Sri Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture. (SAIIC) Shillong workshop, 26,Oct -7 Nov, 2006 - 25. Integral Education and Spiritual Education

And she reached the point of what is called cellular consciousness, — the mind of the cells, and this is her special message. Like a scientist, she was looking into the truth of the cell and she said when she went and touched the cell consciousness; it was automatically repeating a mantra — Om Namo Bhagavate. It’s constant without any effort, and she said in every cell of the human body, whether you like it or not, it is going on. It is because the cells are coated by other consciousnesses that we don't hear it and this is the mantra she has given to all her disciples. You repeat: Om Namo Bhagavate, you will touch the very sound by which your cells are constituted and if you want true transformation of the consciousness, this is the key. Swami ji asked a question after repeating, did you feel anything? It was a blue light which was vibrating in this whole, entire hall when he was uttering these words: hari om! Whether we recognize it or not, it doesn't matter, that's why he said: if you have not felt anything now, tomorrow you’ll feel it, that's perfectly all right.

We have been here for the last few days. Every evening we are discussing education because today there is a need for a revolution in education. Panigrahi ji who came on the very first day here; and he spoke of the Bahai idea of education and put a seal on the word spirituality. Swami ji spoke of Shanti Niketan; how Tagore taught everybody this spirituality and this is what has happened to it, this great institution. Just two days ago, I was commenting on it.

When Indira ji invited me to the Government of India to advise the Government on education she sent a note to Dr Noorul Hussain, who was the Minister of education. In her own handwriting she had written: the first task that you should give to Kireet Joshi is to resurrect Shanti Niketan and whatever steps he takes will be vetted only by me, that is, by Indira Gandhi. Minister, had no right to say yes or no, she wrote herself and then Noorul Hussain showed me that note. I took 10 years to study this Shanti Niketan. Thereafter what happened? Why is it what it has become and I found, one of the fatal things that was done to Shanti Niketam was the Government of India Act of Vishwa Bharti 1951. It pointed out, in the very first paragraph, praising Shanti Niketan in its past, saying that this Shanti Niketan is now declared to be an institution of national importance with the two words, hence we are now constituting this university for instruction and examination, — these two words.

All that Tagore had said was murdered by these two words. Tagore opposed instruction, he opposed examination. His whole education system was based; you remember Tagore wrote a beautiful parable, Parrot’s Training. Parrot was to be educated. How can it be educated? Unless you make a golden cage for it, unless you don't allow the parrot to fly away, unless you give lots of books and throw them into it? All this was done to the parrot by the big educationists and the king said he will come one day to see what has happened. The king came, he saw such beautiful things happening in the whole school of the parrot; went to the cage where the parrot was stuffed with a lot of books. He touched the parrot, found the parrot was dead. It’s a parody, satire on the whole education system. You give instruction, then you examine it, that is education. It actually tells the story of our entire system of education today. The constant system of instruction and examination, it doesn't tell you the secret of life.

How many people, for example, have read Taittiriya Upanishad? It is the first text in India in which the education system is described. You go around in the country, so many teachers, millions of teachers today in India, only ask them one question: have you read the first text — Shikshavalli of Taittiriya Upanishad? You will hardly find anybody in India who has read that text. Why? If you touch Upanishads you become Hindu. What a terrible thing it is, to hear. Upanishads were never written by Hindus, by human beings Rishis who never belong to this or to that, universal consciousness. Men, like Schopenhauer, put Upanishad on his head. Swami ji spoke to the Upanishads going abroad in the world today, flooding it and we in India if you say Upanishad, we say: Oh! It is Hindu. Who says it is Hindu and Hindus themselves say: yes, it is Hindu, they themselves, it is opposed to Islam, opposed to Christianity, why? Who says so? What is superstition? It has taken home in our mind. Why don't you put Upanishads above all religions? Vedas and Upanishads were written, when the word Hinduism was not coined, it is universal. Everyone in the world ought to know what is Veda. As Swami ji said: you visit Vedic verses and you find profound knowledge of all domains of existence. I was recently reading the sixth Mandala of Bharadvaja. Only one sentence I’ll speak to you. It speaks of light. आ भानुना पार्थिवानि ज्रयांसि ततन्य. Only one sentence, is a stray sentence it says: all the physical speeds are measured by light, all physical speeds, पार्थिवानि means physical light, ज्रयांसि means the speeds, they are ततन्य, they are measured by whom? भानुना, भानु, by light, by light all the physical speeds are measured. This is a stray sentence in the sixth Mandala of the Rigveda and like so many statements in the Veda, and we don't allow our children to learn it because it is Hindu education. You study Veda, it’s a Hindu education. We don't teach Veda as a book of knowledge. Swami ji spoke of the infinity of man. The greatest book of infinity of knowledge is the Veda. In fact, if you study the Veda, as Shankaracharya said, it is a mine of knowledge. Every line of it vibrates with knowledge. Swami ji spoke of jyothisham jyoti, famous Yajurvedic shloka:

यज्जाग्रतो दूरमुदैति दैवं
तदु सुप्तस्य तथैवैति ।
दूरंगमं ज्योतिषां ज्योतिरेकं
तन्मे मनः शिवसंकल्पमस्तु ।।.

What a wonderful statement, it describes the human mind.

