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Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on education

"Personality Traits of a Successful Teacher"[1]

  1. Complete self control not only to the extent of not showing any anger, but remaining absolutely quiet and undisturbed under all circumstances.
  2. In the matter of self-confidence, must also have a sense of the relativity of his importance.
    Above all must have the knowledge that the teacher himself must always progress if he wants the students to progress, must not remain satisfied with what he is or what he knows.
  3. Must not have any sense of essential superiority over his students nor preference or attachment whatsoever for one or another.
  4. Must know that all are equal spiritually and instead of mere tolerance must have a global comprehension or understanding.
  5. “The business of both parents and teacher is to enable and help the child to educate himself, to develop his own intellectual, moral, aesthetic and practical capacities and to grow freely as an organic being, not to be kneaded and pressured into form like an inert plastic material.” [2]

"Elementary and Practical things which ought to be Practised in all Schools Without Exception"[3]

Example is the most powerful instructor. Never demand from a child an effort of discipline that you do not make yourself. Calm, equanimity, order, method, absence of useless words ought to be constantly practised by the teacher if he wants to instill them to his pupils.

The teacher should always be punctual and come to the class a few minutes before it begins, always properly dressed. And above all, so that his students should never lie, he must never lie himself; so that his students should never lose his temper with them; and to have the right to say to them, “Rough play often ends in tears”, he should never raise his hands against any of them.

These are elementary and practical things which ought to be practised in all schools without exception.

Education in India[4]

  1. In view of the present and the future of national and international living, what is it that India should aim at in education?
    Prepare her children for the rejection of falsehood and the manifestation of Truth.
  2. By what steps could the country proceed to realise this high aim? How can a beginning in that direction be made?
    Make matter ready to manifest the Spirit.
  3. What is India’s true genius and what is her destiny?
    To teach to the world that matter is false and impotent unless it becomes the manifestation of the Spirit.
  4. How does the Mother view the progress of Science and Technology in India? What contribution can they make to the growth of the Spirit in man?
    Its only use is to make the material basis stronger, completer and more effective for the manifestation of the Spirit.
  5. The country feels much concerned about national unity. What is the Mother’s vision of things? How will India do her duty by herself and by the world?
    The unity of all the nations is the compelling future of the world. But for the unity of all nations to be possible, each nation must first realise its own unity.
  6. The language problem harasses India a good deal. What would be our correct attitude in this matter?
    Unity must be a living fact and not the imposition of an arbitrary rule. When India will be one, she will have spontaneously a language understood by all.
  7. Education has normally become literacy and a social status. Is it not an unhealthy trend? But how to give education its inner worth and intrinsic enjoyability?
    Get out of conventions and insist on the growth of the soul.
  8. What illusions and delusions is our education today beset with? How could we possibly keep clear of them?
    a) The almost exclusive importance given to success, career and money.
    b) Insist on the paramount importance of the contact with the Spirit and manifestation of the Truth of the being. (5 August 1965)

(This series of questions was submitted to the Mother by a group of teachers of Centre of Education in August, 1965, when an Education Committee of Govt. of India came to Pondicherry to evaluate the ideals and educational methods of the Centre.)

To be repeated each day by all students[5]

"It is not for our family, it is not to secure a good position, it is not to earn money, it is not to obtain a diploma, that we study.

We study to learn, to know, to understand the world, and for the sake of the joy that it gives us." (June 1967)

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  1. The Mother, Education, Part Two: Advice to Students and Teachers, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, 2003, pg 52
  2. Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle, Published June 1954
  3. The Mother, Education, Part Two: Advice to Students and Teachers, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, 2003, pg 5
  4. Ibid. pg 131 to 133
  5. Ibid. pg 98

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