Education Never Ends

From the teachings of Swami Sivananda

The education of children begins in the mother's womb and continues from the moment they see the light of day. Whatever habit of thought, action and feeling is formed in the early days will last throughout life. Children learn their first notions from the mother, immediate surroundings, their toys and playmates. If they receive wholesome impressions at a young age, they are likely to be influenced by good contacts later on in life. Parents have the responsibility and duty of training their children.

The school

In the sphere of the home, the example of the parents exerts a decisive influence upon the molding of a child's personality. In the same way, the example of the teachers exerts an unmistakable influence upon the personality of the student. If the printed page of the book imparts information to the student, the personal example of the teacher gives life to their teaching.

Children are the future citizens and the wealth of each nation. They must be allowed to express their dormant faculties. If they are endowed with the true qualities of head and heart, they will shine as luminaries in this world.

Education equips the students of today for the tasks of tomorrow. Education must aim at cultivating good ideas, clarifying them with scientific or mathematical accuracy and expressing them in a beautiful, intelligible manner. Much more can be achieved through proper education than by the force of law. The right education of children will not only render a great service to them and the nation, but to the entire world at large.

Education for life

Students have to be taught to prepare themselves for the perpetual examination of life. Education should instruct students to be truthful, courageous, humble and merciful. It should teach them to practice right conduct, right thinking, right living and self-sacrifice.

Students should be masters of their lives and have the ability to sow the seeds of peace and abundance, harmony and happiness. They must be taught that their first and foremost duty is to serve the suffering.

People have to live in the world, and knowledge of technology, engineering and other sciences is necessary. However, `we do not live by bread alone.' There is something greater than material knowledge. If we can inspire children with the principles of good physical and mental health and high ideals, they will turn out to be good citizens.

Education must be based on a sound philosophy of life. No scheme of education will be satisfying and beneficial, if there is no understanding of the ultimate aim of human life and no clear idea of what one is meant to become through the process of life. Education must be calculated to promote plain living and high thinking. It is training in the art of living, and students should be practical messengers of a new hope, vision and culture.

True education

Education must aim at developing a spiritual attitude towards life. Spirituality does not hinder material progress. The purpose of true education should be to enlighten humanity, destroy the lower human nature, better the social order and promote well being by training young people for external achievement and internal attainment. The test of true education is found in the all-round development of the faculties of knowledge, love and service. There should be a harmonious development of head, heart and hands.

True education must impart initiation into the divine life, because, ultimately, its aim is to draw out the dormant divinity hidden within each human being. Spiritual enlightenment is the fruit of real, inner education.

The goal of life is self-realization. Spiritual culture alone can develop willpower and make people unselfish, fearless and strong to be able to serve the country, work for unity and have cosmic love.

Spiritual literature

Education should teach children to love God and every creature of the world. Spiritual literature will inspire the young and leave a lasting impression so that their whole mode of thinking and living will be shaped according to a divine pattern. By reading pure and great books written by the noble and wise, the mind is filled with pure and sublime ideas.

Spiritual literature always helps and elevates not only students but everyone. The mind needs food just as much as the body does. If the mind is fed on good thoughts contained in spiritual literature, nobody will entertain a taste for cheap literature.

It must be remembered that all studies are intended for the enlightenment of the mind and the illumination of the soul.

Spiritual books contain words of authority and power derived from a higher source and this infuses the sincere reader with inner strength and a powerful urge towards a progressively nobler and better life. Though silent, spiritual books are dynamic life-transformers.

Perpetual education

The highest education inspires in you pure love, courage, a sense of duty, balance, devotion, faith, discrimination, tolerance, dispassion and knowledge of the Self. Therefore, educate your eyes to see God in all faces and the unity of the Self in all beings. Educate your ears to hear the lofty teachings of scriptures, hymns and prayers. Educate your tongue to sing the praise of the Lord and utter loving and truthful words. Educate your hands to serve the needy, help the poor and nurse the sick. Educate your mind to be always cheerful and calm, and think of the Divine.

Remember that the purpose of education is to assist human evolution, which is the movement towards perfection.