Let me start with a story.
There was, once upon a time, a king known for his patronage of art, music, literature and scholarship. Wise men from afar came to his court, impressed him with their performance and had bounties bestowed on them. Some of them even started living there enjoying the king’s hospitality.
One day five men – a musician, a grammarian, an astrologer, an ayurvedacharya (practitioner of ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine) and a logician – came there. The king’s minister escorted them to the panthashala (guest house), gave them one silver coin each and asked them to cook, have their food and then come to the king’s court.
When none of them turned up, the minister went to the panthashala to inquire. He found in the kitchen strewn all around half-cooked rice and shards of an earthen cooking pot and the musician writhing in pain with large boils on his body. He leant that while cooking rice, the musician became enamoured of the sound created by boiling water and started singing along. He could not keep pace for long as that sound did not follow the rules of any established tala (rhythm). Enraged, he hit the cooking pot with a piece of burning fire wood and the result was there before the minister.
The grammarian had gone for milk. The cowherd’s wife was then milking her cow. She asked him to wait quietly till she was done as the cow did not like unknown people. A man of erudition that he was, the grammarian could not tolerate her wrong use of syntax and started correcting her immediately. Unnerved by an unknown voice, the cow jumped across and in the process showered on him some hard kicks. The minister found the grammarian sitting in the panthashala quietly nursing his wound.
The minister then went in search of the other three and saw the astrologer hanging from a tree laden with fruits. While climbing it to pluck fruits, the astrologer heard a lizard’s clicking sound from above. Taking it as a bad omen, he started climbing down, but heard again similar sound from below. So he could not proceed and was stuck mid-way. The aurvedacharya had gone for vegetables, but was unable to decide what to buy, since in Ayurveda some ailment or the other was associated with each vegetable. So he just stood there with a puzzled look.
Tasked with buying ghee (clarified butter), the logician bought some and was bringing it in a leaf cup. Suddenly he asked himself whether ghee is inside the cup or the cup is inside ghee (Patradhare ghrita or ghritadhare patra ?) “Does the soul remain inside the body or is all around the body ?” He tried to test it by turning the leaf cup upside down and observed the ghee flowing down to the ground. The logician was ecstatic and the minister found him shouting, “Patradhare ghrita – the soul is inside the body”, oblivious of the world around him.
The point that the minister wanted to make, and which is very much pertinent today, is that ‘vyavaharik jnana’ (practical knowledge) and hands-on practice are as important as theoretical knowledge. That is why we at ASBM emphasise on activity based learning (ABL, such as live virtual projects, role play, review of books and movies, group discussion, presentation, research seminar, educational visit, analysis of cases, business sectors and research papers etc.) by the students hands-on, instead of limiting our course delivery to only classroom teaching through lecture, tutorial and practical (LTP).
The Greek philosopher Plutarch said, “…… the mind does not require filling like a bottle, but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling.” ASBM believes in kindling in its students a quest for knowledge instead of simply feeding them with only text book answers.
Prof. (Dr.) Kalyan Shankar Ray