The Nature of Issues in Right Education of Children

The Nature of Issues in Right Education of Children

Rector, Rajghat Education Centre, Krishnamurti Foundation India, Varanasi 221001, India

(Based on a talk delivered at the Krishnamurti Foundation India Education Conference at Rajghat, Varanasi during November 19-21,1989)

I have been asked to speak on ‘The nature of issues in a Krishnamurti school’. I translate that topic to mean’ The nature of issues in right education of children’ because Krishnamurti (or K) is not just the person who was born in 1895 and died in 1986. We must consider K to represent all that he stood for. He stood for what is true and what is right and to find out these he stood for enquiry with an open mind and observation not clouded by prejudice of any kind. This means dropping away to the best of our ability whatever beliefs, opinions, conclusions we might have gathered from our bringing up or our particular conditioning due to the experiences we have had in the past, and enquiring with a fresh, open mind. It is similar to enquiring from first principles, as they say in the language of Science. In Physics and Mathematics when one wants to investigate a problem without using any formula, any assumption, without taking any prior knowledge for granted, we say we are going to investigate the problem or explain it from first principles. So, that is what I would like to do this morning together with all of you. Can we look afresh at this question of what are the main issues involved in imparting right education and investigate it in that way. If you like you can call it the K way, you can also call it the right way or the scientific way, it does not matter.

What I have before me is a speck of human consciousness in the form of a child, which is like an empty slate except for the instincts, the biological inheritance which is already there and about which there is very little I can do. In the animal world and the plant world there is only that. There is the biological development according to a certain cosmic order, in accordance with which the whole universe and the entire phenomenon of life manifests itself. All life begins as a single cell. Consider the big banyan tree which starts as a single cell, in the seed. When it finds the right environment, it sprouts and grows and everything about its development is already contained in that seed–what kind of tree it will be, how big it will be, its quality and all that. All you need to do is to give it the right nourishment, sunlight, water, manure and it will grow according to the biological and chemical laws. So also in the animal world, more or less. When you come to the human child there is suddenly this new dimension that the child is born with a consciousness which is like an empty slate and you can write anything on it. If you bring him up in communist Russia, he grows up to be a communist and a Russian. If you bring him up in America, he grows up with those mental characteristics. You can bring him up to be a devoted catholic Christian, you can bring him up to be a protestant, you can bring him up to be a Buddhist, an atheist or whatever. It is an empty slate. So how do we decide what to write on that slate ? This problem does not exist when you bring up a dog or a cat. All you need to do there is to find out the right kind of food and environment. There is very limited training which you can give to a dog or a cat and perhaps, the dog or the cat is better off without your training. Not so the human child.

Different people will answer that question differently, each one according to his own conditioning. But we have set aside all conditioning, we have set aside all opinion, which does not mean we do not consider it, but we do not want to give tremendous importance to any one opinion, we do not want to accept anything on authority, which is why we want to investigate from first principles.

I see that it is a tremendous responsibility. The way I am going to treat this child is going to determine what he is going to be like. If I do not give him love, affection, care, perhaps he will grow up to be a human being who can not experience warmth, affection and love. How do you put a price on that deprivation ? So it is a tremendous responsibility to find the answer to that question, before one can really take on the role of being a teacher. Therefore this is a very serious investigation, serious in the sense that one is examining it with great intensity, with a great sense of responsibility, as something that is of grave concern. If I do not understand, if I ill-treat that child, I may write on that blank slate something the child may never be able to erase for the rest of his life and it may cripple that child mentally the same way as an accident can cripple a human being physically. So when one takes up the responsibility for educating a human being, not just intellectually, not just imparting information which is only a very small fragment of what education should really mean, but when one takes responsibility for bringing up that child as a whole then it is my responsibility also to investigate what I want that child’s life to be like. Because the way I am going to bring him up is going to determine the rest of his life.

