Message from Dr Kireet Joshi

Ex-Chairman, Auroville Foundation

Late Dr Kireet Joshi was Chairman of the Auroville Foundation and Advisor to Shri Narendra Modi when he was Gujarat CM, and earlier to Smt.Indira Gandhi. At the time of this article, he was a Special Secretary in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, in New Delhi.

Auroville: International Township of Research in Education

By Dr Kireet Joshi, Auroville Voice (Winter issue 1979, pp. 13-15)

How fascinating it is to look freely into the future and to attempt what has been most cherished and yet declared to be most impossible! To have philosophers or seers as ‘kings’, to have administrators not as rulers but as brothers, to obtain justice by assigning to each one his right place and function, to live in the Family of Man, to be constantly teased by the most distant moons and suns, to have inexhaustible possibility of exploration and search, to have endless education: these most cherished things are being proposed for Auroville; and because they are impossible, they are certain.

Auroville is a dream, a concept, a symbol of a new way of life, a new way of perpetual education. It is conceived to be a sanctuary of learning and research and the entire population will consist of teachers who will be pupils and of pupils who will be teachers. The aim of education here will be growth which will have no necessary relation with arbitrary time-limits. The craze for degrees and diplomas will have been abolished from this realm where there will be instead a spontaneous enthusiasm for Truth, Beauty and Goodness. Education will not be a process of ‘teaching’ but of helping and guiding. It will enable each one to organize not merely classrooms, but life itself so that life and education would be an identical process. In this organised life, each one will be helped to open oneself to the vast and challenging world, its secrets, and underlying truths. It will enable each one to acquire a capacity for a continuous freshness and competence to deal with one’s own life and the life of the world at large. It will strive to break all narrowness, partiality and natural or acquired limitations. There will be a powerful stimulation inspiring each one to become comprehensive, unified and integrated. This education will aim at creating and effectuating the maximum possible vibrations of unifying harmonies in the world.

In favour of Free Progress education
Nurturing the Soul’s Journey through Free Progress Education

The whole of Auroville is conceived as a University, a Centre of Education, and an integrated system of education. In this vast University, schools and colleges will be well-equipped playgrounds, and the system of education will be truly the Free Progress System which is being experimented upon and developed at the International Centre of Education of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

The equipment of this educational system will consist not only of electronic machines, radio and television sets, films, tape recording, etc., but also of mobile museums, theatres, international pavilions, and attractive homes for a variety of subjects. All this equipment and environmental stimulation will be so located as to be easily accessible to students and teachers. The methods will use mechanical devices, but will not permit mechanization; machines will serve but not replace the freedom of the spirit. Each individual will be permitted to progress at his own pace and on the lines of his own inner development. Progress of the students will be assured, not by mechanical uniform syllabi or examinations, but by the inner guiding principle secret within each individual. “Free Progress”, in the words of the Mother, “is progress guided by the soul and not enslaved by habits, conventions, and preconceived ideas.”

It is to be noted that mere physical, vital and mental education is not enough. Indeed those parts of our being have to be cultivated and cultivated to their maximum capacity; the vital must be made dynamic, disciplined, obedient and effective; the mind must be trained to be intelligent, observant, concentrated, rich and complex. In Auroville, this will be aimed at. But much more – and centrally. For we are standing today at the head of a new psychological revolution, unprecedented in the history of mankind. The Modern Man is said to be in search of himself. This search has just begun, but it promises to be a long and arduous adventure. Already, we have several revolutions inaugurated by depth psychology. Freud is already out of date. Jung is being overpassed. Psychical research is bringing to the fore the striking phenomenon of telepathy, foreknowledge, etc. Even wild experiments are being launched to discover the mysteries that lie hidden within Man. Already questions have been raised as to whether this inner search of Man will not produce even more dangerous results than what his external search has brought to him, notably the production of the Atom Bomb. It is evident that Mind has reached its own vanishing-point of development; the problems of man are difficult even for the richest and most synthetic minds. A new will and a new knowledge are needed to solve them. There is an incessant pressure now upon us to break our mental limitations and to seek a new way of knowing and acting. An exploration of Consciousness hitherto hardly undertaken by mankind is the call of today and it is likely to become more and more imperative with the passing of years. And the pace of progress is so accelerated that it will be no wonder if by the time Auroville begins to take some shape, this exploration will come to be a matter of a modem fashion. While planning for the Auroville system of education, we must take this future possibility into account and be open to all its implications.

Scholar and Educationist
Conscious Evolution

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its International Centre of Education have been doing research into this field for several decades, and Auroville will have the advantage of their research work and its results. One of the important conclusions of this research work is contained in the affirmation that there are golden and supramental reaches of our consciousness, and from them and from the reaches intermediate between them and our ordinary mental consciousness, there have descended forces and forms which have become embodied in literature, philosophy, science, in music, dance, art, architecture, sculpture, in great and heroic deeds and in all that is wonderful and precious in the different organised or as yet unorganised aspects of life. These reaches, it is further affirmed, can be firmly established upon earth, so that this earth can be radically changed and can be home for ever-new progress from knowledge to knowledge and from delight to delight.

To put the students in contact with these golden reaches of consciousness would be to provide them with the air and atmosphere in which they can breathe and inspiration to reach those peaks of consciousness and to create still newer forms and forces which would bring the golden day nearer for humanity.

We speak today of education for international understanding and for the world. But the unity of mankind cannot be lasting if it is based upon the compulsions of economic, social or political needs. It must be based upon a sounder foundation of the deeper psychological needs of man. The knowledge that is needed for the realisation of the psychological unity has been glimpsed by some advances minds, but we have as yet no solid and sound science regarding the psychology of human unity. The Auroville system of education will address itself to the development of this new science.

If world unity is to be realised, it will be only as a result of the fulfilment of the inmost truth of Man. It is only because the individual can attain to his fullest development by becoming universal that the ideal of the Universal Man becomes practicable and relevant to education. This is the essence of the education for one world, and we can hold to this essence only by an adventure and revolution of our consciousness. It is by this adventure that we discover that man is not the ego or the body-life-mind complex, but a soul, a psychic being. We discover further that the truth of the soul is a true individuality that recognises a single soul in humanity of which each man and each people is a soul-form or manifestation.

The Auroville system of education will then be a radical system; not satisfied with outward mechanical formulas for world unity, it will set itself to the most essential and difficult research into these inner truths of Man and the world by which the world-harmony can be rightly and effectively realised.

But even this will be only the base of its work; its frontiers will be ever-widening, and we can't forecast today what lies in store for us in this great adventure. We know that there are millions and billions of light years both in the external and internal space, and we are also eager to know the Spaceless and the Timeless; and we should also like to know the equations of the Spaceless and Space and the Timeless and Time.