PROF. KIREET JOSHI: Prof. Sharma, my dear friend, Mr. Mahajan, Members, Vice Principles, teachers, friends, everybody, it is always a privilege to be with the teachers. The larger problems of humanity are connected with civilization and the burden of civilization rests on the shoulders of teachers. They are the carriers of civilization from epoch to epoch. Therefore, it is always important that teachers are reminded that they have to carry it in their own being the highest meaning of civilization.
This is not the occasion to define civilization, to speak of culture, how to distinguish between civilization and culture. They are both inter-related. But there is no doubt that culture and civilization meet together when the human mind begins to develop. You might have a civilization which is bare police in law and order, but that condition of law and lawyer does not become civilization unless the element of the mind development comes into it that is a distinguishing feature. Every civilization at the minimum level should develop the mind. The mind is triangular in character. It has three aspects. It has the aspect of rationality; it has the aspect of ethicality, morality, it has the aspect of aesthetics. When Plato spoke of pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness, he meant to identify these three important elements of the mind and wanted a synthesis of these three. Whether a culture is higher or lower can be measured in terms of the synthesis of these three. India is culturally very high because of the fact that it has pursued these three ideals at the highest possible levels. Therefore, we the teachers who are the carriers of Indian civilization and culture have to embody its highest peaks of culture that India has manifested throughout its long history.
Not only these three elements of the mind, Indian culture has gone one step farther and that is the dimension of the spirit of man. There have been civilizations like Greek civilization. They had developed all the three aspects, ethical, rational, aesthetic. There was Egyptian civilization which developed, to some extent, morality and occultism and religion, but on other aspects it was quite undeveloped. Romans, for example developed a high sense of ethicality, but not such a great sense of aesthetics nor such a great sense of rationality.
Today, for example, all over the world the Greek culture has come back because of renaissance. Renaissance is called renaissance because it was the rebirth of the Greek culture and all over the world today, the impact of this Greek culture is present among all of us. But the most important thing which was lacking in Greek culture was the power of the spirit to synthesize properly truth, beauty and goodness and it is one country in the world which has profoundest experiences of the spirit of man; it is Indian culture. That is why responsibilities of Indian teachers exceeds the responsibilities of teachers anywhere in the world because they have to rise to that peak where truth, beauty and goodness can be synthesized. The synthesis is a very difficult problem, only spirit can do it.
One can be highly rational and yet not aesthetic. One can be aesthetic, but not moral but all the three together and to synthesize all the three is the most difficult problem of human life. It is this aspect in India; there are periods of Indian history where these three aspects became extremely united. And it is this task basically of a teacher when we speak of teacher enrichment, of which Mr. Mahajan spoke just now; it is that aspect which I want to emphasize.
He said, we are not here for lecture on tutoring but on education. Education means fundamentally cultivation of culture and particularly for us Indian culture. And this Indian culture has a tremendous potentiality of giving to the world the highest flower of consciousness. Therefore, when I meet teachers, I always feel very happy to snap the occasion because it is not very easy to contact them. There are many teachers but even to find two hours with them is a rare privilege and I value very much that you have all come today and I have some occasion when I can interact with you.
We have thought together, Mr. Mahajan and myself, as he said we have worked together for years and years. He was in charge of UNESCO affairs, did marvelous service to India in the international arena and we have planned together lots of programmes of education in the country and even this programme is our joint association. Dr. Sharma also has been my colleague, very valued colleague and we feel some kind of symphony among us.
So, it is a great happiness to be together and to share these ideas today together. We thought there are many problems of pedagogy, which are very important. But there is also a possibility of developing in our country by programme of enrichment of teachers and this is our experiment, how to teach a subject is very important and every teacher should be in his own subject, master of pedagogy. So, one of my complaints in India is that our pedagogy is extremely poor. We have hardly made an effort to consider how a given subject should be taught to students. NCERT was conceived as an institution for pedagogy and stalwarts like Sharma ji have come, have done their bit, but our historical background is so poor as far as education is concerned since Macaulay came to India and uprooted our basic foundation of education. We have been extremely poor in pedagogy, but apart from pedagogy because enrichment is a root of pedagogy and therefore, we thought that we should to the root and develop in our country a programme of enrichment of teachers. And this is one of our first or second experiment in this task.
