Now we have at present in our system of education all over the world, a scheme. In India this was the scheme was given to us by Macaulay, he wiped out our Indian system of education at one stroke, and introduced a system of education which was becoming very prominent in the West in the form of subjects. Education means you study a few subjects and the scheme is basically, study English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, History, Geography, all the rest is extra–curricular. Art, Music, Drama, you can do many other good things, debate, elocution, dance, everything is extra–curricular but this is curricular’ physical education also extra–curricular. So you can see that the whole system of education has been reduced all over the world only to basically five–six subjects. And education means how much English have you studied, how much History do you know, how much Mathematics you have learnt and all the debates in the world on education is centring down this fundamental scheme. Then some progressive teachers come and say: No, no, no, I will teach Mathematics in a different manner and he becomes a wonderful educationist. He will say: History, Geography should not be taught in the way in which you are teaching now, you should teach them as Social Sciences. So don’t teach History, Geography, teach Social Sciences. Innovations of this kind are going on all the time in the world and this is what is called making education better. And once Mother told us, we are not here to make education better than what it is elsewhere, we are here to do something that is not even conceived elsewhere, and that is our task. What is it that is not conceived, what is it that is not conceived elsewhere at all, is a part of education that is what we want to do.
Now I come back therefore to two important points, – faculties and subjects. On both the points these are the two important parts of the educational process, development of faculties and development of the knowledge that is contained in different subjects, or development of knowledge which is not in subjects which we count. There is a kind of knowledge which escapes all the books. Now as far as faculties are concerned, let us take the faculties of the body, faculties of life– force, the faculties of the mind, the faculties of the psychic consciousness, the faculties of the ethical being, the faculties of the aesthetic being, the capacities of intuition, of revelation, of discrimination, of inspiration, the faculties of comprehension, the faculties by which you go into transcendental consciousness. Now these are a number of faculties which are before us. Now in our educational system, we have made because of the subjects, a selection of faculties.
Largely we teach our children, the faculties of memory, the faculties of reasoning and the faculties of imitation. These are the three important faculties that we develop among our children and that too in a very perfunctory manner, incidentally, because main thing is subjects. But incidentally whatever happens we teach these three faculties, – faculty of memory, the faculty of reasoning and the faculty of imitation. Imitation is not a wrong faculty, it is a good faculty but we teach these three faculties, out of all other faculties. We have no special study of aesthetic faculties, ethical faculties, intuitive faculties, of inspiration faculties, discrimination faculties, we don’t have any other process by which mind can be silenced, the faculty of silencing the mind, the faculty of what is called development of states of consciousness. There are a number of states of consciousness, which we don’t develop at all.
Aristotle spoke of habits but habit he used the word in a very large and very enlightened sense. He said education is an education of habits and what did he mean? It is actually development of states of consciousness. Now in the present system of education this idea of states of consciousness is completely evaporated, it doesn’t exist. There are many states of consciousness which require years of training, so that at the right moment the right emotion will arise in you. Now states of consciousness require a lot of development. I require for example to control my passion when I see somebody, whose face I don’t like. As an educated person I should be able to control myself, this is called education, if I start charging against somebody, whose face I don’t like, it means I am a barbarian, I am not educated. Now how do I arrive at a point of self–control, when somebody whom I see and immediately I feel charged, now to develop that self–control at the right moment, I have to do self–control even when that face is not before me, number of times I have to control, even while thinking of him, I have to control myself. Then if I have controlled hundred times, then at the right moment, I may be able to control.
In recent times for example, I am talking freely with you, in recent times Aids has become a great disease in the world and there are many kinds of prescriptions which are being given as to how to prevent aids. And now it is understood that no preventive measures of Aids are effective, unless people are able to control the impulse of enjoyment, at that right moment. You may do anything, have any kind of means, all kinds of preventive measures but at that excited moment if you cannot control yourself all your measures are gone. Therefore, it is now being felt that self–control is a state of consciousness which is to be developed over years. It’s only when you have done for years and years, and this kind of a self–control over desire to enjoy that at the right moment you can possibly control yourself. It is only an extreme example that I am giving to show the importance of the development of the states of consciousness. Somebody has made a mistake.
