Enrichment of Contents of Learning
Enrichment of contents presents to teachers a severe test of their understanding of the curriculum and the corresponding syllabus and also of their mastery over the subject matter, textual and reference material as also the relationship that the subject matter holds with related subjects. Many other skills also come under the test, and to attain excellence in the exercise of these skills would demand from the teachers not only sincere devotion but also painstaking labour. Teachers of the schools are well known for their use of latest modern techniques for curriculum transactions.
The subject can be viewed in regard to four important con texts:
1. The first is that of curriculum, syllabus and textbooks. Many problems of content-enrichment arise because of the deficiencies of the curricula and of the available teaching-learning materials.
2. The second is related to the processes of communications, the primary aim of which is to focus on making the subject matter interesting and to promote understanding. Teachers are required to enrich contents and communicate them in such a way that students begin to take increasing interest in their studies and come to understand and appreciate as also to demand more and more learning material from teachers as their inquiry becomes sharper.
3. The third context is related to the development of faculties of students, and here the teachers' task is to deal with the con tents of education in such a way that they enable students to develop their intellectual and other faculties. Here, questions relate to a sound knowledge of different faculties, how they are interrelated and how different subjects and their contents can be
combined to promote harmonious blending of the developments of different faculties.
4. The fourth context is related to the demands of value-oriented education and to inquire into certain details so that we can determine how contents of education can be enriched to meet the demands of promoting value-orientation among students.
5. I should also like to add one more context and that relates to the increasing concern we feel regarding presentation to stu dents the dimensions of Indian contributions to various subjects of studies. Since India has made through her long history extremely important contributions in the development of sci ences and arts and various other subjects, it is felt that our students should get some direct acquaintance with at least pioneering contributions that India has made to mathematics, astronomy, linguistics, natural and human sciences, theory and practice of art and architecture, even to economics, and social and political studies. The theme of content-enrichment should also provide us some serious reflections on this very important concern.
We may take up these five important contexts one by one.
Curriculum, Teaching-learning Material & Content-Enrichment
This is not the occasion to enter into the assumptions and processes of curriculum-making, which are central to the con tents of education, but it would be useful to remark that our country needs to undertake a massive exercise to introduce curricular reforms so that our curricula attain greater relevance to the needs of the growth of personality, and to the needs to meet the challenges of unprecedented explosion of information coupled with the rise of new media of transmission. Our curricula have, for long, been designed for narrow purposes and they have been strictly tied down to subjects and books. Our curricula lack holistic vision and yield merely to linear and piecemeal organisation of subject matter. Our curricula often ignore concentric
development and reinforcement; they ignore also pedagogical insights that should guide the right methods of communication between the teacher and the taught and utilisation by the teacher of the feedback received from the pupils.
The defects of the curricula adversely affect teaching-learning material. In fact, we rarely have teaching-learning materials; the textbook is normally the only material that is available to the teacher and the pupil. The general complaint that our textbooks are usually tedious and boring can easily be substantiated. In fact, it is not understood that the textbook is the manual of material, but it is not teaching-learning material. Textbooks there are, and they must exist; they can be a part of reference material as also useful tools for revision. But teaching-learning materials have to be quite different; there must be variety; there must be flexibility; there must be copious notes to explain, to elicit, and to distinguish between the essential and the peripheral. Teaching-learning materials should be pedagogically sound so that they incite the interests of students and the message of the concerned topic may be received by the students as concretely as possible.
The inadequacies of our curricula, deficiencies of their frame work and poverty of our textbooks impose upon our teachers a tremendous load, and many conscientious teachers struggle hard to compensate these enormous drawbacks. This compensation requires teachers to improve the methods of teaching, and to enrich the contents. And this brings us to the question of close intererelationship between methods and contents of education. If the loads of the contents are very heavy, as is the case today, we cannot expect teachers to improve the methods of education beyond a marginal degree. Unfortunately, our system is almost exclusively lecture-oriented, and although teachers can improve the quality of teaching by means of varying the methods of lecturing, the most important elements of communication such as those of dialogue, consultation, personal intervention, and inspirational instruction can hardly be covered under the scope of the present system. Moreover, new methods of teaching-learning necessitate new kinds of teaching-learning materials, such as worksheets, quiz notes, short letters, reference sheets, pictorial or illustrative
materials, charts and diagrams, and exploratory devices that would facilitate students' learning by discovery and invention. In an ideal system, instruction should play a minor role, but dynamic methods should play a major role. Instruction is less important than the example of the teacher, example, not only of outer behaviour but much more importantly of the inner life; and more important than example is the influence that the teacher can exercise, not by virtue of the authority of teacherhood but by virtue of the power to contact the inner soul of the pupil. But since we are still far from the ideal system, the utmost we can ask from the teachers is to do their very best within the present framework and to lay the greatest emphasis on the task of content-enrichment.