Scientists are now finding out that this process begins as early as the very first year of the child’s life. So when a child comes to us, when he comes to school, he already comes with quite a lot written on that slate. And it is our concern in a K school to educate the child to lead a full, rich, right kind of life. We must of course define these terms. We must ask ourselves what we mean by a life of high quality. We are saying we want to educate the child in such a way, write on his consciousness in such a way, that it helps him to live a life of high quality and we are not accepting any definition given by anybody as to what is a life of high quality. So I am going to observe around and find out what it means to have a life of high quality. The prevailing view in society says the more you possess, the bigger the house you have, the bigger and better the garden, the more the motor cars, the better the quality of your life. So I ask myself, is that really true ? Does the quality of my clothes, the quality of my house, the quality of the carpet, determine the quality of my life ? It does not require too much investigation to find out that this is a very very limited and superficial definition of the quality of life, counting only the capacity to buy pleasure and enjoyment in life. Let us consider why that is so. I notice that if I have the right quality of mind, life offers an infinity of joys and pleasures which are accessible to each human being and which can not be bought: pleasures of friendship, pleasures of nature, of beauty, of affection, the so called simple pleasures of life. If one is sensitive to them they are an infinity in themselves. So what is the great point running after adding to this infinity a little bit more through having more and more buying power if I have not first known the value of these pleasures themselves ? So I say to myself that that cannot be the way to define the high quality of life; and unless I define what is a high quality of life I do not know what to write on that empty slate (the mind of the child), how to educate this child and what to call as right education. So that is one of the issues that concerns us in a K school.

Being a scientist I always like to have some, at least imaginary, measure. In science they say you know something about any phenomenon only if you can measure it; if you cannot measure anything you are just talking in the air. I am just telling you what the scientists say, I am not advocating it. So, can we imagine an objective measure, which would be universally acceptable, to assess the quality of life ? Now I see that a human being lives for a span of 70 years or 80 years if he has a reasonable means of livelihood and is not particularly unlucky. Each year has 365 days so you multiply that out and it gives you something like twenty five thousand days to thirty thousand days that he is going to be around on this earth. Nobody really knows if there is any purpose to his existence, why he comes and why he goes. So when nobody really knows, I leave that out, and I talk about what is measurable. During those thirty thousand days, if I count the proportion of days on which he slept with a smile on his face and woke up with a song in his heart, would you accept that as a reasonable measure of the quality of his life ? I am not trying to be romantic or poetic, because you can be a great poet and still lead a miserable life. One is aware of the danger of getting lost emotionally, so one is asking seriously about the happiness of the spirit, which is after all the essence of the quality of the consciousness of man. If I use that as a measure of the quality of life – the percentage of the total number of days he lives on earth with a song in his heart, with happiness – and with that measure look around and see, you will not find that high quality is limited to any particular nationality, any particular economic class nor even the highly educated or lowly educated. Because you can find an uneducated fruit seller selling fruits on the pavement and sleeping in his rickshaw living joyously and you can find a man living in a palatial building, going around in a Mercedes car but not living that way. So now you have a measure which is not dependent on circumstances. I want this child to live that way, where his happiness will be independent of the circumstances. I don’t mean that one should carry this to a ridiculous extreme and ask if it is possible to live in a concentration camp quite happily? I am excluding those conditions of extreme hardship or poverty. I am taking it for granted that children in our schools do not come from homes where there is acute physical suffering. I am taking it for granted that one has already provided for the basic necessities for the normal biological growth of the body. I am only concerning myself with what we are going to write on that empty slate which is the consciousness of the child.