The human mind when it goes to the deepest level, not the human mind as it is now. It is that human mind यज्जाग्रतो whether you are sleeping or whether you are awake, तदु सुप्तस्य तथैवैति । whether you are asleep or awake, even when you are asleep that consciousness is awake. It is jyothisham jyoti, is a light of lights, that consciousness is the light of lights, and the prayer is तन्मे मनः शिवसंकल्पमस्तु let that consciousness, be blended with goodwill.

When I was 11 years old, I read some of the works of Swami Vivekananda at that time in Gujarati, of course. And one sentence he wrote, which has struck me very much, he said: every young person should pray four times: ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः। this he had written. It struck me so much, I tell you, I’ve done this practice. I used to wake up at 12 o'clock at night to repeat this, Om sarve bhavantu sukhinah. And I can tell you that my consciousness was built by this phrase: let everybody be happy. You spoke of competition, where is the competition, let everybody be happy. It is that that message, Swami Vivekananda had discovered all the secrets of the Vedic knowledge. He had not only discovered he had realised by asking Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, have you seen God? He had not put an idle question of a sceptic. He had asked the question because it was with his blood he was thinking. If God really existed and if you have not seen him then what is the point in talking about it? He went to him, asked him, got the answer, practised it, realised God, that's why he could speak in his Rajyoga. ‘Yoga requires no faith, yoga requires no belief, requires no religion, it’s only a hypothesis. Can you silence your mind?’ A technique is given, methodology is given like in science, so now pranayama, you have no niyama, pratyahara, dhyana, Samadhi, none of this is worship of idols, not even Vande Mataram. There is nothing to divide man from man in this process. It’s a pure psychological process in which you cross the barriers of the mental vibrations, and once the mind is silent, as Swami ji said: once the mind is silenced, you touch infinity. So whether you are this or that with no levels, infinity has no levels at all. It is infinity. I think this is what we need to do in education and towards the end of our Seminar on the 7th November, we would like to take stock of all the talks which have been held here and we shall put your proposition at the top of the whole process of learning and teaching.

Thank you so much Swami ji.

The education system for the whole of India is fact on the basis of that book; the freedom struggle spoke of National Education as a program of the freedom struggle. Unfortunately, the message of this book has still not received due recognition and the question of implementation does not arise but this is the misfortune of India. So many great things have been prepared for India. It is like a great host prepares a beautiful meal for the guest and then the guest does not even look at it. And if the Divine is the real host and he has been neglected hundreds of times in the history of the world, but he does not tire, he continues on and on and on, all that he wrote was a tremendous background to the great experiments which were conducted at the Ashram in Pondicherry. The experiment started in December 1943, when the school in the Ashram was organised with a few children. And Mother used to attend to the needs of education of those children personally, including explaining the meanings of words like peacock and different names of animals, and so on. I have seen myself the pictures of various animals and birds, which Mother had cut out from some magazines and pasted on big sheets of paper and below each picture she had written the name of the concerned animal or the bird. It’s a tremendous labour for the supreme Divine Mother to attend to minute details, but also a big example for us to study as to what care of children means. As Mother had said: once you bring children into the picture, they should be the focal point; everything should be organised in the entirety of society, which will be conducive to the progress of children; nothing should happen in the society which is injurious to the growth of the children, the influences of words, of declarations, slogans, exaltations, activities, different kinds of works, even the so-called gossips. None of these things should be allowed if they are injurious to the children, and that was the very principle of the development of the Ashram from 1941 onwards. It was also the beginning of an extremely important step of the work. In fact Mother told me personally that she has three steps of her work. The first step was the Centre of Education. She did not say that Ashram was the first step that was very significant. The Centre of Education was the first step. The second step is Auroville and third step is Sri Aurobindo’s action. All these three steps we shall narrate in due course of time, but today we shall concentrate on this first step of our work: the Centre of Education.

The first thing she did for the development of this Center of Education is to prepare the atmosphere because she said that education should be given by the power of the atmosphere. So the atmosphere was the first thing to be developed, and that is what was developed first. The second is the development of teachers, because without teachers, and adequate and right type of teachers, you cannot have the right type of education, so that is a second thing that she developed. The third thing was facilities and equipment for integral education. The concept of the Mother for integral education was the development of the children of their physical bodies, their vital drives of life, the development of the mind, the development of the psychic consciousness and topped by a spiritual development. In fact Mother once defined integral education in the following way, when I had asked one question to the Mother, she wrote on it. The West has lost the knowledge of the spirits. India has or rather had the knowledge of the spirit, but because it has forgotten much of it, today India is floundering, so the right means of lifting India and the world is to develop integral education in which all the parts of the being, including the material part, which matter itself is fully developed but under the sovereignty of the spirit. This definition, development of the body, life and mind, under the sovereignty of the spirit — that is the integrality of education. I want to emphasise this point because today also in the world, people do speak of integral education, they also speak of development of body life, mind and spirit, this integration is not integration but juxtaposition; there is a difference between juxtaposition and integration. This thing, then this thing, this thing, this thing, all cafeteria approaches, you need all dishes; various kinds of dishes are available. But it is not integration and the integration can take place only when there is sufficient interweaving. Now this interweaving is not an ordinary process and this interweaving requires the placement of each element in his right place. If you put the bodily development of sovereign principle, then it won't integrate because the body does not have the power of integration. Body can never be the leader, however much you try. The very nature of the body is to be an instrument. The instrument cannot be the power of mastery. Even the vital…….