On Education - Sovereignity of the Child (March 1999, Auroville) - Track 2

When Mother was giving means to the Centres of Education in Auroville, I was myself greatly illuminated when she spoke of Last School, meaning thereby that school that was being opened at that time was a concession to humanity because humanity has a habit of creating schools and that was the concession which Mother gave to us and allowed a school to come into existence. So  I felt that after this something else has to happen in which there will be no school at all and then afterwards I heard that Mother said that After School and then No School. So she gave three concessions one after the other because we were still not awakened from our sleep that mother wants something quite different and that is that Mother’s second article of the Charter that whole of Auroville is to be a sight of endless education. Now if whole of Auroville is nothing but endless education then where is the school? Whole Auroville is a school, you have a right to call it a school actually it is not a school.

Now in this context your question is significant. Ideally every activity in Auroville should be developed as a school, every activity, whether you are constructing, weaving or spinning or pottery, or gardening, or farming all activities in Auroville should be educational activities. Now if that really happens then there will be no school as such. The question is are we still ready for it? If we are ready I’ll be very happy, it’s a big experiment,– how to make every activity in Auroville an educational activity. For that all the adult members of Auroville have to sit up, how to make my office for example an office for education. If I really become a learner myself and I vibrate with the aspiration to learn, giving up my pride of my expertise, my knowledge, my mastery; saying what Mother had specially written to me, ‘Never believe that you know, what you know is nothing as compared to what remains to be known.’ Now if we can live in that state of experience and not only believe but in the knowledge of it, a real realisation as to what you know is nothing. As in the Agenda, Mother herself speaks about her own. She says: We know nothing. At the age of 93, she says we know nothing. Now imagine what a freshness of consciousness is there where you really, genuinely feel you know nothing. it is to be born to that experience that all education should emerge. We can sat that we are truly educated when we are constantly fresh and we encounter every experience with the freshness that would really give the true character of Auroville. We are very far from the ideal because of this reason. I think the answer to your question lies in this. If this happens then this question will be answered automatically, therefore I do not give any answer in a theoretical manner that: yes, children should be sent to factories, let them learn, I don’t give that answer. if this happens first the children would be sucked as it were into the whole and you will find that every place you go it will be teaching, learning experience. It will happen, if this is really done and that is my personal aspiration for Auroville. Let Auroville be really a sight of endless education of the children.

Here again Mother once wrote down for me very nice sentence,– If the body does not obey in its very functioning meticulous discipline you cannot put one step forward while walking; and this is the importance of discipline in education. Without discipline there is no education. This conflict which comes about between freedom and discipline is because we are all lame. We are limping all the time and then these conflicts arise. If you are really free, Sri Aurobindo has written ‘Discipline is a child of freedom’. If you really become free then discipline will automatically flow from it, it’s not the other way round and the highest goal of life is freedom. So the moment we begin to grow into freedom, you’ll find there will be no conflict between freedom and discipline. More free you become the more disciplined your methods for work, for example if you read  The Life Divine, the meticulous arrangement of ideas and oceanic ideas, you think without discipline all this can be written in the way it is written and all that is written is in absolute freedom. That freedom automatically expresses itself in all disciplined methods of writing and expositions. So if we develop ourselves into freedom, you will see your children will be highly disciplined automatically, you don’t need to tell them: now do this, do that all the time, taunting the child that is not necessary. If your own life is full of freedom, true freedom, all your activities will be rhythmic, arrangement of life will be rhythmic, in fact the whole atmosphere of Auroville will be rhythmic, you won’t need to tell the children: now be disciplined, be obedient, you won’t need it. I have seen families where children who are really living a life of great freedom and parents are living a life of enlightenment, the children are automatically obedient. It’s a fact. This is a place according to me of discipline and education.