Unit 1: Educational Studies


Relationship of Education and Philosophy 

 Education and philosophy, the two disciplines, are very closely related and in some areas they overlap each other. It is quite often said that, 'Philosophy and Education are two sides of the same coin'. 'Education is the dynamic side of philosophy'. To elaborate further, 'Philosophy and Education are the two flowers of one stem, the two sides of one coin. One can never be thought of without the other. The presence of one is incomplete without the other. The art of education cannot be completed without philosophy and philosophy cannot convert others to its aims and values without education. 

 Indian School of Philosophy 

 Broadly, the Indian schools of philosophy may be classified into two-orthodox and heterodox. The first group believed in the Vedas and the second school rejected the Vedas. The former ones are called the Asthika systems which have the Schools of Mimamsa, Vedanta, Sankya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisesika. The latter schools are Charvaka, Buddha and Jaina. In all these schools Man, is pointed not as a bread winner but as a spiritual organism capable of realizing himself through nobler aspirations, "Human personality is of supreme value and constitutes the noblest work of God" 

Classification on the Grounds of Vedic Authority 

 Theist (Astika). Schools with belief in the authority of Veda. (Nyaya-Vaisesika, Samkhya-Yoga, Mimamsa vedanta). Out of these Mimamsa and Vedanta are purely based on the authority of Veda. Mimamsa reveals the ritualistic aspects of veda, while, vedanta emphasises the speculative aspects. Others accept the authority of vedic text but, survive on independent grounds. Atheist (Nastika). Schools rejecting authority of veda - Charvaka, Jaina and Buddhism. 


 Samkhya is one of the most prominent and one of the oldest school of Indian Philosophy. The word Samkhya is based upon the Sanskrit word Samkhya, which means number. The school specifies the number and the nature of the ultimate constituents of the universe and thereby imparts knowledge of reality. In fact, the term Samkhya also means perfect knowledge. Hence, it is a system of perfect knowledge. Samkhya is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu Philosophy and Classical Indian Philosophy. Sage Kapila is traditionally credited as the founder of the Samkhya School. It is regarded as the one of the oldest philosophical systems in India. Based on the Upanishads, two schools of philosophies developed in India 1. The realistic (e.g., Samkhya) 2. The idealistic (e.g., Vedanta) The Samkhya philosophy combines the basic doctrines of Samkhya and Yoga. However it should be remembered that the Samkhya represents the theory and Yoga represents the application or the practical aspects. "Samkhya denies the existence of Ishvara (God) or any other exterior influence. Samkhya philosophy regards the universe as consisting of two realities: Purusha (consciousness) and Prakriti (phenomenal realm of matter)." Samkhya is dualistic realism. It is as dualistic because it advocates two ultimate realities: Prakriti, Matter and Purusha, self (spirit). Samkhya is realism as it consider that both matter and spirit are equally real. Samkhya is pluralistic also because of its teaching that Purusha is not one but many. 


Purusha is the transcendental self or pure consciousness. It is absolute, independent, free, imperceptible, unknowable through other agencies, above any experience by mind or senses and beyond any words or explanations. It remains pure, non-attributive consciousness'. Purusha is neither produced nor does it produce. It is held unlike Advaita Vedanta and like Purva-Mimamsa, Samkhya believes in plurality of the Purusa.


Prakriti is the first cause of the manifest material universe-of everything except the Purusha. Prakriti accounts for whatever is physical, both mind and matter energy or force. Since, it is the first principle (tattiva) of the universe, it is called the Pradhana, but as it is the unconscious and unitelligent principle, it is also called the Jada.

It is composed of the three essential characteristics (trigunas). These are

Sattva Pose, fineness, lightness, illumination and


Rajas Dynamism, activity, excitation and pain;

Tamas Inertia, coarseness, heaviness, obstruction and sloth.

Educational Implications of Samkhya Philosophy

Samkhya or Sankhya, is one of the six main darsanas or systems of philosophy, which draw their essence from the Vedas, thus falling into the category of Astika philosophies.

According to Dr S Radhakrishnan, "The ideas of great thinkers are never obsolete. They animate the progress that seems to kill them. The most ancient fancies sometimes startle us by their strikingly modern character, for insight does not depend on modernity."

Samkhya, like Nyaya believes in the multiplicity of souls, while maintaining the dualism of prakriti or the potentiality of nature and purusa or consiousness. The world is the parinama or transformation of prakriti, which is eternal and all pervading while every effect is caused, prakriti has no cause. It is the cause of all effects and is inferred from the latter.

The Fundamental Purpose of Education

To Samkhya philosophy, man's body is made of senses (Gyanendriya) and organs of action (Karmendriya). The innerself (Antahkaran) of man is a harmonious assemblage of "Man' (mind) 'Ahankar' (ego or the self-consciousness) and *Buddhi' (Intellect). The Purush (or the soul) is the enlightener of these three elements. Samkhya wants that education should develop all the three basic elements according to Samkhya 'Mukti' or deliverance or liberation of the soul) is the ultimate purpose of one's life. This Mukti may be obtained through releasing the difference between the Prakriti and Purusha (matter and spirit). Therefore, the development of man should be so guided that he may distinguish between matter and spirit, and may obtain freedom from the miseries of life.

To get freedom from the three fold miseries (Dukha traya) i.e.,

The miseries pertaining to soul, mind and body, in other words, the miseries pertaining to the spiritual realm. (Adhyatmik).

The miseries relating to externalworld i.e., Adhibhautik.

The miseries due to divine disorder i.e. Dam Peakop.

Aims of Education

Samkhya states the ultimate aim as attaining the perfection of Purusha through discrimination, leading to its salvation. Thus, the aim of education should be to create discerning individuals capable of attaining the perfection that exists within them, as Swami Vivekananda also put it.


The methods are clearly indicated

Through study of authorities but keeping an open mind and using reason to validate their theories.

Experiential learning with maximum involvement of the senses.

activity based learning include projects, practical work, etc. enabling the development of observation and logical reasoning.


The curriculum will involve the study of all disciplines, with stress on the natural sciences, since to understand prakriti is to discriminate between Purusha and Prakriti and the arts, so as to develop an appreciation and understanding of the work of authorities. Physical sciences and yoga will also form part of the curriculum since samkhya believes only a healthy and focused individual can attain solvation.

Discipline: Samkhya recommends a high degree of discipline. One can deduce that it should be self-imposed.

Role of Teacher: The teacher is to be a facilitator of the development of the innate potentiality of the child.

Place of Student: Since, Samkhya believes in the multiplicity of Purusha, it follows that education must be individualised and child centred.

Religious and Moral Education: It can be deduced that religious education will not have much importance but moral education involving the teaching of ethical values will definitely hold a central place in any system of education based on Samkhya.


The philosophic view of Samkhya includes the dualism of Purusha, Prakriti and the plurality of multiple Purushas, each unlimited yet not interfering with the other. We need to understand that both the world and our bodies are temporary and changing and what lies beyond is abstraction. To know that abstraction is to rid the world of all its maladies.

The Vedanta Philosophy

The Term 'Vedanta' means that comes at the end of the Vedas. The term 'Veda' means knowledge and it has two aspects. (1) Mantras or hymns or samhitas like the four 'Vedas-Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana (11) The Brahmanas or prose texts of prayers. The appendage to the 'Brahmanas is called the Aranyakas where a lot of philosophical speculation has its beginning. The concluding portions of the Aranyakas are called The Upanishads.'The Upanishads are the crux of the Vedic philosophy. The Mantras and the Brahmanas are the Karma Kanda (action)

and the Aranyakas and the Upanishads are the Gnanakanda (knowledge). The Upanishads are also known as The Vedanta' as it comes at the end of the Vedas.

In fact, the word 'Upanishads' means sitting down of the disciple near the teacher in a devoted manner to receive instruction about the Higher Reality, which dispels all doubts and destroys all ignorance. Also, the term means any secret teaching about Reality. Though the Upanishads number 108, ten or eleven are regarded as authentic. The Upanishads are the sources of Indian philosophy. They develop the monistic ideas of the Vedas. There are two forms of knowledge, the lower in terms of the knowledge of the familiar and the higher in terms of the Immortal Brahman.

The Upanishads have two terms for Ultimate Reality - The 'Brahman' and 'The Atman'. They are the two pillars on which the edifice of Indian philosophy rests. The Brahman is the ultimate source of the outer world and the Atman the innerself of man. Atman is the soul; Brahman is the single source of the visible universe. Brahman and Atman are complementary to each other. The subjective side is the Atman and the objective side is 'Brahman'. The Microcosm and the Macrocosm are blended together.

A specific illustration from the 'Kathopanishad will make clear this idea. The quintessence of the philosophical tradition is revealed by using familiar concepts. The Atman is said to be the Ultimate Reality. The objects are roads, the body is the chariot, the senses are the horses, the mind is the rein, the intellect, the charioteer, the Ego is the enjoyer, and the Atman is the Lord sitting in the chariot. The senses are compared to good and bad horses: senses are higher than the intellect, the unmanifest is higher than the subtle reason and the Atman is the highest end and the highest reality. The self is immortal self proved and can be directly realised, transcending the empirical subjective-objective qualities.

The term 'Brahman' refers to the objective side of the Ultimate Reality. It is defined as that from which all living beings are born by which they live and into which all these beings are described.

The lowest level is that of matter (annamaya). The highest state of matter is life.

The second state of evolution is life (Pranamaya). This is the biological plane.

This third is mind or perceptual consciousness (Manomaya). This is the psychological phase.

The fourth is the self conscious Reason (Vignana Maya). This is the metaphysical or philosophical plane.

The final is the state of non-dual bliss (Ananda Maya).