My own development of this teacher enrichment programme is based upon one fundamental question, a question on which I have made research for the last thirty years. The question is very simple, but very difficult to answer. What is it that every human being as a human-being should learn, what a human-being should learn to become a doctor, is easier to answer what he should learn to become lawyer, is easier to answer, but what should a human-being as a human-being should learn, this is the big question. In fact, true education is human education.
What Swami Vivekananda when he said, is he wants man making education, his main challenge to everybody was, what is man and how man should develop as a man? What is a human-being as a man, as a human being, what should he learn in his life and on what lines, the answer should be provided, what is the pedagogy of it? This is the basic question on which I have spent many-many years and it is in the process of that research, I have compiled several books. It is like every research work an open book. It is not a closed book. It is not as if the research is done. This research is an ongoing process and while I present some of these things, I invite you to contribute to this research. It is a research to be shared by all. I have so far produced mainly four books in answer to this question. Every human being is supposed to live life and therefore every human being should know what is life and the most important question in search of this answer – what is the aim of life, if at all it has any aim. Our research may show that human life has no aim, it may show.
Scientifically, it should be open to any kind of possible answer. But if it has an aim, what is that aim? So, that is the first question that every human being should be engaged in. One of the greatest contributions of India right from the beginning in the pedagogy was, to raise this question in education. This is the one question which was knocked out by Macaulay in our system of education. One of the reasons why we say Macaulay system is to be replaced; it is because of this reason. f you read Taittiriya Upanishad, which I would recommend every teacher in India to read it’s a very short one. In the first Chapter of Taittiriya Upanishad, it is called Shikshavalli it is a Manual of Education Shikshavalli. If you read only the first Chapter, it is enough for teachers. It gives you this basic answer to this question, what is the aim of life and puts you on to the anvil of this search and takes you to very high level. Within 3-4 pages, you are on the top. That is the specialty of Upanishadic literature. All Upanishads are short statements, which can be read within half an hour. Each one like Ishopanishad has only eighteen verses and you can finish within half an hour, if you know Sanskrit. But even in translation, you can finish in half an hour. But this half an hour takes you to 200 years of expansion; such is the value of Upanishads and Taittiriya Upanishad is also one of them. Do read, I personally request you to read Taittiriya Upanishad Shikshawali. Therefore, the first question that we have to ask is what is the aim of life?
The second question that I ask is, since everybody in this world is a natural teacher and educator, natural even as a parent, you are a teacher, even a cat, the mother teaches the kitten without pedagogy, no special training, no B.Ed. and yet even an animal is required to teach the young. It is biological necessity of everyone to be a teacher. Therefore, every human being should know what is teaching and what is learning? Therefore, I have worked on a second book, which is called ‘The Good Teacher and the good Pupil’. This is the book that I have prepared.
Thirdly, every human being has a marvelous instrument of work. Basic instrument of work is his body; every human being, what is his body, marvel of the body? I would like every teacher to answer this question, what is this human body; as a human-being; everybody must learn what is this human body?”
So in answer to that, I have prepared this book called ‘Mystery and Excellence of the Human Body’. It is a mystery of this body and this body can be made excellent instrument. This is the capacity in the body just as in the atom, we find, modern science has found out in the atom a tremendous energy. Similarly, when you make a research in human body, you find every cell has all mightiness in it. Sri Aurobindo wrote in his Savitri ‒ all mighty power rests in the cell. This is the special knowledge of human cell that every human being consists of cells. What is the power of the cell and how to develop this cell? In any case, that is the third question.
There is the fourth question. Every human being is required to rise from his present level to the higher level, wherever he may be or she may be. Every human being, to uplift the human being from wherever he is or she is to a next higher level is a problem of everybody. What is the magnet by which human being can be lifted? Is there a magnet by which human being can be lifted? I have come to this conclusion tentatively because I am doing research and you can contribute to it, that there are three great ideals, which can serve as magnet. If you can put before children these three ideals, children will be lifted, ‒ power of illumination, power of heroism and power of harmony.
