The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Acharya Prashant (AP): Human beings are the only species that need to be born twice, firstly in the biological sense and then more importantly in the psychological sense. A puppy, a cub, a kitten they need to take just one birth — their biological birth, or their animal birth, or their bodily birth. The human baby needs to take two births before it can be rightfully called a human being.
The first birth obviously is from the mother’s womb, it is the biological or the animal birth, not very different from the birth of the offspring of any other species. It’s the second birth that’s far more significant — psychological birth, the coming into being of the psychic human.
The topic given to me is, “Why do schools matter?” This obviously is why they matter. The function of education is to give that all-important second birth to the human being, else all we have at our hands is just the biological creature not very different from the animal.
So, that brings us to the importance and the role of education in schools, in colleges, in families, in society in general. Education has to give shape to the mind of the child. Shape in what sense? Shape in a predetermined, pre-scripted sense? As the potter gives shape to the pot? No not in that sense.
You see we are born not as a clean slate. The little kid that takes birth, that little biological baby is the product of millions of years of evolution. And, all the imprints of those millions of years that little baby is carrying in herself. Those imprints are what brought her to life, but those imprints are exactly what will not allow her to live.
It’s a strange thing about being human that which gives us life is also what won’t allow us to live. So, the child has to be liberated from the marks, the residues, the blemishes, the conditioning of all that forms the mind. If you do not liberate the child from that then the child will live a very pre-scripted life. She will know only the biological urges; the biological forces and her life will be tossed around on the mighty waves of the primordial biological ocean. And there is so much within us that keeps us busy through a life that is being wasted on the bodily altar…