Mr Robert Muller: If you were given the task of laying down the basic principles for the education of all the children of this world, what would be your recommendations?

Sri Chinmoy: According to me, education is self-cultivation and self-cultivation is God-perfection in human life. You want to know the basic principles for the education of all the children of this world. Let us divide this world into halves: the Eastern world or, let us say, the Indian world, and the Western world, or the American world. For an Indian child, freedom is a far cry. For an American child, freedom is an act as easy as breathing in and breathing out. In India, even now I see that a child is taught and learns the message of the world through severe discipline and imposed fear. Here in America, as far as I can see and feel, in most of the cases, if not all, parents get satisfaction in fulfilling their own dreams, but they neglect their children’s needs. They say to the children, “We don’t want to impose anything on you. You find out your truth and you pick out what is best for yourself, for how do we know what is best for you? It is better that you look around and find what you need.” Some will say that this is a broad expression of the parents’ oneness with their children, while others will say that the parents unconsciously, if not consciously, are unburdening their so-called burdens. The parents will say, “Look, we really love you. Here is the proof that we love you. We have given you a TV set. We have given you a tape recorder, a radio — everything in the material world that you long for. Therefore, we expect you to stay with your friends and let us fulfil our dreams in our own way.”

Unfortunately, I can subscribe neither to the Indian method of bringing up a child nor to the American method. Parents should not allow their children to grow up in the Elysian lap of exorbitant luxury; nor should they keep a devouring, intransigent tiger before their children so that at every moment the children will be forced to do the right thing. The parents should tell their children that they are not disciplinary, autocratic parents but unreservedly loving, discerning friends.

The education of the children and the education of the parents must go together. The parents must dream in and fulfil themselves through their creations, their children. As the creation cannot be separated from the creator, even so the creator cannot be separated from the creation. The creation without the creator is helpless. The creator without the creation is meaningless. Therefore, both the creation and the creator must contribute to each other in order to derive oneness-satisfaction and fulness-satisfaction. It is in the parents’ right decision that we can find the children’s freedom. This freedom is founded on their oneness with their parents’ will. Let us consider the children as finite realities and the parents as infinite realities. The children become infinite and enjoy infinite freedom only by becoming consciously, unreservedly and inseparably one with their parents.

The parents must not think of their children as unnecessary projections of their life; for if these projections are unnecessary, then they can go in their own way. On the contrary, they must feel that their children are absolutely necessary projections of their life. The improvement of the projections, perfection of the projections, considerably adds to the source. The beauty of the leaves, flowers and fruits of the tree only adds to the seed-reality of the tree. It does not diminish the beauty-reality, divinity and necessity of the seed.

Here I wish to quote from your most illumining insights about global education: “A child born today will be faced as an adult, almost daily, with problems of a global interdependent nature, be it peace, food, the quality of life, inflation, or scarcity of natural resources. He will be both an actor and a beneficiary or a victim in the total world fabric, and he may rightly ask: ‘Why was I not warned? Why was I not better educated? Why did my teachers not tell me about these problems and indicate my behaviour as a member of an interdependent human race?’…

“Global education must transcend material and intellectual achievements and reach also into the moral and spiritual spheres. Man has been able to extend the power of his hands with incredible machines, of his eyes with telescopes and microscopes, of his ears with telephones, radio waves and sonars, of his brain with computers and automation. He must now also extend his heart, his sentiments, his love and his soul to the dimension of the entire human family and to our total beautiful planet circling in the universe.”

The parents should bring the presence of God, the presence of love, the presence of truth and the presence of purity into the hearts and eyes of their children as soon as the children can see the light of day. They should tell their children that they themselves and the children are great companions and that they have a good Guide, a good Leader, who will guide them, mould them and shape them into perfect Perfection. They know a little more about that Guide than the children, and He has told them to say certain things about Him to the children. Therefore, they are listening to the Guide’s dictates. Right now the parents are asked by the Guide to act as intermediaries between Him and the children. But there shall come a time when the children will not need intermediaries. They will be able to go directly to the Guide, the Source. Until then, the children must listen to their intermediaries, their earthly friends. The acme of the children’s education is their perfection in life and their perfection for God-satisfaction. And to offer their children that, the parents should not impose, nor expose, nor even propose; only they should become the living flame of self-giving in order to realise their own world-satisfying life and to please the Source in its own Way.