The theme of the aim of life could be of very great help, if it is properly blended in the contents of education. The importance of this theme becomes evident when it is recognised that the central concern of the psychic being is to provide the necessary inspiration and guidance as to how life should be dealt with and how life should discover its own right directions and goals.
Everyone needs to answer the most important question: what is my role in the world and how can that role be fulfilled? And, while there is not a single book in the world which can give its specific answer concerning any specific individual, great help can come if students are given access to those texts in which the aim of life or different aims of life are presented and discussed and if these texts are not presented in any prescriptive manner but as material for each individual's personal exploration.
There have been, in the history of thought, pursuits of pleasures and happiness, pursuit of knowledge, pursuit of character, pursuit of materialistic gain or pursuits of disinterested progress of the race, pursuits of aesthetic delight, pursuits of terrestrial goals or supra-terrestrial goals, pursuit even of the supra-cosmic or pursuits of integral aims of life that combine various goals in different manners, and pursuits also of integral perfection, both of the individual and of the society, or pursuit of the kingdom of God on the earth.
While very individual should be free to choose his or her own aim of life, the choice can be greatly helped, if contents of education are so designed that every student has the possibility of being acquainted with the various goals that human beings have pursued along with the relevant philosophies and valuable lessons that they have learnt It will then be seen that the quality of life and the quality of character reflect the quality of aim of life that one determines to realise.
There are a number of stories with the help of which teachers can illustrate various aspects of inner psychology. If we take the stories of Shvetaketu and Nachiketas, we can explain the psychology of adolescents; if we take the story of Satyakama, we can explain the psychology of innocence and of courage that is dedicated to truthfulness; stories of Prahlada and Dhruva indicate how even in childhood spiritual aspirations can reach the heights of maturity. The stories of Buddha along with a number of stories of Bodhisattvas illustrate a number of psychological elements that are at work in the development of human personality. Arjuna's hesitation at the beginning of the war of Mahabharata can easily illustrate the distinction between thought, will, emotion, impulse, sensation, perception, and even involuntary and reflex functions of the body.
The story of Socrates can illustrate the power of thought and power of virtue over hostile criticism and even the prospect of death. The close relationship between knowledge and virtue can also be brought out clearly through the life and thought of Socrates. Stories of adventure and courage such as we find in the life of Sri Rama and Sri Krishna as also in the lives of great personages in Ramayana and Mahabharata provide deep insights into the psychological depths, which become manifest in the conquest of deep-seated ambitions by powers of valour and will-force, of purity of character and of the powers of the soul and the spirit. What is called a vital personality or rajasic personality can very well be illustrated by studying character like says, Alexander, since his psychology was like quicksilver; pursued as you may, he always wanted to be one step ahead. The bursting life-force in him was overwhelming, ready to listen all the time to the call of adventure and ambition. This study can be followed by stories of characters possessed of sattvic qualities so that a comparison can be made between the vital and higher vital and mental personalities. Examples can be multiplied and teachers can enrich the contents by possessing a fund of knowledge of stories of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount, stories of the life of Mohammed and his message on submission to the will of the Supreme, or of the story of the lives of great philosophers and thinkers, of scientists and artists, of great teachers and ardent students.
Passages of great literature can also be an indispensable aid.
We rightly look upon Upanishads as the supreme literature of India, and passages of Upanishads like those of Isha, Kena, Chhandogya, Brihadaranyaka and others can uplift students to very great heights of aspirations and even of practice of the realisation of the Ultimate Reality. Profound passages from great thinkers like Plato can ignite in the students the fires of the inner soul. The stories such as those of relationship between Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda can convince that search for God is not submission to dogma but to relentless process of questioning and of finding. Passages from the writings of great scientists such as those of Einstein and others can open up in the students' vision the perception of the strangeness and the wonder of the world and of the dimensions, which are unimaginable. The spirit of inquiry that we find in writings such as those of Shankara, Descartes and Bertrand Russell will give to the students the psychological insights into heights that one needs to scale if one wants to look what lies behind and beyond the horizons which seem to be unending.