Transformation Through Awareness
Discourse date: Fri, 2 September 1969 00:00:00 GMT
The original title was: Education: Means and Ends
DO YOU THINK IT IS NECESSARY TO GIVE A NEW TYPE OF EDUCATION SO THAT PEOPLE MAY UNDERSTAND DIFFERENTIATIONS? CAN OBJECTIVITY AND SUBJECTIVITY BE SEPARATED? DO YOU THINK IT IS POSSIBLE TO GIVE SUCH RIGHT EDUCATION?
Yes, it is necessary to have such a civilization which does not teach distinctions from the very childhood and which may lead to the understanding of oneness. The reality is that from the beginning there are no distinctions in the mind of a child. Distinctions are taught by us. It is true to such an extent that a child is not able to distinguish between a dream and reality.
A child weeps in the morning after seeing a dream at night. He is weeping for a toy which he saw in a dream; he is asking for that toy. The child is not able to distinguish between what he sees in a dream and what he sees when he is awake. His seeing is without any distinction. A person addresses his father as "father," but a child who hears this will also address that person as "father." For the child it is difficult to understand that that person was not his father. He does not know whether he is a Hindu or a Mohammedan; he does not know anything. He is still in the world of oneness, but that oneness is full of ignorance.
A saint ultimately enters into the same world of oneness, but then his oneness is full of knowing.
Whosoever is ignorant can be divided; we cannot divide the oneness of the saint, because his oneness is born out of his knowing. Children are born out of oneness, but they are taught distinctions; it is necessary to teach them some distinctions; it is useful for living. It is necessary to teach what is poison and what is nectar, it is necessary to know where there is a door and where there is a wall. It is also necessary to teach where is harm and where there is safety - these distinctions have to be taught.
But it is necessary to see that behind all this teaching of distinctions there should develop continuously a sense of oneness in his mind - meaning he should remain aware of the fact that sometimes poison acts like nectar and sometimes what is taken to be nectar acts like poison. He should be able to understand that there are times when a man recovers when poison is administered and there are times when nectar taken in excess may kill the person. When a child grows up some distinctions will have to be taught, but the child's awareness should also develop to understand that all the distinctions are just functional, that the distinctions are made looking to the limitations of man.
Within him a current of oneness should continuously flow. He should be aware of the fact that all things are united from within.
The impact of our life on the child should be such that he visualizes life in its oneness. He should not feel that inner and outer, subjective and objective are two things - he should feel life as a whole.
He should understand that he is the same person when he is eating and when he is praying; that his prayer is connected in some deep way with his eating, it cannot be separate. The child should become aware of this inner principle, and it is not difficult for a child, who in reality feels that he is the same person, to become aware who eats and who prays. But he becomes confused when he sees that his father becomes a different person when he eats, a different person when he is sitting in his shop, and a third person when he is praying. When he comes home he becomes a different person, and when he is facing a servant he becomes yet another person. The child is not able to understand this.
A child is being told that he should respect his father because he is old. The child then wants to respect the old servant also, because if old age is a matter for respect, then the old servant should also get respect. Such behavior on the child's part is beyond our understanding. We then tell the child to respect his old father, not the old servant. Then we are creating a distinction.
But this distinction is not just limited to one between a father and a servant; it creates two faces within him: one to be shown to the father and the other to be shown to the servant. The child learns that he has to stand in a temple one way and sit in the shop in a different way. One has to be clever in the shop and simple in the temple. This way we are teaching him divisions. Slowly all these distinctive impressions, layer after layer, will get built in and the child will take these distinctions as conclusive in his life.
Actually the system of education should be such that from the very childhood, right from the parents and school to the university, he remains aware of the fact that every thing is connected; he should remain aware that something is connecting even two opposites from within. One thing should be very clear in his mind: that he is undivided and whole; that there can be no two things like inner and outer; that "whosoever I am from outside, I am the same from within." Then only will there be born in him an integrated individual, an individuality which is not divisible.
Our society has a system that builds up personality but does not create any individuality. Society creates a personality, but does not make an individual. Personality does not mean one whole individual but an individual divided into many parts - he has many masks from outside, a separate mask meant for each different individual. He can change the mask according to the need. There is not one individual within him who remains the same in all states, conditions and situations, the same inside and outside, the same in a temple and in a shop.
