Education as Service
J. Krishnamurti

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, and the Online Distributed Proofreading










In long past lives the author of this little book had much to do with
educational work, and he seems to have brought over with him an intense
interest in education. During his short visits to Benares, he paid an
alert attention to many of the details of the work carried on in the
Central Hindu College, observing and asking questions, noting the good
feeling between teachers and students, so different from his own school
experiences in Southern India. He appears to have been brooding over
the question, and has, in this booklet, held up the educational ideals
which appear to him to be necessary for the improvement of the present

The position of the teacher must be raised to that which it used to
occupy in India, so that to sit in the teacher's chair will be a badge
of social honour. His work must be seen as belonging to the great
Teaching Department in the Government of our world, and his relation
with his pupils must be a copy of the relation between a Master and His
disciples. Love, protective and elevating on the one side, must be met
with love, confiding and trustful on the other. This is, in truth, the
old Hindu ideal, exaggerated as it may seem to be to-day and if it be
possible, in any country to rebuild this ideal, it should be by an
Indian for Indians. Hence there is, at the back of the author's mind, a
dream of a future College and School, wherein this ideal may be
materialised--a Theosophical College and School, because the ancient
Indian ideals now draw their life from Theosophy which alone can shape
the new vessels for the ancient elixir of life Punishment must
disappear--not only the old brutality of the cane, but all the forms of
coercion that make hypocrites instead of honourable and manly youths.
The teacher must embody the ideal, and the boy be drawn, by admiration
and love, to copy it. Those who know how swiftly the unspoiled child
responds to a noble ideal will realise how potent may be the influence
of a teacher, who stimulates by a high example and rules by the sceptre
of love instead of by the rod of fear. Besides, the One Life is in
teacher and taught, as Alcyone reminds us, and to that Life, which is
Divine, all things are possible.

Education must be shaped to meet the individual needs of the child, and
not by a Government Procrustes' bed, to fit which some are dragged
well-nigh asunder and others are chopped down. The capacities of the
child, the line they fit him to pursue, these must guide his education.
In all, the child's interest must be paramount; the true teacher exists
to serve.

The school must be a centre of good and joyous influences, radiating
from it to the neighbourhood. Studies and games must all be turned to
the building of character, to the making of the good citizen, the lover
of his country.

Thus dreams the boy, who is to become a teacher, of the possibilities
the future may unfold. May he realise, in the strength of a noble
Manhood, the pure visions of his youth, and embody a Power which shall
make earth's deserts rejoice and blossom as the rose.





Many of the suggestions made in this little book come from my own
memories of early school life; and my own experience since of the
methods used in Occult training has shown me how much happier boys'
lives might be made than they usually are. I have myself experienced
both the right way of teaching and the wrong way, and therefore I want
to help others towards the right way. I write upon the subject because
it is one which is very near to the heart of my Master, and much of what
I say is but an imperfect echo of what I have heard from Him. Then
again, during the last two years, I have seen much of the work done in
the Central Hindu College at Benares by Mr. G.S. Arundale and his
devoted band of helpers. I have seen teachers glad to spend their time
and energies in continual service of those whom they regard as their
younger brothers. I have also watched the boys, in their turn, showing a
reverence and an affectionate gratitude to their teachers that I had
never thought possible.

Though many people may think the ideals put forward are entirely beyond
the average teacher, and cannot be put into practice in ordinary
schools, I can thus point at least to one institution in which I have
seen many of the suggestions made in this book actually carried out. It
may be that some of them _are_, at present, beyond most schools; but
they will be recognised and practised as soon as teachers realise them
as desirable, and have a proper understanding of the importance of their

Most of the recommendations apply, I think, to all countries, and to all
religions, and are intended to sound the note of our common
brotherhood, irrespective of religion or caste, race or colour. If the
unity of life and the oneness of its purpose could be clearly taught to
the young in schools, how much brighter would be our hopes for the
future! The mutual distrust of races and nations would disappear, if the
children were trained in mutual love and sympathy as members of one
great family of children all over the world, instead of being taught to
glory only in their own traditions and to despise those of others. True
patriotism is a beautiful quality in children, for it means
unselfishness of purpose and enthusiasm for great ideals; but that is
false patriotism which shows itself in contempt for other nations. There
are, I am told, many organisations within the various nations of the
world, intended to inspire the children with a love for their country
and a desire to serve her, and that is surely good; but I wonder when
there will be an international organisation to give the children of all
nations common ideals also, and a knowledge of the real foundation of
right action, the Brotherhood of Man.

I desire to thank my dear mother, Mrs. Annie Besant, for the help she
has given me while I have been writing this little book, and also my
dear friend, Mr. G.S. Arundale--with whom I have often talked on the
subject--for many useful suggestions.








1. Self-control as to the mind

2. Self-control in action

3. Tolerance

4. Cheerfulness

5. One-pointedness

6. Confidence


In _At the Feet of the Master_ I have written down the instructions
given to me by my Master in preparing me to learn how best to be useful
to those around me. All who have read the book will know how inspiring
the Master's words are, and how they make each person who reads them
long to train himself for the service of others. I know myself how much
I have been helped by the loving care of those to whom I look for
guidance, and I am eager to pass on to others the help I have obtained
from them.

It seems to me that the Master's instructions can be universally
applied. They are useful not only to those who are definitely trying to
tread the path which leads to Initiation, but also to all who, while
still doing the ordinary work of the world, are anxious to do their duty
earnestly and unselfishly. One of the noblest forms of work is that of
the teacher; let us see what light is thrown upon it by the words of the

I will take the four Qualifications which have been given in _At the
Feet of the Master_, and will try to show how they can be applied to the
life of the teacher and of the students, and to the relations which
should exist between them.

The most important Qualification in education is Love, and I will take
that first.

It is sad that in modern days the office of a teacher has not been
regarded as on a level with other learned professions. Any one has been
thought good enough to be a teacher, and as a result little honour has
been paid to him. Naturally, therefore, the cleverest boys are not
drawn towards that profession. But really the office of the teacher is
the most sacred and the most important to the nation, because it builds
the characters of the boys and girls who will be its future citizens. In
olden days this office was thought so holy that only priests were
teachers and the school was a part of the temple. In India the trust in
the teacher was so great that the parents gave over their sons
completely to him for many years, and teacher and students lived
together as a family. Because this happy relation should be brought
back again, I put Love first among the Qualifications which a teacher
ought to have. If India is to become again the great nation which we all
hope to see, this old happy relation must be re-established.


My Master taught me that Love will enable a man to acquire all other
qualities and that "all the rest without it would never be sufficient."
Therefore no person ought to be a teacher--ought to be allowed to be a
teacher--unless he has shown in his daily life that Love is the
strongest quality of his nature. It may be asked: How are we to find out
whether a person possesses Love to a sufficient degree to make him
worthy to be a teacher? Just as a boy shows his natural capacities at an
early age for one profession or another, so a particularly strong
love-nature would mark a boy out as specially fitted to be an
instructor. Such boys should be definitely trained for the office of the
teacher just as boys are trained for other professions.

