Jigyasa (May 2014)

This month’s topic is Jigyasa (curiosity). In Hinduism, Jigyasa is one of the highly esteemed attributes of human nature. Last year, we learnt about Hindu scriptures, which cover a broad spectrum of topics ranging from philosophy, human nature, human body, physical phenomenon (visible and invisible), to Trinity (matter, soul, and God) in amazing details. If it wasn’t for the deep rooted spiritual form of jigyasa (a desire to learn and share), our rishis wouldn’t have spent ages meditating and documenting their findings in the form of Hindu scriptures. Since ancient days, curiosity has been the cornerstone of human evolution: without the continuous desire to learn, understand, and improve, human race would not be where it is today.

Perhaps it was for the books like Vedas, the most ancient Hindu scriptures which literally mean ‘knowledge’, that the spiritual value of knowledge is recognized in the quotations like, ‘knowledge is enlightenment’ or ‘knowledge is liberating.’ But, is mere possession of scriptures sufficient? The answer, of course, is no. Despite having all the sacred, ancient, and treasured sources in possession, an uninterested person would still remain unblessed and deprived. It is the curiosity that drives one to explore, learn, reflect, and grow.

Curiosity is also accepted as a key attribute of success in almost every facet of society. Several contemporary thinkers, inventors, business leaders value it over other human traits as is evident in the following quotes:
“The import thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing” – Albert Einstein.

“It’s through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we’ve always mapped our path at Dell. There’s always an opportunity to make a difference.” – Michael Dell.

“Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.” – Aldous Huxley

Children are born with unlimited thirst for knowledge; however, as they grow, it starts to diminish. To a certain extent, we (parents and society) are responsible for it. As part of the exercise for this month, let’s stoke their curiosity. For instance, your kids may have many unanswered queries, doubts, reservations on religious and spiritual issues, such as, Is God real? How can an invisible power (God) help us in our time of need? Where does God live? Has anybody ever seen Him? Where does one go after death? Why do people die? How is prayer helpful? And many more… Please try to provide a listening ear but not be judgmental.

This month kids will capture the importance of jigyasa in their own words. They will also capture and share what intrigues them; how they satisfy their quests; what is the most surprising thing that they uncovered but it still continues to mesmerize them.

This assignment may be a bit abstract, but it has a true potential to connect kids with parents at a deeper level – let’s take advantage of it.



Harsh Mendiratta