Yesterday I spoke of the books that we want to bring out. That was one part. The second part is the program of research as regards the Central Faculty and the many other faculties of which I have spoken. The word “faculty” may seem to be very pompous, bombastic considering where we are now, but let the words not deter us from doing what is to be done.
I’m very much interested in two things: One is that a spirit of research be developed in Auroville; and second is that that spirit of research percolates in such a way that students benefit, that students begin to feel that research is the method of education.
So I would like to introduce to you the idea of the research projects that I have outlined. I did this to some extent with a small group at one time, but now that there are so many people here, I thought we could share what was at the back of my mind when I wrote this paper. I don’t know if you have seen this paper as a whole: The Center of International Research in Human Unity. I have said here that the concept of the proposed Center rests upon four needs:
1. The need to deepen, widen and heighten the tasks of higher levels of educational research;
2. The need to harness expertise, scholarship and professional experience which are already available in Auroville, to invite such help as is available from relevant institutions in the country and in the world, and also from visiting scholars and teachers;
3. The need to give a more concrete form to the growing understanding of the concept of human unity that underlies the Charter of Auroville;
4. The need to provide a suitable environment and programme of higher education to the students of the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research.
There can be many more needs also which I have not mentioned here, but I felt that these four needs, at least, exist at present in Auroville, and there has to be an answer to these needs. The question was how to answer these needs and I felt that, first of all, we must be clear as to what will be the focus of Auroville. If you look around the world, every big research institution has what you might call a point of specialisation. For example, in India we have one very important centre of advanced research, in Shimla, called The Institute of Advanced Research, which is housed in one of the big palaces where the Viceroy used to live in the olden days when British rule was on India; its central focus is the study of man and the highest aspirations of man. We have in Bombay the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, where the focus is not man, but the nature of matter; physics, mathematics ─ that is the focus. We have Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan, The National Foundation for Vedic Research, where the focus is the Veda, the knowledge contained in the Veda, the contemporary crisis of man and how Vedic knowledge can be utilised for resolving the problems of today, and to what extent.
Similarly, I thought that if there is to be a focus in our research center, then we should be quite clear about it. And as I was contemplating, three terms emerged in my consciousness: One was evolution, the second was human unity, and the third was next species. And I thought that these three subjects could be the point of focus, of attention.
If all of us have come to Auroville, it is to advance the evolutionary purpose at this critical juncture for mankind. We have come because we are dedicated to bringing about the actualisation of human unity, and since we are inspired by the solutions that Sri Aurobindo has proposed for the resolution of the crisis of mankind in terms of the birth of a new species, it is, we might say, the highest research in the world today. Sri Aurobindo has said that it is with the birth of the new species ─ in the very process of the birth of this new species ─ that greater and greater harmonization in the world will be possible. The unity of mankind rests upon spiritual transformation, and spiritual transformation means to aim not at a departure from the world, as in the past, but in facing the world, taking up the problems of the world and transmuting man himself. It is in this process that the problems of today can be resolved. This subject is of great importance, not only to us but to the whole world ─ it is as if it were the world setting up this center, and not us. As Mother rightly said at the very beginning,
“Auroville belongs to nobody in particular but to humanity as a whole.” So our perception is that it is as if human beings, who are very much concerned with the unity of mankind and the resolution of the crisis of mankind today, felt a need to establish on the earth at least one place where the highest research could be conducted. It is in that sense that I look upon the proposal, and therefore I thought that the term that we have used, Center of International Research in Human Unity, needed to be understood in that light. It is not we, a small group of people, as it were, but mankind as a whole that is in need of this research and that has put up this particular small space on the earth which, happily, the government of India has made some effort to support. And now support is coming from many quarters in the world.
So that was the first point I wanted to make and that is why I said that there should be a Central Faculty in this Center. It should focus upon evolution, human unity and the next species. And, while giving some further detail, I have spoken of five important topics:
1. Evolution itself
2. The synthesis of knowledge
3. The synthesis of culture
4. Human unity
5. The next species.
This is a further elaboration of these three topics. These are to some extent repeated in other faculties which will be more specialised. This Central Faculty will be interdisciplinary in the fullest sense of the term. Others also will be interdisciplinary, but specialised in certain matters, in certain respects.
