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Imparting Knowledge – Releasing The Third Eye of Mankind In The Vision of Swami Vivekananda
150th Birth Anniversary Commemoration
By: Jayanta Baksi
17th November, 2011
The development of education is a gamut, which gathers the knowledge of its ancient times into a present time, flowing through the present into the future. It is important to perceive the historical background of educational development to understand the current time as well as to visualize future scope.
Evolution of educational system in India may broadly be separated into three stages:
1. Pre British period;
2. British period &
3. Post Independence period.
Presently, we will not converse about the 03rd one right now since it is presently associated with Swami Vivekananda; however, his philosophy is prevailing in resemblance to these days too.
India is one of the ancient civilizations of the world. About the 2nd millennium B.C. the Aryans entered into India and raised conflict with the ‘dasas’. The non-Aryan tribes dominated them in all spheres. In the course of time, this led to the emergence of ‘Chaturvarna’ (4 varnas) system in which ‘dasas’ were absorbed as ‘sudras’.
At about 500 B.C. the classes became hard-boiled into castes. This was a typical hierarchical society & religion played a pivotal role, even vastly influenced or controlled education in a complete form. To study of Vedic literature was obligatory to the higher castes.
Those stages of instruction were extremely well defined – During the first period up to the age of 7 the child received primary education at home; from (8 to 16) years of age at school and after that at a university. Principally girls were educated at home.
Formal schooling, however, commenced with a ritual known as ‘Upanayana’ or thread ceremony, which was more or less mandatory for the three higher castes (at a later stage it was totally limited to the Brahmins) & ceremony was marked of the commencement of secondary education. In this phase the boy would reside at the preceptor’s ‘ashrama’ or house for learning.
Study at this stage consisted of the recitation of the Vedic mantras’ or hymns and the grammar, auxiliary sciences, astronomy, phonetics, prosody and etymology. The most vital point ought to be noted here was that the quality & nature of education varied according to the requirements of the caste.
On & after attaining at the age of 12 years interested students may persist their studies joined a higher center of learning or a university presided over by a ‘Kulapathi’ (founder of a school of thought). Advanced students would improve their knowledge by taking part in philosophical discussions at a ‘Parishad ‘or academy. Some historians guessed that these centers mark the genesis of ‘university education’.
A mark of development was evolved by the end of 6th century B.C. while the right of ‘Upanayana’ was discarded to other castes which creates disappointment to the larger sections of the society & this led the emergence of 2 new religious order
- (a) Buddhism of Gautam Buddha &
- (b) Jainism of Mahavira
Irrespective of caste, creed or sex they imparted education to the general people in their common language.
Establishment of the majestic Nanda dynasty in 413 B.C. & afterwards a stronger Maurya dynasty transforms the hierarchical arrangement of society, its occupational rigidity & generate new rays of light in the field of education as new educational institutions were established in growing towns for admitting students freely irrespective of all caste, creed & race.
During this era Takshashila (was a great centre of enhancing wisdom) included special institutions of law, medicine and military science & acquired international name, fame for imparting quality edification.
The 500 years from the 4th century A.D. to the close of the 8th under the Guptas, Harsha and their successors is an amazing period in the history of education in India.
During in time the universities of Nalanda and Valabhi were established and there was most important advancement in the field of Indian sciences, mathematics and astronomy. The other great centers of Buddhist learning in the post Gupta era were Vikramasila, Odantupuri and Jagaddala.
Muslim invasions began in the 10th century. Prior to that, mostly all villages had its own & local schoolmaster. Brahmin ‘acharyas’ conducted Hindu schools of learning at their residences were known as ‘Pathasalas’ in Western India and ‘Tols’ in Bengal. To promote education mostly all such schools were spontaneously endowed / sponsored by the Rajas or other affluent persons.
The usual centers of learning were either some king’s capital such as Kanauj, Mithila, Ujayani or a holy place, such as Varanasi, Ayodhya, Kanchi or Nasik. In addition to Buddhist Viharas (monasteries), there sprang up Hindu ‘maths’ (monk’s residences) and temple colleges and temple colleges in different parts of India.
Please be noticed that the growth of temples in India was a signal of growth of education as education was dominated by religion. We have intimated previously that generally girl children were educated at residence. In this era the conditions of girls were remaining identical however vocational education was imparted through a system of apprenticeship.
