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The Nature of Issues in Right Education of Children


The Nature of Issues in Right Education of


by Prof. P. Krishna

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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

7 of 8 15/05/2009 05:09 p.m.

The Nature of Issues in Right Education of Children

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.

8 of 8 15/05/2009 05:09 p.m.