March 04, 2006

Knowledge, Power, Harmony and Skill in works

M.K. Raina
In his educational philosophy, Sri Aurobindo upheld the basic but commonly forgotten principle that ‘it is the spirit, the living and vital issue that we have to do with, and there the question is not between modernism and antiquity, but between an imported civilisation and the greater possibilities of the Indian mind and nature, not between the present and the past, but between the present and the future’. In devising a true and living education, three things according to Sri Aurobindo—the man, the individual in his commonness and his uniqueness, the nation or people and universal humanity—should be taken into account.
Accordingly, Aurobindo conceived of education as an instrument for the real working of the spirit in the mind and body of the individual and the nation. He thought of 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 first in view the preservation, strengthening and enrichment of the nation—soul and its Dharma (virtue) and raise both into powers of the life and ascending mind and soul of humanity. And at no time will it lose sight of man’s highest object, the awakening and development of his spiritual being . A concept underlying the true and living integral education.
Integrality of education is conceived as a process of organic growth, and the way in which various faculties could be developed and integrated is dependent upon each child’s inclination, rhythm of progression and law of development, Swabhava (inherent disposition) and Swadharma (inner nature). Integral education is not conceived as a juxtaposition of a number of subjects and even juxtaposition of varieties of faculties. The idea is to provide facilities for varieties of faculties, varieties of subjects and various combinations of pursuits of Knowledge, Power, Harmony and Skill in works. These faculties are so provided that they could be made use of by each student and the teacher so that a natural process of harmonious development could be encouraged.
M.K. Raina (India). Professor and Head, Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations of Education, National Council of Educational Research and Training, New Delhi. Formerly Senior Fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

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