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AIMS OF EDUCATION
For Krishnamurti education is: (i) Educating the whole person.
1. Educating the person as a whole (not as an assemblage of parts).
2. Educating the person within a whole. (As part of society, humanity, nature, etc.).For him education is about preparation for the whole life and not preparation for part of life (like work).
Jiddu Krishnamurty, like Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekanand and others founded his own educational institutions to put into practice what he preached. In his educational institutions, he insisted that children must be educated rightly in order to make them religious human beings of course, according to his interpretation of religiousness. He wanted these centers to be the places of learning the ways of life, which is not based on pleasures, on self centered activities instead on the understanding of correct action, on the depth of relationships and on the sacredness of a religious life. These places should be meant for only the enlightened ones. Education should awaken the capacity to be self aware and not merely, indulge in gratifying self expression. The right kind of education is not concerned with any ideology, however much it offers to future Utopia. It is not based on any system, however carefully thought out, nor is it a means of conditioning the individual in some special manner.
Education in the true sense is of helping the individual to be mature and free, to flower greatly in love and goodness. That is what we should be interested in, and not in shaping the child according to some idealistic pattern. According to this great teacher the main aim of education is to enable the child to develop mentally in such a way that he should know himself. Education should help one to feel freedom of mind and fearlessness.
For Jiddu Krishnamurti, the intentions of education must be the inner transformation and liberation of the human being and, from that, society would be transformed. Education is intended to assist people to become truly religious. These intentions must not be just pleasant sounding ideals to which one pays lip service, and they are not to be arrived at by their opposites. And the religious intentions are not for some eventual goal, but for life in educational centers from moment to moment. The function of education is to help us from childhood not to imitate anybody, but to be ourselves all the time. So freedom lies...in understanding what we are from moment to moment. We are not [normally] educated for this; our education encourages us to become something or the other...
To understand life is to understand ourselves, and that is both the beginning and the end of education. Krishnamurti felt that not only was a person‘s nature and deepest aspects to be uncovered, but each person also has a unique vocation that needs to be discovered; what he/she really loves to do has to be found and pursued, and to do anything else is a deprivation of the worst kind, especially if such deprivation is in order to pursue success or other such cultural aspirations. The discovery of the natural vocation for an individual student and the student‘s understanding what he really loves to do may not fit into the plans of the parents or society, but it is an important part of understanding oneself and, consequently, of education.
Modern education is making us into thoughtless entities; it does very little towards helping us to find our individual vocation.
SHORTCOMINGS OF THE PREVAILING SYSTEM OF EDUCATION
Krishnamurti observed the following shortcomings of the Indian education.
The conventional education:
• Makes independent thinking extremely difficult.
• Strangulates spontaneity.
• Leads to dull and lackluster mind.
• Develops fear in the mind to deviate from established standards even if they are legitimate.
• Fails to enable us to understand the higher and wider significance of life.
• Fails to integrate thoughts and feelings.
• Is lopsided and doesn‘t provide overall growth of the individual.
• Trains us only to seek personal gains and security and fight for ourselves.
• Considers examinations and degrees as criteria for intelligence.
• Merely train the mind to be cunning and avoid vital human issues.
• Helps in making us subservient, mechanical and thoughtless.
• Though it awakens intellectually, leaves us incompetent and uncreative.
CHARACTERISTICS OF INTEGRAL LEARNING
Integral education enables a learner for the following:
• Development of capacities to face challenges.
If the individual is to grapple with life‘s problems, intricacies, mysteries, and sudden demands, he must be free from theories and particular patterns of thoughts.
• Development of self knowledge.
Education should help an individual discover the true values which come with unbiased investigation and self-expression becomes self assertion with all its aggressive and ambitions conflicts. To Krishnamurti the individual is of first importance; not the system, and as long as the individual does not understand the total process of himself, no system can bring order and peace to the world. Understanding comes only through self knowledge which is awareness of one‘s total psychological process. Education in the true sense is the understanding of oneself for it is within each one of us that the whole of existence is gathered.
1. Integrated experience.
Krishnamurti says ―the right kind of education which encourages the language of technique should help man to experience the integral process of life which is of greater importance. It is this experiencing that will put capacity and technique in their right place‖.
2. Freedom from readymade ideas.
According to Jiddu Krishnamurti ideas have no place in education for they prevent the comprehension of the present and escaping into the future cannot make one aware of what is to be after an idea indicates sluggishness of mind and a desire to avoid the present.
Pursuit of a readymade utopia is denial of the freedom and integration of the individual. What we need is not an idealistic entity or mechanical minds but integrated human beings who are intelligent and free.