Those specialised faculties will be the following:
I. The Faculty of Indian Culture and Human Unity
II. Faculty of East, West and Human Unity
III. Faculty of Education for Human Unity
IV. Faculty of Arts, Crafts and Technologies
V. Faculty of Synthesis of Knowledge
VI. Faculty of Futuristic Sociology & Futuristic Business Management
VII. Faculty of Studies in Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
These are the seven faculties that I have envisaged. This is only a first draft and there can be many more details, many more additions to these faculties. We may think that some of them need not be there at all, which is quite possible. This itself is a document for research; we can research into it and bring about changes in this paper.
I would like to explain a little bit about each one of these seven faculties and what the thrust of each one will be.
All the cultures of the world have made useful contributions to the unity of mankind, and yet I have here focused upon Indian culture. There are three reasons for this. The first is that we are occupying a small space in India and, therefore, it has a direct relevance to India.
Secondly, Indian culture has very consciously, right from the beginning, spoken of universality in a very concentrated manner. If you read the Veda, which is the earliest document of India, it has spoken of vishvam, “the whole universe”, right from the beginning. “The whole world is a family” is another proposition made in Indian culture; and the Veda itself speaks of a universality which will comprise the solution of the problems of different religions, different races, different levels of human beings, and so on. If you read the Veda you find that tremendous care is taken to understand the human race as a whole, the problems of the human race and the goals to be achieved for the entire race. This has created a certain development in Indian history, if you follow it right from the beginning to the present day. It is not an accident that Sri Aurobindo happens to be today the representative of Indian culture, and also happens to be the greatest synthesis of the East and the West ─ he has spoken of the ideal of human unity in the boldest and the most courageous terms. Many have spoken of human unity, but the kind of breathtaking propositions, the boldness that is there in those propositions, is singular. So I thought that it would be very useful to bring out the lessons of Indian culture that are relevant to the unity of mankind.
Here we are concentrating upon, not India as merely India, but India as a part of the East. I have spoken of East and West separately because very often it is thought that there are some divergences between East and West. I would like that the divergences be understood, but also that we concentrate upon convergences, and explode to some extent the myth of the division between East and West. In one of the last messages that Sri Aurobindo gave ─ I think it was addressed to America ─ he said that, actually, although it is said that the East is spiritual and that the West is material, this kind of a black-and-white distinction is wrong. In both the East and the West there has been a spiritual search; in both the East and the West there has been a search for material welfare, material prosperity and economic development. If there is some divergence, it is an emphasis of one kind or of the other. Not that there are no divergences at all ─ there are divergences ─ but they are not of such a magnitude that they could create a wall. It is not as if “East is east and West is west and never the twain shall meet”, there is no such division between the two. So we need to make our research, because there is a view in the world that the two can never meet, that even if the force of circumstances was such that we had to meet, even then, it would be as if two neighbours were sitting together for a cup of tea, but nothing more. On the contrary, what we need is a real synthesis in which each culture can bring out its own speciality, and yet they can meet and converge together. This is a subject about which Sri Aurobindo himself has written at length, both in The Human Cycle and The Ideal of Human Unity, and we need to do a tremendous amount of research on this subject. And I have in my delineation brought out many, many subtopics of this research topic.
Since Auroville is to be a site for continuing education, unending education, and the youth that never ages, Auroville can make a very significant contribution to the field of education. I personally believe that Auroville in due course will be a site of very bold experimentations. In any case, that should happen. And if this experimentation takes place, we shall have to make contributions to the world at large in the field of education. Fortunately, today the best educational systems in the world are open. They are looking for new vistas of educational thought, new vistas of educational experience. Although these concerns are not percolating down at the lower levels of thought today, either in the East or in the West, but at the highest levels of educational thought, there is a great concern for the future, and there is a great search for the education for tomorrow.
So I think that our Center here can legitimately have the privilege of becoming a leading one, an advanced center of educational research, with the possibility of contributing to the educational experience of the world.
