S. Radhakrishnan Essays

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: Life and Writings

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888, at Tiruttani, forty miles to the north-east of Madras, in South India. His early years were spent in Tiruttani and Tirupati, both famous as pilgrim centres.

He graduated with a Master's Degree in Arts from Madras University. In partial fulfilment for his M.A. degree, Radhakrishnan wrote a thesis on the ethics of the Vedanta titled "The Ethics of the Vedanta and Its Metaphysical Presuppositions", which was a reply to the charge that the Vedanta system had no room for ethics. Professor A.G. Hogg awarded the following testimonial for this thesis:
"The thesis which he prepared in the second year of his study for this degree shows a remarkable understanding of the main aspects of the philosophical problems, a capacity for handling easily a complex argument besides more than the average mastery of good English".

The thesis indicates the general trend of Radhakrishnan's thoughts... In his own words, "Religious feeling must establish itself as a rational way of living. If ever the spirit is to be at home in this world, and not merely a prisoner or a fugitive, spiritual foundations must be laid deep and preserved worthily. Religion must express itself in reasonable thought, fruitful action and right social institutions."

In April 1909, he was appointed to the Department of Philosophy at the Madras Presidency College. From then on, he was engaged in the serious study of Indian philosophy and religion, and was a teacher of Philosophy.

In 1918, he was appointed Professor of Philosophy in the University of Mysore. Three years later, he was appointed to the most important philosophy chair in India, King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science in the University of Calcutta. Radhakrishnan represented University of Calcutta at the Congress of the Universities of the British Empire in June 1926 and the International Congress of Philosophy at the Harvard Univesity in September 1926. At the Philosophical Congress held at Harvard University, the lack of spiritual note in modern civilization was the focus of his address to the general meeting.

In 1929, Radhakrishnan was invited to take the post vacated by Principal J. Estin Carpenter in Manchester College, Oxford. This gave him the opportunity to lecture to the students of University of Oxford on Comparative Religion. During that visit, he also gave the Hibbert Lectures on "An Idealist View of Life" to audiences at the Universities of London and Manchester. In his own words, "It was a great experience for me to preach from Christian pulpits in Oxford and Birmingham, in Manchester and Liverpool. It heartened me to know that my addresses were liked by Christian audiences. Referring to my sermon on "Revolution through Suffering", an Oxford daily observed, "Though the Indian preacher had the marvellous power to weave a magic web of thought, imagination and language, the real greatness of his sermon resides in some indefinable spiritual quality which arrests attention, moves the heart and lifts us into an ampler air."

From 1936-39, Radhakrishnan was the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University. In 1939, he was elected Fellow of the British Academy. From 1939-48, he was the Vice-Chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University. He later held offices that dealt with India's national and international affairs. He was the leader of the Indian delegation to UNESCO during 1946-52. He was the Ambassador of India to U.S.S.R. during 1949-52. He was the Vice-President of India from 1952-1962 and the President, General Conference of UNESCO from 1952-54. He held the office of the Chancellor, University of Delhi, from 1953-62. From May 1962 to May 1967, he was the President of India.

Aldous Huxley observed that Dr. Radhakrishnan "is the master of words and no words."

Prof. H.N. Muirhead said, "Dr. Radhakrishnan has the rare qualification of being equally versed in the great European and the not less great Asiatic tradition which may be said to hold in solution between them the spiritual wisdom of the world, and of thus speaking as a philosophical bilinguist upon it."

George P. Conger said, "Among the philosophers of our time, no one has achieved so much in so many fields as has Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan of India ... William James was influential in religion, and John Dewey has been a force in politics. One or two American philosophers have been legislators. Jacques Maritain has been an ambassador. Radhakrishnan, in a little more than thirty years of work, has done all these things and more... Never in the history of philosophy has there been quite such a world-figure. With his unique appointment at Banaras and Oxford, like a weaver's shuttle, he has gone to and fro between the East and West, carrying a thread of understanding, weaving it into the fabric of civilization."

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan passed away on April 17, 1975. In India, September 5 (his birthday) is celebrated as Teacher's Day in his honor.
Listen to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan speak about Dharma.

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan's letter to Prof. Paul Arthur Schilpp, the editor of The Philosopy of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan:

Principal Writings of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan:

  • The Ethics of Vedanta and Its Metaphysical Presuppositions (1908)
  • Essentials of Psychology (1912)
  • The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore (1918)
  • The Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy (1920)
  • Indian Philosophy - Volume I (1923)
  • The Hindu View of Life (1926)
  • Indian Philosophy - Volume II (1927)
  • The Religion We Need (1928)
  • Kalki or the Future of Civilization (1929)
  • An Idealist View of Life (Hibbert Lectures) (1932)
  • East and West in Religion (1933)
  • The Heart of Hindustan (1936)
  • Freedom and Culture (1936)
  • Contemporary Indian Philosophy (1936)
  • Religion in Transition (1937)
  • Gautama, the Buddha (British Academy Lectures) (1938)
  • Eastern Religions and Western Thought (1939)
  • Mahatma Gandhi (Essays and Reflections on his Life and Work) (1939)
  • India and China (1944)
  • Education, Politics and War (A collection of addresses) (1944)
  • Is this Peace ? (1945)
  • Religion and Society (Kamala Lectures) (1947)
  • The Bhagavadgita (1948)
  • Great Indians (1949)
  • The Dhammapada (1950)
  • An Anthology (Of Radhakrishnan Writings) (1952)
  • The Religion of the Spirit and World's Need: Fragments of a Confession (1952)
  • History of Philosophy in Eastern and Western (2 Vols.) (1952)
  • The Principal upaniShads (1953)
  • East and West: Some Reflections (First series in Bently Memorial Lectures) (1955)
  • Recovery of Faith (1956)
  • Occasional Speeches and Writings - Vol I (1956), Vol II (1957)
  • A Source Book in Indian Philosophy (1957)
  • The brahma sutra: The Philosophy of Spiritual Life (1960)
  • The Concept of Man (1960)
  • Fellowship of Faiths (Opening address to the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard) (1961)
  • Occasional Speeches [July 1959 - May 1962] (1963)
  • President Radhakrishnan's Speeches and Writings 1962-1964 (1965)
  • On Nehru (1965)
  • Religion in a Changing World (1967)
  • President Radhakrishnan's Speeches and Writings 1964-1967 (1969)
  • Radhakrishnan Reader: An Anthology (1969)
  • The Creative Life (1975)
  • Living with a Purpose (1977)
  • True Knowledge (1978)
  • Indian Religions (1979)
  • Towards a New World (1980)