Ramesh Chandra Dutt, in his Civilization in Ancient India, p. 127, writes: “Buddhism had never assumed a hostile attitude towards the parent religion of India; and the fact that the two religions existed side by side for long centuries increased their toleration of each other. In every country Buddhists and orthodox Hindus lived side by side. Hindus went to Buddhist monasteries and Universities, and Buddhists learned from Brahmins sages. The same Kings favoured the followers of both religions. The Gupta Emperors were often worshippers of Shiva and Vishnu, but loaded Buddhists and Buddhist monasteries with gifts, presents and favors. One king was often a Buddhist and his son an orthodox Hindu; and often two brothers followed or favoured the two religions without fighting. Every Court had learned men belonging to both the religions, and Vikramaditya ‘s Court was no exception to the rule.”
At the end of the 18th century’s India was an essentially a feudal society. The mass of the populace was neglected and poor. The scheduled castes and who were treated as untouchables, and scheduled tribes who were not included into the mainstream of the society, twisted into the lowliest, the poorest and the most exploited groups.
The socio economic background of the society is itself reflected in the educational policy. The princely governments of those days did not acknowledge any responsibility to imparting education to the masses, nevertheless all their edifying endeavor was limited to the sponsorships of a few monitory support to learned persons and institutions of higher learning mostly on religious considerations.
At this time principal means of education was non-formal & vocational in character; even students were groomed according to their family occupation. Girls didn’t go to schools. The objective of the educational system was not to encourage vertical mobility of proper education but to educate individuals to their predetermined status in society. This educational system moreover made a division between intellectuals who did not work with their hands but received formal education and workers who produced wealth with the sweat of their forehead but were not supposed to be in need of formal education. This created two classes’ i.e. the exploiters and the exploited. Unfortunately education became a negation of social justice.
After the establishment of British rule in India, a few of the English intellectual like .1. Duncan and William Jones were attracted by Indian literature. The result was the establishment of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1784, Sanskrit College in 1791 and the starting of the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in November 1804. People like Charles Grant, Lord Minto and a few Christian missionaries had endeavored to set up English Schools before 1813. The first attempts made by Europeans to impart education in India were the results of private generosity but not at all for natives and restricted for Christian children only.
We are aware of the fact that David Hare was the prime architect of secular English Education & the moving sprit behind the establishment of the Hindu College, Calcutta School Society & the Calcutta School Book Society, at the time of Rammohan Roy.
It ought to be noted that Rammohan didn’t associate himself with any of these educational projects of David Hare. However, on the other hand raised a parallel set of institutions where alongwith the teaching of other subjects, religious instruction was also delivered in a regular basis. In the year of 1822 he founded Anglo Hindu School against the protest of Hindu College & gave effect in 1826 to his original pet scheme of establishing a Vedanta College.
In 19th century Bengal, Buddhism was not in the picture. The main battle which the Vedanta, had to fight was against the forces released by the secular English education, sponsored by the “orthodox” Hindus. This battle partook of the same character as the old historic battle between Vedantism and Buddhism. So there is no gainsaying the fact that the “orthodox” idolaters, at least objectively, if not subjectively, played a revolutionary role in the society of 19th century Bengal.
Now if the Brahmo movement was the ‘Indian restructuring’, some scholars, following the same European analogy, have christened the Ramakrishna, movement as the Indian Counter restructuring largely as it provides support to Hindu worship condemned by the Brahmos.
We should not overlook in this relation that it was Keshav Chandra Sen, who introduced the Ramakrishna to the educated & cultured community of Calcutta and that for the enormous similarity between the religious visions of the two leaders there was a controversy among their respective disciples who influenced whom. Then the Tattvabodhini Patrika extended a “cordial support” to Vivekananda’s mission and prayed to God to “fulfill the good object of the Swamiji’s life work”.
Inspite of non-cooperation with David Hare, Rammohan extended all sorts of assistance to the Christian Missionaries to spread education in the country since spiritual education was taught in their school. At this juncture, it may be pointed out that while in England, Rammohan knock down with financial distress & it was the David Hare who arranged shelter for him with his family in Bristol. But in Calcutta when, a few years later of the incident, Hare expired as a homeless bachelor, the Christian missionary friends of Raja Rammohan did not even permit his funeral in any of their cemeteries. We are apologetic to utter that man wars didn’t mercy to this deceased person for religious dogmatists.
