Swami Vivekananda was one the greatest spiritual leaders of the modern of world, a great lover of humanity whose unconditional love extended to all people without any distinctions of caste, class, creed race, region or religion. Vedanta takes in not only the truths preached in the Vedas but also in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Puranas to the extent they constitute an exposition of Bhakti or devotion as a way of reaching God-consciousness. Vedanta includes the concepts of both the impersonal and the personal God.
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Moral and Religious Education
Religious education is a vital part of a sound curriculum. Swami Vivekananda considered the Gita, the Upanishads and the Vedas as the most important curriculum for religious education. For him, religion is self realization. It is not only for the individual’s development but also for the transformation of total mankind. The true religion cannot be limited to a particular place of time. He pleaded for unity of world religion. To Swami Vivekananda, ethics and religion are one and the same. God is always on the side of goodness. To fight for goodness is to serve to God. The moral and religious educations develop the self-confidence among the young men and women. The essential characteristic of the educational philosophy of Swami Vivekananda are idealism, naturalism and pragmatism. Swami Vivekananda an idealist at heart.
Swami Vivekananda A Builder of Modern India
Swami Vivekananda held the view that the purity of India’s ancient philosophic and religious truths had been divested of their basic values and made to support an exploitative social, economic and power system, and the system had to be changed to bring it in line with the original values of the Vedanta with its ethic of basic human identity and service of all human beings, who were handicapped, whether economically or socially or culturally, by those who were better off, whether by inheritance or by natural ability.
To him the country meant the people and the people meant the masses. Swami Vivekananda’s influence on modern India can be seen in its development of socialist ideas, its new emphasis on mass-uplift and mass participation, and its growing identification of mass welfare with genuine patriotism. He believed in building on the foundations of the past, out shown of its short-comings and its irrelevant and anti-social accretions, and restored to its original purity of Vedanta and its identification of all human beings with the universal reality.
Swami Vivekananda also had the same firm belief in Hindus and Muslims working together for the development of the Indian nation. Swami Vivekananda wanted Hindu-Muslim unity based not only on the religion of Hindu Vedanta and Islamic democracy; he also wanted it to be built upon his basis of common interests. Swami Vivekananda recognized the difficulty of poor children in rural areas in attending primary schools even if they were available and in their vicinity, as they would be required to help their parents in their work and enable them to earn their miserable livelihoods. He therefore talked of the need for taking education to where the children could conveniently gather and at the same time which would not cut into their work.
Swami Vivekananda believed that education should aim at developing the mind rather than stuff it with bookish knowledge and that it would be easier for a stimulated mind to acquire knowledge on its own and digest it properly. Today of course, everyone is for women’s education and giving them their rightful place, but in actual fact, women’s education in rural India is still at a low level, while as regards the inclusion of spirituality in their education, it is still to be accomplished.
Secularism, socialism, mass uplift and mass power, women’s liberation, abolition of untouchability, inclusion of social service as a part of religious worship, Hindu-Muslin unity, universal literacy and informal education-all these constitute the contribution of Swami Vivekananda to the building of Modern India.
Philosophy of Life View of Swami Vivekananda
The main essence of his philosophy of life is to become fearless through struggle and serve humanity with peace .He wants to make a individual without fear from enemies face all the challenges boldly and confidently without any suppression. The real education according to Swami Vivekananda is that which prepares the individual for struggle for existence .Education prepares a man for social service, to develop his character and finally imbibes him with the spirit and courage of a lion.
Education is a tool of liberation from the darkness and ignorance. Teaching and learning are part of the process. The teacher only guides, suggests, points out and helps the student. The teacher only motivates and encourages the students to find out the hidden treasure of knowledge. Indian nationalism was the basic foundation of his philosophy of education and the philosophy of Vedanta and Upanishads.
He was against the system of the contemporary education system which turned men into slaves, capable of slavery and nothing else. He emphasized that the aim of education being life-building, man-making character-building. He said that knowledge without culture was only skin-deep. Real education is that which prepares a man for struggle of existence. It prepares man for social service and develops his character.
He has emphasized that an education which develops character, mental powers and intelligence gives self-confidence and self-reliance among the individuals. Swami Vivekananda stressed education for democracy and national development. Education was a powerful instrument to achieve these development qualities in the people.
Swami Vivekananda’s Means of Education
According to Swami Vivekananda the means for education is love. Love and character buildings are the best means for education. Love is the best inspiration in character building. Love in the minds of the educator is the real source of his influence upon the education.
The true education, gives the growth and expansion of personality. He wanted that the education for total human development was the main vision. Swami Vivekananda strongly pleaded that development of character through the service of his fellowmen, the utilization of his talents for ensuring the happiness and welfare of the millions of his less fortunate fellow-citizens should be the aim of the education.
The child should be taught through love, fellow feelings and love for human beings. Education must help the individual to recognize his cultural heritage and to use it in his struggle of life. Education is a life-long process towards the fullest development of human personality, self-discovery, self-perfection, self-awareness and self manifestation.
AIMS of Education by Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda wanted all-round development of education to heart and mind, to strengthen character and national consciousness, to help in the cultivation of strength and energy, nurture the brain and intellect and stir feelings of kindness and sympathy.
According to Swami Vivekananda, education is a process in which the young minds, will receive strength, energy and vigorous character. Through this process, the individual will mould them self into a complete and perfect human being of their life .All knowledge and all powers are within.
All knowledge comes from the human soul. Man manifests knowledge, discovers it with himself, which is pre-existing through etertnity.Education is a man-making and nation-making process.
The prime aim of education is to achieve the full perfection already present in a child. According to Swami Vivekananda, all the materials and spiritual knowledge are already present in the individuals mind, but it is covered by certain ignorance.
Education is the character development of the child. He emphasizes the child should practice Brahmacharya which fosters development of mental, moral and spiritual powers leading to purity of thought, words and deeds.
Swami Vivekananda considered women to be the incarnation of power and asked men to respect them in every way possible. He insists that men and women are equally competent not only in the academic matters but also must have an equal companion in the home and family. The ideal woman in Indian is the mother, the mother first, and the mother last.
Education should spread to every household in the country, to factories, playing grounds and agricultural fields. If the children do not come to the school the teacher should reach them. Swami Vivekananda favored education for different sections of society, rich and poor, young and old, Male and Female.
From the analysis of Swami Vivekananda’s scheme of education, the uplift of the masses is possible only through education. His views on education bring to light his constructive, practical and comprehensive character. Through education, he tries to materialize the moral and spiritual welfare and upliftment, irrespective of caste, cread, nationality or time.
Swami Vivekananda suggested giving up jealousy and conceit and learning to work united for others. He said, purity, patience and perseverance can help overcome all obstacles.
Ramakrishna and Vivekananda’,Prabuddha Bharata.
Swami Vivekananda:A Historical study by Ramesh Chandra Majumder.