We are doing the same thing always: we consider aims, goals and ends as of primary importance.
This has put man into many difficulties. The first thing that is to be understood is that the goal is somewhere in the future and we are in the present. Wherever we are we will be in the present and our goals will always be in the future. The goal can never be in the present, we can never be in the future; whenever we are, we are in the present, we can never be in the future. Therefore we are creating such a tension in our mind which cannot be resolved. We are creating such a mad anxiety in a person which cannot be removed. His goal is always in the future and he is in the today. There can be no meeting between today and tomorrow, because when tomorrow comes it will become today and the goal will shift to the tomorrow. In such a situation the person will live unchanged throughout his life and his idea of the goal will continue to torture him and harass him.
If a man is violent he will remain violent, but the goal will be nonviolence. He will say that sometime he will become nonviolent: if not in this life, in the next he will become nonviolent. But he will continue to remain violent because he has to live today and nonviolence can happen tomorrow; thus the nonviolence that is going to happen tomorrow will remain to be achieved tomorrow. He will go on postponing.
Thus there is one beauty in a goal: that whatsoever is important in the life of man, he will look for a trick to postpone it. He will say, "It is not possible to be nonviolent today; I am violent now Slowly therefore I shall endeavor, meditate, pray, do yoga, take sannyas. If not in this life, in the next life, or in still another life - sometime I will become nonviolent. It is not a small thing, that it can happen just today!"
A convenient excuse therefore is found to postpone till tomorrow. Now that the goal has been postponed till tomorrow, I shall remain the same as I am today. What can I do? It is not my fault, the goal is not achievable today. Therefore I shall remain as violent as I am. This means that a man who is violent will remain violent; nonviolence will be the goal and he will engrave in his temple the words: "Nonviolence is the supreme religion. This is the only religion which is to be achieved."
Our old Tirthankaras have achieved this in the past; we have now to achieve the same. It is written in the story about Mahavira, that he achieved nonviolence by toiling for it birth after birth for many births.
Therefore that nonviolence is the future goal - "but now I am violent." What I want to emphasize is that this goal-oriented outlook allows you to postpone things, and that is very dangerous.
Another thing that happens as a result of a goal-oriented outlook is that it creates suppression in the mind of a person and creates a sort of torture due to one's remaining violent. He wants to be nonviolent - what can he do? Should he suppress violence, should he pretend being nonviolent - what can be the way out? Since I am violent, even after my pretending nonviolence, my violence is going to continue. It is therefore very interesting to note that in becoming nonviolent I shall use violence. If I have to be nonviolent I will run away from my wife; it does not matter if due to my action my wife dies of starvation and the children begin to beg in the streets - in the process I am becoming nonviolent. The irony of the situation is that this violent behavior of mine is only with the goal of becoming nonviolent, and therefore it matters little....
There was one famous Jaina sadhu. After leaving his wife in his town, he stayed for twenty years in Varanasi. He received news about his wife's death through a telegram. On reading the telegram he exclaimed, "Good, the botheration is over!" In his biography it is written that he was such a great ascetic that even on the death of his wife he did not express any unhappiness He only said, "Good, the botheration is over!"
Somebody had come to give me his biography. I told that man, "It is a matter of great astonishment to me that when he had given up his wife twenty years ago, where was the question of any botheration?
There must have been no botheration whatsoever: he had left her twenty years before. What botheration can be there from a wife that was abandoned? On her death, if that ascetic thought that his wife was a botheration, that must be due to his awaiting her death all these twenty years.
This man is violent, which means he could even have killed her. In fact, it was an attempt to kill her when he ran away leaving her dying - and now after twenty years he talks about "botheration."
That man was of a very violent nature, because even at her moment of death he had no feeling of compassion, pain, or sensation of unhappiness. What he said was full of violence, and during these twenty years he had been practising nothing but violence.
What else can a poor violent person do in trying to be nonviolent? He can only make use of violence.
