Teaching: A Creation, a Devotion
September 5th is the birthday of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan; a distinguished scholar, teacher and independent India’s second President. In his honour and at his behest, this day is celebrated as Teachers’ Day in India. He was a professor of philosophy and a strong proponent of education. He famously said reading a book gives us the habit of solitary reflection and true enjoyment. Dr. Radhakrishnan was the first Indian to hold a professorial chair at Oxford University. He believed that teachers should be the best minds in the country.
Students mark this occasion with dance, drama and cultural performances in schools and colleges. But the Teachers’ Day celebrations are not confined to educational institutions. Persons of all age groups fondly remember their favorite teachers from yesteryears and express their gratitude and love for them through greetings and tributes.
The role of teachers is crucial in guiding a child to actualize his/her potential. Osho says the world is in so much chaos because everybody is wrongly placed. The man who was meant to be a painter, has become a doctor. And the man who was meant to be a prime minister has become a plumber. Wrong education leads you to things that do not fit with you and unless something fits with you, you will not be healthy, you will not be whole.
Teachers’ Day is a reminder of the enormous contribution of teachers in the holistic growth and development of a child through right education. Osho explains what constitutes Right Education – My vision of a right education is to teach people how to grow the ego and how to be able to drop it; how to become great minds and yet be ready any moment to put the mind aside. You should know the mechanism to turn on and turn off your personality, your ego, your mind. … … … If education is right, then universities should not be against the universe; rather they should be jumping-boards into the universe. If education is right, then it will not be concerned about money, power and prestige. Rather it will be concerned about your happiness, music, love, poetry, dance. It will teach you how to open, unfold and grow. It won’t go on simply throwing information into your head. It will help you to come out of your being, to flower, to expand.
If the right education was available, the prestige which becomes associated with positions, professions and things would disappear. There should be no stigma attached to making shoes, in baking bread or making bricks or building a house. Nobody is higher or lower — they are all participating together in helping the same life. Everything is needed in life. People making or cleaning roads are needed, and people preparing bricks are needed, as much as people ruling a country. Nobody is inferior, nobody is lower. There is no status for anyone; everybody together is creating a life of interdependence. Life is a cooperation. Nobody is higher in it, nobody is lower in it.
The peon is not in any way inferior to the president. As long as these ideas of inferiority and superiority remain, there can be no peace for the human mind… because then the peon would want to be the president — it is natural — or if that is not possible, he would want his son to be a president. It is natural, he would want that.
The day on which our education does not associate the dignity of a person with his position or nature of work, the day on which we accept the importance of all work equally, for the benefit of life as a whole, we shall understand that the value of a cobbler and tailor is as much as that of a musician. The question is of how good and of what quality is the work one is doing, not what one is doing. Kabir was a weaver, weaving cloth. People asked him to stop doing such work; it was not befitting a saint. He said, “If it befits a saint to wear clothes, why should it not befit him to make the clothes? The only difference there can be is that earlier when I was making cloth, I was thinking how I can get a greater price for what I was making from the customers. But it does not become a saint to charge more. Now when I am making cloth, I think of how to give a better quality of cloth at a lesser cost. I am making stronger cloth with joy, and I feel as much joy selling to a customer as I would feel if God himself came to buy my cloth!”
He would go to the market dancing, and ask as to which god was going to accept his labor and prayer. He touched the feet of the person who bought his cloth, saying, “Oh God, wear the cloth carefully. I have woven it with great care and love, prayerfully and laboriously.” But is it wrong to weave cloth? Is it wrong to be a weaver? Nothing is wrong in life; everything, every work is required for life. There should be no status or position attached to any work. But our education is totally wrong. The peon in a school has no dignity. If that is really so, would any child like to be a peon? It depends on the youth to change the outlook and bring about a revolution. Till then, thinking in terms of inferiority and superiority is going to continue.
A few days ago I was invited — probably by mistake on the part of the organizers — to give a talk on Teachers’ Day. They said it is a great honor for teachers that a teacher has become a president. I said, “That is wrong. The teacher’s honor is in being a good teacher, not in becoming a president. If all the teachers start running in the race to become a president, it will be a calamity.” But that race is on. If they cannot become the president, they will want to be a state education minister or a vice-chancellor or something else.
It is altogether wrong.
The respect and honor of a teacher is in being a good teacher. If a good teacher starts trying to become a president, it is not an honor for the teacher. One can understand a president giving up his position and becoming a teacher, but not vice versa. Why? — because what comparison is there between a teacher and a politician? Becoming a politician is a fall for a teacher. It will be a growth for a politician if he becomes a teacher. Being a teacher is the simplest profession, a noble livelihood. It is a very fundamental basis for life. Teaching is not just a profession, it is a joy, a service, a creation, a devotion in itself. Anyone leaving it for something else will not be and should not be respected. But in our mind, politics and position have become very important.
We are very strange people: a person sitting on a small stool becomes small!
In our mind there is respect for a president, for a prime minister or for a governor. Do we have any love and respect for just a man as such — just empty, without any name, position, title or certificate, and whose pockets are also empty? If we do not have any respect for just a man, then remember that we have respect for nobody at all; what we have is respect for chairs, big and small.
But all this is what education teaches us. It is all rubbish, only worth burning. The whole educational arrangement is wrong. It is necessary to lay new foundations. Those new foundations will be that we should be taught love, not competition. We should be taught respect for a human being as such, not respect for position or money. It is necessary that respect should not be associated with the nature of a person’s work. An attitude should be created where the whole life is considered a joint contribution of all people. Then with such a mental frame we can understand what the potential of an individual is, without any comparisons and evaluations.
As I told you earlier this morning, there is no necessity to compare, because every individual is unique in himself. It is not necessary to say that you are weaker than a certain man, or more intelligent or less handsome than a certain man. All such comparisons are dangerous and violent. The whole problem arises from that. Every person should be accepted as he is and his potential allowed to develop. A rose is a rose, and a jasmine a jasmine. One tree will be tall and another short. A small grass flower is there — but it has its own dignity and joy. What is mysterious and significant is that that grass flower should fully blossom, not remain half-way on its journey. It need not be compared with a rose flower. The rose flower has its own delight in flowering, and the grass flower has its own. A small bird sings its song and a big bird sings its own. It is not a question of who has sung a better song, but the question is whether one could sing fully to one’s heart’s content. There is no comparison of one with the other.
Every individual is a unique creation of God, and we must accept him as such. We should keep in mind that our whole education, culture and civilization should draw out whatsoever is hidden and awaiting growth, and should not let anything remain dormant. This should happen, not in any haste, not with any dubious approach or competition, but through love and joy. When all the potentialities of a person develop in their fullness and flower, he is full of joy.
Then he has flowered; he is fragrant and peaceful. Such a person can search for truth and God and can know and experience truth. Only one who is peaceful in life can enter deeper into life. Whoever is in competition and disturbed will have no peace. Whosoever is peaceful, who accepts himself, who is joyful and fragrant due to his own flowering, will slowly receive automatically the messages of godliness; he will start experiencing godliness all around. A miserable man can never know God. When all the doors of bliss open within, only then begins the experiencing of God.
So the ultimate aim of education should be such as to lead every man to the total fulfillment of his soul and its experience.
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: Education: Love-Oriented
Osho has spoken on ‘teacher, education, schools, culture, conditioning, religion, politics, respectability, work, profession, honour, prestige,’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- The Messiah, Vol 2
- Satyam Shivam Sundram
- Take It Easy, Vol 2
- Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- The Secret
- The Guest
- Light on the Path
- Philosophia Perennis, Vol 2