These three powers are irresistible powers. No human being can remain insensitive to the power of illumination, no human-being can remain insensitive to the power of heroism, no human-being can remain insensitive to the power of harmony, ‒ the three irresistible powers by which human-being can be lifted up. Therefore, if you want to be a good teacher, as every teacher wants to be a good teacher and a better teacher and the best teacher, why not, I would suggest search for those examples in the history of the world, examples of those who have achieved illumination, of those who have been heroic in their life, those who have worked for harmony, pick up from the history of the world, East, West, make no distinctions. World is one and everywhere the examples of these three are available.
So, I am writing a fourth book, but this fourth book I am writing in a piece- meal manner, that is to say, I want to make 85 monographs under this, I have prepared ten so far, but 75 are still open and you can suggest to me, even in future you can write to me, if you have got some good example from history of the world, some heroic example, some example of harmony, some example of illumination. I would like to create a monogram. I have, for example, here this is one monograph. I have written myself this one. Others are all edited by me, but this one I have written myself. It is Homer and the Iliad and Sri Aurobindo and the Elion. Now many of us might not have heard what is Iliad; what is Homer, what is Sri Aurobindo, what is Elion and Sri Aurobindo, of course he is known to India, but that he wrote a poem for Elion is hardly known to anybody. And how difficult it is to write on Elion, Elion first of all means Troy, in the modern Turkey, for example, there is a place called Troy and if you go to any Western school or University, you are taught the War of Troy. We have heard of Helen of Troy, but what is the story of Helen of Troy and what is the heroism in that poem? Why Homer is one of the greatest poets of history that you might say that from purely poetic point of view, Homer even today remains unsurpassed. Every teacher should know who is the greatest poet in the world and why he is the greatest poet, why he still remains unsurpassed?
The only persons with whom we can compare Homer in India is and in the world level even is Valmiki and Vyasa. These two can compare with Homer from purely poetic point of view, from the critical appreciation of poetry. I would like our teachers to know about this and tell our children that here is Sri Aurobindo, who wrote a poem, hundred page long poem on the story of Troy, which is according to me even greater than what Homer had written, on the same subject. His poem called Eliot is a story of Elion, of Troy, that is why it is called Eliot. It is a story of the War of Troy, the Trojan War. It was the War between Trojans and Greeks. It is a tremendous story and Achilles is one of the great heroes of that story. And this story concentrates upon that great Achilles and if you read Sri Aurobindo’s characterization of Achilles, it is inspiring character. It is not the occasion to go into the details of these monograms, but I am giving one example, it is these kinds of man of harmony.
There is another one here; I have deliberately chosen Alexandra the Great. This is a story known to most of the people, but Alexandra has to be understood in many ways, not only as a man of personal ambition, but as a unifier of the world, it was Alexandra who wanted to unite the whole world; that vision is very important. I have here, for example, Joan of Arc. According to me, every student should learn the history and story of this young girl. At the age of 18, she became the Commander in Chief of French Army, a woman who did not know anything except the sheep and the farm, small farm which she was looking after. She was a Shepherdess. Suddenly, she got up, she said, Voice of God, go to the King of France, offer your services, lead the army and she obeyed that command and she succeeded and she can be really regarded as the Mother of French Nationalism, just as Queen of Jhansi may be regarded as the Mother of Indian Nationalism. Similarly, Joan of Arc may be regarded as the Mother of French Nationalism. Mark Twain, who is very famous as a humourist, there is a good article of Mark Twain in this book, which says that the greatest story in the world history is the story of Joan of Arc. Mark Twain, a humourist, he in his own deepest seriousness having studied the history of the World, he says, this is one biography, which is unique in the world history.
I would like teachers and students to learn all these great heroic illumined individuals, who have changed the history of the world, who have given the real story of culture, really shown what human-being is and can be and ought to be. I have taken on this theme because of the fact that I know, I have limited time; I have to show some more important things and therefore, this subject I may not have the chance to speak to you later on, but I have spent this time in the beginning to deal with this important subject. Now I will come back to this subject on the aim of life. This is an important subject and this is the book. Actually I would like to introduce this book to you; in fact, this lecture is only for introducing these four books to you. But how to introduce, therefore, my friends, Mrs. Sarita Saraf and my friends have made a big effort to put on the power point and so I shall request them now to show you the aspects of this book. Thank you.
