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Swami Vivekananda on Education

       Education is the manifestation of the perfec­tion already in man.                         (IV. 358)

       What is education ? Is it book-learning ? No. Is it diverse knowledge? Not even that. The training by which the current and ex­pression of will are brought under control and become fruitful is called education.                                                                                                       (IV. 490)

       To me the very essence of education is concentration of mind, not the collecting 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.                                                                      (VI. 38-39)

       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.                                                                                                               (VII. 147-48)

       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 has got by heart a whole library.
                                                                                                                                 (III. 302)

       Knowledge is inherent in man; no knowl­edge comes from outside; it is all inside. . . . We say   Newton   discovered   gravitation    Was   it sitting anywhere in a corner waiting for him? It was in his own mind; the time came and he found it out.  All knowledge  that  the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in your own mind. The external world is simply the sugges­tion, the occasion, which sets you to study your own mind.                    (I. 28)

       Every one wants to command, and no one wants to obey; and this is owing to the absence of that wonderful brahmacarya system of yore. First, learn to obey. The command will come by itself. Always first learn to be a servant, and then you will be fit to be a master.
                                       (III. 134-35)

       Education, education, education alone .'Travelling 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. What made the difference? Education was the answer I got.                                                                                 (IV. 483)

       What we want is this Sraddha. Unfortunately, it has nearly vanished from India, and this is why we are in our present state. What makes the difference between man and man is the difference in this sraddhd and nothing else. What makes one man great and another weak and low is this sraddha.                                                                                                                    (III. 319)

       Give up the awful disease that is creeping into our national blood, that idea of ridiculing everything, that loss of seriousness. Give that up. Be strong and have this iraddhd, and everything else is bound to follow.                                                                                               (III. 320)

       The only service to be done for our lower classes is to give them education, to develop their lost individuality. .. . Give them ideas—that is the only help they require, and then the rest must follow as the effect. Ours is to put the chemicals together, the crystallization comes in the law of nature. . . , Now if the mountain does not come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain. If the poor boy cannot come to education, education must go to him.                         (IV.362-63)

       We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one's own feet.                      (V. 342)

       Is that education, as a result of which the will,   being   continuously   choked   by   force through generations, is now well-nigh killed out;  under whose  sway,  why mention  new ideas, even the old ones are disappearing one by  one;  is   that  education   which  is  slowly making man a machine? It is more blessed, in my opinion, even to go wrong, impelled by one's free will  and intelligence,  than  to  be good as an automaton.                                                          (IV. 490)

       What we want are western science coupled with Vedanta, brahmacarya as the guiding motto, and also Sraddha and faith in one's own self. ...   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.  . . . But the root is religion. Religion is as the rice, and everything else, like the curries. Taking only curries causes indigestion, and so is the case with taking rice alone.  (V. 366)

       Do you see, simply by the observance of strict brahmacarya (continence), all learning can be mastered in a very short time—one has an unfailing memory of what one hears or knows but once. It is owing to this want of continence that everything is on the brink of ruin in our country. (VII. 224)

       My idea of education is personal contact with the teachergurugrha-vasa. Without the personal life of a teacher, there would be no education. Take your universities. What have they done during the fifty years (this was told at Madras in 1897) of their existence? They have not produced one original man. They are merely an examining body. The idea of the sacrifice for the common weal is not yet developed in our nation.                                                         (V. 224)

       Truth does not pay homage to any society, ancient and modern. Society has to pay homage to Truth or die. Societies should be moulded upon truth, and truth has not to adjust itself to society. . . . That society is the greatest, where the highest truths become practical. That is my opinion; and if society is not fit for the highest truths, make it so; and the sooner, the better.                                                                                                     (II. 84-85)

       I say, liberate, undo the shackles of people as much as you can. . . . When you would be able to sacrifice all desire for happiness for the sake of society, then you would be the Buddha, then you would be free.                                                                                                              (IV. 491)

       Three things are necessary to make every man great, every nation great: Conviction of the powers of goodness. Absence of jealousy and suspicion. Helping all who are trying to be and do good.                                                                                               (VIII. 299)

       If your ideal is matter, matter shalt thou be. Behold! Our ideal is the Spirit. That alone exists. Nothing else exists, and like Him, we live for ever.                                                         (VIII. 72)

       The Hindu man drinks religiously, sleeps religiously, walks religiously, marries reli­giously, robs religiously. .. . Each nation has a mission for the world. So long as that mission is not hurt, that nation lives, despite every difficulty. But as soon as its mission is destroyed, the nation collapses.                                                                                                               VIII. 74-75)

       Do you not find in .history that the first death sign of a nation has been unchastity? When that has entered, the end of the race is in sight.                                                                    (II. 101)

       Now we are not much more moral than the animals. We are only held down by the whips of society. If society said today, 'I will not punish you if you steal', we should just make a rush for each other's property. It is the police­man that makes us moral. It is social opinion that makes us moral, and really, we are little better than animals.                                                                    (II. 164)

       The majority of sects will be transient, and last only as bubbles, because the leaders are not usually men of character. Perfect love, the heart never reacting, this is what builds character. There is no allegiance possible where there is no character in the leader, and perfect purity ensures the most lasting allegiance and confidence. Take up an idea, devote yourself to it, struggle on in patience, and the sun will rise for you.                                                                    (VI. 135)

       We are asked: *What good is your Religion to society? Society is made a test of truth. Now this is very illogical. Society is only a stage of growth through which we are passing. . .. If the social state were permanent, it would be the same as if the baby remained a baby. There can be no perfect man-baby; the words are a contradiction in terms, so there can be no perfect society. Man must and will grow out of such early stages. ... My Master used to say, 'Why don't you help your own lotus flower to bloom ? The bees will then come of  them­selves.'                (VI. 144)

       Do not recognize wickedness in others. Wickedness is ignorance, weakness. What is the good of telling people they are weak ? Criticism and destruction are of no avail. We must give them something higher; tell them of their own glorious nature, their birthright.        (VI. 141-42)

       What I say is not 'Reform', but 'Move on'. Nothing is too bad to reform. Adaptability is the   whole   mystery   of   life—the   principle underneath, which serves to unfold it. Adjust­ment or adaptation is the outcome of the self pitted    against   external   forces    tending    to suppress it. He who adjusts himself best lives the  longest.  Even  if I  do  not preach  this, society is changing, it must change.                                                                                      (VI. 110)

       Nothing  else  is  necessary   but  these - love, sincerity, and patience. What is life but growth, i.e. expansion, i.e. love. Therefore, all love is life, it is the only law of life, all selfishness is death, and this is true here or hereafter. It is life to do good, it is death not to do good to others. Ninety per cent of human brutes you see are dead, are ghosts—for none lives, my boys, but he who loves.                                                                                                       (IV. 367)

       On one side, new India is saying, 'If we only adopt western ideas, western language, western food, western dress, and western manners, we shall be as strong and powerful as the western nations'; on the other, old India is saying, 'Fools! By imitation, others' ideas never become one's own; nothing, unless earned, is your own. Does the ass in the lion's skin become the lion ?'

       On one side, new India is saying, ' What the western nations do is surely good, otherwise, how did they become so great ?' On the other side, old India is saying, 'The flash of lightning is intensely bright, but only for a moment; look out boys, it is dazzling your eyes. Beware!'                                                                                                     (IV. 477)

       Social life in the West is like a peal of laughter; but underneath, it is a wail. It ends in a sob. The fun and frivolity are all on the surface: really it is full of tragic intensity. Now here, it is sad and gloomy on the outside, but underneath are carelessness and merriment.      (VIII. 261-62)

       As far back as the days of the Upanisads, we have thrown the challenge to the world: 'Not by progeny, not by wealth, but by re­nunciation alone immortality is reached.' Race after race has taken the challenge up and tried their utmost to solve the world-riddle on the plane of desires. They have all failed in the past—the old ones have become extinct under the weight of wickedness and misery, which lust for power and gold brings in its train, and the new ones are tottering to their fall. The question has yet to be decided whether peace will survive or war; whether patience will survive or non-forbearance; whether goodness will survive or wickedness; whether muscle will survive or brain; whether worldliness will survive or spirituality. We have solved our problem ages ago. ... Our solution is unworldliness - renunciation.                                                           (IV. 314-15)