Writing about the University of Göttingen, a university founded in 1734, in “The Ascent of Man”, the mathematician and historian, Jacob Bronowski makes an observation that applies to all places of Learning. Indeed, it is an approach to Learning that that Teachers, and Learners would do well to keep in mind.
“The University is a Mecca to which students come with something less than perfect faith. It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known but to question it.”
In a Talk on 3rd August 1929, J Krishnamurti shocked the many who saw him as the World Teacher. He disbanded the wealthy organization that had been set up over eighteen years as a vehicle for him to preach to the world. Among other things, he says that “the moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth.”
He goes on to tell the large audience that there is just “one essential thing: to set man free….free him from all cages, from all fears.”
“No man from outside can make you free,” Krishnamurti points out, and urges us not to keep creating gods — “new gods instead of the old, new religions instead of the old, new forms instead of the old.”
He exhorts us “look within yourselves for….enlightenment.”
“No one holds it [the key to the Kingdom of Happiness]. No one has the authority to hold that key. That key is your own self, and in the development and the purification….of that self alone is the Kingdom of Eternity.”
In one of his Talks on Bhakti Yoga (“The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”, Volume 4), Swamiji Vivekananda takes up this this idea and goes deep. “In this matter it is of supreme importance to think what we ourselves believe. What we have realised, is the question. What Jesus, or Buddha, or Moses did is nothing to us, unless we too do it for ourselves….My ideas are very radical on these points….I believe in thinking independently. I believe in becoming entirely free from the holy teachers; pay all reverence to them, but look at religion as an independent research. I have to find my light, just as they found theirs. Their finding the light will not satisfy us at all. You have to become the Bible, and not to follow it, excepting as paying reverence to it as a light on the way, as a guide-post, a mark: that is all the value it has.”