Our whole education is rotten. It certainly makes you clerks, stationmasters, postmen, police commissioners. It gives you a livelihood, but it does not give you life, and it does not give you love.
One-third of our education should be concerned with livelihood; one-third of our education should be concerned with our well-being — body, health, ways to stay younger and live longer. And one-third — the last and the most important — should be concerned with love, with death, and the secrets of life itself. Only then will we have a wholesome education. And through that education, we can create a man and a society which will be healthy, youthful, loving, soulful, overflowing with joy, always ready to share with anyone — because nobody is a stranger on the earth; the whole earth is one family.
All education remains part of the mind; it does not make you more alert, more conscious, it simply fills you with information. It treats you like a computer. The society’s whole interest is in how to exploit you, how to enslave you, how to use you in a more efficient way, almost like a machine. It gives you all the education just for these hidden, secret aims. It prevents you from knowing anything about meditation.
This is what our education goes on teaching… our education is immensely destructive. In the name of education, it is mis-education. It needs to be completely changed and transformed. Things like ambition, success, comparison, have to be completely taken out of the human mind — and it is possible. Rather than teaching these ugly things, education should give people better ways of life, how to live more totally and more intensely; better ways of loving, better ways of beautifying existence — without any comparison with others — just for your sheer contentment.
Your education teaches you to imitate, your religions teach you to imitate. Nobody says to you: “Just be yourself — that’s where your paradise lies.” They go on saying to you, “Follow this, imitate that.” They give you ideals: “Become a Gautam Buddha, or a Jesus Christ.” But never, even by mistake, do they say to you, “Just be yourself; relax and enjoy your being, and bring your potential to its maximum unfoldment.”
A sannyasin has to be both: the peace, the silence, the light, the qualities of his inner being, and a rebel against all injustice, against all inhumanity. But for a creative purpose, to materialize a dream of an authentic human society which will be able to give equal opportunity to all, freedom to all, education which is nonviolent, education which is not only informative but also transformative, an education that will make you more of an individual and bring the best in you to its flowering.
Education is not bringing peace and silence and blissfulness to people. There is something missing in it; it is only education in subjects which do not touch your interior being at all. They may make you doctors, engineers, professors, but they do not give you the insight that can create a Gautam Buddha in you. The true meaning of the word “education” is “to draw out.” But all that your so-called education does is to force in. From outside, borrowed knowledge is being forced into the minds of innocent children.
In my vision, education is nothing but another form of meditation. All that usually goes on in the name of education is secondary. The priority should be given to meditation — education of the inner. Unless you become acquainted with yourself, all your knowledge is useless.
So before education I would put meditation. Education is trivia: geography, history, arithmetic. It is good as far as the mundane world is concerned, but it is not good as far as your interiority is concerned. You go on accumulating degrees and inside you remain empty. Your degrees can befool people, may even befool yourself, but you cannot have the joy, the blissfulness, the peace, the silence, the compassion of a Gautam Buddha. And unless education has two wings, it cannot fly in the sky in total freedom. Right now it has only one wing; the other wing is missing. Why is it missing? Because the priests don’t want you to become meditators.
To me, charity first means the education of the inner; and only secondarily, it means education of other things. “Know thyself” must be the most precious education, and then you can become acquainted with everything else. A man who knows himself will never misuse his education in the outer world. Otherwise, when you don’t know yourself, you are going to use your education to exploit people, to create poverty.
Education is certainly needed; but before education, meditation is needed. Anybody who becomes a graduate — either an engineer or a doctor or a professor — should not be able to have his degree unless he also passes his examinations in meditation. Each university and each college should have classes for meditation for the students — and for people from outside also; they may not have been able in their youth to learn meditation, but now they can learn.
We just have to create people who are evidence of right education. An education is complete when it is inner and outer both. And we have to create people who can change this whole exploitative structure with love and compassion in a democratic way. There is no need for any violence. The poor just have to be made aware: It is time for you to wake up; everything belongs to you.
