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Mould Character from Childhood

From: Mangala I. Kadaba (
Date: Mon May 18 1998 - 09:27:40 PDT

                             [THE HINDU]

                        Monday, May 18, 1998
                       SECTION: Miscellaneous

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            Mould character from childhood

            Date: 18-05-1998 :: Pg: 24 :: Col: c

            CHENNAI, May 18.

            Development of character and acquisition of spiritual
            knowledge are the two essential requirements of a
            purposeful life. Man differs from an animal only by
            virtue of his power of discrimination. He has the wisdom
            to take correct decisions and this in turn is possible
            because of his association with pious men. We do come
            across knowledgeable persons but they may lack
            character. Likewise there are some who possess integrity
            but they may have missed the opportunity to secure
            scriptural knowledge.

            Even today in certain remote parts of the country,
            children of humble origin are found to offer their
            salutations and obeisance when spiritual leaders visit
            them. They have inherited good values from elders though
            they are not provided with education. This is also due
            to divine blessings. God's grace does not mean that He
            will go about with a staff in His hand, as a shepherd
            does when he drives the animals to a meadow. He will
            bestow on men the proper motive for action and good
            sense to choose the right, eschewing the wrong.

            A verse composed during the tenure of the administration
            of emperor Dilipa (forbear of Rama) compares and
            contrasts the responsibilities of parents and rulers.
            The former bring them up. But the king has the duty to
            train the children as proper citizens. He has to see
            that they cultivate humility, behave in a disciplined
            manner, mould their character and ensure that they
            become useful to the country.

            For this, they should receive sound education. If the
            body needs food, anyone can provide it but character
            cannot be obtained overnight. It requires hard work.
            Spiritual knowledge can be acquired even throughout life
            in stages. But discipline and character should be
            inculcated from young age.

            In his discourse, the Jeeyar Swami of Ahobila Math said
            women are the custodians of our culture and tradition.
            Women teachers in particular have a decisive role in
            shaping the future of the pupils under their care. Our
            scriptures have laid golden rules for moulding the
            character of growing children. Saints have shown the way
            and if clarifications are needed, one can observe how
            spiritual heads conduct themselves. Apasthambar states
            that women can clear doubts in respect of customs. Lord
            Rama has called for character moulding.

            Tiruvalluvar has said that one should possess righteous
            conduct and that after learning in a perfect manner
            tread the path it has shown. Knowledge without character
            and spiritual outlook, in a scholar, is compared to the
            dog's tail whose utility no one knows.

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