Educator's Good Karma

An educator speaks on the ripple effects of his choices, values, work and social responsibility. Keeping in mind the important lesson that "the evil you do remains with you: the good you do, comes back to you."

A few days back, I watched a LinkedIn discussion on "Calm in the Anxious World" by spiritual teacher Nithya Shanti, moderated by Shalini Lal. A story narrated in the discussion touched my heart, and I started reflecting on my role as an educator and what is educator's good karma. The story (adapted from goes like this:

While preparing food for the family members, a woman will prepare two extra chapattis (bread) for an old man who visits her house for the bread every day. Every time she gave the chapattis, she will pray for his son, who had left home several years back and never contacted back the family. 

After taking the bread, instead of expressing gratitude, the old man will shout at the woman, saying: "The evil you do remains with you, the good you do, comes back to you." This was a routine almost every day. This shouting irked the woman, and the woman will say to herself, "what an ungrateful person" every time.

On a routine day when the woman gave the chapattis, the old man shouted at the woman the exact words. This time the woman got infuriated and decided to punish the old man. She decided to punish him.  The next day she stuffed the chapattis with a poison substance. As she was ready to keep the chapattis for the old man, her body shivered. She asked herself, "what am I doing?" Immediately she threw the chapattis and prepared the fresh ones. As usual, the old man came, picked the chapattis, and shouted, "The evil you do remains with you; the good you do, comes back to you." The woman ignored him and prayed for the safe return of her son. 

The woman got busy with daily chores and forgot the old man. On the same day in the afternoon, a man in tattered clothes, weak and in terrible shape, knocked the woman's door. The woman was surprised to see her son in this condition. As he entered the house, he said, "Amma, it's is a miracle that I am at home. When I reached outside the town, a couple of miles away, I collapsed because of hunger. I would have died, but then I saw an old man passing by, and I begged of him for some food to eat. He gave me two chapattis and said, "This is what I eat every day, today your need is greater than mine. Let me give these chapattis to you, and muttered the words - the evil you do remains with you; the good you do, comes back to you." On hearing this, the woman almost lost consciousness at the thought of how she had planned to prepare poisoned chapattis that morning. Had she not thrown them away, her son would have lost the life. It is then she realized the significance of the words, "The evil you do remains with you: the good you do, comes back to you!"

I was deeply touched by the story and how the good karma cycle plays in this miraculous world. The story inspired me to reflect on my role as an educator. I have always been deeply engaged in learning, the creation of knowledge, and sharing this knowledge with students. I felt that our role as an educator is somewhat similar to the woman: learning, creating and sharing. Our sharing the knowledge with students is like sharing the chapattis. If we share wrong knowledge, poisonous thinking, and immoral thoughts, evil will come back to Society and us. 

If we fail to share good knowledge, do not develop the right skills and competencies, and do not help our students develop positive attitudes, the law of karma will not do good to Society and us. Educators must develop a good value system of learning, creating, and sharing to reap the benefit of good karma. As educators, we need to do justice to learning, creating, and sharing the cycle and not compromise in any respect. Not doing so will put our Society in a frightful condition. Our community will face the consequences if we neglect to learn, do not create, and impart erroneous knowledge. It is going to come back to us. To us, our Society, and we are going to get affected. Like the woman in the story, an educator needs to ask the question, "what am I doing."  We need to introspect.

As an educator, we need to ensure that the focus is on learning, creating and sharing (LCS Approach). The LCS needs to be seen as a bundled effort. Without learning, one cannot create, and without learning and creation, one cannot be effective in sharing the knowledge. We need to improvise the LCS cycle again and again. Just focusing on sharing without learning and creating is taking a transactional view. Can we rise to the leadership challenge today to ensure that our portfolio of activities focuses on learning, creating/research, and sharing with equal significance.  Educator's good karma cycle can be described as follows (See Image).

It needs to be emphasized that LCS are primarily process-driven activities. The effort towards making these processes can be categorized as compliance-related processes and voluntary (self-driven) processes. Our compliance-related processes, such as preparation of time table, attendance system, examination schedules, audit reports, timely submission of our evaluations, are well defined. These are executed/monitored through our academic administration system. But many academic processes are self-driven and make academic institutions different. For example, setting benchmarks for quality of course-outlines, selection of relevant readings and reference materials, sequencing of topics, selection and clear rubrics for projects, helping students to articulate their learning goals, developing detailed instructional planning, bringing innovations in pedagogy and delivery of sessions, selection of appropriate and contextual cases, organizing and arranging the group learning processes, managing class participation and engagement, taking regular feedback and working on it, setting intelligent exams are just a few examples of self-driven initiatives. No institution can have guidelines or compliance reports but they are part of the culture of an institution.  All these self-driven initiatives and the culture around them set the academic institutions apart, and these are clear differentiators. As educators, we need to rise to the leadership position to make the LCS Approach effective and make our teaching-learning experience par excellence. Developing this culture and following that will make educators karma, good karma.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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educator social responsibility karma

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