This word exploration is very important, in all my presentations. I believe education is not prescription; education is exploration and the spirit of exploration should be constantly guiding all over, never be dogmatic, remain open always to new truth, better truth, highest truth, still higher truth. This should be the spirit of everybody that is to be a good teacher, you should be exploring and all these books are written in the spirit of exploration.
I am now summarizing the whole human history, as far as the aim of life is concerned. If you study the whole history of mankind and ask, what is the aim of life that human beings have pursued, examined, it is a kind of a quintessence and we find, in fact, I have been a student of Sri Aurobindo and I must tell you that Sri Aurobindo has made a study of human history, as far as nobody has done in the world and having studied the whole history of mankind, he has summarized. I am only a carrier, a small carrier of what he has done and has shown and he has said that if you look at the whole history of mankind, all the aims of life can be summarized into four categories.
First is the Supra Cosmic View, the words are difficult. We shall come to later on. But this is one aim of life, Supra Cosmic aim of life. This is one view. Next is called the Cosmic Terrestrial View. Third is the Supra Terrestrial View and the fourth is the Integral View. You take any philosophy, materialism, vitalism, idealism, religions, any philosophy you take; they can all be covered under these four categories, so that you have a summary actually before you. When you see these four aims, once you know there are four aims of life in the world history, any aim of life that you hear, you can put in one of these categories. It is the ready reckoner. Anybody, you ask him what is the aim of life and the moment, he starts speaking, you can put him either Supra Terrestrial, Cosmic Terrestrial or in the Integral View.
As you move forward, we shall come to define these four aims of life. I start with Ishopanishad because both for India and the world, for the first time, a comprehensive view of life was presented. I spoke of 18 verses of the Ishopanishad and these 18 verses give you the what I can call the integral view of life, all aspects of life, how to integrate all aspects of life, it includes Supra Cosmic, Cosmic, Supra Terrestrial and Integral all the four are integrated into these four. So, this is my invitation to everybody that if you want to know the integral view of life, read the Upanishad, only eighteen verses and you will get the idea of the text.
Now I come to a view of life which is entirely Supra Cosmic. This is the search for utter transcendent. If you read Buddhism in the teaching of Buddha, he says, ‘this world can be transcended totally. You can arrive at a consciousness which takes you altogether away from this world, that is, a reality which has nothing to do with this world at all. But such a possibility exists for man to find this reality.’
I will now come to Apology. It is one of the greatest dialogues written by Plato in which he has shown according to Socrates the greatest thing that man should do is to examine life. He said, if you do not examine what is life, you have not lived life. It is a Cosmic View of life that is to say, when you are in the world, in the cosmos and if you want to do the best in the cosmos itself, don’t go to utter transcendence. The main thing is life is heroism.
It is a picture of Socrates. On his death bed, he is teaching philosophy. He is being asked to drink poison, so that he may die. This is the punishment given by the fellow people of his city Athens, because he was teaching philosophy and people were uneasy about it. So he said you drunk poison so that you may die. He accepts, he says I am a citizen; I do not agree with you, but I am a part of the citizenship. If you decide, I will do it, but they said, no, no, if you stop teaching philosophy, then you can live. So, he says I teach philosophy, I will continue to do that. That does not matter, he drinks poison in this condition of life. He is teaching philosophy while he drinks poison. Then he dies immediately thereafter. It is a great example.
This is also cosmic view of life, adventure, adventure in this world, ambition, yes, but ambition to unite the world, Alexandra the Great. If you examine his aim of life and you follow his career, you derive some conclusion. It is for everybody to find out if you follow the path of adventure and ambition, what is the ultimate result that you make at the highest level? If there was one man who tried his utmost within a short life of 32. He tried to achieve the best and the highest, that one can achieve with relentless adventure. You have got an example. And then from him, you ask him, what did you find in the life ultimately? W hat is the fulfillment of your life? Did you find it? I will not tell you the answer you have to study it.
