With the value system in our society shrinking rapidly, policy makers are now striving hard to sow its seeds in the minds of the children at a nascent stage. The UNESCO describes values as- “Values are generally long-term standards or principles that are used to judge the worth of an idea or action. They provide the criteria by which we decide whether something is good or bad, right or wrong.” Going by the definition, there is no doubt that our society and education system is struggling to establish or revive human values for the betterment of the populace and ultimately the country and the world. Value education is necessarily turning out to be a part of school curriculum as one of the many subjects. However, a deeper understanding of the ancient yogic texts teaches one that yoga and value education are interlinked. In this context, besides Ashtanga, which prescribes the 8 limbs of practice for one’s liberation, and certain Hatha yogic practices, both, ‘asanas’ and ‘shuddhikriyas’, for self- purification, Kriya yoga, its three components being, ‘Tapas’, ‘Svadhyaya’ and ‘Ishvarpranidhana, is being looked upon as a path to develop the much- needed value system in an individual. While establishing oneself in Ashtanga yoga is the preliminary aim of a yoga practitioner, the key to it also lies in the practice of Kriya yoga. The earlier its inculcation, the better result it is bound to fetch.
Hence, for policymakers in education, it becomes of utmost relevance to introduce the principles of yoga, especially Kriya yoga in the curriculum if they have to imbibe values in students. Largely, value education strives to thrive values such as respect towards democracy, social justice, social cohesion, national integration, patriotism, building scientific temperament, respect for cultural heritage, gender equality, protection of the environment, secularism etc in students. All of these and much more values further boil down to basic values of truth, righteousness, peace, love, and non- violence which are easily achievable through the practice of yoga in general and kriya yoga in specific.
The chapter 2 of Patanjali Yoga Sutras defines Kriya yoga as “Tapahsvadhyayaesvarapranidhanani kriyayogah!”. Tapa or Tapas means austerity, ‘Svadhyaya’ indicates self- study and ‘Ishvarpranidhana’ refers to surrender to the Supreme. In the context of yoga and value education, ‘Tapas’ would mean putting in more efforts to burn the laziness of the physical body and the laxity of the mind. Similarly, ‘Svadhyaya’ would involve self- study or reflection of own actions, learnings at the school, surroundings etc. The practice of ‘Svadhyaya’ will not only inculcate self- discipline but also provide discriminative powers to the learner. By practicing ‘Ishvar pranidhana’, students will develop the attitude of surrendering to elders and humbleness, a necessity today. Furthermore, they will develop acceptance and absorption towards knowledge and goodness. As a wholesome process, the practice of kriya yoga must unquestionably lead to establishing the prescribed values, laid down by different education policy- making and governing bodies.
Therefore, to resolve the crisis in value education, the inclusion of kriya yoga could go a long way in bringing in the much necessary change.