In fact, you might say that this is something connected with our concern with three important fields which have to be manifested fully in Auroville within the domain of aesthetics.
Sri Aurobindo has said that no culture can survive or thrive ─ however high it may be in its spiritual endeavour, or however low in its material endeavour ─ unless there are instruments of transmission. Human beings do not live merely at the top or at the bottom. A human being by his very nature is integral and lives simultaneously on many planes. Unless therefore the aesthetic aspect of human being is fully developed, unless the crafts and technologies are fully developed, the culture cannot be stable. In fact, if you study the history of cultures of the world and ask why some of the cultures have died ─ in fact, most of the cultures from ancient times have died ─ you will find that this is the reason: that at their peak level, they developed only a specific art, but neglected crafts and technology; or they developed technology but neglected arts and crafts; or developed crafts, but neglected technologies and arts. It is only when you combine arts, crafts and technologies that a civilization or culture can continue to survive. Fortunately, in Auroville we have a number of artists, a number of architects, a number of technologists and engineers. It’s a most favourable circumstance. And therefore I think that in Auroville we can do very advanced research in these three fields of arts, crafts and technologies.
I also wanted to emphasize here that normally arts and technologies are bifurcated.
Those who are artists are put on one side, those who are technologists on the other. And crafts are given a minor importance, as if they were meant for villagers. I mean, this is the normal attitude ─ not all over, but in general this is the attitude ─ but if you examine these subjects in their totality you will find that there is no art possible without technique and without technology. No artist can be perfect unless he is a master of technique. A good poet has to have a mastery of the technique of prosody; no artist can do a good painting unless he masters the technique of painting ─ he has to have even the knowledge of how to mix the colours, and there are techniques of mixing the colours. This may look like prosaic work compared to the imagination in which the artist normally lives, but when it comes to brass tacks, when it comes to really painting, with a canvas before him and a paintbrush in his hand, it is the technical aspect that is uppermost, and if he has a weakness in relation to this he can never become a first-rate artist.
Similarly, you cannot be a master of technology unless you have a very high level of imagination and aesthetic sense. Every machine, for example, can be conceived as an expression of beauty. Every technique, once you enter into it, you find that there is in it a rhythm of poetry, or a vision of art, of painting, or a rhythm of music. Every great technologist has found in his deepest experience this play of art and aesthetics.
Now, crafts, according to many, are to be left to rural people ─ but actually they are something that is so important for all aspects of life. It is crafts that synthesize both technology and art in a very singular manner. It is because of this interconnection between art, crafts and technologies, and the need for interdisciplinarity among these three, that I thought of bringing them together. This is not usually done, but I would like to give a message through this faculty that all three need each other, and that there must be a place where all three meet together.
Usually, in ordinary universities, you have got Arts and Sciences. This is how most universities are ─ they have schools of Arts and Science. They have got arts and sciences, and the two are bifurcated: If you do arts, you don’t do science; if you do science, you cannot do arts.
But by bringing arts and technologies together I have tried to show that without science there is no art and without art there is no science. The two are complementary and even need each other. I have not proposed a special Faculty of Science as such here, and there is a reason behind it. First of all, I do not think that we shall be so equipped as to become a center of advanced scientific research. (Let us hope we can become equipped ─ nothing is denied, because nothing should be denied.) But this does not mean that we shall not do science. We shall do a lot of science, but with a certain focus: namely, science as a part of the synthesis of knowledge.
At present science is done primarily as an instrument of technology. In the modern world you find that most of the science students today are leaving pure research because they feel that technology is much more lucrative, much more stable. It’s a utilitarian view. But even with pure research in science, where it is done, not many scientists are aiming at bringing the different frontiers of science together in one large sweep. There’s too much specialisation, so that we know more and more about less and less.
