Learning is all about choice, and I want to tell this story about Arjun’s choice.
On the eve of the battle, both Duryodhan and Arjun came to Krishna while he was asleep. Duryodhan, who was full of pride, stood beside Krishna’s head. Arjun, who was all humility, sat at Krishna’s feet. They waited for Krishna to wake up, he did. Krishna’s eyes fell on Arjun first, and then he turned his head around to find Duryodhan. Krishna asked “what do you two want from me”. Duryodhan said – “I was here first so I hope you will fulfil my wish first”. Krishna said – “I will hear out Arjun first since I saw him first, but I will be fair and give you both something you need”.
Arjun bowed and said, “Krishna, you know that the battle is imminent. I want you to take my side.” Duryodhan was furious. He said, “I want Krishna on my side!” Krishna said, “If both of you want me, I have to choose one. And like I said I want to give you both something. Here is my offer: I shall be on one side, and my vast army will be on the other. Now, you have to choose”
Arjun chose Krishna’s self to be on his side, to be his coach and mentor, his sarathi. Duryodhan was satisfied to have Krishna’s vast army. And we know what all Krishna did in the battle that lasted 18 days, for Arjun – whenever he was in need for help – with strategy, direction, vision.
When I was a XI/XII student preparing for engineering entrance exams, I had to deal with making choices. There was a ton of material in the form of books and correspondence course packs to choose from. There were Agarwal classes and Brilliant Tutorials. Then there were teachers offering tuition, and some of them very good in preparing students for competitive exam. I decided to attend a weekly two hour contact class with a brilliant Math teacher and coach Mr. Kar (locally, in Ranchi Jharkhand). And for Physics and Chemistry – I decided to self-study from books, specific ones that I would choose to be my coach, my Krishna.
I had plenty of choices for books (see ongoing discussion on Eduflix QnA form about JEE books: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry), and I felt that each book had something special to offer and that special was its set of “key chapters”. As a student I needed to know which chapters to study from, and which to ignore. E.g. for Chemistry I specifically ordered a book Chemistry Principles & Applications by Sienko and Plane for its Physical Chemistry. My father had to spend a fortune to get the book ordered and shipped from Delhi, it was a long wait and when it arrived on first look I felt I could completely depend on it for Physical. After reading more of it I found that the book was great but its application for the IIT JEE exam-prep was perhaps 30-40% of it. The remaining part of the book was unused, untouched. Bottom line – as students we need to know where to source content from, and for which chapter. We need to know whether we are picking Krishna or his vast army – which might look pretty mighty ( Krishna’s army, was a large body of cowherds numbering ten lakhs, rivalling Krishna himself in strength and known as the Narayanas ) but might completely lack direction, strategy, vision one needs help with, to excel in exams.
And sadly, during my time as student it was not possible to order books by chapters. It still is not, even though book publishers have started talking about disaggregating the book, i.e. break it into parts and sell them as chapters. That is the story of the book industry. But there is a publishing industry beyond books, and that is the world of YouTube, streaming video and digital media.
Eduflix has just launched its mini-courses where students can now order video courses by the chapter. It is now possible for students to create a mash-up of resources that will work for them. So as a learner you can then mix and match classroom tuitions with books with mini video courses at affordable prices, and get the help you need in the areas (chapters) you need.
Check out Eduflix mini-courses here: eduflix.tv/courses/filter/mini_courses