All education of the body should begin at birth and continue throughout life. It is never too soon to begin nor too late to continue.
Physical education has three principal aspects: (1) control and discipline of the functioning of the body, (2) an integral, methodical and harmonious development of all the parts and movements of the body and (3) correction of any defects and deformities.
The Mother – On Education: Physical Education: CWM, Vol. 12, p. 12
…But we are not seeking an exclusive perfection in one thing or another, we are trying to make everything go forward together to a common, integral perfection. And these things have their place and importance….
The Mother – Questions and Answers: 30 November 1955, CWM, Vol. 7, p. 386
To pursue an integral education that leads to the supramental realisation, four austerities are necessary, and with them four liberations.
Austerity is usually confused with self-mortification, and when someone speaks of austerities, we think of the discipline of the ascetic who, in order to avoid the arduous task of spiritualising the physical, vital and mental life, declares it incapable of transformation and casts it away ruthlessly as a useless encumbrance, as a bondage and an impediment to all spiritual progress, in any case as something incorrigible, as a load that has to be borne more or less cheerfully until Nature, or divine Grace, delivers you from it by death. At best, life on earth is a field for progress and one should take advantage of it as best one can in order to reach as soon as possible the degree of perfection which will put an end to the ordeal by making it unnecessary.
For us the problem is quite different. Life on earth is not a passage or a means; by transformation it must become a goal and a realisation. Consequently, when we speak of austerities, it is not out of contempt for the body nor to detach ourselves from it, but because of the need for control and mastery. For there is an austerity which is far greater, far more complete and far more difficult than all the austerities of the ascetic: it is the austerity which is necessary for the integral transformation, the fourfold austerity which prepares the individual for the manifestation of the supramental truth. For example, one can say that few austerities are as strict as those which physical culture demands for the perfection of the body. But we shall return to this point in due time.
The Mother – On Education: The Four Austerities and the Four Liberations, Vol. 12, p. 48
Our aim is no exclusive national system of education for India but an essential and fundamental education for all mankind. But is it not true, Mother, that this education, because of India’s special fitness by virtue of her past cultural striving and attainment, is India’s privilege and special responsibility towards herself and the world? At any rate, this essential education is India’s national education to my mind. In fact, I regard this as the national education of each great country with characteristic differentiations peculiar to each nation.
I wonder whether this is correct and Mother would endorse it.
Yes, this is quite correct and part of what I would have said if I had had time to answer your questions.
India has or rather had the knowledge of the Spirit, but she neglected matter and suffered for it.
The West has the knowledge of matter but rejected the Spirit and suffers badly for it.
An integral education which could, with some variations, be adapted to all the nations of the world, must bring back the legitimate authority of the Spirit over a matter fully developed and utilised.
This is in short what I wanted to say.
26 July 1965
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I: CWM, Vol. 13, p. 361
I have said that from a young age children should be taught to respect good health, physical strength and balance. The great importance of beauty must also be emphasised. A young child should aspire for beauty, not for the sake of pleasing others or winning their admiration, but for the love of beauty itself; for beauty is the ideal which all physical life must realise. Every human being has the possibility of establishing harmony among the different parts of his body and in the various movements of the body in action. Every human body that undergoes a rational method of culture from the very beginning of its existence can realise its own harmony and thus become fit to manifest beauty. When we speak of the other aspects of an integral education, we shall see what inner conditions are to be fulfilled so that this beauty can one day be manifested.
So far I have referred only to the education to be given to children; for a good many bodily defects can be rectified and many malformations avoided by an enlightened physical education given at the proper time. But if for any reason this physical education has not been given during childhood or even in youth, it can begin at any age and be pursued throughout life. But the later one begins, the more one must be prepared to meet bad habits that have to be corrected, rigidities to be made supple, malformations to be rectified. And this preparatory work will require much patience and perseverance before one can start on a constructive programme for the harmonisation of the form and its movements. But if you keep alive within you the ideal of beauty that is to be realised, sooner or later you are sure to reach the goal you have set yourself.
Bulletin, April 1951
The Mother – On Education: Physical Education, CWM, Vol. 12, pp. 16-17
Another invaluable result of these activities [sports, etc.] is the growth of what has been called the sporting spirit. That includes good humour and tolerance and consideration for all, a right attitude and friendliness to competitors and rivals, self-control and scrupulous observance of the laws of the game, fair play and avoidance of the use of foul means, an equal acceptance of victory or defeat without bad humour, resentment or ill-will towards successful competitors, loyal acceptance of the decisions of the appointed judge, umpire or referee. These qualities have their value for life in general and not only for sport, but the help that sport can give to their development is direct and invaluable. If they could be made more common not only in the life of the individual but in the national life and in the international where at the present day the opposite tendencies have become too rampant, existence in this troubled world of ours would be smoother and might open to a greater chance of concord and amity of which it stands very much in need…. even a highest and completest education of the mind is not enough without education of the body…. The nation which possesses [these qualities] in the highest degree is likely to be the strongest for victory, success and greatness, but also for the contribution it can make towards the bringing about of unity and a more harmonious world order towards which we look as our hope for humanity’s future.
Sri Aurobindo – The Supramental Manifestation, SABCL, Vol. 16, pp. 2-4