One important contribution that Sri Aurobindo has made is in the field of synthesis. Synthesis is the greatest need of mankind today, and although one speaks of synthesis, one needs to do research as to what its meaning is. There can be synthesis in the form of juxtaposition: You bring so many elements together side by side, put them side by side, and many people think that is a synthesis; the mere juxtaposition of various elements is misconceived as a synthesis. There are schools which call themselves schools of integral education; they do physical education, crafts education, art education, thinking education, moral education, spiritual education ─ they give periods for all of them and then say, “This is integral education”. What I call it is education by juxtaposition. You bring all the elements together, put them side by side, but there is no attempt at synthesizing. Then there is what may be called compromise ─ that is also very often regarded as a synthesis. Many conflicting views, many conflicting interests are brought together, somehow. For example, there is usually a conflict between aesthetics and ethics. The aesthetic man has a kind of abhorrence to the puritanism of the ethical man; the ethical man feels that the aesthetic man is very loose and doesn’t care for the high endeavours of the human spirit, to rise above the impulses, and so on. So the two usually collide, and the rational man very often remains like a thin wedge between the two. He does not know where his position is in the conflict between ethics and aesthetics, and whatever he says does not have much effect either on the ethical man or on the aesthetic man, so that he seems to be living in an ivory tower somewhere above ─ at least, he thinks he is in an ivory tower ─ from where he can preach to many people but with very little effect. As a result, there is a tendency today to bring about a compromise, to try to bring them together as far as possible. This is the formula: Whatever possibilities exist, try to bring them together as far as possible. But this can only arrive at a compromise. The demands of aesthetics are to be received to some extent, the demands of the ethics are to be received to some extent, the demands of rationality are to be accepted to some extent. Somehow, some kind of juxtaposition or some kind of compromise is arrived at.
If you read Sri Aurobindo’s works you find out what synthesis really is ─ everything is integrated. There is a very beautiful chapter in The Synthesis of Yoga, a chapter called “Synthesis”, where he has discussed the question of how to bring about the synthesis of the different systems of yoga. Now, we need to study that chapter very much in depth, so as to get an idea of what synthesis is. If you read The Life Divine, you also get this great idea of synthesis. Sri Aurobindo does not need to speak of Western thought and Indian thought ─ the whole thing is taken as if one principle of thought existed. The various kinds or trends of thought that can arise out of the branchings of ideation are brought into a harmony. It is not as if Sri Aurobindo says, “Here is Eastern thought, here is Western thought, and now the two are brought together.” His starting point is synthesis, his middle point is synthesis, his end is synthesis. Out of that synthesis you can yourself perceive the different trends of thought, and you can find how they’re already harmonised in the larger sweep. Mother once told us in the Ashram School that we should develop among children what she called “spherical thought” ─ a thought which is spherical. It’s a very special quality: a thought which is not linear, not angular, not compartmentalised, not fragmented, but spherical.
It is in spherical thought that synthesis is automatically born. This is the theme that we need to develop most, because without this synthesis the unity of mankind is impossible. The unity of mankind will require unity of the thought of the people, unity of the culture of the people. And this can come about only when there is a solid base of knowledge.
No culture can survive without a basis of knowledge, so it is only by bringing about a synthesis of knowledge that human unity can be really assured. It is here that the frontiers of knowledge in various fields are, as it were, brought together on one focus. You can have physicists, biologists, scientists, psychologists, yogis ─ all kinds of knowledge, all avenues of knowledge, have to be developed and brought together and specialists should be able to have a dialogue among themselves. A real synthesis has to be constantly developed. So this will be a faculty where this great facility will be available. And if this facility exists, you can imagine what the facility will be for students. If there is a Faculty of the Synthesis of Knowledge, working at the highest level on the plane of research, the whole idea of synthesis will percolate among students, and spherical thought will be automatic. The very breath of primary school, secondary school, Last school or No school will be simply this sphericity; it will be available all over. This will be the contribution of the synthesis of knowledge of this faculty.
I have conceived of this faculty for two reasons. The first is that we are in Auroville a collectivity; the emphasis in Auroville is not on individual realisation but on collective realisation, and therefore our focus has to be on the problems of collectivity. In fact, Auroville has always been confronting collectivistic problems, and in spite of quarrels and battles and whatever there may be, the collectivity has survived, which is a tremendous achievement.