Each one of us has come to this world and is a part of nature. One must examine whether it has been wise for man to consider himself more intelligent and capable of imposing an order which is better than the cosmic order which runs the universe. I want to bring up the child to live in harmony with his environment. The environment includes plants, animals, mountains, rivers, the whole of the nature, the sky. It also includes society, people, everything around him. Then you have to define what you mean by harmony. Is it that one just accepts everything ? Would you say harmony is the absence of conflict ? Is it possible for me to educate the child in such a way that he can live without conflict ? That means his relationship with nature, with plants, with animals, with society, which is his life, is not full of conflict. So that life is not viewed all the time as a problem to be struggled with and solved. Is it possible to lead life with a sense of joy, to cherish life as it comes – not necessarily only when there is pleasure. So one has to understand and help him understand the relationship to pleasure and pain. If I don’t do all these things then what am I giving to the child ? Kahlil Gibran has said, “Your children are not your children. They are an expression of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but they belong not to you. And they dwell in the house of tomorrow. Therefore, don’t give them your thoughts or make them in your own image.” If I am aware that I have been conditioned and brought up wrongly, incorrectly, I don’t want to pass on the same problems to that child. So I must have humility, I must not start with the assumption that I know everything and I am going to pass it on to the child; otherwise all that I will do is pass on my conditioning, making him in my image and I am such a miserable little human being, constantly struggling. Not having understood life completely ourselves, treating it like a problem, always trying to solve it, we are then telling him that life is that way, that he must always look upon it as a problem and go on solving problems. Therefore life becomes a series of problems, and the ability to cope with life becomes the ability to solve problems. Is that really so ? This is an issue that we must examine in a K school.

As I educate the child, if learning Geography is a problem ,learning Physics is another problem, learning Mathematics is another problem, passing the examination is another problem, getting the appreciation of the teacher is another problem, then I am teaching him that life is a series of problems. And we are conditioning the child the way we have been conditioned to look at life , as a problem. Then high quality in life would appear to be the ability to go on solving problem after problem. That may not really be so. That may be our conditioning. So to be open means to question that, not to pass on any conclusion to the child when you really do not know. So that is one of the major issues, in a K-School: that I am conditioned but I want that this child, my student, should not be strongly conditioned. How can I do that ? Obviously, you can only do that by being completely honest. When you don’t know the answers to say `I don’t know the answers’. That means the teacher has to be a friend of the student. He should be learning alongside the student, telling him that he also faces all these problems, of fear, of failure, of anxiety, not pretend that he has solved them or has a formula which he can pass on to the child. The teacher is then enquiring together with the child, whether it is possible to live life totally differently. So a K-school is in a deep sense, a religious place — not in the traditional, conventional sense in which religion has come to mean worship of different kinds, rituals and all that, but as a place where one asks fundamental questions. A K- school must be a place where one asks fundamental questions and is not satisfied with opinions or partial answers .

One such fundamental question is “What is true religion?”. In olden days, in India and also perhaps in Europe, a few centuries ago, before this modern system of education had come in, of having colleges and universities, people used to send the children to a great learned man, a Guru. And the children lived in his ashram. Education was their life in that ashram. Whatever they learnt there, that was part of their life and it was also religion, intellectual development, everything. What we have now is a modern trend, where education has become commercialized. It has become like a factory, where you are trying to churn out engineers, medical people and so on, treating human consciousness like a computer that needs to be programmed to produce a certain result. I am not saying that vocation is not necessary. But is that the main purpose and aim of education? How to help the child to find the right vocation, and what is right vocation ? To discover what one loves to do – not decide first what to do and then adjust ourselves to fit into that. That means I must observe the child, I must respect the child, his uniqueness. Every child is unique. There is no other child in the world like him, nor has there been, nor will there be. Every child has his own talent, potentiality. My role is to let it flower. I have no right to impose upon it. I have no right to say that talent must be in such and such direction. Can you bring up the child the way you look after a plant in your garden? Give nourishment, let it grow in freedom. Don’t cut it off here and there, clip the branches. Don’t already have an idea in your mind what shape that plant should have. Let it grow and respect it’s natural growth. Of course in the case of the child the growth is not only the biological growth but also the mental growth of the child. But I don’t want to impose on the mental growth either. So I expose him to everything, I expose him to art, I expose him to nature, I expose him to beauty, I want to develop all his capacities. I don’t know where his talent lies, I will help him to discover that. We will do it together. That is another major concern in a K School.

