Profile The Road
Founder and Managing Director of Athena Education, V.N.P. Raj is a banker turned educationalist. A 2nd rank holder in M.A. (Economics), from the University of Kerala, India, Mr. Raj believes that, “Learning is to liberate oneself from the fear of the self. Knowledge without confidence is like a filled balloon with a hole. What mankind needs is the confidence to observe, think and execute what he or she has learned and experienced.”
Inspired by his guru and mentor, Sri. Balakrishna Pillai, Mr. Raj studied the philosophies of world communities that made him initially to preach on how to achieve social grace and finally to leave his banking career in pursuit of achieving social grace through his own engagement.
Raj vision for Athena is straightforward, yet lofty. That vision is social grace, which spurred him on to the road to Athena. Raj says social grace, the foundational principle of Athena, acknowledges the evil that resides in our minds when we set out to create for and contribute to the society. It prompts children to grow up, following Godly and righteous paths conscientiously towards attaining their goals. It reminds them that when they exploit nature, they must take care not to lose traits of Godliness and righteousness.
There’s no man who doesn’t create. But when he creates, he should not lose love, peace and other values for a righteous living. If he keeps those values in his creative vocation, man can reach the pinnacle of happiness. When other living things exist by living in accordance to the laws of nature, man exploits nature to create his world.
Attain happiness through sacrifice. The moment you’re willing to sacrifice, love takes over your heart.
The focus on social grace prompted me to found the Athena group of schools and the Pazhaveedu Medical Care healthcare group in India. Here are the three core values of Athena that lead our students to social grace:
Raj’s story shows that life is a great teacher. The hard way he grew up since he was all of eight years — the age when he lost his father — kindled in him a certain spirit of independence and discovey, and an entrepreneurial astuteness. He wants young children to grow up with the same sense of independence to learn what they are excited about rather than what is imposed on them. That vision too steered his life’s journey on to that road to Athena.
Raj believes that teachers must have a broad spectrum of rich experiences for them to derive in students an inner sense of discipline. And, they must have the ability to convey the magic of that wisdom and experience gained over the years to children for them to go through cycles of excitement in school life and in the future.
The road to Athena was paved on the foundation of the vision and values articulated by the group’s founder.
This process continues. The fight of good against evil in man’s heart never ends … must never end.
Such a man loves nature and lives according to the laws of nature. He has two things to do — exploit nature to create his own place or a world to live in, and follow the laws of nature without shedding blood. Man has the ability to extract from and exploit nature. He has the ability to protect nature. This is the karma of man as ordained by God. Call it social grace.
Social grace acknowledges the evil that resides in our minds when we set out to create but keeps prompting us to follow Godly and righteous paths towards attaining our goals. When man exploits nature, he should take care not to lose his traits of Godliness and righteousness.
When you extract and create from nature, you find yourself being subject to the six enemies of the mind: Kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), madha (hubris), moha (fascination or attachment to something, or someone) and matsarya (jealousy, or envy).