21 June 2015

Sri Aurobindo : Views on Education (Part 1)

Sri Aurobindo was born on 15 August, 1872 at Kon Nagar village of the Hoogli District of West Bengal. His father Krishna Dhan Ghosh was a well-known civil surgeon who studied medical science in England and returned to India as a totally Western-oriented gentleman. His mother Mrs. Swarnlata Devi was a religious Hindu lady DrGhosh was convinced of the value of Western system of education. Therefore, he sent his sons to an Irish Missionary School at Darjeeling.
 He went to England in 1879 and took his sons along with him. They were kept under the supervision of Mr. And Mrs. Drevet in London for their early education. In 1885, the Drevets left England for Australia and Sri Aurobindo was admitted to St. Paul School of London.

Objectives of Education

Defining the objectives of education Sri Aurobindo said. “It must be an education that for the individual will make its one central object the growth of the soul and its powers and possibilities, for the nation will keep firstin view the preservation. Strengthening and enrichment of the nation-soul and its dharma and raise both into powers of the life and ascending mind and soul of humanity.
Sri Aurobindo : Views on Education (Part 1), Philosophy of Education, B.ED, M.ED, NET Notes ( Study Material), PDF Notes Free Download.Sri Aurobindo was not only one of the greatest philosopher and yogi of his time but also one of the greatest political leader, social reformer and educationist of his era. He was a great patriot whose first concern was always the good of motherland. Therefore, he presented a national system of education which may be adopted for the educational reconstruction in India and at the same time develop the Indians as world citizens and the fore- runners of the advent of the only gives and important place to individual and nation but also to humanity.The national scheme of education will be not only from the point of view of the needs of the country but alsofrom the standpoint of the needs of humanity. It is so since the highest principle governing the life of individualand nation is the humanity itself. Sri Aurobindo everywhere considers fulfilinent of Swadharma as the law of life. Each individual in a nation has to fulfill his Swadharma. The purpose of education in a nation is to prepare the individual to serve their roles according to their status in society. Individual differences are the basis of modern system of education. The child is, “A soul with a nature and capacities of his own, who must be helpedto find them, to find himself, to grow into their maturity, into a fullness of physical and vital energy and utmost breadth, depth and height of his emotional, his intellectual and his spiritual being.” Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy is summarized thus, “The meaning of the word education is to reduce the inner, hidden, latent, dormant,potential secret within every human being, secret because it is not of the senses but of the inner truth of beingand because it is that most unknown part of the being which has yet to evolve to its full stature”.

The True Education

Defining true education, Sri Aurobindo wrote, “There are three things which have to be taken into account in true and living education, the man, the individual in his commonness and in his uniqueness, the nation or people and universal humanity. The true education should take into account not only the individual but also the nation and the humanity. It has to prepare the mind and soul of the individual and also of the nation to serve humanity. It has to unfold the individual potentialities, uniqueness and commonness. At the same time it has to develop a right relation of the individual with the life, mind and soul of the community and humanity. In the words of Sri Aurobindo, the true national education is that, “which helps to bring out to full advantage, makes ready for the full purpose and scope of human life all that is in the individual man and which at the same time,helps his to enter into right relation with the life, mind and soul humanity of which he himself is a unit and his people or nation a living, a separate and yet inseparable member”.
Besides Swadharma, Swabhava determines the role of a nation. Swadeshi was the main principle in Sri Aurobindo’s political philosophy. Each nation, according to him, has to grow and develop in tune with its peculiar Swabhav and Swadharma. Thus, the nation has to develop its mental, ethical and aesthetic being to make it a fit instrument for the growth of the soul. This is the highest purushartha. India, according to Sri Aurobindo, is a nation, which has to fulfil a spiritual role in the community of nation. Its ideal for the humanity also is spiritual.

Rational Education

In his philosophy everywhere Sri Aurobindo has supported reason like any staunch rationalist. A rational education, according to Sri Aurobindo, includes the following three things:
1.      To teach men how to observe and know rightly the facts on which they have to form a judgment.
2.      To train them to think fruitfully and soundly.
3.      To fit them to use their knowledge and their thought effectively for their own and the common good.

Meeting of East and West

Brought up in the West Sri Aurobindo had the first hand knowledge of the Western system of education he was conversant with the advantages of European system of education. Sri Aurobindo was a votary of the synthesis of whatever is good in East and West. Therefore, while presenting a scheme for Indian education, he advocated synthesis of ancient Indian educational ideals along with the Western methods and techniques. As he said, “The first problem in a national system of education is to give an education as comprehensive as the European and more thorough, without the evils of strain and cramming. This can only be done by studying the instruments of knowledge finding a system of teaching which shall be natural, easy and effective. It is only by strengtheningand sharpening these instruments of their utmost capacity that they can be made effective for the increased work which modern conditions require. The muscles of the mind must be thoroughly trained by simple and easy means, then, and not till then, great feasts of intellectual strength can be required of them.”

Integral Education

True education, according to Sri Aurobindo, is not only spiritual but also rational, vital and physical. In other words, it is an integral education. This integral education has been explained by Sri Aurobindo’s closest collaborator the Mother, in these words,Edcuation to be complete must have five principal aspects relating tothe five principal activities of the human being: the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual. Sri Aurobindo’s scheme of education is integral in two senses. Firstly, it is integral in the sense of including all the aspects of the individual being, physical, vital, mental, psychic and spiritual. Secondly, it is integral in the sense of being an education not only for the evolution of the humanity. The ultimate aim of education is the evolution of total humanity, which includes the evolution of the nation, which in its turn depends upon the evolution of the individual.

Supramental Education

The education is Supramental education that leads to our evolution towards the Supramental. This Supramental evolution, however, will necessarily pass through and only after the evolution of the physical, the vital, the mental and the psychic.
The vital education is indispensable, thus vital education includes sense training and the development of character. This character again will be developed according to individual differences. It requires redirectionand transformation of the instincts and emotions, drives and propensities. The physical, vital and mental education are the means to develop the personality, the psychic education alone leads to the future evolution of man. Sri Aurobindo’s system of education does not aim only at the adjustment and normal development of the human personality but its total growth and transformation. It is only after one gets through the physical,vital, mental and psychic education and realizes a certain transformation that one can enter into Supramental education. The idea of Supramental education like that of the psychic education is Aurobindo’s significant contribution to the field of education.

Continue : Sri Aurobindo : Views on Education (Part 2)