Thematic Index of the Collected Works of the Mother
© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

integral education

  6.1    integral education (11)
05, p. 106-07 Guidance on how to teach a class: prepare your own course day to day, close a subject only when everyone has understood it fully (everyone means the interesting elements of the class who really want to learn) regardless if the time frame is longer or shorter than what is ordinarily prescribed for it. “That is my conception of teaching.”
05, p. 410-11 Children are not as “concretized” in their physical consciousness as older people and are thus unable to distinguish inner things and happenings from outer things. They are influenced by forces which result in certain behaviours—sometimes cruel or destructive. There is also unconsciousness that harm is being done. Proper education, appealing to their best feelings, giving demonstrations of how something harms can usually effectively change their actions. It is above all a question of education.
06, p. 012 How character is formed. Up to age 20-25 things are not yet crystallized and one can prevent many defects. After that age one must mend them which is not so easy. Education should encourage movements that express the light and discourage those that express the shadow. A conscious will can refuse “to allow Nature to follow her whimsical ways and replace them by a logical and clear-sighted discipline. This conscious will is what we mean by a rational method of education.”
07, p. 059 A quote: “Education is certainly one of the best means of preparing the consciousness for a higher development. There are people with very crude and very simple natures, who can have great aspiration and attain a certain spiritual development, but the base will always be of an inferior quality, and as soon as they return to their ordinary consciousness they will find obstacles in it because the stuff is too thin, there are not enough elements in their vital and material consciousness to enable them to bear the descent of a higher force.”
10, p. 164-66 Commenting on the nature of miracles and what the taste for them represents in the consciousness she tells that from the point of view of education both tendencies should be encouraged: the tendency to thirst for the marvellous and miraculous and at the same time encouraging exact, correct, sincere observation in the perception of the world as it is.
12, p. 001-end People seriously interested in Education would do well to read the entire volume 12
12, p. 341-348 These pages show how Mother worked with a group of students to help them understand what physical death is and what is the process of transformation. (also under: 4.2.4, 4.7.3.d)
13, p. 370-71 Mother answers a few questions about a system of education not only for India but for the world at large. There is a series of 8 questions and short answers about the basic issues of Indian Education.
14, p. 098 Mother answers a teacher’s question about how to control some of the student’s movements in the classroom. Her answer points out the role of trust and reliance on the Grace which will work in spite of a teacher’s shortcomings.
15, p. 319-22 Three things a child should always remember: The first is the necessity of an absolute sincerity. Mother tells why children should be told this from a very early age and how to help develop sincerity. She also speaks about loyalty and honesty. (also under: 4.6)
16, p. 201-02 Several short statements about necessary qualities in teachers, especially emphasizing the need for self-mastery in order to control children.
  6.2    integral education—basic principles (18)
07, p. 286-87 There are all kinds of and even opposite theories of education—e.g. “Children must be left to have their own experience because it is through experience they learn things best”. In practice it is dangerous to follow that literally. The opposite excess of constant interference—“Don’t do this, this will happen” can make a child shrink up into himself and have neither courage nor boldness in life. Mother says, “One must never make rules. Every minute you must endeavour to apply the highest truth you can perceive. It is much more difficult, but it’s the only solution.”
07, p. 313 “As long as one is very young, it is very good to develop oneself, to spread out as much as possible in all directions, to draw out all the potentialities one holds, and turn them into expressed, conscious, active things, so as to have a fairly solid foundation for the [spiritual] ascent.”
07, p. 339-40 “All things are potentially contained in the substance constituting man. Only the organisation is different according to individuals; and the degree of awakening, of the capacity to respond is different.” That is Mother’s comment on Sri Aurobindo’s statement: “Nothing can be taught to the mind which is not already concealed as potential knowledge…”
08, p. 179-84, 186 People have a lamentable habit of copying what has been done before and what is done by others. “You should first change your system of education in accordance with the principles of the Supermind.” Mother elaborates with specific examples. “Essentially, the only thing you should do assiduously is to teach them to know themselves and choose their own destiny.” Page 186 tells the true usefulness of teachers.