On the other hand, out of admiration of the departed soul of Rammohan, Sashipada Bandhopadhyay [Brahmin converted into Bramha], social reformer cum educationist, was able to accumulate a few last memoirs of Rammohan Roy from Bristol with the assistance of Mary Carpenter & arranged to sustain those items in his personal ‘Museum’ which was constructed at his own Birth place & residence – none other than at Baranagar. Perhaps out of such activities, Sashipada Bandhopadhyay had tried to teach the inhabitants – how to pay homage to a great soul for one’s philanthropic actions!
We must acknowledge the debt towards Rammohan that to spread the education through Christian missionaries; Rammohan played a most crucial role. Rammohan amalgamated secular subjects’ alongwith the religious knowledge in modern educational system & to fulfill his desire & thus he wrote to Rev. Henry Ware of Harvard College, United States, to remit a few competent mentors to educate the people of this country & in response to his appeal The Church of Scotland send Rev. Alexander Duff (25.04.1806-1878) to Calcutta, he who arrived in Calcutta on 27th May, 1830.
- Rev. Alexander Duff opened his institution in Feringhi Kamal Bose’s house, upper Chitpur Road, Jorasanko. Dr. Duff expressing his desire that the school be opened daily with prayer, Raja Rammohan Roy suggested that the Lord’s Prayer be so used.
- In 1836, the ‘General Assembly’s Institution’ was moved to Gorachand Basak’s House at Garanhata, North Calcutta, better to say at the heart of Sutanuti region.
- The construction of the present buildings began in 1837. The foundation stone was laid by Mr. Macfarlon, the Chief Magistrate of Calcutta on 23rd February, 1837 with prayer by Rev. Charles. The building was designed by Mr. John Gray, constructed by Messrs. Burn & Co. and supervised by Mr. John Thompson, East India Company Engineer.
- The construction of the building was completed in 1839 at a cost of about Rs. 60,000.00. The institution was shifted to its new building in 1839.
- The dwelling house of Dr. Duff where he met all his contemporaries and where the Minutes of Lord Macaulay were written still stands in the premises of the College.
In the first instance, The East India Company did not in favour neither the spread of English education nor Missionary activities in India. The question was whether English or Persian and Arabic should be the vehicle for higher education.
Raja Rammohan Roy was one of the pioneer in this field those who had tried to spread higher education by the introduction of English. In December 1823, the Raja addressed a letter to Lord Amherst giving the most lucid exposition of the liberal ideas which prompted the advocates of western education to plead for the introduction of English as medium of higher education.
However, a final seal of this controversy was ended & confirmed by Bentinck’s opinions, who issued his Resolution of the 7th March 1835 which stated that ‘the great object of the British Government ought to be the promotion of European literature and science among the natives of India, and that all the funds appropriated for the purposes of education would be best employed on English education alone.’ Thus, flood gate of Christian missions in India opened.
Dr. Duff had played a significant role in the introduction of western education in India, through the medium of English. There were only few institutions to cater western education to Indian students, however, the demand for western education in the country in early 19th century was in the increase.
The General Assembly’s Institution was started with only 5 boys. The five who entered on the day of its first commencement have since enlarged into an average attendance of 800. According to Dr. Duff, 600 boys on the lowest calculation daily attended English schools conducted under the vigilant supervision of missionaries in Calcutta and its neighbourhoods.
A notable achievement of the Scottish Church College was the introduction of systematic undergraduate co-education. Although girl students were admitted in one or two men’s college in Calcutta the Scottish Church College adopted co-ed as a specific guiding principle. The first woman graduate from this college was Miss. A. Alton.
Dr. Duff played a significant role in the spread of women’s education and long after he left India, Miss. Chandramukhi Basu passed the F.A. of the Calcutta University in 1880 and in 1884, she passed M.A. in English – the first woman student of the Calcutta University to gain this honour – from the Free Church Institution [Further reference: Alok Roy – ‘Duff and some of his followers’, pp 37-72].
“So long as I am in this tabernacle of clay I shall never cease if permitted by a gracious Providence to labour for the good of India; my latest breath will be spent in imploring blessings on India and its people.” – The evidence of Dr. Duff’s love for India and her people may be quoted from his own words in & would be worthwhile
- Swami Vivekananda graduated from the General Assembly’s Institution in 1883 and
- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose from the Scottish Church College in 1919.