What are the capacities of the human mind ? If I want to have a harmonious, balanced life, I must have a harmonious development of all the capacities. If I have a person who is intellectually highly developed but emotionally dwarfed he is a monster. If I have a person who is emotionally extremely developed but intellectually dwarfed, I again have a monster. So I need to have a balance and I want to help the child to cultivate all the capacities the human mind is capable of. It has nothing to do with what capacities were cultivated in me, because I am not trying to make him in my image. And I am not imposing that he must enjoy life the way I enjoyed it or saying that is the only way to live. So you watch that in yourself. I have tried to list some of the capacities which the human mind is capable of and which we should concern ourselves with, and I have grouped them into the following groups on the basis of similarity. The first group is perception, observation, attention and awareness. I am afraid, most of the time our present educational system doesn’t concern itself sufficiently with the development of these capacities, because it is all the time interested only in achievement. The second group is memory, language, information, knowledge and conditioning. They are all memory based. You need that too – the capacity for memory. You cannot say that all conditioning is evil therefore memory is to be blanked out, you will turn out a moron. So, find out what is the right blend of all these capacities, neither excessive growth of one, nor excessive dwarfism in another. The third group is thinking, reasoning, imagination, planning, technique, mathematics, logic, concentration, intellectual enquiry, invention, humour and the intelligence of thought – all these are thought-based, so it is a big group. Thought has its utility in life and it has its limitations. One needs to be aware of both. The fourth group is feeling, emotion, sensitivity, intensity, sentiment, beauty, romance, art, poetry. These are all emotion – based and represent the aesthetic sensibility which the human mind is capable of. The fifth group, which is very difficult to define is perhaps not based either on thought or emotion if one investigates it deeply. I have put it down as vision, insight, creativity, intuition, silence and intelligence ,not of thought but as wisdom.

To have a harmonious development of all of these capacities is the major issue in providing right education. Keeping this back ground in mind I would now like to raise certain specific issues. One is the issue of motivation. How do you motivate the child to do whatever you have planned for him to do during the day ? It is clear that I cannot use fear or punishment; because while I may force him to learn Physics or Mathematics by exercising fear and punishing him if he doesn’t do his mathematics, I am crippling him elsewhere, psychologically. And I have already said that I am interested in the development of the whole of the child and not only his intellectual development. So when I look at the whole, I can not use a method which destroys one aspect and helps him in another. I must use a motivation which is not destructive. Otherwise, one is not really educating, one is only achieving a particular result, using the child to produce a particular aim fixed in one’s own mind, which may be to maximize the number of first divisioners which our school has produced. If you are interested in that you are not interested in education. Achievement, vocation, all have to be by-products of the excellence which results from this natural growth and flowering in right education. They can not be the aims of right education. The other motivation that is commonly employed is one of reward, prizes. Parents often tell a child, “If you do well and get a first division, I will get you a bicycle”. Then the poor child learns to do his work not because he is interested in discovering the joy in it, but because he has been offered a bribe. That sows the seed of corruption. It is not very different from the office clerk who is willing to do your work for a little monetary compensation on the side. We sow that seed when we make the child do something to win a reward. So I don’t want to use that as a motivation. I think we need to discuss this further. Do we need to cut off all form of reward ? Because appreciation is also a form of reward. I do think children need a certain amount of appreciation of their work and that it is natural. It should not be false. But when it is natural and it is right, I think it has a place. One can not also apply any of these thoughts very rigidly. These are not rules to substitute for intelligence, one has to use intelligence in dealing with the child.