3. Development of free and mature human beings.
To jiddu krishnamurti, the right kind of education is free from ideology and conditioning. Education in true sense should help the individual to be free and mature and to blossom in love and goodness. The conditioning of the child‘s mind to fit a particular ideology whether political or religious breed‘s enmity between man and man will not help to bring about brotherhood and change in the society. The Indian scenario gives ample examples of lack of brotherhood understanding and resistance.
Right education comes with transformation of ourselves. We must learn to be compassionate, to be content with little and to seek the supreme for, only then can there be the true salvation of mankind.
5. Development of Right Understanding of Environment.
We must realize the fact that we are not conditioned by the environment, but we are the environment. We never see that we are the total environment because there are several entities in us, all revolving round the ‘me‘, the self. The self is made of these entities, which are merely desires in various forms. From this conglomeration of desires arises the central figure, the thinker, the will of the ‘me‘ and the ‘mine‘. A division is thus established between the ‘self‘ and the ‘non-self‘, between the ‘me‘ and the environment i.e. the society. This separation is the beginning of conflict, inward and outward.
a) Development of Wisdom and not Acquiring Knowledge.
In our desire to acquire more knowledge, we are losing love, feeling for beauty and sensitivity to cruelty. When we become more and more specialized, we are becoming less and less integrated. Wisdom cannot be replaced by knowledge and no amount of explanation or accumulation of facts will free man from suffering. Our education is making us more and more shallow and is not helping us to overcome the deeper meanings of our being and our lives are becoming increasingly meaningless, disharmonious and empty.
Knowledge of facts though ever increasing is limited by its very nature, whereas wisdom is infinite. It includes knowledge and the way of action. What we normally do is holding a branch; assume it is the whole tree. Through the knowledge of the past, we can never realize the joy of the whole. We are like the blind men who tried to describe the elephant after feeling different parts of the elephant. Intellect alone can never give a holistic view because it is only a segment of the whole.
b) Development of Love towards Others.
Only true love and right thinking will bring about revolution within oneself. But it cannot be achieved through pursuit of the ideal of love. What can be done is to keep ourselves free from hatred, greed, exploitation envy and ego.
c) Development of Right Relationship.
Education should help an individual to cultivate right relationship between individuals and society and this is possible only if he understands his own psychological process. Intelligence lies in understanding oneself and going above and beyond oneself.
d) Development of freedom and integration.
To educate a child is to help him to understand freedom and integration. To have freedom, there must be order and order is achieved only through virtue. Integration is achieved through simplicity- simplicity in both our inward life and outward needs.
e) Development of creative intelligence.
The spirit of constant inquiry and the feeling of discomfort in the existing system can bring forth creative intelligence. To keep this spirit alive is cumbersome task. Most people do not want their children to have this kind of intelligence, the reason being the uncomfortability they have to face when the established values are questioned.
f) Development of International understanding.
As long as the glaring disparities like rich and poor, exploiters and exploited powerful and powerless exist in our society and divisions like nationality religion, caste, color and various dividing loyalties prevail, it is not possible to have brotherhood among men.
If we are to change radically our present human relationship, our only and immediate task is to transform ourselves through self-knowledge. Thus we come back to the central point which is ‘oneself‘. We normally dodge this point and instead of owning up the responsibility, put the government, religious and ideologies responsible. The government is what we are. The religious and ideologies are but projection of us. Until we change ourselves fundamentally there can neither be right education nor a peaceful world.
a) Freedom from ideology.
Jiddu krishnamurti says conditioning of the child‘s mind to fit a particular ideology, weather political or religious breed‘s enmity between man and man. In a competitive society we cannot have brotherhood.
b) Freedom and discipline.
It is only in individual freedom that love and goodness can blossom. Only the right kind of education offers this freedom. One of the dangers of freedom is that this system becomes important than the human beings. Here, discipline becomes a substitute for love. It is because our hearts are empty that we cling to discipline. Freedom can never be achieved through discipline. Freedom is not a goal or an end to be achieved. Freedom is at the beginning and not at the end. A sincere teacher will protect and help the children towards the right kind of freedom. For this he himself should be free from ideologies and dogmas.
c) Rewards and punishments.
Sensitivity can never be awakened through compulsion. Compulsion breeds antagonism and fear. Reward and punishment in any form only make the mind subservient and dull. Discipline may be an effective way to control a child, but it doesn‘t help him to understand the problems in living. If a child persists on disorderliness or is unreasonably mischievous, the educator should inquire into the cause which may be found in wrong diet, lack of rest, family wrangles or some hidden fear.
d) Spiritual Training and not Religious Education.
