THOUGHTS FROM THE HEART Edge-u-cation The Abhimanyu Chakravyuh

The Abhimanyu Chakravyuh


According to Hindu mythology, Abhimanyu was the son of the great warrior Arjun and Subhadra, sister of Lord Krishna. It is quoted in Mahabharata that while Abhimanyu was in the womb of his mother, his father who was the only one who knew how to break a chakravyuh told the technique to her. Chakravyuh was a military formation which was an effective form of defense. The army would be arranged in the form of a circular grid and would then challenge the enemy to break that grid. But, Subhadra fell asleep before listening how to come out from the chakravyuh. Nonetheless, it seems that Subhadra did not find this topic interesting, hence she fell asleep. However, someone else was interested in Arjun’s narration – the yet to be born Abhimanyu. Many years later, during the Mahabharata war at Kurukshetra, Abhimanyu very easily was able to penetrate the chakravyuh on the 13th day of the war itself. However, to get out of this, he had to take the help of his father Arjun. Kauravas knew about this and hence distracted Arjun to other part of the battlefield. Abhimanyu along with rest of the Pandavas entered the chakravyuh, but not knowing the technique, the four Pandava brothers got stuck behind while Abhimanyu merged ahead. Brave and ambitious as he was, he fought valiantly in the unequal struggle but in vain. His strength and bravery proved no match against the skillfully laid out maze of warriors, upon fighting whom, he met his end. Ultimately in spite of his valiant efforts he was left all alone and was killed brutishly.

Well, whether this story is mystic or folktale is something else to be debated and decided upon. The point in raising this topic is if at all this story makes any sense and can be practically linked to our modern society. We all know the story of David and Goliath, it was David that won. Alas! In this case, it was the mighty Goliath. What is it that we can enrich ourselves with from the story of Abhimanyu? Doing what is right is the basis for everybody’s existence. One should do what is right, and not what is convenient. The world would remember us for doing what is right, no matter our might. In the process, we might be laughed at, mocked, even ridiculed for our naiveté, but certainly not forgotten.  Adolescence is a critical part of human life considering the fact that all cognitive processes and abilities starts developing, dwelling into an era of prominent qualitative changes. Cognition is a mental process that includes memory, attention, producing and understanding language, reasoning, learning, problem-solving and decision making. It is often referred to as information processing, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. When taken from a development perspective, by the age of 11, information processing capacity gets to build up with aided functionalities such as decision making, problem solving, abstracting using the information available and reinterpretation by producing new information. These increased capacity and efficiency of the cognitive infrastructure during adolescence give rise to a higher level of cognition: metacognition. In other words, development level of metacognition can be taken as a prominent indicator of general integration level of high order or executive functions. Metacognition is a subdivision of cognition, or a type of cognition. Metacognition is defined as the scientific study of an individual’s cognitions about his or her own cognitions.

Kids today have it easy with their play-dates and after school programs. They don’t have a clue about the struggle of being a latchkey kid. Or the fun that came with not having an adult breathing down his neck 24/7. Sure we got a lot of sunburns and broken bones, but it was a rite of passage! Being an 80’s kid was pretty rad. There are even some studies that have come out showing that with all the supervision and bubble wrap we have added into our kid’s lives, we have not changed the amount of danger they can get into in a lot of areas. The concept of joint families is almost on the wane and we are accustomed to newer concepts such as nuclear families and working mothers. Virtual world has overtaken our lives where everything is either online or digital. All the games that we as a kid used to get entertained with has taken a new avatar in the form of apps. The study, by two Florida International University researchers, compared screen time use among kids under 6 in 1997 and in 2014. For their raw numbers, they turned to existing diary data from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics — a much more accurate gauge of time usage than the more common parental surveys, which can take place long after the fact. The researchers tabulated how many hours 1,327 kids spent in front of a screen in 1997, defined as “watching television programs or videotapes, plus time spent on electronic video games and home computer-related activities.” They then compared the findings with those from 443 kids in 2014 — only by now, “screen time activities included the use of television, videotapes, digital video disc, game devices, computer, cell phone, smartphone, tablet, electronic reader, and children’s learning devices.” The results were worse than expected: among kids 2 and under, screen time more than doubled, from about 1.32 hours a day to about 3.05. The portion of that time devoted to TV-type screens shot up too, from 43 percent in 1997 to 86 percent in 2014. Older kids, 3 to 5 years old, spend about the same amount of time watching screens then as now, but again, TV made up a much larger percentage of it: just 48 percent of total screen time in 1997, but 78 percent in 2014.

This goes on to show that all this so called techie-world which has been created to make our kids smarter, on the contrary has results to show on the downside. The web of chakravyuh which has encircled our life is slowly dragging our children into it. The Abhimanyu in our children has skills enough to penetrate the phantasmagoria of the disillusioned, but we as parents and guardians need to play the role of Arjun, for without our help they will be waylaid and will fail to retrieve from the clutches of destiny what is expected out of them. Technologies should be for the betterment, but in the name of getting digitized we see our children being glued to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and other virtual allies. Yes, these are also important, but one should know when to draw the line between being interested and being addicted. The story of Abhimanyu has something for each one of us and if we as parents fail to foresee, then all that we will achieve is empty rhetoric. David killing Goliath looks improbable, but was achieved and if the reverse happens, it will result in ‘The Abhimanyu Chakravyuh’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *