Need For Spirituality in Education

Prof. Rajvir Sharma12

The present day world is passing through a very critical phase. The entire humanity is a witness to a battle between peace, harmony, tolerance, compassion and the forces of violence, intolerance, hatred, instability, terror and destruction. This battle is not peculiar to any one nation or community.

Violent and volatile conditions prevailing in almost all regions and relations right from the Asian to western world is evidence enough of the threats and challenges to the generations to come as well. There seems to be an environment of uncertainty, distrust and mistrust that is being readied to overtake the saner voices of unity and harmony.

Self and self interest on the individual and collective plane is getting deeper in national and international relations both horizontally and vertically. Imperialist and expansionist minds still are operative. Science and technology meant for removing poverty, deprivation and putting good governance in place, is under threat of being abused by the impulses of baser human nature. Why is it happening?

There are different explanations forwarded by a number of scholars ranging from economic, social, political and psychological. None of them is without merit. But the most important factor for the turmoil the world over is because the individual interests have overtaken social concerns. That is the reason why bad instincts are in the race to push behind the good instincts. Material well being by hook or crook appears to have become end all of every human endeavour.


Values of equality, justice and freedom have been limited to a legal domain only reducing them to technical sphere instead of being products of fraternity, unity and harmony on the social scale. Equitable distribution of wealth and opportunities might remain a distant dream, even when law has unequivocally provided for the same, unless such a call comes from within and received well in that spirit by individuals taking into account integrality of development.

Unless one learns to control Kama (lust), Krodh (anger), Mada (arrogance)and Lobh (greed) and focuses on the development of body, mind, intellect and soul simultaneously, it would be difficult to conceive a peaceful livable world. It follows that our moral caliber must keep pace with changing and technologically driven knowledge society of the day.

However, the prescriptions listed above are bound to be ineffectual if not supported by equally strong tools to take care of the irrationalities and illogicalities of the perverts interested only in gaining and retaining dominance and power to subjugate others. Therefore, it is to be underscored that redefining education and its aims and objectives and tools and technologies of our education system is imperative.

Education has to be responsive not only to the capacity building needs but also towards the needs of the moral growth of mankind. The spirituality through education would build a universe with the capability to push back the   agencies of destruction, doom and desperation and push forward the will power to generate and sustain hope, confidence and feelings of oneness.

Spirituality in education further postulates  a whole new frame of education in which raising moral stature of man is as, if not more, important as raising the economic stature. Hence, it may contented that educational institutions must mould themselves into frames to fit students into religious, spiritual, ethical and moral academic consciousness.

Enabling and empowering the knowledge –seekers to triumph over the evil spirits to reach the higher and deeper destinations in life through nurturing and strengthening cultural, ethical and spiritual potentials within them is a necessary requisite for a better world.

In view of the above, the importance of shifting goals from exclusive approach to education and educational philosophy from merely preparing the population to meet the challenges of the competing world with developing and innovating new techno-economic strategies to making out a man with positive and humane framework of mind needs to be focused.

It is in this in this context that a correct understanding of the concept and meaning of spirituality, the need and importance of spirituality, the role of education in the formation of a spiritual man along the lines of other capabilities that serious dialogue and debate must take place in our country to domesticate western approaches to development and change giving due cognizance to the demands of Indian social, cultural, political and economic realities.

It may be therefore necessary to reorient the philosophy of education to make it really inclusive and integral education and must explain to the students the nature of man and teach them the art of dynamic equilibrium not to be lured by desires leading to a fractured vision and mission of life. It is nobody’s case that our educational institutions should work to turn its students into the caste of seers like of Hare Krishna order or the padre of a church renouncing all the worldly things to take ‘sanyas’.

But education must generate, nourish and nurture the spiritual values for a sustainable society, polity and economy that form part of the preaching of the saints and seers. The instrumentality of education must serve the purpose of inspiring spiritual behavior on the part of knowledge seekers inside and outside the educational campuses based on love, compassion, transcendence, integrity and connection with modern principles of science, gender justice, equality, freedom, human rights and fraternity.

In the end, it may be concluded that the educated youth should emerge not only as a first rate engineer, doctor or teacher and a lawyer or any other professional but should also be a good citizen, a good human being and a true nationalist without committing anything against the global interests. It may be in line to clarify the meaning of the spiritual in the words of Denise Tolliver, spiritual is that which can “raise consciousness, stimulate awareness, foster creativity and imagination, connect us with grander issues of purpose and meaning and facilitate connection with that which animates us” and agree with Laura Jones that “the divine process begins with our willingness to allow the subject and the learners to engage our hearts each time we begin the mind- and –soul-expanding trek of adventure.”

Education, in final analysis helps prevent men slipping into a human machine and enables to acquire and enjoy nobility of thought and action, the two very important ingredients of spirituality.

(The writer is Senior consultant, Department of Public Administration, School of Social Sciences, IGNOU, New Delhi)

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