Now any question separating the two possiblities works – just make sure you are avoiding R’s worthless answers.

For example:
Yes, Yes – ask #2 if #1 is L. (We know #2 is T and will tell the truth) – Yes = LTR, No = RTL
Yes, No, – ask #2 if #1 is T. ( We know #2 is L and will tell a lie) – Yes = RLT, No = TLR
No, Yes – ask # 3 if #1 is L. (We know #3 is T and will tell the truth) – Yes = LRT, No = RLT
No, No, – ask #3 if #1 is T. (We know #3 is L and will tell a lie) – Yes = RTL, No = TRL

So we have the order and know who is who.

If you like this type of brain teasers, then surely check out other logic problems. There are many easier ones as well.


Three boxes are all labeled incorrectly, and you must get the labels right.
The labels on the boxes read as follows:

Box 1

Box 2

Box 3
nails and screws

To gain the information you need to move the labels to the correct boxes, you may remove a single item from one of the boxes. You may not look into the boxes, nor pick them up and shake them, etc.

Can this be done? If so, how? If not, why not?

Remove an item from box 3.
The item tells you what label to put on box 3.
Move the nails and screws label to the box labeled with the other item, and its label to the remaining box.

Example: you remove a nail from box 3.
Move the label nails from box 1 to box 3.
You can’t move the nails and screws label to box 1: that would be a swap, and all three labels must be corrected.
Move it instead to box 2, and the screws label to box 1.

[box 1] screws
[box 2] nails and screws
[box 3] nails


Teanchi and Beanchi are a married couple (dont ask me who he is and who she is)! They have two kids, one of them is a girl. Assume safely that the probability of each gender is 1/2.
What is the probability that the other kid is also a girl?
Hint: It is not 1/2 as you would first think.

Of course, it’s not 1/2 else would make it a lousy puzzle.
Ans: 1/3

This is a famous question in understanding conditional probability, which simply means that given some information you might be able to get a better estimate.

The following are possible combinations of two children that form a sample space in any earthly family:
Girl – Girl
Girl – Boy
Boy – Girl
Boy – Boy

Since we know one of the children is a girl, we will drop the Boy-Boy possibility from the sample space.
This leaves only three possibilities, one of which is two girls. Hence the probability is 1/3


You are on a game show and there are three doors. The presenter tells you that behind one of doors there is a car and behind the other two are goats. If you pick the car you win it. After you have picked a door the presenter opens a different door with a goat behind it, he then gives you the chance to change what door you open. What should you do?
Hint: It is not 1/2 as you would first think.

Jennifer should switch. Contrary to what may seem intuitive, switching actually doubles her chances of winning the car.
This problem is just a re-wording of what is known as the Monty Hall Problem. The key to understanding it is that the host knows the locations of the car and goats. His knowledge changes his actions and thus affects the odds.
Here is a breakdown of all the possible scenarios that Jennifer faces and why Jennifer should switch:

Door #2 has goat B (probability 1:3) – MB shows goat A behind Door #1 (1:1) – the car is behind Door #3 (1:1) – switching wins the car – total chances (1:3 x 1:1 x 1:1 = 1:3)
Door #2 has the car (probability 1:3) – MB shows goat A behind Door #1 (1:2) – goat B is behind Door #3 (1:1) – not switching wins the car – total chances (1:3 x 1:2 x 1:1 = 1:6)
Door #2 has the car (probability 1:3) – MB shows goat B behind Door #1 (1:2) – goat A is behind Door #3 (1:1) – not switching wins the car – total chances (1:3 x 1:2 x 1:1 = 1:6)

There are (1:3 + 1:3 = 2:3) chances that switching will get Jennifer the car, and only (1:6 + 1:6 = 1:3) chances she would get the car by not switching. She should switch.

A more general presentation of the reasoning is this:
At the start of the game, there is a 2:3 chance that Jennifer will pick a door with a goat behind it. If she does, the host will reveal the other other goat, and switching doors will get Jennifer the car.
There is a 1:3 chance she will pick the car. The host will then reveal a goat. Switching would win Jennifer a good supply of Ch?vre (and the disdain of her neighbours).
So, 2 out of 3 times switching gets the car. Simple – unintuitive, but simple.

Why does the host’s knowledge change the odds. Because he does not randomly select a door to open – he always opens a door with a goat. By doing this he reduced the possible scenarios for Jennifer to the four listed above. If he randomly picked, then Jenny’s chances, if the show progressed as presented, would be 50/50. However, there would also be a 1:3 chance that MB would open the wrong door and reveal the car’s location (followed by a 1:1 chance that MB would be sacked and re-runs of McGyver would fill out the remainder of the season!)


The below is a number puzzle. It should be read left to right, top to bottom.
Question 1: What is the next two rows of numbers?
Question 2: How was this reached?


1 1

2 1

1 2 1 1

1 1 1 2 2 1

? ? ? ? ? ?

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?


The secret is to say whay you see on each line and what you see becomes the next line. For full answer see below.

Line 1 is “Two ones” (2 1)
Line 2 then becomes “One two, and one one” (1 2 1 1)
Line 3 therefore is “One one, one two and two ones” (1 1 1 2 2 1)
Line 4 is “Three ones, two twos and one one” (3 1 2 2 1 1)
Line 5 is “One three, one one, two twos and two ones” (1 3 1 1 2 2 2 1)


A man runs a mile south, a mile west, and a mile north and ends up back where he started! How did it happen?

That might be easy but the harder part is that there are actually an infinite number of answers for where the man could have started from. Explain.

Any point on the circle (1 + 1/2pi) miles from the South Pole.

After going South 1 mile, you’re (1/2pi) miles from the Pole,
which allows you to run West 1 mile [1 lap of a 1-mile circumference circle]
and be able to go a mile North to the starting point.

There is an infinite number of starting distances:
1 + 1/2Npi miles North of the South pole where N is any positive integer.
N is then the number of circular laps in your westerly mile.

e.g. N=5280 – you’d run 5280 laps around a 1-foot circumference circle.


A 6-inch hole is drilled through a sphere. What is the volume of the remaining portion of the sphere?
[1] the hole is a circular cylinder of empty space whose axis passes through the center of the sphere – just as a drill would make if you aimed the center of the drill at the center of the sphere and made sure you drilled all the way through.
[2] the length of the hole [6 inches] is the height of the cylinder that forms the inside surface once the hole is drilled. picture the inside surface as viewed from inside the hole and measure the length of that surface in the direction of the axis of the drill.
in this sense, you could for example drill a 6-inch hole through the earth. the diameter of the hole would be huge, and you’d just have a tiny remnant of the earth left. but if you could set it on a table [a big table] it would be 6 inches high.
You of course could not drill a 6-inch hole through a sphere whose diameter was less than 6 inches. This fact leads to the logical answer.
The hard way involves calculus. The easy way uses logic.

Here’s the mathematical solution:
Radius of sphere = R, radius of hole = r, length of hole = 2L [so L=3], height of cap = h.
Since r*r = R*R – L*L and h = R-L, we can eliminate r and h and do everything in terms of R and L.
Swizzling cpotting’s cap formula, V[cap] = pi/3 (2R*R*R – 3R*R*L + L*L*L)
Cylinders are ho-hum, V[cyl] = 2pi*L*r*r = (2pi/3) (3R*R*L – 3L*L*L)
V[removed by drilling] = V[cylinder] + 2V[cap]
doing the math,
V[removed] = (4pi/3)R*R*R – (4pi/3)L*L*L
Pretty amazing: the volume removed by a hole of length 2L is the difference of the volumes of two spheres: one of radius R, the other of radius L.
So the remaining volume is simply the volume of a shpere with radius L. [hint-hint at the logical solution]
V[remainder] = (4pi/3)L*L*L = 36pi.

Here’s the logical solution:
My friend wouldn’t have posed a math problem [boring] and she wouldn’t have left out critical information. Therefore the answer couldn’t depend on the radius of the sphere. I chose a sphere size [radius=3] that would make 0 volume removed [a hole of length 6 and diameter 0]. With nothing removed, the remaining volume is the original volume: (4pi/3) 3*3*3.
So it’s 36pi.


I just found a number with an interesting property:

When I divide it by 2, the remainder is 1.
When I divide it by 3, the remainder is 2.
When I divide it by 4, the remainder is 3.
When I divide it by 5, the remainder is 4.
When I divide it by 6, the remainder is 5.
When I divide it by 7, the remainder is 6.
When I divide it by 8, the remainder is 7.
When I divide it by 9, the remainder is 8.
When I divide it by 10, the remainder is 9.

It’s not a small number, but it’s not really big, either.

Find the smallest number with such property.

The number has to end in 9.
Looked brute force for small numbers.
59 and 119 were promising, but no cigar.

Then looked for agreement among
39 + multiples of 40,
69 + multiples of 70 and
89 + multiples of 90
Smallest one was 2519.

Still think of this as kind of brute force.
Maybe there is no elegant solution

Here are some examples for teaching of concepts in mathematics :

TOPICS- Accurate measurement, graphs and relationships

• Graphs and relationships

Students need to decide what affects the length of time for 10 swings and how it affects it. For example, how does increasing or decreasing the length of string or the weight of the stone affect the time taken for 10 swings? To discover these relationships, students can draw graphs of the relationship between time and length of string or between time and weight.

Activity: Shelter

Give students the following problem.

You and a friend are on a journey. It is nearly night time and you have nowhere to stay. You have a rectangular piece of cloth measuring 4 m by 3 m. Design a shelter to protect both of you from the wind and rain.


• how much space you need to lie down

• what shape is best for your shelter

• what you will use to support the shelter – trees, rocks etc?

Help pupils by suggesting that they:

• begin by making scale drawings of possible shelters

• make a model of the shelter they choose

• estimate the heights and lengths of the shelter.

To solve the design problem, students need to:

• Do estimations

• of the height of the people who will use the shelter

• of the floor area of the shelter

• Calculate area

• of the floor of different shelter designs such as rectangles, squares, regular and irregular polygons, triangles, circles

• Understand inverse proportion

• for example, if the height of the shelter increases, the floor area decreases

• Make scale drawings of different possible shelters

• based only on a few certain dimensions like length of one or two sides, radius

• Use Pythagoras’ Theorem and trigonometry

• to calculate the dimensions of the other parts of the shelter such as lengths of other sides and angles

TOPICS Estimation, area, inverse proportion, scale drawings,

Pythagoras’ Theorem, trigonometry

TOPIC Probability

• different outcomes may occur when repeating the same experiment

• relative frequency can be used to estimate probabilities

• the greater the number of times an experiment is repeated, the closer the relative frequency gets to the theoretical probability.

Activity: Feely bag

Put different coloured beads in a bag, for example 5 red, 3 black and 1 yellow bead. Invite one student to take out a bead. The student should show the bead to the class and they should note its colour. The student then puts the bead back in the bag. Repeat over and over again, stop when students can say with confidence how many beads of each colour are in the bag.

Activity: The great race

Roll two dice and add up the two numbers to get a total. The runner whose number is the total can be moved forward one square. For example,

= 9, so runner 9 moves forward one square.

Play the game and see which runner finishes first. Repeat the game a few times. Does the same runner always win? Is the game fair? Which runner is most likely to win? Which runner is least likely to win? Change the rules or board to make it fair.

Activity: Exploring shapes on geoboards

Make a few geoboards of different shapes and sizes. Students can wrap string or elastic around the nails to make different shapes on the geoboards like triangles, quadrilaterals. They can investigate the properties and areas of the different shapes.

TOPICS Triangles, quadrilaterals, congruence, vectors.

You will need:

• a grid for the race track, as shown

• 2 dice

• a stone for each runner which can be moved along the race track

You will need:

• nails

• pieces of wood

• string, coffon or elastic bands

For example:

• How many different triangles can be found on a 3 x 3 geoboard? Classify the triangles according to: size of angles, length of sides, lines of symmetry, order of rotational symmetry. Find the area of the different triangles.

• How many different quadrilaterals can be made on 4 x 4 geoboards? Classify the quadrilaterals according to: size of angles, length of sides, lines of symmetry, order of rotational symmetry, diagonals. Find the area of the different quadrilaterals.

• How many different ways can a 4 x 4 geoboard be split into:

- two congruent parts?

- four congruent parts?

• Can you reach all the points on a 5 x 5 geoboard by using the three vectors shown? In how many different ways can these points be reached? Always start from the same point. You can use the three types of movement shown in the vectors in any order, and repeat them any number of times. Explore on different sized geoboards.

Problems and puzzles

This teaching method is about encouraging students to learn mathematics through solving problems and puzzles which have definite answers. The key point about problem-solving is that students have to work out the method for themselves.

Puzzles develop students’ thinking skills. They can also be used to introduce some history of mathematics since there are many famous historical math’s puzzles.

Textbook exercises usually get students to practice skills out of context.

Problem-solving helps students to develop the skills to select the appropriate method and to apply it to a problem.

TOPIC Basic addition and subtraction

Activity: Magic squares

Put the numbers 1,2,3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 into a 3 x 3 square to make a magic square. In this 3×3 magic square, the numbers in each vertical row must add up to 15. The numbers in each horizontal row must add up to 15. The diagonals also add up to 15.15 is called the magic number.

• How many ways are there to put the numbers 1-9 in a magic 3 x 3 square?

• Can you find solutions with the number 8 in the position shown?

• There are 880 different solutions to the problem of making a 4 x 4 magic square using the numbers 1 to 16. How many of them can you find where the magic number is 34?

• What are the values of x, y and 2 in the magic square on the right?

(The magic number is 30.)

Activity: Digits and squares

The numbers 1 to 9 have been arranged in a square so that the second row, 384, is twice the top row, 192. The third row, 576, is three times the first row, 192. Arrange the numbers 1 to 9 in  another way without changing the relationship between the numbers in the three rows.

Activity: Boxes

Put all the numbers 1 to 9 in the boxes so that all four equations are correct.

Fill in the boxes with a different set of numbers so that the four equations are still correct.

• To square a number you multiply it by itself.

Activity: Circling the squares

Place a different number in each empty box so that the sum of the squares of any two numbers next to

each other equals the sum of the squares of the two opposite numbers.

For example: 162 + 22 = 82+ 142

TOPIC Multiplication and division of 3-digit numbers

TOPIC The four operations on single-digit numbers

TOPIC Squaring numbers and adding numbers

TOPIC Addition, place value

Activity: Circling the sums

Put the numbers 1 to 19 in the boxes so that three numbers in a line add up to 30.

TOPIC Surface area, volume and common factors

Activity: The cuboid problem

The top of a box has an area of 120 cm2, the side has an area of 96 cm2  and the end has an area of 80 cm2. What is the volume of the box?

TOPIC Shape and symmetry

Activity: The Greek cross

A Greek cross is made up of five squares, as shown in the diagram.

• Make a square by cutting the cross into five pieces and

rearranging the pieces.

• Make a square by cutting the cross into four pieces and

rearranging them.

• Try with pieces that are all the same size and shape. Try with all the

pieces of different sizes and shapes.

TOPIC Equilateral triangles and area

An equilateral triangle has three sides of equal length and three

angles of equal size.

Activity: Match sticks

• Make four equilateral triangles using six match sticks.

• Take 18 match sticks and arrange them so that:

- they enclose two spaces; one space must have twice the area of the other

- they enclose two four-sided spaces; one space must have three times the area of the other

- they enclose two five-sided spaces; one space must have three times the area of the other

A Greek cross

TOPIC Addition, place value

Activity: Decoding

Each letter stands for a digit between 0 and 9. Find the value of each letter in the sums shown.

TOPIC Forming and solving equations

Activity: Find the number

1. Find two whole numbers which multiply together to make 221.

2. Find two whole numbers which multiply together to make 41.

3. I am half as old as my mother was 20 years ago. She is now 38.How old am I?

4. Find two numbers whose sum is 20 and the sum of their squaresis 208.

5. Find two numbers whose sum is 10 and the sum of their cubes is370.

6. Find the number which gives the same result when it is added to

3-3/4 as when it is multiplied by 3-3/4.

TOPIC Percentages

Activity: Percentage problems

1. An amount increases by 20%. By what percentage do I have to decrease the new amount in order to get back to the original amount?

2. The length of a rectangle increases by 20% and the width decreases by 20%, What is the percentage change in the area?

3. The volume of cube A is 20% more than the volume of cube B. What is the ratio of the cube A’s surface area to cube B’s surface area?

TOPIC Probability

Activity: Probability problems

• To calculate the theoretical probability of an event, you need to list all the possible outcomes of the experiment.

• The theoretical probability of an event is the number of ways that event could happen divided by the number of possible outcomes of the experiment.

1. I have two dice, I throw them and I calculate the difference. What is the probability that the difference is 2? How about other differences between 0 and 6?

2. I write down on individual cards the date of the month on which everyone in the class was born. I shuffle the cards and choose two of them. What is the probability that the sum of the two numbers is even? What is the probability that the sum of the two numbers is odd? When would these two probabilities be the same?

3. Toss five coins once. If you have five heads or five tails you have won. If not, you may toss any number of coins two more times to get this result. What is the probability that you will get five heads or five tails within three tosses?

4. You have eight circular discs. On one side of them are the numbers 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128. On the other side of each disc is a zero. Toss them and add together the numbers you see. What is the probability that the sum is at least 70?