Comparison and competition is another motivation that is commonly used in schools and colleges to motivate children. He must do better than his class-fellow. One often sees the effect of that– the child works very hard but stands second in the class since one of his friends does better than him. He comes back with ‘A’ grades with 80% marks but he is in tears because some body else has done better. I don’t think any intelligent human being can really answer the question why we should not teach the child to feel happy if his friend does better than him ? Why should I teach the child to feel miserable if his friend does better than him ? If I say to the child “you must do your best”, that is quite another matter. That is without comparison of one child with another. I would teach the children that whatever they are doing is worth doing well and therefore they must do it as best as they can. Which means he must learn the art of paying attention. And the reason why he doesn’t pay attention is because his mind is somewhere else; and his mind is somewhere else because we have taught him to give greater importance to that. For example we have given great importance to examination marks. Therefore he is studying those coaching institute books. He is not interested in learning Physics. He is interested in getting 80% marks in the examination. I am interested that he must learn Physics, and out of that learning of Physics he must do well at the examination. Then those marks in the examination reflect what is true. At present the marks don’t reflect what is true because education has become studying for the examination, not development of these capacities at all. So our job in a ‘K’ school is to bring home to the children the point that the examination is a very secondary thing. It is there only to tell me where I stand in a particular subject and it doesn’t matter too much if I don’t stand too high. It just means I need to learn more in that subject. It is not to compare him with another child. If the teacher loves the bright child more and the dull one less, he has already set in a system of reward and punishment. So the teacher needs to have all this right in his head first. Like in a home, you don’t love one child more than another if you are a good parent. Like that, the teacher doesn’t apportion love to the children in proportion to their ability. I observe the child and I don’t say you must be this or you must be that. Who am I to say that ? Who are we to say that some body must be good at mathematics, not good at English or need not be good at Music ? Remember we are just providing fodder for a growing consciousness. Let it grow. Who are you to dictate what it should be ? The great arrogance in that comes from ignorance, not from enlightenment. If I know that, I see that every child is different from another. Some child is very good at English, another is very good at Mathematics, a third one is very good at singing, a fourth one is very good at games. There may also be one who is not good at any of these, but may be he is genuinely affectionate, gentle. How do you put a value on these things ? Therefore, just help them to grow in every way. We must help all the children to play games, not only the good sportsman. A game is played for enjoyment and one who plays poorly has as much right to play and enjoy as the one who plays well. And the same is true of mathematics. The child who is poor at mathematics has the same right to discover the beauty of mathematics as the one who is good at it.

Another motivation which is commonly employed in society is to set up an ideal and push the child to achieve that ideal. And one knows the consequences of putting such pressure, big psychological pressure. If he achieves, he becomes egotistic, proud, vain. If he fails, he feels humiliated, frustrated, sometimes to the point of suicide in extreme cases. So I would not use that. I would not use propaganda in any case, because it is false. To say that your country is the best country in the world, your culture is the best culture in the world is a false statement. You haven’t even examined the other cultures, and you are just repeating a falsehood. It is like saying, this country is the best country because I was born here. That is what they are saying, teaching falsehood to the children. Obviously a ‘K’ school is a place where there can be no falsehood, when you are trying to educate in this way. So what is the motivation that we are permitted if I exclude all these ? Interest, create interest in the child. But so many times I have to make the child do things which he doesn’t find interesting, so it is not always possible to do only work that is interesting. I would permit persuasion with affection, out of respect, out of a feeling of friendship for the teacher, not out of authority which is based on fear. In short, can the school be like an ideal home ? In a home you are not trying to prove yourself. You are just being yourself and the home provides you security, care, affection. A good home provides you material to grow, support, but it doesn’t dictate too strongly, doesn’t condemn, doesn’t judge and then decide to help. You feel relaxed in a home, you also feel responsible. You feel it is your home, so you don’t say if the kitchen is dirty that it is not your responsibility, it is your wife’s. You feel responsible for it. Could we live that way, all of us in the school and feel that this is our home ? If the children feel it is our home, then they would be as concerned about the books in the library being kept in order and clean and in their right place as we would. Because the child does keep his books in his house with care. The reason he doesn’t keep it that way in the school library is because he doesn’t feel that way. So it is for us to bring about that atmosphere where the child feels completely that it is his home, which means all the prior requisites have to be there: absence of fear, friendship, affection and care.

The cultivation of good habits is another issue that needs consideration. You could say you are conditioning the child, but you have got to teach the child, right conduct, good manners, right behaviour. You need to explain to him that it comes out of consideration for others, so that he knows the reason for it. But you have to teach him to have his bath and keep clean, and brush his teeth. I would not say that freedom means he doesn’t have to have his bath everyday. He will probably understand it later on that he need not do it mechanically, habitually. One can do it with full attention, spontaneously, naturally, so that order in life is not imposed in a mechanical way but comes naturally. All these things cannot be taught to children in a classroom. The children imbibe it from the atmosphere. The atmosphere in the school teaches much more than what we teach in the classroom. And the atmosphere is built by the way we all live. It is important that we also learn, because we never learnt all these things when we were children. So we must also be prepared to learn all this now, because it is never too late. Once you have seen that it is right, you begin then and there by saying “I feel this is right so this is the way I want to live”. That creates the right atmosphere, and the atmosphere teaches. So it comes about indirectly, not through lectures, which is not to say that you must not have culture classes and you must not discuss; but to understand that they are not the only things and learning will not come about just through that. They have a place but that is not the way you can teach all this in a K school.

