Sadhguru on the Essence of Education
Through the Mystic Eye is a series of episodes featuring Sadhguru in conversation with several eminent personalities. Shekhar Kapur, KV Kamath, Virender Sehwag, JP Narayan and many more of India's leading celebrities and public figures engage Sadhguru in discussions ranging from business and governance to sports, education and mysticism.
Shekhar Kapur: When my daughter was, when she was four or five, she asked me a very similar question that you said. She said, “Daddy, am I living a dream (Sadhguru Laughs) or is this reality?” So, then I asked her… I said, “So, you tell me.” So, she said, “Is it… is the world that I live in, is it my dream or is it… is it imagination or is it reality?” So, I asked her, “you tell me,” and she said, “It’s both. It’s my imagination, and it’s reality, both.” But this question persists. “Am I living a dream, or is this reality?” And I’m actually very afraid because it’s such a subtle question, I’m afraid that as she grows, they’ll take that question away from her, the way they educate her. So, let’s talk about childhood and education and in the school, the Isha School, tell me, is that an issue, what you’re trying to do here?
Sadhguru: Essentially education is basically about enlarging the horizons of human perception. But unfortunately today, slowly education has shifted into a mode where people believe is (it’s) about enforcing information, heaps of information. Information is useful, is util… you know, it’s… it’s useful in a certain way, but it’s not going to make your life. It’ll earn your living. So right now, most of the education on the planet has become essentially a means to earn a living, not to enlarge your horizons. So, here at Isha Home School, education is about enlarging your horizons. So this is not about giving them ready-made answers as information. This is to have an active intelligence which constantly searches and seeks and looks at everything in every possible way. Above all, to know the joy of wondering about life, not having ready-made answers for everything. (Laughs) Ready-made answers are religion, it’s not life.
Shekhar Kapur: And so the question everybody is going to ask you is, in this highly competitive world, are you saying that they’ll come out non-competitive, or they will have such awareness that they, make (them) become even more, their ability to deal with this world will be more precise?
Sadhguru: See, when you’re competitive, suppose you and me are walking and you’re in competition with me, you will either get to walk slightly faster than me or probably less than me and feel depressed about it. If you walk little faster than me, you are going to be thinking you have reached the peak of your life. If you fall behind me, you will feel depressed that you can’t walk as fast as me. But if you’re not in competition with myself, you would explore the possibilities of what you could do and maybe we don’t know, you could fly. I can walk fast, maybe you could fly, but you will miss out the possibility of flying because (Laughs) you’re in competition with me. All you want to do is take few steps more than me.
So, the very human potential is distorted because people are in competition. Right now, people believe that you will not propel yourself to your fullest if you are not in competition, which is a very false idea… a very, very false idea. We have cultivated that in societies that you believe you will not reach your full potential unless you’re in competition – not at all true. Actually, only when a human being is in a very extended periods of joyfulness, blissfulness, he will stretch himself to the limits and do what he could do to the fullest. When he’s in competition, when he’s in fear of failure, he will only do little better than somebody else. So, the human genius is completely missing today. You’re destroying the human genius through the process of education, teaching competition. It’s all about getting two marks more than your… the one who is sitting next to you.
Shekhar Kapur: Yeah.
Sadhguru: And in this mode of competition, only one can win – all others are losers…
Shekhar Kapur: Yeah.
Sadhguru: (Laughs) …isn't it? It’s a horrible way to create a society. What I’m saying is the gardener in this school is as important for us as the headmistress of the… the school. So, that’s what the children are constantly perceiving. We are not saying these things as philosophies, but that’s the atmosphere that is set. The one who cleans the place, one who cooks for us, is as important as the teacher who teaches you science or literature or runs the school or me who visits once in a way to give them a different perspective of the whole thing. See, one of the school kids came to me, he was only 12 years of age…
He wrote me a four-page letter. His language, his articulation of his thoughts and the kind of things that he said in the letter just amazed me! I couldn’t believe a 12-year-old child, his letter is like a document. I said, ‘My God, this boy is here.’ I said, ‘I want to meet him.’ So, it is a big thing for them to earn a appointment with me because (Laughs) generally I’m not available. My time is so scarce, I’m spread so thin. So I said, I want to meet the boy, so we gave him an appointment. So he came, sat in front of me. He said, ‘Sadhguru, I want to know. I want to know the truth of life. I don’t want to waste my life doing simple things like my… I don’t want to waste my like… life like my parents.’
I said, ‘Stop. (Shekhar Laughs) Don’t talk about that now. If parents wasted their life, that means your existence is a waste. Only because they did those stupid things that you think are stupid, you exist. So, let’s get the things in proper perspective. Right now, there’s a Dhyanalinga Temple here. Tomorrow morning, if, without any explanation, if I just close it, if I don’t open it at six o’clock in the morning, all the people, thousands of them, will come, look and see, “Oh, temple is closed. Why?” “Sadhguru closed it.” “Oh, he must have some higher purpose.” They will wait for one or two hours. “Oh, he’s not opening” – they’ll go about their work. Every day, they’ll come, wait and go. Suppose I close the kitchen without any explanation, if I close the kitchen, they’ll come for lunch at ten o’clock in the morning, (Laughs) and they will see, “Oh, it’s closed it. Oh, Sadhguru has closed the kitchen. No food today means something really spiritual is going to happen. He’s going to give us something today. Maybe there’s a great party in the evening.” Evening you come; again it’s closed. Tomorrow, again it’s closed. Next day, if it’s again closed, you will forget of your spirituality; you will start a revolution in the ashram. (Shekhar Laughs) Yes?
Shekhar Kapur: Right.
Sadhguru: Suppose, without any explanation, I close… shut down all the toilets in the ashram. Within two hours, there’ll be a revolution. So, I asked him, “Tell me which is more important – temple or toilet?” “Haan haan haan,” he said. I said, “That’s it.” Once you put one above the other, you are not going to know anything in this world. Your whole perspective is distorted. So, that is the basis of competition, trying to put one above the other. Once you make one thing bigger than the other, one thing small, one thing big, one thing high, one thing low, one thing divine, another thing filthy, then you miss the whole point of Existence. So, the essence of education is to enhance your perception in such a way that you’re able to perceive a blade of grass being as important as the coconut tree. It’s not less important – it’s different, that’s all. So, everything that’s a different… every difference that you find in the world, if you make it into a discriminatory process, that is what you’re suffering a prejudice world. Every difference, whether between races or… or nations or languages and cultures and even gender, every difference we have made it a discriminatory process. And that has been our mode of education also, unfortunately.
So, here at Home School, there’s… what… the most important part of education here is not taught – it is a constant demonstration. All the teachers are dedicated people. They’re all volunteers. Hugely educated, but they are all here to volunteer their full time. Their life they’re volunteering to make this happen for the children. So the… the key element of the school is the way everybody moves, the way everybody sits and stands and eats and does everything. Education, you have to follow some system, we are following ICSE, but the most important thing is the atmosphere, the ambience, the way it is. One thing you will see is the strength of the children. The mental strength of the child here is phenomenal. Today that is one thing that’s missing in the urban schools – they’re all becoming flaky. Competition will make them determined and focused in one way, at the same time make them fearful of failure, fearful of, you know, being less than somebody else. Here you will see they don’t have that at all in them. Every one of them is a king by himself. (Laughs)