Boys who are preparing for all careers live a common life in the same
school, and they can only become useful to the nation as men, if their
school life is happy. A young child is naturally happy, and if that
happiness is allowed to go on and grow in the school, and at home, then
he will become a man who will make others happy. A teacher full of love
and sympathy will attract the boys and make their school life a pleasant
one. My Master once said that "children are very eager to learn and if a
teacher cannot interest them and make them love their lessons, he is not
fit to be a teacher and should choose another profession." He has said
also: "Those who are mine love to teach and to serve. They long for an
opportunity of service as a hungry man longs for food, and they are
always watching for it. Their hearts are so full of the divine Love that
it must be always overflowing in love for those around them. Only such
are fit to be teachers--those to whom teaching is not only a holy and
imperative duty, but also the greatest of pleasures."

A sympathetic teacher draws out all the good qualities in his pupils,
and his gentleness prevents them from being afraid of him. Each boy then
shows himself just as he is, and the teacher is able to see the line
best suited to him and to help him to follow it. To such a teacher a boy
will come with all his difficulties, knowing that he will be met with
sympathy and kindness, and, instead of hiding his weaknesses, he will
be glad to tell everything to one of whose loving help he is sure. The
good teacher remembers his own youth, and so can feel with the boy who
comes to him. My Master said: "He who has forgotten his childhood and
lost sympathy with the children is not a man who can teach them or help

This love of the teacher for his pupil, protecting and helping him, will
bring out love from the pupil in turn, and as he looks up to his teacher
this love will take the form of reverence. Reverence, beginning in this
way with the boy, will grow as he grows older, and will become the habit
of seeing and reverencing greatness, and so perhaps in time may lead him
to the Feet of the Master. The love of the boy to the teacher will make
him docile and easy to guide, and so the question of punishment will
never arise. Thus one great cause of fear which at present poisons all
the relations between the teacher and his pupil will vanish. Those of us
who have the happiness of being pupils of the true Masters know what
this relation ought to be. We know the wonderful patience, gentleness
and sympathy with which They always meet us, even when we may have made
mistakes or have been weak.

Yet there is much more difference between Them and us than between the
ordinary teacher and his pupil. When the teacher has learned to look
upon his office as dedicating him to the service of the nation, as the
Master has dedicated Himself to the service of humanity, then he will
become part of the great Teaching Department of the world, to which
belongs my own beloved Master--the Department of which the supreme
Teacher of Gods and men is the august Head.

It may be said that many boys could not be managed in this way. The
answer is that such boys have been already spoiled by bad treatment.
Even so, they must be slowly improved by greater patience and constant
love. This plan has already proved successful when tried.

Living in this atmosphere of love during school hours, the boy will
become a better son and a better brother at home, and will bring home
with him a feeling of life and vigour, instead of coming home, as he
generally does now, depressed and tired. When he, in turn, becomes the
head of a household, he will fill it with the love in which he has been
brought up, and so the happiness will go on spreading and increasing,
generation after generation. Such a boy when he becomes a father, will
not look on his son, as so many do now, from a purely selfish point of
view, as though he were merely a piece of property--as though the son
existed for the sake of the father. Some parents seem to regard their
children only as a means of increasing the prosperity and reputation of
the family by the professions which they may adopt or the marriages that
they may make, without considering in the least the wishes of the
children themselves. The wise father will consult his boy as a friend,
will take pains to find out what his wishes are, and will help him with
his greater experience to carry out those wishes wisely, remembering
always that his son is an ego who has come to the father to give him the
opportunity of making good karma by aiding the son in his progress. He
will never forget that though his son's body may be young, the soul
within is as old as his own, and must therefore be treated with respect
as well as affection.

Love both at home and in the school will naturally show itself in
continual small acts of service, and these will form a habit out of
which will grow the larger and more heroic acts of service which makes
the greatness of a nation.

The Master speaks much on cruelty as a sin against love, and
distinguishes between intentional and unintentional cruelty. He says:
"Intentional cruelty is purposely to give pain to another living being;
and that is the greatest of all sins--the work of a devil rather than a
man." The use of the cane must be classed under this, for He says of
intentional cruelty: "Many schoolmasters do it habitually." We must also
include all words and acts _intended_ to wound the feelings of the boy
and to hurt his self-respect. In some countries corporal punishment is
forbidden, but in most it is still the custom. But my Master said:
"These people try to excuse their brutality by saying that it is the
custom; but a crime does not cease to be a crime because many commit
it. Karma takes no account of custom; and the karma of cruelty is the
most terrible of all. In India at least there can be no excuse for such
customs, for the duty of harmlessness is well known to all."

The whole idea of what is called "punishment" is not only wrong but
foolish. A teacher who tries to frighten his boys into doing what he
wishes does not see that they only obey him while he is there, and that
as soon as they are out of his sight they will pay no attention to his
rules, or even take a pleasure in breaking them because they dislike
him. But if he draws them to do what he wants because they love him and
wish to please him, they will keep his rules even in his absence, and so
make his work much easier. Instead of developing fear and dislike in the
characters of the boys, the wise teacher will gain his ends by calling
forth from them love and devotion; and so will strengthen all that is
good in them, and help them on the road of evolution.

Again, the idea of expulsion, of getting rid of a troublesome boy
instead of trying to improve him, is wrong. Even when, for the sake of
his companions, a boy has to be separated from them, the good of the boy
himself must not be forgotten. In fact, all through, school discipline
should be based on the good of the boys and not on the idea of saving
trouble to the teacher. The loving teacher does not mind the trouble.

Unintentional cruelty often comes from mere thoughtlessness, and the
teacher should be very careful not to be cruel in words or actions from
want of thought. Teachers often cause pain by hasty words uttered at a
time when they have been disturbed by some outside annoyance, or are
trying to attend to some important duty. The teacher may forget the
incident or pass it over as trivial, but in many such cases a sensitive
boy has been wounded, and he broods over the words and ends by imagining
all sorts of foolish exaggerations. In this way many misunderstandings
arise between teachers and boys, and though the boys must learn to be
patient and generous, and to realise that the teacher is anxious to help
all as much as he can, the teacher in his turn must always be on the
alert to watch his words, and to allow nothing but gentleness to shine
out from his speech and actions, however busy he may be.

If the teacher is always gentle to the boys, who are younger and weaker
than himself, it will be easy for him to teach them the important lesson
of kindness to little children, animals, birds and other living
creatures. The older boys, who themselves are gentle and tactful, should
be encouraged to observe the condition of the animals they see in the
streets, and if they see any act of cruelty, to beg the doer of it very
politely and gently, to treat the animal more kindly. The boys should
be taught that nothing which involves the hunting and killing of animals
should be called sport. That word ought to be kept for manly games and
exercises, and not used for the wounding and killing of animals. My
Master says: "The fate of the cruel must fall also upon all who go out
intentionally to kill God's creatures and call it sport."

I do not think that teachers realise the harm and the suffering caused
by gossip, which the Master calls a sin against love. Teachers should be
very careful not to make difficulties for their boys by gossiping about
them. No boy should ever be allowed to have a bad name in the school,
and it should be the rule that no one may speak ill of any other member
of the school whether teacher or boy.