Here is another view, exactly the opposite of ambition, be meek, be humble, be like a child Kingdom of Heaven, is the aim of life. This is what is called Supra Terrestrial; heaven is not terrestrial, it is not here, but if you do a right thing here, you will get a passport, you might say to heaven. Therefore, Kingdom of Heaven you should establish in your heart, you establish a kingdom of heaven and when you pass away from this life, if you have lived the life, if you have loved your neighbours as yourself, if you have been very kind, if you have been forgiving, if you have been a child, then you will have entrance into the kingdom of heaven. This is the message that Christ has given.
This is from Niti Shatkam of Bhartrihari in India. It is also Cosmic View of life, not supra terrestrial, cosmic, that in life you live in this world, as it is, but the meaning of life you will get only if you good, pursuit of goodness, you will get satisfaction and fulfillment and if you pursue what is good and what is that goodness, Bhartrihari has written hundred verses to describe goodness and if you really want to teach your children, what is goodness and if you as a teacher, know these hundred versus, you will be very good teacher to teach children, what is goodness.
This is the message of Islam. It is also Supra Terrestrial view. You will go to heaven. Paradise is the aim of Islam. You will go to paradise on one condition. Here, the condition is different; in the case of Christ the condition was love, compassion. Here, it is a submission to the Will of God. Here is God who has a will. Submit it to that Will; that will give you the passage to heaven, paradise. It is a Supra Terrestrial view of life. I am not saying it is right or wrong at present. It is for everybody to decide what is right and what is wrong. You have a vast panorama of different aims of life before you, then you decide for yourself, what is the aim of life, that you should pursue.
At present because this subject is not taught anywhere in the world, our people are unguided. They pick up some ordinary aphorism jeevan ek safar hai, jeevan ek paheli hai. Some stray words from here and there you pick up and become the guide of life, but the answer is not available to you. Education does not provide you a vast panorama of different aims of life which are being pursued. Therefore, we are unguided; we do not teach anybody of what is to be a man and unless you know scientifically, you must make a study, what is aim of life. Don’t pick up any stray words from here and there and make it a guide, make a serious study, examine all kinds of aims of life which are being pursued and then you see for yourself what should be your aim of life.
This is called again Supra Cosmic aim of life. He says the world is alive, Brahman is real – Brahman Satyam, Jagat Mithyat – world is alive, there is a supra cosmic, the cosmos is life is a falsehood? Reality is elsewhere, can you go beyond cosmos. It is also a great philosophy in India, which has been developed.
This is a Cosmic Aim of life, but of a different kind, not only to be good, not only to be heroic, this is another aim of life, while in the cosmos, aim of excellence, aim of perfection. Be perfect like Leonardo. I have given here the example of Leonardo, as a man of excellence. At the young age, when he had no employment, he writes a letter to his Duke and says ‒ what he can do? He was a painter; of course, he was sculptor and an engineer and atomist, biologist. It is the one, who imagined at that time in the 14th century – he drew the picture of a future aeroplane, Will Durant, the greatest historian of the world, who wrote eleven big volumes called History of Civilization; by the way, when you have time, please visit these eleven volumes of Will Durant, one man writing the whole history of the world is a great feat of human consciousness, how one man can see the whole world in one panoramic view in detail. It is not only a cursory, 20 pages or 30 pages note, eleven big volumes and having seen the whole history of the world, he marks out only two greatest men in the world history. One of them is Leonardo; in his estimate having seen everything in the world history all the greatest feats, the Leonardo was the greatest, and the only one comparable to him was Augustus Caesar, not Julius Caesar of whom we know because of Shakespeare’s drama, not that Augustus Caesar, the one who succeeded Julius Caesar to the Throne of Rome. You must read also Augustus Caesar. Because of Shakespeare, we read only Julius Caesar, but if you really want to know the greatest feat, one man who established the Roman Empire, which remained in history for eight hundred years alive, who was the founder of that Empire, it was Augustus Caesar. His life and life of Leonardo, if you read these two lives, you get the highest peak of human excellence and perfection. These are some of the sketches of Leonardo.
