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Krishnamurti on Education

Krishnamurti on Education Foreword

This book is the outcome of talks and discussions held in India by J. Krishnamurti with the students and teachers of schools at Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh and Rajghat School at Varanasi. These centres are run by the Krishnamurti Foundation India, which was set up to create a milieu where the teachings of Krishnamurti could be communicated to the child. Krishnamurti regards education as of prime significance in the communication of that which is central to the transformation of the human mind and the creation of a new culture. Such a fundamental transformation takes place when the child, while being trained in various skills and disciplines, is also given the capacity to be awake to the processes of his own thinking, feeling and action. This alertness makes him self-critical and observant and thus establishes an integrity of perception, discrimination and action, crucial to the maturing within him of a right relationship to man, to nature and to the tools man creates.

There is a questioning today of the basic postulates of the educational structure and its various systems in India and in the rest of the world. At all levels there is a growing realization that the existing models have failed and that there is a total lack of relevance between the human being and the complex, contemporary society. The ecological crisis and increasing poverty, hunger and violence, are forcing man inevitably to face the realities of the human situation. At a time like this, a completely new approach to the postulates of education is necessary. Krishnamurti questions the roots of our culture. His challenge is addressed not only to the structure of education but to the nature and quality of man's mind and life. Unlike all other attempts to salvage or suggest alternatives to the educational system, Krishnamurti's approach breaks through frontiers of particular cultures and establishes an entirely new set of values, which in turn can create a new civilization and a new society.

To Krishnamurti a new mind is only possible when the religious spirit and the scientific attitude form part of the same movement of consciousness - a state where the scientific attitude and the religious spirit are not two parallel processes or capacities of the mind. They do not exist in watertight compartments as two separate movements that have to be fused but are a new movement inherent in intelligence and in the creative mind.

Krishnamurti talks of two instruments available to the human being - the instrument of knowledge which enables him to gain mastery over technical skills, and intelligence which is born of observation and self-knowing.

While Krishnamurti gives emphasis to the cultivation of the intellect, the necessity to have a sharp, clear, analytical and precise mind, he lays far greater stress on a heightened critical awareness of the inner and outer world, a refusal to accept authority at any level and a harmonious balance of intellect and sensitivity. To discover the areas where knowledge and technical skills are necessary and where they are irrelevant and even harmful, is to Krishnamurti one of the fundamental tasks of education, because it is only when the mind learns the significance of the existence of areas where knowledge is irrelevant that a totally new dimension is realized, new energies generated and the unused potentialities of the human mind activated.

One of the unsolved problems and challenges to educationists all over the world is the problem of freedom and order. How is a child, a student, to grow in freedom and at the same time develop a deep sense of inner order. Order is the very root of freedom. Freedom, to Krishnamurti, has no terminal point but is renewed from moment to moment in the very act of living. In these pages, one can get a glimpse, a feel, of this quality of freedom of which order is an inherent part.

The years which a student spends in a school must leave behind in him a fragrance and delight. This can only happen when there is no competition, no authority, when teaching and learning is a simultaneous process in the present, where the educator and the educated are both participating in the act of learning. Unlike the communication of the religious spirit by various sects and religious groups, Krishnamurti's approach is in a sense truly secular and yet has a deeply religious dimension. There is a departure in Krishnamurti's teachings from the traditional approach of the relationship between the teacher and the taught, the guru and the shishya. The traditional approach is basically hierarchical; there is the teacher who knows and the student who does not know and has to be taught. To Krishnamurti, the teacher and the student function at the same level - communicating through questioning and counter-questioning till the depths of the problem are exposed and understanding is revealed, illuminating the mind of both.

The Krishnamurti Foundation India feels deeply privileged for being able to offer this book to the student and the educator.

The Editors

Krishnamurti on Education

Krishnamurti on Education Foreword

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