To him dogmas, mysteries and rituals are not conducive to spiritual life. Religious education in the true sense is to encourage the child to understand his own relationship to people, Things and to nature. There is no existence without relationships. It is rather impossible to explain this to a child. But the educator and parents can grasp its significance and the meaning of spirituality and covey the same to the child through their attitude, conduct and speech. There is hope for a better world only if the youth have the spirit of inquiry and the urge to to search out the truth of all things.
METHODS OF TEACHING ACCORDING TO KRISHNAMURTI :
We should not teach the student ‘what to think‘ and ‘how to think‘. Allow him freedom to think for himself.
Study the child thoroughly and employ such methods that suit him best.
The student should be treated as an equal partner.
Problem solving and explorative methods should be encouraged. Repetition encourages the mind of the child to be sluggish.
ROLE OF THE TEACHER
a) Understanding the child
According to Krishnamurti ―The right kind of education consists in understanding the child as he is without imposing up on him an ideal of what we think he should be. Ideals are an actual hindrance to our understanding of the child and to the child‘s own understanding of himself.
The right kind of a teacher doesn‘t depend on a particular method. He will study each pupil closely. He is fully aware of the fact that the pupils are living beings who are impressionable, volatile, sensitive, affectionate and often timid. He knows that he should have a lot of patience and love to deal with them. The absence of these qualities makes a teacher mechanical in his attitude and shirks away the demands of the profession.
b) Keen observer
The best way for a teacher to understand a child is to observe him at play, work, and at different moods. The teaher should not be tempted to project upon the child his prejudices, hopes and fears. The ideal teacher will desist from molding him to fit his idiosyncrasies, prejudices and ideas which gratifies himself.
c) Integrated Educator
If a lamp doesn‘t burn itself, it cannot light other lamps. If the teacher himself / herself is not an integrated personality, we cannot expect him to help the children become integrated personalities.
THE TRUE TEACHER
According to Krishnamurti, a true teacher not simply a giver of information, but is the one who shows the way to wisdom and truth. Truth is more important than the teacher himself. The search for truth is religion. Truth is of no country and of any creed. It is not to be found in any temple or church or mosque. Without the search for the truth, the society will decay. To create a new society each one of us has to be a true teacher. This means that we have to be both the pupil and the master.
If a new social order is to be established, we need teachers who do not work merely to earn a salary. To regard education as a means of livelihood is to exploit the children for one‘s own advantage. A true teacher is not a subservient to politicians, not bound by the ideals and beliefs of a country, and not a power monger or after positions. He is inwardly rich and above the compulsions of society.
There can be no real hierarchy between the staff and students. There are, of course, differences between staff and students in their responsibilities and experience; but in all that is most important in education, the staff and the students are really in the same boat. Staff members may know more about academic subjects, or gardening, or administration and therefore have a certain authority in those areas, but these are not the central concerns of education. In the central concerns of education, which is to do with inner liberation, both the students and the teachers are learners and therefore equal, and this is untouched by functional authority.
Authority has its place as knowledge is concerned, but there is no spiritual authority under any circumstances... That is, authority destroys freedom, but the authority of a doctor, mathematics teacher and how he teaches, that doesn't destroy freedom. (Krishnamurti 1975)
In thus helping the student towards freedom, the educator is changing his own values also; he too is beginning to be rid of the "me" and the "mine", he too is flowering in love and goodness. This process of mutual education creates an altogether different relationship between the teacher and the student.
A good teacher must possess a good conduct. Six points of good Conduct which are specially required by a teacher are given by the Master. They are: 1. self - control as to the mind. 2. Self - control in action.
3. Tolerance. 4. Cheerfulness. 5. One - pointed ness.6.Confidence.
1. Self-control as to the Mind
It means control of temper, so that we may feel no anger or impatience; of the mind itself, so that the thought may always be calm and unruffled. The calm mind means also courage and steadiness; so that we may face the trials and difficulties of the Path without fear. This will help us to make light of the troubles which come into everyone's life, and avoid the incessant worry over little things. The Master teaches that it does not matter in the least what happens to a man from the outside; sorrows, troubles, sicknesses, losses - all these must be as nothing to him, and must not be allowed to affect the calmness of his mind. They are the result of past actions, and when they come, we must bear them cheerfully, remembering that all evil is transitory, and that our duty is to remain always joyous and serene. ‘Think of what you are doing now, rather than the past or future.‘ Never allow us to feel sad or depressed. Depression is wrong because it infects others and makes their lives harder. Therefore, if ever it comes to us, we must control our thought and we must not let it wander.