5. Throw three dice. What is more likely: the sum of the numbers is divisible by 3 or the multiple of the numbers is divisible by 4?.


paradox is a statement that contradicts itself or a situation which seems to defy logic. That’s a simple definition of paradox.

Often premises can be proven false which rectifies the contradiction. Sometimes they are just play on words, however, some paradoxes still don’t have universally accepted resolutions.

On this page you can find several good paradox examples to tease your mind.

Paradox Examples

1- Liar Paradox (Eubulid or Epimenides Paradox)

This is a well known paradox written by the great stoical logician Chrysippos. The poet, grammarian and critic Philetus of Cos was said to have died of exhaustion attempting to resolve it.

  1. A Cretan sails to Greece and says to some Greek men who are standing upon the shore: “All Cretans are liars.” Did he speak the truth, or did he lie?
  2. A week later, the Cretan sailed to Greece again and said: “All Cretans are liars and all I say is the truth.” Although the Greeks on the shore weren’t aware of what he had said the first time, they were truly puzzled.

If someone says “I always lie”, are they telling the truth? Or are they lying?

1st problem:

A Cretan sails to Greece and says to some Greek men who are standing upon the shore:

“All Cretans are liars.”

Is he lying or telling the truth?

2nd problem:

Read after resolving the first as this contains a massive hint.

2. Now assume that either all Cretans are liars or all Cretans tell the truth.

A Cretan states “All Cretans are liars and all I say is the truth.”

Is he lying or telling the truth?

If someone says “I always lie”, are they telling the truth? Or are they lying?

Rational assumptions:

A liar always tells lies, and a truth-teller always tells the truth.

If a person is not a liar, then they are a truth-teller, and vice versa.

This Cretan is not the only Cretan.

The two problems are of disjoint cases.


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1. His statement is false (and he is a liar) if there is at least one Cretan who is not a liar.

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2. His statement is false (and all Cretans are liars); the “all I say is the truth” part is false


This version of a famous paradox was presented by English mathematician P. E. B. Jourdain in 1913.
The following is written on opposite sides of a card:

Back side:

Face side:

The following inscriptions are on a paper:

Back side

Inscription on the other side is true

Face side

Inscription on the other side is not true


Analogue paradox to the ‘liar paradox’ formulated by English logician, philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell.
In a village, the barber shaves everyone who does not shave himself/herself, but no one else.
Who shaves the barber?

Analogue paradox to the paradox of liar formulated English logician, philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell.

There was a barber in a village, who promised to shave everybody, who does not shave himself (or herself).

Can the barber shave himself and keep the mentioned promise


If destiny designed a master plan which defines everything that is to happen, isn’t it useless, for example, to go to a doctor? If I am ill and it is my destiny to regain health, then I will regain health whether I visit a doctor or not. If it is my destiny to not regain my health, then seeing a doctor can’t help me.
How could you question the presented opinion?

If destiny designed a master plan, which defines everything that is to happen, isn’t it useless to for example go to a doctor? If I am ill and it is my destiny to regain health, than I will regain health whether I visit a doctor or I don’t. And if I shall not be healthy again, than I will not with or without help.

If I am ill and destiny has a definite plan for me, than it is useless to go anywhere.

How could you question the presented opinion?








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Doctrine of Rebirth-Explanations about the Spiritual Truth



Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

“For the spiritual seeker death is only a passage from one form of life to another, and none is dead but only departed. Look at it like that and shaking from you all reactions of vital grief, – that cannot help him in his journey, – pursue steadfastly the path to the Divine.

Of course, that is the real fact – death is only a shedding of the body, not a cessation of the personal existence. A man is not dead because he goes into another country and changes his clothes to suit that climate”.  Sri Aurobindo


The fundamental basis of Sri Aurobindo doctrine of Rebirth is based on his philosophical belief in psychic evolution. According to this evolution, the first stage is PRANA (unicellular organisms) leads to MANA (lower animals) which leads to BUDDHI (human beings) which ultimately leads to CONSCIOUSNESS (stage to come, so-called gods) and the final stage of SUPERMIND.

As you progress further in the evolution stages, the last stages are indebted into that stage. For example, MANA includes PRANA. BUDDHI includes MANA and PRANA. CONSCIOUSNESS includes BUDDHI, MANA, and PRANA, and SUPERMIND includes CONSCIOUSNESS, BUDDHI, MANA, and PRANA. Rebirth is an effort/ tool to go from one stage of evolution of living beings to the next stage in the evolution.

” Human birth is a term at which the soul must arrive in a long succession of rebirths and that it has had for its previous and preparatory terms in the succession the lower forms of life upon earth; it has passed through the whole chain that life has strung in the physical universe on the basis of the body, the physical principle.” (The Life Divine, p. 761).

One is bound to the necessity of reincarnation as much by one’s affections, by one’s feelings, as by one’s desires. However, in the matter of reincarnation as in all things, each case has its own solution, and it is certain that a constant aspiration for liberation from rebirth, together with a sustained effort towards the elevation and sublimation of the consciousness, should have the result of severing the chain of earthly existences, although it does not for all that put an end to individual existence, which is prolonged in another world. But why think that this existence in another, more ethereal world, should be the ‘following state’ which, relative to man, would be what man is to the animal?… a deeper knowledge confirms this certitude that the following state too will be a physical one, (CWM, Vol. 15, pp. 263-64)

If we go a little way within ourselves, we shall discover that there is in each of us a consciousness that has been living throughout the ages and manifesting in a multitude of forms.” (CWM, Vol. 15, p. 134)

“What we see of Nature and of human nature justifies this view of a birth of the individual soul from form to form until it reaches the human level of manifested consciousness which is its instrument for rising to yet higher levels. We see that Nature develops from stage to stage and in each stage takes up its past and transforms it into the stuff of its new development. We see too that human nature is of the same make; all the earth-past is there in it. It has an element of matter taken up by life, an element of life taken up my mind, an element of mind which is being taken up by the spirit: the animal is still present in its humanity; the very nature of the human

The process of successive rebirths of an individual human soul in different physical bodies upon earth is not a simple affair. It is an issue bristling with many problems of understanding; man’s rational mind becomes inquisitive to know more about many of the tricky factors involved in this mysterious phenomenon.

The Psychic Being

At the time of death, the being goes out of the body through the head; it goes out in the subtle body and goes to different planes of existence for a short time until it has gone through certain experiences which are the result of its earthly existence.

Before we discuss the philosophy of Rebirth “It is necessary to understand clearly the difference between the evolving soul (psychic being) and the pure Atman, self or spirit. The pure self is unborn, does not pass through death or birth, is independent of birth or body, mind or life or this manifested Nature. It is not bound by these things, not limited, not affected, even though it assumes and supports them. The soul, on the contrary, is something that comes down into birth and passes through death – although it does not itself die, for it is immortal -from one state to another, from the earth plane to other planes and back again to the earth-existence. It goes on with this progression from life to life through an evolution which leads it up to the human state and evolves through it all a being of itself which we call the psychic being that supports the evolution and develops a physical, a vital, a mental human consciousness as its instruments of world-experience and of a disguised, imperfect, but growing self-expression. All this it does from behind a veil…” (Letters on Yoga, p. 438)

The psychic being stands behind the mind, life and body, supporting them; so also, the psychic world is not one world in the scale like the mental, vital or physical worlds, but stands behind all these and it is there that the souls evolving here retire for the time between life and life. If the psychic were only one principle in the rising order of body, life, and mind on a par with the others and placed somewhere in the scale on the same footing as the others, it could not be the soul of all the rest, the divine element making the evolution of the others possible and using them as instruments for a growth through cosmic experience towards the Divine. So also, the psychic world cannot be one among the other worlds to which the evolutionary being goes for paraphysical experience; it is a plane where it retires into itself for rest, for a spiritual assimilation of what it has experienced and for a replanting into its own fundamental consciousness and psychic nature.

The soul, on the contrary, is something that comes down into birth and passes through death – although it does not itself die, for it is immortal – from one state to another, from the earth plane to other planes and back again to the earth-existence. It goes on with this progression from life to life through an evolution which leads it up to the human state and evolves through it all a being of itself which we call the psychic being that supports the evolution and develops a physical, a vital, a mental human consciousness as its instruments of world-experience and of a disguised, imperfect, but growing self-expression. All this it does from behind a veil showing something of its divine self only in so far as the imperfection of the instrumental being will allow it. But a time comes when it is able to prepare to come out from behind the veil, to take command and turn all the instrumental nature towards a divine fulfillment. This is the beginning of the true spiritual life. The soul is able now to make itself ready for a higher evolution of manifested consciousness than the mental human – it can pass from the mental to the spiritual and through degrees of the spiritual to the supramental state. Till then there is no reason why it should cease from birth, it cannot, in fact, do so. If having reached the spiritual state, it wills to pass out of the terrestrial manifestation, it may indeed do so – but there is also possible a higher manifestation, in the Knowledge and not in the Ignorance.

It is not the naked spirit, but the psychic being that goes to the psychic plane to rest till it is called again to another life. There is, therefore, no need of a Force to compel it to take birth anew. It is in its nature something that is put forth from the Divine to support the evolution and it must do so till the Divine’s purpose in its evolution is accomplished. Karma is only a machinery, it is not the fundamental cause of terrestrial existence – it cannot be, for when the soul first entered this existence, it had no Karma.

The soul after it leaves the body travels through several states or planes until the psychic being has shed its temporary sheaths, then it reaches the psychic world where it rests in a kind of sleep till it is ready for reincarnation. What it keeps with it of the human experience, in the end, is only the essence of all that it has gone through, what it can use for its development. This is the general rule, but it does not apply to exceptional cases or to very developed beings who have achieved a greater consciousness than the ordinary human level.

The psychic being at the time of death chooses what it will work out in the next birth and determines the character and conditions of the new personality. Life is for the evolutionary growth by experience in the conditions of the Ignorance till one is ready for the higher Light.

Within the individual, contained in each form, there is an organization of consciousness which is closer to and more directly under the influence of the inner divine Presence,… [and] has a life independent of the physical form – this is what we generally call the ‘soul’ or the ‘psychic being’ – and since it is organized around the divine center it partakes of the divine nature which is immortal, eternal. The outer body falls away, and this remains throughout every experience that it has in each life, and there is a progress from life to life, and it is the progress of the same individual. (CWM, Vol. 9, pp. 214-15)

There is only one psychic being for each human being, but the beings of the higher planes, e.g., the Gods of the Overmined can manifest in more than one human body at a time by sending different emanations into different bodies.” (Ibid., p. 442). The psychic being cannot take up more than one body at the same time.

When the body is dissolved, the vital goes into the vital plane and remains there for a time, but after a time the vital sheath disappears. The last to dissolve is the mental sheath. Finally, the soul or psychic being retires into the psychic world to rest there till a new birth is close.

This is the general course for ordinarily developed human beings. There are variations according to the nature of the individual and his development. For example, if the mind is strongly developed, then the mental being can remain; so also, can the vital, provided they are organized by and centered around the true psychic being; they share the immortality of the psychic.

The soul gathers the essential elements of its experiences in life and makes that its basis of growth in the evolution; when it returns to birth it takes up with its mental, vital, physical sheaths so much of its Karma as is useful to it in the new life for further experience.

It is really for the vital part of the being that sraddha and rites are done – to help the being to get rid of the vital vibrations which still attach it to the earth or to the vital worlds, so that it may pass quickly to its rest in the psychic peace.

After leaving the body, the soul, after certain experiences in other worlds, throws off its mental and vital personalities and goes into rest to assimilate the essence of its past and prepare for a new life. It is this preparation that determines the circumstances of the new birth and guides it in its reconstitution of a new personality and the choice of its materials.

Worlds besides our Physical Universe

The physical universe is not the sole manifested world. “It is a fact that mankind almost from the beginning of its existence… has believed in the existence of other worlds and in the possibility of communication between their powers and beings and the human race.” (Ibid., p. 771)

“The experiences there [in the other worlds] are organized as they are in our own world, but on a different plan, with a different process and law of action and in a substance, which belongs to a paraphysical Nature. This organization includes, as on our earth, the existence of beings who have or take forms… (Ibid., p.

“Their [of the other worlds] existence and influence are a fact of primary importance for the possibility of an evolution here. (Ibid., p. 785) [Adapted]. All the souls go to the other worlds in the international period between death and the next rebirth.

“The necessity for an interregnum between birth and birth and a passage to other worlds arises from a double cause: there is an attraction of the other planes for the mental and the vital being in man’s composite nature due to their affinity with these levels, and there is the utility or even the need of an interval for assimilation of the completed life-experience, a working out of what has to be discarded, a preparation for the new embodiment and the new terrestrial experience.” (The Life Divine, Cent. Ed., p. 794)

“But this need for a period of assimilation and this attraction of other worlds for kindred parts of our being may become effective only when the mental and vital individuality has been sufficiently developed in the half-animal physical man; until then they might not exist or might not be active: the life-experiences would be too simple and elementary to need assimilation and the natural being too crude to be capable of a complex assimilative process; the higher parts would not be sufficiently developed to lift themselves to higher planes of existence.” (Ibid.)

In such cases, there would be an immediate rebirth for the individual. “For the soul personality, as it develops, must get sufficient power over its own nature-formation and a sufficient self-expressive mental and vital individuality to persist without the support of the material body, as well as to overcome any excessive detaining attachment to the physical plane and the physical life. (Ibid., p. 797) If the conditions are not fulfilled, there would be immediate rebirth and no sojourn in the other worlds in the antenatal period.

Afterward, it reaches the psychic world where it rests in a kind of sleep until it is time for it to start a new life on earth. That is what happens usually – but there are some beings who are more developed and do not follow this course.

The dying wish of the man is only something on the surface – it may be determined by the psychic and so help to shape the future but it does not determine the psychic’s choice. That is something behind the veil. It is not the outer consciousness’s action that determines the inner process, but the other way around. Sometimes, however, there are signs or fragments of the inner action that come up on the surface, e.g. some people have a vision or remembrance of the circumstances of their past in a panoramic flash at the time of death, that is the psychic’s review of the life before departing.

Relationship in Successive Rebirths / Memory of the Events of the Past Life

Two departed souls retain the same relationship in successive rebirths is possible, but not a law – as a rule, the same relationship would not be constantly repeated – the same people often meet again and again on earth in different lives, but the relations are different. The purpose of rebirth would not be served if the same personality with the same relations and experiences are incessantly repeated

The departed soul retains the memory of its past experiences only in their essence, not in their form of detail. It is only if the soul brings back some past personality or personalities as part of its present manifestation that it is likely to remember the details of the past life. Otherwise, it is only by Ygritte that the memory comes.

The soul remembers the experiences of life even after the death of the body.   But the recollections last only for a time, not till rebirth -otherwise, the stamp would be so strong that remembrance of past births, even after taking a new body, would be the rule rather than the exception.” (Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, p. 435)

Recalling the past life events or recognizing the places and persons are due to unfulfilled strong desire which was not assimilated.

Lack of memory of the events of the past life seems to be a serious handicap to the evolutionary growth of the being. On the contrary, “if a constant development of being by a developing cosmic experience is the meaning and the building of a new personality in a new birth is the method, then any persistent or complete memory of the past life or lives might be a chain and a serious obstacle: it would be a force for prolonging the old temperament, character, preoccupations and a tremendous burden hampering the free development of the new personality and its formulation of new experience. A clear and detailed memory of past lives, hatreds, rancor’s, attachments, connections would be equally a stupendous inconvenience; for it would bind the reborn being to a useless repetition or a compulsory continuation of his surface past and stand heavily in the way of his bringing out new possibilities from the depths of the spirit…. The law that deprives us of the memory of past lives is a law of the cosmic wisdom and serves, not disserves, its evolutionary purpose.” (Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, pp. 818-19)

“If even in this life it is difficult to keep all the memories of our past, if they often fade into the background or fade out altogether, if no recollection remains of our infancy, and yet with all these hiatus of memory we can grow and be, if the mind is even capable [in some critical cases] of total loss of memory of past events and its own identity and yet it is the same being who is there and the lost memory can one day be recovered, it is evident that so radical a change as a transition to other worlds followed by new birth in a new body ought normally to obliterate altogether the surface or mental memory, and yet that would not annul the identity of the soul or the growth of the nature. This obliteration of the surface mental memory is all the more certain and quite inevitable if there is a new personality of the same being, and a new instrumentation which takes the place of the old, a new mind, a new life, a new body…, (Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, pp. 819-20)

“Knowledge of past lives is interesting for an understanding of one’s nature and a mastery of one’s imperfections. But to tell the truth, it is not of capital importance, and it is far more important to concentrate on the future, on the consciousness to be acquired and on the development of nature, which is almost unlimited for those who know how to do it.” (CWM, Vol. 16, p. 353)

The soul goes out, after death, in a subtle body. Recollections last only for a time, not till rebirth – otherwise, the stamp would be so strong that remembrance of past births, even after taking a new body, would be the rule rather than the exception.

It is puzzling that sometimes we like and favors a person we even do not know well and does no good to us and starts avoiding and feeling uncomfortable with someone who does no harm to us. The explanation after understanding Sri Aurobindo doctrine of rebirth is simple. The soul recognizes and recalls the past life experiences with that person and behave accordingly.

