Learning new things when it is not forced upon you is sheer joy!

Many of us have gone through an education system in which learning things was a burden, and we hated what the system thought was best for making us a learned person. Many of us have also undergone additional 'learning' for beating others in competitive examinations. Then, not all of us have got the job in the field of our passion, and the trainings that the employer thought were good for upgrading our skills were not always fulfilling.

Learning has seldom been a fun, leave aside joy. And one day when we are old, we think we are really too old for learning.

So, those of us whose college life is over, and those who do not need to learn new things beyond  tricks of  their profession or career, and those who are past their 40's, 50's, 60's or 70's - all have stopped learning unless we have kept our learning spirit alive.

Speaking on age, Osho has often said that you start aging when you stop learning, and you get stony when you stop to learn. A long but quotable quote from the great observer of human life and society:
And when I say be like a child I mean always remain learning, never become knowledgeable. Go on learning; learning is totally different. Knowledge is a dead phenomenon, learning is an alive process. And the learner has to remember this: he cannot function from the standpoint of knowledge.

Have you not watched and observed it? Little children learn so fast. If a child lives in a multi-lingual atmosphere he learns all the languages. He learns the language that the mother speaks, the father speaks, the neighbors speak - he may learn three, four, five languages very easily, with no problem. Once you have learned a language then it becomes very difficult to learn another language because now you start functioning from the standpoint of knowledge.

It is said, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. It is true. But what makes a dog old?  Not physical age, because a Socrates goes on learning to the very end, even while he is dying. A Buddha goes on learning to the very end. What makes a dog old? Knowledge makes a dog old.

Buddha remains young, Krishna remains young. We have not a single statue of Buddha which depicts him as old, or of Krishna which depicts him as old. Not that they never became old: Krishna lived up to the age of eighty, became very old, but something in him remained always young, childlike. He continued to function from the state of not-knowing.

So first, when I say be like a child I mean be total. The second thing is remain a learner, function from the state of not-knowing.
Being a child - well, that is not easy to achieve and I am too small to dilate on that aspect. Learning: on this, I can try to suggest some resources. Again, whether we learn and enjoy this learning or acquire just the knowledge - that too is beyond me to advise about. I will talk about the mundane.

While earning our livelihood, we keep learning about our profession or business, and we can enriching our knowledge beyond what is required. And learning becomes deeply satisfying and fulfilling when we learn things beyond that.

Learning need not be measured, nor does it need to be certified, but it helps when someone else  tells you how much you have learned, isn't it? There are many free and paid resources that teach you and give you certificates too.

Here I list some online institutions that you can use for learning things that have not been part of your life so far.  Modules are available on all conceivable subjects and of all levels. Why not try one of them and learn in our free time, something related (if we love that) or not related with our bread and butter? Why not take a photography course? Or have the fun of learning simple HTML coding, which you dreaded so far? Or learn governance topics that always eluded you? Or learn tricks of investing? Or just learn how things around you work? Or just train your aging brain to work better? Why not try to fathom what eludes the mankind - things spiritual and things at the edge of science?

Project Guttenberg
For those interested in reading free and copyright-free ebooks - from classics to some new ones - this is the place to go. Boasts of over 57000 books, and the stock is likely to go up fast in 2019.

This website and its app have numerous brain training games to keep your brain active and healthy why you have fun!

As the name indicates, this site has great resources on how things work. A minefield of information for a curious mind, including podcasts and videos.

The most popular question-answer website, with community participation that results in different shades of replies to each question.

Nothing beats ted when you want to learn from those who have succeeded in their field and people with great ideas. There are thousands of videos of people delivering lectures on different walks of life.

If you are experimental and creative with crafts and DIY, this is a great place to share and learn. From building a jet to 3D printing to design and repairing stuff and learning how things work.

Though YouTube is full of how-to and tutorials, not all are of good quality, and many have been produced by non-professionals claiming to be experts. Be careful in selecting them.

There also are thousands of ebooks on all subjects, and the ones provided free (e.g. as a gift when you subscribe to their updates) by experts are often of high quality. Again, not all are good.

There are many other resources including some websites that offer online degrees and courses, and have a free section fro lower-end courses. For example, OpenLearn offers over nine hundred free courses on many subjects, and Code Academy has many free basic course on coding.

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Manoj Pandey