"How to Live" curriculum

Published first in the East – West magazine in 1925, later in “Man’s Eternal Quest” and also partially in the SRF YSS lessons, the following text is a part of the popular article “The Balanced Life – Curing Mental Abnormalities”. It lists Yoganandaji’s views on what should be the curriculum of a “How to live” education program. Scan copy of the original article from East-West magazine can be found here.

This article will help parents to know the areas their children need to be trained in.

Note: The images shown below were not part of the original article, they were added by me.

The Balanced Life – Curing Mental Abnormalities

(This is not the complete article. It is just that relevant half of the original which is useful for parents.)

Spiritual principles should be taught

Educators, physical culturists, preachers, reformers, doctors and law-makers will hasten the progress of true civilization only when they themselves first learn and then teach others how to harmoniously develop all the factors of life and of man’s nature. This is the true education and all-round human culture that all the world is seeking.

Educational authorities deem it impossible to teach spiritual principles in public schools because they confuse them with the variety of conflicting forms of religious faiths. But if they concentrate on the universal principles of peace, love, service, tolerance and faith that govern the spiritual life, and devise methods of practically growing such seeds in the fertile soil of the child’s mind, then the imaginary difficulty is dissolved. It is the greatest mistake to ignore this problem just because it is seemingly difficult.

Many college graduates after leaving their universities are often found with a top-heavy book-inflated head and are unable to walk straight in the path of life clue to their legs of Will and Self-control being almost paralyzed through disuse. They tumble headlong into the pit of wrong marriage, sex-misuse, inordinate dollar-craving and business failure. They had not been taught any other use of their college-sharpened mental blades of smartness except to hurt. themselves. Many young men seem to take pleasure in doing those things which react to their own disadvantage and suffering in the end. Last year in America young men ranging in years from 15 to 30 stole one billion dollars by the “hold-up” method. Who was responsible? We, all of us. They also are vicious who do not prevent the spread of vice, and teach others to be virtuous through their example. Schools, colleges, and society have not scientifically tried to prevent crime by eliminating its true mental cause.

Plan of our Mount Washington center

Why not take the proper educational steps to avoid this annual theft of one billion dollars, and use sonic of those millions for creating “How-To-Live-Schools,” where the art of living and a balanced development of all human faculties would be taught? We hope to have such a “How-To-Live-School” for all-round development, at our Mount Washington Educational Center in Los Angeles, as soon as funds are available and proper interest, has been aroused for the work. In the meantime, we plan to work along such lines as far as possible.

I consider properly organized schools as gardens where infant souls are grown and nurtured. The gardeners should be well-selected and co-operated with by parents and the public. The teachers should never be neglected for they are soul-moulders. The care and spiritual nourishment of the early life of a human plant usually determines its later development.

I sincerely praise the modern school system of America and its constantly improving methods of intellectual and to a certain extent physical training. But I cannot fail to point out its main shortcoming. It lacks spiritual background, and very badly needs to be supplemented by moral and spiritual training. The boy who belongs intellectually to Class “A”, or is a great baseball or football player, often attracts notice and is encouraged by the professors and students, but very few observe or warn him rightly if he is leading a dark Class “D” moral or spiritual life.

But where is such a school which adopts definite measures for developing the whole nature of man, teaching him the true art of life and fitting him to go through the various minor and ultimately the final examination of life? Such schools are urgently needed, to teach the following arts and sciences of all-round growth.

Curriculum of the school for training balanced souls

1. Science of Body for Practical Efficiency.

Summer Day Program Energization Exercises
  • Technique of recharging the body-battery from the Cosmic Current by Will.

  • Scientific relaxation of energy from the body parts for perfect rest.
  • Conservation of vital energy.
  • Bodily suppleness and agility.
  • Physical endurance (of cold, heat, strain, etc.)
  • Knowledge of what and how much to eat daily, and the value of partial fasting.
  • Regular habits of eating and sleeping.
  • Value of sitting erect and thus keeping the cerebro-spinal axis, diaphram and lungs in proper position and action.
  • Moderation in some sport, such as swimming, tennis, baseball, etc.
  • Cleanliness – daily bath for keeping the body pores open.
  • Sex Hygiene – Relation of sex-control to good memory, long life, mental inspiration and matrimonial happiness.

2. Mental Engineering.

Paramahasa Yogananda quote on will power
  • Art of building bridges over the river of difficulties between failure and success.
  • Psycho-physical methods of keeping the sense employees of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell, well trained, regulated, reliable, busy and free from rebellion, governing them with ease and obtaining their willing co-operation.
  • Art of keeping the mental life free from the bacteria of fear, despondency, melancholia, greed, lack of initiative, anger, worry, idleness and boredom.
  • Art of injecting the tonic of cheerfulness into the body.
  • Knowledge of ale superiority of the mind over the body, obtained thru practical experience.
  • Developing will-power for carrying out plans made by noble ideas, and for resisting the lure of temptations.
  • Art of training the Will so that it makes it its own business to be better without the necessity of being goaded by commands.
  • Understanding of the fundamental importance of the will through-out life.
  • Art of choosing the right life-companion and of keeping the matrimonial life smooth thru consideration; tact, love and fidelity.
  • Art of creating spiritual children and of rearing them beautifully.
  • Art of Concentration (positive and negative).
  • Art of training the Sub conscious mind and of learning during sleep.
  • Art of keeping the mind strong and immune from diseases.

3. Social Arts.

Boys Teen Retreat at SRF Lake Shrine by Brother Sarvananda
  • Art of regulating self-ambition so it does not conflict with the interests and requirements of society.
  • Art of converting the greed to possess into the desire to share.
  • Methods of fostering social service. Art of inventive ability to serve mankind and lighten labor or improve on existing conditions.
  • Art of working to better laws thru right education and intelligent understanding and cooperation.
  • Art of graciousness, noble bearing, and genuine interest in the problems of others.
  • Art of cooperation, and knowledge of the absolute interdependence of man’s destiny and universal laws of being.
  • Value-of self-sacrifice and good-will for all.
  • Law of individual life as related to social life.
  • National and international interest and patriotism.

4. Applied Spiritual Science.

Youth praying
  • Law of sincerity in thought, word and deed.
  • Art of seeking personal happiness thru the happiness of others.
  • Relation of man to God.
  • Art of converting self-ambition into ambition for all.
  • Art of merging the little self into the Self of All.
  • Law of protecting the wealth of inward peace from the robbers of worry, unfavorable circumstance, disease, etc.
  • Art of being supremely happy always and of making others so.
  • Freedom from all habits, and performance of right actions thru discrimination and free-will.

The above Arts and Sciences are those which should be taught in a “How-to-Live-School” to children whose minds are still plastic and their forces as yet, unguided into any definite channel. Adults too may master the subjects, if they will exercise willingness and patience while the good habits are displacing the undesirable ones.

After a thorough training, the students of such a School will undergo ceaseless examination through-out life, and the various diplomas won will be health, fame, efficiency wealth and happiness.

The issue of the final examination at the end of this earthly sojourn will only be determined by the sum-total acquirements and mental and spiritual diplomas won at the various examinations through-out life. And those successful in this last Great Examination receive a Diploma of lasting efficiency, free conscience and blessings, engraved eternally on the parchment of the Soul. This rare reward is incorruptible by moths, beyond the reach of thieves and the eraser of Time, and is awarded for honorable entry into the Fellowship of Truth.