“Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those arts of living well.” –Aristotle _________________________________________________________________________________
Education is the foremost among the five basic needs of human beings –bread, clothing, shelter, education [itself] and medical aid. Besides being an essential condition of continuity of existence, it can be the only means of man’s development, achievement and attaining the goal.
In his primitive stage on the earth it was due to man’s self-realization based education that he learnt about Ahimsa –an eternal value permanently present in his nature1, and through its constant development he kept pace towards securing existence and making progress. Even today progress is possible only through multifaceted lifelong education process; making this process conducive in prevailing situations of space and time.
Hence, education plays a vital role in man’s life. Recognizing its importance in life Kautilya –a great scholar, statesman and professor of politics and economics at the Takshila University, one of the oldest known universities in the world in ancient times, declares it to be
t is more important in making man’s life meaningful and worthy in comparison to any other available means and it is, to reiterate, indispensable for the complete development of man. In the absence of education the state of human life could be equated to that of an animal.
The following Shloka from the Chanakyaniti, while signifying the importance and inevitability of education in man’s life and even declaring those parents to be the greatest enemy of children who do not arrange for their proper education, categorically, divulges the consequences to be faced by them in the absence of education:
“Mata Shatru Pita Vairi Yen Balo Na Pathitah,
Na Shobhate Sabha Madhye Hans Madhye Vako Yatha”3
[Meaning thereby: The parent who does not facilitate and guide their child for studies is like the greatest enemy of the child. The presence of an uneducated person in the company of educated people is like a goose in the company of swans.]
I am of the firm opinion that Ahimsa [non-violence], besides being the eternal and permanent value, is a natural value also; it has remained present in man’s nature from the time of his emergence, or the birth. Further, it is an essential condition of existence, development and reaching the goal in life. If it was not so, what to say of development or the goal, the human race would extinct long ago.
5. As is known the word education is the noun of the verb educate coming from the English, it originated from the Latin term educare, meaning thereby bring up, or rear and linked further to educere which means to lead forth or bring out.
6. Global Peace, 11/3 [To quote Socrates himself, “I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.”]
7. As above.
8. Harijan: July 31, 1937
9. Kumar, Ravindra. 1999. Essays on Gandhian and Peace, page 2. Meerut [India]: Krishna Publications.
10. The six auxiliary disciplines traditionally associated with the study and understanding of the Vedas –Shiksha, Kalpa –ritual, Vyakarna –grammar, Nirukta –etymology, Chandas –meter and jyotisha –astronomy.
11. Not only in theoretical context, but, simultaneously, from practical viewpoint in different forms.
12. It was in 335 BC when Aristotle after his return to Athens, established his own school or academy known as the Lyceum.
13. In the scheme of Aristotle’s four types of education, basics include reading, writing and mathematics, not for purposes of trade, but as a preparation for the intellectual abstractions of higher mathematics; natural sciences include astronomy, biology, physiology, zoology, chemistry and physics in particular; physical education includes the training of the body –for the physical well-being of every citizen; and humanities include rhetoric, grammar, poetry, politics and philosophy as they are important subjects for life.
14. Approximately 1200-600 BC
15. Approximately 600-450 BC
16. 370-283 BC
17. Approximately 320 to 550 AD
18. Approximately 5-15 Centuries AD
19. Between 1858 and 1947
20. Up to 1948
21. Which takes mind, body and spirit to be one and inseparable from one-another; the Yoga philosophy simultaneously stresses on Yogic practices for moral, ethical and character building of man to lead him to achieve the goal in life.