He will be violent towards others and towards himself also. It becomes problematic when we become violent to others: we know and others also know that we are violent, but when we become violent to ourselves we do not understand that we are violent. If a man goes on a long fast we do not think he is doing any violence. But when I catch hold of a person, lock him up in a room, do not give him any food, and keep him starving for a number of days, the whole town will come to know that I am a very violent person, starving a locked-up man for such a long time. But if I lock myself in a room and do not take any food for twenty days I will be considered a great ascetic person. In both the situations I am doing the same thing. The only difference is that in one case I am being violent to another person and in the other case I am being violent to myself. The illusion arises because the doer in one case, and the person on whom something is done in the other case, are not two different persons.
Another thing I would like to tell you is that whatsoever a violent person may do to become nonviolent, can only be violent. He cannot become nonviolent that way. Therefore I say that the question is not of nonviolence being a supreme religion, but of who you are and what you are doing. Let this be understood properly. If I am doing violence, let it go deep within me that I am violent, and let that violent nature of mine become clearer and go deeper in my awareness, and let me realise that I am violent from morning till evening; let me realise that when I am walking on the road there is violence in my walk also. Violence is not such that it happens only when one puts a knife into somebody's chest.
It is thought by people of very poor intelligence that only when you put a knife into another person's chest does it become violence. The violence of staring at a person in a particular way can become more violent than putting a knife in his chest. Violence can happen even if you do not look at somebody at all. It is not only a question of seeing violently: if you are passing on a road and if I pass by without looking at you, as if you are just a small fry, as if you are a nonentity.... Big leaders walk that way on the road. They are walking as if people walking around them are just worms.
DO YOU THINK THAT OUR NEW EDUCATION AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WILL EVER BE ABLE TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?
First, try to understand what I am telling you. It is more valuable that you become fully aware of the fact that you are violent. It is not a question of achieving nonviolence: one has to realise what one is now, today, this moment. If I can rightly see that I am violent for all the twenty-four hours.... It is not that you become sometimes violent and sometimes nonviolent; there is a continuity in your being.
Whatsoever you are, you remain the same for almost twenty-four hours - sometimes appearing a little less violent, sometimes appearing a little more violent; sometimes manifestly violent, sometimes violent in disguise. Nevertheless you do remain what you are. A violent person will remain violent in all his doing. Even when he is praying, if you can look within his heart, he will be found to be violent. Even when he is giving charity, if you can look within his mind, he will be doing violence.
While giving charity somebody's poverty is not a matter of importance for him, but when he is giving charity it is he who is giving, who is important, not the one who is receiving it. While giving charity also his ego is getting nourished. Whatsoever that violent person does will be violent.
Therefore what I want to tell you is that it is not necessary to make nonviolence a goal. It was an old trick, but it has failed. It has caused great harm. What is necessary is to know what I am, know it and recognize it. What am I today? What am I now? If my recognition of this becomes quite clear, I do not have to do anything else. The more clearly I see that violence is existing every moment in me, the deeper will be my understanding.
The moment I see violence as violence, violence will become impossible. Violence will disappear.
My sitting, standing, eating, drinking, walking, speaking, meeting - everything, all my gestures will change. I will not have to change it; I will not change anything, keeping nonviolence as a goal before me. I should just recognize that violence exists in me, and the transformation will happen. It is understanding that changes. Just as the changes happen, I will know that violence is disappearing.
When violence disappears, what remains is nonviolence. It means that nonviolence is not a goal which is to be reached tomorrow. If today violence disappears from my mind, then today nonviolence is achieved - this very moment.
Nonviolence is neither to be brought from anywhere, nor to be reached. Nonviolence is not a matter of any gap in time, that I will reach within ten years or after trying for ten births; it is not a goal. If my violence disappears today I am nonviolent today. How can this violence disappear? It cannot disappear through any violent means. If one thinks that by going on a fast he can become nonviolent.... Fasting itself is a violent means, a torture, suicidal. By fasting, neither violence can disappear, nor can nonviolence happen. A person may say, "I shall stand on my head or remain lying on a bed of thorns" - all these are violent means. Through them one cannot become nonviolent.
Then the question arises: What can be the means for achieving nonviolence?
The first thing: Understanding is the first means. There is no other nonviolent method in this world as good as understanding - because for one whose understanding increases, violence becomes impossible. Understanding is so nonviolent that violence is impossible. Once you are able to see that this is violence, it disappears. The moment of your seeing becomes the moment of its disappearing.