08, p. 311-12 Mother tells here about the two different ways she receives the words that she speaks in all her classes: one, which she finds the most interesting, is to enter into an experience and to describe it; the other is to convey the subject or the question to the higher consciousness and the mind receives a reply which she speaks it out. (also under: 2.2.2)
08, p. 350-55 This is a discussion of what is meant by mastery and having control over the world around one. That mastery means that one is able to replace the unwanted vibrations with wanted ones and that in turn means that one must have inwardly mastered the unwanted vibrations in one’s own inner being, otherwise one may be able to have an influence but will not be able to control. This is illustrated by the example of Vivekananda’s reported bursts of anger and the example of a teacher who wants to establish control in the classroom when some students are rebellious and undisciplined. (also under: 4.5)
09, p. 360-61 Mother describes the importance of developing the power of concentration. “If you can learn to gather together the rays of attention and consciousness on one point and maintain it with a persistent will, nothing can resist it…from the most material physical development to the highest spiritual one.” “You can be the best athlete…the best student…an artistic, literary or scientific genius, you can be the greatest saint with that faculty. And everyone has in himself a tiny little beginning of it—it is given to everybody, but people do not cultivate it.”
12, p. 003-8 This is the famous “Science of Living” article with its description of how to work for one’s perfection. The steps are outlined. The goal is truth manifesting through all the parts of ourselves: love from the psychic; knowledge from the mind; power and strength from the vital; beauty and harmony expressed in the body. (also under: 4.3, 4.3.2)
12, p. 009-11 Page 9 lists the five aspects needed for education to be complete. Education should begin even before birth. This article is guidance—basic principles of parenting before and after a child is born. Importance of the parents’ aspirations, attitudes and behaviour is emphasised.
12, p. 048-71 “To pursue an integral education that leads to the supramental realisation, four austerities are necessary, and with them four liberations.” These pages are an entire article on this theme. (also under: 4.4.2.b)
12, p. 073 An inspiring image about the need for training the instruments to become as perfect as possible: “They must not be left like … a formless piece of stone. A diamond reveals all its beauty only when it is artistically cut.” Subsequent pages (73-76 describe how the urge and will for progress give meaning to life and prevent boredom in school and in life) (also under: 6.3.a)
12, p. 152, 155 Mother tells “the things to be taught to a child”. On p. 155 she tells the two things to be taught that will enable the children to be led towards superhumanity.
12, p. 175-76 “It is not the subject of the teaching which is to be changed, it is the consciousness with which you teach that must be enlightened.”
12, p. 193-97 About discipline. “Constraint is not the best or most effective principle of education. The true education should open out and reveal what is already there in these developing beings. Just as flowers open out in the sun, children open out in joy.” Then Mother speaks about different aspects of discipline in response to questions from teachers.
12, p. 353-54 Mother speaks here about the aim of ordinary education and tells the true aim which she wants to implement in the Ashram Centre of Education. This is in answer to the question why no diplomas are given to the students.
12, p. 369, 371 “The first duty of the teacher is to help the student to know himself and what he is capable of doing.” Mother tells how to do this.
12, p. 406-07 About a new method of teaching children and what is needed from the teachers to do it.
12, p. 446 “…there should be no difference in the mind of the child between play and work, especially for young children, for whom the joy of learning should come from interest.”
  6.3    integral education—mental, vital, spiritual (14)
05, p. 108-12 One must understand the different parts and functions of the mind i.e. the part that receives master ideas, the intellect that puts ideas in the form of thoughts, gathering and forming them, the organising part of the mind that puts thoughts in order, and the part that puts thoughts into use for action. The true movements of all these parts are given. Game given for developing knowledge of the difference between thoughts and ideas: propose a thesis, its antithesis and a synthesis of the two.
05, p. 278-82 There is a plane in the mind where the memory of everything is stored—all mental movements that belong to the life of the earth are memorised and registered in this plane. People can take the trouble and learn to go there. (Mother tells how to do it) Children can be taught and Mother says, “It is possible that this might replace the reading of books with advantage!” (also under: 3.2.4.a, 4.5.c)
06, p. 013-15 It is necessary to organize one’s ideas. A sign of cerebral confusion is that the person can’t keep drawers or cupboards tidy (according to his own system of logic). Those who respect material things and can keep them in order can organize their ideas, then their character, then control their movements and by progressing also begin to control their physical movements.
06, p. 018-20 The method for increasing the capacities of expansion and widening is to study a great variety of subjects. It is not necessary to specialize (exceptions are a case like the Curies who had to concentrate on their science to discover something). To specialize is a means of restriction and limitation. It is more important to acquire general faculties.
06, p. 018-21 Mother gives a definition of memory. She recommends developing a memory by recalling states of consciousness.