My Master points out that by talking about a person's faults, we not
only strengthen those faults in him, but also fill our own minds with
evil thoughts. There is only one way of really getting rid of our lower
nature, and that is by strengthening the higher. And while it is the
duty of the teacher to understand the weaknesses of those placed in his
charge he must realise that he will destroy the lower nature only by
surrounding the boy with his love, thus stimulating the higher and
nobler qualities till there is no place left for the weaknesses. The
more the teacher gossips about the faults of the boys, the more harm he
does, and, except during a consultation with his fellow teachers as to
the best methods of helping individual boys out of their weaknesses, he
should never talk about a boy's defects.

The boys must also be taught the cruelty of gossip among themselves. I
know many a boy whose life at school has been made miserable because
his companions have been thoughtless and unkind, and the teacher either
has not noticed his unhappiness, or has not understood how to explain to
the boys the nature of the harm they were doing. Boys frequently take
hold of some peculiarity in speech or in dress, or of some mistake which
has been made, and, not realising the pain they cause, carelessly
torture their unfortunate schoolfellow with unkind allusions. In this
case the mischief is due chiefly to ignorance, and if the teacher has
influence over the boys, and gently explains to them what pain they are
giving they will quickly stop.

They must be taught, too, that nothing which causes suffering or
annoyance to another can ever be the right thing to do, nor can it ever
be amusing to any right-minded boy. Some children seem to find pleasure
in teasing or annoying others, but that is only because they are
ignorant. When they understand, they will never again be so unbrotherly.

In every class-room these words of my Master should be put up in a
prominent place: "Never speak ill of any one; refuse to listen when
anyone else speaks ill of another, but gently say: 'Perhaps this is not
true, and even if it is, it is kinder not to speak of it.'"

There are crimes against love which are not recognised as crimes, and
which are unfortunately very common. A teacher must use discretion in
dealing with these, but should teach a doctrine of love so far as he is
permitted, and may at least set a good example himself. Three of these
are put by my Master under the head of cruelties caused by superstition.

1. Animal sacrifice. Among civilised nations this is now found only in
India, and is tending to disappear even there. Parents and teachers
should tell their boys that no custom which is cruel is really part of
any true religion. For we have seen that religion teaches unity, and
therefore kindness and gentleness to everything that feels. God cannot
therefore be served by cruelty and the killing of helpless creatures. If
Indian boys learn this lesson of love in school they will, when they
become men, put an end entirely to this cruel superstition.

2. Much more widely spread is what my Master calls "the still more
cruel superstition that man needs flesh for food." This is a matter that
concerns the parent more than the teacher, but at least the teacher may
gradually lead his boys to see the cruelty involved in killing animals
for food. Then, even if the boy is obliged to eat meat at home, he will
give it up when he is a man, and will give his own children a better
opportunity than he himself had. If parents at home and teachers at
school would train young children in the duty of loving and protecting
all living creatures, the world would be much happier than it is at

3. "The treatment which superstition has meted out to the depressed
classes in our beloved India," says the Master, is a proof that "this
evil quality can breed heartless cruelty even among those who know the
duty of Brotherhood." To get rid of this form of cruelty every boy must
be taught the great lesson of love, and much can be done for this in
school as well as at home. The boy at school has many special
opportunities of learning this lesson, and the teacher should point out
the duty of showing courtesy and kindness to all who are in inferior
positions, as well as to the poor whom he may meet outside. All who know
the truth of reincarnation should realise that they are members of one
great family, in which some are younger brethren and some elder. Boys
must be taught to show gentleness and consideration to servants, and to
all who are below them in social position; caste was not intended to
promote pride and rudeness, and Manu teaches that servants should be
treated as the children of the family.

A great part of the teacher's work lies in the playground, and the
teacher who does not play with his boys will never quite win their
hearts. Indian boys as a rule do not play enough, and time should be
given for games during the school day. Even the teachers who have not
learned to play in their youth should come to the playground and show
interest in the games, thus sharing in this part of the boy's education.

In schools where there are boarding-houses the love of the teacher is
especially necessary, for in them the boarding-house must take the
place of the home, and a family feeling must be created there. Bright
and affectionate teachers will be looked on as elder brothers, and
difficulties which escape rules will be got rid of by love.

In fact, all the many activities of school life should be made into
channels through which affection can run between teacher and pupil, and
the more channels there are the better it will be for both. As the boy
grows older these channels will naturally become more numerous, and the
love of the school will become the friendship of manhood. Thus love
will have her perfect work.

Love on the physical plane has many forms. We have the love of husband
and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, the affection
between relatives and friends. But all these are blended and enriched in
the love of the Master to His disciple. The Master gives to His pupil
the gentleness and protection of a mother, the strength of a father, the
understanding of a brother or a sister, the encouragement of a relative
or a friend, and He is one with His pupil and His pupil is a part of
Him. Besides this, the Master knows His pupil's past, and His pupil's
future, and guides him through the present from the past into the
future. The pupil knows but little beyond the present, and he does not
understand that great love which draws its inspiration from the memory
of the past and shapes itself to mould the powers of the future. He may
even sometimes doubt the wisdom of the love which guides itself
according to a pattern which his eyes cannot see.

That which I have said above may seem a very high ideal for the
relation between a teacher and pupil down here. Yet the difference
between them is less than the difference between a Master and His
disciple. The lower relation should be a faint reflection of the higher,
and at least the teacher may set the higher before himself as an ideal.
Such an ideal will lift all his work into a higher world, and all school
life will be made happier and better because the teacher has set it
before him.


The next very necessary qualification for the teacher is Discrimination.
My Master said that the most important knowledge was "the knowledge of
God's plan for men, for God has a plan, and that plan is evolution."
Each boy has his own place in evolution, and the teacher must try to see
what that place is, and how he can best help the boy in that place. This
is what the Hindus call Dharma, and it is the teacher's duty to find out
the boy's dharma and to help him to fulfil it. In other words, the
teaching given to the boy should be that which is suitable for him, and
the teacher must use discrimination in choosing the teaching, and in his
way of giving it. Under these conditions, the boy's progress would be
following out the tendencies made in past lives, and would really be
remembering the things he knew before. "The method of evolution," as a
great Master said, "is a constant dipping down into matter under the law
of readjustment," _i.e._ by reincarnation and karma. Unless the teacher
knows these truths, he cannot work with evolution as he should do, and
much of his time and of his pupil's time will be wasted. It is this
ignorance which causes such small results to be seen, after many years
at school, and which leaves the boy himself so ignorant of the great
truths which he needs to guide his conduct in life.

Discrimination is wanted in the choice of subjects and in the way in
which they are taught. First in importance come religion and morals, and
these must not only be taught as subjects but must be made both the
foundation and the atmosphere of school life, for these are equally
wanted by every boy, no matter what he is to do later in life. Religion
teaches us that we are all part of One Self, and that we ought therefore
help one another. My Master said that people "try to invent ways for
themselves which they think will be pleasant for themselves, not
understanding that all are one, and that therefore only what the One
wills can ever be really pleasant for anyone." And He also said: "You
can help your brother through that which you have in common with him,
and that is the Divine life." To teach this is to teach religion, and
to live it is to lead the religious life.

At present the value of the set moral teaching is largely made useless
by the arrangements of the school. The school day should always open
with something of the nature of a religious service, striking the note
of a common purpose and a common life, so that the boys, who are all
coming from different homes and different ways of living may be tuned to
unity in the school. It is a good plan to begin with a little music or
singing so that the boys, who often come rushing in from hastily taken
food, may quiet down and begin the school day in an orderly way. After
this should come a prayer and a very short but beautiful address,
placing an ideal before the boys.