Now, I take you back to another dimension of life. This is also Supra Terrestrial; view of life but of a different level. Neither the way of Christ, nor the way of Mohammed, another way of life, it is a Supra Terrestrial but a different gate. The love of Radha for Krishna, that love embodied in Shri Chaitanya and if you read the life of Shri Chaitanya, you get the secrets of the highest delight that human soul can experience; when the human soul meets the supreme Divine as a friend, as a lover, not as a judge, not as a father, not as a teacher, not as a man of justice, your most intimate friend, lover, in the eyes of whom you can feel like melting everything that you have. This love, this is the message of Shri Chaitanya, if you can develop this love.
The modern man today is intellectual man and he constantly asks this question, whenever you talk to him about God, he says can intellect prove the existence of God? This is one of the central questions of all rational minds today in the world. Here was one man called Descartes. And he asked this question, can God’s existence be proved intellectually? And I would like every young person to read this, his proof, he has written an intellectual proof of the existence of God. Many people preach about God and many young people just throw away because they say it is not rational Descartes wanted to give a message Belief in God is relevant, intellectually provable and he gave this proof both of God and of human soul. It is a tremendous achievement of human mind. Even today I personally believe that the argument that he has given has remained un-refuted. Even today if you read, if you are truly rational, you would be obliged to accept his argument as final. This is my personal view, but nobody is open to study this proof and find out for himself or herself, but in any case, I would recommend everyone to study this proof of existence of God given by Descartes.
Indian approach is even higher. You may intellectually prove the existence of God. Question is, have you seen God? God can be thought perhaps, but that is not enough. Vivekananda was not satisfied with this. He was a great intellectual of his time when at the age of 18, he had mastered logic, but he was not satisfied. He wanted somebody who can say, here I have seen God; I can talk to him, I can live in him. Therefore, I would like every student to study this question, have you seen God? If you read Descartes for intellectual satisfaction and if you read Vivekananda for your spiritual satisfaction in experience, you have a very good place for search of God. Nobody can deny that you are doing something quite wrong, irrational.
This is a Cosmic Aim of life, again the world as I see it, this is Einstein ‒ we all see the world and everybody believes in the world, but difference between me and Einstein lies in what he can see and what I cannot see. The world that he sees, he saw that the world is not only space, three dimensional, the world, is four dimensional. Even today, when you try to see the four dimensions, you cannot see the world because in its four dimensions. You can see the height; you can see the breadth, you can see the length, but to see time as the fourth dimension. Einstein sees it, you and I cannot see it. Therefore, even cosmic aim of life you see, try to see as Einstein has seen it. It is a great example of how to see the world properly and truly.
This is also an example of Cosmic Aim of life. Nehru is not regarded as a philosopher in our country, not many people know that he wrote a beautiful article called ‘Life’s Philosophy’, which I would like every Indian to read it for the sake of knowing an exposition of what a modern man feels to see the merit of it and the limitation of it, both. Let me read out to you. He says, ‘there is too much to do in this life’. It is a Cosmic Aim of life, paradise may be exist, does not exist, God may exist, may not exist, does not matter. The world itself is so full that if you devotee to life, everything is here to be done, life is too short to do all that is to be done and this is his testament ultimately, essentially, I am interested in this world, in this life. Not in some other world or a future life, whether there is such a thing as a soul or whether there is a survival after death or not, I do not know. Important as these questions are, they do not trouble me in the least. This has echo of most of the modern man in the world, the environment in which I have grown up like you and me takes the soul or rather the Atma and the future life, the Karma theory of cause and effect and reincarnation for granted. I have been affected by this. So, in a sense I am fairly disposed about these assumptions, there might be a soul which survives the physical death of the body and a theory of cause and effect, governing life’s action, seems reasonable though it leads to difficulties, when one thinks of the ultimate cause. Presuming a soul, there appears to be some logic also in the theory of reincarnation, but I do not believe in any of these or other theories and assumptions, as a matter of religious faith. They are just intellectual speculation in an unknown region about which you know next to nothing. They do not affect my life whether they were proved right or wrong subsequently, they would make little difference to me. Life is too complicated and as far as we can understand it in our present state of knowledge too illogical for it to be confined within the four corners of a big doctrine. Real problems for me remain problems of individual and social life, of harmonious living, proper balancing of an individual’s inner and outer life, adjustment of the relations between individual and between groups, continuous becoming something better and higher of social development of the serious adventure of man in the solution of these problems, the way of observation and precise knowledge and deliberate reasoning according to method of science must be followed.” This is the message that Nehru gives.