Sub-Schools of Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta: It is the most influential school of all, and many philosophers, both Indian and Western have been influenced by it. It was propounded by Adisankara, a great Hindu reformer. According to this, Brahman is the only ultimate reality and the world is an illusion. Ignorance is the cause of all suffering in the world and only upon true knowledge of Brahman

can liberation be attained. Upon liberation, there is no difference between the individual soul Jivatman and Brahman.

"The guru is Brahma, the guru is Vishnu, the guru is Shiva, the God of Gods, the guru is verily the supreme Brahman. Salutations to the adorable guru”.

Vishishtadvaita: It is propounded by Ramanuja and says that the Jivatman is a part of Brahman and hence is similar, but not identical. It also propounds Bhakti or devotional form of worship of God visualised as Vishnu. Maya is seen as the creative power of God.

Dvaita: It is propounded by Madhva. It identifies God with Brahman completely and in turn with Vishnu or his incarnation Krishna. It regards individual soul as separate from Brahman and also advocated Bhakti. There is no concept of Maya.

Dvaitadvaita: It is propounded by Nimbarka. According to this, Brahman-Jiva relation may be regarded as dvaita from one point of view and advaita from another.

Shuddhadvaita: It is propounded by Vallabha. This system also encourages Bhakti as the only means of liberation to go to goloka (literature., the world of cows). The world is said to be the sport (leela) of Krishna, who is Sat-Chit-Ananda.

Achintya Bhedabheda: It is propounded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. A Bhakti oriented devotes of Krishna, this doctrine is followed by the world famous ISKCON movement.

Vedanta in Education

Education during Vedic period was the third eye, the third eye of insight and source of illumination. The system of education generally advocated emanated from the Vedas and was called vedic system of education.

Aim of Education during Vedic Age

These are

Tamso-ma-Jyotirgamaya: One of aim of education is this, in which knowledge should dispel doubts, dogmas and darkness.

Individual Centred Education: Education should aim at overall development of an individual.

Nautre-Oriented Education: The centres of education were located from the populated and crowded areas, more in natural and serene surroundings. Education should make man one with nature.

Religion-Centered Education: Religion dominated every aspects of life all national, personal, social and educative procedures and practices, hence education should be wedded to religion.

Education of Mind: Education should provide knowledge for creativity and pursuit of culture and civilisation.

Educational Implications of Vedanta Philosophy

These are

All Round Development of Child: All round development of a child's personality was the chief aim of education. The nature of education was much more individualistic rather than in groups.

Equality of Opportunity: There was no discrimination on the basis caste, creed and colour etc. and the students of a strata of society received education on an equal footing. In modern India too, the Constitution has adopted the principle of equality in the field of education.

Education for Self-Sufficiency: Apart from the intellectual aspects of education, its practical side was not lost sight of and along with art, literature and philosophy, students got a working knowledge of agriculture and other vocations of life.

Discipline and Pupil Teacher-Relationship: The sense of discipline and cordial relation between teacher and pupil of Vedic age is well known to the world.

Subject of Studies: Vedic literature is enriched by the sense of peace, humanity, universal brotherhood, which is also vital part of our curriculum.

Commercial Education and Vedic Mathemetics:

This is one of chief feature of vedie period. Vedic Mathematics have become more popular now.

Buddhism forwards a direct personal experience that involved intuition and a higher form of reason. It did not give any importance to the institution, cultures or opinion in the beginning. It emphasised the feeling of equal individuals. There is no authority in Buddhism as in Catholicism, Judaism or Islam. Buddha encouraged each individual to do his or her seeking. Buddhism does not include ritual except meditative techniques. It does not have theology or philosophical speculation involved. Buddha was concerned with the release of individuals from suffering and spiritual realisation. Buddha rejected most of the traditions of Hinduism and produced a religion of intense self-effort. Any sort of spiritualism, super-naturalism, concept of spirits or souls was rejected.

Buddhism was scientific in approach as it emphasised the personal experience as the final test of truth rather than reasoning, inference or argument. It was concerned with problem solving rather than with theological or philosophical speculation. Like, it brings forward the way to eliminate the evils rather than the problem of existence of evil in the universe. It is psychological in approach, in that it begins with human beings rather than with the universe and works at dealing with their problems, their nature, and the dynamics of their development. Buddhism rejects governments, caste systems, and any other ranking of human beings, each individual is important.

Buddha made the religion and its purpose very clear, "Here is the problem and here is the solution". For this he recognised four truths called the Four Noble Truths. These are sorrow, desire, annihilation or desire and Eight Fold Path.

The Eight Fold Path was the guidance by Buddha to people to remove the sorrows. Nirvana is the non-existence and merge with the supreme power. Buddha denied Atman or soul but believed in Karma or action. He believed that man gets what he acts.

The Teachings of Buddha were mainly oral. He wrote no books. He was only a social reformer and an ethical teacher. "Philosophy purifies none: peace along does". Human life is full of misery and pain. The works on early Buddhism are threefold and described as Tripitaka - or the three Baskets of tradition....FOR MORE CLICK HERE