Sri Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture. (SAIIC) Shillong workshop, 26,Oct -7 Nov, 2006 - 23. Religion and Education, Shraddha

Shraddha in the Bhagavad Gita is very revealing—Shraddha comes from the supreme divine himself into the individual. It is not a man-made belief. There is something in your own soul, a perception which is yet unripe and it presses on you to disregard the sastra. It’s a perception. My shastra may say: widow remarriage is not according to shastra, and yet some Hindu may feel: my god, this is completely wrong. There is some perception in me which says this. I cannot admit, I cannot accept it, there is something wrong about it. It’s a perception which is still unripe. It has no argument, for example, many people may say show me the shastra. You may not be able to say anything, but yet you feel this is wrong. Christ said that Moses said to you, eye for eye and tooth for tooth, but Christ said “no”. You don’t say because of shastra. Shastra already says this. On what basis do you say that it is not true? There was a call in his being, this perception.

But not only that, according to Sri Aurobindo, and according to the Gita as Sri Aurobindo has explained that this Shraddha is very vast, it says Shraddha is the soul itself, it’s not a belief. It is the soul itself. My own existence I feel I am nullified if what I see is wrong. That is the Shraddha. I don't exist if what I’m seeing is wrong. There is further conception—a faith is a perception which is unripe now, which should not stop at that stage, Shraddha should develop. There should be a dynamic movement which ultimately results in knowledge. Such Shraddha Sri Krishna says, for it you can break the shastra. And that Shraddha you develop and arrive at knowledge. Prove it and arrive at your knowledge.

Now this, according to me, is an extremely important quest. Why did Buddha, for example, say “I don't accept the Veda”. Why? Veda was the shastra at that time. Even prophet for example, at that time all the religions were existing. Yet he said: no, there is something else. Every prophet, he has moved forward by a shraddha which ultimately has resulted in knowledge. Now today, for example, we have so many religions, each one claiming this, another this, and we are all impartial individuals standing in the world and we feel there is no way of resolving this conflict—please, all those people, please come together!

Therefore, there is a need today to say that the shraddha of humanity is that there is something wrong, we cannot accept this, that religion quarrelling with another religion, my truth, my god, my lord, my prophets. What’s this? All prophets are great prophets, salute all of them. Each one has a truth and no truth is complete unless that truth is also included in its manuscript. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo’s own attitude is, you should also constantly move forward. Where reason is not applicable, have the method of revelation. There is nothing wrong. Method of revelation is also a correct method, because it's also a means of knowledge. Afterwards, you want knowledge and knowledge which you can verify, and always you can practice, you can repeat, you can modify, you can expand. If revelation is a method of it, why do you want to derive revelation? That is where the dogma of science comes in and therefore even science has to be humble and say up till now certainly Reason can find many things, but there are many things it cannot find out. By no state of imagination. Reason can ever see the totality. You can try anything, reason can conceive totality but it cannot see the totality. It’s a fact. Modern science itself has come to this conclusion that reason cannot see the totality, it can conceive it. Whereas revelations you can see, but even revelation actually Sri Aurobindo says is a spotlight.

You may see that I have seen the whole, and yet there is still the reality is much vaster than any perception, whether rational or revelatory, you should be constantly integrating higher and higher. That is the meaning of integral. An integral process of knowledge in which all fields of knowledge, all methods of knowledge are admitted, all are included and all should be harmoniously seen because ultimately the truth is truth, they cannot conflict with another truth. If they are conflicting, it means there's something wrong. Something has to be done. If this is the attitude given that even this dichotomy of fact and value will also disappear, this quarrel is unnecessary. Every factor has a value in it. Every value is based upon facts. There is a totality. It is on that basis that you should build a new system of education. Maybe students right from the beginning should be so wide, catholic, study all religions study all science and study yoga. In fact, yoga should be the method of education, so that you move forward by direct revelation yourself.

To say that only somebody can have revelation others cannot have is also not true. Yogic science has proved that if you follow certain methods of discipline, you can know the truth. Why not? If Christ, says “My father and I are One”, Isha Upanishad has said “so ham" already. So it is not something only Christ has seen and nobody else can see. It is not true, I mean historically it is not true. If Isha Upanishad rishi can say “so ham, I am he”, if Christ says “I am the son of god who is one with the father”, both revelations are correct, both corroborate. What is wrong about it? Why should I say only Christ says, and only he can say nobody else can say.

This kind of label that you have put, according to me, the fault of religion is to say that this is the only method, exclusivism. Once Mother said that the solution of the world's problems will come if all religions meet together and say we shall exclude exclusivity. That is all. Exclusivism! Let us all meet together, there's a good divine concert in which all the truths come together. In fact, I believe myself, for example, that if I am not accepting the truth of Christ, my perception of my life is incomplete. If I do not accept the truth of Islam, my life is incomplete, if I don't accept judaism, my life is incomplete. If I don't accept Buddhism, my life is incomplete. If I don't accept Veda, my life is incomplete. Each one has given a revelation. Some have given more revelations, some have given less revelations, but all this can be combined together. And if I am a seeker of truth and truth alone and the whole truth or the largest possible truth, then I should be open to all the windows and vastly I should fly towards the highest sky in the infinity. Education therefore, should be based on this fundamental quest. Thank you.