According to Sri Aurobindo a true and living education should have three central aims – 1) for an individual, it is growth of the soul and its powers and possibilities, 2) for the nation, the preservation, strengthening and enrichment of the nation-soul and its Dharma, and 3) to raise both the individual and nation into powers of the life and ascending mind and soul of humanity. “And at no time, will [education] lose sight of man’s highest object, the awakening and development of his spiritual being.” (CWSA, Vol. 1, p. 427)
Each nation is a unique shakti, and has a distinct group-soul with its particular temperament and inner genius which determines the role it is destined to play in the world. India today is trying to re-discover her unique place and role in the future of the world.
An education that is rooted in the deeper aim of ‘knowing oneself’ is absolutely indispensable for a true Indian resurgence. The need of the hour is that our education must be wholly guided by a spiritual view of the aim of human life and the education’s role in helping the individual prepare himself/herself for that aim of life. A truly India-centric education will be based on the spiritual view that proper and gradual development of all parts of an individual is essential not as an end in itself but as a means to grow in one’s soul, because the soul manifests and expresses itself through its outer instruments of mind, heart, and body. Everything else begins to take on a different and deeper meaning when this fundamental view becomes the basis for all our work in the field of education.
A true Indian education will not reject any aim of life, will not exclude any activity, but will take them all and steer them toward a greater purpose to facilitate in the learner discovery of the higher self. It will not reject matter or learning and mastery of the matter, but it will direct learner to view matter as only a limited manifestation of the spirit which is involved in it. It will aim to develop the physical, the mental, the emotional, the aesthetic parts of learners not only because they may have a greater satisfaction or because “that is man’s finer nature, because so he feels himself more alive and fulfilled.” It will aim to develop all these parts also and primarily “because these things too are the expressions of the spirit.” (CWSA, Vol. 20, p. 35) Learners’ moral and ethical development will be much more than a means to develop well-regulated individuals and social conduct which keeps society going and leads towards a better, a more rational, temperate, sympathetic, self-restrained dealing with fellow-beings. Such moral and ethical development – both for the learner and teacher – will become a means for greater self-discovery and self-becoming.
~ Beloo Mehra
In an online lecture delivered on 24th April, 2020, Dr. Prabhjot Kulkarni shares a few key insights from Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s philosophy of Integral Education and their significance for a holistic model of development necessary for the future of Indian nation. She brings to light the great emphasis Sri Aurobindo and the Mother placed on the deeper, spiritual role that India has to fulfill for the future evolution of humanity. In this regard, the necessity of a thoughtfully conceived education which facilitates an integral development of the children and youth of a country can’t be overemphasized.