Awakening Interest and Promotion of Comprehension among Students through Content-enrichment
Content-enrichment has a very wide scope and many methods can be employed by the good teacher to correlate enrichment material with the subject or topic on hand. The most important and basic aim of communication is to create interest and promote understanding. If a student gets interested in a subject, the student can be regarded to have been placed on the right road of progress. There is nothing more precious for the student than to fall in love with the subject. Once this important event takes place, the student will enter into what Whithead has called the "romantic" period of studies. The World begins to shine and variety of Nature begins to smile. The inner heart of the student begins to explore and even the burning of the midnight oil causes freshness; the student reads and labours, turns the pages of the book rapidly and grapples to discover what is hidden in the depth of mysteries; or else, there are visitations of reflection, meditation or contemplation. Interest is the key to concentration and concentration is the key to knowledge. The teacher can incite the awakening of interest, and this is greatly aided by the process of understanding.
Understanding has two stages: straight look into the centre of
the word, of the idea, of the subject; and this is followed by the perception of continuous grasp and process of the meaning that settles down in the consciousness in a state of satisfaction and repose. Every process of understanding is centred on meaning, and the teacher's ability can be judged by the way in which the context is created and meaning emerges with a shinning spark. One can expand the realm of meanings, until students are led to raise larger questions of the meaning of the universe and of our place in it.
One of the great discoveries that the Indian sages and thinkers had made was to identify meaning and substance that is grasped in understanding. One of the discoveries that Socrates had made was that of the power of the concept at the centre of which the meaning stands out as expression of the Essence; and the secret of every concept lies in the intellectual perception of the universal. No particular can be understood without the universal of which it is an illustration or a member. Therefore, one of the counsels that the good teacher gives for content-enrichment is to enlarge the vision of the students so as to open out before them the vistas of universals. It is these vistas of universals that can serve as nurseries of students' contemplation and understanding.
Understanding can be followed by higher stages, and if the teacher can enrich the onward journey, particularly, in case of talented and perceptive students, a stage can be reached where learning can become the process of experience, and one can arrive at what can be called "over-standing". Understanding is to stand below the object of meaning; it is a stage where there is a strain and effort to gaze and grasp; on the other hand, one can stand above the object of understanding, and one feels like being on the top of a hill from where vast vistas or horizons can be viewed effortlessly and even majestically. The ultimate goal of all studies is to arrive at "over-standing" which, in turn, opens up wide spaces in which one can fly higher and higher like the famous Jonathan Seagull, the ever-young learner and teacher of Bach's story.
Promotion of Development of Faculties through Content-Enrichment
As is well known, there is a debate whether education should aim at mastery of subject matter or at development and chiselling of faculties. Our present system of education lays an overwhelming emphasis on subject matter, and the one faculty that it encourages most is that of memory on account of the nature of our examination system. Without entering into the details of the debate, it can safely be said that development of faculties should receive greater importance than what it has received hitherto. Much, however, depends upon how in the subject-oriented and book-oriented system, contents are so presented to the students that they are conducive to the development of faculties. Here, again, content-enrichment will play a crucial role.
As far as the intellect is concerned, there are right-hand faculties and there are left-hand faculties. Sri Aurobindo has described these faculties with great clarity and illuminative instructiveness in the following words:
The faculties of the right-hand are comprehensive, creative and synthetic; the faculties of the left-hand critical and analytic. To the right-hand belong judgment, imagination, memory, observation; to the left-hand comparison and reasoning. The critical faculties distinguish, compare, classify, generalise, deduce, infer, conclude; they are the component parts of the logical reason. The right-hand faculties comprehend, command, judge in their own right, grasp, hold and manipulate. The right-hand mind is the master of the knowledge, the left-hand its servant. The left-hand touches only the body of knowledge, the right-hand penetrates its soul. The left-hand limits itself to ascertained truth, the right hand grasps that which is still elusive or unascertained. Both are essential to the completeness of the human reason. These important functions of the machine have all to be raised to their highest and finest working power, if the education of the child is not to be imperfect and one-sided. * ( * Sri Aurobindo: A System of
National Education, Centenary Edition, vol. 17, p. 207.) obvious that since our curricula and syllabi are not being framed in response to needs of the development of faculties, the only way by which teachers can help students in developing their faculties is by furnishing appropriate material in the form of copious exercises in correlation with the familiar subjects, which are taught in our educational institutions. But considering the wide range of these faculties, teachers and counsellors have to work very hard to identify or design the relevant material and exercises. When these faculties mature, students will have developed the capacity to arrive at clarity of thought, subtlety of thought, complexity of thought, analytical thought and synthetic thought.
