Integral Education

The Technology of Education

As the efficiency of the instruments of the teacher increases with the manifestation of higher and higher levels of consciousness, the whole process of IE will undergo profound changes and will tend to become more and more swift and efficient. In other words, the technology of education advances with the advancements in consciousness. This in fact is the only way of bringing about a significant advance in the technology of education. For example, all the efforts to increase the efficiency of the educational process had only a marginal effect inspite of all possible help from science. It has to be realised, once for all, that the efficiency of an educational process is directly related to the level of consciousness supporting it and cannot be changed significantly without a corresponding change in the level of consciousness. And this becomes very obvious if one compares the advancement — or lack of it — in educational technology over the past one hundred years in the advancement in the technology of other fields such as transportation and communications. The potency of integral education lies in its ability to bring a higher consciousness into play in its educational process. And there are no limits to its potency.

“Arise, O soul, and vanquish Time and Death”.

“India has or rather had the knowledge of the Spirit, but she neglected matter and suffered for it.
The West has the knowledge of matter but rejected the Spirit and suffers badly for it.

An integral education which could, with some variations, be adapted to all the nations of the world, must bring back the legitimate authority of the Spirit over a matter fully developed and utilised.”

– The Mother

Integral education will be an integral and complete education, that is to say, it will aspire to encompass all the parts of the being from the physical to the supramental and would continue throughout the life of the individual. A divine life in a divine body will be its ultimate aim. The process of this education will be an effort to be guided by the soul and not by any fixed habits, conventions or ideas.

The aim of true education is not to prepare one to succeed in life and society but to permit one to discover for oneself, the aim of life in general and the specific role that one’s soul has come down to play in terrestrial life. A true integral education goes further: it aims at increasing the perfectibility of the growing soul to its utmost. Even when understood in a narrow sense, — in the sense of a certain number of years spent in an integral education institution — it may be looked upon as the best possible grooming for any kind of high pursuit. However, in its highest and widest sense, when it reaches the stage of conscious pursuit and continues throughout life, it becomes identical with integral yoga and represents the best possible means of realising integral perfection.

The Five Aspects of Integral Education

“Education to be complete must have five principal aspects corresponding to the five principal activities of the human being: the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual. Usually, these phases of education follow chronologically the growth of the individual; this, however, does not mean that one of them should replace another, but that all must continue, completing one another until the end of his life.” – The Mother

Physical Education

“All education of the body should begin at birth and continue throughout life. It is never too soon to begin not too late to continue.

Physical education has three principal aspects:

  1. control and discipline of the functioning of the body,
  2. an integral, methodical and harmonious development of all the parts and movements of the body and
  3. correction of any defects and deformities,

… from a young age children should be taught to respect good health, physical strength and balance. The great importance of beauty must also be emphasized. A young child should aspire for beauty, not for the sake of pleasing others or winning their admiration, but for the love of beauty itself; for beauty is the ideal which all physical life must realise. Every human being has the possibility of establishing harmony among the different parts of his body and in the various movements of the body and in action. Every human body that undergoes a rational method of culture from the very beginning of its existence can realise its own harmony and thus become fit to manifest beauty.”

– The Mother

Vital Education

Of all education, vital education is perhaps the most important, the most indispensable. Yet it is rarely taken up and pursued with discernment and method. There are several reasons for this: first, the human mind is in a state of great confusion about this particular subject; secondly, the undertaking is very difficult and to be successful in it one must have endless endurance and persistence and a will that no failure can weaken.

… vital education has two principal aspects, very different in their aims and methods, but both equally important. The first concerns the development and use of the sense organs. The second the progressing awareness and control of the character, culminating in its transformation.”

– The Mother

Mental Education

“Of all lines of education, mental education is the most widely known and practised, yet except in a few rare cases there are gaps which make it something very incomplete and in the end quite insufficient.

Generally speaking, schooling is considered to be all the mental education that is necessary. And when a child has been made to undergo, for a number of years, a methodical training which is more like cramming than true schooling, it is considered that whatever is necessary for his mental development has been done. Nothing of the kind. Even conceding that the training is given with due measure and discrimination and does not permanently damage the brain, it cannot impart to the human mind the faculties it needs to become a good and useful instrument. The schooling that is usually given can, at the most, serve as a system of gymnastics to increase the suppleness of the brain. From this standpoint, each branch of human learning represents a special kind of mental gymnastics, and the verbal formulations given to these various branches each constitute a special and well-defined language.

A true mental education, which will prepare man for a higher life, has five principal phases. Normally these phases follow one after another, but in exceptional individuals they may alternate or even proceed simultaneously. These five phases, in brief, are:

  1. Development of the power of concentration, the capacity of attention.
  2. Development of the capacities of expansion, widening, complexity and richness.
  3. Organisation of one’s ideas around a central idea, a higher ideal or a supremely luminous idea that will serve as a guide in life.
  4. Thought-control, rejection of undesirable thoughts, to become able to think only what one wants and when one wants.
  5. Development of mental silence, perfect calm and a more and more total receptivity to inspirations coming from the higher regions of the being.”

– The Mother

Psychic Education

“The three lines of education — physical, vital and mental — deal with that and could be defined as the means of building up the personality, raising the individual out of the amorphous subconscious mass and making him a well-defined self-conscious entity. With psychic education we come to the problem of the true motive of existence, the purpose of life on earth, the discovery to which this life must lead and the result of that discovery: the consecration of the individual to his eternal principle.

… It is through this psychic presence that the truth of an individual being comes into contact with him and the circumstances of his life. In most cases the presence acts, so to say, from behind the veil, unrecognised and unknown; but in some, it is perceptible and its action recognisable and even, in a very few, the presence becomes tangible and its action fully effective. These go forward in life with an assurance and a certitude all their own; they are masters of their destiny. It is for the purpose of obtaining this mastery and becoming conscious of the psychic presence that psychic education should be practised.”

– The Mother

The integral education can truly begin only after one has become conscious of one’s psychic being.

Spiritual Education

“A perfect self-expression of the spirit is the object of our terrestrial existence. This cannot be achieved if we have not grown conscious of the supreme Reality; for it is only by the touch of the Absolute that we can arrive at our own absolute.”

– Sri Aurobindo

“… the psychic life is immortal life, endless time, limitless space, ever-progressive change, unbroken continuity in the universe of forms. The spiritual consciousness, on the other hand, means to live the infinite and the eternal, to be projected beyond all creation, beyond time and space. To become conscious of our psychic being and to live a psychic life you must abolish all egoism; but to live a spiritual life you must no longer have an ego.”

– The Mother

To further read on this topic, please download the book Shiksha par: Shiksha Par PDF