What is spirituality and math

Vedic mathematics, spiritual quotients

For a long time, India’s historiography and teaching have put their own past and tradition aside in favor of progressive, internationalist models of thought. Now the pendulum threatens to swing in the opposite direction.

In February last year, the University Grants Commission (UGC), India's highest university authority, announced in a circular that astrology would be included in the university curriculum from the summer semester. Anyone who thought it was about the introduction of an academic subject was taught better: Separate astrology departments would be set up, and the reasoning in the circular made clear: «This is the science that allows us to understand the events in human life and in the universe to get to know on a time scale. " Their studies open up "new dimensions of research for Hindu mathematics, vastushastra (the correct architectural design of the house and its furnishings) and meteorology". But people who deal with marketing and the analysis of financial, economic and political data would also benefit from it.

Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan

Scientists and liberal citizens rubbed their eyes. They had initially taken the first reports as a good-natured joke and blasphemed that this was obviously an idea of ​​the Minister of Education M. M. Joshi, whose name assigns him to the Brahmin caste of the Jiyotirs from Maharashtra, who worked as village astrologers. In contrast to western astrology, its Indian variant has the advantage that the planets can be influenced - for example by averting a threatening constellation with offerings to the astrologer. After he has soothed the stars with it, he can eat them. Joshi, a physics professor from Allahabad according to his title, is known for repeatedly finding scientific achievements in the ancient Indian Vedas that the West was only capable of much later - from the anticipation of the theory of relativity to an early Indian Copernican turn to space travel and the Discovery of quasars 2500 BC Chr.

But naivety is no guarantee of a lack of virulence. Joshi is convinced of the stupendous achievements of his ancestors, whose fate was that they were systematically suppressed by Muslim invaders, colonial conquistadors and finally by the educational policy of independent India, which blindly threw itself into a westernized image of history. Since taking office, Joshi has worked tenaciously with a mixture of threats, intrigue and shawm tones to stamp his country with the “Hindutva”. This can be reduced to three terms: Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan. The term “Hindu” as the name of the dominant religious community in India is embedded in two further cultural constants - that of the language (“Hindi”) and a historical-geographical area (“Hindustan”). He thus ties in with the ideologues of the radical Hindu movement, who see the Hindus as the only legitimate descendants of the Aryan race, whose language was Sanskrit and whose ancestral lands were in the area around the Indus and Ganges. This makes both the natives and the South Indian Dravida, not to mention the “immigrant” Muslims and Christians, dependent on the goodwill of the majority. It is a radical reversal of the previous self-image of the Indian constitution, which calls for secularism in religious politics, on the basis of social and ethnic inclusiveness and an enlightening rationality.

Joshi wants to make his educational policy turnaround on three levels: by introducing the teaching area “Vedic Sciences” such as astrology, mathematics and Sanskrit studies. This expansion of subjects goes hand in hand with a limitation of the traditional science and school subjects that are to be re-weighted as part of a curriculum reform. This is particularly true of history. In order to support the claim of cultural priority, the "Hindutvakars" have to prove that their ancestors were the original inhabitants of northern India. However, this is only possible if the archaeological and linguistic evidence that points to a migration from Central Asia is denied. This can go so far that «historians» manipulate the figures of horses into pictures of incised characters on pottery shards with the computer (the absence of the horse in the iconography of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa is an indication of a prairian civilization). On the other hand, school books are to be replaced by those that extol the Hindu civilization, while the contribution of other civilizations is neglected, if not neglected.

On a second level, this reorientation should be secured ideologically by emphasizing “Value Education”, a harmless-sounding rethinking that every education is ultimately based on ethical, i.e. spiritual foundations. All religions should be taken into account, as Joshi affirmed at a Unesco conference in China. But in a recently published essay by M. K. Kaw, Joshi's director of education, it was treacherously stated that only Hinduism, with its holistic and tolerant philosophy, was suitable for this; the "religions of the book" - Islam and Christianity - with their doctrinal approach would have done more harm than good. In addition to intellectual criteria such as the IQ or psychological criteria such as the EQ (Emotional Quotient), Kaw demanded the measurement of spiritual intelligence, which is of course called "SQ". In order to safeguard these two levels, the minister has appointed followers to numerous educational institutions in a third direction. In addition to the university authority UGC, this primarily affects the National Council of Educational Reform and Training (NCERT), the institution responsible for curriculum reform.

Federal barriers

The national-religious revisionism is made easier by the fact that the human sciences have so far not been practiced without political omens. For decades, history writing and teaching had been the domain of Marxist doctrine. The state socialist ideology had allowed this guild, together with the politicians, to fill the chairs with like-minded people. This has not only resulted in the neglect of early Indian history, especially in its ramifications to the history of religion, mythology and contemporary scientific explanatory models, in favor of an emphasis on social and economic history. It has also given rise to school historiography which downplayed nationalism as a defining characteristic of the anti-colonial movement in relation to internationalist currents - anti-imperialism, socialism. BJP-critical intellectuals such as Amrik Singh, the former rector of the University of Delhi, therefore recognize the government as having the right to renew the school books. But they see the justified criticism of Marxism as a convenient excuse to underlay the education system with a different political agenda that is also far poorer in terms of the theory of science.

Minister Joshi is dependent on such help, because the liberal intelligentsia is still strong enough to at least expose these tendencies. The education ministers of nine federal states also took part in a seminar in Delhi "against the aggressive religious-political infiltration of education". This points to the difficulties in dictating their educational policies to the states from Delhi. According to the constitution, both share in shaping educational policy, with the exception of the Central Universities and technical teaching. The BJP is currently only in power in 4 (out of 28) states. Your regional coalition partners are suspicious of the Joshi agenda, and the states ruled by the left and by Congress oppose it. Nevertheless, Joshi succeeded in smuggling a number of decisions past the equal institutions with the help of the money tube and administrative tricks. For example, Sanskrit elementary school teachers should be employed without the usual aptitude test. Congressman Eduardo Faleiro sees this as an effective means of smuggling thousands of Hindutva cadres into the education system. Joshi's greatest weakness, however, remains the modest intellectual competence of his cultural shock troops. Still, says a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, “one can smile at the weirdos who rave about Ayurvedic fuel and the establishment of military astrology. They can always ruin the existing academic tradition. "

Bernard Imhasly