But if these ideals are to be useful, they must be practised all through
the school day, so that the spirit of the religious period may run
through the lessons and the games. For example, the duty of the strong
to help the weak is taught in the religious hour, and yet for the rest
of the day the strong are set to outstrip the weak, and are given
valuable prizes for their success in doing so. These prizes make many
boys jealous and discourage others, they stimulate the spirit of
struggle. The Central Hindu College Brotherhood has for its motto: "The
ideal reward is an increased power to love and to serve." If the prizes
for good work and conduct and for helping others were positions of
greater trust and power of helping, this motto would be carried out. In
fact, in school honour should be given to character and helpfulness
rather than to strength of mind and body; strength ought to be trained
and developed, but not rewarded for merely outstripping the weak. Such
a school life will send out into the world men who will think more of
filling places of usefulness to the nation than of merely gaining money
and power for themselves.

An important part of moral teaching lies in the training of the boy in
patriotism--love of country. The above plan of teaching the boy to be of
service in the little family of the school, will naturally widen out
into service in the large family of the nation. This will also influence
the boy in his choice of a profession, for he will think of the nation
as his family, and will try to fill a useful place in the national life.
But great care must be taken in teaching patriotism not to let the boys
slip into hatred of other nations, as so often happens. This is
especially important in India, where both Indian and English teachers
should try to make good feeling between the two races living side by
side, so that they may join in common work for the one Empire.

Discrimination may also be shown in the arrangement of lessons, the most
difficult subjects being taken early in the day, as far as possible.
For even with the best and most carefully arranged teaching a boy will
be more tired at the end of the school day than at the beginning.

Discrimination is also wanted in the method of teaching, and in the
amount of time given to mental and physical education. The care of the
body and its development are of the first importance, for without a
healthy body all teaching is wasted. It should be remembered that the
boy can go on, learning all his life, if he is wise enough to wish to do
so; but it is only during the years of growth that he can build up a
healthy physical body in which to spend that life. Therefore during
those early years the healthy development of that physical body must be
absolutely the first consideration, and anything that cannot be learned
compatibly with that must for the time remain unlearned. The strain on
the boy's mind--and particularly on those of very young boys--is far too
great and lasts far too long; the lesson period should be broken up, and
the teacher should be very careful to watch the boys and to see that
they do not become tired. His wish to prevent this strain will make him
think out new ways of teaching, which will make the lessons very
interesting; for a boy who is interested does not easily become tired. I
myself remember how tired we used to be when we reached home, far too
tired to do anything but lie about. But the Indian boy is not allowed to
rest even when he comes home, for he has then to begin home lessons,
often with a tutor, when he ought to be at rest or play. These home
lessons begin again in the morning, before he goes to school, and the
result is that he looks on his lessons as a hardship instead of a
pleasure. Much of this homework is done by a very bad light and the
boy's eyes suffer much. All home lessons should be abolished; home work
burns the candle at both ends, and makes the boy's life a slavery.
School hours are quite long enough, and an intelligent teacher can
impart in them quite as much as any boy ought to learn in one day. What
cannot be taught within those hours should be postponed until the next

We see the result of all this overstrain in the prevalence of
eye-diseases in India. Western countries set us a good example in the
physical training of their boys, who leave school strong and healthy. I
have heard in England that in the poorer schools the children are often
inspected by a doctor so that any eye-disease or other defect is found
out at once before it becomes serious. I wonder how many boys in India
are called stupid merely because they are suffering from some eye or ear

Discrimination should also be shown in deciding the length of the waking
and sleeping times. These vary, of course, with age and to some extent
perhaps with temperament. No boy should have less than nine or ten hours
of sleep; when growth ceases, eight hours would generally be enough. A
boy grows most during his sleep, so that the time is not in the least

Few people realise how much a boy is affected by his surroundings, by
the things on which his eyes are continually resting. The emotions and
the mind are largely trained through the eye, and bare walls, or, still
worse, ugly pictures are distinctly harmful. It is true that beautiful
surroundings sometimes cost a little more than ugly ones, but the money
is well spent. In some things only trouble is needed in choosing, for an
ugly picture costs as much as a pretty one. Perfect cleanliness is also
absolutely necessary, and teachers should be constantly on the watch to
see that it is maintained. The Master said about the body: "Keep it
strictly clean always; even from the minutest speck of dirt." Both
teachers and students should be very clean and neat in their dress, thus
helping to preserve the general beauty of the school surroundings. In
all these things careful discrimination is wanted.

If a boy is weak in a particular subject, or is not attracted by some
subject which he is obliged to learn, a discriminating teacher will
sometimes help him by suggesting to him to teach it to one who knows
less than he does. The wish to help the younger boy will make the elder
eager to learn more, and that which was a toil becomes a pleasure. A
clever teacher will think of many such ways of helping his boys.

If discrimination has been shown, as suggested in a preceding
paragraph, in choosing the best and most helpful boys for positions of
trust, it will be easy to teach the younger boys to look up to and wish
to please them. The wish to please a loved and admired elder is one of
the strongest motives in a boy, and this should be used to encourage
good conduct, instead of using punishment to drive boys away from what
is bad. If the teacher can succeed in attracting this love and
admiration to himself, he will remain a helper to his students long
after they have become men. I have been told that the boys who were
under Dr. Arnold at Rugby continued in after life to turn to him for
advice in their troubles and perplexities.

We may perhaps add that discrimination is a most important qualification
for those whose duty it is to choose the teachers. High character and
the love-nature of which we have already spoken are absolutely necessary
if the above suggestions are to be carried out.


The next qualification to be considered is Desirelessness.

There are many difficulties in the way of the teacher when he tries to
acquire desirelessness, and it also requires special consideration from
the standpoint of the student.

As has been said in _At the Feet of the Master_: "In the light of His
holy Presence all desire dies, _but_ the desire to be like Him." It is
also said in the Bhagavad Gita that all desire dies "when once the
Supreme is seen." This is the ideal at which to aim, that the One Will
shall take the place of changing desires. This Will is seen in our
dharma, and in a true teacher, one whose dharma is teaching, his one
desire will be to teach, and to teach well. In fact, unless this desire
is felt, teaching is not his dharma, for the presence of this desire is
inseparable from real capacity to teach.

We have already said that little honour, unfortunately, is attached to
the post of a teacher, and that a man often takes the position because
he can get nothing else, instead of because he really wants to teach,
and knows that he can teach. The result is that he thinks more about
salary than anything else, and is always looking about for the chance of
a higher salary. This becomes his chief desire. While the teacher is no
doubt partly to blame for this, it is the system which is mostly in
fault, for the teacher needs enough to support himself and his family,
and this is a right and natural wish on his part. It is the duty of the
nation to see that he is not placed in a position in which he is obliged
to be always desiring increase of salary, or must take private tuition
in order to earn enough to live. Only when this has been done will the
teacher feel contented and happy in the position he occupies, and feel
the dignity of his office as a teacher, whatever may be his position
among other teachers--which is, I fear, now marked chiefly by the amount
of his salary. Only the man who is really contented and happy can have
his mind free to teach well.

