March 16, 2006

Integral education

For the last hundred years or so mankind has been suffering from a disease which seems to be spreading more and more and which has reached a climax in our times; it is what we may call "utilitarianism" People and things, circumstances and activities seem to be viewed and appreciated exclusively from this angle. Nothing has any value unless it is useful. Certainly something that is useful is better than something that is not. But first we must agree on what we describe as useful- useful to whom, to what, for what ? Words of the Mother
Life is full of surprises. I was searching for some books in the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan bookshop when I overheard a middle aged women ask where she could donate about hundred books on Indian culture and philosophy. Out of a desire to help and partly because I wanted some of those books I picked up a conversation with her. That's when she told me that it was not her but her sister who had these books. She gave me her sister Pooja Munshi's numbers and me to call. I gave Pooja the name of a learned Sanskrit professor who could add these books to his college library. The marketer in me got me talking to her about my site. Sensing my interest she told me about a Aurobindo ashram sponsored seminar in early October. Having shown my keenness to attend we wished each other goodbye.
It was I think October 1 some 7.30 in the morning. Pooja called to say that the seminar was from October 1-3, she could not call earlier since the piece of paper on which she had scribbled my number had got misplaced. Bhagwan alone knows how she found it! Perhaps it was divine help. When I reached the Sophia auditorium on day two I was surprised to see women around, not that I mind, since a couple of them were stunners. There were only six men in the crowd all over sixty and me a bacha. That's when I decided to find out what the seminar was all about. Aah! It was a three-day Intensive course for teachers on Integral Education. Now that's not something I had bargained for!
Unsure about what was in store I decided to sit through nevertheless. The first session was on the impact of music, sound on our minds and body. The second was on Integral education. Believe me it was marvelous, truly enlightening. During lunch I picked up a book titled The Right Object of Education – And India's National Education, Words of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I liked the book so much that it is reproduced in parts for you.
It been three years since I have tried to stop controlling my life and flow with the tide, enjoy life as it unfolds. Since then things just keep on happening as if by some divine intervention. The more I look within the more I discover that education has always interested me but not knowing anyone in the field I never knew from where to start. Out of nowhere I met Pooja Munshi who initiated me into the subject. After reading the book I realized that education is not, about studying ten subjects simultaneously with the sole intent of getting a degree, job, but lots more. Esamskriti

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