Vivekananda and Education in India

Today is Death Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

The society is inflicted from few serious crimes. We are witnessing more rapes, molestations, serial killings, drug addiction, school children killing their classmates, etc. The more surprising thing is that the children of affluent families and are also indulging in such crimes. There can be numerous reasons behind that but the primary reason is that our education has become totally materialistic. I am basically talking of moral and ethical values which are being left behind in this competitive world. The educational system and parents both are responsible for the same.
Swami VivekanandaVivekananda once said that the tremendous emphasis on the scientific and mechanical ways of life is fast reducing man to the status of a machine. Moral and religious values are being undermined. The fundamental principles of civilization are being ignored. Conflicts of ideals, manners and habits are pervading the atmosphere. Disregard for everything old is the fashion of the day. The defect of the present-day education is that it has no definite goal to pursue. A teacher has no clear idea about the goal of his teaching. The aim of education must be man making and this is where the education is failing.
We are not equipping children with a positive and healthy frame of mind. Modern-day children are averse to reading good books which teach the ‘lessons of life,’ they are glued more to the idiot box and computer games. This is the crux of the problem. If books furnishing tales of Harshvardhana or Shivaji or Asoka are read at an early age, the young mind starts idolising those characters. They try and emulate the great men, who become role models for them. The epics can dissuade them from aiding and abetting crime; it would encourage them to stand up for their beliefs and values. When the young ones don’t have such heroes to worship and ape in real life, things go wrong and they don’t know how to differentiate between right and wrong.
Swami Vivekananda also felt that the aim of education is to manifest in our lives the perfection, which is the very nature of our inner self. This perfection is the realization of the infinite power which resides in everything and every-where-existence, consciousness and bliss (satchidananda). After understanding the essential nature of this perfection, we should identify it with our inner self. For achieving this, one will have to eliminate one’s ego, ignorance and all other false identification, which stand in the way. Meditation, fortified by moral purity and passion for truth, helps man to leave behind the body, the senses, the ego and all other non-self elements, which are perishable. He thus realizes his immortal divine self, which is of the nature of infinite existence, infinite knowledge and infinite bliss.
He says, We need technical education and all else which may develop industries, so that men, instead of seeking for service, may earn enough to provide for them-selves, and save something against a rainy day. He feels it necessary that India should take from the Western nations all that is good in their civilization. However, just like a person, every nation has its individuality, which should not be destroyed. The individuality of India lies in her spiritual culture. Hence in Swamiji’s view, for the development of a balanced nation, we have to combine the dynamism and scientific attitude of the West with the spirituality of our country. The entire educational program should be so planned that it equips the youth to contribute to the material progress of the country as well as to maintaining the supreme worth of India’s spiritual heritage.
It is in the transformation of man through moral and spiritual education that he finds the solution for all social evils. Founding education on the firm ground of our own philosophy and culture, he shows the best of remedies for today’s social and global illness.

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0 thoughts on “Vivekananda and Education in India”

  1. Some sayings of the Master on Education

    • Learn everything that is good from others, but bring it in, and in your own way absorb it; do not become others.
    • Study, and then meditate on what you have studied.
    • The secret of life is not enjoyment, but education through experience.
    • The object of life is to learn.
    • The more we know the better for us.
    • You have to teach yourself; your growth must come from inside.
    • It is man-making education all round that we want.
    • Learn everything that is good from others, but bring it in, and in your own way absorb it; do not become others.
    • We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas.
    • Teaching
    1. He alone teaches who has something to give.
    2. Negative thought weakens. Do you not find that where parents are constantly taxing their sons to read and write, telling them they will never learn anything, and calling them fools and so forth, the latter do actually turn out to be so in many cases?
    If you speak kind words to boys and encourage them, they are bound to improve in time. What holds good of children, also holds good of children in the region of higher thoughts.
    If you can give them positive ideas, people will grow up to be men and learn to stand on their own legs. In language and literature, in poetry and arts————–in everything we must point out not the mistakes that people are making in their thoughts and actions, but the way in which they will gradually be able to do these things better. Pointing out mistakes wounds a man’s feelings.
    3. No one was ever really taught by another; each of us has to teach himself.
    4. There is no other teacher but your own soul.
    5. You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.
    6. All teaching, implies giving and taking.
    7. Education can never be carried out by criticism or discouragement. Only he who sees the noblest thing in the taught can be an effective teacher.
    8. None can teach another.
    • Men must have education. They speak of democracy, of the equality of all men, these days. But how will a man know he is equal with all?
    • Whenever you learn (gain anything) from another man’s words, know that you had the experience in a previous existence, because experience is the only teacher.
    • Let positive, strong, helpful thought enter into their brains from very childhood. Lay yourselves open to these thoughts, and not to weakening and paralysing ones.
    • My motto is to learn whatever good things I may come across anywhere.
    • Until the inner teacher opens, all outside teaching is in vain.

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