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Swami Vivekananda’s Views on Philosophy of Education: Critical Analysis

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Life contributions of Swami Vivekananda

– one infinite pure and holy – beyond thought beyond qualities I bow down to thee’

Swami Vivekananda was one of the most inspired and influential characters of the 19th century. He was born as Narendranath Datta, in 12th January 1863, to an aristocratic Bengali family in Calcutta. He was among the nine children born to Vishwanath Datta, an attorney at the Calcutta high court. Narendra’s grandfather was a sanskrit and persian scholar.

Swami Vivekananda was a child prodigy known for his photographic memory and his speed reading abilities. Throughout His schooling, he was an all-rounded student who participated in various activities and sports. He was trained in Indian classical music and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1884.

He joined Keshab Chandra Sen’s Nava Vidhan, which was a breakaway faction of sadharan Brahmo Samaj in 1880. Through this, he was introduced to concepts like western esotericism , Unitarianism, and a universalistic interpretation of Hinduism.

Swami Vivekananda met his guru, Ramakrishna during his college days. Even though, he didn’t initially accept his teachings at first, he was greatly inspired by his personality and used to frequently visit him.

Being a member of Brahmo Samaj member, he was monotheistic , and did condoned Ramakrishna’s worship of goddess Kali and idol worship, . He even rejected the idea of ‘identity with the absolute’ or advaita vedanta as ungodly and often made fun of the idea. Narendra tested Ramakrishna, who was patient with his arguments and always encouraged him to see the truth from all perspectives.

However, in 1884, Narendra’s father passed away, leaving behind the family in a great deal of debt and threat of eviction. Times got tough for Narendra as he was unable to find work and to continue his studies, however, his visits to Ramakrishna’s ashram gave him solace and was able to find a path. Ramakrishna had become Narendra’s spiritual focus after his father died. According to Ramakrishna, service to god required service to humanity as each soul is the embodiment of of the divine.

In August of 1886, Ramakrishna passed away due to throat cancer. Later in December that year, Narendra took his monastic vows to become a monk.He took the name of Swami Vivekananda.

In 1888, Swami Vivekananda decided to travel the country and live the life of a wandering monk. He travelled primarily on the alms given by people. He learnt about the various diverse culture in the country and the developed a sympathy for the people suffering. This is where he decided to uplift the nation and the poverty of the people. He met and stayed with people of all religious faiths and backgrounds.

In the summer of 1893, he left for Chicago from Bombay. Swami Vivekananda gave an introduction to India and hinduism in the “parliament of the worlds religion” at the art Institute of Chicago in 1893. This is where he gained worldwide recognition through his iconic speech with “brothers and sisters of America”

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After the parliament of the worlds religion, Swami Vivekananda travelled throughout the continental United States giving lectures for two years. He also made two successful trips to UK to give lectures. Due to his tiresome and busy schedule, his health was deteriorating, at which point he started giving free classes in yoga and vedanta.

In 1897, he came back from The US and landed in Colombo. Throughout his travels, he had amassed a huge number of devotees, followers and fans. He travelled throughout India delivering lectures, addressing social issues, opening monasteries for the the next two years.

In 1899, despite his declining health, he visited the west again, accompanied by a few of his disciples. He returned in december of 1900 back to Calcutta.

He played a major role in the revival of Hinduism in India and contributed to the concept of nationalism in the Colonial era. , Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. His Guru, Ramakrishna played a major role in the formation of his own philosophy. According to Him, service to god required service to humanity as as all living things were the embodiment of the divine self. Swami Vivekananda travelled throughout the country to get first hand knowledge of the conditions and way of life prevailing in British India.

Research Articles

Title: Swami Vivekananda’s Views on Philosophy of Education and Its Relevancy with Modern Life

Swami Vivekananda believed in an education system that developed a person as a whole and not only parts of them. He encouraged an education that developed a person’s personality as a whole; allowing them to not just be logical and pragmatic but also be creative and have an inventive mind. A system that would not only build the minds but also build character was, in the swami’s opinion, an excellent system of education. He often expressed his displeasure for the contemporary educational system as he thought they produced individuals that were built for obedience and subjugation. “He emphasized that the aim of education is to be life-building, man-making and character-making…” (Tripathi, Singh & Verma, 2015, p. 178). According to him, the purpose of education was beyond just delivering knowledge. A good or an ideal education system aims to not only educate an individual, it also develops character, strengthens the mind, sharpens and increases reasoning and comprehension. This enables individuals to exist under their own steam; make them self-reliant.

The current research paper delves into the beliefs and philosophies of Swami Vivekananda to retrieve those ideologies that still hold power in today’s modern world. His emphasis on an education system that promotes and supports democracy for national development still holds true for our current political scenario. He maintained that good teachers were paramount in an educational system as they were the guides who ushered development within each student. “The teacher motivates and encourages the students to find out the hidden treasure of knowledge that lies dormant within him.” (Tripathi, Singh & Verma, 2015, p. 178).

In today’s world, a lot of what the Swami propounded can still be implemented in pursuance of a well-developed nation, inhabited and run by individuals who follow these principles. His principles of education aimed to uplift and benefit the whole of humanity, eventuating the spiritual and moral welfare as well irrespective of the caste, creed, religion or nationality. This would bring about the peace and harmony our present society so unequivocally lacks. “According to Vivekananda, thus we can make a society or nation or universe, where everything is good, no corruptions, no anti-social activities, no immoral activities exist at all.” (Tripathi, Singh & Verma, 2015, p. 184).

Literature Cited: Tripathi, R., Singh, K.P., & Verma, S. (2015). Swami Vivekananda’s views on philosophy of education and its relevancy with modern life. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Approach and Studies, 2(1), 178-184.

Title: Swami Vivekananda’s Views on Philosophy of Education

The current paper discusses the ideas and beliefs Swami Vivekananda had on education and the guiding philosophies attached to it. The paper mentions the ideologies he put major emphasis on, that being “…the aim of education is to be life-building, man-making and character-making and also, knowledge without culture was only skin deep.” (Nithiya, 2012, p. 42). According to Swami, the aims of education were to proselytize the idea of self-development, freedom grow as one wishes, character development and ‘fulfillment of Swadharma’. He promoted patriotism by underpinning Indian nationalism and spirituality as the philosophy attached to education. “Real education is that which prepares a man for struggle of existence. It prepares man for social service and develops his character.” (Nithiya, 2012, p. 42).

The paper also delineates the principles of education posited by Vivekananda which talk about the method of education that should be followed by the society in place of the contemporary education model that was already being employed. One of his principles involve the practice of Brahmacharya as it teaches the art of concentration which helps an individual in their pursuit of knowledge. Another principle imparted by him states the importance of religious education and the moral values it teaches. A person needs to understand and accept their faith wholeheartedly in order to be self-reliant and confident. However, no teacher should let their personal biases guide their teaching as the foremost idea of religion is to respect the beliefs of others. One of the primary principles given by Swami Vivekananda was to ensure that it helps develop the child not just mentally but also physically and spiritually. This would allow the child to grow into a person with character who can practice discipline and have a sharpened intellect capable of thinking for itself without giving into the subjugation of the masses. “Vivekananda strongly pleaded that development of character through the service of his fellow men, 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.” (Barman, 2016, p. 108).

  1. Literature Cited: Nithiya, P. (2012). Swami Vivekananda’s views on philosophy of education. Asian Journal of Multidimensional Research, 1(6), 42-48.
  2. Barman, B. (2016). Swami Vivekananda and his views on the philosophy of education. International Journey of New Technology and Research, 2(7), 106-108.

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