7. To Develop Character
Education of the Heart
One word only as to the education of the heart. I do not believe that this can be imparted through books. It can only be done through the living touch of the teacher. And, who are the teachers in the primary and even secondary schools ? Are they men and women of faith and character ? Have they themselves received the training of the heart ? Are they expected to take care of the permanent element in the boys and girls placed under their charge ? Is not method of engaging teachers for lower schools an effective bar against character ? Do the teachers get even a living wage ? And we know that the teachers of primary schools are not selected for their patriotism. They only come who can not find any other employment.
Young India, 1-9-'21
Freedom but under Discipline
The pupils must have initiative. They must cease to be mere imitators. They must learn to think and act for themselves and yet be thoroughly obedient and disciplined. The highest form of freedom carries with it the greatest measure of discipline and humility. Freedom that comes from discipline and humility can not be denied, unbridled license is a sign of vulgarity injurious alike to self and one's neighbours.
Young India, 3-6'26
Purity of Heart Indispensable
Purity of personal life is the one indispensable condition for building a sound education. And my meetings with thousands of students and the correspondence which I continuously have with students, in which they pour out their innermost feelings and take me into their confidence, show me quite clearly that there is much left to be desired. I am sure that all of you understand thoroughly what I mean. In our languages there is a beautiful word, equivalent for the word student, that is, brahmachari. Vidyarthi is a coined word and a poor equivalent for brahmachari. And I hope you know what the word brahmachari means. It means searcher after God, one who conducts himself so as to bring himself nearest to God in the least possible time. And all the great religions of the world, however much they may differ, are absolutely one on this fundamental thing that no man or woman with an impure heart can possibly appear before the Great White Throne. All our learning or recitation of the Vedas, correct knowledge of Sanskrit, Latin, Greek and what not will avail us nothing if they do not enable us to cultivate absolute purity of heart. The end of all knowledge must be building up of character.
Young India, 8-9-1927
Service a Part of Education
Whilst Sir M. Vishweshwarayya has emphasized one grave defect of our present education which places exclusive emphasis on literary merit, I would add a graver defect in that students are made to think that whilst they are pursuing their literary studies, they may not do acts of service at the sacrifice of their studies, be it ever so small or temporary. They will lose nothing and gain much if they would suspend their education, literary or industrial, in order to do relief work, such as is being done by some of them in Gujarat. The end of all education should surely be service, and if a student gets an opportunity of rendering service even whilst he is studying, he should consider it as a rare opportunity and treat it not really as a suspension of his education but rather its complement.
Young India, 13-10-'27
Unity of All Life
Real education consists in drawing the best out of yourself. What better book can there be than the book of humanity ? What better education can there be than to go, day in and day out, to Harijan quarters and to regard Harijans as members of one human family ? It would be an uplifting, ennobling study. Mine is no narrow creed. It is one of realizing the essential brotherhood of man.
To Madame Montessori
Even as you, out of your love for children, are endeavoring to teach children, through your numerous institution, the best that can be brought out of them, even so, I hope that it will be possible not only for the children of the wealthy and the well-to-do, but for the children of paupers to receive training of this nature. You have very truly remarked that if we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have the struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.
Young India, 19-11-'31