There are two processes which must combine if student is to be helped in this journey. The first process is to cultivate realism, and here the process of content-enrichment requires the teacher to provide direct touch with concrete objects, which can be minutely observed, analysed and grasped with precision. Here measure and proportion, determination and utilisation and successful control and mastery are to be emphasised. Whether students are very young or grown up, teachers have to ensure that they develop through various scientific studies the necessary training in observation, experimentation and verification. Every subject provides a varying scope for scientific study and for the development of realism. Even a small child can be induced to study a flower or a leaf so that the child can observe and describe accurately the size and shape, colour and smoothness, fragrance and taste, their distinguishing marks from others, their uses in the economy of Nature, and the contributions they make to the environment and to the ecological balance. Even in the matter of pronunciation of words and phrases, a good teacher can induce in the child the exercises and practice of the required sound, pitch, flow and rhythm and impact and effectiveness that they can pro duce. Even the fields of art, music and poetry have their realistic and concrete measures, their meters and their proportion of com positions without which these aesthetic pursuits cannot achieve their heights and perfection.
Along with realism, pursuit of imagination and creativity
should be promoted. Imagination should not be conceived as a fantasy of airy nothing; imagination is the power to image and to symbolise and to arrive at figures that swing open the doors of the invisible and the inaudible reality. If science leads to the knowledge of reality of the physical world, poetry, art and music, indeed, every creative activity, also lead to the knowledge of that very world, and if they are properly pursued with the deeper aspects of the required effort, one can perceive deeper aspects of that world and beauty; and beauty when rightly perceived gives us its equation with truth. As the great poet burst out "Beauty is truth and truth is beauty." The greatest poets are the seers of Truth; Vedic Rishis were great poets and they have been described as drishta and satyashrava, seers of Truth and hearers of Truth. Vision of truth and experience of reality or features of reality is at the root of poetry. The poet expresses the depth of his experience through the rhythmic word in a style that is appropriate to the substance and evokes in the hearer the vibrations of his experience. A proper blending of realism and creative imagination can best be achieved by the careful teacher who presents the contents of studies with such enrichment of scientific and artistic experience that the student gradually becomes a member at once of the concrete and creative world.
It is not sufficiently recognised as to what a great help can be obtained in developing faculties and powers by habituating the mind to mental quietude, mental calm, mental tranquillity, mental silence and mental peace. Our ancient seers had discovered the potency of the intellect when through meditative processes of silence, the intellect can be united with the higher faculties of knowledge, symbolised in the Vedic literature as the brightest light of the Sun. We are all familiar with Gayatri mantra, which contains this secret of the intellect, its meditation and its capacity to receive the higher light; many recite this great mantra, but do not realise its great educational value.
In fact, the higher faculties that are rarely developed will be needed more and more in the pressing circumstances of today and tomorrow; these are precisely those faculties, which can be developed by the union of the intellect and the higher light. These faculties
are those of sovereign discernment, intuitive perception of truth, plenary inspiration of speech, direct vision of knowledge amounting to revelation and making a human being a prophet of truth. It must not be supposed that these faculties get developed, if at all, only at a very high level of studies or experience. Presence of these faculties can be found by teachers who are perceptive even in ordinary movements of students, and they will be able to detect flashes of genius and through them they can get an entry into a more systematic and wise processes of handling. The ordinary teacher, who is a mere instructor, often discourages and stifles genius, but the more liberal teacher welcomes it.
Faculty-oriented education will require special training of teachers but students should not be required to wait for a teacher who has specialised in this important domain. It is best that teachers of today, whatever their present limitations, should, on their own, realise that most of the children will be best helped if they can promote faculty education among them. And once this is realised, teachers will have a vast field for content-enrichment.
