The future of the world lies in the hands of the younger generation. Our children are the flowers of tomorrow. They should spread their fragrance and beauty throughout the world. But everywhere, these flowers are in danger of falling prey to worms before they can fully blossom. Tempted into addictions of every kind, subject to pressures on all sides, they wither and even destroy themselves.
Education is at present concerned with outward efficiency, and it utterly disregards, or deliberately perverts, the inward nature of man; it develops only one part of him and leaves the rest to drag along as best it can. To educate the student rightly is to help him to understand Life in totality; for it is only when there is integration of the mind and heart in everyday action that there can be intelligence and inward transformation.
While offering information and technical training, education should above all encourage an integrated outlook on life; it should help the student to recognize and break down in himself all social distinctions and prejudices, and discourage the acquisitive pursuit of power and domination. It should encourage the right kind of self-observation and the experiencing of life as a whole, which is not to give significance to the part, to the “me” and the “mine,” but to help the mind to go above and beyond itself to discover the real.
Human beings are like a child who looks at the sky through his window and says, “That is my sky.” We reduce Nature and life in general to something insignificant. If we could really understand life, we would appreciate its magnitude and see just how small we are in comparison. Human beings must be integrated if they are to come out of any crisis, and especially the present world crisis, without being broken; therefore, the main problem is how to develop an integrated individual.
To do this, the educator himself must obviously be integrated; Teaching should not become a specialist’s profession. When it does, as is so often the case, love fades away; and love is essential to the process of integration. To be integrated there must be freedom from fear. Fearlessness brings independence without ruthlessness, without contempt for another, and this is the most essential factor in life. The integrated human being will experience the creative impulse in him and create his own technique which is the greatest art. When a child has the creative impulse to paint, he paints, he does not bother about technique. Likewise people who are experiencing, and therefore teaching, are the only real teachers, and they too will create their own technique.
This sounds simple, but it is really a deep revolution. If we think about it we can see the extraordinary effect it will have on society. At present most of us are tired and done at the age of forty-five or fifty by slavery to routine; through compliance, through fear and acceptance, we are finished, though we struggle on in a society that has very little meaning except for those who dominate it and are secure. If the teacher sees this and is himself really experiencing, then whatever his temperament and capacities may be, his teaching will not be a matter of routine but will become an instrument of help with love and concern.
When there is love there is consideration, not only for the children but for every human being. Unless we are deeply touched by the problem, we will never find the right way of education. Mere technical training inevitably makes for ruthlessness, and to educate our children we must be sensitive towards life in itself. What we think, what we do, what we say matters infinitely, because it creates the environment, which builds or breaks the child.
Obviously, then, those of us who are deeply interested in this problem will have to begin to understand ourselves and thereby help to transform society; we will make it our direct responsibility to bring about a new approach to education. If we love our children, will we not find a way of putting an end to war? But if we are merely using the word “love” without substance, then the whole complex problem of human misery will remain. The way out of this problem lies through ourselves. We must begin to understand our relationship with our fellow men, with nature, with ideas and with things, for without that understanding there is no hope, there is no way out of conflict and suffering.
The bringing up of a child requires intelligent observation and care. Experts and their knowledge can never replace the parents’ love, but most parents corrupt that love by their own fears and ambitions, which condition and distort the outlook of the child. Most of us are vastly taken up with the appearance of love. The influence of the home and that of the school must not be in any way contradictory, so both parents and teachers must reeducate themselves. The contradiction which so often exists between the private life of the individual and his life as a member of the group creates an endless battle within himself and in his relationships.
If those of us who love our children and see the urgency of this problem will set our minds and hearts to it, then, however few we may be, through right education and an intelligent home environment, we can help to bring about integrated human beings. Right education comes with the transformation of our own selves. We must re-educate ourselves not to destroy or kill one another for any cause, however righteous, for any ideology, however promising it may appear to be for the future happiness of the world. We must learn to be compassionate, to be content and to seek the Supreme knowledge, for only then can there
be the true salvation of mankind.
This universe keeps flowing, following its own rhythm, harmony and tune. Thus, human beings need to chart the path of their lives according to the tune and rhythm of Nature. Otherwise, life will automatically become a battle. When we exclusively chase sense pleasure, we won’t be able to attune to our inner self. The human body is just a single aspect of our existence. The ultimate truth of life is the Self—our true essence. Its dwelling place is within. To realise this, we need to develop a spiritual perspective, do spiritual practices and perform good actions. This in turn helps develop an open mind that accepts every person and circumstance as they are so that we begin to truly experience the sweetness of life.