Nothing more has to be done.
Now the question you have raised about the present education system - whether it will be able to do something.
The present education system cannot do anything, because the whole system of education today is devised keeping goals in mind. We are teaching goals to children. We are teaching children not to steal - non-stealing is the goal. That goal is somewhere in the future: today the children steal.
Today the teacher is stealing, the father is stealing, the mother is also stealing, the town is stealing, the whole world is stealing. And everybody is teaching non-stealing, to give up stealing. The child also takes a vow to give up stealing, but the moment this vow is being taken, at that very moment the stealing is accepted; stealing will continue - because the child says, he will give up stealing. What is promised for tomorrow becomes a lie; nothing is to be done today. Today stealing is to be done, has to be done - but it will have to be given up, that is the goal of man. Talking about the goals in the life of man is a highly dishonest thing.
Now we need a new system of education wherein a child is not just told not to tell any lies, but he should be told to just remain aware when he is telling a lie. There is no necessity to be afraid or to run away, but only to know that you are telling a lie. The fact that the child has become aware, due to your assistance, of the act of lying, is enough. We do not have to tell them anything more. We do not have to tell them not to tell a lie or to give up lying; that question does not arise. A child's sensitivity should increase so much that it knows instantly that it has told a lie. It should not happen that the child tells a lie but does not know that it has told a lie. But such things are happening in our life! Man is not able to understand things.
You meet a man passing on the road and you just ask him, "How are you?"... and then you inquire if he had seen a particular person. He says he saw him only yesterday. That particular man was not there in the town at all. That man who had replied had nothing to do with the person about whom the inquiry was made. He was not aware that he was telling a lie. He had no interest in telling a lie. But he was perhaps not aware about what he was speaking or why he was speaking. But there must be some reason why he was speaking. Neither was he aware of those reasons nor had he any idea of them.
I had a professor. Whenever I talked about any book, he would immediately say, "Oh! It is very good, I have read about that book!" After a few days I began to doubt, because if he had read that book he never mentioned it in the class. It seemed there was not a single book which he had not read.
One day when I met him, I gave him a false name of a nonexistent writer. I told him there was a Russian philosopher named Bornokov.... He said, "Oh yes! His book is very good. I have read his book - but I have read it about twenty years ago!"
I then immediately told him that there was no such author born twenty years ago or even twenty crores of years ago. When there was no such author, there could be no question of his writing a book. "I asked the question only because I felt that you had not read a certain book, but you were simply saying that you had read it. It was painful for you to accept that there could be any book which you might not have read!"
Such is the ego, creating problems. But he was not aware. He was so much accustomed to speak that way that it would be wrong to say that he was knowingly telling a lie. This had become his nature, a part of his blood - lies come out of it.
Therefore there is no question of teaching someone not to tell lies. The question is of awakening him so that whenever he tells a lie he would know that he has told a lie. I believe that it is slowly becoming impossible to tell lies knowingly - because slowly one realises the absurdity, the foolishness, the ignorance and the folly of telling lies and slowly one sees the harm that is caused. One also realises that one lie leads to another and another. We get so much entangled that it becomes difficult to get out.
Another interesting fact is that in telling lies we are not only harming others, but we are harming ourselves much more, because slowly we become incapable of knowing the truth itself. From a humane angle, I feel, such a person becomes so much weakened that we cannot imagine. A person who tells lies does not believe that any one can ever speak the truth. He is not able to trust anyone, he cannot make anyone his friend. He cannot ever take any matter in its natural way. His potential of being a man will remain weak. If we can understand where this habit of telling lies may lead us to, and what is happening within us or what fruits we may reap or what we are doing to others, then we will not tell lies anytime.
Another interesting thing is that though we are teaching others not to tell lies, we never teach why anyone ever tells a lie. On the one hand the educationist teaches not to tell lies, but on the other hand he also goes on teaching those very things due to which one is tempted to tell a lie. For example, the fundamental reason for telling a lie is fear. If we desire that there should be no falsehoods we must destroy the fear. But the teacher has a cane in his hands and threatens that if any one tells a lie he will break his head. Now this teacher also does not know what he is doing. On the one hand he is instilling fear in the mind of the child, and on the other hand he says that if the child tells a lie he will break his head. That fear will compel the child to tell a lie. If the child was playing some game with other children and came late to the school, the child would say he had gone to bring medicine for his father. He is telling this because of the fear of the cane. The teacher teaches that if the child tells a lie he will be punished. The teacher does not understand that while telling a lie is wrong, threatening with the cane is also wrong.
