His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on the topic of modern education :
The defect of modern education is that the children are taught all nonsense things. They do not receive even the first point of knowledge, that I am pure spirit soul part and parcel of God.Unfortunately, human beings, although they have the bodies of men, are becoming less than animals in their behavior. This is the fault of modern education. Modern educators do not know the aim of human life. They are only concerned with how to develop the economic condition of their countries or of human society. (Cc. Adi 9.42)
Similarly, the dormant consciousness of God, or Krsna, is there in everyone. It simply requires proper education to awaken it. However, this education is not given in the universities. That is the defect in modern education. Although the inclination to be Krsna conscious is there, the authorities are unfortunately not giving any education about God. (JSD 1.1)
So-called modern educators claim that the purpose of education is to solve the problems of life. But in actuality they are teaching their students how to increase sense gratification more and more, thereby creating more and more paths to degradation. (JSD 4.2)
Indeed, it seems that the more educated one becomes, the less he believes in God, in God's law, in the next life, and in sinful and pious activities. Thus modern education is simply preparing men to become animals. If there is no education to teach a human being what he is and whether or not he is this body, he remains no better than an ass. (MG 3)
This life is preparation for the next life. That they do not know. The modern education and its universities are completely in darkness about this simple knowledge. (PQPA 9)
What is the problem of our lives? That we do not know. Modern education never gives enlightenment about the real problem of life. (SSR 5)
Modern education, they do not know even what is soul, what is this body, how the transmigration of the soul taking place. All blunt. There is no educational institution all over the world to understand this science. Although it is the most important science for the human being. (740329Bg.Bom)
The modern education, they think this body is everything. No. (730722Bg.Lon)
There is no education actually. The modern education means simply a craftsmanship. If you can prepare a nice motor car. . . this is craftsmanship. It is the blacksmith's work. It is not knowledge. Knowledge is different. So therefore the modern education system is to create dogs. He will never be happy unless he gets a good master. So modern education there is no real knowledge. Real knowledge begins in the Bhagavad-gita. (760419Bg.Mel)
Actually, at the present moment there is no education, because education means to understand my identity. The so-called education which is going on, that is called art. . . . The modern education, they are simply giving lessons on some art, generally known as technology. . . .But we do not know what is going to happen next life, my soul. That we do not. (750217Bg.Mex)
That is the whole philosophy of the modern educated man: There is no life. Big, big professors, they say like that. Brain should be utilized for some benevolent work for the good of the living entities. But this brain, modern educated brain, is being misused for discovering something which is very dangerous to the human society. Therefore duskrtina. And he is getting Nobel Prize because he has discovered this atomic weapon which is so dangerous, and he is glorified, Oh, you have done so nice scientific discovery. What is that discovery? That you can kill. Instead of one man with gun, you can kill one thousand men. Therefore you must be offered Nobel Prize. This is man's appreciation. (751009mw.Dur)
No One--Not Even Darwin--Can Be Independent
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the Hare Krishna Movement:
This whole Darwinian theory is false. But people are giving it so much stress. First of all, no one--not even Darwin--can be independent. For instance, Darwin died. So he was under the control of something higher. No man wants to die, but he is forced to die. Is it not? Then where is his independence?
Here we continue an exchange that occurred in Perth, Australia, on May 9, 1975, between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Carol Cameron, then a doctoral candidate in anthropology.
Carol: Your Divine Grace, is the intellect helpful in knowing God?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Unless you have got the necessary intellect, then you are no better than the animals. The animals have no intellect for understanding God, but the human being has got that intellect. That is the distinction between animal and human being.
Otherwise, as for material necessities such as eating, sleeping, mating, and defending: Both the human beings and also the animals sleep. Both the human beings and also the animals enjoy sex. And both the human beings and also the animals become fearful and arrange for defense. So, as for access to the material necessities of life, that is equal in the animal and the human being.
But the human being has a special intellect, more developed than the animals'. He can understand what he is, what God is, what this cosmic manifestation is, and what the aim of life is--how we should conduct our lives. These things are prerogatives for the human being. The animals have no such prerogative.
Now, if we do not utilize these special intellectual facilities, then we remain animals. We do not make any spiritual advancement. So at the present moment, we are simply trying to improve our access to the material necessities of life--eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. We are thinking, "The dog is eating on the floor. If we can eat on a table, using chairs and nice dishes, that is advancement of civilization."
We are thinking like that. The dog is sleeping outdoors, but if we sleep in a very nice apartment, lavishly decorated, that is advancement of civilization. The dog is having sexual intercourse on the street, without any shame--and we are also coming to that point--but for the time being, if we have sexual intercourse in an apartment, in the name of love and so on, that is advancement. The dog is defending with his jaws and nails and teeth; we are defending with nuclear bombs; therefore, we are advanced.