And this collectivity has some kind of oneness which you can see from outside much more visibly than may be seen perhaps from within. But it is visible. Collectively there is a kind of a thrust ─ programs are conceived collectively, invitations are given to people collectively, sharing is collective, the thrusts are collective. The individualistic, egoistic tendency is at least resisted. Even if there is mutual criticism it is about this: that one has become too isolated, or tends to be isolated. Each one may think of the other as an isolationist, but the criticism is that it should not be so. How to overcome isolationism? How to develop collectivity? That has been the problem of Auroville right from the beginning, and we are therefore developing a new kind of sociology. Mr. Tata said that the fact that Auroville has survived for 25 years (it was at that time 25 years) is itself a guarantee of its power and its future, because usually societies of this kind break down quite easily. I know many centers of research, particularly in India, where money is offered to people to come to a collectivity. And they have found that people don’t respond. And whatever number of people do come into that collective organisation, very soon, within six months, each one becomes an island. There is one research center which is residential, the condition is that you must reside. If you are a researcher, you cannot do your research in your home, or wherever you are, you must come and stay ─ and very beautiful accommodations are provided by the institution, free of charge.
But it has been found that they must not allow anybody to live in this center for more than three years ─ this is the experience that has been gained. There was an idea that there should be what they called “Core Fellows”, who would remain continuously present for 20 to 25 years and thus would give continuity to the research work. That was the idea. After experience, it was found that Core Fellows become the real center of division. They developed such rivalries that every newcomer was trapped in divisions, and vested interests began to develop very quickly. The experience has been so hopeless, instead of being a collective research effort, that now the fellowships are given for two years to begin with, to be extended for one year more, and that’s the end of it! All the Core Fellows have been eliminated from the center; nobody is there permanently.
This is the experience of the best institution of India, designed to create a collectivity and to do collective research. Human beings, when they begin to live with each other… It becomes very difficult. As Bernard Shaw remarked, “The only difficult thing in the world is to love your neighbour.” Christ has said “Love thy neighbour as thyself”, but although you can love other people in the world ─ you can be very hospitable, for example, with guests who are going to live with you for 10 days or 12 days ─ the moment you know someone is there for good, all kinds of problems arise.
So we have to find the deeper roots of sociology, why we come together, why we live together. And unless there is a movement for transformation, merely bringing human beings together will not bring us harmony. It is only when human beings come together in order to transform themselves, with this aim. Harmony is not possible at the physical, vital or mental levels. Many attempts have been made at harmonising people, but this is not possible, because mind, vital and physical are not the principles of harmony. They are basically rooted in division. Matter is best dealt with when it is a small piece divided from all the rest. The vital life strives best when plans are formed as against other plans. Divide this plan from another plan, then vigour and robustness begin ─ there will be enmity between the two, but enmity brings about a unity of this particular plan against the other one. It is on the basis of division that people become very vigorous at the vital level. And Mind, you know, is always a dividing consciousness. As Sri Aurobindo says, the basic apparatus of Mind can do only four operations ─ all other operations of the mind are only derivatives of these four ─ namely: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These are the four operations of the mind; all other operations of the mind are only specialisations of these four. And addition is not possible without division, subtraction is not possible without division, multiplication is not possible without division ─ and division is division.
So the human mind is so constituted that you cannot harmonize this division at the level of the mind. It is only when human beings come together for transformation, for going beyond the human mind, that you can hope to have harmony. If our problems have been so acute, it is because very often we have come here for that purpose but we are not working so assiduously towards that program of transformation. And to the extent to which we are moving, we are harmonising. And I think that harmony will come. There is a greater and greater awareness that we have to move forward for the transformation of our nature, and this is the basis of our “futuristic sociology”. And Sri Aurobindo has explained this in detail both in The Human Cycle and The Ideal of Human Unity.
