Indian Ideal of Education
Two things our students need, knowledge and feeling. Knowledge of
India: and a feeling for India. And by feeling I mean aspiration to
serve her and, if need be, suffer for her. India needs Indian
The Indian ideal of education may be expressed in the few simple words:
-Education is fellowship!
The forms of
fellowship are indicated in Aryan books. One is fellowship with the
Guru. And by "guru" is meant not "an infallible superman" but an elder
brother, a soul who can help in drawing out the powers of the pupil.
The guru was the great purifier: his presence purified the pupil. The
guru was not a task master: he was an elder brother in the
school-family named the asrama. The emphasis in Indian systems of
culture was not on text books or buildings or school functions, but on
fellowship between the teacher and the pupil. The truth was recognised
that every student was a soul: and the teacher - the guru was one who,
by his life rather than his teachings, drew out the soul of the pupil.
Education is a
problem in consciousness. It is a problem in soul-culture. This aspect,
training of the soul, the atman, is much neglected in many of the
modem schools! India has, through the ages, recognised the truth that
every student is a soul, that beyond everyone lie experiences of many
lives, that a teacher must be a man of moral power and spiritual
intuitions in order to be able to help the student to evolve by
disciplining his vehicles (koshas).
These "vehicles", "koshas"
are five. There is anna-maya kosha, the kosha of matter, the physical
vehicle. There is the prana-maya kosha, the kosha of prana, the "vital"
vehicle. There is mano-maya kosha, the kosha of manas, the mental
vehicle. There is the vignana-maya kosha, the kosha of vignan, the
vehicle of Higher Reason. There is the ananda-maya kosha, the kosha of
anand (joy). And when that vehicle is well developed there is that
self-realisation which involves emotional experience of Unity with
Emotion for India,
for humanity, is what the current system has not developed. This
emotion will not come until the students have fellowship with some
great teachers. Such a fellowship will draw out the pupil's
personality. In the old culture-centres called asramas, the guru sat
on the ground and students sat with him and he, drawing out their
hidden powers, impressed on them the truth recorded in the Vedas, the
Upanishads and the Gita, the truths of life! The bond between the
teacher and the pupil was not that of text books: it was the closer
bond of mind and heart.
schools and colleges were started in different parts of the country.
Gujarat, in recent years even started a "national university". Have
they solved the problem of education? Money, buildings, external
equipment will not solve the problem. The problem will not be solved
until you get teachers of the guru-type. Fellowship with the guru, the
Teacher, was the centre-point of Indian education in the past. In the
knowledge, which the students had through such a fellowship there was
the beautiful humility which we miss in the current system. There is
pride of knowledge today:
how many have the humility of true culture?
A feature of Indian
education in the ancient asramas was a beautiful blend of discipline
and emotion. What nobler discipline than brahmacharya? And discipline
flowered into emotion. In the current system of education there is
little room for culture of emotion of the ideal. In our schools and
colleges students receive information but not much training of their
emotions. The sense of the beautiful, the wonder-sense is not much
developed. Yes, wisdom grows out of wonder-sense. Our students receive
"knowledge" but do not have opportunities to rejoice in Truth!
So many of our
schools and colleges are situated in localities dominated by
crowd-vibrations. The ancient asramas were situated in places blessed
by nature's beauty. Indeed there is no culture of the soul without
this fellowship. To commune with Nature is to grow not simply in
physical but, also, in moral health. It is to grow in beauty and to
know intimately; the true moral sense is connected with a sense of
beauty. To be pure is to be beautiful. Discipline gave form and
nature's communion gave colour to the student's life in ancient India.
Therefore did that life become truly beautiful.
Out of this feeling
for Nature grows that love for the country which is the very heart of
true patriotism. To love India is to love her hills and rills. The
very dust of the Motherland becomes sacred to him who has fellowship
And to him the
records and traditions of his country's past have a meaning which
makes his daily life rich and strong. What a thrill comes upon me as I
read in the records of the long ago, that Emperors of China sent
ambassadors to India, from time to time! India was, then, the Holy
Land of the East, the place of Buddha's birth and the Mahabodhi tree
and the Dharma! And mine eyes are touched with tears as I read that
Huen Tsiang, that Prince of Pilgrims, came to India "to pay worship to
the Bodhi-Tree" where the Buddha had attained to Nirvana, that he
returned to China with 657 volumes of Indian Culture and later
translated some of them into Chinese, thus carrying Indian culture to
his people! India was then a teacher of the Nations.
Sanathana Sarathi, September 1997, pagg. 250-251
Sanathana Sarathi in the monthly
magazine published by the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications
Trust Prasanthi Nilayam: