Much has been said and written about Swami Vivekananda. He is attributed to be the perfect gentleman and students are exhorted to be like him. His theories, philosophies of Vedanta have spread far and wide around the world and people rever him a lot. Its a proud feeling to know that he was born on Indian soil.
Swami Vivekananda was a man of strict self-discipline and had an unimaginable kind heart. He was a brilliant student and rose to fame when he went to represent India in a religious congregation held at Chicago. Below we present his views on education.
- Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.
- The true education is not yet conceived amongst us. I never define anything, still it may be described as a development of faculty, not an accumulation of words, or as a training of individuals to will rightly and efficiently.
- No one can teach anybody. The teacher spoils everything by thinking that he is teaching. 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. We have to do only so much for the boys that they may learn to apply their own intellect to the proper use of their hands, legs, ears, eyes, etc., and finally everything will become easy.
- To me the very essence of education is concentration of mind, not the collecting of facts. If I had to do my education over again, and had any voice in the matter, I would not study facts at all. I would develop the power of concentration and detachment, and then with a perfect instrument I could collect facts at will. Side by side in the child should be developed the power of concentration and detachment.
- Well, you consider a man as educated if only he can pass some examinations and deliver good lectures. The education which 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? Real education is that which enables one to stand on his own legs. The education that you are receiving in schools and colleges is only making you a race of dyspeptics. You are working like machines merely, and living a jelly-fish existence.
- Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making, assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who had got by heart whole library. If education were identical with information, the libraries would be the greatest sages in the world and encyclopaedias the Rishis.
- Negative thoughts weaken men. Do you not find that where parents are constantly taxing their sons to read and write, telling them they will never learn anything, and calling them fools and so forth, the latter do actually turn out to be so in many cases. If you speak kind words to boys and encourage them, they are bound to improve in time. What holds good of children, also holds good of children in higher thoughts. If you can give them positive ideas, people will grow up to be men and learn to stand on their own legs.
- All knowledge, secular or spiritual, is in the human mind. In many cases it is not discovered, but remains covered, and when the covering is being slowly taken off we say “we are learning”, and the advance of knowledge is made by the advance of this process of uncovering. The man from whom this veil is being lifted is more knowing man; the man upon whom it lies thick is ignorant, and the man from whom it has entirely gone is all-knowing.
- No one was ever really taught by another; each of us has to teach himself. The external teacher offers only the suggestion which rouses the internal teacher to work to understand things.
- In language and literature, in poetry and in arts, in everything we must point out not the mistakes people are making in their thoughts and actions, but the way in which they will gradually be able to do these things better. Pointing out mistakes wounds a man’s feelings. We have seen how Sri Ramakrishna would encourage even those whom we considered as worthless, and change the very course of their lives thereby. His very method of teaching was a unique phenomenon.