You say “relationships of one birth persist in successive births, the chances depending on the strength of the attachment”. This is possible, but not a law – as a rule, the same relationship would not be constantly repeated – the same people often meet again and again on earth in different lives, but the relations are different. The purpose of rebirth would not be served if the same personality with the same relations and experiences are incessantly repeated.

It is not the case that there is the complete annihilation of the ego in respect of forms of life lower than a man after death.

What was spoken of as being in a static condition of complete rest is not the ego, but the psychic being after it has shed its vital and other sheaths and is resting in the psychic world. Before that, it passes through vital and other worlds on its way to the psychic plane.

Contacting the Departed Soul

It is possible to come into direct touch with the departed so long as they are near enough to the earth (it is usually supposed by those who have occult experience that it is for three years only) or if they are earthbound or if they are of those who do not proceed to the psychic plane but linger near the earth and are soon reborn.

Why and how haunting by departed souls. Actually, departed souls have no physical body so they need some medium for fulfillment and communication.

Contacting the departed souls through planchet and auto writing. Similar things happen with Sri Aurobindo and he writes that Swami Vivekananda soul communicated with him in Alipore Jail.

But Sri Aurobindo holds that automatic writings and spiritualistic seances are a very mixed affair. Part comes from the subconscious mind of the medium and part from that of the sitters. But it is not true that all can be accounted for by a dramatizing imagination and memory. Sometimes there are things none present could know or remember; sometimes even, though that is rare, glimpses of the future. But usually these seances etc. put one into rapport with a very low world of vital beings and forces, themselves obscure, incoherent or tricky and it is dangerous to associate with them or to undergo any influence. Rusenski and others must have gone through these experiments with too “mathematical” a mind, which was no doubt their safeguard but prevented them from coming to anything more than a surface intellectual view of their significance.

The word “ghost” as used in popular parlance covers an enormous number of distinct phenomena which have no necessary connection with each other.

A being of the lower vital plane who by the medium of a living human being or by some other means or agency is able to materialize itself sufficiently so as to appear and act in a visible form or speak with an audible voice or, without so appearing, to move about material things, e.g., furniture or to materialize objects or to shift them from place to place. This accounts for what is called poltergeists, phenomena of stone-throwing, tree-inhabiting Bhutan, and other well-known phenomena.

A being of the lower vital planes who has assumed the discarded vital sheath of a departed human being or a fragment of his vital personality and appears and acts in the form and perhaps with the surface thoughts and memories of that person.

A mental formation stamped by the thoughts and feelings of a departed human being on the atmosphere of a place or locality, wandering about there or repeating itself, till that formation either exhausts itself or is dissolved by one means or another. This is the explanation of such phenomena as the haunted house in which the scenes attending or surrounding or preceding a murder are repeated over and over again and many other similar phenomena.

  • An actual contact with the soul of a human being in its subtle body and transcribed to our mind by the appearance of an image or the hearing of a voice.
  • Apparitions which are the formations of one’s own mind and take to the senses an objective appearance.
  • Temporary possession of people by vital beings who sometimes pretend to be departed relatives etc.
  • Thought-images of themselves projected, often by people at the moment of death, which appear at that time or a few hours afterward to their friends or relatives.

You will see that in only one of these cases, the first, can a soul be posited and there no difficulty arises.

But Sri Aurobindo holds” These things [seeing Buddha, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Shankar frequently in vision] are the result of past thoughts and influences. They are of various kinds – sometimes merely thought-forms created by one’s own thought-force to act as a vehicle for some mental realization – sometimes Powers of different planes that take these forms as a support for their work through the individual, – but sometimes one is actually in communion with that which had the name and form and personality of Buddha or Ramakrishna or Vivekananda or Shankar.

It is not necessary to have an element akin to these personalities – a thought, an aspiration, a formation of the mind or vital is enough to create the connection – it is sufficient for a vibration of response anywhere to what these Powers represent.

During this period in the Jail, his view of life was radically changed due to spiritual experiences and realizations. Consequently, his aim went far beyond the service and liberation of the country. [35]

Aurobindo said he was “visited” by Vivekananda in the Alipore Jail: “It is a fact that I was hearing constantly the voice of Vivekananda speaking to me for a fortnight in the jail in my solitary meditation and felt his presence.”[36]

Universal statements cannot be easily made about these things – there is a general line, but individual cases vary to an almost indefinite extent.

Rebirth- How and When

[It is the] psychic being that goes to the psychic plane to rest till it is called again to another life. There is, therefore, no need of a Force to compel it to take birth anew. It [the psychic being] is in its nature something that is put forth from the Divine to support the evolution and it must do so till the Divine’s purpose in its evolution is accomplished.” (Ibid., p. 439)

Rebirth does not immediately follow the death of the preceding body. The psychic being’s choice at the time of death does not work out the next formation of personality, it fixes it. When it enters the psychic world, it begins to assimilate the essence of its experience and by that assimilation is formed the future psychic personality in accordance with the fixation already made. When this assimilation is over, it is ready for a new birth; but the less developed beings do not work out the whole thing for themselves, there are beings and forces of the higher world who have that work. Also, when it comes to birth, it is not sure that the forces of the physical world will not come across the working out of what it wanted – its own new instrumentation may not be strong enough for that purpose; for, there is the interaction of its own energies and the cosmic forces here. There may be frustration, diversion, a partial working out – many things may happen. All that is not a rigid machinery, it is a working out of complex forces. It may be added, however, that a developed psychic being is much more conscious in this transition and works out much of it itself. The time depends also on the development and on a certain rhythm of the being – for some there is practically immediate rebirth, for others it takes longer, for some it may take centuries; but here, again, once the psychic being is sufficiently developed, it is free to choose its own rhythm and its own intervals. The ordinary theories are too mechanical-and that is the case also with the idea of punya and papa and their results in the next life. There are certainly results of the energies put forth in a past life, but not on that rather infantile principle. A good man’s suffering in this life would be proof according to the orthodox theory that he had been a very great villain in his past life, a bad man’s prospering would be a proof that he had been quite angelic in his last visit to earth and sown a large crop of virtues and meritorious actions to reap this bumper crop of good fortune. Too symmetrical to be true. The object of birth being growth by experience, whatever reactions come to past deeds must be for the being to learn and grow, not as lollipops for good boys of the class (in the past) and canings for the bad ones. The real sanction for good and ill is not a good fortune for the one and bad fortune for the other, but this that good leads us towards a higher nature which is eventually lifted above suffering, and ill pulls us towards the lower nature which remains always in the circle of suffering and evil.

There is after death a period in which one passes through the vital world and lives there for a time. It is only the first part of this transit that can be dangerous or painful; in the rest one works out, under certain surroundings, the remnant of the vital desires and instincts which one had in the body. As soon as one is tired of these and able to go beyond, the vital sheath is dropped and the soul after a time needed to get rid of some mental survivals passes into a state of rest in the psychic world and remains there till the next life on earth.

One can help the departed souls by one’s goodwill or by occult means if one has the knowledge. The one thing that one should not do is to hold them back by sorrow for them or longings or by anything else that would pull them nearer to earth or delay their journey to their place of rest.

It may happen to some not to realize for a little time that they are dead, especially if the death has been unforeseen and sudden, but it cannot be said that it happens to all or to most. Some may enter into a state of semi-unconsciousness or obsession by a dark inner condition created by their state of mind at death, in which they realize nothing of where they are, etc., others are quite conscious of the passage.

It is true that the departing being in the vital body lingers for some time near the body or the scene of life very often for as many as eight days and, in the ancient religions, mantras and other means were used for the severance. Even after the severance from the body a very earthbound nature or one full of strong physical desires may linger long in the earth-atmosphere up to a maximum period extended to three years. Afterward, it passes to the vital worlds, proceeding on its journey which must sooner or later bring it to the psychic rest till the next life. It is true also that sorrow and mourning for the dead impede their progress by keeping them tied to the earth-atmosphere and pulling them back from their passage.

The movement of the psychic being dropping the outer sheaths on its way to the psychic plane is the normal movement. But there can be any number of variations; one can return from the vital plane and there are many cases of an almost immediate birth, sometimes even attended with a complete memory of the events of the past life.

Hell, and heaven are often imaginary states of the soul or rather of the vital which it constructs about it after its passing. What is meant by hell is a painful passage through the vital or lingering there, as for instance, in many cases of suicide where one remains surrounded by the forces of suffering and turmoil created by this unnatural and violent exit. There are, of course, also worlds of mind and vital worlds which are penetrated with joyful or dark experiences. One may pass through these as the result of things formed in nature which create the necessary affinities, but the idea of reward or retribution is a crude and vulgar conception which is a mere popular error.

Death is nothing but the wish of the soul. When the soul feels that the body which is an instrument of gathering experiences. He rejects it as we reject the old clothes, but some it attached even with the body which is totally nonfunctional, it is similar to our emotional attachment with some old clothes which are no use at present.

A new birth is a new start: there is an inter-natal reshuffling. “Part of this rearrangement, the discarding especially of past strong vibrations of the personality, can only be effected by an exhaustion of the push of previous mental, vital, physical motives after death, and this internal liberation or lightening of impediments must be put through on the planes proper to the motives that are to be discarded or otherwise manipulated, those planes which are themselves of that nature; for it is only there that the soul can still continue the activities which have to be exhausted and rejected from the consciousness so that it can pass on to a new formation. It is probably also that the integrating positive preparation would be carried out and the character of the new life would be decided by the soul itself in a resort to its native habitat, a plane of psychic repose, where it would draw all back into itself and await its new stage in the evolution.” (The Life Divine, p. 803)

“This would mean a passage of the soul progressively through subtle-physical, vital and mental worlds to the psychic dwelling-place from which it would return to its terrestrial pilgrimage.” (Ibid., pp. 802-03)

A new birth, a new life is not a taking up of the development exactly where it stopped in the last, it does not merely repeat and continue our past surface personality and formation of nature. There is an assimilation, a discarding and strengthening and rearrangement of the old characters and motives, a new ordering of the developments of the past and a selection for the purposes of the future without which the new start cannot be fruitful or carry forward the evolution. For each birth is a new start; it develops indeed from the past, but is not its mechanical continuation: rebirth is not a constant reiteration but a progression, it is the machinery of an evolutionary process.” (Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Cent. Ed., p. 802)

Assimilation depends on the weakening of unfulfilled desire is based on time and fulfillment.

Men retain their identities after the dissolution of their bodies. The ordinary mass of men is so closely identified with their bodies that nothing of them survives when the physical disintegrates… What [little] survives has not the clear impress of the exterior personality because the latter was content to remain a jumble of impulses and desires, a temporary organic unity constituted by the cohesion and coordination of bodily functions, and when these functions cease, their pseudo-unity also naturally comes to an end.

“The outer form only dissolves; unless that too is made conscious and is organized around the divine center. But the true mental, the truly vital and even the true subtle physical persist: it is that which keeps all the impressions received in earthly life.

“The psychic being at the time of death chooses what it will work out in the next birth and determines the character and the conditions of the new personality.” (Ibid., p. 443). When and where is determined the personality, of the soul for the next birth

“The psychic being’s choice at the time of death does not work out the next formations of personality, it fixes it. When it enters the psychic world, it begins to assimilate the essence of its experiences and by that assimilation is formed the future psychic personality in accordance with the fixation already made.” (Ibid., p. 444)

“It should be noted that the conditions of the future birth are determined fundamentally not during the stay in the psychic world but at the time of death – the psychic being then chooses what it should work out in the next terrestrial appearance and the conditions arrange themselves accordingly.” (Ibid., p. 441)

“As regards the stage at which the soul returning for rebirth enters the new body no rule can be laid down, for the circumstances vary with the individual. Some psychic beings get into relation with the birth-environment and the parents from the time of conception and determine the preparation of the personality and future in the embryo, others join only at the time of delivery, others even later on in the life and in these cases, it is some emanation of the psychic being which upholds the life.” (Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, pp. 440-41)

“The psychic being coming down into the human consciousness and body ready for it; that descent might be at the time of birth or before or it may come down later and occupy the personality it has prepared for itself.” (Ibid., p. 442)

Formations and Retention of Personality

Our old person cannot be retained at rebirth. There is no earthly use of repeating the same personality or character a million times from the beginning of time until its end? The soul comes into birth for experience, for growth, for evolution till it can bring the Divine into Matter. It is the central being that incarnates, not the outer personality – the personality is simply a mold that it creates for its figures of experience in that one life. In another birth it will create for itself a different personality, different capacities, a different life, and career…. the central being develops a new character, a new personality grows, develops, passes through all kinds of terrestrial experience.” (Letters on Yoga, p. 451)

As far as the old personality survival in rebirth. “Personality is only a temporary mental, vital, physical formation which the being, the real Person, the psychic entity, puts forward on the surface, – it is not the self in its abiding reality. In each return to earth the Person, the Purusha makes a new formation, builds a new personal quantum suitable for a new experience, for a new growth of its being. When it passes from its body, it keeps still the same vital and mental form for a time, but the forms or sheaths dissolve and what is kept is only the essential elements of the past quantum, of which some will but some may not be used in the next incarnation.” (The Life Divine, Cent. Ed., pp.816-17)

“The condition of your being after death depends very much on whether the vital has been converted here or not. If only a medley of unorganized impulses exists, then at death, when the consciousness withdraws into the background, the different personalities in you fall apart, rush in hither and thither to seek their own suitable environments. One part may enter into another person who has an affinity for it, another may even enter an animal, while that which has been alive to the divine Presence, may remain attached to the central psychic being. But if you are fully organized and converted into a single individual, bent on reaching the goal of evolution, then you will be conscious after death and preserve a continuity. (CWM, Vol. 3, pp. 144-45)

People believe that it is they who are reincarnated, yet this is a palpable error, though it is true that parts of their being are amalgamated with others and so act through new bodies. Their whole being is not reborn, because of the simple fact that what they evidently mean by their ‘self is not a real individualized entity but their exterior personality, the personality composed of the outward name and form…. what does remain constant is the psychic being which is not the outward personality at all, but something deep within, something which is not the exterior name and form.” (CWM, Vol. 3, p. 145)

Rebirth is an indispensable condition for any long duration and evolution of the individual being in the earth-existence.” By it alone the ascent of the individual soul-consciousness in the body… can… take place… within the ascending order…” but is an indispensable machinery for the working out of the spiritual evolution…”

The next rebirth occurs, after much time after death, “…no rule holds good for all cases. Some people are reborn almost immediately… Some people, however, take centuries and even thousands of years to be reincarnated. They wait for the necessary conditions to mature which will provide them with a suitable milieu.” (CWM, Vol. 3, p. 145)

“If one is logically conscious, he can actually prepare the body of his next birth. Before the body is born, he shapes and molds it, so that it is he who is the true maker of it while the parents of the new child are only the adventitious, purely physical agents.” (CWM, Vol. 3, p. 145)

Every fully conscious and developed psychic being is free to choose what its next life will be and when that life will take place.” When one is reborn, is it always in a more advanced and in a more favorable state?   Animals incarnation in a human body may not take place, as there is a great difference in the development. But a very tiny part of the consciousness may enter a human body. This happens when the particular animal possesses a great aspiration.

Except for very rare cases, animals are not individualized and when they die, they return to the spirit of the species.” (CWM, Vol. 15, p. 137)

The Mother cites the case of a cat she knew, which had the aspiration to become a human being. When it left its body, it entered a human body: this cat leaped over many births, so to say, to enter into contact with a human body. (CWM, Vol. 17, p. 100) [Adapted]

The soul, having once arrived at humanity, go back to the animal life and body, as it will be a retrogression.

“It seems impossible that it should so go back with any entirety, and for this reason that the transit from animal to human life means a decisive conversion of consciousness, … It is surely impossible that a conversion so decisive made by Nature should be reversed by the soul…” (The Life Divine, p. 762)

“But the soul, the psychic being, once having reached the human consciousness cannot go back to the inferior animal consciousness any more than it can go back into a tree or an ephemeral insect. What is true is that some part of the vital energy or the formed instrumental consciousness or nature can and very frequently does so, if it is strongly attached to anything in the earth life.

“The soul does not go back to the animal condition, but a part of the vital personality may disjoin itself and join an animal birth to work out its animal propensities there.” (Ibid., p. 434)

“It is not the soul (the psychic being) that takes a lesser form, it is some part of the manifested being, usually some part of the vital that does it, owing to some desire, affinity, need of particular experience. This happens fairly often to the ordinary man.” (Ibid., pp. 434-35)

The line of Sex in Successive Lives

Soul follows the same line of sex in successive lives. Sex is not altered in rebirth. There are certain lines the reincarnation follows and so far as my experience goes and general experience goes, one follows usually a single line. But the alteration of sex cannot be declared impossible. There may be some who do alternate. The presence of feminine traits in a male does not necessarily indicate a past feminine birth – they may come in the general play of forces and their formations. There are qualities common to both sexes. Also, a fragment of the psychological personality may have been associated with a birth not one’s own. One can say of a certain person of the past, “that was not myself, but a fragment of my psychological personality was present in him.” Rebirth is a complex affair and not so simple in its mechanism as in the popular idea. The popular accounts of rebirth are of man becoming man and woman becoming a woman in the next life.