One must hold back one‘s mind from pride, for pride comes only from ignorance. The man who does not know thinks that he is great; the wise man knows that only God is great, and that all good work is done by God alone.
B. Self-control in Action
If your thought is what it should be, you will have little trouble with your action. Yet remember that, to be useful to mankind, thought must result in action. There must be no laziness, but constant activity in good work. Leave every man to do his own work in his own way; be always ready to offer help if need be, but never interfere in others work. For many people the most difficult thing in the world to learn is to mind their own business; but that is exactly what we must do. Because we try to take up higher work, we must not forget our ordinary duties, for until they are done we are not free for other service.
It is necessary to feel perfect tolerance for all, and a hearty interest in the beliefs of those of another religion, just as much as one‘s own. But in order to gain this perfect tolerance, one must first be free from bigotry and superstition. We must learn that no ceremonies are necessary. Yet we must not condemn others who still cling to ceremonies. Let them do as they will; only they must not try to force upon us that which we have outgrown. Make allowance for everything: be kinds towards everything. Now that our eyes are opened, some of our old beliefs, our old ceremonies, may seem to us absurd; perhaps, indeed, they really are so. Yet respect them for the sake of those good souls to whom they are still important. They have their place, they have their use; they are like those double lines which guided us as a child to write straight and evenly, until we learnt to write far better and freely without them. There was a time when we needed them; but now that time is past.
A great Teacher once wrote: 'When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.' Yet he who has forgotten his childhood and lost sympathy with the children is not the man who can teach them or help them. So look kindly, gently, tolerantly upon all; but upon all alike, Buddhist or Hindu, Jain or Jew, Christian or Mohammedan.
‘You must bear your karma cheerfully, whatever it may be, taking it as an honor that suffering comes to you. However hard it is, be thankful that it is no worse. Remember that you are of but little use to the Master until your evil karma is worked out, and you are free. Yet another point, you must give up all feeling of possession. Karma may take from you the things which you like best - even people whom you love most. Even then you must be cheerful - ready to part with anything and everything. Often the Master needs to pour out His strength upon others through His servant; He cannot do that if the servant yields to depression. So cheerfulness must be the rule. ‘
5. One-pointed action
The one thing that we must set before us is to do the Master's work. Yet nothing else can come in our way, for all helpful unselfish work is the Master's work. And we must give all our attention to each piece as we do it, so that it may be our very best. That same Teacher also wrote: 'Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily and with all might as to the Lord, and not unto men.' One-pointed action means, that nothing shall ever turn you, even for a moment, from the Path upon which you have entered. No temptations, no worldly pleasures, no worldly affections even, must ever draw you aside. For you must become one with the Path; it must be so much part of your nature that you follow it without needing to think of it.
Unless there is perfect trust there cannot be the perfect flow of love and power. We must trust ourselves. If we say we know ourselves too well then we do not know ourselves; we know only the weak outer husk. We are a spark of God's own fire, and because of that there is nothing that we cannot do if we will. Say to yourself: ' I can do this thing, and I will.' Our will must be like tempered steel, if we should tread the Path.
JIDDU KRISHNAMURTI‘S CONCEPT OF AN IDEAL SCHOOL
According to Krishnamurti an ideal school should have limited number of students because mass instruction cannot help develop integrated personality.
The school will have teachers who are dedicated, thoughtful and alert. The school takes interest in a careful study to understand the child of his potentials and limitations. The ideal school is maintained through spirit of self-sacrifice.
The school of his vision functions without the influence of any ideology. In his school, there is an atmosphere of collective responsibilities. There is sincere co-operation among all the teachers. A student council is formed to discuss all matters relating to the wellbeing of the whole group. The school has an atmosphere where the students can discover what is and what he is interested in. There is a provision for proper guidance for all. An atmosphere of confidence and co-operation prevails in the school.
KRISHNAMURTI‘S CONTRIBUTION TO EDUCATION
Education was always close to Krishnamurti‘s heart. He established nearly a dozen co-educational schools in India and abroad to translate his ideas into practice. Ten percent of the seats in these institutions were reserved for non-paying pupils. He used to visit them every year for discussion with the students and teachers.
Although the ordinary curriculum was followed in these schools, his main objective in starting these schools was to provide children adequate opportunities and freedom to grow up without any of the national, racial class and cultural prejudice that build barriers between one human being and another and give rise to violence.
Krishnamurthi‘s conception of methods of teaching, school organization and the role of a teacher is truly progressive of education. His emphasis on the development of an integrated personality through integral approach to education is highly commended by almost all thinkers.