A clause in the Report of the Calcutta university commission, declares the necessity of reconciling or synthesising the systems of education eastern and western. Cultures being quite opposed to each other they cannot be reconciled in spirit to illustrate the different lines of cultures. Let me quote a thinker, “The spirit of oneness is the keynote of the philanthropy of the east, just as the sense of separateness of mine and thine, is the keynote of the west. The one leads to a spontaneous sympathy with all head, and a simple and natural pleasure in relieving it, the other to critical judgment and investigation of the worthiness of the needy and a heroic effort to reform them according to approved philanthropic methods. The one leads to individual responsibility, not for the morals, but for the happiness of one’s neighbour ; the other leads to organised charities to inform the poor ‘en masse The one flowing from simple brotherly love with no sense of superiority, awakens simple gratitude, and harmonises all classes in a sense of the unfailing kindness of God. The other projected by a well-meaning but egoistic sense of moral caste awakens natural irritation and widens the gap between the fortunate and the unfortunate. The spirit of the two is totally different, and the spirit determines the method.”
Though they cannot be reconciled in spirit, but they can be reconciled in forms, there is no harm if we accept what is great and good in the lives and teachings of the western people, their critical methods of looking at things, their political views, their social organisation etc. We must have what we lack, but everything new should be brought under the control of the national culture. In short, every school and college should be a centre where all the forms from the various parts of the country should accumulate along with what are conducive in other nations, and they should be arranged in a way that it may serve the ideal. In a word, a university should render education a living organism and not a conglomeration of facts.
Extracts from Vedanta Kesari, an English monthly of the Ramakrishna Order, published from Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.