If the teacher wants that his students should not tell lies, then fear must be removed from the field of education. Let the children become fearless. Make them so full of courage that they will be ready to face any calamity laughingly, but will not tolerate the embarrassment of telling a lie.
I have read one novel. It is a wonderful story. There is one character in it who kills an absolute stranger with a knife all of a sudden. Two people were taking a sunbath on the beach, when suddenly one got up and thrust a knife in the other's back. He had not even seen the face of that stranger, because the stranger was lying on his belly. When he was brought before the court he explained that he was feeling that in his whole life he had done nothing; his whole life so far had passed off uselessly, without any events. His name never appeared in the newspapers. So while he was taking a sunbath he felt that if he thrusts a knife in that back shining under the sun, his name will be printed in the newspapers and there would be a lot of talk about him. He said, "I have therefore done something. I am also feeling the thrill. I have stabbed him for the thrill of it, there is no other reason."
Nobody believed the story. The court also could not believe it, because nobody in this world had done anything like it before. The court therefore threatened that he would be given capital punishment.
That man replied, "The story is only this, there is nothing more; the court may do what it thinks fit."
Now for this some witnesses had to be found, because as it was nobody was prepared to believe in the story of killing somebody without any reason.
One witness reported that when his mother had died he was found in a theater the same night. In the morning his mother died and the same night he was seeing a show in a theater. The court asked him if he was seeing a show in a theater the same night his mother had died, and he replied, "Yes, I was seeing the show, because I thought that my mother had already died, and now whenever I would go to a theater it would be only after my mother's death; there was no other alternative. Now, how can I go to a theater before her death? I can now only go after her death. My going to a theater is going to happen only after this event of her death. Whether it happens after one day or two days or three days, what difference will it make? If people can go to a theater only before their mother's death, all theaters will have to be closed down. Whose mother does not die? Everybody's mother dies someday."
The court felt that the person was very dangerous: he can see a show in a theater on the very night of the day his mother died! He had explained that he had taken the ticket earlier, prior to her death. Even then the court felt that, "How can it be possible to see a show on that night?" That man continued to argue that hereafter, whenever he would see a show, it would be only after her death.
That man did not deny seeing the show.
Another person had asked him, "You must have been very sad when your mother died?" That man gave evidence in the court; he replied, "Yes, I was very sad. The previous night I had to sit near her death bed and I was not able to sleep the whole night."
The court was also told that that man was very dangerous because he was telling the truth. He had also said, "At first I was very unhappy, at her death, but afterwards I became more unhappy, because I had not been able to sleep the whole night. My mother had already died. Whatever sadness I had to experience, I did experience. Now why should I spoil another night?"
For the court, this was not at all believable. The magistrate in the court expected that at least he should not have spoken all that he did so truthfully. He was talking like an idiot. He was telling so much truth that nobody in this world would believe it - because the whole world is just existing on falsehood.
Tears came into the eyes of the magistrate. He said, "I have not seen a person like this before. He goes on telling that at first he was sad due to his mother's death, but a few hours later he felt that he need not spoil the night after her death. Now, what he was telling was the truth. What can I do in this matter?"
Actually, on the one hand we are teaching not to tell lies and on the other hand we are instilling fear in man about the consequences of telling lies. If we want to lead a man towards truth and if we desire to show him how joyful it is to tell the truth, we will have to create new values. We will have to teach fearlessness and we will have to accept the truth straight, as it is. Truth is very cruel; though the world asks everybody to speak the truth, the world is not ready for truth, because truth is very cruel, harsh and merciless.
When some person comes to your house, at first you feel a little upset, but you welcome him saying, "It is very fortunate for us that you came." That man also knows that there was nothing to feel fortunate about in his coming. When you go to his house he also welcomes you the same way, knowing full well the embarrassment he is experiencing.
