Education as seen by Swami Vivekananda

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One of the greatest educationists India has given birth to is Swami Vivekananda. As the nation gears up to pay tribute to him by observing National Youth Day on January 12th, the fact that his birthday is observed as the Day of the Youth speaks volumes about his concern and drive to empower the one section of people he believed could change the destiny of a nation – its youth.

Swami Vivekananda – Art by my daughter

The goal of education

The essence of Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy on education boiled down to perfecting the wonderful person hidden in each man and woman. Quoting him

Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man

Swami Vivekananda

Deficiency of Modern Education

Swami Vivekananda repeatedly stressed on the one shortcoming of the modern education system – the lack of a definite goal that can be pursued.

He goes on to add that while a sculptor is clear about the statue he wishes to make out of a block of marble, while a painter is clear about what he wishes his painting to turn into, the teacher is unsure about what they want their students to turn into for they do not have a clear picture of the goal of education.

Most of Swami Vivekananda’s quotes are oriented to define in crystal clear terms the goals that a teacher should aim for while teaching.

Quoting him

The present system of education is all wrong. The mind is crammed with facts before it knows how to think

Swami Vivekananda

What should the Youth learn?

He stressed on the need to get the youth to switch their process of thinking. He firmly believed that once people start thinking for themselves, problems will start getting solved and the country will march firmly on the path of progress.

He goes on to link this to the fundamental community in the country – the village.

All the wealth of the world cannot help one little Indian village if the people are not taught to help themselves. Our work should be mainly educational, both moral and intellectual

Swami Vivekananda

He points out that education is only a means of getting a person to think and realise the perfection within him. He also draws upon his knowledge of Vedanta – the Hindu potpourri of knowledge from the ages.

The monk conclude that the eventual education is the ability to get each man to think and solve his own problems. This will help him or her to gain mastery over their will.

What is education? Is it book learning? No. Is it diverse knowledge? Not even that. The training by which the current and expression of will are brought under control and become fruitful is called education.

Swami Vivekananda

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