- In spite of the distance and disparity between these two great sons of Mother India in space and time constraint, they had certain ties that linked them in principle.
- Both of them were fired with the zeal of uplifting the demoralized masses of India.
- Subhas Chandra the most gallant fighter for freedom, was inspired by the message of strength and dynamism in the writing of Swami Vivekananda.
“My vision”, said Swamiji, “is not Ramkrishna’s nor Vedanta’s nor anything but simply to bring manhood to my propel” [Further ref: ‘Sister Nivedita’ by Pravrajika Atmaprana, Adivata Ashrami, 2nd edition, page 141].
Subhas Chandra was expelled from the Presidency College by Principal James resulting on a clash with a European Professor involving a issue of national prestige. However he was welcomed in the Scottish Church College by Dr. Urquhart.
In a letter addressed to the Secretary, Philosophical Society, Scottish Church College in 1934, Subhas Chandra acknowledges his debt of gratitude to this institution and states – “I can never forget my association with the Scottish Church College, where I received a warm hospitality at a time when the doors of other institutions had been banged on me. Nor can I be sufficiently grateful to Dr. Urquhart who was responsible for welcoming me as a student in the College.”
Sri Bose also declared that his two years of study of Philosophy in this institution “helped me to discipline my intellect and heart and sharpen my judgement and thereby prepare myself for the subsequent struggle which has been in store in me”. He had also received a preliminary training in military science from the Scottish Church College where he was one among the other 31 cadets enrolled in the University Volunteer Crops in 1917.
- Thus two prime architects of modern India had enrolled themselves in this institution as students.
- Swamiji was proud of his ‘Scotch Master’ Mr. Hastie as was Netaji grateful to Dr. Urquhart.
- Both in the dawn of their career received their preliminary training as students of the Scottish Church College & thus the General Assembly Institute or Scottish Church College; hence for the Dr.Duff.
“When missionaries first attempted to commence work amongst the girls, it was with the greatest difficulty that they could induce parents to allow them to learn. Before this time, girls who were intended for a life of prostitution had received some instruction in order that they might prove more attractive to their visitors; hence education in women was associated with immorality. In order to overcome their prejudice, parents had to be paid to allow their daughters to attend school. Then the conservatism of the older members of the family most strongly opposed it, on the ground that the gods would be angry and show their displeasure by removing the husbands of girls who had been taught. Were the history of the progress of female education in India written, it would contain many stories of schools almost deprived of scholars owing to one of them becoming a widow, and the old women pointing to her case as a certain instance of the displeasure of the gods falling upon her and her family for departing from their time-honoured customs. But gradually this prejudice was destroyed by the quiet and persistent efforts of the ladies of various missionary societies, until nowadays in a very great number of the houses of the middle and upper classes are to be found those who have been regularly sent to school and are able to read and write fairly well.” [“Modern Hinduism,” of Wilkins pp. 373 & 374]
Now, after discussion the society & its educational system of India although in nut-shell, a single feature of ancient Indian or Hindu civilization is that it has been moulded and shaped in the course of its history more by religious than by political, or economic influences.
The fundamental principles of social, political, and economic life were welded into a complete theory which is called Religion in Hindu thought. The total configuration of ideals, practices, and conduct is called Dharma (Religion, Virtue or Duty) in this ancient tradition. From the very start, they came, under the influence of their religious ideas, to conceive of their country as less a geographical and material than a cultural or a spiritual possession, and to identify, broadly speaking, and the country with their culture.
The Country was their Culture and the Culture their Country, the true Country of the Spirit, the ‘invisible church of culture’ not confined within physical bounds. India thus was the first country to rise to the conception of an extra-territorial nationality and naturally became the happy home of different races, each with its own ethno-psychic endowment, and each carrying its social reality for Hindus is not geographical, not ethnic, but a culture-pattern.
Country and patriotism expand, as ideals and ways of life receive acquiescence. Thus, from the very dawn of its history has this Country of the Spirit ever expanded in extending circles, Brahmarshidesa, Brahmavarta, Aryavarta, Bharatvarsha, or Jambudvipa, Suvarnabhumi and even a Greater India beyond its geographical boundaries.
