There are many courses in the world for education: bachelor of education, master of education… If all the courses are distilled and made as briefest possible –– this paragraph is enough. All the courses of education ultimately can be reduced to this. If you master this one paragraph I will give you a B. Ed. Only this one paragraph is enough. These words growth of the faculties are very important. Our education is normally by books and subjects whereas a good teacher is very concerned with the growth of faculties. It may be this subject or that subject or any other subjects what is important is to develop the faculties.
There are four important faculties in the human being. One is the faculty of sensation — senses. Development of sense faculty is the development of the powers which are inherent to senses: power of observation, of seeing accurately, of enjoying correctly. Experience of hearing, when you hear music and you are able to appreciate different tunes of music, different notes of music, pitches of music, then you have cultivated the faculty of hearing. And when you hear music, if you can hear the inaudible sounds. The sounds which are audible are, of course, heard but between the sounds there are inaudible sounds and if you can hear the inaudible sounds … it is just as in a picture, what is painted is of course good but, if you can observe what is not painted that is a deeper sight, the deeper eye of the artist. So first, the faculty to be developed is the sense. The second faculty is the faculty of the mind. Mind is also sense but it is a coordinating sense, it is the sense which coordinates all the other senses. When you can coordinate sound and sight as in the cinema –– the medium of cinema gives you sound and sight together, it is like a mind. Our mind is an automatic cinematographic faculty. It coordinates variety of experiences. Cinema is not a complete coordinative faculty because you can’t taste; when you see somebody eating you do not taste what he tastes; you cannot experience also the sensation of touch as yet in cinema. But the mind can do all this together. So the faculty of the mind is very important –– a coordinating activity. The third faculty is the faculty of imagination. Without experience, or based on experience you can make images in the mind. That is imagination, the capacity to make an image as accurately as possible. That takes you to the experience of metaphors, similes, and analogies and try to image an experience, or expand the experience into an image. That is the third faculty.
The fourth faculty is the faculty of reason. The capacity of deduction, of induction, the faculty of ratiocination, of connecting cause and effect. When there is a long chain of connections and you can successfully make the full chain that is the process of ratiocination. A is the cause of B; B is the cause of C; C is the cause of D… therefore A is the cause of D. Faculty of reason is the faculty by which you deduce, you induce. Deduction is where from a larger proposition you derive a smaller proposition; from all you derive something that is applicable to one or to some. Induction is the opposite process you go from particular to universal, from one example you conclude that in all cases it will happen in the same way. And then you have implication. All these are processes of inference. Inference is to start from one proposition and derive another proposition. Inference is done by deduction, induction, implication and ratiocination. Reason is supposed to be the instrument of inference. You are rational when you can infer correctly and objectively that is called power of inference. To infer is a great faculty in the human mind. It goes beyond experience. In sensation you have experience but in reason you have further capacity, you go beyond experience. Because we have the experience here in India of earth and water and air you can be sure that even if you go to California there will be earth and water and air. You have not experienced it but you infer. Basically there is no difference between India and California therefore if it is possible to have here earth, water, fire, etc in California also we will have. Without experience we can say, we can infer. Rational faculty is a faculty by which you can infer accurately, decisively. These are the four faculties: sensation, mind, imagination, and reason. And the fifth faculty is intuition, the capacity of intuition. It is called knowledge by identity; but knowledge by identity even with the invisible. This is the speciality of intuition. Even what is invisible, inaudible to our senses, even with that you can be identified. Of course, intuition itself has many other faculties in which we will not go just now; it is a big science by itself.
But the important point is that the good teacher has his eyes on the faculty of his students. He may teach any subject: mathematics, history, geography, science, whatever but his concern is whether you are developing the faculties. In ordinary systems of education what is tested is only whether you know this fact or that fact, whether you are informed of this or that and very few teachers try to understand development of the faculties, whether you ideas become clear, whether your spelling is correct or not, whether you can reason properly or not, whether your observations are correct or not. You may write very briefly, not at length, but your brief statement should convey the development of your faculties and the good teacher’s experience is with the faculty development. “… he will aim at the growth of the faculties and the experiences by a natural process and free expansion.” In one sentence Sri Aurobindo has put so much. A good teacher is one who does not allow the student to feel burdened. He gradually grows, does not give lot of homework and does not load the child. He repeats several times, he is not tired of repeating so that the child has not the burden of memorising too many things. You might have learned what is deduction earlier and you forgot after sometimes, it does not matter; he will repeat again and say what is deduction, what is induction, what is implication, again and again so there is a natural expansion. The expansion will be natural; it will not be by hammering it should be a joyous experience, every time there is freshness and you grow with that freshness. “He will give a method as an aid, as a utilisable device, not as an imperative formula or a fixed routine.” Every individual needs a method but a good teacher remembers that a method is not a fixed thing; it is not a routine to be followed; it is not something that binds you. It only helps you and the moment you are helped you can fling away the method and you become more free. “And he will be on his guard against any turning of the means into a limitation, against the mechanising of process. His whole business is to awaken the divine light and set working the divine force of which he himself is only a means and an aid, a body or a channel.” For a good teacher his main business is not sensation, is not imagination, not ratiocination; these are good things, they should be included, but his main interest is how much you are awakened to the presence of the Divine in your being. You see that in one paragraph Sri Aurobindo has put down the entire process of education, the entire process of the method of education, the entire role of the teacher –– its beginning, its middle and its end. That is why if you master this paragraph you have got a complete science and art of education. All the rest are footnotes.