Swami Vivekananda – A social reformer, educator and a great thinker for aims of education

Swami Vivekananda


                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.

                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

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.


                 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.


               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.


                 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.


                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.


                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.


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.


                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.


                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.


                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.


                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.

Teachers’ Responsibility :-

Teacher plays an important role in the task of educating the child. According to Vivekananda a true teacher is one who can come down, immediately; to the level of the student and can “transfer his soul to the students soul”, and see through the student’s eyes, hear through his ears, and understand through his understanding. A teacher, in its truest senses is a friend, philosopher and guide capable of providing proper direction and guidance to his pupils. He has to understand the needs of the pupil and to guide his learning and activities accordingly. The teacher, according to him, should be a “role model” to his pupil.

Guru Grahayasa is recommended by Swami Vivekananda, and is one of the best ways a teacher can help the pupil. So we can say that teacher’s responsibility is to show the pupil light in order to lead a brighter future.

Students :.

Swamiji pleaded : One who solve own problems efficiently is the best student. So the development of our nation lies on the hands of the students. The characteristics of best students according to him are :.

1) In his own word – “Faith in our self and faith in God – this is the secret of greatness” so each student must have faith in themselves and in God in order to reach their destiny.

2) Students must always have a will power and they should have self confidence within them in order to move forward in life.

3) Students must have a disciplined conduct and a good character and should be polite, humble, truthful, and follow what is good; have a motivation for learning and cultivation of knowledge, cooperation and fellow feeling.

4) Each student must develop love for their country.

5) Students should always practice religion and should not perform any kind of evil deeds.

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