Similar to Nehru, but much more stringent is the view of Bertrand Russell. He also pursues the aim of life; actually he got the Nobel Prize for his book called ‘Conquest of Happiness’.That is one of his great achievements. He was a great philosopher, but he got Nobel Prize for Literature because he wrote this great book for ‘Conquest of Happiness’. And he wrote a great short article called “A Freeman’s Worship”. A thorough atheist, who does not believe in God, soul or anything at all, he believes only in this life and that too only material life. Cosmic aims of life can be three types, materialistic, vitalistic, idealistic. Nehru’s cosmic aim of life can be called an idealistic aim of life, but cosmic aim of life. In the case of Bertrand Russell, it is the materialistic cosmic aim of life. Material alone is the cosmos, nothing else and yet he came to the conclusion that man should be free if you live life as a free man, a time will come when you will become a worshipper. Just is a religious man, on the other hand becomes a worshipper, he says when you really become a true man, even if you think the world has no meaning, even then when you reach to the highest goal of your life, the highest point of your life, you will be a worshipper.
This is the last in the book, which I have written here compiled here, it is called ‘Ascent to the Truth’. In my view this is one of the shortest of the greatest exposition of the aim of life. This is written by the Mother in the form of a drama. I would like you to visit this drama or at least read this 7-8 pages of drama. She has shown how different individuals have approached life. It shows the philanthropist one who lives the life of serving others, helping others, giving donations, charities and when he is told that a day will come when the world will be absolutely good, charity will not be required at all, he gives them. He says I have had no business of life if everybody becomes very happy in this world; I have no business in life, so he leaves searching for the truth altogether. Then there are artists, lovers, there are aspirants. According to the Mother, you should not be any one of these; you should be a real seeker, searching for the highest with consequence only for the sake of highest truth. Then the highest secret will be available. What is that highest secret, you will read in her drama.
Next, this is the message that the Mother has to give after studying everything in the world and this is my personal view. I am a disciple of the Mother and I came to this conclusion myself and I was very happy when I read in the Mother this conclusion, there is a Divine wealth that wants to manifest itself in physical life. Our aim is to discover that Divine wealth into work for its manifestation in physical life. It is an integral view of life, the Divine on the one hand the supra cosmic and supra terrestrial on one hand and the cosmic and the physical matter, the union of the two, the highest aim of life, according to my understanding is to see that there are two ends, matter and spirit, and our task is to unite the two into many faces that is matter. . I think my time is up actually.
I am told now I should now ‒ there is a break here. I will stop here now and have refreshment and come back and I will have a little time to interact with you, if time permits.
