Okay, Da Vinci wasn’t Hindu, but he never stopped learning.
Many years ago I did a short course in comparative religions. Actually I was teaching it, which is the best way to learn. It was in a setting of young people who were even more naive than me so it was easy. Of the many things I learned, one in particular stood out.
It came out of the section on Hinduism. It wasn’t anything about the religion, per se, but more the culture, their view of life stages, a later one set aside for learning.
In our culture, that’s early. We have a whole, long process for orienting youth to be conversant citizens of the wider world. After the required years, there are options for more of the same but deeper, continuing on from there with all manner of specialization. That’s us.
How ever many years we spend at it, though, finally we tell ourselves, or we hear it, “That’s enough. It’s time to get on with real life.”
Of course there are exceptions, but among the Hindus it’s different. In their view there are four stages of life.
Childhood is for the instilling of basic values and character.
Early adulthood involves having a family and full focus on providing for it. Happily, grandparents are on hand, living right there or very near by, to help with the children.
And that’s the third stage, when there’s finally time for real learning. Learning is what defines this time of life.
The forth, by the way, has to do with hitting the road, becoming ascetic and begging for a living. I couldn’t relate to that so much.
But that third stage, the “still strong but not as stressed with expectations on every side,” reserved for the rest of education, that inspired me. And still does.
For the Hindu, this has most to do with the study of God. I like that too, though my understanding of Deity is certainly different. Still, I take inspiration from their model . . . mine, to learn in every subject that interests, including God.
It’s a great stage when you think about it. And there’s so much to think about.