Role of teachers and accompanying persons
At Vettaveli, the accompanying persons are those who guide the evolution process of the children not only in both a physical and a psychological plane, but also in a spiritual plane, i.e. they help and contribute to an atmosphere where the consciousness gets purified little by little so that the children can enjoy not only what the external environment offers them, but also the state of Bliss which is the inner seed of the human being.
To be an accompanying person at Vettaveli means that one has the commitment to what the Siddhas call arrupadai. Arrupadai is to show the path of the Siddhas to enable others to evolve. An accompanying person is one who lives in a constant act of giving himself to children, is one who helps to keep the inner flame within each child lit so that he can attain a state of permanent inner happiness.
For this purpose someone having the knowledge of the Siddhas wisdom, someone having the commitment to show others the path of the Siddhas, someone practicing such wisdom, is thus required. The most important thing that this person can share is this state of inner silence that becomes a continuous flow of love for others and that pervades the educational activity.
At Vettaveli, therefore, an accompanying person is not only someone who guides and gives support to the child in constructing his world knowledge, but he also helps and gives support making it possible for the child to reach his inner Self. The wisdom of the Self which the Siddhas spoke about is not something that can be learned through the use of speech and thought.
What does a Siddha education mean and what are the differences when compared to another type of education?
The education has always been a main issue for the human being. The education has been and is being used as an element at the service of the productive requirements of the society. Educational methods to improve the academic achievements of children are always being looked for. At some point, the concept that the essence of the human being is the Happiness was forgotten; and the same is true in relation to the fact that any educational system must be at the service of the Happiness, being this happiness our true state and nature.
The education imparted to our children can be qualified as obsolete, compartmentalizing the individual and making his Self invisible. It is a partial education where cognitive development is fundamental. So far the education has been centered on the cognitive aspects of the individual, thus neglecting all the remaining facets. The education is seeking ways for the integral growth of the person. The individual is defined as a bio-psycho-emotional-spiritual being. Therefore the education should address the following issues:
- Physical development
- Mental and cognitive development
- Emotional development
- Social development, participation in the community, notion of service and mission
- Psychological development
- And finally, spiritual development
However, all the types of education existing at present –call them alternative, non-directive pedagogies, although they have changed the manner in which the learning process is carried out and are focused on the child, it is him who decides what, how and when to learn with varying degrees of freedom. Those educational methods attend only to the learning that distinguishes between the knower and the object known. Even when they are positive as they keep intact the joy of the inner Self and do not obstruct the research process of the person, they do not show the path to the discovery of the Self as a permanent state of Bliss non dependent on internal and/or external events. We could use an agricultural metaphor: the traditional education is like the traditional agriculture, it suffocates the child –it applies so many pesticides that people end by losing contact internally. The non-directive education (possessed of several options) is like the ecological agriculture, it keeps lit the flame of the search for what we are because the self of the individual is protected and respected from the very beginning; the goal is to identify where the children interests and also their needs are and the teacher accompanies them throughout their development, the target being the autonomy of the individual from the outset. But all this sowing is aimed at the physical, emotional, mental, cognitive development and its target is the external world. And they also work with the identification of the needs and wishes of the person. The Self is something more than that psychophysical identity; it is a state of consciousness free from all desire and this is what the Vasi Yoga works on.
In spite of being focused on the child, his development, his needs and his autonomy and freedom to make decisions, thus resulting in happier, more cooperative and more self-connected individuals, all of the movements that have tried to reform the educational system do, however, not go into the question of how to reach a state of consciousness free from thoughts and emotions and also do not show the way to be finally freed from the “ego” and from the activity of our own mind. It is a matter of the dissolution of what we call identity. The Siddha yogis –who are the fathers of the Yoga, demonstrated and proved the way in which it was possible to reach our essence; all of them got enlightened, i.e. they attained this state of Absolute Bliss on a permanent basis and many of them wrote down their experiences and the manner to arrive at such liberation in the form of verse.
A true education is a path of research and return to the Self. The real education is the path to the pure consciousness, to our true nature which the Siddha yogis define and experience as a state of Permanent Bliss.
As the Siddhas state, there is a real education, an education that leads to the above state of Permanent Bliss (what they call Sivahood) and this is the only education they define as true, given that it definitely frees from the fetters of thoughts, emotions and habits. They refer to this knowledge or wisdom as spiritual knowledge and this is what they call true education.
All the remaining knowledge we acquire refers to the ever-changing and transitory outer world. This means that the seed enlivening our school is to get to remember that profound structure which cannot be learnt. The structure of the Self can only be grasped or experienced. This is the reason why our school uses a set of techniques acting on the profound psychological structures of the individual. Such a method helps us to educate just “to be” and it is embedded in a holistic education which implies the development of every potentiality of the person; that is to say, the full development of the individual in all his dimensions: at a cognitive, emotional, intuitive, spiritual level… As a matter of fact, the goal is to enable people to realize their inner self, to know their original face, to connect with their inner self preventing the loss of such connection as they grow up.
As Wilber says in his book “The Atman Project: A Transpersonal View of the Human Development”, meditation is a sustained path towards transcendence. It is the path for building a Pure Consciousness which is nothing but a state of Permanent Bliss. And the Siddha yogis are showing us this path.