I think I have finished my presentation actually and normally my presentation is three to four hours. I have run to some extent to be able to cover some things that I wanted to say during the time that was allotted in the morning. Within five minutes I will introduce another book which I have and then I want to give time to all of you so that I may have the opportunity of interaction. Second book that I have prepared is what is called ‘The Good Teacher and The Good Pupil’. it’s a very large book, it has taken me years and years to go round the whole world and go to various libraries and examples, my aim is to bring out quintessential matters that which is absolutely golden you might say like a miner, when you go to the mine you dig out something that is golden from the mine. So this research of mine with regard to examples of good teachers, good pupils very difficult question, who is a good pupil, who is a good teacher and the conclusion that I have reached is that there are many ways of teaching, there is not one single way. I have begun with the ideal of teacher in Indian culture, who was imaged in the image of a Rishi. Standards of teaching were very high, you can’t be a teacher unless you have realised God. If this the standard that we keep in our life in the world and country, very few people would be qualified to be appointed as teachers but that is what India had that Gurukuls in India were run by Rishis. Those who had rich life like Vasshishtha and Vishwamitra and they used to establish their own Ashram and they used to look after the children of the nation. And in fact this tradition was so important that even today it is relevant, fortunately India still has some Rishis here and there and they have provided that kind of shower of knowledge and wisdom on this nation, even now. But that ideal is to be remembered that is to say the important point is ‒ qualification of a real teacher is that he has wisdom, it is the minimum, he has wisdom not only information and knowledge. Wisdom can come only when you have entered into the realms of highest peaks of knowledge. And the teacher is one who pines for pupils, this is another qualification. In Taittiriya Upanishad there is a very nice verse, where the teacher says: “Let the Brahmcharins come to me” the teacher is in search for pupils, he pines for pupils. His life is unfulfilled if there are no pupils, such a person who has reached a high level of consciousness, really pines for it. His whole life of love manifests in the love for those who are seeking. And in that tradition, who is a pupil? A pupil is one who seeks knowledge, this is a minimum qualification, not only sent to school as now we are, we throw the children into the school but one who seeks knowledge, one who has enthusiasm and he is prepared to be tested by the teacher, so that he can be regarded as being qualified to study, very high standards of teaching and learning. As Sri Aurobindo says: The mark of a teacher is that he possesses wisdom, the mark of the pupil is that he has got utsaha, he has enthusiasm, a child who has no enthusiasm is not a student. Qualification for a student is that he has enthusiasm, utsaha that is the basis of teaching and learning in our country and it is in that way you see the examples of Nachiketas in Kathopanishad or Chandogya Upanishad, Aruni teaching the pupil Svetaketu,. By knowing what can you know everything, what is it knowing which everything is known, it is the greatest challenge of education. Is there something, knowing which everything can be known and India says: yes, there is something, it is tat twam asi, if you know ‒ you are That, everything is known. What is that knowledge, how do you get that knowledge? This is the one type of teaching and learning that is exemplified and this is what every teacher in the countries in the world should know that there is a tradition in India, a high level of being a good teacher and a good pupil.
Then you have another tradition starting with the Buddha. Buddha was also a great pupil, people know about him that he was a teacher but they don’t know that he was a pupil, our research is the pupilhood of Buddha, his student life and then his search, he went from teacher to teacher until every teacher said : I know this much, now you go further to another teacher. And he went from teacher to teacher to get knowledge then ultimately found beyond all teachers. A tremendous proposition in India that the real teacher is secret in your heart, all other teachers are intermediaries for some time and nobody should arrogate to himself Guruhood, real Guru is inside your heart, who rules the whole world ‒ Jagatguru that is the real guru, it is that Guru who gave him the true Buddhahood. Then we know that the methods of teaching of Buddha are wonderful like the Kissagautami is a story of a woman who has lost her child and wanted her child to be revived and goes to Buddha and he gives a teaching to her and she becomes herself a great Buddhist nun and herself a great realised individual.
Then we go to the West, one of the greatest teachers is Plato, who gives a beautiful analogy of the den with darkness in which everyone are tied to the ropes, one of the stories he has told in his great book The Republic. We are all like slaves tied with the ropes, who can only look in one direction, only the wall is before them, all the slaves are turned to the wall. Behind them is the fire, so there is light, light casts the shadows of them on the wall so they only know that the world consists of these. They do not know whose shadows they are because they do not know the science of the shadows even they only think that this is all that the world is ‒ the shadows. It is to say all of us our slaves tied to posts and this is all our knowledge, whatever knowledge that we have is the knowledge of the shadows that we see.
A good teacher is one who makes an effort to come out of the den, unties himself, who is out of the cave and low and behold he sees the beautiful sun, source of all light, resplendence of light then he realises what this whole world is in the light of the sun. he has gone out of the den,he has untied himself from the posts not only that the good teacher when he is inspired to go back to all his brethren, my dear friends, you are all tied, be liberated, I can untie you, I can take you and show you real light. That is the inspiration that a real teacher can give to the pupil, who really knows because the mark of a good teacher is he is very keen to teach, not very difficult to approach him, to go to the real heart he has all the time for you. A good teacher has all the time.
I think I have taken lot of your time, it’s a long, long search, I have gone round the world to make a list of good teachers’ history and propounded their views about what is teaching and what is learning.