By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
06 February 2013 08:39 IST

A few days back I had a wonderful opportunity. I was invited to be the chief guest at the annual social gathering of Konkani Bhasha Mandal Vidyabhuvan and Ravindra Kelekar Vidyamandir at Gomant Vidya Niketan, Margao.

It was interesting to see how the ancient building of Gomat Vidya Niketan had been renovated. Surveillance cameras, smoke detectors and water sprinklers - the works! The auditorium though appeared cramped, the seats not very comfy.

As I gave away the prizes to children up to the fifth grade I could sense the innocent enthusiasm of these young minds. Unawares of the dangerous world ahead of them, striving to achieve what their parents and teachers expected of them.

What is education? What is the relevance of education in our day to day life? What is the importance of education in today's world - filled as it is with violence, greed, predacity, ambition. In a world filled with "becoming"- inward and outward becoming, what is education?

What do we see in our world today? To describe it in one word I would say CONFLICT. We are at constant conflict with ourselves. We are one thing today and we wish to become another thing tomorrow. This inner conflict manifests in our interpersonal relationships as ambition, corruption, greed, violence, untruth, crime and so on. Each of us wants to climb not only the nearest ladder but also to kick it once we have climbed so that none other can climb.

And how do we justify such selfish, immoral and at times illegal behavior? We simply give it social credibility. The wealthier we are greater is our social credibility. The more power at our disposal the more is our social credibility. We use all the resources at our disposal - our thoughts, our education, our ancestral inheritance, our social contacts - towards a single goal of attaining greater social credibility, greater social and economic standing.

What, then, is education? Is it the number of degrees we are able to put after our name? Is it  our means of climbing the ladder of social credibility - our means of "becoming"?- becoming wealthy, famous,powerful? Is our education meant to transform us into predators in search of all these "virtues"? 

Or is education something entirely different from all this?

It is not difficult to observe that our education, as it stands today, has created a stream in our society - a social stream that is characterized by aggression, ambition, greed, predacity of attitude. We call this social stream our culture. We justify it that way. This stream keeps us in a perpetual state of becoming. Where there is becoming there is conflict. Where there is conflict there is disorder - disorder within the individual and disorder in the society. Where there is disorder there is sorrow.

Thus the end result of our education, as it stands today, is not only the acquired information about our chosen subjects but also our endless conflict, disorder and sorrow.

And we are asking ourselves whether it is possible to acquire another type of education - an education which will enable us to gather knowledge about our subjects - our chosen field- without transforming us into predators in search of money, fame and power.

Education is not only learning from books, memorizing facts but also learning how to look, how to listen to what the books are saying - whether they are saying something true or false. Education is not just to pass examinations, take a degree and a job ; get married and settle down - but also to be able to listen to the birds, to see the sky, to behold the beauty of a tree, the shape of the hills AND TO FEEL WITH THEM - TO BE REALLY, DIRECTLY IN TOUCH WITH THEM.

Education is also the ability to LISTEN TO OURSELVES UNCONDITIONALLY, WITHOUT PRIDE OR PREJUDICE - the ability to look at our inner self the way we look at ourselves in a mirror and admire our face - the ability to see our latest wrinkles, our latest wounds, our latest scars.

Education is not conformity to our set social stream of ambition and greed which we call culture. Education is the ability to actually see this conformity inwardly, deeply in such a way that this seeing brings freedom to us - freedom from conformity, freedom from greed, ambition, sorrow.

Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye - that which liberates us from our conformity is education.

Education in addition to imparting information must also impart knowledge to the child or student.

What, then, is information and what is knowledge? How does information differ from knowledge?

Information is always second hand. It is somebody else's knowledge that one is imbibing, memorizing after reading a book or listening to a lecture. It is an acquired skill. Skill acquisition involves thought, memory and time. Skill acquisition therefore strengthens thought, memory and time. It actually traps the mind in thought, memory and time.

Knowledge, on the other hand, is always first hand. Knowledge is not an acquired skill. No book, no lecture can pass knowledge to oneself. Knowledge therefore does not involve thought, memory and time. Knowledge liberates us from the necessity of thought, memory and therefore liberates the mind from time itself.

Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye - that which liberates us from time is knowledge.

And that which imparts such knowledge is education.

Why is knowledge important? Why not impart information alone?

Knowledge is compassion. Knowledge is happiness, knowledge is total freedom - freedom from narrow, domestic walls of religion, caste, sex, nationality, regionalism and all other isms. 

Knowledge is not only freedom from thought but also freedom to think - think without malice or prejudice, think without narrow, domestic divides of tradition and culture.

Information without knowledge reinforces ego, aggression, immorality and illegality. Such information thus breeds disorder and conflict in society.

Knowledge is order - complete order in an individual and therefore complete order in the society.

Knowledge thus brings about the complete liberation of the individual and the society from disorder and conflict.


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Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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Knowledge and truth are same?

Knowledge changes with time, truth doesn't. You can say knowledge could be facts. To simplify, right now most medical doctors have a lot of knowledge but with new research this knowledge will be revised or proved false, which means it was not the truth. For example, Neils Bohr proposed the atomic theory and people believed and had the impression (KNOWLEGDE according to you) at that time that atom was something cannot be further divided, until quantum physics showed that there are subatomic particles and proved Bohr wrong.

Knowledge=facts; may not be truth always.

And all these analogy holds good for rational scientific-minded people. Not for the religeous and fundamentalist zealots out there who believe in any crap that is thrown at them by their religion, religeous books or padri/priest.

Anyway that was not the point. The point is that you are writing as if all the ideas are your own. You are not citing the original philosophers or references from where you copied them. And that is unethical!

Your view about Indian philosophy being supreme etc. is subjective. You may believe whatever you think but it may not be the TRUTH.

Some folks in Africa will say life itself originated there and therfore is the place of origin of human philosophy, etc. Doesn't mean anything.

- Prabhu Malkarnekar, Goa | 13 th February 2013 03:35


Knowledge and truth are one. Different people may explain in different or similar or even same words. Actually even the title of this article has been expressed before in Vishnu Purana verse :

at-karma yan-na bhandaaya

saa vidhyaa yaa vimuktaye;

aayaa saayaa param karma

vidyaa-anyaa shilpa naipu Nam

India is the birth place and the fountain head of all spirituality. It would be improper to expect that any thing new can be spoken in this that has never been spoken before by an Indian philosopher be it Gandhi, Krishna or Krishnamurti. What matters is experience not the words. But India of today has not even managed to understand Gandhi let alone Krishnamurti or Krishna.

- Mukul Pai Raiturkar, Margao | 11 th February 2013 10:16


Much of the article lacks originality.and some are the views of eminent philosopher Jidu Krishnamurti.

Krishnamurti on education;

- , Goa | 07 th February 2013 13:00


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