The Process of Education
In the process of general education, five elements are necessarily involved:
1. the teacher
2. the student
3. the aim
4. the subject
5. the method
The practice and study of Yoga is an important process in the education of the human being. The most important factor in the process is the teacher, more than even the study. The nature and competency of the teacher play the primary role in the education system and what we need today is a proper teacher of the subject. Teachers have either no interest in the student or their knowledge is inadequate and does not fit into the context of the student.
One of the main characteristics of a teacher is that he/she has really to feel what he speaks, and live, to a large extent, what he teaches. Only then does the teaching become effective. Good teachers speak not merely by words but by their lives. Due to a disharmony between the inner and the outer life of the teacher there may come about a failure of his or her efforts.
The second qualification of a good teacher is that he or she should be able to understand the student even more than the subject. He or she should teach what the student needs. The speaking is done to a person or persons and not to walls or to the hall. The teacher should not say either more or less than what the student would expect in his present state of mind.
Thirdly, there must be a force in the teaching, and the force has naturally to come from the teacher himself or herself and not from his or her studies, or even the nature of the subject. The teacher is a living being and his or her presence itself has an effect of its own on the student. One is inspired more by listening than by reading. The teacher’s role is indeed primary.
But, what about the student? The student does not play any less important role. Unless there is reception, the teachings will vanish into the air. Due to diffusion of energy on account to extraneous interest, distractions and also due to personal problems, the teaching may not be received properly. If the student is worried, the teaching cannot, again, be received. The teacher and taught are like the right and left hands and the two form a harmonious movement in which knowledge is revealed.
The student, therefore, should be competent enough to receive knowledge by freeing him or herself from complexities and problems and fixing his or her heart in the subject.
The aim of Yoga is not always easy to understand. Yoga is a process not merely of reaching the highest, but of bringing a sense of perfection, even in the small things we do. Yoga is a system of striking a balance, firstly with persons and things outside and later in one’s own being-physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual levels. When one changes him or herself within, the world will correspondingly change itself in respect of you.
By Swami Krishnananda