This particular monograph pays homage to a hero of our times, a Frenchman named Jean Monnet. He is mainly known for his role in the creation of what was to become the European Union but, in reality, Jean Monnet has been much more than "the father of Europe".
He has been an instrument at the service of a vision. That vision was the future unity of mankind: it was a world that would not be divided by borders. As for the instrument, he spent his whole life trying to perfect it, to make it more supple, more efficient, more transparent. He probably never in his life used the word "yoga" and he would have been quite surprised if he had been told that someyogis spentyears in front of a wall. Practical as he was he would have asked, "Tell me, did the wall collapse in the end?" As for the wall that separates men, at the darkest moments of the 20th century Jean Monnet had measured its thickness and its resistance, and having done so he could not rest until he had understood how he could open a breach into it. He did not know Sri Aurobindo, yet his whole life was dedicated to the ideal of human unity. What interested him, and even obsessed him, was not the ideal per se, but the construction, stone after stone, of this edifice. For a deep transformation of the relation between men and between countries, Monnet worked tirelessly, putting aside all personal ambitions. He viewed men without illusion but without pessimism. He was convinced that union was ineluctable and that we only had the choice "between changes towards which we will be forcibly dragged and changes which we will know how to prepare and realize". The world has worshipped war heroes for a long time now. Perhaps it is time to learn that there is a heroism of another kind.
The task of preparing teaching-learning material for value-oriented education is enormous. There is, first, the idea that value-oriented education should be exploratory rather than prescriptive, and that the teaching-learning material should provide to the learners a growing experience of exploration.
Secondly, it is rightly contended that the proper inspiration to turn to value-orientation is provided by biographies, autobiographical accounts, personal anecdotes, epistles, short poems, stories of humour, stories of human interest, brief passages filled with pregnant meanings, reflective short essays written in well-chiselled language, plays, powerful accounts of historical events, statements of personal experiences of values in actual situations of life, and similar other statements of scientific, philosophical, artistic and literary expression. Thirdly, we may take into account the contemporary fact that the entire world is moving rapidly towards the synthesis of the East and the West, and in that context, it seems obvious that our teaching-learning material should foster the gradual familiarisation of students with global themes of universal significance as also those that underline the importance of diversity in unity. This implies that the material should bring the students nearer to their cultural heritage, but also to the highest that is available in the cultural experiences of the world at large. Fourthly, an attempt should be made to select from Indian and world history such examples that could illustrate the theme of the upward progress of humankind. The selected research material could be multi-sided, and it should be presented in such a way that teachers can make use of it in the manner and in the context that they need in specific situations that might obtain or that can be created in respect of the students. The research team at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SAIIER) has attempted the creation of the relevant teaching-learning material, and they have decided to present the same in the form of monographs. The total number of these monographs will be around eighty. It appears that there are three major powers that uplift life to higher and higher normative levels, and the value of these powers, if well illustrated, could be effectively conveyed to the learners for their upliftment. These powers are those of illumination, heroism and harmony. It may be useful to explore the meanings of these terms illumination, heroism and harmony — since the aim of these monographs is to provide material for a study of what is sought to be conveyed through these three terms. We offer here exploratory statements in regard to these three terms. Illumination is that ignition of inner light in which meaning and value of substance and life-movement are seized, under-stood, comprehended, held, and possessed, stimulating and inspiring guided action and application and creativity culminating in joy, delight, even ecstasy. The width, depth and height of the light and vision determine the degrees of illumination, and when they reach the splendour and glory of synthesis and harmony, illumination ripens into wisdom. Wisdom, too, has varying degrees that can uncover powers of knowledge and action, which reveal unsuspected secrets and unimagined skills of art and craft of creativity and effectiveness. Heroism is, essentially, inspired force and self-giving and sacrifice in the operations of will that is applied to the quest, realisation and triumph of meaning and value against the resistance of limitations and obstacles by means of courage, battle and adventure.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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