I have joined it up with futuristic business management, and it could be questioned why I should do that. The reason is that Auroville is happily a place of business, happily a place of work, a place of commerce, a place of industry. And Mother has spoken of the Industrial Zone as one of the important zones of Auroville. Therefore it is inevitable that Auroville develops all the faculties which are required for industrial development, commercial development, business development. And I speak of “futuristic” business development because we are not here to repeat. As Mother said, the age of business is over. So we have to conceive of a futuristic industry and therefore the kind of management which will be required for this futuristic society will be quite different. That is what I want to emphasize here by speaking of futuristic business management.
Now, this is obvious: We are all here because we have read Sri Aurobindo; we have been inspired by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. But to sustain ourselves we need to continuously study, which is not sufficiently recognized. People have read something of Sri Aurobindo, they have felt inspired, and they have come here. But then, there is a psychology which has developed: “Study is not necessary, work is necessary. Do work. Study is not so necessary.”
Now, I am not opposed to work at all ─ on the contrary: I would very much like that work to be emphasized. But at the same time I would like to emphasize that everyone in Auroville has to have a program of studies in Sri Aurobindo, at his own level ─ maybe at a lower level, at a higher level and the highest levels. I think we need to galvanize ourselves constantly by taking a bath in the studies of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It is a daily need, as it were.
So I would very much like to emphasize studies in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother ─ and they are very difficult works, extremely difficult works. In fact, I have not read such difficult works in the humanities as the works of Sri Aurobindo. Most of the things are incomprehensible ─ which is a fact. You may read, you may understand the English and so you may think you have understood what Sri Aurobindo has written, but it is only at our level.
For example, even a small thing: I was talking the other day to the children of Jivatman. The concept of Jivatma ─ is it comprehensible? I gave a talk to the children, who gave the illusion that they had understood a little (which is a good illusion, because it is through this understanding that one moves forward), but who can understand what Jivatman is? And this is only one of the topics in Sri Aurobindo’s writings. When he talks of the Higher Mind and the Intuitive Mind and the Illumined Mind and the Overmind and Supermind ─ and Sri Aurobindo has described all these things ─ as I said, we can understand the English of what he has written, but not what it exactly conveys. How can you understand? How is it comprehensible?
It is by constant study and constant growth of inner experience going side by side that we can strive to understand Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s works. But it is very necessary that at every level we read again and again and again. One person asked the Mother, “Mother, what shall I do in my life?” So Mother said, “Read Sri Aurobindo.” The person said, “But Mother, I’ve read several times Sri Aurobindo’s works.” So Mother simply said, “Read Sri Aurobindo.” That is the amount of study that is required, that even when you feel that you have read a lot, you still need to read a lot.
So that is why I very much want this faculty to flourish in Auroville, where all the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are brought together. There should be people who study them in depth. Yesterday I mentioned that the Mother had said that the teacher should not be a screen between Sri Aurobindo and the pupil, that the task of the teacher is to give the background material for understanding the works of Sri Aurobindo ─ I would like this faculty to do this background material. People who work in this faculty ─ and I hope that in due course there will be at least a thousand ─ will be working all the time creating materials which will be helpful to students in understanding Sri Aurobindo. Take for example the idea of the logic of the Infinite, which is one of the central ideas of the Life Divine. Background material will be: What is logic? What is the logic of the finite? Logic itself today is a very, very highly developed study. The Aristotelian logic has been surpassed, symbolic logic has come into its place, and now even symbolic logic is being surpassed. In reality people are, without knowing it, being driven into the field of the logic of the Infinite.
This is only one subject ─ but how much material needs to be prepared if this subject is to be studied by our students! And since these subjects are very difficult, we have to attend to this need very urgently. I feel that, in Auroville itself, there should be a number of workshops on the studies of Sri Aurobindo, a number of them, and there should be a very large participation in them.
We all need to reread Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, all of us, and these workshops should be the life breath of Auroville. So I would like this kind of activity to be fostered in this Faculty of Studies in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Finally, I have conceived this whole Center as having only one faculty ─ although I have spoken of seven faculties, I have spoken of a Central Faculty ─ and that is the real faculty. In fact, all the seven are only subordinate faculties, meaning thereby that these faculties have to work in some kind of unity, interdisciplinarity, so that the Center’s principal subjects ─ namely, evolution, human unity and the next species ─ are thoroughly supported by whatever streams of knowledge that you bring through the various faculties. All of them ultimately should nurture these three important subjects.
