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The Relevance of the Teaching of Swami Vivekananda to meet

the Challenges of the present Day Society, with special
reference to the North Eastern Region.

On 29th March2011

Jaya Gogoi College, Golaghat.Assam

Paper by:
Mr. Rajesh jaiswal

Swami Vivekananda and Education: An Analysis

**Mr. Rajesh Jaiswal

“Education is the manifestation of the divine perfection already in

Swami Vivekananda

A society in absence of education is just like a car without an engine. It is
education which can bring the human world from the primitive state to this modern state.
It is education which differentiates the human world from the animal world. Education in
the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind,
character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the
process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and
values from one generation to another. Without education we can not think of a civilized
as well as developed society. Education may be called as the process of learning and
acquiring information. Thus, education is important for learning basic life skills, as well
as learning advanced skills that can make a person more attractive in job market. In
today’s age of world wide competition in various aspects of life, quality education plays
the vital role in absorbing in the job market. The importance of education in all-round
development of a society is not a new concept and it had been recognized from the very
beginning of the civilization. So, to every philosopher, every thinker or even every
common man, education is of utmost importance in the life of a society.

Swami Vivekananda, an extraordinary genius of nineteenth century India, the

agent of renaissance in India had both a spiritual vision and a spiritual mission. In his
vision, man is none other than the supreme divinity under a tiny material cover, and
human life is nothing but a continuous struggle to express that divinity within. According
to him, that society is the highest which affords maximum opportunities to its members to
manifest their potential divinity. His mission, then, was to rouse men and women all over
the world to an awareness of their divine nature and to show them the ways and means to
express that divinity into their thoughts and actions in their art, education, literature,
culture, social customs and institutions, and in fact, in all areas of life.
Objective of the Paper

The objective of the paper is to analyze Swami Vivekananda’s views

on education and to analyse their relevance in the present context.

Vivekananda- An introduction:

About hundred and fifty years back, Swami Vivekananda was born
in a respectable Hindu family in Kolkatta on 12th January, 1863. Earlier, he was
Narendranath Dutta, who became Swami Vivekananda by virtue of his ocean of
knowledge about various aspects of life. Under the liberal education of his Parents , the
boy grew into a strong-built youth whose intellectual power were matched by his moral
and aesthetic qualities, all of which made him the idol of his fellows. In his thirst of
knowledge, he met Shree Ramkrishna Paramhamsa, the saint of Dakhineswar in 1881.
This was the turning point in Narendranath’s life. Then he begun to visit Dakhsineswar
and was more and more struck by the saint’s extraordinary spiritual powers. No wonder
that Narendranath surrendered himself to Sri Ramakrishna.

Vivekananda- His Views on Education:

In viveknanda’s view, “Education is not the amount of information that is put

into our brain and runs riot there, undigested all our life. We must have life-building,
man-making, character-making, assimilation of ideas”. He says, “If education were
identical with information, the libraries would be the greatest sages in the world and
encyclopedias the rishies”.
In his view, teaching may be considered to be a way of helping
people acquiring knowledge of different things; there are innumerable subjects that are to
be known. But the fundamental teaching that Swamiji believed in was that every soul is
potentially perfect. Swamiji defined education as the “manifestation of the divine
perfection already in man”. Every human being is perfect, but he is not aware of the
perfection. What the teacher has to do is to make his pupil become aware of his inherent
perfection. He says that every child has innate perfection and it is for the child to
manifest the innate perfection in him.

The Needed education:

Regarding ideal type of education a society needs, Swamiji said, “We want that
education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, and the intellect is
expanded and by which one can stand on one’s own feet”. He further said, “what we need
is to study, independent of foreign control, different branches of the knowledge that is our
own, and with it the English language and Western Science; we need technical education
and all else that will develop industries, so that men, instead of seeking for service, may
earn enough to provide for themselves and save against a rainy day”. Thus Swamiji
included almost all aspects in an ideal type of education which a nation should

Wrong Education:

Swamiji was aware of implementing wrong method of education. He said,

“Getting by heart the thoughts of others in a foreign language and stuffing your brain
with them and taking some university degrees, you consider yourself educated. Is this
education? What is the goal of your education? Either a clerkship, or being a lawyer, or at
the most a Deputy Magistrate which is another form of clerkship, isn’t that all? What
good will it does to you or the country at large? Open your eyes and see what a piteous
cry for food is rising in the land of Bharata, proverbial for its food. Will your education
fulfill this want? The education that does not help the common mass of people to equip
themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit
of philanthropy and the courage of a lion ……. is it worth the name?”