The teacher should not desire to gain credit for himself by forcing a
boy along his own line, but should consider the special talent of each
boy, and the way in which _he_ can gain most success. Too often the
teacher, thinking only of his own subject, forgets that the boy has to
learn many subjects. The one on which most stress should be laid is the
one most suited to the boy's capacity. Unless the teachers co-operate
with each other, the boy is too much pressed, for each teacher urges him
on in his own subject, and gives him home-lessons in this. There are
many teachers, but there is only one boy.

Again, the boy's welfare must be put by the teacher before his own
desire to obtain good results in an examination. Sometimes it is better
for a boy to remain for another year in a class and master a subject
thoroughly rather than to go up for an examination which is really too
difficult for him. In such a case it is right to keep him back. But it
is not right to keep him back merely for the sake of good results for
the teacher. On the other hand, a teacher has sometimes to resist the
parents who try to force the boy beyond his strength, and think more of
his rising into a higher class than of his really knowing his subjects.

Unless the teacher has desirelessness, his own desires may blind him to
the aspirations and capacities of the boys in his care, and he will be
frequently imposing his own wishes on them instead of helping them in
their natural development. However much a teacher may be attracted
towards any profession or any particular set of ideas, he must so
develop desirelessness that while he creates in his pupils an enthusiasm
for principles, he shall not cramp them within the limits of any
particular application of the principles, or allow their generous
impulses--unbalanced by experience--to grow into narrow fanaticism.
Thus, he should teach the principles of citizenship, but not party
politics. He should teach the value of all professions to a nation, if
honourably filled, and not the superiority of one profession over


There are six points which are summed up by the Master as Good Conduct.
These are:

1. Self-control as to the mind.

2. Self-control in action.

3. Tolerance.

4. Cheerfulness.

5. One-pointedness.

6. Confidence.

We will take each of these in turn.

1. _Self-control as to the mind_ is a most important qualification for a
teacher, for it is principally through the mind that he guides and
influences his boys. In the first place it means, as my Master has
said, "control of temper, so that you may feel no anger or impatience."
It is obvious that much harm will be done to boys if their teacher is
often angry and impatient. It is true that this anger and impatience are
often caused by the outer conditions of the teacher's life, but this
does not prevent their bad effect on the boys. Such feelings, due
generally to very small causes, re-act upon the minds of the students,
and if the teacher is generally impatient and very often angry, he is
building into the character of the boys germs of impatience and anger
which may in after life destroy their own happiness, and embitter the
lives of their relations and friends.

We have to remember also that the boys themselves often come to school
discontented and worried on account of troubles at home, and so both
teachers and boys bring with them angry and impatient thoughts, which
spread through the school, and make the lessons difficult and unpleasant
when they should be easy and full of delight. The short religious
service referred to in an early part of this little book should be
attended by teachers as well as students, and should act as a kind of
door to shut out such undesirable feelings. Then both teachers and
students would devote their whole energies to the creation of a happy
school, to which all should look forward in the morning, and which all
should be sorry to leave at the end of the school day.

The lack of control of temper, it must be remembered, often leads to
injustice on the part of the teacher, and therefore to sullenness and
want of confidence on the boy, and no boy can make real progress, or be
in any real sense happy, unless he has complete confidence in the
justice of his elders. Much of the strain of modern school life is due
to this lack of confidence, and much time has to be wasted in breaking
down barriers which would never have been set up if the teacher had been

Anger and impatience grow out of irritability. It is as necessary for
the boy to understand his teacher as for the teacher to understand the
boy, and hasty temper is an almost insuperable obstacle in the way of
such understanding. "The teacher is angry to-day," "The teacher is
irritable to-day," "The teacher is short-tempered to-day," are phrases
too often on the lips of boys, and they produce a feeling of discomfort
in the class-room that makes harmony and ease impossible. Boys learn to
watch their teachers, and to guard themselves against their moods, and
so distrust replaces confidence. The value of the teacher depends upon
his power of inspiring confidence, and he loses this when he gives way
to irritability. This is particularly important with young children,
for they are eager to learn and eager to love, and only those who have
no business to be teachers would dare to meet such eagerness by anger.
It is of course true that younger boys are in many ways more difficult
to teach than elder ones; for they have not yet learned how to make
efforts, nor how to control and guide them when made. The teacher has
therefore to help them much more than the elder boys who have learned
largely to help themselves. The chief difficulty is to make the best use
of the young energies by finding them continual and interesting
employment; if the young enthusiasms are checked harshly instead of
being guided sympathetically they will soon die out, and the boy will
become dull and discontented.

I have read that youth is full of enthusiasm and ideals, and that these
gradually disappear with age, until a man is left with few or none. But
it seems to me that enthusiasm, if real, should not die out, and leave
cynicism behind, but rather should become stronger and more purposeful
with age. The young children coming straight out of the heaven-world
have brought with them a feeling of unity, and this feeling should be
strengthened in them, so that it may last on through life. Anger and
irritability belong only to the separated self, and they drive away the
feeling of unity.

Self-control also involves calmness, courage and steadiness. Whatever
difficulties the teacher may have either at home or at school, he must
learn to face them bravely and cheerfully, not only that he may avoid
worry for himself, but also that he may set a good example to his boys,
and so help them to become strong and brave. Difficulties are much
increased by worrying over them, and by imagining them before they
happen--doing what Mrs. Besant once called, "crossing bridges before we
come to them." Unless the teacher is cheerful and courageous with his
own difficulties, he will not be able to help the boys to meet _their_
difficulties bravely. Most obstacles grow small before a contented mind,
and boys who bring this to their work will find their studies much
easier than if they came to them discontented and worried. Courage and
steadiness lead to self-reliance, and one who is self-reliant can
always be depended on to do his duty, even under difficult

Self-control as to the mind also means concentration on each piece of
work as it has to be done. My Master says about the mind: "You must not
let it wander. Whatever you are doing, fix your thought upon it, that it
may be perfectly done." Much time is lost in school because the boys do
not pay sufficient attention to their work; and unless the teacher is
himself paying full attention to it the minds of the boys are sure to
wander. Prayer and meditation are intended to teach control of the
mind, but these are practised only once or twice a day. Unless the mind
is controlled all day long by paying attention to everything we do, as
the Master directs, we shall never gain real power over our minds, so
that they may be perfect instruments.

One of the most difficult parts of a teacher's duty is to turn quickly
from one subject to another, as the boys come to him with their
different questions and troubles. His mind must be so fully under his
control that he can pay complete attention to the particular anxiety of
each boy, taking up one after the other with the same care and interest,
and without any impatience. If he does not pay this full attention he is
sure to make mistakes in the advice which he gives, or to be unjust in
his decisions, and out of such mistakes very serious troubles may arise.

On this point my friend, Mr. G.S. Arundale, the well-known Principal of
the Central Hindu College, writes: "At frequent intervals, of course,
boys come with complaints, with petitions, and here I have to be very
careful to concentrate my attention on each boy and on his particular
need, for the request, or complaint, or trouble, is sometimes quite
trivial and foolish, and yet it may be a great source of worry to the
boy unless it is attended to; and even if the boy cannot be satisfied he
can generally be sent away contented. One of the most difficult tasks
for a teacher is to have sufficient control over his attention to be
able continually to turn it from one subject to another without losing
intensity, and to bear cheerfully the strain this effort involves. We
often speak of something taxing a person's patience, but we really mean
that it taxes a person's attention, for impatience is only the desire of
the mind to attend to something more interesting than that which for the
moment occupies it."

