Swami Vivekananda was not only a social reformer, but also the educator, a great Vedanta’s, patriot prophet of India, born at Calcutta in 1863, who sought to modernize the nation of its social and cultural harmony. His contribution to the awakening of modern India is critique in its kind and quality. If education is viewed as the most powerful instrument of social change, his contribution to educational thought is of paramount importance. He defines education as ‘the manifestation of perfection that is already in man.
According to him education is a continuous process; it should cover all aspects of life - physical, material, intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual. His attitude towards modernization is that the masses should be educated before anything else is done. He wanted to remove from India four major evils, via; 1) priest-craft, 2) poverty 3) ignorance 4) tyranny of the wise. He tried to make the people of India understood that political and social strength should have their foundations on cultural strength. He has a true vision of philosophy of education in India in its cultural context.
His educational thought has very great significance today because modern education has lost much of its connection with the values of human life. Therefore, he suggested that education should not be for stuffing some facts into the brain, but should aim at reforming the human mind. True education to him, was not for the carrier, but for the contribution to the nation. The great religious saint and social reformer died in 1902 when he was just 39 years. He is no more but he will be remembered for ever on this earth. His missions and his preaching are will continue inspiring the coming generations.
MEANING OF EDUCATION
Vivekananda said: “The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle of life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion – is it worth the name? Real education is that which enables one to stand on one’s own legs. Education must provide ‘life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas”. The ideal of this type of education would be to produce an integrated person.
AIMS OF EDUCATION
The ultimate aim of all education and all training, according to Swami Vivekananda, is man-making and also he recommends the following major aims of education.
1. CREATION OF SELF – CONFIDENCE AND SELF – REALIZATION:
Man has an immortal soul which is the treasure –house of infinite power. Man should, therefore, have full confidence in himself and strive to reach the highest goal of his life, self-confidence leads to self - realization. In Swamiji’s own words: “Faith in us and faith in God – this is the secret of greatness.” Education of the right type should aim at removing the veil ignorance from our mind and make us understand that what actually we are.
2. FORMATION OF CHARACTER
Character is the aggregate of a Man’s tendencies, the sum –total of the bent of his mind. We are what our thoughts have made us. It is, therefore, that education should aim at sublimating the evil tendencies of our mind. Swamiji said, “We want that education, by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one’s on feet.” Education must build up character and manifest our real nature.
3. DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY
Personality is the influence, the impression, one creates on the others. It is the personality of a man that counts. “According to Vivekananda, personality is two – third and his intellect and words are only one – third in making the real man.” The ideal of all education and all trainings should be this man – making.
4. SERVICE OF MIND
Another important aim of education is serving the God in man. It is the God in the sick, the poor, the miserable, the ignorant and the down – trodden what we should worship. In Swamiji’s own words, “if you want to find god, serve man.” He was pained to see the wretched poverty of his countrymen. He, therefore, wanted that education must enable everyone to stand on his own feet and satisfy his own primary needs.
5. PROMOTION OF UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD
Swami Vivekananda’s love for mankind knew no geographical boundaries. He always pleaded for the harmony and good relationship of all nations. He said,’ through education, we should gradually reach the idea of universal brotherhood by flinging down the walls of separation and inequality. In every man, in every animal, however weak or miserable, great or small, resides the same omnipresent and omniscient soul. The difference is not in the soul, but in manifestation.” He insisted the education must call forth this power in every person and broaden it to such an extent that it may cover the whole world.
6. THE AIM OF KEEPING IN VIEW THE PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF LIFE
To Swami Vivekananda, the practical aspects of life must not be ignored in any scheme of education. Only then, it will be possible to make an individual self – dependent and the country prosperous. Swamiji said: “It will not do merely to listen to great principles. You must apply them in the practical field, turn into constant practice.” So he has emphasized the importance of education in agriculture and other practical arts.
7. AIM OF PHYSICAL AND MENTAL DEVELOPMENT
The second aim of education is that the child should able to promote national growth and advancement as a fearless and physically well developed citizen of tomorrow. Stressing the mental development of the child, Swamiji wished education to enable the child to stand on his own legs economically rather than becoming a parasite of on others.
8. AIM OF MORAL AND SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT
According to Swami Vivekananda, a nation's greatness is not only measured by its parliamentary institutions and activities, but also by the greatness of its citizens. But the greatness of citizens is possible only through their moral and spiritual development which education should foster.
