by Swami Krishnananda
Spanish Visitor: Swamiji, what is the final aim of education?
SWAMIJI: It is a process of drawing out the perfection that is already inherent in the human individual by gradual degrees. You said, "I am a total whole." You have a consciousness of total wholeness. This totality consciousness has various degrees. It is not an easy thing to understand what this total consciousness is. As a body, and mind, you feel that you are one total individual, isn't it?
Suppose you have a family. You have a wife and children. This family consisting of ten members is also a total whole. Though there are many people, the family is a total concept. It is an integrated consciousness of the harmony of many members into an organisation that you call a family.
The family is one individual. That is why there is harmony among members; one member will not act against the wish of another member, as one limb of the body will not act against the welfare of another limb. A family is one single individual. It is a social individual, not merely a biological individual. That is why you feel it is "my family." You identify yourself with the family, as if it is inseparable from you. So, the total consciousness has now expanded itself from the mere biological individuality to a family consciousness.
You are a man from Spain. The Spanish nationality also is one total whole. Do you understand me?
Spanish Visitor: Yes, Swamiji.
SWAMIJI: The consciousness of nationality of your country is one total perfection arising from you; but you are also a citizen of the international set-up, and so, the international concept also is one total whole. When you say that you belong to humanity, you begin to feel a totality of consciousness of a different type altogether. You belong to the entire earth; you are a citizen of this planet. That consciousness also is one total consciousness. You belong to the solar system, of which the earth is a planet; that also is a total consciousness. "Oh, I belong to the solar system!"; so big your mind becomes, even by thinking that. You feel a happiness that you are in a family of so many planets, and the sun is your father, the leader of the family. It is also a total concept. Solar systems are many in the universe, not one, and they also integrate into a larger total, and so on endlessly.
What do you mean by total consciousness, actually? There are degrees. It rises from one little individual to higher, higher, and higher things until you become identified with the whole space-time itself. You belong to the universe. The universe-consciousness is the final total consciousness.
If you can bring out these degrees of perfection gradually, stage by stage, in the minds of students, you are giving the right education to them; otherwise, you teach them mathematics, and physics, sociology and geography, all right. They have studied all these things, but they do not know the connection of one person with another person and so social conflict arises. There are wars taking place. One does not like another person really.
In this total consciousness, which I have explained to you in various degrees, there cannot be conflict of any kind, because everywhere there is a total, so how can there be conflict? There cannot be conflict with anybody, if this consciousness is in your mind always. Either you are in one level of consciousness, or in another level of consciousness; in whichever case, it is always a total. In total, there is no clash, just as your body does not fight with its own self-the lung does not fight with the nose; the nose does not fight with the eyes. Likewise is the consciousness of perfection that you have to introduce in everybody. That art of teaching in this manner may be considered as the aim of education, finally.
You may teach mathematics or physics; it is quite all right, but the aim is something else. It is not only to get a job that you become a physics professor. You study physics and become a physics professor; what happens afterwards? You earn a salary, and have a comfortable life. This is not education.
Education is not meant for a job and a comfortable life. This may be there incidentally, but the aim is perfection. What perfection is, I told you in various degrees. In every level, in every stage, you are in the state of perfection. If this can be inculcated into the minds of students through proper educational curriculum, that is perfect education.
I cannot tell you too much, but something I have told you which is important.
Spanish Visitor: All knowledge should be together?
SWAMIJI: All arts and sciences are branches of a single knowledge. They have to be together, naturally. You are the son of some father, you are the father of some children; you are the boss of some subordinates, you are the subordinate of some boss; you are the husband of a wife, you are the brother of another person. Do you think all these aspects are capable of harmonising in one individual, or are they all totally different?
These so-called irreconcilable things that I mentioned just now are reconcilable in one personality. You can be a father and a son at the same time. Are they not contradictory, that you are a father and son at the same time? You can be a husband and a brother at the same time. How is it possible? They are two different things. If all these so-called self-contradictory aspects can be combined into a single whole in one person, all knowledge can be combined into one knowledge, which is another way of repeating the same thing that I told you in the morning, in answer to your question of what education is. In that process which I described to you as education, every science, every psychology, is included. Nothing can be outside it. The knowledge of the True Self includes every other knowledge.