The world is full of tensions. There are economic and political competitions. There are huge appetites among nations, and people are engrossed in small or big quarrels. The terrible fact is that modern science has produced nuclear weapons which have unimaginable power of destruction. Unfortunately, these weapons are in huge quantities. And they are largest in the hands of two great superpowers, namely, U.S.A and U.S.S.R, which are competing with each other in all fields.
It has been said that even a small number of nuclear weapons can destroy the entire world. And if by some mischance some misguided leader decided to use these weapons, the entire human race would be wiped out, and the poor earth would get frozen under a terrible global winter. There would then be nobody even to claim victory in the war. It would be a tragic suicide of humanity. It would be a terrible holocaust.
Recently, however, in the move to reduce the nuclear stock-piles; U.S.A and U.S.S.R have taken some steps, and more is expected. There is strong cry for disarmament. Our own country has taken a lead and we have appealed for total nuclear disarmament. This is very welcome and we must work more and more in this direction.
But the disturbing fact is that human nature is aggressive, and tensions can suddenly develop. So, what is the guarantee that war will not break out? U.S.A. is still planning for star wars. Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration if we say that we need to save the world from imminent holocaust.
The central question is: how and by what means can we save the world from this imminent holocaust? We are spurred by urgency and we are seeking some satisfying answer.
Fortunately, UNESCO has studied this question very deeply. And answer is contained in two phrases: True education and International understanding. In fact, the Charter of UNESCO declares boldly that since wars are fought in the minds of men, defenses of peace should be built in the minds of men. UNESCO has also brought out a very important report on true education of the minds of men. This report was published in 1972, and it was given a very apt title, namely, “Learning To Be”.
This message tells us the difference between ordinary education and true education. Ordinary education aims at giving information; true education aims at giving knowledge; ordinary education aims at books; true education aims at developing faculties; ordinary education aims at acquisition, domination and egoistic enlargement; true education aims at discovery of true being, it aims at learning to be.
Learning to be, gives us self-knowledge. In self-knowledge we discover our totality and also the totality of the world. Understanding the world becomes our second nature, if we have true education. Total education for the total man; and total man for the total universe. This is the great answer of UNESCO. It is great because it is not superficial; it is great because it is not temporary; it is great because it is a root answer, and because it is a permanent answer.
International understanding is not only exchange of information about countries and culture. It is truly a daily practice of the ideal of Family of Man. It is, in fact, the ancient Indian ideal of vasudhaiva kutumbakam; our RiVedic Rishis had thought of the world as one family. This has to be the content of our education.
True education means the process to know oneself and to control oneself. This means the discovery of the Self that arises from the search of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. It means full development of our three faculties’: rational, ethical and aesthetic.
It is only when we have true education; it is only when we become as wide as the world that we shall have the real remedy for tensions. It is by building the bridges of understanding and it is by being integral and total that we shall build the defenses of peace.
Let us, therefore, make a fervent appeal to all, to the government and to our teachers to give us true education and to train us in the art and science of international understanding.