Boys must be helped to concentrate their attention on what they are
doing, for their minds are always wandering away from the subject in
hand. The world outside them is so full of attractive objects new and
interesting to them, that their attention runs away after each fresh
thing that comes under their eyes. A child is constantly told to
observe, and he takes pleasure in doing so; when he begins to reason he
must for the time stop observing and concentrate his mind on the subject
he is studying. This change is at first very difficult for him, and the
teacher must help him to take up the new attitude. Sometimes attention
wanders because the boy is tired, and then the teacher should try to put
the subject in a new way. The boy does not generally cease to pay
attention wilfully and deliberately, and the teacher must be patient
with the restlessness so natural to youth. Let him at least always be
sure that the want of attention is not the result of his own fault, of
his own way of teaching.

If the attention of the teachers and the boys is trained in this way,
the whole school life will become fuller and brighter, and there will be
no room for the many harmful thoughts which crowd into the uncontrolled
mind. Even when rest is wanted by the mind, it need not be quite empty;
in the words of the Master: "Keep good thoughts always in the background
of it, ready to come forward the moment it is free."

The Master goes on to explain how the mind may be used to help others,
when it has been brought under control. "Think each day of some one whom
you know to be in sorrow, or suffering, or in need of help, and pour out
loving thoughts upon him." Teachers hardly understand the immense force
they may use along this line. They can influence their boys by their
thoughts even more than by their words and actions, and by sending out a
stream of kind and loving thoughts over the class, the minds of all the
boys will be made quieter and happier. Even without speaking a word
they will improve the whole atmosphere.

This good influence of thought should spread out from the school over
the neighbourhood. As those who live among young people keep young
themselves, and keep the ideals and pure aspirations of youth longer
than those who live mainly among older people, so the presence of a
school should be a source of joy and inspiration to the surrounding
neighbourhood or district. Happy and harmonious thought-forms should
radiate from it, lighting up the duller atmosphere outside, pouring
streams of hope and strength into all within its sphere of influence.
The poor should be happier, the sick more comfortable, the aged more
respected, because of the school in their midst.

If the teacher often speaks on these subjects to his boys, and from time
to time places some clear thought before them, which they all think
about together, much good may be done. For thought is a very real and
powerful force, especially when many join together with some common
thought in their minds. If any great disaster has happened, causing
misery to numbers of people, the teacher might take advantage of the
religious service to draw attention to the need, and ask the boys to
join with him in sending thoughts of love and courage to the sufferers.

The last point mentioned by the Master is pride: "Hold back your mind
from pride," He says, "for pride comes only from ignorance." We must not
confuse pride with the happiness felt when a piece of work is well done;
pride grows out of the feeling of separateness: "_I_ have done better
than others." Happiness in good work should grow out of the feeling of
unity: "I am glad to have done this to help us all." Pride separates a
person from others, and makes him think himself superior to those around
him; but the pleasure in some piece of work well done is helpful and
stimulating, and encourages the doer to take up some more difficult
work. When we share with others any knowledge we have gained, we lose
all feeling of pride, and the wish to help more, instead of the wish to
excel others, becomes the motive for study.

2. _Self-control in action_. The Master points out that while "there
must be no laziness, but constant activity in good work ... it must be
your _own_ duty that you do--not another man's, unless with his
permission and by way of helping him." The teacher has, however, a
special duty in this connection; for while he must offer to his boys
every opportunity for development along their own lines, and must be
careful not to check their growth or to force it in an unsuitable
direction, he is bound to guide them very carefully, to watch them very
closely, and, as Master has said, to tell them gently of their faults.
The teacher is in charge of his boys while they are in school, and must,
while they are there, take the place of their parents.

His special lesson of self-control is to learn to adapt his own methods
to the stage through which his boys are passing. While contenting
himself with watching and encouraging them when their activity is
running along right lines, he must be ready to step in--with as little
disturbance as possible--to modify the activity if it becomes excessive,
to stimulate it if it becomes dull, and to turn it into new channels if
it has taken a wrong course. In any necessary interposition he should
try to make the boys feel that he is helping them to find the way they
have missed but really wished to go, rather than forcing them to go his
way. Many boys have failed to develop the necessary strength of
character, because the teacher, by constant interference, has imposed on
them his own knowledge as to right action, instead of trying to awaken
their judgment and intuition. The boys become accustomed to depend
entirely on him, instead of learning gradually to walk alone.

The teacher must be very careful not to allow outside interests to take
him away from his duties in the school. Many teachers do not seem to
realise that the school should occupy as much time as they can possibly
give to it outside their home duties. They sometimes do the bare amount
of work necessary, and then rush away to some other occupation which
they find more interesting. No teacher can be really successful in his
profession unless it is the thing he cares for most, unless he is eager
to devote all the time he can to his boys, and feels that he is
happiest when he is working with them or for them.

We are always told that enthusiasm and devotion to their work mark the
successful business man, the successful official, the successful
statesman; they are equally necessary for the successful teacher. Anyone
who desires to rise high in the profession of teaching must bring to his
work, not only ability, but similar enthusiasm and devotion. Surely even
more enthusiasm and devotion should be brought to the moulding of many
hundreds of young lives than to the gaining of money or power. Every
moment that the teacher is with his boys he can help them, for, as has
always been taught in India, being near a good man helps one's
evolution. Away from the school he should be thinking of them and
planning for them, and this he cannot do if his whole mind, out of
school, is taken up with other interests. On this, again, I may quote
Mr. Arundale: "When I get up in the morning my first thought is what has
to be done during the day generally and as regards my own work in
particular. A rapid mental survey of the School and College enables me
to see whether any student seems to stand out as needing particular
help. I make a note of any such student in my note book, so that I may
call him during the day. Then before College hours, before I take up any
extraneous work, I look through my own lectures to see that I am ready
for them. By this time students are continually dropping in with
questions, with their hopes and aspirations, with difficulties and with
troubles, some with slight ailments they want cured. I have a special
little place in which to see those young men, so that the atmosphere
may be pure and harmonious, and upon each one I endeavour to concentrate
my whole attention, shutting everything else completely off, and I am
not satisfied unless each boy leaves me with a smile upon his face."

Unless a teacher works in this spirit, he does not understand how sacred
and solemn a trust is placed in his hands. No teacher is worthy of the
name who does not realise that he serves God most truly and his country
most faithfully when he lives and works with his boys. His
self-sacrificing life, lived amongst them, inspires them to perform
their duties well, as they see him performing his, and thus they grow in
reverence and patriotism. These boys are God's children entrusted to his
care; they are the hope of the nation placed in his hands. How shall he
answer to God and the nation, when the trust passes out of his hands, if
he has not consecrated his whole time and thought to discharge it
faithfully, but has allowed the boys to go out into the world with out
love to God, and without the wish and power to serve their country?

