Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Speaking Tree Blog | July 13, 2020
Education should not be only a means for obtaining a certificate that can fetch one a job. The real aim of education is to make people conscious or aware. Just as a farmer cultivates a seed, which later transforms into a tree, an educational institution should make a person so intellectually aware that he can complete his evolutionary journey. In fact making people aware is the first step in the path of progress. The journey of a person always starts from making him aware.
What does it mean for someone to become aware? It means that a person can relate the past with the present and plan for the future. He can view the problems of life against the background of the eternal cosmic plan. It means to become aware of who one is and who one is not. It is to know that only by harmonizing one’s will with God’s will can one be truly successful in this world. A person who is aware is able to develop a correct opinion about himself and others. Whenever any situation arises, he recognizes what action would be a reaction and what other action would be a positive response. He distinguishes right from wrong. Separating the false, he recognizes the truth. An aware person alone is a sensitive human being, in the true sense.
The following quote from Sir Thomas Carlyle, a well-known British writer, is very helpful in making us understand the meaning of being truly sensitive towards others—it is to have a loving heart which is the key to gaining knowledge. He said: ‘A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.’
The above saying is extremely meaningful but its meaningfulness cannot be properly understood unless we add these words to it, ‘loving, despite there being a cause for hatred.’ For in this world the factors of hatred are always present. No one can love other human beings without demonstrating that they are broad minded enough to love people despite experiencing their hatred and ill-will.
Thomas Carlyle’s life itself serves as an example. The Crusades had resulted in hatred between Muslims and Western nations, with the result that for centuries they held Prophet Muhammad to be an evil person. But Thomas Carlyle rose above the cloud of hatred in the wake of the Crusades and studied the life of the Prophet of Islam objectively. He became so impressed that he held him to be the hero of all the prophets and acknowledged the worth of his personality with the highest of praise in his book, On Heroes, Hero-worship, and The Heroic in History.
To develop a heart within one, which may love despite hatred amounts to taking oneself to the height of morality. This high morality is the only ground on which the plant of knowledge grows and develops into a lush green tree. And it is only such a person who can be said to be sensitive, aware and educated.