A few days ago as I was about to begin an activity with our 4th and 5th graders, I looked up from where we were sitting and gazed at how the mountains here touch the sky. The sky seemed so blue, the green of the leaves on the trees was the sunlight. The birds in the distance were singing along to the bells chiming on the necks of buffaloes grazing in the jungle.
Suddenly what I had planned to do lost all meaning and a feeling of wonderment overwhelmed me. There is so much life we do not know of, so much beauty we chose not to see every second, pouring forth from and in all things. I was struck by how unaware I was, how much of this consciousness I did not know of.
I asked the students to look at and follow the movements of a butterfly that was flying around us. They observed it for a few minutes until it went out of sight. I then asked them what the butterfly was doing, where it was going, why it moved the way it did. One of the students, Swathi, told us that it was flying towards the fragrance of flowers.
When was the last time you were happy, genuinely happy? The last time you were bursting with so much joy you felt that however large this universe is, it could not contain just one ounce of your being?
That’s not something we can teach. Yet what is the purpose of education if it does not lead us in that direction, if it doesn’t help remove all of that sleep in our eye, all the foliage that makes the path so difficult to walk on?
The way of education is the way of religion. I’m not talking about being a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim, or whatever else, but to see and experience for yourself the truth that these great teachings have called the Dharma, the Tao, fana and baqa, yoga, Christ. The purpose of education is to know in our personal experience “the knowledge which liberates.” It is to open ourselves to that conscious energy one might call love, nirvana, moksha, or God, that is all around us everywhere—everywhere—everywhere, that is who we are as humans. To know and express that is our sole responsibility and purpose in our life, and thus the purpose and aim of education.