The first necessary thing to know about right education is that we should be able to provide children closeness to nature, not bringing them close to the man-made houses but to all that is created by the energy of life, because it is through this that they will be able to come close to God; it is through this that they will be able to come to love; it is through this that they will be able to understand the secrets of prayer and then their life will arise out of that…. Love should come to them first, mathematics later, because no mathematics can deceive a man who has learnt love.
Somebody asked Saint Augustine, “What shall we do that no evil is done by us?”
Saint Augustine said, “Do not ask this. I know only one thing, that if you know love, then whatever you will do it cannot be evil.”
Augustine said not to bother about how not to do evil; that is not the question. If there is no love within you, then whatever you do will be evil; and if there is love within you, then whatever you do it cannot be evil…
Up to the age of sexual maturity, until the child has ripened from the point of view of sex — be it a boy or a girl — till then the central education of the child’s life should be of love and heart — because later the whole of life will come out of that. The child will become a wife or a husband, the child will become a mother or a father — all the emotional relationships of their lives then will be the relationships of love and heart, not of mathematics or geography or history.
No mother can become a better mother because of studying history; nor can a father become a better father by studying geography. Something else is needed that can give birth to a better mother, a better father; something else is needed that can give birth to a better wife, a better husband. Today, neither are there mothers in the world nor fathers, neither wives nor husbands: there are pseudo-relationships in these names. Have you ever looked at the person you call your wife? It is possible that you may have loved someone you don’t call your wife, but never the person you call your wife.
The person a wife calls husband — has she ever loved him, respected him? Has her being ever loved him, prayed for him? Has she ever taken any step to make his life rich and musical? Not at all. Rather, his wife scatters as many thorns for him as possible, or creates as many obstacles as possible. And the husbands also do the same, parents also do the same. They say that they love their children; but we have not known love — how will we love children? If we were loving our children, there could not have been so many wars in the world. Who is the parent who will send his children to war? If we were loving our children the world could not have become so ugly. If we were loving our children, I go as far as to say, we would not have given birth to children… because which loving parent will be ready to give birth to their children in this ugly and dirty world? They will excuse themselves, saying, “How to bring our children into such a world? Tomorrow, when we face them, we will feel so ashamed in front of them that we gave birth to them in this world. How to send them out into this ugly world full of immorality and darkness?” Parents would have refused to give birth to children if they had love in their hearts.
But no, they go on giving birth to children. They have no concern at all for the children. They go on raising their children; they go on raising their children as the fodder for the guns and the cannons. They go on getting their children butchered in the cause of everchanging names and new tricks — in the name of India, in the name of Pakistan, in the name of China, in the name of communism, in the name of democracy. Parents are ever ready to get their children murdered in the name of any big slogan. These names and slogans are too big for them — the children are too small! If in this world there was love in the hearts of parents for their children, a different world would have been born in which there could be no wars — because every child is some mother’s child, some father’s son. Who would have agreed to send their children to war? We would have said, “Let Pakistan perish, let India perish, but the children cannot go to war! Whether China is saved or not, whether Russia is saved or not, whether America remains or not, no mother is ready to send her son to war. The wars would have vanished from the world, as well as politics, politicians and nations. But nobody loves their sons, we simply do not know love. We simply have no acquaintance with love. We simply have not come across love. The moments that could have been the moments of meeting with love we have wasted in learning numerous useless things.
So in my view, the foundation of education should be love, not intellect. Intellect is only a means. If there is love within, then the intellect becomes just a means to spread and develop love. And if there is no love within, then the intellect becomes a means for spreading lovelessness.
Truman gave the order to drop the atom bomb on Hiroshima. Next morning, I have heard, the journalists surrounded Truman and asked, “Could you sleep peacefully last night?”
Truman said, “Very peacefully. As I heard that Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been turned into ashes, and that Japan would surrender, immediately I went to sleep peacefully for the first time.”
None of those journalists even asked, “One hundred and twenty thousand people have been killed and you could sleep peacefully? Are you a human being or something else?” But that man’s name is: True man, the real man!
Our education is giving birth to just such true men, in whom there is no humanness, in whom there is no energy for life, no compassion; who have no waterfall of love. Those who have no waterfalls of love can be computers; they can be machines for calculations, not human beings.
The first symptom of a human being is the love in him. The greater the love, the greater the man. The greater the love, the greater that man’s closeness to God. Therefore I want to say only one basic thing: The first steps of education need to be the steps of love. And in order to take the steps in love closed walls are not needed but the open sky, birds, trees and stars and the moon. The basic education should not be of geography but of beauty. Basic education should not be of science but of art. Basic education should not be of tension but of relaxation and peace.
If we can arrange the education of children up to fourteen years of age this way, then later on it is difficult to spoil these children, then they can be sent to any school or any university whatsoever. Then they can be taught anything, there will be no danger from it in any way. If a sword is put in the hands of these people, there will be no harm from that sword. If an atom bomb is given to them, there will be no harm done through it. Then even the greatest of power in the hands of love becomes creative. Science has discovered the greatest power for man, but education has not been able to give him a loving heart. Great power is dangerous in the hands of those who have no love.
I have come to request and urge the teachers only this — that they think; that they think about how the heart can be developed. And if it is necessary — and it feels to me this way — if for a hundred years all the colleges and universities of the world are closed down and man’s mind is left completely uneducated, then too there will be no harm compared to the harm that is going to happen in continuing the current education for the coming hundred years. Man was uneducated for thousands of years. Those people, those uneducated people also have known bliss, known song, known love. They too created a world. In their lives there was also happiness and smiles — more than in us, much more than in us. We have lost everything. It is necessary to bring back man’s naturalness.
I do not say that education should be abolished, I am saying that the foundation of education should be changed. And if only this education is to continue, if there is no other alternative, if this education is the only alternative, then I say let this whole education be stopped and man go back to the jungles. Then too we will not lose anything. But I feel there is an alternative.
Education can be made total. And if only one thing gets added to it: if its foundations become that of love, of feeling, of heart, of compassion and kindness, if we develop man’s heart first and then his intellect, if the heart leads and the intellect becomes its follower, then this education can become the right education.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Revolution in Education
Chapter title: Total Education
21 January 1968 am in Poddar College
Osho has spoken on ‘education, teacher, love, awareness’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles: