Sri Aurobindo Ghosh was born on August 15, 1872, in Kolkata. He is a famous sage, poet, patriot, philosopher, and educationist and is known by the name Aurobindo which means ‘Lotus’ in Sanskrit. Sri Aurobindo Ghosh is one of the most renowned contemporary Indian philosophers of education. He possessed a wide knowledge of East and West, ancient and modern systems of education. He has presented an integral philosophy of education through his ‘ashram’ at Pondicherry. In this ashram, experiments are conducted to evolve a new educational system that may be adopted for the reconstruction of Indian education.
He considers the law of life to be the fulfillment of Swadharma and wants that every individual in a nation should fulfill his Swadharma. According to him, the purpose of education must be to prepare the individual to serve their nation and humanity. His educational philosophy in the field of modern education is very important.
Philosophy of Education
Sri Aurobindo Ghosh’s philosophy of education emerges directly from his philosophy of life which is based on spiritual penance, the practice of yoga, and brahmacharya. According to him, any education involving all three factors can develop man to the fullest extent. In his life, he harmonized the two important ends of existence, that is, spirit and matter. He strived to translate these ideas into a system of education through his Pondicherry ashram school which has now grown into Auroville-a city of universal culture. According to Aurobindo,
“real education is that which provides a free and creative environment to the child by developing his interests, creativity, mental, moral and aesthetic senses. Finally, they lead to the development of his spiritual powers.”
The educational theory of Sri. Aurobindo aimed at the development of the latent powers of the child, training of six senses, training of logical faculties, physical education, the principle of freedom, moral and religious education, and above all, training for the spiritualization of the individual.
The training should aim to make the child a person who can live in the world, but not a product of the world. Sri Aurobindo has called this training integral education. Sri Aurobindo has given several important ideas about the nature of human beings and the human mind which are very useful to understand human psychology. Sri Aurobindo’s ideas on the nature of human beings are as follows: The human being is an entity, he is an individuality, he is a separate entity, and his nature is not determined by any external factors. The human being is endowed with a mind which enables him to think, feel and act.
Basic Principles of Sri Aurobindo’s Education
- Education must be child-centered.
- Education must help to achieve the physical purification of the child.
- There must be liberty for the child.
- Education must be according to the mental aptitudes and psychological needs of the child.
- Education must be related to the life of the child.
- Education must be imparted through the medium of the mother tongue.
- Education must bring out the latent powers of the child.
Sri Aurobindo defined,
“Education to be true must not be a machine-made fabric but a true building or living evocation of the powers of the mind and spirit of the human being”.
According to him,
“Education is helping the growing soul to draw out that is in itself”. In simple terms, education should bring out the latent powers of a child to make him a complete man.
Philosophical Contribution of Sri Aurobindo to the Field of Education
- Aurobindo’s contributions to the field of education is immense and can be classified in two ways: First, he gave a new dimension to the concept of “education” by making it not only about learning but also about self-realization.
- The term “education” was used before Aurobindo to mean learning.
- The concept of education as an integral part of the spiritual evolution of man was coined by Aurobindo.
- Secondly, he revolutionized the field of education by bringing in the concept of integral education.
- He believed that the entire field of education should be integrated into the process of spiritual evolution.
- Integral Education is a new concept introduced by Sri Aurobindo. It involves the integration of all the various aspects of human life including physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual.
- Integral education includes the complete development of every aspect of human being.
- Sri Aurobindo was the first to give a comprehensive definition of integral education in his book “The Synthesis of Yoga”.
- He wrote that integral education is “the development of the whole man in the context of the whole universe.“