Purpose of Education

From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

The purpose of true education should be to enlighten humanity, to destroy the lower nature, to better the social order and to promote human well being by training the student both for external achievement and for internal attainment. The consummation and test of true education is found in the all- round development of the faculties of knowledge, love and service. There should be a harmonious development of the head, heart and hands.

Education is training in the art of living. It is not a filling-in of something from outside, but a process of drawing out all the positive potentialities, all the highest and best qualities inherent in the student. Education is the cultivation and development of these worthy qualities and talents in an intelligent and rational way, so as to build a balanced personality. The right sense of values on which one should build one’s life should be revealed through education.

Education effectively moulds and equips the students of today for the tasks of tomorrow. The student is not merely a brain to be stuffed with a plethora of facts, figures and statistical information. He is an integral personality with the capacity to think, feel, know, choose and act. Students should be masters of themselves and have the ability to sow the seeds of peace and abundance, harmony and happiness, unity and brotherhood.

Every student should reflect calmly and carefully and understand first what is the true meaning and purpose of education. Without this understanding, the blind pursuit of a diploma or degree becomes dry mockery, ending inevitably in disillusionment. Education is not the amassing of information, and its purpose is not mere career-hunting. It is a means of developing a fully integrated personality and enabling one to grow into the likeness of the ideal that one has set before oneself. Graduates should be practical messengers of a new hope, a new vision and a new culture. They should be masters of themselves and have the ability to sow the seeds of peace and abundance, harmony and happiness, unity and brotherhood.

Education must aim at developing a spiritual attitude towards life. Spirituality does not hinder material progress. In fact it buttresses material interests. The real advancement and well being of every society and nation depends upon the right kind of educational basis. Only if an educational system rests on a spiritual foundation will science and technology best serve the interests of mankind. Science alone cannot ensure perfect peace and harmony. Humanities alone cannot cure the ills of poverty or safeguard the freedom of the country. There should be a synthesis of both.

True education must impart initiation into the life divine. Ultimately, the aim of real education is drawing out the dormant divinity lying hidden within each human being. Spiritual enlightenment is the fruit of the real, inner education.