LETTERS TO SCHOOLS VOLUME ONE 1ST JUNE, 1979
As a rule parents have very little time for their children except when they are babies. They send them to the local or boarding schools or they allow others to look after them. They may not have time or the necessary patience to educate them at home. They are occupied with their own problems. So our schools become the children's home and the educators become the parents with all the responsibility. We have written about this earlier and it is not out of place to repeat it: home is a place where there is a certain freedom,a sense of being secure, provided for and sheltered. Do the children in these schools feel this? - that they are being carefully watched over, given a great deal of thought and affection, and concern for their behaviour, their food, their clothes and their manner? If so the school becomes a place where the student feels that he is really at home,with all its implications,that there are people around him who are looking after his tastes, the way he talks, that he is being looked after physically as well as psychologically, being helped to be free from hurts and fear. This is the responsibility of every teacher in these schools, not of one or two. The whole school exists for this, for an atmosphere in which both the educators and the students are flowering in goodness.
The educator needs leisure to be quiet by himself, to gather the energy that has been expended, to be aware of his own personal problems and resolve them, so that when he meets the students again he does not carry the rumour, the noise of his personal turmoil. As we have pointed out earlier, any problem arising in our lives should be resolved instantly or as quickly as possible, for problems, when they are carried from day to day, degenerate the sensitivity of the whole mind. This sensitivity is essential. We lose this sensitivity when we are merely instructing the student in a subject. When the subject becomes the only importance, sensitivity fades away and then you really lose contact with the student. The student then is merely a receptacle for information. Thus your mind and the student's become mechanical. Generally we are sensitive to our own problems, to our own desires and thoughts and rarely to others. When we are constantly in contact with the students there is a tendency to impose our own images on them, or, if the student has his own strong image, there is conflict between these images. So it becomes very important that the educator should leave his images at home and become concerned with the images that parents or society have imposed on the student, or the image that he himself has created. It is only in function that there can be relationship and generally the relationship between two images is illusory.
Physical and psychological problems waste our energy. Can the educator be physically secure in these schools yet be free of psychologic problems? This is really important to understand. When there is not this sense of physical security, uncertainty brings about psychological turmoil. This encourages dullness of the mind and so the passion that is so necessary in our daily life withers away and enthusiasm takes its place.
Enthusiasm is a dangerous thing for it is never constant. It rises in a wave and is gone. This is mistaken for seriousness. You may be enthusiastic for some time about what you are doing, eager, active, but inherent in it is dissipation. Again it is essential that we understand this for most relationship is prone to this wastage.
Passion is wholly different from lust, interest or enthusiasm. Interest in something can be very deep and you can use that interest for profit or for power, but that interest is not passion. Interest may be stimulated by an object or by an idea. Interest is self-indulgence. Passion is free of the self. Enthusiasm is always about something. Passion is a flame of itself. Enthusiasm can be aroused by another, something outside of you. Passion is the summation of energy which is not the outcome of any kind of stimulation. Passion is beyond the self.
Have the teachers this sense of passion? - for out of this comes creation. In teaching subjects one has to find new ways of transmitting information without this information making the mind mechanical. Can you teach history - which is the story of mankind - not as the Indian, the English, American and so on, but as the story of man which is global? Then the educator's mind is always fresh, eager, discovering a wholly different approach to teaching. In this the educator is intensely alive and with this aliveness goes passion.
Can this be done in all our schools? - for we are concerned with bringing about a different society, with the flowering of goodness, with a non-mechanistic mind. True education is this, and will you, the educators, undertake this responsibility? In this responsibility lies the flowering of goodness in yourself and in the student. We are responsible for the whole of mankind - which is you and the student. You have to start there and cover the whole earth. You can go very far if you start very near. The nearest is you and your student. We generally start with the farthest - the supreme principle, the
greatest ideal, and get lost in some hazy dream of imaginative thought. But when you start very near, with the nearest, which is you, then the whole world is open, for you are the world and the world beyond you is only nature. Nature is not imaginary: it is actual and what is happening to you now is actual. From the actual you must begin - with what is happening now - and the now is timeless.