Tag Archives: Education in Hinduism

Rāmānuja’s Thought Spells End of Caste System

Fr Francis Vattukulam, SDB

ROME – An Indian doctoral student presenting Rāmānuja’s philosophy at the Salesian University Rome (UPS), 15 June, has argued the end of caste system on grounds of equality and unique status of human beings. Rāmānuja was 11th century philosopher from Tamil Nadu. Though born a Brahmin, he taught both upper and lower caste people the way to God through bhakti mārga, realized more specifically through the path of self-surrender (prapatti). The president of the five member defence panel, UPS Pro-Vice-chancellor and Philosophy Faculty Dean Prof. Mauro Montovani declared panel’s verdict granting him “the highest marks” awarded to a doctoral candidate.
“Caste system,” says Fr Francis Vattukulam, “embodies a fundamental denial of equality and fraternity since it creates classes based on birth and profession. The division is based on the higher and the lower, the pure and the impure, and the sacred and the profane. There is no role for fundamental rights in a caste-ridden society, let alone a discussion about rights.”

Being Awarded "the highest marks"

Salesian Father Vattukulam of Bangalore province states “from a philosophical foundation the dignity of man definitely lies in being created in the image of God. This aspect of being created by God, in His likeness and as His mode (prakāra) wins for him/her an absolute value and dignity vis-à-vis God’s existence and dignity.
Fr Vattukulam 39, who did his research under the guidance of former Dean of the UPS Philosophy Faculty Prof Scaria Thuruthyil SDB insists, “the point of relevance for us here is that, the nature of every individual self (jīva), applies not only for the Brāhmaņa, Kșatriya and Vaiśya, but also to those condemned to remain in the fourth caste and those termed as Casteless and Untouchables, for they are also governed by the same principle and have the same characteristics. Therefore we cannot predicate of a differentiating characteristic between one person and the other on the basis of their birth or the occupation that one follows. Everyone shares in the same level of dignity that God has bestowed on the human being. This is what comes to be affirmed by Rāmānuja.”
“Vattukulam followed basically a descriptive-analytical method in articulating Ramanuja’s understanding of man, as well as in delineating the origin and import of caste system, giving at the same time due attention to present the same from a philosophical prospective,” says Prof. Thuruthyil commenting on candidate’s research methodology.
Fr Vattukulam was fortunate to have as his second guide the Dean of the Faculty of Missiology at the Gregorian, Fr Christopher Shelke SJ, a social activist who made a name with his work among under privileged people in Maharashtra.

Fr. Francis with members of the defense panel.

The third reader, Prof Maurizio Marin SDB is professor of ancient philosophy at UPS Philosophy Faculty.
In addition, Fr Vattukulam’s vast experience of studying philosophy and theology as well as teaching philosophy in various academic institutions in Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka exposed him to the plight of the oppressed classes.
He will shortly take charge as Principal and Dean of studies at Don Bosco College, Keezhmad, Aluva in Kerala.
Photos by Fr Varghese Kaplikunnel SDB

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Italian Book on Indian Educative Principles and Values

Prof. Scaria Thuruthiyil, SDB

ROME – A new book on Indian educative principles and values in Italian language by an Indian professor at the Salesian University (UPS) Rome is ready for release shortly. This is the second book launched on Indian topic in Italian language written by an Indian professor!
The 358 page book entitled “Principi e valori educativi, nella tradizione Indiana” by former Dean of the UPS Philosophy Faculty Prof. Scaria Thuruthiyil SDB is being published under the Edizioni Progetto Cultura Collana Quaderna di Ricerca.
Prof Thuruthiyil has 13 books to his credit over a period of 22 years. Starting from his first book published in 1988, the author has five books published solo (2 in English and 3 in Italian). He has co-authored 2 books in Italian, 5 in Malayalam and one in English.
“The latest book is meant for all those interested in value education and moral formation: parents, teachers and also students (university)”, says Professor Thuruthiyil stating that the language it is published in will serve especially the Italian public (teachers, educators) who are interested to know about education in India and in the Indian tradition.
The author’s main contention in the book is that “Education is a continuous learning process that helps an individual to live his life in the best and most complete way possible, with dignity and freedom. This process involves many, especially parents and educators who help their pupils in their formation.”

Indian Educational Principles and Values

In the current volume the author presents the most important principles on which are founded the educational systems of Hinduism and Buddhism. He also touches upon educational systems of traditional and modern India. Special feature of the book is presenting the contributions of important Indian educators like Sri Aurobindo Ghose, Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave and Jiddu Krishnamurti.
The freshness of the book is in calling the attention of educators and others interested in imparting values (human rights, peace, interreligious and intercultural dialogue, cultural values) that the author thinks are important for an integral formation of students.
The author further proposes the Catholic Church in India actively engaged in the mission of education as a model for those engaged in education.
The book divided into three sections has 14 chapters.

For queries pls contact Prof. Thuruthyil by email
tvscaria@hotmail.com / scaria.thuruthiyil@gmail.comscaria@unisal.it

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Filed under Buddhism, Don Bosco Library, Education, Hinduism, Indian Catholic Education Model, Indian Educational Principles, Preventive System, School, Student, Teacher