It may be said with quite a good degree of accuracy that India was the only country where knowledge was systematized and where provision was made for its imparting at the highest level in remote times. Whatever the discipline of learning, whether it was surgery, medicine, chemistry, dramatics or principles of literary criticism, the art of painting or sculpture, or mechanics or even dancing, everything was condensed to a organized whole for passing it on to the future generations in a brief and nonetheless in detailed manner. University education on almost modern lines existed in India as early as 800 B.C. or even earlier.
The ideal of education has been very grand, noble and high in ancient India. Its aim, according to Herbert Spencer is the ‘training for completeness of life’ and the moulding of character of men and women for the battle of life. The history of the educational institutions in ancient India shows how mature is her cultural history. It points to a long history. In the early stage it is rural, not urban.
British Sanskrit scholar Arthur Anthony McDonnell (1854-1930) author of ‘A History of Sanskrit Literature’ says “Some hundreds of years must have been needed for all that is found” in her culture. The aim of education was at the manifestation of the divinity in men, it touches the highest point of knowledge. In order to attain the goal the whole educational method is based on plain living and high thinking pursued through eternity.
The history of the most of the identified civilizations confirm that the further back we go into ancient times, further disappointing is found to be the general condition of women. Hindu civilization is exceptional in this respect. Here we find a surprising exclusion to the general rule.
The further back we go, the more pleasing is found to be the position of women in more spheres than one; obviously the pitch of education is most noteworthy among them. There is sufficient and realistic proof to establish that women were regarded as perfectly entitled for the right of studying the Vedic literature and performing the sacrifices enjoined in it down to about 200 B.C.
This need not astonish us as numerous of the hymns of the Rig Veda are the symphony of 20 sage-poetesses. Women were admitted to execute religious rites and consequently to complete educational facilities at that time. Women-sages were called ‘Rishikas’ and ‘Brahmavadinis’.
The Rig Veda recognizes of these Rishikas:
- 4. Kadru,
- 8. Vagambhrini,
- 9. Paulomi,
- 10 Jarita,
- 11. Sraddha-Kamayani,
- 16. Savitri,
- 17. Devajami,
- 18. Nodha,
- 19 Akrishtabhasha,
- 20. Sikatanivavari &
- 21. Gaupayana.
Dwelling on this magnificent effect of this system of education unparalleled in history Sir Monier Williams says, “And here I may observe circumstances in the history of India is more worthy of investigation than the antiquity and perseverance of her institutions. It has existed almost unaltered since the description of its organization in Manu’s code two or three centuries before Christian era. It has survived all religious, political and physical convulsions from which India suffered from time immemorial. Invader after invader has ravaged the country with fire and sword but the simple self-contained township has preserved its constitution intact, its customs, precedents, and peculiar institutions unchanged and unchangeable amid all other changes.”
Interesting information may be added at this point from William Adam in his report on the state of ‘Education in Bengal’ (1835 and 1838) made by the subsequent observation: –
“My recollections of the village schools of Scotland do not enable me to pronounce that the instructions given in them have a more direct bearing upon the daily interests of life than that which I find given or professed to be given in the humbler village schools of Bengal.”
The Hindus were conscious about their principle. Spirituality is ultimate target of Hindus nonetheless they by no means ignored material affairs. They were in the words of Wordsworth, “true to the kindred points of heaven and home’ and knew fully that matter and spirit are interrelated, one cannot be conceived without the other. This ideal is maintained by the system of education which is based on a sound method.’
All of the co-related aspects revealed above were completely known & fully recognized by Swami Vivekananda (1863 – 1902) rather than us, as he was one of the great philosophers and reformer of India, embraces education, which for him signifies ‘man-making’, as the very mission of his life. In our symposium, which declares to expound and analyze Vivekananda’s views on education, an endeavour has been prepared to focus on the fundamental theme of his philosophy, viz. the spiritual unity of the universe. Whether it concerns the goal or aim of education, or its method of approach or its component parts, all his thoughts, we shall observe, stem from this dormant theme of his philosophy which has its moorings in Vedanta.
Vivekananda recognizes that mankind is transitory through a crisis. The tremendous emphasis on the scientific and mechanical ways of life is fast reducing man to the status of a machine. Ethical and spiritual values are being smashed. The elementary principles of civilization are being disregarded. Conflicts of morals, manners and conduct are encompassing the ambiance. Disregard for all previous is the trend of the day. Vivekananda searches for the answers of all these social and universal tribulations through education. With this end in view, he senses the awful necessitate of awakening man to his spiritual self wherein through very purposeful education.