It is to this effort that I wanted to invite all members of Auroville, even those who may feel very diffident about research. I would like to tell them that Mother has put down the program of Auroville, and the one word that she has put down is research. The only program of Auroville is research, so we are automatically members of this research team. It’s a club of researchers, as it were, and we are all to participate in this research. Therefore I would like to invite everybody. And that will really give meaning to the idea of Auroville being a place of unending education.
I have suggested that since in Auroville there are many people who are highly educated, since there is a great expertise, I would like them to study the various themes of research delineated here. I would like them to add some new ones, or subtract some, and write a ten-page note on whatever they are good at. One may be good in music, another in painting, a third in technology, a fourth in studies of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother ─ whatever. The reason is that I want to present these papers to students who are now getting ready for higher education. All research thrives when there is a two-way traffic: the researcher giving the benefit of his research to the students, the students exploring the results and posing new problems to the researcher and stimulating new research. I’ve not seen any teacher thriving very well without students. You need students all the time ─ then your own teaching becomes much more marked, precise, refreshing. So I would very much like that these ten-page notes be collected, then I want to hold a kind of conference of students in Auroville, if that is possible. I want to bring these papers and these researchers together in front of them, and tell them, “This is a kind of a small wealth that is available in Auroville ─ you are free to swim in this ocean of knowledge.” There is no compulsion ─ it is No School, so there is no schooling as such ? but there will be this kind of opening available. You choose whatever studies you want to make out of these because the teachers and researchers are available. Maybe they don’t have much time to give to the students, but then this is No School. Therefore, teachers need not come exactly at ten o’clock and go at five o’clock. It’s No School. We need to develop new methods ─ research methods ─ of education.
This was the method in the Upanishads, the Upanishadic method of education, where a student could go to a teacher and the teacher did not engage all his time. He simply gave you a program to follow. A teacher may not have the time to deal with the program, but he gives you the program, and then you continue with it ─ the student studies by himself and occasionally meets the teacher. Maybe some people have time, and they can do research and intensive education at the same time. There are some students who need, on certain topics, such help that they will require daily dialogue with the teacher. Also, because the student is doing a lot of research himself, every day he has a lot of questions to ask. In such cases, a teacher may be available who has got a lot of time also, and who may engage a student every day two hours, three hours at a stretch ─ only one student. Adi Shankaracharya had only five students, but he devoted his time to these five pupils and created a great impact upon India and Indian culture. This is the system. Depending upon your availability, upon the need of the work, the need of the student, you are free to organize your research and your transmission of the results of the research to the students in a way that is suitable to you. Again, it is No School, and therefore there’ll be no supervision over it.It’s entirely between you and the pupils.
It is this kind of higher education that I feel we should develop in Auroville. So I invite you? This is the practical aspect of my endeavour today ─ to write a ten-page note on whatever your specialty may be. If you don’t write, it doesn’t matter. You simply say, “I will speak.” In which case we shall arrange a talk by you to the students, where you can expound what you know and what you can do, so the students know what you are able to do. And also there is one very important thing: All teaching has to be interesting. Of course, interest depends upon many factors, and our knowledge should reach a point where it becomes interesting… But this is pedagogy, and I don’t want to enter into pedagogy just now.
We want to organize events in Auroville where researchers can meet students, can transmit their experience to the students and receive questions from students. Not necessarily in a group meeting, but even individually. Such an organisation should exist in Auroville; there should be some framework for this kind of possibility. There are many students who feel that they are not being attended to, that their aspirations are not being answered, or that what they want to learn is not available here. Why should there be such a situation? There are such learned people available in Auroville! I think this problem has to be met concretely.
This was my little practical request, so that we can go forward in developing this research centre. CIRHU is not a building; it’s an activity, and we are all here to do this activity.
Buildings are necessary, they will come up in due course, but even without buildings, meetings and education are always possible.