06, p. 022-23 Three methods for getting rid of unpleasant thoughts: (1) the easiest is to think of something else, like concentrating on some creative work (2) requiring more mastery is to make a movement of rejection, push aside the thought as though it were a physical object (3) bring down a sufficiently great light from above which will enlighten, dissolve or transform it. Then not only does the thought not come back but the very cause is removed and one has made a permanent progress. (also under: 4.5.c, 5.4)
06, p. 093-95 About the importance of control of speech: the vibration of the sound has a considerable power to bring the most material substance into contact with the thought…words serve merely as a means of communication between one mind and another. If the mind becomes clear and powerful then words are not necessary. An experiment is suggested for people to try. (also under: 4.5.c)
06, p. 310-12, 314-15 “The mental force, mental activity is independent of the brain.” Mother tells here the story of the man who taught people to think in the stomach by bringing the mental force down to the solar plexus. By this method he also cured many people of headaches—a method Mother also recommends. (also under: 3.2.4)
07, p. 309-10 Literature can help you progress in one hundred different ways. It can help you to become more intelligent, to understand things better, to have a sense of literary forms, to cultivate your taste, to know how to choose between a good and a bad way of saying things, to enrich your spirit. Page 310 tells how to read and how not to read novels. (also under: 4.5.c)
09, p. 249-52 Mother tells how one can read The Life Divine as an exercise for developing the philosophical mind in oneself and the capacity to arrange ideas in a logical order and establish an argument on a sound basis. Training the mind to follow a line of reasoning is like training physical muscles to move with the minimum loss of energy for a maximum result. “The speculative mind needs discipline for its development.” (also under: 4.5.c)
12, p. 024-29 This is an entire article by the Mother on the subject. Excellent basic introduction. It includes the five principal phases of mental education and briefly how to implement them.
12, p. 057-64 These pages describe one of the four austerities, mental (the tapasya of knowledge), that are part of an integral education leading to the supramental realisation. Meditation leading to thought control and mental silence is not discussed here. The topics discussed are the need for the control of speech, categories of talk, expressing ideas, mental relaxation, entertainment, the danger of talk about spiritual matters and lastly, how to give your words creative power.
12, p. 423-27 Mother tells some methods teachers can use to help students develop intuition. The teachers will also progress.
16, p. 244b Guidance on how to develop one’s thought. Read with attention and concentration books that make you think, meditate on what is read until understood, talk little, remain quiet and concentrated, and speak only when it is indispensable. (also under: 4.5.c)
  6.3.a    physical education (18)
05, p. 112-16 A helpful distinction: “It is not that men could escape dying only if the body did not decay. It is just because their body decays that they die.” If the body can be made to follow the progressive movement of the inner being, to have the same sense of progress as the psychic being, there would be no necessity for it to die. Then is given a comparison of man's growth with that of the palm tree. Then Mother tells how to look at one's body objectively and to begin the work of harmonising, beautifying and perfecting it.
06, p. 001-3 A brief discussion of how character is formed (by atavism, environment etc) which in turn affects the physical formation of a person. There is also a discussion of the meaning of accidents and why some people are prone to having them.
06, p. 010-11 With practice it is possible to learn to widen the physical consciousness so it can project out of oneself and obtain sensorial data (sight, hearing etc.) from a distance. Examples are given. (also under: 2.1.4, 4.5.a)
06, p. 078-91 This is about how to develop the senses with a discussion of how much more interesting and useful it is to scientifically study and be able to control one’s senses with the will instead of living unconsciously plunged in sensations, reactions and impulses on the basis of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant. There are many disciplines (examples given) some of which can keep one busy for a lifetime if they are well followed. This kind of study frees one from the waves of desire and anger and impulses sent by Nature and which create such things as violent mob behaviour.
06, p. 082-91 A discussion about developing the senses through education and knowledge e.g. an artist trains his vision and it becomes much more conscious and complete. An exercise is given. Training can be given all the senses and examples for many are given which illustrate how cooking, arranging things, matching colours are all differently done than when the senses are not trained. A nice analogy is given: the human body is like a woodland or virgin forest or a jungle (which have a chaotic beauty but with cultivation can become a very beautiful garden with space for producing the maximum number of things.
07, p. 060-64 This is a discussion about how the body receives energy from food or from universal forces. The correct attitudes towards food, eating and fasting are included.
