Inspiration is all around us; in the mountains, the jungle and the river that flows through it.

Author:Satya Ramesh  

“There is a lesson hidden in every part of nature”  

When you have already tried your hand at Power Point presentations, class activities and everything inside and outside the box, how do you reinvent teaching? How do you keep the fire going?

I want you to stop and look around you. Feel the air fill up your lungs, feel the diaphragm moving up and down. By this process you have learned a lesson or two about patience. There is a lesson hidden in every part of nature.

Mother Nature embodies a huge reservoir of fascinating resources which includes mountains, rivers, oceans, trees, the land, wind, fire, clouds and everything under and above the sky. Each of these resources has a well-defined function along with an underlying message for mankind which was decoded by our ancient sages thousands of years ago. Their intimate and intense relationship with nature is perhaps the only reason behind our success as an evolutionary phenomenon. An attempt to understand the human-environment relationship in its actual sense would unfold a lot of invaluable lessons which no educational curriculum of today could claim to have scaled.

“An attempt to understand the human-environment relationship … would unfold a lot of invaluable lessons which no educational curriculum of today could claim to have scaled”

Rivers:

Most of the rivers in the world have their origin in the mountains.  Rivers originate with a purpose and their ultimate aim is to join the ocean (Sagar Sangam). In order to achieve this, a river has to flow continuously be it through valleys, mountains, forests or plains. During the course, it experiences moments filled with pleasure and pain, yet what matters is that the journey never gets interrupted (unless humans construct dams). This quality of perseverance is what one has to learn from a river. Every individual should find out the ultimate aim of one’s life trying to make it both purposeful and meaningful by diligently fulfilling his/her duties at all times till the end.

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”

oceans:

The five oceans of the world covering more than three-fourths of the earth’s surface support not just the aquatic life but also mankind in innumerable ways. Oceans never lose their identity irrespective of how many rivers come and join them. Every human brain is like the ocean which receives innumerable sensory inputs through the five sense organs (rivers). However, the ultimate power to decide and respond always rests with the brain without losing its identity. Oceans contain the most invaluable treasure within and are always prepared to give to those who dive deeper in search of them. It implies that we humans spend a whole lot of our life accumulating material possessions from the world outside not bothering about the greatest of the great treasures buried deep within each one of us. Oceans never accumulate things which are of no use to them and even if generously given to them by humans, they do not mind subtly rejecting by pushing them off to their shores. It equally applies to us. We need to have the ability to eliminate or reject things physical or mental which are of no use retaining only the good. Ocean waves are always energetic, never forget their limits and rarely do they take their extreme form (Tsunami waves) only to remind humans about their limits.

“Waves are inspiring not because they rise and fall. But because each time they rise and fall….they never fail to rise again.”    

-Swami Vivekananda

Mountains:

All mountains across the world symbolize stability and strength of determination. They have always stood in the path of mankind testing both the physical and the mental strength. Never did they compromise and have always silently guided the mountaineers to invoke the spirit within which provides the necessary fuel to reach the pinnacle. It exemplifies that if one has to reach a destination however high or far it may be only through the process of reaffirmation; realizing the fact that success accommodates only those who deserve and not those who simply desire.

“It’s not the mountains we conquer: but ourselves!”

Prithvi or Land:

An epitome of immense patience and tolerance supporting mankind in every possible way without expecting anything in return. No place on this earth has been left untouched (explored) by humans. Each exploration has inspired mankind to sharpen their thinking on how best to utilize (exploit). In the name of modernization, man has completely lost control over his actions, not realizing the impending danger. Aren’t there instances where mankind has gone to the extent of extending land into the seas thus creating new landscapes? No advanced technology can prevent and protect mankind from the consequences of deforestation, mountaintop removals, illegal mining etc. Better late than never, let us all embark on a new journey to protect our mother earth, limiting our desires, retaining resources for the generations to come.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

-Marcel Proust

Akash (Space):

One can find Akash everywhere be it inside an earthen pot or a golden vessel, or be it inside a hut or a royal palace. This quality of infinite expansion breaking barriers of racial discrimination is what one has to learn from one of this major element of the universe.

“We are stars wrapped in skin – The light you are seeking has always been within.”

Vayu or Wind:

An element of the universe which can only be felt but could never be seen. It is a mixture of various gases including the most important life supporting element, Oxygen. Knowing well that human existence is impossible without Oxygen even for a few seconds why do we have to be reminded always to protect trees. Isn’t it the birth right of trees even to coexist with us? Who gave us the right to pollute the air which even is the property of all other living beings? We humans can never think of answers to these questions until and unless we personally become victims of nature’s wrath. Let us not wait for that moment to come. It is high time we realize the fact that coexistence is the only way to survive.

“No one can realize how substantial the air is, until he feels its supporting power beneath him. It inspires confidence at once.”

– Otto Lilienthal

Agni or Fire:

Sun is the first thing that comes to our mind when we think of fire. It is a huge ball of gases and also a major source of light and heat for every living organism on this planet. Fire symbolizes Purity and we know very well that all metals (including gold) have to undergo heating during the process of purification. This equally applies even to mankind. All human efforts should be in the direction of purifying the mind and the soul, letting all the vices within us to be destroyed in the flames of fire ignited by our knowledge and wisdom.

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”

– Ferdinand Foch

Every natural entity, small or big, living or non-living has come with a message for mankind. What matters is how open we are to learn from what surrounds us? Let us realize how far we have moved away from reality and at least now make every attempt to move closer to live in the safe hands of our mother nature. Only then can we live a life which is secure and fulfilled helping ourselves derive the meaning of our existence.

“We never noticed the beauty of nature because we were too busy trying to re-create it.”

It is vital to teach children what is inside the box before we explore what is outside it. The inclusion of value of nature and its presence has been more often than not overlooked lately due to the advent of technology and other related man made manifestations. We, as academicians of the leaders of tomorrow need to acknowledge this gap and fulfill our responsibility towards a secure future for the environment we live and breathe in.

Nature                           Nature

“Waves are inspiring not because they rise and fall. But because each time they rise and fall….they never fail to rise again.”

About the Author

Satya Ramesh
Presently working as an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Amity University, Gwalior; Mr. Satya Ramesh has been a teacher of both Psychology and Mathematics for Senior Secondary and Secondary classes respectively for the past sixteen years. With a qualification in Psychology, Education and Counseling and a keen interest in those fields, Mr. Ramesh shares with MENTOR his perspective on how we can muster inspiration from our surroundings to reinvent teaching styles and draws a parallel to learning from nature.

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