Births follow usually one line or the other and do not alternate….  Not sex exactly, but what might be called the masculine and feminine principles.”  “Usually, a soul follows continuously the same line of sex. If there are shifting of sex, it is, as a rule, a matter of parts of the personality which are not central.” (Ibid., p. 440).  But the alternative to sex cannot be declared impossible. There may be some who do alternate.” (Ibid.)

If there is a change of sex, it is only part of the being that associates itself with the change, not the central being.

The births follow usually one line or the other and do not alternate – that, I think, is the Indian tradition also, there are only stray cases quoted like Shamkhani’s in the Mahabharata for variations of sex. If there is a change of sex, it is only part of the being that associates itself with the change, not the central being.

Remembering Former lives:

“This is a dangerous subject because the human mind is too fond of romance. As soon as it comes to know something of this truth of rebirth, it wants to build up beautiful stories around it… All this has nothing to do with spiritual life. The true remembrance of past births… cannot be got by that way of imaginative fancies…. here there is much chance of invention, distortion and or false building.” (CWM, Vol. 3, pp. 40-41)

“The departed soul retains the memory of its past experiences only in their essence, not in their form of detail. It is only if the soul brings back some past personality or personalities as part of its present manifestation that it is likely to remember the details of the past life. Otherwise, it is only by Ygritte that the memory comes.” (Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, p. 434)

“To reach the truth of these things, your experiencing consciousness must be pure and limpid, free from any mental interference or any vital interference, liberated from your personal notions and feelings and from your mind’s habit of interpreting or explaining in its own way.” (Ibid., p. 41)

“A certain state of inner organization is necessary for this [the] psychic being to be able to have memories in the way the mental being has them…” (CWM, Vol.9, p. 216)”…neither the mental nor the vital being can remember past lives…” because it is not, they which are born again.” (CWM, Vol. 15, p. 135)

“But this memory is not a thing of the mental kind… What remains is the memory of those instants when the psychic being emerged from the depths of your being and revealed itself to you – that is to say, the memory of those instants when you were wholly conscious. That growth of consciousness is progressively effectuated in the course of evolution, and the memory of past lives is generally limited to the critical moments of evolution, to the decisive turns that marked the progress of your consciousness…. it is not the memory of your civic status that remains. On the contrary, you lose all consciousness of these petty external things, accessories, and perishables, so that you may be wholly in the flare of the soul revelation or of the divine contact.” (Ibid., pp. 361-62)

“And this will explain to you why the so-called memories of past animal lives are the most fantastic: the divine spark in them is buried much too deep down to be able to come up consciously to the surface and be associated with the outer life. One must become a wholly conscious being, conscious in all its parts, totally united with one’s divine origin before one can truly say that one remembers his past lives.” (Ibid., p. 364)

“The psychic decants – that is exactly what happens. The psychic does not retain things in their totality – it decants, it gradually decants the vibrations. The psychic memory is a decanted memory of events. For example, in past lives, there have been moments when, for some reason or other, the psychic was present and participated; in that case, it retains the memory of the circumstance. But the memory it retains is that of the psychic life of that moment; so even if it retains the memory of the image, it is a simplified image such as it is translated in the psychic consciousness and according to the psychic vibration of all the people present.” (CWM, Vol. 16, p. 350)

“It is through contact with the psychic that one gets fragmentary memories of past lives – the memory of events in which the psychic took part. This happens spontaneously when these same elements of the psychic become active again. Any deliberate mental effort is liable to produce misleading imaginations.” (CWM, Vol. 17, p. 371)

Only when one is consciously identified with one’s divine origin, can one in truth speak of a memory of past lives. Sri Aurobindo speaks of the progressive manifestation of the Spirit in the forms in which it dwells. When one reaches the summit of this manifestation, one has a vision that plunges down upon the way traversed and one remembers.” (Ibid., p. 361)

The process of Selected Recalling of Past Life

There is no set rule of complete forgetfulness in the return of the soul to rebirth. There are, especially in childhood, many impressions of the past life which can be strong and vivid enough, but the materializing education and influence of the environments prevent their true nature from being recognized. There are even a great number of people who have definite recollections of a past life. Process and selected recalling are based on laws of Similarity, and Contrast, Recency, and Proximity. But these things are discouraged by education and the atmosphere and cannot remain or develop; in most cases, they are stifled out of existence. At the same time, it must be noted that what the psychic being carries away with it and brings back is ordinarily the essence of the experiences it had in former lives, and not the details so that you cannot expect the same memory as one has of the present existence.

“Those who have had the memory of past lives have declared the reality of rebirth. There have been – and there still are – beings whose inner consciousness is sufficiently developed for them to know for certain that this consciousness has manifested in bodies other than their present one and that it will survive the disappearance of this body.” (CWM, Vol. 16, p. 398)

Return of the soul, in its next rebirth, to the same place, in the same circumstances, or with the same relationship is not at all certain.” (CWM, Vol. 17, p. 370) “The number of beings who consciously return to a place of their choice is very small. Those who have returned are mainly the beings who, before leaving their body, asked to return in a new one.” (Ibid., pp. 370-71)

As regards the stage at which the soul returning for rebirth enters the new body no rule can be laid down, for the circumstances vary with the individual. Some psychic beings get into relation with the birth-environment and the parents from the time of conception and determine the preparation of the personality and future in the embryo, others join only at the time of delivery, others even later on in the life and in these cases, it is some emanation of the psychic being which upholds the life. It should be noted that the conditions of the future birth are determined fundamentally not during the stay in the psychic world but at the time of death – the psychic being then chooses what it should work out in the next terrestrial appearance and the conditions arrange themselves accordingly.

A soul can go straight to the psychic world but it depends on the state of consciousness at the time of departure. If the psychic is in front at the time, the immediate transition is quite possible. It does not depend on the acquisition of a mental and vital as well as a psychic immortality – those who have acquired that would rather have the power to move about in the different worlds and even act on the physical world without being bound to it. On the whole, it may be said that there is no one rigid rule for these things, manifold variations are possible depending upon the consciousness, its energies, tendencies, and formations, although there are a general framework and design into which all fit and take their place.

To conclude it can be said that in a general way, a life is only one brief episode in a long history of spiritual evolution in which the soul follows the curve of the line set for the earth, passing through many lives to complete it. It is an evolution out of material in conscience to consciousness and towards the Divine Consciousness, from ignorance to Divine Knowledge, from darkness through half-light to Light, from death to Immortality, from suffering to the Divine Bliss. Suffering is due first to the Ignorance, secondly to the separation of the individual consciousness from the Divine Consciousness and Being, a separation created by the Ignorance – when that ceases, when one lives in the Divine and no more in one’s separated smaller self, then only suffering can altogether cease. Each soul follows its own line and these lines meet, journey together for space, then part to meet again perhaps hereafter – they meet once more to help each other on the journey in one way or another. As for the after-death period, the soul passes into other planes of existence, staying there for a while till it reaches its place of rest where it remains until it is ready for another terrestrial existence. This is a general law, but for the connections of embodied souls, that is a matter of personal evolution of the two on which nothing general can be said, as it is intimate to the soul stories of the two and needs a personal knowledge. That is all I can say, but I don’t know that it will be of much help to her as these things are helpful usually only when one enters into the consciousness in which they become not mere ideas but realities. Then one grieves no longer because one has entered into the Truth and the Truth brings calm and peace.


•    Sri Aurobindo Primary Works Set 12 vol. US Edition, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-93-0

•    Sri Aurobindo Selected Writings Software CD ROM, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-88-8

•    The Life Divine, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-61-2

•    Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-80-9

•    The Synthesis of Yoga, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-65-5

•    Essays on the Gita, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-18-7



Krish Maheshwari for being the scribe for this article.




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Kundalini – Mystical Power in Tantra Yoga


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

The cosmic force or universal energy is flowing. There are numerous authoritative texts and explanatory  commentaries which expound the energetic secretes in Tantra shastra.  But what is really important to understand in this awakening process is that it is your subtle energy field that is erupting and unraveling and producing all the changes.

The functions and the potentialities of the Kundalni and chakras have been acknowledged in various traditions both in the East and the West. They were known to many Christian mystics and to the Sufis. They find a mention in the Egyptian tradition and Theosophist literature also.

Kundalinī Serpent Power

The term “KUNDALINĪ” is based on several words, and therefore has several meanings.

The word-ending “ī” indicates that it relates to the feminine principle and deals with a form of SHAKTI (energy) and PRAKRITI (nature).

•             KUNDA is a hole or well into which all debris and rubbish is thrown. In time the rubbish loses its original form and disintegrates into a formless mush in which the individual components are no longer recognisable. In a similar way our impressions from earlier lives lie like an amorphous substance deep in the unconscious (Mūlādhāra Chakra).

•             KUNDALA means ring (generally earring). A ring or a circle has neither a beginning nor an end. It is infinite and that is why it is a symbol of creation. Cosmic energy is circling constantly; we do not know when the Universe began and how long it will last.

Kundalini is a mystical power located at the base of the spine, sometimes referred to as “the serpent power”. It is a female force, connected with the Mother Earth, and in some eastern traditions is revered as a Goddess. Whether we are aware of this power or not – whether we believe in it or not – we are completely dependent upon it. Everything we do, we are only able to do thanks to kundalini. The main, if not the only reason, we are here on Earth is to learn to control this power, and raise it, in its entirety, up the spine. As it rises, it activates the chakras, explained briefly above.

Two other roots of “KUNDALINĪ” are KUNDALIN, serpent, and KĀLA, time or death. What is the connection between these terms? The symbol of the snake has many meanings: ignorance, energy, unhappiness or happiness, death, time and change. In Indian mythology Lord Vishnu rests on a thousand-headed snake and sends out the first vibration (Sphurna), from which the entire Universe evolves.

THE “AWAKENING OF THE KUNDALINĪ” MEANS THE AWAKENING OF INNER KNOWLEDGE. The path of the Kundalinī proceeds from the Mūlādhāra Chakra at the lower end of the spinal column up to the Sahasrāra Chakra at the top of the head. But its awakening is not a physical occurrence; it consists exclusively of a development in consciousness. This becomes more noticeable as our perceptions of cosmic vibrations and radiant energy (Tattvas) become more sensitive, and our understanding of the connections and laws within the Universe deepens.

Occasionally in Yoga literature Kundalinī is connected with Tantra and occult powers and is considered as something dangerous. Kundalini is the name for a living symbol of the latent divine power in the human system lying dormant and curled up like a snake in the region of the spine.

Hence the name Kundalini (meaning ‘coiled up’) or the Serpent Power. The symbol of the snake also refers to the poison and danger that lies in ignorance. Ignorance is as poisonous and deadly as a cobra. But poison can also heal and even have a life saving influence. Knowledge about its correct application and dosage is the important thing. So just as the power to heal is contained in poison, supreme knowledge lies dormant in the “ignorance” of the unconscious. Just as a snakebite can suddenly change our life, when the Kundalinī awakens our consciousness changes fundamentally and we reach another dimension of time and space.

The signification of the word ‘serpent’ is purely figurative or symbolic. “It could very well be translated in scientific terminology as ‘potential power’ ” . Just as a coiled up or wound spring is a source of potential energy, which can be transformed into kinetic energy, Kundalini indicates the presence of a reservoir of tremendous untapped power within man.

Philosopher like Sri Aurobindo’s concept of Kundalini is that it is an all-pervasive force that accompanies the growth and the perfect evolution of the new consciousness, that of the Superman. He dwells upon it in The Integral Yoga: This force is the Yoga – Shakti. It is here coiled up and asleep in all the centres of our inner being (Chakras) and is at the base what is called in the Tantras the Kundalini Shakti. But it is also above us, above our head as the Divine Force – noi, there coiled up, involved, asleep, but awake, scient, potent, extended and wide; it is there waiting for manifestation and to this Force we have to open ourselves – to the power of the Mother.

Ramana Maharshi mentioned that Kundalini is nothing but the natural energy of the Self, where Self is the universal consciousness (Paramatma) present in every being and that the individual mind of thoughts cloaks this natural energy from unadulterated expression. Advaita teaches self-realizationenlightenmentGod-consciousness, and nirvana. But initial Kundalini awakening is just the beginning of the actual spiritual experience. Self-inquiry meditation is considered a very natural and simple means of reaching this goal.[citation needed]

Swami Vivekananda describes Kundalini briefly in his book Raja Yoga as follows:[25]

According to the Yogis, there are two nerve currents in the spinal column, called Pingalâ and Idâ, and a hollow canal called Sushumnâ running through the spinal cord. At the lower end of the hollow canal is what the Yogis call the “Lotus of the Kundalini”. They describe it as triangular in a form in which, in the symbolical language of the Yogis, there is a power called the Kundalini, coiled up. When that Kundalini awakens, it tries to force a passage through this hollow canal, and as it rises step by step, as it were, layer after layer of the mind becomes open and all the different visions and wonderful powers come to the Yogi. When it reaches the brain, the Yogi is perfectly detached from the body and mind; the soul finds itself free. We know that the spinal cord is composed in a peculiar manner. If we take the figure eight horizontally (∞), there are two parts which are connected in the middle. Suppose you add eight after eight, piled one on top of the other, that will represent the spinal cord. The left is the Ida, the right Pingala, and that hollow canal which runs through the center of the spinal cord is the Sushumna. Where the spinal cord ends in some of the lumbar vertebrae, a fine fiber issues downwards, and the canal runs up even within that fiber, only much finer. The canal is closed at the lower end, which is situated near what is called the sacral plexus, which, according to modern physiology, is triangular in form. The different plexuses that have their centers in the spinal canal can very well stand for the different “lotuses” of the Yogi.

When Kundalini Shakti is conceived as a goddess, then, when it rises to the head, it unites itself with the Supreme Being of (Lord Shiva). The aspirant then becomes engrossed in deep meditation and infinite bliss. Paramahansa Yogananda in his book God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita states:[26][page needed]

At the command of the yogi in deep meditation, this creative force turns inward and flows back to its source in the thousand-petaled lotus, revealing the resplendent inner world of the divine forces and consciousness of the soul and spirit. Yoga refers to this power flowing from the coccyx to spirit as the awakened kundalini.

Paramahansa Yogananda also states:

The yogi reverses the searchlights of intelligence, mind and life force inward through a secret astral passage, the coiled way of the kundalini in the coccygeal plexus, and upward through the sacral, the lumbar, and the higher dorsal, cervical, and medullary plexuses, and the spiritual eye at the point between the eyebrows, to reveal finally the soul’s presence in the highest center (Sahasrara) in the brain.[26]:18, 1093


Distinct planes or layers of consciousness in an individual

One who succeeds in rousing k’undalini and realizing the true nature of the Divine Mother, transcends the phenomenal world of Time and Space. Man is a multiple personality, in the view of Tantra. There are distinct planes or layers of consciousness in an individual which interpenetrate, co-ordinate and blend to constitute a harmonious unit of the entire being. Each of these planes is governed by a number of conscious centres or sources of dynamic power which function as focal points for the Pure Consciousness to operate. At the same time, within us resides a subtle system of channels (nadis) and centers of energy (chakras) which look after our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual being. Chakras, meaning “wheel”, are psychic centers that lie along the axis of the spine as consciousness potentials. They are usually represented as lotuses. The chakras are not materially real and are to be understood as situated, not in the gross body, but in the subtle or etheric body. Repositories of psychic energies, they govern the whole condition of being.  These centres are picturesquely portrayed as chakras signifling wheels of power, or padmas or lotuses found in our subtle body, arranged in an ascending series along the spine.

In Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga, they signifies different levels of consciousness, or the degree of our mental purity and spiritual elevation, which lead us to a greater awareness of Time and Space.

When kundalini is struck, she awakens, uncoils and begin to rise upwards like a fiery serpent, breaking upon each chakra as she ascends, until the Shakti merges with Shiva in sahasrara chakra.

As kundalini reaches each chakra, that lotus opens and lift its flower; and as soon as she leaves for a higher chakra, the lotus closes its petals and hangs down, symbolizing the activation of the energies of the chakra and their assimilation to kundalini. The dynamization of kundalini when it passes from one chakra to another is an unfoldment of spiritual consciousness stage by stage and is said to enable the acquirement of yogic powers called siddhis.

The increasing number of lotus petals, in ascending order, may be taken to indicate the rising energy or vibration-frequencies of the respective chakras, each functioning as a transformer of energies from one potency to another. Each of the 50 petals of the first 6 chakras are associated with one of the letter of the Sanskrit alphabet.

Each of the chakras, according to the Tantras, corresponds to one of the elements of which the known world is compounded. Muladhara represents solidity; Svadhisthana, liquidity; Manipura, the gaseous; Anahata, the aerial; Vishuddha, the etheric, or space. One can see the whole process as a progressive transformation of the elements, with an increase of volatility. Each of the elements of the first five chakras are associated with a sound: Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham.

This ascent through the chakras can be viewed as an upward journey through the self which refines and subtilizes the energy that is the kundalini, until at the sixth chakra, the Ajna, center of command, a qualitative change has taken place. The chakras are centers of transformation of psychic or mental energy into spiritual energy


The first chakra is situated below the sacrum bone in which resides the Kundalini  At the base of the spine is the foundational chakra, muladhara, which holds you into a sense of having a body, of being a separate person, a connection and agreeement that spirit is making with existence.  The Muladhara is the seat or basic receptacle of the presiding energy. This chakra “governs the physical down to the subconscient”

Most people are content to say that the Kundalini is located at the base of the spine, but actually the Kundalini is located exactly halfway between the organ of excretion and the organ of reproduction. This Muladhara is a Chakra of four petals, the lower the evolution of the person, the darker the red colour of the petals. In the centre of the red petals — where they  The red indicates lower carnal emotions and  recumbent Kundalini shows that the Kundalini force can be spiritual if raised properly.