We have created a false world around us. In this world, speaking truth is our goal and the whole structure is built on falsehood. We will not accept the truth. Can a man tell his wife while walking on a road, "That woman passing by is very beautiful and I like her very much"? Actually, while walking on the road, a woman can and will look beautiful - but can he say this to his wife? ... And our whole social structure is advising us to speak the truth.
It will be a beautiful world in which we are able to make our children accept the truth. We should be able to convince our daughters that it is not necessary that only she should be liked; when she becomes a wife it is possible that the husband may like someone else. It would be a wonderful day, and a very loving one at that, when the husband would be able to say that some other woman is looking very beautiful.... And if the wife would be able to hear this and remain compassionate in this situation, then only she is a wife; then only there is love between them. Tomorrow the wife can also say....
One such event happened. Four years ago a woman came to me in Bombay. She told me that she was in great difficulty. The difficulty was that her husband loved her very much, there was no end to his love, but she was not able to love him at all. Her love was still with the man she loved before her marriage - it was so even today. That man was staying in Africa. She was not able to meet him after the marriage because he came to Bombay for three or four days only every four to six years.
She said, "My husband loves me so much that it is becoming burdensome to me. It would be better if my husband does not love me. I am not able to love him, because that man's face is still very much in my mind till now. Now I do not have anything to do with that man; there is no point, no question about him. Now I am very much sorry for my husband, but what can I do?" And she started weeping bitterly.
I told her to tell the whole thing to her husband. That way she would become very light. She replied, "What will my husband think? He has loved me so much, and now twenty years have passed since our marriage. It is not any recent event - but my mind is still the same, involved with that man!"
I again tried to explain to her and convinced her that it would be a matter of great love for her to do so. I had also told her that I knew her husband well and that he was coming to me. She was very much afraid. At last she agreed to tell the whole story... and she told him.
After that she met me when I had gone to Bombay again. She said, "Something very astonishing happened. I never expected it. After my telling him the whole story, from that very day his love towards me became wonderful and immense. We were never so close before and I became very light after telling him. Afterwards, when that man came from Africa, my husband called him and made him stay in our house. He was there with us for seven days and during those seven days my husband tried to leave us alone together as much as possible, to sit, to talk and to meet. However, within these seven days that man went right out of my mind, and what had not happened during these twenty years happened within seven days due to my husband's wholehearted effort to let us live near each other.
"My husband began to remain away from the house as much as possible. As a result, that man's image left my mind, because all that I had imagined about that man.... He was a very ordinary man...
and I saw in my husband what I never could before, because I never tried - his great love that had remained steadfast all along. That love is now clear to me."
If we cannot teach the real meaning of telling the truth.... And I am sure the phenomenon that happened in her life could never have happened if she had not told the truth. It could not have happened while that layer of falsehood remained intact. That man left her mind for ever, that matter was finished, and what is more - the most important and most significant thing that happened - that wonderful husband came very close to her. That man gone, things became so clear that a wall that had existed between her and her husband was destroyed. There was no feeling of guilt, no wound, no secrets in between them. Everything became light. Only when we hide things do they become a burden.
Therefore I feel that our whole system is based on falsehood in that we do not give any room to truth, but we have made truth our goal. All our arrangements are like that. All arrangements are based on violence, but the goal is of nonviolence. The whole arrangement is dishonest, but we go on talking about honesty. Ultimately what has happened is that the greater the dishonesty there is in the mind, the greater is the illusion of honesty.
Those words "honesty is religion" written on our doors can enable perpetration of a bigger dishonesty. It means that honesty will be used for committing dishonesty. But we are not aware of this. This has happened due to our setting the goals to be achieved in the future.
I would like a system of education in which the goal is day-to-day living. There is nothing like future:
whatsoever I am living today is all and everything. We should create such an atmosphere in the educational institutions which will help us to understand, to recognize and to know, that howsoever harsh the truth may be, we should respect only those who speak the truth. However indifferent and cruel the truth may appear, the truth only must be respected. From the very first day of our education, all the efforts should be directed towards increasing our recognition and knowledge of what truth is. We should know how to expose the falsehood and should know why we should expose the falsehood. Our endeavour should be to increase the respect and dignity of truth. Geography, mathematics, chemistry and physics are not as important as the meditative awareness.