Christ taught us for example, ‘Forgive them, as the Divine forgives you’– just as you trespass and the Divine forgets, forgives you, he has trespassed, you forgive him. Now this sense of forgiveness, how will you develop forgiveness, a state of consciousness? It’s not knowledge; it is a state of consciousness. How will you develop compassion, the kindness, benevolence, generosity, you may have a long list of states of consciousness which require to be developed.
Now in our educational system as it present in the world these states of consciousness have no place, they develop pell–mell in all human beings all of us. In fact in that sense all of us are uneducated. If education was rightly given to us, right from childhood then we would be much better human beings than what we are. And this is an education in which we have not participated. Therefore when we think we are educationist, we do not take into account this aspect at all. When we begin to advice education, as to what should be education, since we have not been educated in this aspect, we never take into account this aspect to be introduced into educational system.
So there are a number of faculties and there are many states of consciousness and there are many other faculties about which I hardly speak, for example – the faculty of developing physical stamina. It’s a fact that as a child I always used to shudder from going into swimming pool. Like most of the children when you say now you go swimming and you try to push the child and the child shrugs, he doesn’t want to be pushed. And somehow you push and ultimately he begins to learn swimming. Now there was nobody to tell me you don’t be afraid, you just go and you fall into the waters and your body itself would react and you will be able to swim. It took me a long time before I could start swimming. So I had no practise of swimming, so as a result I found that when I learnt swimming, I had no sufficient stamina to swim at length. Now this is one of the examples I am giving of myself, my own inadequacy that even if I know swimming now, if I am thrown into the water I will immediately drown after sometime because I had no stamina to swim for a long time. Now many people don’t understand this but I understand it very well that I was not educated properly, my education was so inadequate, so wrong that this capacity to develop my stamina was never given, and therefore I am a very poor specimen of humanity, one who cannot have the stamina to swim and many other staminas I mean supposing suffering of cold and heat is also a faculty, and it is also a human faculty which must be developed. Similarly various kinds of courage that you have; Sri Aurobindo has spoken in the perfection of the body, the hardihood of the body and the kind of experience that comes under tremendous stress of adventure, when you are on top of the hill and you have no oxygen and yet you have to breathe. How does your body immediately come out of the breath, is also a capacity, there are many, many faculties of which we do not normally take into account at all.
Now when Mother says that education should be for the development of faculties, we normally understand only in a very limited sense the word because we are aware of only of memory, reasoning and imitation. As if Mother says that you should develop these three faculties and don’t worry about other things, it’s not true. Mother wants all the human faculties to be developed. Now you can understand there are many faculties, even if you develop there is no examination for them. You cannot have examinations at all. There are many faculties for which there are no exams, or exam comes only once in a life time. When shall I examine I have self control or not? It may come only once in a life time that examination. So if all education is for passing examinations, there are certain things which you will never develop because they cannot be examined and that is the reason why Mother says: Education must not be for passing examinations but for development of faculties.
On the other side, let us come to the subjects. As I said that our limited view of subjects is confined to five or six subjects. And we try to do our best even in these five or six subjects. Now the domains are so vast. Yesterday I was seeing what Shelley gave me the GECE examination, this whole book and also the brochure. Last night and today morning I have been studying this and I feel that if our students can pass these examinations, it will be wonderful. The examination papers which are given here, if our children have the capacity to pass these examinations, it will be wonderful but that is not enough, the conclusion I came to that this is not enough. This of course but much more and if you have only this syllabus to pass, you will never be able to develop children for other things which are much more important. So if my conclusion was somewhat negative, not negative fully, somewhat negative, it is because of this reason, it is fine to pass this kind of an examination, you require a crash programme of studies, of a certain kind in which your faculty development are crushed. And you have to drill yourself on and on and on, on a particular line of development, which is good but the results are extremely limited. It is like Hath yogi, he also develops tremendous capacities of the body, by doing exercises again and again but he can’t be a Gyan yogi at the same time, he can’t do Karmayoga at the same time, he can’t do Bhaktiyoga at the same time, and much of the time will be lost only in hathyogic exercises, thirty, forty years and when the time comes when you have to apply Karmayoga you’ll be failure. So our education is of this type, we take a lot of time to study a few subjects and attain to a certain kind of achievement, as a result all of us are so lopsided that in the test of life, we fail. We do not know how to relate ourselves to people; we don’t have the right states of consciousness. We don’t have as Mother said the capacity to be silent, when you want to be silent, when you want to have knowledge, you should be able to get the knowledge when you want it, these are the capacities which you don’t develop at all.