It is main aspect is the innocence. Innocence is the quality by which we experience pure, childlike joy, without the limitations of prejudice or conditionings. Innocence gives us dignity, balance, and a tremendous sense of direction and purpose in life. It is nothing but simplicity, purity and joy.

Three qualities are rooted here — the tendency to lethargy (tamas), activity (rajas)or harmonious balance (sattva).  We each have a mix of these.  Sometimes you can see them clearly in the temperament of a new-born infant. Here also our spirit becomes identified with the limitation of time and space, and we know we are part of the earth.  Our life force is rooted here and active, because we feel we are alive and pranic energy is moving throughout our body.  Kundalini is said to be the residual energy that is stored here, holding us in stasis, unless or until it is jolted into awakening and winding upward through our bodies.


This is located around the area of the reproductory organs. It is in the shape of a Lotus containing six petals. In a poorly  evolved, lustful person, the colour of the petals will be a very dark-brown red, a most unpleasant colour indeed. As the person becomes more evolved, the brownish part of the red disappears and becomes brighter red.

When a person is evolved the colour changes to orange-red, and the greater the degree of spirituality the more yellow there is and less red. There is a hollow centre to the flower in which appears radiations, the exact form of which depends upon the state of evolution of the person to whom it is attached.

The second chakra, swadhisthana, is related to the sexual organs — the drive to procreate, or the desire for pleasure originates here.  This chakra is active but in many people it is out of balance, causing obsessions with sex or the opposite dynamic — fear, frigidity, condemnation of the body or of life.  On the physical level it looks after our liver, kidneys, and the lower abdomen. When we think too much, this center gets drained of energy and diseases like diabetes or blood cancer can occur when this chakra goes completely out of balance ‘

This area is believed to be the seat of all desires, and the storehouse of the collective unconscious, holding all the darker energies in the deep subconscious.  Because of this a person might become obsessed with terror or demonic images, and move through a sexual or fear crisis as kundalini moves into and amplifies this chakra.  For this reason many spiritual traditions emphasize opening or awakening chakras in the upper body first. When this deep unconscious material is cleared out a person is said to be free from lust, anger and greed, to feel integrated, calm and fearless, and  able to have a strong will and dedication to their spiritual life.

This chakra is the chakra of creativity, pure attention and pure knowledge. It is the one which connects us to the inner source of inspiration, and enables us to experience the beauty around us.

The pure knowledge given by this chakra is not mental, but it is direct perception of the Reality, that can be felt in our palms and indicates our subtle blockages. Also this is the center of pure, steady attention and power of concentration.

THE SEAT OF POWER–  Manipura  Chakra

This is one of the Chakrams. This one is that which is at the level of the umbilicus or navel. It is the third of the seven common Yogic centres of consciousness, and in esoteric terminology it is referred to as The Wheel, or Lotus. It is so called because to a clairvoyant, or to one who can see the astral, ‘petals’ flap around by the umbilicus, and depending upon how one is thinking it can be termed a wheel with the spokes rotating, or as the Lotus undulating in the etheric wind. A person who is of good intentions, and who is fairly pure, will have the petals of the Lotus or the spokes of the Wheel, whichever you prefer to call it, of a green colour. That indicates that the person is able and willing to learn and to assist others as much as possible.

As the person rises higher and higher in the scale of evolution the petals become more and more yellow, showing increasing spirituality and devotion.

The 3rd chakra, Manipura, located at or slightly below the naval, is where our sense of a personal identity lives. It is the power center, concerned with survival and accumulation. The third chakra is the one that gives us the sense of generosity, complete satisfaction and contentment.

On the left side, the main quality of this center is peace – clearing this chakra can relieve stress and tensions. On the right side, it looks after our liver which is the organ of our attention and power of concentration.

When enlightened by the Kundalini, this Nabhi chakra gives us our spiritual ascent, righteousness and inner sense of morality, and complete balance at all levels in our life.

We have both upper and downward flowing pranic energy flows in our bodies that circulate in the 3rd chakra center and kundalini yogis believe that for good health and spiritual growth these energies need to  be rerouted to move in tandem upward through the body, so some yogic practices are designed to accomplish this.

When this chakra functions well the body will be healthy and probably long-lived.  When this chakra is fully awakened by kundalini the sense of a separate identity is seen as illusory, and there is a profound change in how the will, spiritual intuition, and intention is experienced. This is a major turning point in a spiritual awakening, and after manapura is awakened the kundalini is said to no longer fall into the lower chakras.

The quality of energy here has a great impact on our digestion,  the fire and energy that moves through all our organs, and our general psychological and physical health.  When out of balance a person may be arrogant and demanding, feel driven and be overbearing.  At the opposite extreme they may feel weak, ineffectual, depressed, energy deficient and helpless.

Sometimes benevelent psychic powers may arise when the chakra is awakened. One also begins to see beauty in the world and envision new possibilities in their life.  Biases, and prejudices fall away. It is an important time to learn to listen to the deeper intuition and become aligned with your authentic sense of expression in the world.

Some people in a spiritual awakening or spiritual crisis feels chronic fatigue, listlessness, and even being bedridden for a long period.  This indicates that energy has either burned out or become depleted in this area.

It takes time and self-valuing to repair any damage in Manapura and yogis say a sincere spiritual commitment can also help to stabilize .


The symbolism of this Chakra is The Wheel or The Lotus. The symbolism of the East refers to it as a stylised Wheel, which is also a stylised Lotus. In Tibet it is The Lotus only.

This is a Chakra at the level of the heart. It has twelve petals of a golden colour. When one can see the aura one can observe that sometimes the gold is tinged with red, at other times it will be streaked or flecked with a dark blue showing the different moods, and the different stages of evolution of the person.

Below this Anahata centre is another manifestation of The Lotus, one with an eight-petal arrangement which stirs and waves slightly when one does meditation. It stirs and waves like the sea anemone which we can see in an aquarium. When one can see the aura, one can see the rays of light which make it resemble The Flowering Lotus or The Wheel, depending upon one’s sense of imagery, the mechanical or horticultural.

The Anahata Chakra is the fourth of the seven commonly known Yogic centres of consciousness. Actually, as already stated previously, there are more than seven.

The 4th chakra, Anahata, is in the center of the chest in the spine, parallel to the heart. On the physical level, this chakra looks after our heart and lungs . The fourth chakra, the chakra of the heart, is the place where resides our Spirit, our true Self, which is eternally pure and unaffected by anything, like a shining diamond hidden within us which witnesses all our actions.  Surrounding the second and the third chakra is the Void which stands for the principle of mastery (guru principle) within us. In Sahaja Yoga you become your own guru, your own spiritual guide since you can feel on your fingertips all your subtle problems and have the power to cure them using your own Kundalini

In many spiritual traditions, this area is the “ocean of illusions” that needs to be crossed with the help of a spiritual guide. When the Kundalini is awakened and passes through the Void, this principle of mastery is established within us.

.  The heart chakra is associated with our creativity, our love of life, appreciation of nature and other people, compassion and empathy.  To the extent these are available our heart chakra is balanced and open.  When kundalini does its transformation here we may find that life flows smoothly, what we need appears,  and we are emotionally balanced.  For many people an initial spiritual awakening is at the level of the heart, triggered by a profound love of another person or relationship with a guru.   Sometimes being in the presence of a realized person will spontaneously open and activate the heart chakra, or paradoxically, an experience of deep grief will open us.

If we could move through life with no disappointments and no loss or grief, then our heart chakra might stay open and loving in the world, but every pain or contraction creates armoring, protectiveness and defensiveness . During the opening of this chakra you may hear voices or sounds from other realms, hear buzzing or humming sounds and the music of a flute, and feel great sensitivity to the feelings of others. You may temporarily have clairvoyant or psychokinetic experiences, or even a capacity to heal.  You may become detached from worldly things, and find old pleasures meaningless.  As the energy is working waves of old grief might arise to be released.  You can feel unusual sensations in the heart, or have a sudden rising of unconditional love or compassion.  It can be like an emotional roller coaster for a while, but as the work here settles out there is a deep peace and internal happiness.

Moreover, establishing this center helps us get rid of all our habits, laziness, gross attachments, and everything that enslaves us in a way or another: we become our own master. After Self Realization, everything can be cured through the purifying power of the Kundalini in meditation.

After Self Realization, our attention becomes for the first time connected to our Spirit and we gradually become aware of it. Our misidentifications with our ego or conditionings drop and we start becoming identified with our Spirit, which is our true nature.

It is from our heart that the compassion and love manifests, and also the heart chakra is the one that gives us the sense of responsibility and pure behaviour towards others. The heart chakra manifests in the center (at the level of the sternum bone) as complete security and confidence.

All our worries, doubts and fears are destroyed when the heart chakra is fully enlightened by the Kundalini.


This is the fifth of the seven commonly recognised Yogic centres of the body. It is the ‘Lotus’ at the level of the throat. It has sixteen rays with a lilac colour edged with red. This particular Chakra is connected with the willpower of the human being.

Vishuddhi, is in the cervical plexus behind the throat, and impacts throat, ears and hearing. The fifth chakra is the chakra of diplomacy, of pure relationships with others, and of playful detachment.

Shuddhi means to purify, but the work here goes beyond clearing because when the chakra transforms it brings one to terms with the opposites and allows consciousness to understand and accept both the light and dark aspects of life.  This brings the mind harmony, inner peace, compassion and a wise perspective. One begins to realize that all the challenging experiences of life are here to teach us.

This chakra is emphasized in yogas that use sound i,e, shabd and nada yoga, and can be opened through mantras, music, and chanting, especially if the person is very devotional. It is believed that people with remarkable speaking skills, or beautiful singing voices were born with vishuddhi open and active.

If there are psychic intrusions the person can handle them with discrimination and not become distracted or overwhelmed.  Greater creativity, and insight into spiritual teachings, bliss and a long life are other reported benefits of awakening this chakra, as well as the occasional ability to read another person’s thoughts.

When vishuddhi is out of balance or blocked the thyroid can be damaged, and ears throat and hearing may be challenged.  It can be difficult to express thoughts and feelings. Sometimes there are random movements or periodic shaking of the neck and head

It removes all our guilts and remorses when it is opened by the Kundalini, and gives us a kind and compassionate voice. Also, the Vishuddhi is the chakra which gives us the connection with the whole, enabling us to feel our oneness and the fact that we are all part and parcel of the whole.

AJNA: THE 3RD EYE- Ajna Chakra / Agnya Chakra

This is the sixth of the commonly accepted figure of seven of the known Yogic centres of consciousness. Actually there are nine such centres, but that would be delving too deeply into Tibetan lore to explain here.

Ajna chakra is the Lotus at the eyebrow level, a Lotus, in this case, with only two petals. This is a part of the sixth-sense mechanism. It leads to clairvoyance, internal vision, and knowledge of the world beyond this world.

While the two physical eyes symbolise the cognizance of the physical world of ordinary Time and Space, the third eye, located at the Ajna, represents the expansion of vision in the human consciousness. Ajna means to know or follow and this chakra, located between and slightly above the eyebrows, is considered the command center of the entire subtle body system.  It has been associated with the pineal gland, which evidently begins to shut down when children are 9 or 10.

Evidently, at this level of consciousness, there is a tremendous upsurge of visionary perception and an intuitive seeing of all times and all spaces. : “It symbolizes the stage when one has deeply realized the world with its past, present and future aspects . According to Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga, the Ajna is the highest centre of consciousness within the human body or “mortal Space” . It is from here that man begins to break free of the bondage of human existence and transcend the temporal – spatial tiers of mundane creation. “This centre is the channel of communication between the Higher Consciousness and the inner mind as also the outer mind . On reaching this plane, the sadhak becomes one with the Supreme Soul, the witness of the universe.

The sixth chakra is the chakra of forgiveness and compassion. Forgiveness is the power to let go of anger, hatred and resentment and to discover, in humility, the nobility and generosity of the Spirit.

It is the one that dissolves all our ego, conditionings, habits, and all our misidentifications. It is the narrow gate which opens the way for our consciousness to ascend to its final destination, which is the seventh center.

There are many esoteric and meditation practices that emphasize putting attention on this 3rd eye, with the belief that this will purify the mind and prepare one to awaken their entire energy system with fewer problems.

A series of spiritual events have been attributed to this chakra, especially flashes of great light, falling into light or bliss, visions, profound stillness, and psychic revelations. It is at this transformational opening one glimpses the unreality of the personal identity, and may feel detached from the senses.  As energy moves upward from here, the subtle body may rise or sink into states of samadhi, and you may feel merged with the universe, or lose all consciousness of separation from the cosmos.

However, the opening of Ajna does not mean the end of the energy process.  It generally sends energy back down through the lower chakras to further clear deep-seated conditions and toxins and to strengthen the system.  If you have done no preparatory work, and have chakras that have not yet opened fully, the entire kundalini process may activate and bring out personal and collective unconscious material.


This is the highest of the physical centres of Yogic consciousness. Sahasrara is also called The Thousand-petalled Lotus, and a clairvoyant can see this emerging from the top of the head like a fountain of golden light, and all the ‘petals’ around the base are of every different colour imaginable.

The seventh center integrates all the chakras with their respective qualities. It is the last milestone of the evolution of human awareness.

Sahasrara chakra is likened to a thousand-petal lotus, and is located either at the top of the head or above it. Tantra sees this as symbolizing unlimited possibilities and the full realization of Truth — a vast knowledge of nothing and everything, or merging with the wholeness of all.

The samadhi experience here is an ego death, a movement forever out of the mundane and limited human awareness. Perspectives of life and one’s role in it are profoundly altered.  Some esoteric systems say there are numerous spiritual chakras beyond the crown which allow one to enter other dimensional experiences and relationship, but these are beyond the scope of my interest and expertise.

As energy and conscious move into the brain there is still another level of clearing that is triggered, along with the opening of latent brain centers.

Some spiritual traditions do not see completion in the blessing of a samadhi state, but encourage instead  an embodiment — bringing Truth back into the body –  and learning to live from the perspective absorbed in those moments.  There are practices that bring energies back through the physical and subtle bodies, promoting a final clearing of deep unconscious material, and grounding a person into the willingness to live with the whole of life — to be ordinary and be of service.

Each of the seven chakras has several spiritual qualities. These qualities are intact within us, and even though they might not always be manifest, they can never be destroyed.

Thus, through regular meditation, we become automatically very dynamic, creative, confident and at the same time very humble, loving and compassionate. It is a process which starts to develop by itself when the Kundalini rises and starts to nourish our chakras.



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Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru- Two sides of the same coin


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Eight years younger than Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose was un-

doubtedly a bright star in the Indian firmament in the first half of the

present century. As dedicated as Nehru and as egoistic as V. K. Krishna

Menon, Bose was a complicated person, a born fighter and a born

loser. As early as 1929 Bose held the view that Gandhi’s personality

would triumph over Nehru’s personal views.

Due to his burning zeal for national freedom and his single-minded-

ness of purpose, Bose developed a one-track mind. To him the enemy

of his enemy was automatically his friend. He did not subscribe to

the view that the devil one as preferably to the devil one knew

not. That explains his refusal to say anything against Nazi Germany,

Fascist Italy and Japan which had an inglorious imperialist record.

While Nehru refused to meet Mussolini, Bose was ready and eager to

co-operate with him, Hitler and militarist Japan. In spite of his long

stay in Europe as an exile and otherwise, Bose’s understanding of

international affairs remained astonishingly poor, or perhaps he did

not want to understand anything which was not in line with his pre-

conceived notions. While his dedication to the country was total, Bose

had on commitment to anything wider than nationalism— not even to


For his re-election as President of the Indian National Congress in

1939 Bose went to the extent of inducing Rabindranath Tagore to

lobby for him. Bose was never assailed by thoughts of “means and

ends.” In fact he did not have such thoughts. Bose’s approach to

Tagore was repugnant to Nehru. After his re-election in the teeth of

Gandhi’s opposition, Bose felt that he was on the crest of a wave. He

hastily proclaimed a confrontation between the “Right” and the

“Left.” He grossly under-estimated the indispensablitiy and the in-

herent strength of Gandhi in the situation that prevailed in India at

that time. Bose’s judgment and sense of timing left much to be dwired.

This ultimately led to Bose’s resignation from the Congress President-

ship. He got himself isolated and ostracised, and formed a new party—

the Forward Bloc. Bose, who had earlier accused Nehru of lacking

revolutionary perspective” and stamina to establish an organization

and form cadres, proved himself no better. Bose eventually reduced

himself as a symbol of Bengal, and ultimately exiled himself from the


About the circumstances which led to the resignation of Bose

from the Presidentship of the Congress at Tripuri, Professor Hiren

Mookerjee, in his book The Gentle Colossuse, has recorded that

history might have been different and brighter if Nehru and Bose had,

at this stage, together led left-wing forces. I do not khow if it would

have been brighter; but certainly it would have been different — the

national cause would have been weakened at a crucial stage and the

British would have been the gainers in the process.