Boys, as well as teachers, must learn self-control in action. They must
not so engage in other activities as to neglect their ordinary school
duties. My Master says to those who wish to serve Him: "You must do
ordinary work better than others, not worse." A boy's first duty in
school is to learn well, and nothing should lead him to neglect his
regular school work. Outside this--as it is best that his activities
should be kept within the school--the wise teacher will provide within
the school organisation all the activities in which his boys can
usefully take part. If there should be any national organisation to
which he thinks it useful that they should belong, he will himself
organise a branch of it within the school and he himself and the other
teachers will take part in it. For example the Boy-Scout movement and
the Sons of India are both national organisations, but branches of them
should be formed in the separate schools. Teachers should train their
boys to realise that just as the home is the centre of activity for the
child, so is the school the centre of activity for the youth. As the
child draws his life and energy from the home, so the youth should draw
his from the school. The most useful work should be done in connection
with the school so that it may form part of the general education of the
boy, and be in harmony with the rest of his growth. There should be in
the school debating societies, in which the rules of debate are
carefully observed, so that the boys may learn self-control in argument;
dramatic clubs in which they may learn control of expression; athletic
clubs in which control of mind and action are both acquired; literary
societies for boys specially interested in certain studies; societies
for helping the poorer students.

It is also very important to give the boys an opportunity of
understanding the conditions under which their country is growing, so
that in the school they may practice patriotism apart from politics. It
is very unfortunate that in India students are often taught by
unscrupulous agitators that love of their country should be shown by
hatred of other countries; the boys would never believe this, if their
own school provided patriotic services for its boys, so as to give a
proper outlet for the enthusiasm they rightly feel. They only seek an
outlet away from the school because none is provided for them within it.

Groups of students should be formed for various kinds of social service
according to the capacities of the boys, and the needs of their
surroundings: for the protection of animals, for rendering first aid to
the injured, for the education of the depressed classes, for service in
connection with national and religious festivals, and so on. Boys, for
whom such forms of service are provided in their schools, will not want
to carry them on separately.

Boys have a special opportunity of practising self-control in action
when they play games. The boys come from the more formal discipline of
the class-room into conditions in which there is a sudden cessation of
external authority; unless they have learned to replace this with
self-control, we shall see in the play-ground brutality in the stronger
followed by fear in the weaker. The playing fields have a special value
in arousing the power of self-discipline, and if teachers are there who
set the example of submitting to the authority of the captain, of
showing gentleness and honour, and playing for the side rather than for
themselves, they will much help the boys in gaining self-control.

The boys also will see the teacher in a new light; he is no longer
imposing his authority upon them as a teacher, but he is ruling himself
from within and subordinating his own action to the rules of the game,
and to the interests of those who are playing with him. The boy who
enters the field with no other idea than that of enjoying himself as
much as he can, even at the expense of his fellow-students, will learn
from his teacher's example that he is happiest when playing for others,
not for himself alone, and that he plays best when the object of the
game is the honour of the school and not his own advantage. He also
learns that the best player is the boy who practises his strokes
carefully, and uses science to direct strength. Desiring to be a good
player himself, he begins to train his body to do as he wishes, thus
gaining self-control in action; through this self-control he learns the
great lesson, that self-control increases happiness and leads to

Another thing learned in the play-ground is control of temper, for a boy
who loses his temper always plays badly. He learns not to be hasty and
impatient, and to control his speech even when he is losing, and not to
show vanity when he wins. Thus he is making a character, strong and
well-balanced, which will be very useful to him when he comes to be a
man. All this is really learned better in the play-ground than in the

3. _Tolerance_. Most of my Master's directions under this head are
intended mainly for disciples, but still their spirit may be applied to
those who are living the ordinary life. Tolerance is a virtue which is
very necessary in schools, especially when the scholars are of different
faiths. "You must feel," says my Master, "perfect tolerance for all, and
a hearty interest in the beliefs of those of another religion, just as
much as in your own. For their religion is a path to the highest just
as yours is. And to help all you must understand all." It is the duty of
the teacher to be the first in setting an example along these lines.

Many teachers, however, make the mistake of thinking that the views and
rules to which they are themselves accustomed are universal principles
which everybody ought to accept. They are therefore anxious to destroy
the students' own convictions and customs, in order to replace them by
others which they think better. This is especially the case in countries
like India, where the boys are of many religions. Unless the teacher
studies sympathetically the religions of his pupils, and understands
that the faith of another is as dear to him as his own is to himself, he
is likely to make his boys unbelievers in all religion. He should take
special care to speak with reverence of the religions to which his boys
belong, strengthening each in the great principles of his own creed, and
showing the unity of all religions by apt illustrations taken from the
various sacred books. Much can be done in this direction during the
religious service which precedes the ordinary work of the day, if this
be carried out on lines common to all; while each boy should be taught
the doctrines of his own religion, it would be well if he were reminded
once in the day of the unity of all religions, for, as the Master said,
every "religion is a path to the highest."

An example would thus be set in the school of members of different
religions living happily side by side, and showing respect to each
other's opinions. I feel that this is one of the special functions of
the school in the life of the nation. At home the boy is always with
those who hold the same opinions as himself, and he has no opportunity
of coming into touch with other beliefs and other customs. At school he
should have the opportunity of meeting other ways of believing, and the
teacher should lead him to understand these, and to see the unity
underneath them. The teacher must never make a boy discontented with his
own faith by speaking contemptuously of it, or by distorting it through
his own ignorance. Such conduct on his part leads a boy to despise all

Then again there are many different customs which belong to the
different parts of the country. People often exaggerate these and look
on them as essential parts of religion instead of only as marks of the
part of the country in which they were born. Hence they look with
contempt or disapproval on those whose customs differ from their own,
and they keep themselves proudly separate. I do not know how far this is
a difficulty in western countries, but in India I think that customs
separate us much more than physical distance or religious differences.
Each part of the country has its own peculiarities as to dress, as to
the manner of taking food, as to the way of wearing the hair, school
boys are apt at first to look down upon those of their schoolfellows
whose appearance or habits differ from their own. Teachers should help
boys to get over these trivial differences and to think instead of the
one Motherland to which they all belong.

We have already said that patriotism should be taught without race
hatred, and we may add that understanding and loving other nations is
part of the great virtue of tolerance. Boys are obliged to learn the
history of their own and of other nations; and history, as it is taught,
is full of wars and conquests. The teacher should point out how much
terrible suffering has been caused by these, and that though, in spite
of them, evolution has made its way and has even utilised them, far more
can be gained by peace and good will than by hatred. If care is taken to
train children to look on different ways of living with interest and
sympathy instead of with distrust and dislike, they will grow up into
men who will show to all nations respect and tolerance.

