Back | Next

PHILOSOPHY > THE MIND OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Sex Education

 

Sex Education

WHAT PLACE has... instruction in sexual science in our educational system, or has it any place there at all? Sexual science is of two kinds-that which is used for controlling or overcoming the sexual passion, and that which is used to stimulate and feed it. Instruction in the former is as necessary a part of child's education as the latter is harmful and dangerous and fit therefore only to be shunned. All great religions have rightly regarded kama as the arch-enemy of man, anger or hatred coming only in the second place. According to the Gita, the latter is an offspring of the former. The Gita , of course, uses the word kama in its wider sense of desire. But the same holds good of the narrow sense in which it is used here.

This , however, still leaves unanswered the question, i.e., whether it is desirable to impart to young pupils a knowledge about the use and function of generative organs. It seems to me that it is necessary to impart such knowledge to a certain extent. At present they are often left to pick up such knowledge anyhow with the result that they are misled into abusive practices. We cannot properly control or conquer the sexual passion by turning a blind eye to it, I am , therefore , strongly in favour of teaching young boys and girls, the significance and right use of their generative organs. And , in my own way, I have tried to impart this knowledge to young children of both sexes for whose training I was responsible.

But the sex education that I stand for must have for its object the conquest and sublimation of the sex passion. Such education should automatically serve to bring home to children the essential distinction between man and brute, to make them realize that it is man's special privilege and pride to be gifted with the faculties of head and heart both, that he is a thinking no less than a feeling animal as the very derivation of the word shows, and to renounce the sovereignty of reason over the blind instincts is, therefore to renounce a man's estate. In man reason quickens and guides the feeling. In brute the soul lies ever dormant. To awaken the heart is to awaken the dormant soul, to awaken reason, and to inculcate discrimination between good and evil.

Who should teach this true science of sex? Clearly, he who has attained mastery over his passions. To teach astronomy and kindred sciences we have teachers who have gone through a course of training in them and are masters of their art. Even so must we have as teachers of sexual science, i.e., the science of sex-control, those who have studied it and have acqui8red mastery over self. Even a lofty utterance that has not the backing of sincerity and experience will be inert and lifeless, and will utterly fail to penetrate and quicken the hearts of men, while the speech that springs from self-realization and genuine experience is always fruitful.

Today our entire environment-our reading, our thinking, our social behaviour-is generally calculated to subserve and cater for the sex-urge. To break through its coils is no easy task. But it is a task worthy of our highest endeavour. Even if there are a handful of teachers endowed with practical experience, who accept the ideal of attaining self-control as the highest , duty of man and are fired by a genuine ad undying faith in their mission, and are sleeplessly vigilant and active, their labour will light the path of the children...., save the unwary from falling into the mire of sexuality, and rescue those who might be already engulfed in it. (H, 21-11-1936, p. 322)