So it’s a kind of a syllabus or a curriculum and, for purposes of presenting to the country as a whole, I have of course made it a little artificial in the sense that there is Class I, Class II, Class III, Class IV, Class V, up to Class XII, because that is how people in our country at least today demand the programme to be classified. But it is only a kind of an artificial thing which can be forgotten, as far as we are concerned. But all the topics which I have written there could be quite relevant to the work that we want to do in this book. This is not complete; it is only a first draft, as it were, and much more can be done and we can, by collaboration, develop it further. I would like to invite all people in Auroville, because this is a subject in which everybody can participate and can contribute, to find stories which are relating to the vital and vital education.
Here again, there is a very important chapter in The Life Divine which is entitled ‘The Problem of Life’. The title of the chapter itself is ‘The Problem of Life’. And in respect of that problem Sri Aurobindo has said there are three powers in the human being by which the vital can be uplifted: the power of illumination, the power of love, and the power of heroism.
These are the three powers by which the vital can really be uplifted from its normal moorings to instincts and impulses and wildnesses of various kinds which create the problem of life.
So I have been guided by this insight that Sri Aurobindo has given as to what should be our fundamental thrust in collecting stories from all parts of the world which will illustrate the problem of life and how that problem can be resolved, how a particular situation or how a particular aspect of human personality can be resolved by power of illumination, or the power of heroism, or the power of love.
I must say that the Mother preferred the use of the word ‘harmony’ instead of ‘love’ because once when I wrote down to the Mother that the aim of education has to be the development of wisdom, strength, love and skills, the Mother said that it was a good formulation, but she struck off the word ‘love’ and she put the word ‘harmony’. So, because the word ‘love’ is very much misunderstood in the modern world today and the word ‘harmony’ is the real word that should be made current. So, I have put down these three words – stories that illustrate the power of illumination, the power of harmony and the power of heroism – these three powers.
As I make exploration in this field – I am telling you more in detail about this because I am inviting you all to participate in this research programme. I would like to tell the students the stories of human culture. That is to say, that these stories will have – that by telling these stories, the students will also be introduced to the history of culture, history of Eastern culture, history of Western culture. It will serve a purpose of introducing the students, through these stories, into the heart of culture, because if you examine the stories, actually, one of the best uses of stories is to bring children to the heart of the culture. If you read Ramayana, Mahabharata, you enter into the stories of India which give you real insight into the culture of India.
If you want to understand Indian culture, one of the important characteristics of Indian culture is that the genius of the mentality of Indians is basically, from a certain point of view, very slow, as compared to dynamic cultures of many countries, where the development and movement is very fast. In India, the human mind seems to be – not that it is slow; it seems to be – working slowly. That is because it has a tendency to assimilate any actions or reactions which are around in the surroundings – an assimilation around a spiritual centre. And since the spiritual centre is very deep and very remote, this tendency of assimilation is a long process. And assimilation is an inner process but outwardly it seems to be a very slow process. It arrives at a conclusion after a very long period of assimilation, consideration, and arrives at a conclusion. And having arrived at a conclusion, it has a capacity to adhere to that conclusion or decision and would not easily change it. And this is a very important aspect of Indian mentality.
There is a very fine sentence in Ramayana of Tulsidas: prana jayai baru batchan na jayai: one word that you have spoken cannot be shaken, once you have pronounced it, even if it means the cost of your life. This is the character of Rama. Once you have made a statement, the word you have spoken cannot be violated afterwards. Now, that means that you take a long, long time before you make a statement, because your honour, your sense of honour – every culture is fundamentally having a terminal point. It ends in some kind of honour.
To be a Frenchman, you have an honour in being precise, in being aristocratic in intellectual power. You are really French if you can have – if somebody says, “Oh, your ideas are very poor, very nebulous” a Frenchman will feel very hurt. The Frenchman has an honour in being precise. And even in the language you can see that the word ‘précisément’ is a word which is very often used in the French language. It’s not used in India, for example. That is to say, you have stated everything precisely and yet, to make it more precise, in brief, you make a statement. So the French culture is very much expressed in the language itself. This is how we must understand every culture has something very special which is even expressed in the language.