08, p. 196-97 A brief discussion of how to progress physically by gradually exceeding one’s present capacities and by increasing one’s receptivity and recuperative capabilities. One must always make an effort to do a little more than before. And one must learn to rest in a rest that refreshes. (also under: 4.5.a)
08, p. 237-43 Mother talks about the psychological principle of the Ashram sports education program in which, “with the same education and the same possibilities, there is no reason to make a categorical distinction, final and imperative, between what we call men and women. For us, human beings are the expression of a single soul.” She speaks about discoveries she has made in trying the experiment.
09, p. 079-83 This is a passage of Sri Aurobindo from The Supramental Manifestation about the invaluable qualities that are developed by sports and how developing them helps the nation and the world. Mother comments on how to teach this to children through explanation and example She tells how to be a true leader. (also under: 4.5.a)
09, p. 160-64 Mother tells here how to awaken in the body an aspiration for the Divine. She tells how parents and teachers can help children develop it and also the most helpful attitude for older people to take. (also under: 4.5.a)
12, p. 012-17 Basic introduction of the three principle aspects of physical education. Then follows advice about food, exercise, sleep, medicine, etc. Applies to child education except for the last page.
12, p. 012-23 This is an entire article by the Mother on the subject of physical education. Good basic introduction.
12, p. 050-55 These pages describe one of the four austerities (the tapasya of beauty) that are part of an integral education leading to the supramental realisation. The topics discussed are habits, food, sleep, sex, exercise, work, relaxation.
12, p. 073 An inspiring image about the need for training the instruments to become as perfect as possible: “They must not be left like … a formless piece of stone. A diamond reveals all its beauty only when it is artistically cut.” Subsequent pages (73-76 describe how the urge and will for progress give meaning to life and prevent boredom in school and in life) (also under: 6.2)
12, p. 160 Here Mother tells why it is better to go to bed early and get up early and why the hours before midnight are better for sleep than the later hours.
12, p. 260-61 This is a general discussion of how people achieve success in sporting activities. Mother emphasises the importance of concentration of attention but not limiting it to one activity. (also under: 4.5.a)
12, p. 285 “Physical culture is the best way of developing the consciousness of the body, and the more the body is conscious, the more it is capable of receiving the divine forces that are at work to transform it and give birth to the new race.”
16, p. 403 Mother briefly explains the difference between sports and physical education and tells that the competition of sports and games are useful because human beings, especially in childhood, still need a certain excitement in order to make effort.
  6.3.b    vital education (6)
06, p. 412-15 This is a discussion of how to deal with the desires of children. It is a difficult problem. Merely saying yes or no does not cure. Reason can be used when they are older by helping them to discover that when they want something and get it they usually lose interest in it because it is the law of desire to never be satisfied. Before the age of reason one can try to turn the impulsion of desires to a higher form—i.e. awaken the desire to learn or become a remarkable person. Materially one can try to orient them to succeed in games that require perseverance or to construct something difficult to make.
07, p. 058 Instincts, desires and passions are not cured by eliminating them. Cure is best done by education, culture and refinement of the senses and the being. To acquire a certain sense of harmony and exactness of perception is a part of the education of the being. For example people who work to develop and refine the sense of taste are rarely attached very much to food. They do it not out of greed but for cultivation of the senses. In the same way, artists usually do not have lots of desires. (also under: 4.5.b)
12, p. 055-57 These pages describe one of the four austerities, the austerity of the sensations (the tapasya of power) that are part of an integral education leading to the supramental realisation. The topics discussed are: the three sources of subsistence for the vital, vital interchange, developing the senses and enlightening, strengthening and purifying the vital.
12, p. 121 “In a general way education, culture, refinement of the senses are the means of curing movements of crude instinct and desire and passion. To obliberate them is not curing them; instead they should be cultivated, intellectualised, refined. …To give them their maximum growth in view of the progress and development of consciousness, so that one may attain to a sense of harmony and exactitude of perception is a part of culture and education for the human being.”
12, p. 157 If others are unkind to you Mother says to tell yourself: “Why be sorry and feel miserable? If they are right in what they say, I have only to be glad for the lesson and correct myself; if they are wrong, why should I worry about it—it is for them to be sorry for their mistake. In both cases the best and the most dignified thing I can do is remain strong, quiet and unmoved.” (also under: 2.5.1.a)
12, p. 436-43 In these pages Mother tells some teachers how to deal with movements of violence in the children and gives some basic teaching guidelines.
