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What is Education?

By Karmayogi

Some twenty children in the third standard were asked this question. There were twenty different answers. ‘In education we learn a lot', ‘I can become a doctor by education', ‘We get information', ‘We can know many things and fool others', ‘By education I can get a job', etc. Only one child answered, ‘‘I can become intelligent''. This is not a question for third standard. If twenty adults are asked this question, will the answer be far different?

I used to call education the yoga of the society. Next to yoga, it is the most powerful force in the society. Education helps an individual to do better than his parents in the society. This, education does, by giving him a KNOWLEDGE. Westerners have an education that makes them individuals. It gives them an individuality. A Westerner knows he alone can take care of himself and he depends on no one. He goes to extreme lengths to fully refuse any help from any quarter.

We in India know that our families take care of us. Our values are family values. The family educates us, gets us married, gets us a job. Our education is not only from the school. We must be loyal to the family; family first, anything next. Which is better is not my question. Each culture gives the individual its own education and it stands him in good stead. If the Westerner's individuality has made him prosper, should we not follow him? No. Should we accept the 'education' given by our culture? Our Spirit is high, very high and noble. In our culture the Spirit is for moksha. It is not for life. Sri Aurobindo says the Spirit can emerge in your life and make it one of pleasant sensation of plentiful abundance.

This education - Spirit in life - should be our goal for the future. In practice, it is spiritual values in life. Honesty, loyalty, integrity, cleanliness, Self-giving are the spiritual values. They all sum up in a life of utter Truthfulness. If we can give our children an education that gives them an experience in life that Truth is of value, and it is the only thing of value, we will have discharged our spiritual duty to the next generation. Education is ORIGINAL understanding based on one's own life experience. Can we devise our educational system in such a fashion that the pupil will get this understanding on his own personal experience?

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