9. THE AIM OF SEARCHING UNITY IN DIVERSITY
The true aim of education is to develop insight into the individuals so that they are able to search out and realize unity in diversity. Swami Vivekananda has further asserted that physical and spiritual worlds are one; their distinctness is an illusion (Maya). Education should develop this sense which finds unity in diversity.
To Swamiji, each individual should be able to search out and develop the religious seed embedded in him and thus find the absolute truth or reality. Hence he advocated the training of feelings and emotions so that the whole life is purified and sublimated. Then only, the capacities of obedience, social service and submission to the teachings and preaching's of great saints and saviors will develop in the individual. Education should foster this development.
ROLE OF TEACHER AND STUDENT IN EDUCATION
According to Swami Vivekananda a person with an attitude of renunciation, influence children through his ideal example, love his students, sympathize at their difficulties, teaching according to the needs, abilities and interests of the them, contribute to their spiritual development can be a good teacher.
A student should have an inclination and eagerness to learn. He should be an observer of celibacy. He should have control over his senses. He should follow the ideals laid down by his teacher.
VIVEKANANDA’S PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION
1. KNOWLEDGE RESIDES WITHIN THE INDIVIDUAL
Knowledge is inherent within the individual himself. The individual finds out this knowledge by experiencing it within himself. Perfection is inherent in everyone. It is the function of education to lead one to perfection. Therefore, education should be made available to all.
2. THE CHILD FURTHERS ITS OWN DEVELOPMENT
Swami Vivekananda says that it is wrong to think that we promote the development of a child. In fact, he furthers his development himself. He says, “Everyone develops according to his own nature. When the time comes everyone will come to know this truth. Do you think you can educate a child? The child will educate himself, your job is to provide the necessary opportunity to him and remove the obstacles in his path. He will educate himself on his own. A plant grows itself, does the gardener grow it? He just provides the necessary environment to it, it is the plant itself that does its own growing.” Thus Swami Vivekananda advocates the principle of self–education.
3. EDUCATION ACCORDING TO THE NATURE AND NEED OF THE CHILD
In order to make education useful, it must be according to the nature and need of the child. It is not the teacher, or the parents who will determine his needs and nature. His education should be patterned on the lines of these tendencies. The teacher has to visualize God in the soul of each child. Each child should be considered as manifestation of God. In fact, we have to serve God. Therefore we have to serve each child.
4. THE ABILITY OF CONCENTRATION IS THE ESSENCE OF EDUCATION
For the acquisition of knowledge, concentration or attention is very necessary. For the success in life also, this power is very helpful. Everyone does not have the same power of concentration. With the help of this power one can acquire useful knowledge and arrange it in mind for use whenever necessary.
EDUCATIONAL VIEWS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
According to Swami Vivekananda, the prime aim of education is spiritual growth and development. But this does not mean that he did not advocate material prosperity and physical well-being. He feelingly advocated the inclusion of all those subjects and activities, in the curriculum, which foster material welfare with spiritual advancement. For spiritual perfection Swamiji prescribed Religious, Philosophy, Upanishads, Company of saints and their preaching's and for material advancement and prosperity he recommended Languages, Geography, Science, Political Science, Economics, Psychology, Art, Agriculture, Industrial and Technical subjects together with Games, sports and other Physical exercises.
METHODS OF EDUCATION
Swami Vivekananda prescribed the same ancient spiritual methods of teaching wherein the Guru and his disciples lived in close association as in a family. The essential characteristics of those religious and spiritual methods were as under:-
1. To control fleeting mental faculties by the practice of Yoga.
2. To develop the mind by concentration and deep meditation.
3. To gain knowledge through lectures, discussions, self- experience and creative activities.
4. To imitate the qualities and character of teacher intelligent and clear understanding.
5. To lead the child on the right path by means of individual guidance by the teacher.
MAJOR IMPLICATIONS OF VIVEKANANDA’S IDEAS
Vivekananda’s educational ideas have been influenced by three major factors; 1) love for his master 2) love for the nation, and 3) personal convictions.