4. _Cheerfulness_. No teacher who really loves his students can be
anything but cheerful during school hours. No brave man will allow
himself to be depressed, but depression is particularly harmful in a
teacher, for he is daily in contact with many boys, and he spreads among
them the condition of his own mind. If the teacher is depressed the boys
cannot long be cheerful and happy; and unless they are cheerful and
happy they cannot learn well. If teachers and boys associate
cheerfulness with their school life, they will not only find the work
easier than it would otherwise be, but they will turn to the school as
to a place in which they can for the time live free from all cares and

The teacher should train himself to turn away from all worrying and
depressing thoughts the moment he enters the school gate, for his
contribution to the school atmosphere, in which the boys must live and
grow, must be cheerfulness and energy. The best way to get rid of
depression is to occupy the mind with something bright and interesting,
and this should not be difficult when he is going to his boys. Thoughts
die when no attention is paid to them so it is better to turn away from
depressing thoughts than to fight them. Cheerfulness literally increases
life, while depression diminishes it, and by getting rid of depression
the teacher increases his energy. It is often indeed very difficult for
the teacher, who has the cares of family life upon him, to keep free
from anxiety, but still he must try not to bring it into the school.

Mr. Arundale tells me that he has made a habit of becoming cheerful the
moment he enters the College gates, however worried he may have been
beforehand, because, he writes: "I want my contribution to the school
day to be happiness and interest, and by a daily process of making
myself pretend to be cheerful when the College gates are entered, I have
finally succeeded in becoming so. If, as I pass through the grounds to
my office, I see any student looking dull and gloomy, I make a point of
going up to him in order to exert my cheerfulness against his gloom, and
the gloom soon passes away. Then comes the religious service, and when I
take my seat upon the platform with the religious instructor, I try to
ask the Master's blessing on all the dear young faces I see before me,
and I look slowly around upon each member of the audience, trying to
send out a continual stream of affection and sympathy."

I have already said that boys watch their teachers' faces to see if they
are in a good or a bad mood. If the teacher is always cheerful and
loving, the boys will no longer watch him, for they will have learned to
trust him, and all anxiety and strain will disappear. If the teacher
displays constant cheerfulness, he sends out among his boys streams of
energy and good will, new life pours into them, their attention is
stimulated, and the sympathy of the teacher conquers the carelessness of
the boy.

Just as a boy learns control of action on the play-ground, so he may
learn there this virtue of cheerfulness. To be cheerful in defeat makes
the character strong, and the boy who can be cheerful and good-tempered
in the face of the team which has just defeated him is well on the way
to true manliness.

5. _One-pointedness_. One-pointedness, the concentration of attention
on each piece of work as it is being done, so that it may be done as
well as possible, largely depends upon interest. Unless the teacher is
interested in his work, and loves it beyond all other work, he will not
be able to be really one-pointed. He must be so absorbed in his school
duties that his mind is continually occupied in planning for his boys,
and looks upon everything in the light of its possible application to
his own particular work.

One-pointedness means enthusiasm, but enthusiasm is impossible without
ideals. So the teacher who desires to be one-pointed must be full of
ideals to which he is eager to lead his school. These ideals will
sharpen his attention, and make him able to concentrate it even upon
quite trivial details. He will have the ideal school in his mind, and
will always be trying to bring the real school nearer to it. To be
one-pointed, therefore, the teacher must not be contented with things as
they are, but must be continually on the alert to take advantage of
every opportunity of improvement.

The teacher's ideal will of course be modified as he learns more of his
students' capacities and of the needs of the nation. In this way, as the
years pass, the teacher may find himself far from the early ideals that
at first gave him one-pointedness. Ideals will still guide him, but they
will be more practical, and so his one-pointedness will be much keener
and will produce larger results.

The Master quotes two sayings which seem to me to show very clearly the
lines along which one-pointedness should work: "Whatsoever thy hand
findeth to do, do it with thy might"; and: "Whatsoever ye do, do it
_heartily_, as to the Lord and not unto men." It must be done "as to the
Lord." The Master says: "Every piece of work must be done
religiously--done with the feeling that it is a sacred offering to be
laid on the altar of the Lord. 'This do I, O Lord, in Thy name and for
Thee.' Thinking this, can I offer to Him anything but my very best? Can
I let _any_ piece of my work be done carelessly or inattentively, when I
know that it is being done expressly for Him? Think how you would do
your work if you knew that the Lord Himself were coming directly to see
it; and then realise that He _does_ see it, for all is taking place
within His consciousness. So will you do your duty 'as unto the Lord and
not as unto men'."

The work must be done, too, according to the teacher's knowledge of the
principles of evolution, and not merely out of regard to small and
fleeting interests. The teacher must therefore gradually learn his own
place in evolution, so that he may become one-pointed as to himself;
unless he practises one-pointedness with regard to his own ideal for
himself, he will not be able to bring it to bear on his surroundings.
He must try to be in miniature the ideal towards which he hopes to lead
his boys, and the application of the ideal to himself will enable him to
see in it details which otherwise would escape his notice, or which he
might neglect as unimportant.

The practical application, then, of one-pointedness lies in the
endeavour to keep before the mind some dominant central ideal towards
which the whole of the teachers' and boys' daily routine shall be
directed, so that the small life may be vitalised by the larger, and
all may become conscious parts of one great whole. The ideal of service,
for instance, may be made so vivid that the whole of daily life shall be
lived in the effort to serve.

6. _Confidence_. First among the qualifications for the teacher has been
placed Love, and it is fitting that this little book should end with
another qualification of almost equal importance--Confidence. Unless the
teacher has confidence in his power to attain his goal, he will not be
able to inspire a similar confidence in his boys, and self-confidence is
an indispensable attribute for success in all departments of human
activity. The Master has beautifully explained why we have the right to
be confident.

"You must trust yourself. You say you know yourself too well? If you
feel so, you do _not_ know yourself; you know only the weak outer husk,
which has fallen often into the mire. But _you_--the real you--you are a
spark of God's own fire, and God, Who is almighty, is in you, and
because of that there is nothing that you cannot do if you will."

The teacher must feel that he has the power to teach his boys and to
train them for their future work in the world. This power is born of his
love for them and his desire to help them, and is drawn from the one
spiritual life of which all partake. It is because the teacher and his
boys are one in essence, make one little flame in "God's own fire," that
the teacher has the right to be confident that every effort to help,
growing out of his own share in the one life, will reach and stimulate
that same life in the boys.

He will not always be able to see at once the effect he is producing.
Indeed, the most important influence the teacher has shows itself in
the growing characters of the boys. No success in examinations, in
reports, in inspections can satisfy the real teacher as to the effect of
his work. But when he feels that his own higher nature is strengthened
and purified by his eagerness to serve his boys, when he has the joy of
watching the divine life in them shining out in answer to that in
himself, then his happiness is indeed great. Then he has the peace of
knowing that he has awakened in his boys the knowledge of their own
divinity, which, sooner or later, will bring them to perfection.

The teacher is justified in feeling confident because the divine life
is in him and his boys, and they turn to him for inspiration and
strength. Let him but send out to them all that is highest in himself,
and he may be quite sure that there will not be one boy who will not to
some extent respond in his own higher Self, however little the response
may be seen by the teacher.

This constant interplay of the one life between teacher and students
will draw them ever nearer to each other. They learn in the school to
live together as elder and younger brothers of the one school family.
By living a life of brotherhood within the small area of the school,
they will be trained to live that life in the larger area of the nation.
Then they will gradually learn that there is but one great brotherhood
in all the world, one divine life in all. This life each separate member
of the brotherhood is trying to express, consciously or unconsciously.
The teacher is indeed happy who knows his own divinity; that knowledge
of the divinity in man is the highest lesson it will ever be his
privilege to teach.


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