When the Second World War was declared, Nehru happened to be

in China A little before that Gandhi visited Madras. As I was in

Madras then, I attended the public meeting at the Marina beach. The

crowed was large. Soon after the declaration of the war, Bose came to

Madras and addressed apublic meeting at the same place. It was known

earlier that Bose would be attacking Gandhi and the Old Guard as well

as Nehru. I attended the meeting which was much larger than the one

addressed by Gandhi. Some time later Nehru also came. I attended

his meeting too which was held at the same beach. The attendance at

Nehru’s meeting was infinitely larger than the previous two meetings,

Nehru had always been the most popular national leader in the south —

more popular then Gandhi himself.

Subhas Chandra Bose was free from communalism and obscurantism.

He was a truly liberated person who possessed many of the qualities

needed in a great leader of a vast country with its infinite variety, reli-

gious and linguistic

Soon after Bose arrived in Berlin during the war, he enquired about

the whereabouts of A.C.N. Nambiar whom he had known earlier in Europe

as a revolutionary. Bose narrated to him the circumstances under which

he escaped from India. He made it clear that his only aim was the freedom

of India. He said that whatever happened,

the British Empire in India was finished. If the allies won, then Nehru

would be there in India, and he would make a good Prime Minister; if

the axis powers won, he (Bose) would be there. Bose considered him-

self and Nehru as two peas in the same pod. He asked Nambiar to work

with him. Nambiar explained to Bose that he had a horror of the Nazi

regime and all it stood for and expressed his unwillingness to stay in

Germany, Bose ultimately persuaded a reluctant Nambiar to stay and

help him.

During the spring of 1942 Nehru declared that the Congress would

continue its policy of non-embarrassment to the British and that war

production should not be impeded.  Bose said ‘ Jawaharlal is a fool’. He is

unnecessarily antagonising the Japanese and the Germans. The Japanese will

wreak vengeance on him when they come to this country. It is wiser

for him to keep silent if he cannot actually speak well of the Japanese.

I want to tell those who give me this advice that Jawaharlal is not the

man who will keep quiet when he ought to speak. On the other hand,

I can only reject such advice, which is essentially based on fear, with


At a press conference in Delhi on 12 April 1942, Nehru went to the

extent of declaring that he would even oppose Subhas Chandra Bose

and the Indian troops he had assembled from the prisoners of war with

the Japanese because Nehru considered this army as on more than “a

dummy force under Japanese control.”

At this stage both Maulana Azad and Gandhi restrained Nehru. At

the meetings of the Congress Working Committee that followed Nehru

rejected two drafts of a resolution by Gandhi. Ultimately it was Nehru’s

draft which was adopted.

At a press conference on 12 April 1942, Nehru said “it is a hate-

ful notion that after five years of war, China should be defeated; it is

a hateful notion that Russia, which represents certain human values,

which means a great deal to human civilization, should be defeated.

But, ultimately, naturally I have to judge every question from the Indian

view-point. If India perishes, I must say— selfishly if you like to call it

— it does not do me any good if other nations survived/’

Early in June 1942 Nehru told the U.P. Congress Committee: “Per-

sonally I am so sick of slavery that I am even prepared to take the risk

of anarchy.” Nehru was moving nearer to Gandhi in the crisis which

culminated in the Quite India movement of 1942.

When the news of Subhas Chandra Bose’ death in an aircraft

accident in 1945 reached him, Nehru paid tribute to his comrade in the

freedom struggle with tears rolling down his cheeks.

The twenty thousand and odd officers and men of Subhas Bose’s

Indian National Army found themselves as prisoners of war again

— this time under the British who held them guilty of treason in

having broken their oath and gone over to the enemy. The Govern-

ment of India decided to stage a public trial of three INA ofiicers — a

senseless decision of an alien government which was about to disappear.

To the British they were traitors, but to the people of India they were

the opposite of traitors. The British soon discovered that the country

was deeply stirred; that all the major political parties, including the

Muslim League, were ranged on the side of the INA; and, what was

worse, the lower ranks of serving soldiers were so touched as to pose

a threat to the stability of the Indian Army. Nehru’s attitude towards

the INA was one of human sympathy. The most unsympathetic and

uncompromisingly hostile body of men towards the INA comprised

the senior Indian officers of the Indian army from Cariappa down-

wards. This led Nehru to conclude that at no time was it possible to

reinduct and reintegrate the officers and men of the INA in the

regular Indian army.

Nehru organized the defense of the INA personnel and raised funds

for their relief and rehabilitation. Part of these funds was ear- marked

for Bose’s daughter and her Austrian mother. After the national

government came into existence the INA men were paid such pension

and other benefits as were due to them for the period of their service

in the Indian army.

Events have proved the correctness of Nehru’s assessments and the

wisdom of his stand on national and international issues from 1937 on-

wards. Subhas Chandra Bose emerged, no doubt, as a great patriot

with indomitable courage; but he was destined to fail. As in the case of

the lives of many illustrious men there was an element of tragedy in the

destiny of Bose. Future generations will remember Subhas Chandra

Bose as India’s tragic hero of the twentieth century.



M O MATHAI  – M.O. Mathai (1909–1981) was the Private Secretary to India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.



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Concept of Education- What, Why and How aspect


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

There are a lot of contradictions regarding the  of education. The fact responsible for this contradiction is lack of uniformity in the meaning of education.

Etymological meaning of the term EDUCATION

Educate means the art of teaching of teaching or training. The other way of explaining the term of Latin E means to ‘lead forth out of and duco means I lead, ; thus; education may be interpreted to means to ‘lead forth’. Some scholars opine that the term ‘education’ has been derived from the Latin words ‘educere’ Latin-education k=e+duco, meaning-to lead=from within+to lead out.In ancient Greece, Socrates argued that education was about drawing out what was already within the student

Etymological Meaning from Indian point of view-

the Hindi word ‘shiksha’ has been derived from the Sanskrit verb ‘shiksh’ which mean ‘to learn’. Thus, education mend both learning and teaching. In the Raghuvansh, the term ‘education’ has been used in these two senses. In India languages, the terms ‘vidya’ and jnana’ have been used as synonyms to the term ‘shiksha’. The term ‘vidya’ has been derived from the verb ‘vid’ which means ‘to’ know, to find out, to learn’, but later, this was fixed for ‘curriculum’. In the beginning, four subjects were included under viday, but later, Manu added the fifth, called Atma Vidya, and gradually, this number rose to fourteen, which included Vedas, Vedangas, Dharma, Nyaya, Mimansa etc. Thus, ‘vidya’ means both curriculum and learning.

The term ‘janja’ means the same as education in its wide sense in Indian philosophy. In Indian philosophies, the term ‘jnana’ is not used for only information or facts, though in the west, this sense is The term ‘janja’ means the same as education in its wide sense in Indian philosophy. In Indian philosophies, the term ‘jnana’ is not used for only information or facts, though in the west, this sense is quite prevalent. In the Amarkosha, the terms ‘jnana’ and ‘vijnana’ have been distinguished saying that is reated with emancipation while ‘vijnana’ is reated with crafts. In other words, jnana or knowledge is that which develops man and illuminates his path to emancipation, while whatever is learnt and known in practical life is called vijnana or science.

Besides, the term ‘education’ is also used to mean training, because the teaching of ‘education’ at professional level of preparing future teachers is taught for providing theoretical knowledge as well as practical knowledge, so that they become adept in the art of teaching. This training is imparted in real time school conditions. Though all the above meaning of education are distinct from each other, yet they all are related to human development, change or learning in essence.

However, the term ‘education’ has come to be applied in altogether different context too. Today, the term ‘education’ is also used as ‘subject’ or ‘discipline’. As a discipline, also called education or science of education, it comprises of different components of education, such as teacher, student, curriculum, method of teaching, evaluation, testing, objectives etc. for intensive study in training colleges and universities. Thus, the subject of ‘education’’ is a private curriculum which is taught at academic level in Inter, BA and MA classed and in professional class of B.Ed.

Functions of Education

Basically; education means “what education is”? Function of education means:-“what education does”

There are three main functions of education which are as follows :–

Preservation function of Education-

The main function of education is to preserve and protect the old values, customs, beliefs, traditions, etc. Education shows the path of righteous living and guides us how to preserve the old education ideas and how to organize the educational system of a country in such a way that one makes progressive development in every field. It includes the preservation, protection and propagation of national cultural.

“Education must help in preserving the vital elements of our heritage. The core of India’s cultural heritage is love of beauty and truth, spirit of tolerance, capacity to absorb earlier cultures and work out new synthesis.”

Transmission function of Education-

. Education transfers knowledge, ideologies, theories, principles and attributes from one generation to another and thus contributes greatly to the general progress of society. In the words of Ottaway, “One of the tasks of education is to handover the cultural values and the behavior pattern of society to the young potential members.”

Enrichment function of Education-

Education also helps in enriching the existing cultural heritage by making use of latest technologies in the field of education which are invented for adding novelty so that the concept become more enriched for the learner. Actually each generation had to enrich its predecessors otherwise no intellectual or social development would be possible and the present state of the society would be no different from the society of the Old Stone Age.”

Narrow and Broader Meaning of Education

The significance of the meaning of the education of differs from person to person. Establishing the meaning of education, however special and specific, must begin with consideration of it essential nature. In order to establish its essential nature and distinguish it from the various forms of education, one must first of all distinguish between spontaneous incidental education, and the planned organized and formalized education provided in schools, colleges and universities. Education becomes wider in the former sense and narrow in the latter sense.

Narrow Meaning of Education

The common sense of education is very narrow. It includes only school. The community makes it still narrower when only intellectual knowledge experiences are included in it, and all those experiences which are imparted at school other than falling under intellectual aspect, are called co-curricular activities. Thus, in common sense, education means only school instruction. In its narrow sense, education is limited to school life, but in its actual sense, it continues lifelong, from birth till death. Man begins to learn right from his birth and he keeps acquiring some learning with every experience of life. Thus, continuity is one of its characteristics.

Education in narrow sense is a planned, organized and formalized process. It is imparted at a particular place (school, college or university) and at a definite time. It is also imparted to definite persons (the students). Its curriculum too is formal. The amount of education received by the child is measured –in terms of number and grade of examination passed by him.

According to John Stuart Mill, : “ In narrow sense education means the culture, which each generation purposely gives to its successors in order to qualify, to keep up and to improve the level attained. It includes whatever we do for ourselves and whatever is done for us by others for the purpose of bringing up somewhat nearer to the perfection of the nature.” Thus, in narrow sense, education is nothing but a purpose for activity deliberately planned for the optimum development of an individual’s potentialities.

To quote T. Reymont “ In the narrow sense in which the term is used in common speech and in legal enactments education does not include self-culture and the general influences of one’s surroundings but only those special influences which are consciously and deliberately brought to bear younger by the adult person of the community, whether trough the family the church or the state.”

Broader Meaning of Education

In wide sense, education is a process of all-round development which runs lifelong. In its wider sense, educational process has education three components: teacher, student and social environment. All these three education elements are equally important.

In the wider sense, education is not limited to a classroom or school only. There is no time limit for the purpose. It is rather a ‘life-long affair’. The point of beginning of this ‘continuous education’ is conception and the point of end is death. Every platform of lie –the playground, the library, the temple, the office, the market, the sea shore, the hotel etc. educate the individual. All the event, and experience, knowledge and wisdom, an individual….acquires during infancy, childhood, adolescence, youth manhood or old age through different channels of education is education.

Thus, in the broader sense “Education is neither teaching nor instruction. Instruction is an artificial and limited activity.

Education as a Process

The term ‘education’ is applied as a process for bringing about behavioral  change in man. In this form too ,it is used in two senses: in wider sense and in narrow sense. In its wider sense, educational process has education three components: teacher, student and social environment. All these three education elements are equally important.

Generally, educational process takes place between two aspects: one who is influenced and one who influences. On its basis, John Adams has accepted education as a bipolar process. According to him, these two poles of education are student and teacher. John Dewey too accepts two components of education, he has termed them psychological and psychological and social aspects. Sometimes, social environment is accepted as the third pole of education, which makes education a tripolar process which are student, teacher and curriculum.

Thus education is the process of living through a continuous reconstruction of experience. It is the development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his capacities an individual as a result of his interaction with the environment constitutes learning. The child learns through his experience. His gains experience, when he comes in contact with different social institutions, persons, places and things. There is no end to these experience. This way, education becomes and active and dynamic process. It is much more than schooling, memorizing or learning a prescribed syllabus.

Education as a Product –

Education may also be considered as a product…. In real, sense, education is the chronological and systematic development of a child’s personality. Physiological development of a child is governed automatically, and the traits that he acquires from heredity become mature with the growth of mind and body. However, the development of a child’s inherent personality can be possible only by conscious effort. Personality is an outcome of heredity and environment in which heredity is constant because the traits obtained from parents cannot be changed, thought they influence personality all thought life, environment is variable and this environment has to be controlled in order to effect desired development of child’s personality.

Thus, education is a product of action-reaction between two important elements: Heredity and environment. Every child is born with certain facilities and capabilities right from birth which expresses his reaction to words physical and social environment. Education becomes a product only when it is used. As assimilation of the culture of any society and its transference  from one generation to another.

Perspectives of Education

Education is biologically and philosophically evolved, psychologically developed and socially based. It has various dimensions. It will be interesting to see it in different perspectives.

Education in social Perspective

In social context, the systematic socialization of young generation is inherent in education. In both its wide and narrow senses, education is a social process. Man is born with certain faculties. These facilities are developed and refined in the physical and social environment, and human behavior and thinking too undergo specific changes. The development of entire human civilization and culture occurs in the social environment itself. Educational process cannot exist in the absence of social environment.

When a child is born, he is no different from an animal biologically. Later, his social personally undergoes a change according to the social assumptions. In fact it is behavior of an animal or a man is governed as per the by innate disposition, while that of a social individual is governed as per the social assumptions. The society has assigned this responsibility of behavioral modification to schools. This behavior modification is called education.

Education in Moral perspective

The moral context comprises many aspects, such as guidance, direction, rules, codes of conduct and behaviors etc. From moral point of view, education can be called a novel synthesis of certain characteristics, attitudes, aptitude and habits in objective way. Thus education can be called the establishment of this type of thinking by which values can become meaningful only when both means and end are sacred and which does good of both individual and universe.

Education in Biological Perspective

Every living being takes birth in the universe in one or the other species, and he learns certain activities during his existence. These activities are not limited to only adjustment with the prevailing circumstances; rather they also cultivate a capability to concept of hedonism. Man’s behavior at birth is just like an animal’s. He wants to effect changes to his behavior living in the social environment. This process of modification is called education .

Nature of Education

Education is a social process. Though man is born with certain innate traits and faculties, yet his development depends on social interaction in social environment. Each society formulates educational objectives as per its assumptions. Thus, education is a total in the hands of a society or community which transforms as animal-man into a social-man in order to realize its social goals.

The means employed are commensurate to the end to be realized. Therefore, educational objectives and curriculum to the etc. undergo a change according to social needs. Thus, education assumes dynamism. In wide sense, education is a lifelong process. Man continues to learn from every life experience. Thus, continuity is one of its characteristics.

Education as Art or Science

The term ‘education’ is also used in the context of ‘discipline’ and ‘training’. Generally all subject and disciplines are divided into two classed: art and science as per their nature. From this point of view, education is both art and science.

In Hindi, the term ‘art’ means which brings bliss. All those activities which beget bliss fall under the class of art, such as music, dance, poetry, literature, drawing sculpture etc. Art influences all three domains: cognitive domain, effective domain and psycho-motor domain. It is the mind which makes feel joy or bliss. Education is also related to knowledge, emotions and activity aspects, respectively called cognitive, effective and psycho-motor domains. And a teacher also takes joy in his teaching as an artist takes joy in his creation.

On the other hand, education is also a science. The scope of science is external world and it is used in the steps of experimentation, analysis and inference etc., and as it is related with intellectual human being as against the matter, education cannot be used as a science; though some psychologists have conducted successful experiments on dogs, mice, cats, chimpanzees etc., and gave deduced inferences which are taught as fundamental principles of education. These principles provide a solid scientific basis to education despite certain limitations and exceptions.

Formal Education, Informal Education and Non-Formal Education

Formal Education,

Formal education is the hierarchically structured, chronologically graded ‘education system’, running from primary school through the university and including, in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialized programs and institutions for full-time technical and professional training.

Formal education corresponds to a systematic, organized education model, structured and administered according to a given set of laws and norms, presenting a rather rigid curriculum as regards objectives, content and methodology. It is characterized by a contiguous education process , which necessarily involves the teacher, the students and the institution. It corresponds to the education process normally adopted by our schools and universities.

Formal education institutions are administratively, physically and curricularly organized and require from students a minimum classroom attendance. It confers degrees and diplomas pursuant to a quite strict set of regulations.

The methodology is basically expositive, scarcely relating to the desired behavioral objectives. Assessments are made on a general basis, for  administrative purposes and are infrequently used to improve the education process. The setting-up of a formal education system does not consider the students’ standards, values and attitudes that are relevant to the education system which, generally, is not tested or assessed at the level of student acceptance, as well as for efficacy and efficiency. The same methodology – poor, ineffective, scarcely creative – is adopted. It is not excessive to say that in the case of formal education,for the most part teachers pretend to teach; students pretend to learn; and, institutions pretend to be really catering to the interests of students and of the society.