Content-Enrichment and Domain of Value-Oriented Education
Closely connected with faculty-education is the domain of value-oriented education. Unfortunately, the subject of value oriented education has been turned into a field of uncertainty and controversies. But the simple fact is that education to be true education has to be value-oriented, since the fundamental aim of education is to prepare students for life and life finds its fulfilment only in the intrinsic ends, which we call values. Again, the simple fact is that the main function of education is to provide to the student the basic key to open the gates of world-knowledge, and since true world-knowledge is impossible without self-control, education should necessarily provide to the students the basic knowledge of how to control oneself and how to transmute the lower self into the higher self.
One of the essential capacities of the human being is that of
the will that gradually develops the power to choose; and this power to choose becomes crucial when the choice is to be made between the pleasant and the good, between preyas and shreyas, to use the words of Kathopanishad. Teachers may give all equipment to the students to learn and to know and to learn to know more and more, but if they do not provide the equipment to enable them to exercise their will in making the right choice, then education must end in failure.
Unfortunately, however, our present system of education pro vides very little to nourish among our students this important dimension of value-orientation. The subjects that are taught, languages, natural and human sciences, and mathematics, constitute the main bulk, and they hardly provide those contents, which are central to value-orientation. Some textbooks do, indeed, refer to values but in a very perfunctory manner. An effort is being made these days to correlate every subject with certain specific values but that has hardly touched the core of the problem. Sometimes a course in moral education is prescribed. But when we consider the contents and methods of moral education, we feel hesitant and begin to wonder whether they focus on the right aims or at the full aim of value oriented education. In this situation, teachers are required to make up all the deficiencies in this important domain, and hence they are called upon to make huge exercises in content-enrichment.
The most important base for value-oriented education has to be carefully laid in the life of the child at its early stages. The most important attitude that should be developed is that of sincerity, and the most important ideal that should be placed before the child is that of truth. The best means are, of course, inspiring stories and plays, which illustrate this attitude and this ideal. Often, the stories that are related lack human situations, and often there are supra-human elements, there are myths and interventions of miracles. Even the straightforward story of Sri Rama, where one can illustrate strictly human situations, there is a tendency to show that Sri Rama could be truthful because he was suprahuman, and this indirectly encourages a wrong belief that ordinary human beings cannot practise truthfulness. The story of Harishchandra is also so narrated that the situations, which Harishchandra had to
confront, were contrived situations, and this lessens the directness of human relevance. There are a number of stories and tales, which teachers of today are required to reframe so the right lessons are derived in their proper human dimensions.
Another important message that needs to be conveyed to children is that the secret of attainment in life is their aspiration for perfection, and, therefore, whatever they do, they should do as perfectly as they can. This has to be coupled with the dreams of the new world, since the present world neither gives sufficient illustration of the ideal of truth nor a response to the aspiration for perfection. Children are naturally future-oriented; they have voluntary optimism; and they are builders of dreams. Profiting from this psychology, teachers can present to the children visions of the new world where truth alone will prevail and where beauty and goodness will pervade.
At the deepest level, value-oriented education turns to the education of the soul, to the psychic education and to spiritual education. This education has three aspects: discovery of the soul and the spirit, preparation of the outer nature of the body, life and mind so as to make them fit to permit the sovereignty of the soul and the spirit, and thirdly, the process by which the soul and the spirit can manifest through our outer instruments of thought, feeling and action. Introspection plays a major role in all these three aspects, since the individual needs to turn more and more inwards (antarmukha). This requires the aid of encouragement and atmosphere where everything is turned towards the truth, beauty and goodness. Children need to be given the necessary inspiration to observe their impulses, their thoughts and their propensities of action as minutely as possible and as impartially as possible. They need to be fold that their wrong impulses are not sins or offences but they are symptoms of a curable disease, alter able by a steady and sustained effort of the will. They can be shown how falsehood can be rejected and replaced by truth, fear courage, selfishness by sacrifice and malice by love. The teacher needs to develop sincere affection for the children, affection that is firm yet gentle and this is to be coupled with a sufficient practical knowledge that will create bonds of trust with the children.