End of Education: The goal of man making

Swamiji recognized that the end of all education should be man-making. The end and aim
of all education and all training is to make the man grow. He says, “The training by
which the current and expression of will are brought under control and become fruitful, is
called education”.

Concentration: the only method of education

Swamiji pointed out that there is only one method of earning knowledge that is
concentration. The very essence of education is concentration of mind. From the lowest
man to the highest one, all have to use the same method to attain knowledge. Further, the
more the power of concentration, the greater the knowledge that is acquired. He says that
the main difference between men and the animals is the difference in their powers of
concentration. All success in any line of human being is the result of concentration. High
achievements in arts, music, etc. are the result of it. “When the mind is concentrated and
turned back on itself, all within us will be our servants, not our masters” he said. Thus,
according to him, concentration is the only key to knowledge. To him, the very essence
of education is concentration of mind, not the collection of facts. He also suggested
observing Brahmacharya for made the mind to be concentrated. Every boy should be
trained to practice absolute bramacharya and then, faith and sharaddha will come.
Chastity in thought, word and deed always and in all conditions is what is called

Education- for character building:

Swamiji emphasized character building as the sole purpose of education. To him, the
character of any man is the aggregate of his tendencies, the sum total of the bent of his
mind. We are what our thoughts have made us. Words are secondary, but the thoughts
live, they travel far, and so we should take care of what we think. If a man thinks good
thoughts and does good work, his impression will be good; on the other hand a man
thinking bad thoughts and doing bad works will have bad impression upon him. When a
man has done so much good work and thinks so many good thoughts, there is an
irresistible tendency in him to do well. Even if he wishes to do evil, his mind will not
allow him to do so. He is completely under the influence of good tendencies. When such
is the case, a man’s good character is said to be established. Thus, education is the key to
character building of the people.

Education - for personality development:

If we see what is happening all around us, we can see that our
bodies, our virtues, our intellect and our spirituality, all these are continuously
influencing others and so, conversely, we are being influenced by them. For this
influence, the man must develop his personality and it is only education that can help the

The Teacher and the Taught:

Swamiji gave much importance on the personal life of the teacher. He had
pointed out following qualities that a teacher should possess:
* The teacher knows the spirit of the scriptures.
* Sinless ness of the teacher which refers to the purity of heart and soul.
* Motivation: The teacher must not teach with any selfish motive.
Swamiji stated that it is not easy to be an ideal disciple. He pointed out that an ideal
disciple must possess the following qualities:
*The student who wants to know the truth must give up all desires
for gain.
*A student must be able to control the internal and external senses.
*The student must have great power of endurance.
*The disciple must conceive an extreme desire to be free.
*The student must have faith in the teacher.
*The student must have sympathy for the taught.

Religious Education:

To Vivekananda, religion is the innermost core of education. The great soul once such as
Sri ramchandra, Sri Krishna, Mahavira etc. who have realized the eternal truths are to be
presented before the people. Obedience to the guru and strict observance of Brahmacharya
is the secret of success. Truth is the nature of all souls. Swamiji’s religious education
*Cultivating the heart

To Vivekananda, religion is nothing but realization. The concept of religion is

understood only by realization.

Swamiji’s religious education made us to know:

*The end and the means – Right means to achieve the right ends.
*Cause of misery – weakness in the body and mind.
*Secret of happiness- unselfishness.
*We get what we desire.

