What are Rabindranath Tagore’s principles of Self-Education?

Self-education is based on self-realization and the process of self-realization is as permanent as that of education. What is most important in this is that the students must have faith in himself and in the universal self-underlying his own individual soul. All those actions, which provide a natural sense of satisfaction and contentment, will promote the educative process. This contentment is the reaction of the soul, and hence not the same as mere satisfaction and pleasure. In following Rabindranadh concept of self-education, the students had to follow the following three principles:

1. Independence

Rabindranath believed in complete freedom of every kind for the students, the freedom of intellect, decision, heart knowledge, action and worship. But in order to attain this freedom, the edcuand had to practice equanimity, harmony and balance. Rabindranath interprets independence as normalcy or the fact of being natural. In other works, when intelligence, feeling and determination are naturally distributed, it can be said to be a state of freedom. This independence is not to be confused with the absence of control, because it is self-control, it implies acting according to one’s own rational impulse. Once this level of freedom has been achieved, there is no danger of the individual straying from his path, because his senses, intelligence, emotional feelings and all other powers are directed by his ego.

2. Perfection

The second active principle underlying self-education is that of perfection. Perfection here implies that the students must try to develop every aspect of his personality and all the abilities and power with which he has been endowed by nature. Hence, the aim of education is not merely passing examinations, acquiring degrees and certificates of merit and ultimately achieving economic self-sufficiency through pursuing some profession. The sole aim of education is development of the child’s personality, which is possible only when every aspect of the personality is given equal importance, when no part of the personality is neglected and no part is stressed undesirably.

3. Universality

Development of the individual remains imperfect and incomplete until he acquires as abiding faith in the universal soul, a part of which exists inside himself. And for this, it is necessary to identify one’s own soul with the universal soul. Thus, education exists not in simple development but it inheres in literally a rebirth in which the individual rises above the limitations of his individual personality and loses this individuality in the inherits of the universal soul. One can search for this universal soul not only within oneself, but also in every element of nature and of one’s environment. It is evident from the foregoing account that the aim of Rabindranath’s pattern of education is independence, perfection and universality. In the process of education, the educator creates an environment in which the child’s personality undergoes a free, perfect and unrestricted development.

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