There are a number of stories with the help of which teachers can illustrate various aspects of inner psychology. If we take the stories of Svetaketu and Nachiketas, we can explain the psychology of adolescents; if we take the story of Satyakama, we can explain the psychology of innocence and of courage that is dedicated to truthfulness; stories of Prahlada and Dhruva indicate how even in childhood spiritual aspirations can reach the heights of maturity. The story of Buddha along with a number of stories of Bodhisattvas illustrate a number of psychological elements that are at work in the development of human personality. Arjuna's hesitation at the beginning of the war of Mahabharata can easily illustrate the distinction between thought, will, emotion, impulse, sensation, perception, and even involuntary and reflex functions of the body. The story of Socrates can illustrate the power of thought and power of virtue over hostile criticism and even the prospect of death. The close relationship between knowledge and virtue can also be brought out clearly through the life and thought of Socrates. Stories of adventure and courage such as we find in the life of Sri Rama and Sri Krishna as also in the lives of great personages in Ramayana and Mahabharata provide deep insights into the psychological depths, which become manifest in the conquest of deep-seated ambitions by powers of valour and will-force, of purity of character and of the powers of the soul and the spirit. What is called a vital personality or rajasic personality can very well be illustrated by studying character like say, Alexander, since his psychology was like quicksilver; pursued as you may, he always wanted to be one step ahead. The bursting life-force in him was overwhelming, ready to listen all the time to the call of adventure and ambition. This study can be followed by stories of characters possessed of sattvic qualities so that a comparison can be made between the vital and higher vital and mental personalities. Examples can be multiplied and teachers can enrich the contents by possessing a fund of knowledge of stories of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount, stories of the life of Mohammed and his message on submission to the will of the Supreme, or of the story of the lives of great philosophers and thinkers, of scientists and artists, of great teachers and ardent students.
Passages of great literature can also be an indispensable aid. We rightly look upon Upanishads as the supreme literature of India, and passages of Upanishads like those of Isha, Kena, Chhandogya, Brihadaranyaka and others can uplift students to very great heights of aspirations and even of practice of the realisation of the Ultimate Reality. Profound passages from great thinkers like Plato can ignite in the students the fires of the inner soul. The stories such as those of relationship between Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda can convince that search for God is not submission to dogma but a relentless process of questioning and of finding. Passages from the writings of great scientists such as those of Einstein and others can open up in the students' vision the perception of the strangeness and the wonder of the world and of the dimensions, which are unimaginable. The spirit of inquiry that we find in writings such as those of Shankara, Descartes and Bertrand Russell will give to the students the psychological insights into heights that one needs to scale if one wants to look what lies behind and beyond the horizons which seem to be unending.
The subject of value-education is directly related to the search of the aim of life. The best way to deal with this great theme is to avoid any dogmatic answer to the question as to what aim one should pursue in life but to initiate and conduct a process of exploration. Each student should feel that various pros and cons are presented for impartial understanding and consideration. If one explores the subject, we shall find that historically four aims have come to be discussed among all who had striven to reach the highest and the best. Some have arrived at the supracosmic aim of life, which does not find in the world any satisfying fulfilment. They have experienced some supreme and transcendent Reality and found in that experience and realisation something most substantial and most ecstatic; and they have found that one can abide in that realisation permanently and fully when one transcends or rejects the world. There are some others who have found that one can abide in that realisation permanently and fully when one transcends or rejects the world. There are some others who have found that there are worlds other than the physical world, some kinds of heaven or paradise, Goloka or Vaikuntha, where the highest
glory and bliss can be attained. They have, therefore, advocated what can be called the supra-terrestrial aim of life. There are still others who seek the highest fulfilment in the world and on the earth. They advocate the terrestrial aim of life and there are several varieties of this aim, materialistic, vitalistic and idealistic. They find that the world in which we live is the only existing world or even if there are some other worlds, the problems of our own world are already too many and we do not have the time or incli nation to deal with other worlds; or else, some of them feel that what is most important is to bring about best possible in human beings to live in harmony and peace, in concord and justice, and in a fine blending of work and leisure, productivity and freedom of joy. Attempts have also been made in the course of history to combine all these three aims of life, and right from the Vedic times to the present day there have been pursuits of integral aims of life. This view does not reject life but looks upon life as a process of struggle and as a process of progress by which the life of the earth can be transformed by our ascension to supra-terrestrial realities and even to the supracosmic Reality and by bringing down the highest divine light and power.