But we have forgotten that the human being has got this special intellect to understand God. That understanding we are not pursuing. For example, you are going to be a doctor in anthropology. Is it not?
Srila Prabhupada: Where is the sense of God there?
Carol: I do it only for a living. The other side of me is something else.
Srila Prabhupada: No, I mean to say that anthropology is a big scientific department. Where is the understanding of God there?
Carol: Right. I find it difficult to reconcile the love of God with actually doing something like this study of anthropology.
Srila Prabhupada: Then why are you wasting your time speculating on anthropology?
Srila Prabhupada: If you cannot adjust yourself to this anthropology business, why are you wasting your time? Anthropology is a false science. There is no meaning.
Carol: I'm waiting to be led into something which is good.
Srila Prabhupada: The whole Darwinian theory is false. It has no sound basis. Darwin himself admits it is just a theory. Theory is not science.
I can propose some theory--"It is like that." But that is not science. Science means observation plus experimental proof. That is science. You observe how the rules are working, and when you practically bring them to bear in your experiment, then it is science. If you simply theorize, that is not science. Mental speculation. It has no benefit.
You can speculate, constructing a castle in the air. That is not a very good thing. You should present something which will benefit the people, something practical. That is science.
Carol: Do you think it is possible for people to live in, say, an educational framework?
Srila Prabhupada: Education--if it is not for the benefit of the people--then what is the use of such education? That is not a good education. Education means something which will benefit the mass of people. That is education. To enlighten them to do something better--that is education.
Now, this whole Darwinian theory is false. But people are giving it so much stress. First of all, no one--not even Darwin--can be independent. For instance, Darwin died. So he was under the control of something higher. No man wants to die, but he is forced to die. Is it not? Then where is his independence?
Carol: That is the illusion.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So if you simply live in illusion, then where is your education? If you remain in darkness, then where is your education? Illusion means darkness. So if you are in darkness, now, where is your education? And where is your philosophy?
Carol: The only way to remove this darkness is through love. Is this what you are saying?
Srila Prabhupada: Love is far away. First of all, you become educated.
Carol: How? In what way?
Srila Prabhupada: Education means right knowledge. Right knowledge. For instance, everyone wants to live. Nobody wants to die. So the inquiry should be, "I do not wish to die. Why is death forced upon me? What is that force--what is the nature of that force?"
On the other hand, if I simply resign myself--"Yes, some kind of force is there"--then whereis my knowledge?
Again, I do not wish to die. So education means finding out, "Why is death forced upon me?" Nobody wants miserable conditions of life, but miserable conditions of life are forced upon me. So first of all, I should inquire, "I do not want these things. Who is forcing these things upon me?" This is life's first philosophical inquiry.
Carol: I tend to approach from the other side and ask, "Who am I?" and "What is this thing that I call myself?"
Srila Prabhupada: But first, everyone has this basic problem. "I don't want these miserable conditions, but they are forced upon me." For instance, you are now a young girl. You do not like the idea of becoming an old woman. But you will have to become an old woman.
Carol: Oh, yes. Hmm.
Srila Prabhupada: Nature will force you. After forty years of age, you must become old, and you cannot remain so beautiful. This is forced. No one wants this. No woman wants that "I shall not look so beautiful, and my flesh shall be flabby, with no more luster." I don't want all these things. Why are they forced?
Carol: Suffering and pain lead people to God, don't they?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That is the law. But we are so dull-headed that we do not inquire. That is my statement--that you should inquire, "Who has made this law? Who is forcing these things upon me?" After you make this inquiry, then you can inquire about God's actual identity and your actual identity. But first of all, you must be aware of your situation--that these miserable conditions are being forced upon you.
For instance, a dog cannot understand that he's on a chain. He's leading a life most dependent, most miserable. And yet he is jolly. He is jumping here and there. That is a dog's life. If the master wants to kill him, he cannot do anything. But he is very jolly. Sometimes he even jumps.
That is a dog's life--not human life. Human life means realizing, "I am dependent at every step, and still I am declaring myself independent. What is this nonsense?" This inquiry should be there. "I am dependent at every step, exactly like the cats and dogs, but still I am claiming, 'I am independent.' Why?"
Carol: Your Divine Grace, is it possible to carry out this inquiry while you're engaged in ordinary daily activities?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, certainly. You can become spiritually realized in any walk of life, regardless of your daily activities.
The thing is, this is the real inquiry: "Why I am put into these conditions which I do not like? Who is forcing them upon me? Wherefrom has my life begun? What is the ultimate goal of my life?" These things should be asked. That is the proper inquiry of the human being.
Without getting answers to these questions, we cannot solve the very real problems of birth, death, old age, and disease. Instead, like Darwin, we are forced to theorize something utopian.
What is the use of such so-called knowledge?