We have to find a human kind of education in the world; the education that exists is very inhuman. We have to find ways so that children can play in the sun and still learn a little arithmetic. That can be done — once we know that arithmetic is not so important as playing in the sun, once that thing has been decided, then we can find ways. A little arithmetic can be taught, and a little is needed. Everybody is not going to become an Albert Einstein. And those who are going to become Albert Einsteins, they won’t bother playing in the sun — their joy is arithmetic, that is their poetry. Then it is different, then it is totally different; then the growth is not hindered and guilt is not created.
Our whole education system is based on giving ready-made answers. Because of those ready-made answers you never develop your intelligence; there is no need. You ask the question and a computer teacher answers them.
Education is a bridge between the potentiality and the actuality. Education is to help you to become that which you are only in a seed form. And this is what I am doing here; this is a place of education. The thing that is being done in the ordinary schools and colleges and universities is not education. It only prepares you to get a good job, a good earning; it is not real education. It does not give you life. Maybe it can give you a better standard of living, but the better standard of living is not a better standard of life; they are not synonymous.
The so-called education that goes on in the world prepares you only to earn bread. And Jesus says, “Man cannot live by bread alone.” And that’s what your universities have been doing — they prepare you to earn bread in a better way, in an easier way, in a more comfortable way, with less effort, with less hardship. But all that they do is prepare you to earn your bread and butter. It is a very, very primitive kind of education: it does not prepare you for life.
My vision of education is that life should not be taken as a struggle for survival; life should be taken as a celebration. Life should not be only competition, life should be joy too. Singing and dancing and poetry and music and painting, and all that is available in the world — education should prepare you to fall in tune with it — with the trees, with the birds, with the sky, with the sun and the moon.
And education should prepare you to be yourself. Right now it prepares you to be an imitator; it teaches you how to be like others. This is miseducation. Right education will teach you how to be yourself, authentically yourself. You are unique. There is nobody like you, has never been, will never be. This is a great respect that God has showered on you. This is your glory, that you are unique. Don’t become imitative, don’t become carbon copies. But that’s what your so-called education goes on doing: it makes carbon copies; it destroys your original face. The word “education” has two meanings, both are beautiful. One meaning is very well known, although not practiced at all, that is: to draw something out of you. “Education” means: to draw out that which is within you, to make your potential actual, like you draw water from a well.
Real education will be to bring out what is hidden in you — what God has put in you as a treasure — to discover it, to reveal it, to make you luminous. Education is to bring you from darkness to light. That’s what I am doing here. Parmar has asked this question because the Indian government is not ready to accept my work as education. It is natural. They cannot accept it as education, because I don’t create clerks and stationmasters and deputy collectors. I am creating new human beings. For them that is dangerous. If this is education, then they cannot allow it to happen. It is rebellion.
This I call education: to make people more intelligent. And that’s what I am doing here. If this fire spreads, then this old, rotten society cannot survive. It survives on your unconsciousness, it lives on your unconsciousness.
Our whole system of education is stupid. It prepares you for a world which is no more in existence and it does not prepare you for a world which is coming, arising, which is dawning — so you will remain a misfit. You will never be able to live rightly. If you follow your education you will feel yourself out of date. If you follow the new world that is happening, then your education will not be of any help in it. You will be almost uneducated, and that hurts the ego.
In a better world children will be thrown upon themselves as fast as possible; the whole effort of the parents should be to make the child use his intelligence. And the whole effort, if education is right — if it is education and not MISeducation — will be to throw the child again and again to his own intelligence, so that he can function, so that he can use his intelligence. He may not be so efficient in the beginning, that is true — the teacher may have the right answer, and if the student has to work out his own answer the answer may not be so right — but that is not the point at all. The answer may not be so right, it may not correspond to the answers given in the books, but it will be intelligent. And that is the real crux of the matter.
Remember this: your whole education prepares you, makes you ready to fight. It does not prepare you for friendship and love, it prepares you for conflict, enmity, war.