Editor’s note: Since time immemorial, our sages and thinkers have spoken of one central aim of education – Ātmanam Viddhi – Know Thyself. With the advent of supramental consciousness, how do we understand this aim of education? And what type of education can help prepare future generations for the new consciousness and new world?
These passages from the Mother help us explore these questions. For ease of online reading, we have made a few minor formatting revisions without altering any text.
Message for the Students, Young and Old
There are, in the history of the earth, moments of transition when things that have existed for thousands of years must give way to those that are about to manifest. A special concentration of the world consciousness, one might almost say, an intensification of its effort, occurs at such times, varying according to the kind of progress to be made, the quality of the transformation to be realised.
We are at precisely such a turning-point in the world’s history. Just as Nature has already created upon earth a mental being, man, so too there is now a concentrated activity in this mentality to bring forth a supramental consciousness and individuality.
Certain beings who, I might say, are in the secret of the gods, are aware of the importance of this moment in the life of the world, and they have taken birth on earth to play their part in whatever way they can. A great luminous consciousness broods over the earth, creating a kind of stir in its atmosphere. All who are open receive a ripple from this eddy, a ray of this light and seek to give form to it, each according to his capacity.
We have here the unique privilege of being at the very centre of this radiating light, at the fount of this force of transformation.
Sri Aurobindo, incarnating the supramental consciousness in a human body, has not only revealed to us the nature of the path to follow and the way to follow it in order to reach the goal, but has also by his own personal realisation given us the example; he has provided us, so to say, with the proof that the thing can be done and that the time has come to do it.
Consequently, we are not here to repeat what others have done, but to prepare ourselves for the blossoming of a new consciousness and a new life. That is why I address myself to you, the students, that is, to all who wish to learn, to learn always more and always better, so that one day you may be capable of opening yourselves to the new force and of giving it the possibility of manifesting on the physical plane. For that is our programme and we must not forget it.
To understand the true reason why you are here, you must remember that we want to become instruments that are as perfect as possible, instruments that express the divine will in the world.
And if the instruments are to be perfect, they must be cultivated, educated, trained. They must not be left like fallow land or a formless piece of stone. A diamond reveals all its beauty only when it is artistically cut. It is the same for you.
If you want your physical being to be a perfect instrument for the manifestation of the supramental consciousness, you must cultivate it, sharpen it, refine it, give it what it lacks, perfect what it already possesses. That is why you go to school, my children, whether you are big or small, for one can learn at any age—and so you must go to your classes.
From our archives:
Sri Aurobindo on Parenting and Education in Subjective Age
In a general way, education, culture, refinement of the senses are the means of curing movements of crude instinct and desire and passion. To obliterate them is not curing them; instead they should be cultivated, intellectualised, refined. That is the surest way of curing them.
To give them their maximum growth in view of the progress and development of consciousness, so that one may attain to a sense of harmony and exactitude of perception is a part of culture and education for the human being.
Encourage Two Tendencies Simultaneously
Indeed, in education, both tendencies should be encouraged side by side: the tendency to thirst for the marvellous, for what seems unrealisable, for something which fills you with the feeling of divinity; while at the same time encouraging exact, correct, sincere observation in the perception of the world as it is, the suppression of all imagination, a constant control, a highly practical and meticulous sense for exact details.
Both should go side by side. Usually, you kill the one with the idea that this is necessary in order to foster the other—this is completely wrong.
Both can be simultaneous and there comes a time when one has enough knowledge to know that they are the two aspects of the same thing: insight, a higher discernment.
But instead of a narrow, limited insight and discernment, the discernment becomes entirely sincere, correct, exact, but it is vast, it includes a whole domain that does not yet belong to the concrete manifestation.
From the point of view of education, this would be very important: to see the world as it is, exactly, unadorned, in the most down-to-earth and concrete manner; and to see the world as it can be, with the freest, highest vision, the one most full of hope and aspiration and marvellous certitude—as the two poles of discernment.
The most splendid, most marvellous, most powerful, most expressive, most total things we can imagine are nothing compared to what they can be; and at the same time our meticulous exactitude in the tiniest detail is never exact enough. And both must go together. When one knows this (downward gesture) and when one knows that (upward gesture), one is able to put the two together.
~ The Mother, 6 March, 1963, CWM, Vol. 10, pp. 162-163
~ Design: Beloo Mehra