Excerpts from my talk given on the occasion of a graduation ceremony:
Anthony de Mello, in his book, One Minute's Wisdom, tells a story of a guru who was on his death bed. His disciples gathered around his bed; and, they were sad because the guru was about to die. The guru consoled them and said, "It is good that I go; if only I go, you will start to see." One of the disciples asked him, "what are we going to see when you die?" The guru said, "I was drawing water from the river and was giving it to you; you saw only the water I gave you; you never saw the river; when I go, you will see the river." They would see the river and start drawing the water, still a large mass of water would be flowing in the river.
What the guru told was that he could achieve only a little bit of knowledge of this universe, and he could share only from what he had. The disciples were just satisfied with the knowledge they received from the guru; they did not discover anything of their own. When the guru would die, they would be forced to discover the truth of life by themselves; and, they would see more.
Education is to achieve knowledge of the truth of universe to grow our lives to fullness. However, what we can achieve is only a little bit of knowledge of truth. A large mass of truth would still remain untouched.
By the way, there are four types of people concerning knowledge: (1) Those who do not know that they do not know. They pretend that they know everything. They are dangerous. Avoid them. (2) Those who know that they do not know. They are ignorant but simple-minded people. Teach them. (3) Those who do not know that they know. They are asleep (inactive). Awake them. (4) Those who know that they know. They are wise and active. Follow them.
Knowledge is to liberate ourselves. It is to know the power of God which is within us and within the whole universe. Even when we study chemistry or biology or physics, if we come to know ourselves and know God who is within ourselves and within this universe, the study becomes fruitful. Knowledge or learning should lead us to wisdom of knowing ourselves. Knowledge is through learning. Wisdom is through experience.
What the teacher (guru) does is creating in the mind of a student an interest of knowing the truth. There is an interesting definition to "guru." Guru is the short form of guha and rupa. Guru = Gu + ru, i.e., Guha + Rupa. Guha means cave. It also can mean human mind. Rupa means picture or image. Guru is one who fills the mind of a student with the image of God. A guru is a teacher; but, his intention of teaching is to install the image of God in his students, through the knowledge of nature. God is the ultimate truth.
Nature (universe) has intimate connection with our soul (our self). God is within us and within the universe; or, we and the universe are within God. There is only one ultimate reality - God. We cannot separate ourselves from the universe or from God. If we separate, we are in illusion, according to Maya theory of Sankara who lived in the 7th century in India. Looking for God outside ourselves is foolishness. When we realize that there is only one reality, there would be perfect harmony in the universe. There won't be any hatred or segregation any more. When there is unity and harmony in the universe, there is interaction of energy; that is why we experience peace and tranquility when we spend time enjoying nature in the beach or in a forest or in a garden.
This realization of the truth is the purpose of education.