But all educational systems of the world have emphasized memory too much. And their emphasis on memory is a great conspiracy against humanity, because the whole energy has been focused on memory: Memorize more and more so that you can be successful in your examinations. And you can see what kind of success happens in the universities. The people who get first class, the people who get the top first class, the people who top the whole university – gold medalists, they are all lost in the world. You will never hear of them again, because the world needs intelligence, not memory.
Each moment intelligence is needed, not memory. My own understanding is that if we want to make humanity more conscious, more alert, more enlightened, then the emphasis has to be taken away from memory; the emphasis has to be put on intelligence.
But for universities, for professors, for pedagogues, emphasis on memory is simple. You just ask five questions and if the person can memorize the books, he can answer them.
My own professor was very much worried – because he loved me so much – because I never bothered about the prescribed books. And he was so concerned that, “Unless you answer exactly what is written in the books, it will be a great shock to all of us. You have the capacity to top the whole university, but the way you are behaving you cannot even pass.”
I said, “Don’t be worried,” but he was so concerned that he used to come early in the morning to pick me up from the hostel and take me to the examination hall. He was not certain whether I would go or not, whether I would remember to go or not. And he would stand there until I had gone in and he would tell every examiner, “Keep an eye on this student, don’t let him get out of the hall before the three hours are over, because he may answer within one hour and be gone. Force him, whether he has answered or not, to be here for three hours.”
I said, “This is strange,” but the examiners listened to him because he was also the dean of the Faculty of Arts. They were all under him; it was just a coincidence. And that’s why I say life is so full of mysteries. All my professors, my vice-chancellors, everybody was so surprised when I topped the university and got the gold medal. Nobody was expecting that.
But a coincidence – one of the most famous professors of Allahabad University, Professor Ranade…It was well known that in his life he had given only two persons first class. Those two were the bare minimum. Otherwise it was very difficult even to get pass marks from him. And he was thought to be not only a professor, but a sage. He had written great books with great insight; there was no doubt about his intellectual acumen.