Education is a Preparation towards Being Yourself.
Man is born as a seed, as a potentiality. He is not born as an actuality.
And this is very special, this is extraordinary, because in the whole of existence only man is born as a potentiality; every other animal is born actual.
A dog is born as a dog; he is to remain the same his whole life. The lion is born as a lion. Man is not born as a man, man is born only as a seed: he may become human, he may not become human.
Man has a future; no other animal has a future. All animals are born instinctively perfect.
Man is the only imperfect animal. Hence growth, evolution, is possible. Education is a bridge between the potentiality and the actuality. Education is to help you to become what you are only in a seed form. And this is what we are doing here; this is a place of education, real education.
The thing that is being done in the ordinary schools and colleges and universities is not education. It only prepares you to get a good job, a good earning; it is not real education. It does not give you life. Maybe it can give you a better standard of living, but the better standard of living is not a better standard of life; they are not synonymous.
The so-called education that goes on in the world prepares you only to earn bread. And Jesus said, "Man cannot live by bread alone." And that’s what our universities have been doing – they prepare you to earn bread in a better way, in an easier way, in a more comfortable way, with less effort, with less hardship. But all that they do is prepare you to earn your bread and butter. It is a very, very primitive kind of education: it does not prepare you for life.
Hence you see so many robots walking around. They are perfect as clerks, officers etc. They are perfect and skillful, but if you look deep down in them they are just beggars and nothing else. They have not even tasted one bite of life. They have not known what life is, what love is, what light is. They have not known anything of godliness, they have not tasted anything of existence, they don’t know how to sing and how to dance and how to celebrate.
They don’t know the grammar of life. Yes, they earn – they earn just money. They are very skillful and they go on rising higher and higher on the ladder of success – but deep down they remain empty, poor. Education is to give you inner richness.
It is not just to make you more informed; that is a very primitive idea of education.
It is primitive, because it is rooted in fear. It is rooted in: "If I am not well educated I will not be able to survive." It teaches you competition; it makes you ambitious. It is nothing but a preparation for a cut-throat, competitive world where everybody is the enemy of everybody else. Hence the world has become a madhouse.
Love cannot happen. How can love happen in such a violent, ambitious, competitive world where everybody is at each other’s throat? "If the only feeling is, that if I am not well educated, well protected, highly informed, I may not be able to survive in the struggle of life." It takes life only as a struggle.
The real vision of education is that life should not be taken as a struggle for survival; life should be taken as a celebration. Life should not be only competition; life should be joy too. Singing and dancing, poetry and music, painting and all that is available in the world – education should prepare you to fall in tune with it – with the trees, with the birds, with the sky, with the sun and the moon. And education should prepare you to be yourself. Right now it prepares you to be an imitator; it teaches you how to be like others.
This is miseducation. Right education will teach you how to be yourself, authentically yourself.
You are unique. There is nobody like you, has never been, will never be. This is a great respect that God has showered on you. This is your glory, that you are unique.
Don’t become imitative, don’t become carbon copies. But that’s what our so-called education goes on doing: it makes carbon copies; it destroys your original face.
The word "education" has two meanings and both are beautiful. One meaning is very well known, although not practiced at all and that is: to draw something out of you. "Education" means to draw out what is within you, to make your potential actual, like you draw water from a well. But this is not being practiced. On the contrary, things are being poured into you, not drawn out of you.
Geography, history, science and mathematics, they go on pouring them into you. You become parrots. You have been treated like computers; just as they feed the computers, they feed you. Our educational institutions are places where things are crammed into your head.
Real education will be to bring out what is hidden in you – what God has put in you as a treasure – to discover it, to reveal it, to make you luminous. And another meaning of the word, which is even far deeper: "education" comes from the word educare; it means to lead you from darkness to light. A tremendously significant meaning: to lead you from darkness to light.
The Upanishads say, "Lord, lead us from untruth to truth" – Asato ma sadgamaya. "Lord, lead us from death to deathlessness" – Mrityorma amritamgamaya. "Lord, lead us from darkness to light" – Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya. That is exactly the meaning of the word "education": Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya – from darkness to light.