Informal Education

In informal education – learning  goes on in daily life and can be received from daily experience, such as from family, friends, peer groups, the media and other influences in a person’s environment .Informal Education is a general term for education outside of a standard school setting. Informal Education is the wise, respectful and spontaneous process of cultivating learning. It works through conversation, and the exploration and enlargement of experience.

Informal education does not correspond to an organized and systematic view of education; informal education does not necessarily include the objectives and subjects usually encompassed by the traditionalcurricula. It is aimed at students as much as at the public at large and imposes no obligations whatever their nature. There generally being no control over the performed activities, informal education does not of necessity regard the providing of degrees or diplomas.

Characteristics of Informal  Learning

Here are the characteristics of informal learning:

1. Informal learning is never organized.- There are no set formulas or guidelines ,like teaching your child the alphabet, or how to brush his or her teeth. There is no prescriptive program of study for this.

2. Informal learners are often highly motivated to learn.- The environment of school, informal learners are often eager and attentive.

3. Informal learning is often spontaneous.- Learning happens anywhere, any time. The learner is inspired to learn because of an immediate desire to know how to do something or understand a topic.

4. There is no formal curriculum.- There is no program of study or prescriptive methods.

5. The “teacher” is someone who cares – and who has more experience than the learner.- In the informal learning context, those leading the learning are likely to be emotionally close to the person who is learning, such as a mother, father, grandparent or other caregiver.6. The world is your classroom.

6.It is a myth that learning happens in a school or in a classroom.- With informal learning, there is no classroom. Your home, the neighborhood park, the community and the world are the classroom.

7. Informal learning is difficult to quantify.-There are no exams and informal learning is difficult to quantify.

8. Essential to an adult’s lifelong learning.- Informal learning is a lifelong process. It does not end when a child enters school and the formal system “takes over”. On the contrary, children continue to learn at home. As we get older, we learn from our friends. As we enter the workforce, we learn from our co-workers. Into retirement, we still learn from friends and also from those younger than us. An adult learning to read and write from a volunteer literacy tutor is one example. A retired office worker learning from her grandson how to use an iPad is another example.

Non-Formal Education

Non-formal education is any organised educational activity outside the established formal system – whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity – that is intended to serve identifiable learning clienteles and learning objectives.

Non-formal education  strategy does not require student attendance, decreasing the contacts between teacher and student and most activities take place outside the institution – as for instance, home reading and paperwork. Educative processes endowed with flexible curricula and methodology, capable of adapting to the needs and interests of students, for which time is not a pre-established factor but is contingent upon the student’s work pace, certainly do not correspond to those comprised by formal education, but fit into the so-called non-formal education.

Notwithstanding the above, even a preliminary analysis of the existing non-formal systems reveals the constant presence of two features:

(a) – centralization of the process on the student, as to his previously identified needs and possibilities;

(b) – the immediate usefulness of the education for the student’s personal and professional growth.

Non-formal education seems better to meet the individual needs of students. According to Ward,, a systematic analysis of the main features of non-formal education, diversely from formal schooling, shows that participants are led to non-formal programmes because these offer the expertise that they hope to acquire and the necessary assistance for a better understanding of their own selves and of their world. As non-formal education is focused on the student, it perforce presents flexible features as regards the initially established and adopted procedures, objectives and contents. It is therefore quicker to react in face of the changes that may affect the needs of students and of the community.

We shall now analyze three educative processes, namely: “correspondence learning”,“distance learning” and “open systems”, which, because of their features fall within the scope of non-formal education.

Correspondence Learning:

Correspondence learning is an individualized learning system that allows students to proceed at their own pace, according to their interests. The institutional materials are for the most part printed and are generally prepared by a teacher who has not enough didactic and technical knowledge to prepare top quality educational material. Although a number of correspondence courses currently offer other types of instructional material – audio-tapes and videotapes, kits, etc. –

Correspondence courses generally establish a bi-directional communication by mail, supported by the teacher who corrects the paperwork, offers guidance and the requested explanations. A degree may or may not be obtained and there is no pressure – the student’s motivation is the basic factor for the program’s success.

Distance Learning:

According to Holmberg “Distance study is learning supported by those teaching methods in which, because of the physical separateness of learners and teachers, the interactive, as well as the proactive phase of teaching is conducted through print, mechanical or electronic devices.” Distance learning is based on non-contiguous communication , that is, “the learner is at a distance from the teacher for much, most or even all the time during the teaching learning process”. Based on this definition, we may infer that the concept of distance learning is wider than that of correspondence learning, with which it is sometimes confused.

Open University.

Open Universities are generally based on distance study through one or more communication media . They mostly formulate the instructional materials used in their courses, for the most part employing a distance tutoring system that contracts teachers to provide the required support to the performance of supplementary activities. The assessment and graduation requirements are not uniform and in some cases, the diplomas are on a par with those issued by regular universities, whereas in others we find that certain restrictions are made with regard to given courses.

According to Oliveira, “The nature of their tasks and the modus operandi of open universities provide a mixture of academic culture and industrial activity”, requiring the cooperation of professionals from varied backgrounds to act as redactors, educational planners, professors specializing in the different fields, audio-visual experts, and so on, thus displaying a multidisciplinary character. The materials forwarded to the students, comprising printed texts, audio or videotapes, kits, etc., is usually validated prior to their utilization, so as to ensure a high degree of efficacy and efficiency.

Innate and Acquired Education

Behavior is of two types: natural or innate behavior and acquired or social behavior. Education is behavioral change. When a child takes birth, he is no different from an animal, as per the biological standpoint, because his behavior is governed by innate tendencies; however, his behavior becomes as per social assumptions gradually. An animal-man’s behavior is governed by his innate tendencies while that of the social-man as per the social assumptions or approvals. Thus, education is to modify the behavior of an animal-man into social-man. The society in which an individual takes birth, learns several behaviors and sanctifies according to that. These activates are not limited to only adjustment with the environment, but they are capable of construction favorable circumstances. This construction is based on hedonism. Thus, each society assigns the responsibility of behavioral change according to its social goal to schools, where teacher (mature personality) and students (immature personality) interact mutually, and thus teacher transforms a child into a social and mature personality.

Dimensions of Education

“Dimension” refers to the breadth range, extent, comprehensiveness and variety of learning experiences, the extent of range view, outlook, application, effectiveness, and operation. From this point of view, education is concerned with the “whole man”, the entire life of an individual comes under the preview of education.

Education is life itself.  Hence its scope is very wide. It is a wide as the whole world and as long as the history of mankind, the following subject-matter may be included under the scope of education:

1.      History of Education-

History of education also comes under the scope of education. By the help of this, we understand the gradual development of education during different periods of history. Beside this, it also helps us to find out suitable system of education according to the changing needs of the society.

2.      Problem and Issues of Education –

Some of the important problems of education, are vocationalization of education problems of population education non-formal education adult education development of a national system of education, religious and moral education, national integration, medium of instruction etc. Education cannot achieve progress unless it studies the problems and find out their solutions.

3. Sociology of education –

Education is an activity which goes on in the society. Hence it aims and methods depend on the nature of the society in which it functions. Sociology of education may be defined briefly as a study of relations between education and society. This branch of study deals with aims of education, methods of teaching, administration and supervision, curriculum, only in relation to the socio-political, economic, cultural and religious forces of the society in which they take place.

4.      Comparative Education –

In the age of globalization, Comparative education help us to modify reform, reorient and improve our own education system in the light of the system followed in other countries. It is the study of cross cultural comparison of the structure, operation, methods, aims and achievements of various educational system and practices of different countries of the world.

5.   Education Psychology –

Psychology has been considered as one of the youngest, yet one of the most influenced education in many different ways and has practically given a new turn, a psychological turn to the human mind. For a skillful teacher of the present day, knowledge of the child has been considered to be more important than the knowledge of the subject matter, Therefore, teacher at present should be equipped with those psychological skills and competencies which are badly necessary for the successful guidance of learning, adjustment and the growth of the child.

6.      Philosophy of Education –

As Dupis defines “Philosophy of education is one of the oldest, yet one of the newest disciplines.” It is one of the oldest since Plato, the philosopher of par excellence of ancient time devoted considerable attention to the nature, purposes and content of education, it is one of the newest since philosophy of education began to emerge as a separate discipline only in twentieth century. Now it is realized that philosophy and educations are related like flower and fragrance. Philosophy determines all the aspects of education-nature of education, curriculum, method of teaching, nature of text-book, nature of discipline, evaluation role of the teacher, school organization etc.

7. Techniques of Teaching-

The minds of the pupils are growing organism. Filling the minds of the pupils with ideas is not right education. To make the food of education palatable we follow different techniques of teaching. The techniques of teaching have been bided either upon the nature of the subject matter of psychology of the learning process or merely because it has been observed that certain ways of presenting the lesson is essential, to develop the interest and attention of the students. The students of education should get themselves familiarized with different techniques of teaching.

8. Educational Administration and Supervision –

Administrative functions are concerned primarily with the infrastructural facilities and the operation of the schools and supervisory functions are concerned with improving the learning situation, A student of education should know how these activities are going on in our schools.

Actually Education is a deliberate and organized activity though which the physical, intellectual, aesthetic, moral and spiritual potentialities of the child are developed, both in the intellectual, aesthetic, moral and spiritual potentialities of the child are developed, both in the individual as an individual and also as a member of society so that he may lead the fullest and richest life possible in this world and finally attain his ultimate end in the world to come.




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THE HIDDEN CURRICULUM- Unformulated implicit messages in the school environment.


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

The students spend a long time in schools which constitutes the most influential periods of their personal development.  The educational system of every society is very much concerned with implicit and explicit transfer of norms and distinctive approaches to the learners .

The Hidden curriculum consists of teaching items which are not officially intended and developed by school and educational system. The educational authorities use the concepts of “hidden curriculum” and “invisible curriculum” to explain teachings and attitudes influenced by these implicit factors .

The hidden curriculum is regarded as one of the conceptual capitals of curriculum. The recent attention to this concept has reduced the superficial approaches to the phenomenon of curriculum. This phenomenon is now paid attention to not only from the viewpoint of design but also from the perspective of implementation and its development is closely being followed.

The hidden curriculum is not written down or officially taught by lecturers but whole educational system teaches it in an implicit manner. Despite of the lecturer’s level of skill and the progress in the curriculum, the learners are exposed to something which is not explicitly acknowledged. Every educational system endeavors to transfer different types of knowledge and skills to students through design and development of definite curricula so as to prepare them to undertake their roles and responsibilities in the real life. In educational systems, students receive highly valuable experiences the greatest part of which is unavailable in curricula. The students actually learn more than what they are systematically taught by teachers in the schools.

Through curricula, especially hidden ones, students get informed of a variety of scientific, economic, social, political and historical knowledge, and become aware of concepts such as respect, righteousness, patience, obligation, sense of responsibility, attention to collective interests, equality, law abiding.


Vallance (1991) in her book The Hidden Curriculum and Moral Education categorized the hidden curriculum into three concepts.

In the first concept, a hidden curriculum refers to everything in school from teacher-student  interactions to the structure of classroom and general pattern of an educational organization which might be called a small model of social values system.

In the second concept, a hidden curriculum refers to the processes executed in/through school such as acquisition of values, socialization and maintenance of a hierarchical structure.

In the third concept, a hidden curriculum refers to different degrees of intentions and depth of hiddenness of functions of a school. In this concept, a hidden curriculum consists of secondary results of random and unintended nature as well as deep results originating from social and historical function of education (Girox, 1983).

Portlli divided different concepts available in a hidden curriculum into four categories.

  1. In the first category, a hidden curriculum refers to unofficial expectations or implicit but expected messages. Within
  2. the second category, a hidden curriculum is defined as the intended messages and intentions of learning.
  3. In the third category, a hidden curriculum as implicit messages resulted from the structure of an educational system.
  4. Hidden curriculum in the fourth category is regarded as equivalent of what a student creates.


Although this concept was first came into use by Philip Jackson in 1968, it has drawn the attention of curriculum theorists in the past few decades .The sociologists, educational researchers and psychologists usually use this concept to describe non-official system of an educational center.

“The Hidden Curriculum” is a term, which describes a set of rules or guidelines that are often not directly taught, but are assumed to be known by the general population. The Hidden Curriculum differs across age, gender, who you are with and cultures.

The term “hidden curriculum” was used by P.W. Jackson (1960) in his book “Life in Classroom” and it was promoted by Benson Snydey in 1971 (Ghorchian, 1995). Before naming this phenomenon as “hidden curriculum”, these teaching materials were emphasized by experts; after terming this phenomenon as “hidden curriculum”, different experts such as sociologists, educational psychologists and educational planners contributed to conceptual analysis and development of a theoretical framework for this term. The majority of published works on this subject reviews and criticizes the viewpoints, values, norms and skills which the students learn with no explicit association to teaching items. The function of hidden curriculum has been defined in different ways. These definitions range from embedding values, socializations based on dominant policies, education of obedient individuals, promotion of existing social hierarchy to functions which might be considered as “social control” .

Portlli (1993) in a paper titled “The Logic of Hidden Curriculum” stated: “the term “hidden” in hidden curriculum can have different meanings:

1-      Something which hides itself and takes an active role in its hiddenness (this thing is termed as “X”);

2-      Something hidden by another thing. In this case the hider know the place of X and it is inclined to hide X;

3-       X is hidden but it has no previous intention of being hidden, nobody intends to hide it and X might not know it is hidden”.

The “hiddenness” in hidden curriculum might not be assigned the first meaning but attributing the second and third meanings to it is possible. It means that the hidden curriculum is intentionally hidden from someone or its presence or essence is unknown or unclear without any definite intention behind such a curriculum. Another noteworthy point is that “hidden” describes an association. X might be hidden for A but visible to B. Therefore, one can manifest a hidden curriculum despite of the fact that it might be referred to as hidden because it is still hidden for another person . Martin also stated: “A hidden curriculum might be discovered and stay invisible despite of that. This is because finding a hidden curriculum is not the same as explaining it and stating it.”

As the term “hidden curriculum” implies at face value, it refers to the aspects of curriculum such as content, books, methods, etc. But this concept includes all implicit materials and concepts in principles and structure of educational system (e.g. order in class and group activities) and communication and interaction patterns in school (e.g. reciting lessons, listening, information, etc.). As a result, it is better to call hidden curriculum as “implicit education” because it consists of all teachings which are provided beyond the objectives of official learning .

Eisner (1994) regarded “hidden curriculum” as a set of learning in an educational system realized within the dominant culture in an educational environment which are provided for the students without awareness of faculty members and students.

Ausbrooks (2000) defined the term “hidden curriculum” in the following manner: “A hidden curriculum consists of implicit messages in the social environment of an educational center which are unformulated but are felt by everybody. Hidden curriculum is a body of knowledge learnt by students through their presence in the school (Razvani, 2002).

Bloom (1981) believed that curriculum consists of explicit and implicit curriculum. He believed that explicit curriculum includes written principles and objectives of schools and educational centers while hidden curriculum is undeveloped and non-defined. He presumed that the hidden curriculum in an education system is made during everyday life and interactions in learning settings. He considered curriculum in terms of a process and a result which is simultaneously visible and hidden, essential and behavioral.

McLaren (1989) believed that a hidden curriculum is different from a planned curriculum and viewed it from critical and political-identity viewpoints. He stated that: “A hidden curriculum is associated with implicit methods through which knowledge and behavior are generated. It means that hidden curriculum is related to what happens beyond official and planned educational material. It is a part of managerial and bureaucratic pressure of school through which the students are forced to obey the dominant ideologies and social activities associated with power, authority, behavior and morality .

One might say all of the above definitions have a common point and it is their conceptual opposition to explicit curriculum. Hidden curriculum is a map designed and implemented to obtain a definite and announced objective.

On this basis, “hidden curriculum” could be considered a program for which there is no real objective and the results of which are not stated or predefined: whether intentional or without any intention.

Of course, one can define hidden curriculum from two aspects . From the viewpoint of resolution, it consists of real learning of students which might not have been determined beforehand: whether intention  by planner in a micro-plan or it might have been obtained in practice; that is, to be the expected outcome of learning. From the viewpoint of “process”, it consists of factors and procedures of formation of a hidden curriculum distinct from those of resolution.

These factors include all or some factors pointed to in different definitions of hidden curriculum such :

  • Developments and even changes of an educational system.
  • Familial background of students
  • Physical and psychological environments of school,
  • Principles of school,
  • Structure and content of educational material,
  • Teachers-students and student-student teachings,
  • The structure of an educational system,
  • Type of explicit curriculum from viewpoints of design,


Bain (1985) in her paper called “The hidden curriculum Re-examined” mentioned four general approaches opted for to understanding hidden curricula and associated studies in this field :

A.  A Non-theoretical stance towards hidden curriculum. The representative of this approach is “Life in Classroom” by Philip Jackson (1967). Jackson merely described the events of a classroom without associating his observations to any theory of society and school. In this regard, his work is a non-theoretical one. From his viewpoint, daily activities of school constitute a powerful mechanism to transfer distinctive values and beliefs to students.