I think I will end here and answer questions if there are any.

Question : Do the parents know all this and do they send their children to this school because they value such an education ?

Answer : Ideally it should be so that the parents ought to send their children to the school because they want the child to grow up this way. But I am afraid it is not so. I suspect that most of the parents want their children to be competitive, to be achievers, and so on. They themselves do not have a right understanding of life. They want the children to be like them and perhaps they send them to our school because they feel that their children do well in that respect too ! So they are willing to have happiness thrown in on the side !

Question : Is not our life actually a series problems for which we are seeking solutions ?

Answer : We have all been brought up and educated to look upon life as presenting a series of problems that have to be overcome. You have to achieve this, you have to achieve that, you have to struggle to do this and so on. All the time it is a struggle, right from the start, from childhood. Education is a pain in the neck. The day he has a vacation he can go home and do what he likes, that’s the happy day and the rest of the time the education process itself is a big struggle. So you are educating him to look upon life as struggle, and the mind gets conditioned to think that this struggle is life. And pleasure becomes an escape from that struggle. Either you escape or you suppress, dominate. Now, is it possible to live in such a way that life is not a struggle at all ? Not to look upon life as a problem. Suppose I cherish life and I let it unfold and I accept what comes and face it. Not dictate all the time that it must be this way or that way. When I already have a fixed idea it must be this way I must do my M.Sc. by this age, have such and such a job, have my wife from here, live with her there and so on, I am narrowing down life too much, asking it to move along a narrow lane. Leave it open. Let life unfold. Don’t define what it should be and cherish each day as it comes. Don’t all the time use today for building up something in the future, because life is now, in the present. Remember out of those thirty thousand days you are here, everyday is clicking by and it is not going to come back. We are all born in the hospital bed and we will end up at the cremation ground. Those two inevitable ends, none of us can change, education or no education. And you have those thirty thousand days in between; either you struggle through them or you cherish them. So we are asking if it is possible to live cherishing each day as it comes, learning from it, irrespective of whether it brings pleasure or pain, joy or sorrow.

Question : Is it not necessary as a part of education to make a child aware of all the social problems?

Answer: Yes, of course. I just left out those topics which we have already dealt with for the last two days. Dr. Parchure dealt with the `World crisis’ where he talked about the division on economic basis and national basis and the formation of groups and other social problems. There we discussed the relevance of the education in a K-school to the social problems and the necessity of making the child aware of the deep-rooted causes of it. That is very much a part of education in a K school, to create an awareness of that.

Question : Are the children in the K-schools associated with any social work?

Answer : Our children here, at least in this school, are not doing any social work, but I know of other schools which take the children out to the village and make them do some social work and so on. I am not sure how really meaningful or productive that is or whether that just becomes another way of making your conscience feel good. That is often the purpose of doing a good act; it does not really achieve much unless one enables someone to stand on his own legs so that he does not need our help anymore. It is much more necessary to be aware of what causes the social problem. For example when we examine the present world crisis the main reason is the formation of groups. We must help the child to understand that the differences between human beings are only at the superficial level: colour of the skin, the particular kind of temple he goes to pray, or the dress he wears or the language he speaks etc. Now, if we live a superficial life we see only these differences and they begin to matter enormously and the society further supplements that. It says Muslims are separate from Hindus and they are very different. Actually they are not different, go and see in his home and in his family. The relationship between the mother and the child is the same. There is the same bond of affection. Human consciousness is basically the same, but as the child grows up you write something on the empty slate of his consciousness and in another family they write something else. So if I could make the child aware of this he would not give importance to the differences, he would see the unity rather than the difference. But what’s happening now is because we don’t live deeply, we see differences and around these differences we group together creating the world crisis. That’s where it comes from. It comes out of superficial living. And that is where the role of the school comes in, to teach the child not to live a superficial life, to be deeply aware of oneself and the social issues.