Vivekananda points out that the mistake of the present-day education is that it has no specific goal to follow. A painter distinguish what he is going to paint, a sculptor has an apparent thought about what he wants to shape out of the granite chunk; but a teacher, he says, has no clear idea about the goal of his teaching. Swamiji endeavors to create, through his expressions and activities that the conclusion of all education is man making. He organizes the system of this man-making culture in the light of his over-all philosophy of Vedanta.
According to Vedanta, the spirit of human lies in the soul, which he possesses in addition to his body and mind. In true with this philosophy, Swamiji defines education as “the manifestation of the perfection already in man.” The aim of education is to mark in our lives the perfection, which is the especially nature of our inner self. This perfection is the consciousness of the infinite power which resides in all and every-where-existence, consciousness and bliss (satchidananda). Subsequent to understanding the crucial nature of this perfection, we should discover it with our inner self. To achieve this, one will have to abolish one’s ego, ignorance and all other artificial recognition, which stand in the way.
Meditation, prepared by moral transparency and passion for truth, facilitate human to put down behind the body, the senses, the self-esteem and all other bogus elements, which are fragile. Consequently he realizes his immortal divine self, which is of the nature of countless reality, endless knowledge and infinite bliss. At this stage, man becomes conscious of his self as equal with all other selves of the cosmos, i.e. different selves as appearances of the same self. Therefore education, in Vivekananda’s wisdom, enables one to realize one’s self within as the self everywhere. The vital harmony of the entire universe is recognizing through education.
Thus, man making for Swamiji stands for inspiring mans to the consciousness of his true self. However, education as a result signified does not point towards the maturity of the soul in isolation from body and mind. We have to bear in mind that origin of Swamiji’s philosophy is Advaita which moralize unity in diversity. Hence, man making for Vivekananda signifies a harmonious maturity of the body, mind & soul.
Swamiji organizes huge stress on physical vigor since sound minds reside in a sound body. He frequently quotes the Upanishadic dictum “nayamatma balahinena labhyah”; i.e. ‘the self cannot be realized by the physically weak’. On the other hand, along with physical ethnicity, he harps on the requirement of paying special concentration to the culture of the mind. According to Swamiji, the mind of the learner has to be controlled and trained in the course of meditation, focus & performs of moral purity. He reveal as instance that the chemist in the laboratory focus all the controls of his mind and fetch them into one focus-the elements to be analyzed to discover out their secrets. He stresses, all success in any line of effort, is the effect of the power of concentration. Concentration, which essentially involves detachment from additional belongings, composes a part of Brahmacharya, which is one of the guiding dictums of Swamiji method of education. Brahmacharya, in a nutshell, stands for the carry out of self-control in favor of protect harmony of the impulses.
Swamiji therefore put emphasis on by his philosophy of education – is not a mere gathering of information however a broad spectrum preparation for time. To quote Vivekananda: “Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there undigested, all your life.” Education for him signifies that a correlated comprehensive process by which character is formed, power of mind is amplified & intellect is sharpened through which one may stand on one’s own feet.
What we need is to study independent of foreign control, different branches of knowledge that is our own and with it the English language and the Western Science. We need Technical Education and all else which may develop industries, so that men, instead of seeking for service may earn enough to provide for themselves and to save something against a rainy day – Swami Vivekananda
On & after finding out the intention of education, the subsequently query that obviously arises is about the method of imparting education. At this juncture we may make a note of the Vedantic foundation of Swamiji’s hypothesis. According to Swamiji, knowledge is innate in every man’s soul. What we indicate whilst we pronounce that a man ‘knows’ is merely what he ‘discovers’ by taking the wrap off his own soul. Swamiji draws our attention to the reality that the mission of the teacher is simply to facilitate the student to manifest its awareness by eradicating the obstacles in its way. Again we may from Swamiji: “Thus Vedanta says that within man is all knowledge even in a boy it is so and it requires only an awakening and that much is the work of a teacher.”
Vivekananda’s technique of education resembles the heuristic method of the current educationists. He refers to the growth of a plant as of a plant, one can’t execute anything more than contributing it with water, air and manure & it will grow from within according to its own nature; accordingly is the situation of a human baby. According to his system of edification, the teacher raises the strength of inquisition in the pupil who is believed to discover answers for self under the bias-free supervision of the teacher.