B.  A Functional view to hidden curriculum the major representative of which is Robert Deribin. He is among those few experts who have positive viewpoints of hidden curriculum. Deribin believed that hidden curriculum is an effective mechanism for transferring fundamental norms to students.

C. The Adaptive approach to hidden curriculum is represented by Bowles and Gentis . The most significant principle of this approach is the convergence of school and society which possess inequalities. In this approach, the school is regarded as a regenerative factor of unequal hierarchies and unfair relations in the society. They believe that through daily discipline in schools, the students understand the concepts of social stratum, eligibility of hierarchies and their lack of control over their works.

D. The critical approach is represented by Jiro and Apple . This approach is also called “Theory of Resistance to Hidden Curriculum” because it adheres to the view that students resist to school teachings and this resistance might lead to recreation and development.   This approach can be regarded as the most serious works on hidden curriculum based on a neo-Marxist approach to theory of adaptation. Therefore, the schools should not be regarded as the regenerative entities but places with high potential for social development. To understand a hidden curriculum, the researcher should study the ongoing culture of the schools and analyze its association with the society.

Purpose of Hidden Curriculum

A hidden curriculum refers to the life lessons that students learn at school that are not part of traditional study subjects and lesson plans. Part of a hidden curriculum includes learning how to pick up on social clues, interact with peers and establish values.

Hidden curriculum refers to messages communicated by the organization and operation of schooling apart from the official or public statements of school mission and subject area curriculum guidelines. In other words, the medium is a key source of messages. The messages of hidden curriculum usually deal with attitudes, values, beliefs, and behavior. There are numerous such messages conveyed indirectly.

The messages of hidden curriculum may complement or contradict each other as well as the official curriculum. Hidden curriculum can support or undermine official curriculum. It is likely that hidden curriculum has the most impact when there is an aggregate or a pattern of consistent messages. When hidden and explicit curricula conflict, it may be that hidden curriculum, like nonverbal communication, carries more weight.

Thus, a major purpose of the hidden curriculum of  schools has been cultural transmission or teaching students the routines for getting along in school and the larger society. In other words, hidden curriculum usually serves to maintain the status quo, specifically the dominant culture and prevailing socioeconomic hierarchy.

Structural or organizational aspects of hidden curriculum include time scheduling of classes and other school activities; facilities provided; materials, such as textbooks and computer software; examinations; required courses; special programs, such as speech therapy or advanced placement; extracurricular activities and services; and grading and grouping policies.

Cultural aspects of hidden curriculum include school norms or ethos; décor and wall decorations; roles and relationships, including inter group relations (within and between teachers and students); student cliques, rituals, and celebrations; and teacher expectations of various groups of students.

Factors Affecting Hidden Curriculum of Schools:

A. The principles and rules of schools: which are influential upon formation of a hidden curriculum. There are principles decided upon in schools for running different affairs such as grouping students, development methods, evaluation methods (i.e. type of test, test scores, etc.), discipline problems, encouragement and punishment issues,participation in running school affairs, etc. These principles affect the personality of students. Several factors as an instance is investigated here, one of which would be the method of evaluation and teacher’s reaction to the scores.

If the teacher humiliates a weak student, he/she might reinforce this negative attitude in such students and they will lose confidence in making up for losses. These negative perceptions are a part of hidden curriculum. The type of learning activities (personal or in group) is also influential upon their results. Those students who act in groups attain skills and qualifications which are unattainable with individualistic activities .

B. interpersonal relationships . Different human relationships form in schools each of which has its own educational consequences. One of these relationships is established between educational personnel and students. The school personnel’s viewpoints are significant in such a relationship. If they have a distinctive hierarchical perceptions, students’ lifestyle and social stratum influence the hierarchical decisions. Because the children of those families that school employees respect more will receive more attention while others remain unprivileged and neglected .

C. Interactions between teachers and students: Behavior and perception of teacher affects those of students. If a teacher has an open attitude and provides sufficient opportunity for the learners, such efforts will reinforce the endeavors, abilities and self-confidence of students. If teachers act based on their wills and viewpoints and act in a dominant manner, the students’ abilities will remain passive and they might grow similar dominative approach towards others .

D. The association between education and hidden curriculum: Hidden curriculum is an unpredictable aspect of learning. Educational design without attention to this aspect is negligence of a major part of factors which significantly affect the students’ learning. Teachers usually pay attention to influential explicit factors affecting education and ignore implicit factors affecting students’ learning. It is essential to identify and clarify influential factors affecting hidden curriculum and control them in design and implement procedures. One of the factors which lessens the gap between explicit and hidden curriculum is student’s participation in education process  Therefore, teachers should identify the influential factors affecting a hidden curriculum and consider them to act more rationally during design and implementation of educational processes.

There are other factors which are neglected in curriculum. These factors affect the thoughts, emotions and behaviors of learners, and exert more influence than explicit and pre-defined curriculum. The principles of classroom and educational setting, social setting of educational centers and interactions of students with managers and teachers are some of these factors.

Preparation of Hidden Curriculum  :

Determine the Hidden Curriculum pertaining to the environment your child will be participating in. (e.g., what are the hidden rules governing social functions). Information can be obtained from educational staff, community organizations and school publications (e.g., the yearbook or school newsletter)

Once the Hidden Curriculum is identified, assess your child’s knowledge in key areas. There are many things which may need to be explicitly taught to your child that typically developing children learn instinctively (e.g., raising your hand and waiting for the teacher to call you instead of yelling out)

In short, The Hidden Curriculum must first be identified and then your child’s level of understanding of it must be assessed, only then can information be provided to your child to fill in the gaps.

Suggested Strategies to Teach the Hidden Curriculum

  • Cartooning/Comic Strip Conversations: Comic Strip Conversation
  • Incredible 5-Point Scale: Helps individuals with social-cognitive challenges learn to better understand their emotions and reactions to events in their lives and, eventually, independently modulate their responses
  • Power Cards: A visual aid that uses a child’s special interest to help him/her understand social situations, routines, the meaning of language, and The Hidden Curriculum .
  • Seek-Observe-Listen-Vocalize-Educate (SOLVE): An empowerment strategy for individuals with social-cognitive challenges
  • Social Autopsies: Helps children with social problems and understanding their social mistakes
  • Social Narratives: Provide support and instruction by describing social cues and appropriate responses to social behavior and teaching new social skills.
  • Video Modeling: Observing a videotape of themselves or others engaging in a task or completing an activity

Each of the strategies (listed above) can be effective in teaching The Hidden Curriculum, however regardless of the technique used, it is important to understand that these essential rules and manners must be taught and become a part of the repertoire of the individual with social-cognitive challenges

n sum, the primary value of the concept of hidden curriculum is that it calls attention to aspects of schooling that are only occasionally acknowledged and remain largely unexamined. Messages communicated by schools’ organization and culture can support or undermine their stated purposes and official curricula.

Hidden curriculum significantly determines what is the basic of sense of value and self-respect in participants, and is more influential than any official curriculum in adaptation of teachers and students with educational setting. There is no preschool, elementary school, high school or college without an imposed hidden curriculum on students and faculty members.

Although each curriculum has its distinctive characteristics which are specific to an institute but existence of hidden curriculum might influence the whole education process. Besides, negligence to negative effects of hidden curriculum might disrupt the acquisition of educational objectives. The negative effects of hidden curriculum such as authoritative behavior of principals, complete silence and passivity of students are not predicted in an explicit curriculum despite the fact that they make the real curriculum.

The teaching materials included in a hidden curriculum are the most important educational contents that students naturally learn at schools. This curriculum practically taught at schools is formed by experiences of classrooms, libraries, celebrations and social environments of schools. Therefore, planners and executives should completely comprehend their responsibilities. One might say that the results of comprehensive experience in schools or any learning situation depends on official curriculum and hidden curriculum to a relatively identical degree. The hidden curriculum which students develop for themselves is made of the official curriculum and the hidden one.












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Indira Gandhi- The strong believer in Astrology.


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Early in the fifties in India most ministers and members of Parliament subjected themselves to the influence of astrologers and fortune-tellers in varying degrees. The astrologers and other fortune-tellers had their field day on several occasions when harvesting was plentiful — the time of distributing party tickets, election time, the time of formation of governments, and reshuffles of government — apart from the never-ending continuous process. Government officials were not immune from the influence of astrology. Apart from astrologers and other fortune-tellers, there exists in at least three places — Madras, Meerut and Hoshiarpur — Nadis containing a large number of significant horoscopes and their readings inscribed on very old palmyrah leaves which are frequently consulted by believers.

Two men, who were abject slaves to astrology, palmistry and even black-magic, were President Rajendra Prasad and Minister Gulzarilal Nanda. Rajendra Prasad’s favorite astrologers predicted emphatically that he would step down from the Presidency and become the Prime Minister.. Nanda, who wasted much time on havans pujas and other futilities, was told by his astrologers that be would become the Prime Minister. In a sense the prediction came true when he act as the Prime Minister for a few days, each time twice — alter the death of Nehru and after the death of Lai Bahadur.

T.T. Krishnamachari was somewhat of an amateur astrologer; the great scientist. Dr K S. Krishnan, who was soft-spoken, erudite, cultured and a delightful person, whom I knew well and admired, was a believer in astrology even though he never went to an astrologer for predictions about himself. His interest was largely intellectual. To the end he had an inquiring mind.

During the time of the Chinese aggression, astrologers and sooth- sayers were working overtime. All kinds of rumours were set afloat about the government and the fate of Nehru. At that time there appeared on the scene a weird man from Bihar with his black magic.

Rajendra Prasad used to be one of his customers. This time he was brought to Delhi in great secrecy by another Bihari who had retired as the Governor of a state and was staying in Delhi where he possessed a house. The late Maharaja Yadavendra Singh of Patiala became the patron of the weird man with the help of the former Governor. One item of black-magic was that a pencil would get up in the dark and write answers to questions. Most of the questions happened to be about Nehru and the answers were to suit the predilections of the questioners. After one sitting the Maharaja, who always had foolish political ambitions which, he thought, could be achieved in an under hand manner and with the help of money, decided to invite a care- fully selected group of top army brass and expose them to this black- magic. I received authentic information about it. I went to Nehru and suggested that Home Minister Lai Bahadur might be asked to get rid of the black-magic man from Delhi at once. I disclosed to him the source of my information. Nehru sent for Lai Bahadur and, in my presence, conveyed the information to him. Lai Bahadur had to act swiftly, and he did. At the appointed time Maharaja Yadvendra Singh, his army friends and the former Governor could find no trace of the black-magic man. Little did they know at that time that their man was in a train, under police escort, bound for Patna with instructions to keep off Delhi for six months.

Indira always believed in astrology. One evening in the mid-fifties Nehru left office rather early and drove straight to Maulana Azad’s house where he told me that I might go home and send back the car for him within half an’ hour. When I arrived in the Prime Minister’s House, Indira happened to be downstairs. Noticing that I had arrived alone, she stopped the car. She looked somewhat agitated and told me-

“The whole day I had been worried about what Papu’s horoscope says — that one of his legs will be disabled. I am troubled about the possi- bility of a minor car accident. Your being with him is a comfort for me. Now you have left him and come back. I wish you would go back to him.” Without any argument 1 left and waited in the Maulana’s house. Nehru was annoyed at my wasting time waiting for him. On the drive back to the Prime Minister’s house, I had to tell him the rea- son why he found me in the Maulana’s house. He asked me: “Why did you listen to her bilge? You should have laughed it away.” Incidentally, the prediction proved right. One of Nehru’s legs was disabled, and he had to drag on one foot; but it was not due to any accident but the result of a stroke.

On 6 August 1967, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit wrote to me from Dehra Dun enclosing a newspaper clipping containing a report of some predictions about Indira by the amateur astrologer K.G. Datta, The predictions were inferences drawn from the interaction of the personal horoscopes of the “dramatis personae.” They were:

(1) V,V, Giri would emerge as India’s man of the people to win the election for Presidentship.

(2) Indira Gandhi would endure several threats to her position for the next 18 months (from August 1967) and would remain at the helm of affairs till May 1982.

(3) Friction within the political structure would cause it to dis- integrate during the next 12 months (from August 1967). Many heads of those above 55 years would roll before stability is finally attained.

The prediction about Indira being at the helm of affairs till May 1982 disturbed Vijaya Lakshmi. Considerable credence was attached to this prediction because K.G. Datta had, in November 1961, correctly predicted the fall of the Labour Government in Britain, landslides in Chile, and bloodshed in NEFA; he had also foretold Nehru’s death “before 30 May 1964” and also Lai Bahadur’s death. Vijaya Lakshmi must have heaved a sigh of relief in March/April 1977 at Datta’s prediction going wrong about Indira. Astrologers have the peculiar capacity to unsettle people temporarily. Sometimes they give the credulous temporary hope too.

In 1963 a Tamil Christian, known to me personally, met Indira in New Delhi. He, like Cheiro, is an astrologer-palmist. He was in Ceylon for some time and had correctly predicted the assassination of Prime Minister Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandarnaike. This pre- diction was known to several people. Immediately after the assassination, he feared for his life and managed to leave Ceylon. The Madras friend, who renounced his religion, but not the booze, and reverted to Hinduism for the sake of his trade, showed me the note book in which the impression of Indira’s autograph at the bottom of the page. His prediction was that within three years Indira would be the Prime Minister. From then on the astrologer-palmist was a frequent visitor to Delhi. He soon got on to L.N. Misbra who was a pathetic victim of any astrologer who passed by. Gradually the astrologer-palmist began to wield considerable influence over Mishra who would bend low to touch his feet. And the astrologer-palmist became a contact man for several businessmen and was constantly in Delhi living in expensive hotels and imbibing more than was good for him. The astrologer- palmist had a roaring time financially until the death of Mishra. He also kept in touch with Indira.

In the spring of 1970, egged on by L.N. Mishra and Dinesh Singh, Indira frantically sent for the astrologer-palmist from Madras. On arrival in Delhi, he saw everyone perturbed at reports of several astro- logers who had predicted dire things for Indira and had given publici- ty for them. The astrologer-palmist consulted his note book and gave a bold prediction that Indira would remain firmly in power till 1977. Mishra and Dinesh Singh called several newsmen to meet the astro- loger-palmist who broke the good news to them. The prediction was prominently published by newspapers all over India. I saw it in the Hindustan Times and the Statesman in New Delhi in their issues of 10 May 1970. The stock of the astrologer-palmist rose sky-high with those “who mattered” in Delhi. And his income through various sources also went up beyond his expectations. It did not take long for him to build a large house in Madras and to set up a printing press for his son. He deserved a]] these because of his successive predic- tions about Indira both of which came true. Indira’s long-distance contact with the Madras astrologer-palmist was MaragathamChandrashekhar. She was the first Special Envoy of the Prime Minister.

The marriage of the astrologer-palmist’s daughter took place in Madras in May 1972. At the functions Indira was represented by the ubiquitous Yashpal Kapoor. The Governor of Madras and his Cabi- net were dutifully present. The same evening Indira landed at the Meenambakkam airport where she greeted the newly married couple and gave the astrologer-palmist a present of Rs 10,000. L.N. Mishra sent a much bigger amount.

The astrologer-palmist accompanied Indira twice to the ancient Devi Temple at Kanya Kumari. It was at his instance that Indira sent through L.N. Mishra a golden crown studded with precious stones for the Devi at the Kanya Kumari Temple. The astrologer-palmist is a devotee of the Kanya Kumari Temple and also the Tirupali Temple which has also been visited by Indira more than once.

During the Emergency the astrologer-palmist lost touch with Indira. Her entourage put him off whenever he tried to see her. He was to discover later that an astrologer called Shastri had appeared on the scence.

After the death of Mishra the stars of the astrologer-palmist were not on the “ascendant.” Bussinessmen slowly deserted him. Once he was arrested in Madras by the police on a complaint from a Delhi hotel for non-payment of bills. What happened was that the business- man concerned refused to pay the bills because the astrologer- palmist failed to fulfill his promise of getting his business done.

The last time the astrologer-palmist met Indira was in April 1977 after her defeat at the elections. He found her shattered and desolate. She complained that he had not seen her for a long time. He explained to her that her staff had thwarted his many attempts to meet her.

She said that what had happened was totally unexpected and that no- body had predicted it. He reminded her of his prediction in 1970 that she would be Prime Minister till 1977 and showed her the relevant newspaper clippings. She asked him to visit the house at 12 Willingdon Crescent, to which she was going to shift, and do some puja and say some prayers in the room in which she was going to stay. He did it dutifully and returned to Madras.

Now the astrologer-palmist sits in Madras complaining that Indira discarded him and took the advice of the astrologer called Shastn and ordered election. According to the Madras astrologer-palmist, Shastn,who is a hoax, assured Indira that she would get 350 seats in Parliament. The astrologer palmist chants two things now;

(1) Vinasa Kalay Viparita Biidln, and

(2) “when God decides to destroy a woman, He first makes her mad.”

Wearing of rudraksha mala and visiting the temples by Indira werea part of her faith in astrology. When she said some time ago publicly that she was wearing the riidraksha mala on the advice of V.K.Krishna Menon. Any way she had lost credibility in 1958 in so far as I am concerned. Apart from that, I doubt if Krishna Menon knew what a rudraksha mala was.



M O MATHAI  – M.O. Mathai (1909–1981) was the Private Secretary to India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.












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