Question : How can we teach all this to the children ?

Answer : You know, you cannot teach anything to anyone, you can only learn together. The ability to learn is far more important than the teaching. So I must create in the child the ability to learn. It’s not my ability to teach that matters. You see, Krishnamurti himself taught for 70 years but different people received to different extent from him. He taught the same for everybody and nobody perhaps got it totally. So it obviously depends on each individual’s capacity to receive. That is a much bigger factor then the quality of the teacher. Otherwise, generally one only gets influenced, which is not learning. You get influenced when there is a very great person around. In the presence of that person you change for a while but that is not learning. In the presence of Gandhiji they all became temporarily nonviolent outwardly, but after he died they all fell for power. Real learning had not taken place. It was just influence. So one has to be very careful, not to get influenced.

Question : Is it possible to prevent conditioning the mind of a child ?

Answer : Not really. Whichever way you bring up a child the environment will inevitably condition the mind, but one can be aware of the conditioning and therefore not be a slave to it. You take a new-born child and bring him up in a different home, say, he is adopted by a Swedish family or a Russian family or in China. Bring him up in China and he will grow up to be like a Chinese child, with that culture and taste, he will be singing that music, he will be liking that food. The food you enjoy, the clothes you like, the girl that looks most beautiful to you, all this is taught. You have learnt it that way. It has all been written on that blank slate with which you were born. Apart from the biological instincts which are already put there, everything else is learnt after birth. The language, the culture, even the taste in food is all created later. There are some racial characteristics which are hereditary but I do not think they affect the mind. Certainly the social traits are not inherited. If you take an Indian child and bring him up in America he will not turn out to be as mother-loving as he is here. That is why the Indians abroad try to send their children here. The non-resident Indians send them here because they don’t want their children becoming like American children. They still have Indian values in their heads.

Question : How do you define a K-school ? Is our school a K-school ?

Answer : A `K’ school is not a school that is being run by the Krishnamurti Foundation. A `K’ school is a school where right education is being imparted. As I said earlier, `K’ doesn’t mean that individual, it means all that he stood for. It stands for doing the right thing. It’s like asking whether the Catholics are more Christian or the protestants ? In Ireland the Catholics and the protestants are killing each other; who is more Christian ? Christ said “Love thy neighbour, don’t kill”. And I make a church and you make a church, and we kill in the name of Christ. What is poor Christ going to do about it ? The true Christian is one who lives by the sermon on the mount. It has nothing to do with being a member of the church. I have a somewhat startling statement to make, startling at least for the Theosophists. I maintain that Krishnamurti was the only true theosophist ! Because, they formed the theosophical society with three tenets in mind. Even now you will find these are the three objectives of the society. First that truth is the highest religion. So we must ask, who went beyond all religions after the truth among that whole crowd in the theosophical society ? Second is the universal brotherhood of man, irrespective of caste colour, creed or sex. Krishnamurti realized that the other man is yourself. How can there be greater brotherhood than that ? So who carried universal brotherhood to the hilt ? The third objective is to investigate the laws of consciousness etc. Who investigated deepest into the consciousness of man? The man who left the Theosophical Society ! So the true theosophist doesn’t have to be a member of the theosophical society. Similarly when you become a member of some church, you don’t become a Christian. It is not a question of paying Rs. 20 to some organization and you become a Christian. That’s like changing your coat ! This has to be very clear in our mind, that we are asking fundamental questions and wanting serious answers. Normally we use these facts like a description, like saying he is a Muslim. It just means he belongs to that group and tells you how he lives, what kind of food he eats and so on. That is a very superficial answer. So long as you know it is superficial and you don’t give it any great importance, it’s all right. So a school is a `K’ school to the extent to which it imparts right education. And we have just gone into what is right education. So I don’t think there is right now a `K’ school in the true sense in the world. But there are several that are trying to be, and we are one of them.

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