A lot of emphasis on the ambiance at residence and school intended for the appropriate growth of the child was lays by Vivekananda. The teachers as well as guardian should motivate the child by the way they breathe their lives. Swamiji suggests the older establishment of Gurukul (living with the teacher) and comparable organism for the rationale of education through which student may build up ideal character as the role model to follow. Correspondingly, Mother tongue is the right medium for social or mass schooling as advocated by Swamiji; however he recommends learning of English and Sanskrit too, as English is necessary to grasp the present day’s Western knowledge & Sanskrit escort one into the depths of our huge cultural heritage.
In his organism of education Vivekananda realizes that the religion is the innermost core of education so he cautiously incorporates all those studies, which are indispensable for the all-around growth of the body, mind and soul of the personage. In a broader sense those may be sum up as language, aesthetics, physical culture, religion, science and technology. According to Swamiji, the true cultural sprit of India has its heritage in her spiritual values & hence, the values & ethical cultural sprit of the motherland should form an integral part of the program of education & like Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vedas, Upanishads etc. may remain the constant flow of our spiritual values into the world culture.
By religion Vivekananda doesn’t denote any particular kind of blind pursuance although its fundamental spirit, which is the identification of the spirituality exist within human. He repeats that religion doesn’t consist in any set of rituals or dogmas, rather to be religious one have to escort the life with proper thoughts, expressions and deeds through which we may manifest our righteousness, truth & beauty of higher nature, which guide towards to realize this aspiration and to balance the ethical & moral values in the truest sense. Hence, according to his analysis religion & education are co-related, balancing & synchronizing each other.
Vivekananda trusts that if the religious core of proper edification might boost man’s conviction in his divine nature and the infinite potentialities of the human soul, definitely it will facilitate man turn out to be strong, tolerant and sympathetic beyond all racial barriers. He explains why the religion is the core of proper education “In building up character, in making for everything that is good and great, in bringing peace to others, and peace to one’s own self, religion is the highest motive power, and, therefore, ought to be studied from that standpoint”.
There is a misconception that Vivekananda has overstressed on the role of spiritual progression & ignored materialistic outlook since he constantly thrusts on the requirements to eradicate poverty, redundancy and ignorance. He states, ‘We need technical education and all else which may develop industries, so that men, instead of seeking for service, may earn enough to provide for them-selves, and save something against a rainy day.’ To be a balanced & enlightened nation, according to Vivekananda’s view point, we have to merge the vigor and scientific approach of the West in the midst of the spirituality of our motherland. Hence, educational curriculum ought to be designed in such a way through which youth will be capable to furnish materialistic growth of the country as well as to sustain the supremacy of India’s spiritual heritage.
Vivekananda recognizes that the women have a special aptitude and competence for studies relating to abode and family; nevertheless they are equally proficient in academic affairs, comparable to their male counterpart. Hence, women of our country ought to be trained through exact kind of schooling to uplift the chastity & self-esteem exists within them through which they will be capable to solve their own problems & as a result of his deep thought he advises to launch novel focus of that time, as culinary art, domestic science, sewing, nursing etc.
Vivekananda realizes that education is the only answer to uplift the quality livelihood of the masses. The best of remedies of today’s social and global sickness is to commencement of appropriate education on the solid ground of our own philosophy & traditions as the sense of dignity rises in man when he becomes conscious of his inner spirit and upliftment of humanity, irrespective of caste, creed, nationality or time frame, and that should be the principle of education. He strives to harmonize the conventional values of India with the fresh values brought through the advancement of science and technology.
To refer to his own words: “Traveling through many cities of Europe and observing in them the comforts and education of even the poor people, there was brought to my mind the state of our own poor people and I used to shed tears. When made the difference? “Education” was the answer I got.” Vivekananda wanted to construct a strong homeland through his system of education which will escort the world towards peace and harmony is right now more or less static. It is high time to provide solemn attention to his philosophy of edification & remembers his call to every-body-‘Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.’ Will we ……????
“Atmaanam rathinam viddhi shareeram rathamevatu Buddhim tu saarathim viddhi manah pragrahameva cha” – The Katha Upanishad (iii, 6).
Denotation –“He who is possessed of supreme knowledge by concentration of mind, must have his senses under control, like spirited steeds controlled by a charioteer.”
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