THE BASES OF MODERN EDUCATION
Vivekananda felt that modern education all over the world has so far concentrated on ‘the learning to do’ aspect and not on the ‘learning to be’ faculties of education. He says that education must focus on the requirement of the human mind. His philosophy of education is based on universal principles of morality and ethics. He wanted to teach the common masses of India the ideals of synthesis, tolerance and universal harmony. His philosophy gives equal importance to the claims of spirit and matter. To him diversity is as real as unity. Matter is only ‘veiled spirit’. Thus he creates a metaphysical synthesis reconciling the claims of spirit and matter, and makes it one of the chief bases of its philosophy of education.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘YOGA’ IN EDUCATION
Vivekananda wants to place maximum emphasis on concentration and meditation in the teaching-learning process. In the practice of yoga as it is in the practice of general education, five elements are necessarily involved-the teacher, the taught, the aim, the subject and the method. He convinced of the fact that all knowledge is in the human mind and that the same can be experienced by practicing concentration and meditation.
TRANSMISSION OF KNOWLEDGE
To Vivekananda, all teaching implies giving and taking; the teacher gives and the student receives. Here he stresses the need for effective participation in the teaching-learning process. Teacher should motivate the students to acquire knowledge and develop in them scientific temper, secular outlook and civic responsibility.
LEARNING THROUGH ACTIVITY
Vivekananda anticipated many modern thinkers in suggesting that learning through activity should be the guiding principle of any scheme of education. He wanted every activity in Indian schools and colleges-dance, drama etc; Inter-school and inter-collegiate competitions are also required in order to enable the students learn how to sacrifice personal and selfish interests for the sake of the larger interests of society.
THE IDEAL OF WOMANHOOD IN INDIA
Vivekananda suggested that the women should be made ambitious through a good system of education.h3e made a strong appeal for raising the status of women along with that of man. He felt that it was much against the ancient ideal of India that women were not given enough opportunities for self-development.
RELEVANCE OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA’S IDEAS IN MODERN EDUCATION
Here, education is conceived in the broad sense; everything in the society plays an educational role. The formal education system is but part of the culture and values in the system are inevitably determined by the culture. Education is seen as an instrument for harnessing human drives, and as consequences, it becomes to some extent a method of behavior modification. Education preserves rather than changes social values. Education is seen to abide by existing culture norms of the society.
Constructive education for peace must aim to reform humanity so as to permit the inner development of human personality and develop a more conscious vision of the mission of mankind and the present conditions of social life as was so emphatically averred by Swami Vivekananda as well. What we need today is an education that is capable of saving mankind from the present predicament. Such an education involves the spiritual development of man and the enhancement of his value as an individual and preparing the young people to understand the time in which they live.
Environmental education is viewed as an integral part of the education process. It is taken to be centered on practical problems and can be an interdisciplinary character. It should aim at building up a sense of values, contribute to public well being and concern itself with survival of the human species. Its force, therefore, should aside mainly the initiative of the learners and their involvement in action and it should be guided by immediate and future subject of concern. Environmental education enables them to manage the environment in which they live through a judicious use of resources.
The concept of citizenship education should target to mould the future citizens into the frame of a civic society where citizens are aware of their rights, respect democratic ideals and work for a welfare society with shared responsibility. Education for democratic citizenship is a set of practices and activities aimed at making young people and adults better equipped to participate actively in democratic life by assuming and exercising their rights and responsibilities in society.
Viewed in the light of contemporary thought, Vivekananda was actually an epoch capsule into a life span of less than forty years updating his mother country to fight against all kinds of social evils. ‘Equilibrium’ and ‘synthesis’ were the watchwords of Vivekananda. Contemplation and devotion to duty were unified in his personality. He had gone deep into the social and political decline of India and attempted to prescribe a workable formula to eradicate all social inequalities. The awakening and liberation of modern India as viewed by him was a stage for the realization of universal love and brotherhood. He gave his fellow brethren, a dynamic gospel of supreme fearlessness and strength. He mercilessly denounced the arrogance and sophistication of the upper classes of Indian society. He was one of the great thinkers in India to offer a sociological interpretation of Indian history.
Swami Vivekananda was actually the greatest synthesizer of ever time. He wanted to remove the evils of the society by giving re-orientation to politics, sociology, economics and education. Swami Vivekananda laid stress on education as a powerful weapon for this change. As an educationalist he believes in absolute values which have to be realized by a good system of education. Education should be the preparation for life. It should develop a feeling of nationalism and international understanding, it should leads to the development of character and make individuals self-dependent. Today there is a deterioration of cultural ethics and standards. The supreme need of the hour is to counteract this emotional, moral and cultural collapse. Only a process of a good system of education can bring about a healthy political and social life. Swami Vivekananda stands for this and his message is for all time.