Education and women:

Regarding women education, Vivekananda suggested that female education should be

spread with religion at its centre he suggested the Brahmacharinis of education to take up
the task of teaching. He stated, “If the women are raised, their children will by their noble
actions glorify the name of the country; then will culture, knowledge, power and devotion
awaken in the country”. So to him, female education is a much for a glorious future of the

Swamiji and education - at a glance:

Aim of education:

*Education for self development

*Education for character formation
*Education for building self reliance
*Education for service to mankind
*to promote universal brotherhood

Curriculum should include:

*Cultural heritage in terms of History, Poetry, Languages, Vedantic

*scientific knowledge and technological studies
*Vocational studies
*Subjects for girls
*Games, Sports and physical education

Method of teaching:

*Lectures, discussions, self experience, developing the mind by

concentration and meditation and yoga
*Individual guidance by the teacher

Role of the teacher;

* To motivate, demonstrate and persuade individuals to discover their own

potential, intellect and to properly understand their mind and spirit
* Love, affection and empathy
* Dedication, commitment, understanding of the scriptures and value based

Contribution to education:

*Revived the spirit of humanism in education

*Free and compulsory mass education
*A national system of education
*Women education
*Concept of equality for all
*Ramakrishna Mission in 1897
*Vedantic society in San Francisco

Relevance of Vivekananda in today's Education

What India needs today is a strong body to protect her eternal soul. Today India is
undergoing a transitional stages haunted by pretty parochialism and western
commercialization in human relations. The class structured has ignored the fundamental
aspiration of man to realise his best self. Man’s faith has destroyed; he is deprived of his
dignity as a moral being and controlled chiefly by material forces. This is much against the
cherished ideals of Indian democratic system, and therefore every effort should be made to re-
awaken and re-inculcate the true sprit of Indian culture in the minds of the people. Swamiji’s
message in this context is very significant particularly because of its applicability to solve the
complicated issue of the nation. He was a great patriot with a burning love for the motherland
and his heroic soul always yearned for freedom. He tried to make the people of India
understand that political and social strength should have their foundation on cultural strength.

Swamiji’s educational thought has very great significance today because modern
education has lost much of its connection with the values but a machine for turning out some
title holders who have no faith in themselves. Vivekananda denounced this system and
emphasized the need for a complete re-orientation of human values to fight against hedonism
and commercial fetishes. He suggested that education should not be fro stuffing some facts
into the brain; it should aim at reforming the human mind. In era of globalization people are
coming closer than ever to each other. People of different languages, beliefs, religious faiths,
political convictions and ways of life have come to live closely. Everyone has a right to his
way of life. Dogmatism and bigotry have no place in globalized world. Therefore education
must instill these qualities in teachers and students. Thus, SwamiJi's thoughts on education are
like an ocean. The more we ponder the more we get. We have to pursue the ideas of Swamiji
with a deep sense of commitment to achieve objectives of education.


Swamiji was a teacher not only of the Indians but also of the entire world. As a
world teacher, his vision encompassed the spiritual upliftment of humanity as a whole,
yet he was also one of the greatest leaders of modern India. He tirelessly worked for
India’s regeneration, because he saw that India’s rich spiritual culture would be the
greatest gift to world culture and civilization. He visualized that a spiritually awakened
India would once again bring about a spiritualization of human life and culture in the
world. His ideas and ideals have great relevance to current problems challenging India
and world today.

India got political independence; Science and technology have helped the nation
to attain high degree of economic efficiency. But it is not a true measure of India’s
development. The poor and masses have not been able to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
They are to be educated first. Literacy and vocational education should go together to
uplift them from their present condition. Education must be able to produce men of
integrity dedicated administrator socially conscious citizens. What one may call progress
is nothing if it is not accompanied by inner change and inclusive.

1. Kumar Satinder (2000), Educational Philosophy in Modern India,
Anmol publication pvt ltd., 4 pp-74-88
2. Complete works of SwamiVivekananda

**Mr. Rajesh Jaiswal is the Assistant Professor, Golaghat Commerce

College, department of Commerce, Golaghat- 785 621, Assam and
Research Scholar, Department of Commerce, Dibrugarh University.