There are a number of related texts, which can be quoted by teachers and they can be presented to students in such a way that they can be understood by them at their proper levels of development. There are, for example, accounts of the great adventures of the Vedic rishis and the Upanishadic rishis; the search of the Buddha and his attainment of Nirvana; tapasya of Mahavira and his state of liberation; the question of Arjuna and the message he received from Sri Krishna to fight in the battle as an instrument of the Divine Will; search of Plato and his conclusion that the world can be set right only when kings become philosophers or philosophers become kings; realisations of Jesus that filled him with love that inspired him to give himself in sacrifice for the sake of the salvation of all children of God on the earth; revelations received by Moses or revelations received by the Prophet Mohammed and the promises that they gave for the world and for the beyond; question of poets and artists and their search for excellence and perfection such as what we find in Leonardo da Vinci, search of
Sri Chaitanya and his unity with the supreme love and ecstasy; intellectual struggle to prove the existence of God and attainment of intellectual love of God such as what we find in Spinoza; quests of reformers of society and politics, their dreams and battles for establishment of life of equity and justice, all these and many more accounts can be presented to the students. There is also a beautiful short play written by The Mother entitled The Ascent to Truth, which describes drama of life in all the stages and an epi logue. This drama presents the quest of the philanthropist, the pessimist, the scientist, the artist and three students and two lovers, and two aspirants, and how they struggle to aim and arrive at their own respective levels of fulfilment. This entire play is a story of an exploration that ends with a message that only by the highest effort and the highest aid can one know truth and truth alone, truth and complete truth, integral truth.
Need to Highlight Indian Contributions to various Disciplines of Knowledge
We may now come to the last point that needs to be made for all who are keen to enrich the contents of studies. Most of our textbooks, whether they relate to science or history or humanities, tend to give an overwhelming impression that the best has been attempted and achieved in the West and that Indian contribution has been only marginal or almost nil. The fact is that in every field, India has initiated greatly and achieved greatly, and even in the periods of decline, India has striven to rise once again, as has been happening since the 19th century when India began . her renaissance. While new textbooks need to be re-written to give a true and full account of the achievements of India, teachers will have a good deal of homework to do today so that they can supplement the present texts used by them in the schools. This indeed is a gigantic task but we cannot shirk the responsibility that this task imposes upon us. As an aid to this task, let me pre sent the following statement from Sri Aurobindo:
In what field indeed has not India attempted, achieved, created,
and in all on a large scale and yet with much attention to completeness of detail? Of her spiritual and philosophic achievements there can be no real question. They stand there as the Himalayas stand upon the earth, in the phrase of Kalidasa, prithivya iva mandandah, "as if earth's measuring rod", mediating still between earth and heaven, measuring the finite, casting their plummet far into the infinite, plunging their extremities into the upper and lower seas of the superconscient and the subliminal, the spiritual and the natural being. But if her philosophies, her religious disciplines, her long list of great spiritual personalities, thinkers, founders, saints are her greatest glory, as was natural to her temperament and governing idea, they are by no means her sole glories, nor are the others dwarfed by their eminence. It is now proved that in science she went farther than any country before the modern era, and even Europe owes the beginning of her physical science to India as much as to Greece, although not directly but through the medium of the Arabs. And, even if she had only gone as far, that would have been sufficient proof of a strong intellectual life in an ancient culture. Especially in mathematics, astronomy and chemistry, the chief elements of ancient science, she discovered and formulated much and well and anticipated by force of reasoning or experiment some of the scientific ideas and discoveries which Europe first arrived at much later, but was able to base more firmly by her new and completer method. She was well-equipped in surgery and her system of medicine survives to this day and has still its value, though it declined intermediately in knowledge and is only now recovering its vitality...
In literature, in the life of the mind, she lived and built greatly... India has not only had the long roll of her great saints, sages, thinkers, religious founders, poets, creators, scientists, scholars, legists; she has had her great rulers, administrators, soldiers, conquerors, heroes, men with the strong active will, the mind that plans and the seeing force that builds. She has warred and ruled, traded and colonised and spread her civilisation, built polities and organised communities and societies, done all that makes the out ward activity of great peoples... The modern Indian revival, religious, cultural, political, called now sometimes a renaissance, which
so troubles and grieves the minds of her critics, is only a repetition under altered circumstances, in an adapted form, in a greater though as yet less vivid mass of movement, of a phenomenon which has constantly repeated itself throughout a millennium of Indian history* (* Sri Aurobindo: The Foundations of Indian Culture, Centenary Edition, Vol. 14, pp. 185,6,7.)
It is essential that the students of our country get the right and the great picture of India, even though they should also get the right and great picture of other countries. It is also essential that the students of our country understand properly how to arrive at the synthesis of the cultures that have flourished in the world in the past and in the present and how they can be united. But, still again, it is essential that they are enabled to derive the right lessons of the historical experience, gain fresh inspiration to discover new knowledge in all fields. For then only, they will be able to know what is the real role of India and how that role can be fulfilled in building up a new world order of ever-ascending cultural spiral. But all this implies for sincere teachers a great deal of work when they want to prepare themselves for content enrichment.