  6.3.c    mental education (5)
06, p. 317-18 Mental control over impulses: all educated people have it: “From the time you are quite young, the work of your educators is to teach you to control your impulses and obey only those which are in conformity with the laws under which you live or with the ideal you wish to follow or the customs of the environment in which you are.” You can observe how often in a day you are giving mental permission or refusal to impulses. “It is the nature of the human being to have a kind of mental activity in him which governs the rest of his being, more or less. And his level of civilisation depends exactly on the point this control has reached and…. on the value of the controlling mental construction.”
16, p. 198 “Intellectual culture is indispensable for preparing a good mental instrument, large, supple and rich, but its action stops there.” “So long as you need to form yourself, to build your brain, you will feel this strong urge to study; but when the brain is well formed, the taste for studies will gradually die away.” (also under: 4.5.c)
16, p. 200 “If you don’t want to learn a thing thoroughly, conscientiously and in all its details, it is better not to take it up at all. It is a great mistake to think that a little superficial …knowledge of things can be of any use whatsoever….” (also under: 4.5.c)
16, p. 281 Mother tells how one can think more clearly and grasp new ideas quickly. “By studying much, by reflecting much, by doing intellectual exercises. She gives the example of making a statement, then its opposite, then looking for the synthesis of both which harmonises the two.” (also under: 4.5.c)
16, p. 301b “To develop your intelligence, read the teachings of Sri Aurobindo regularly and very attentively.”
  6.3.d    psychic education (5)
04, p. 026 Young children are often conscious of their inner truth but lose this because “from the moment they go to school where they undergo that kind of intensive mental training which draws their attention to the intellectual part of their being, they lose almost always and almost completely this contact with their psychic being.”
05, p. 164-65 Psychic as opposed to religious education: Tell a child that for bedtime prayer, instead of lighting a candle and kneeling down before it with folded, hands, light a flame in your heart and have a great aspiration towards “something more beautiful, more true, more noble, better than all that I know. I ask that from tomorrow I begin to know all these thing, all that I cannot do I begin to do and every day a little more.” And then when the child has seen unhappiness or suffering friends or meets difficulties, teach him to ask that the whole consciousness might be raised all together to that perfection that must manifest and that all bad will be transformed into benevolence. “How beautiful those prayers would be!”
05, p. 203-204 Children should be told when quite young (age 5) that they can go through life gloriously and become masters of their destiny by beginning the work of arranging things around the psychic consciousness. Unless the aspiration is awakened in their consciousness and they are encouraged to try, they won't understand. Doing the work can be begun even with a very young brain, for at five one hasn't a very big brain. Just five minutes a day to begin. See preceding pages 200-03 about what and why and how to do the work.
12, p. 030-35 Mother describes the psychic, tells that it is a voluntary endeavour for one to contact it, and gives guidelines of advice for those who wish to undertake the challenging endeavour (the path towards the great discovery).
12, p. 064-71 These pages describe one of the four austerities, the austerity of feelings and emotions (the tapasya of love), that are part of an integral education leading to the supramental realisation. “Only a greater, higher and truer power of love can subdue the uncontrollable impulses of love.” Mother tells the purpose of love in the evolution, how it manifests, how it has been debased, how Nature wills to rebuild this foundation for human unity, and finally, she speaks of love for the Divine and the correct attitude in our relations with others.
  6.3.e    spiritual education (4)
12, p. 035-38 A basic introduction. Mother distinguishes spiritual education from psychic education. “To live a psychic life you must abolish all egoism; but to live a spiritual life you must no longer have an ego.’’ These pages describe the spiritual goal and how those who attain it can begin a new supramental education.
15, p. 066 Mother gives a brief definition of what she means by spiritual education.
16, p. 317b “The mechanical regularity of a fixed programme is indispensable for physical, mental and vital development; but this mechanical rigidity has little or no effect on spiritual development where the spontaneity of an absolute sincerity is indispensable.”
16, p. 317c A sadhak wanted a daily programme as a method to progress towards Sri Aurobindo’s yoga. As initial help to set one on the path of spiritual development Mother gave 2 exercises of self-offering of all one thinks, all one is, all that one does to the Divine: in the morning one offers the day to the Divine. Before sleeping one reviews the day to see where there were lapses and aspires or prays that they do not recur. (also under: 4.3.2)