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Essay on Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

The first prime minister of the India is Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and he was the second President of the India. He was one of the greatest people who carved his name in golden words in the books of history by their social works. He was a great philosopher. Here we are providing an essay which is describing the personality and their contribution towards the nation. This information will be good for the students and kids.


Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was an Indian philosopher and statesman. In Advaita Vedanta, his philosophy was grounded for reinterpreting this tradition for making understandability about it in people. He was awarded the highest civilian award which is Bharat Ratna and honorary membership award in 1963 of the British Royal Order of Merit. He believed that teachers should be best minds in the country because they having the power to change the nation as they teach good values to the young crowd of the nation. Since 1962, his birthday is celebrated as a Teachers’ Day on 5 September in the India.

Early life

Golden day aroused when Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888, and the blessed place was Thiruttani in the India which is the erstwhile Madras Presidency near the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu states. He was a member of a Telugu Brahmin family.

Sarvepalli Veeraswami was the name of his father and mother name was Sitamma. His childhood was spent in Thiruttani and Tirupati. His father was a landlord which is also called as local zamindar in Hindi who was subordinate revenue officer. He had done his primary education at   K.V High School at Thiruttani. In 1896 he changes or shifted his school from K.V High School to Hermansburg Evangelical Lutheran Mission School which is the place in Walajapet.


Radhakrishnan was a clever student; he was awarded by many scholarships in his academic life. When he was in 17th age, He joined Voorhees College in Vellore and then changes the college to the Madras Christian College. In 1906 he completed his graduation in philosophy.

The thesis was “The Ethics of the Vedanta and its Metaphysical Presuppositions “which was written by Radhakrishnan for the M.A. degree. His thesis was published while he was thinking thesis will be offended by his philosophy professor.

Marriage and Family

As per tradition of the marriage was arranged by the family, Radhakrishnan was married to a girl whose name was Sivakamu which is a Distant cousin of him. He married in his 16th age. The family members are increased by the five daughters and a son, their kids. His son name was Sarvepalli Gopal which made the notable career as a historian. His life partner his wife Sivakamu died in1956. Their partnership of life expires after 51 years.

Political career

After the successful academic career, Radhakrishnan started his political career. He was nominated for the League of Nations Committee for Intellectual Cooperation. In 1952 he was elected as the first Vice-President of India and in the year of 1962 and 1967, he was the second President of India.

Radhakrishnan was not active in the struggle against British rule as well as he did not have a background in the Congress Party. He always supports Hindu culture against the Western culture and he was the pride of Indians.


Radhakrishnan and Ghanshyam Das Birla, some other social workers formed the charitable trust which name was Krishnarpan Charity Trust in the pre-independence time.

Teacher’s Day

Some of his students, fellow and friends requested him to celebrate his birthday when he was the President of India. His birthday is on 5th September instead of celebrating his birthday the Teacher’s Day is celebrated in India according to his opinion.

This is celebrated by teachers and students; this makes the strong bond between the teachers and students. Students act like a teacher or students are a teacher on this day. Every 5th September is grateful for the teachers.


One of the most influential twentieth-century scholars was Radhakrishnan in the comparative religion and philosophy. He defences the Hindu tradition and culture that has been highly influential, in the India and western world. His ideas were superb which was contributed to the formation of India as a nation-state.


In 1938 Dr Radhakrishnan was elected Fellow of the British Academy. In 1954 he was awarded the Bharat Ratna award which is one of the highest civilisation awards in India. The order of Merit award is awarded him in the year of 1963. In 1961 he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. In 1975 he was awarded by Templeton Prize just before few months of his death. This Templeton Prize he totally donated to the Oxford University.  In 1989 the Oxford University instituted the Radhakrishnan Scholarships in his memory; these scholarships were later known as the “Radhakrishna Chevening Scholarships”.

In 1931 he was appointed a Knight Bachelor and he ceased to use the title “sir”. In 1938  British Academy elected him as a fellow. In 1954 he received an award for German “Order Pour le Merite for Arts and Science”. In the honour of Radhakrishnan’s we celebrated Teachers day in the remembrance of birthday of him which is on 5th September because his belief is that “teachers should be the best minds in the country”.\

In 1968, Sahitya Akademi fellowship the first person who is awarded for this award was Radhakrishnan which is the highest honour award by the Sahitya Akademi which is based on the literature of India. Radhakrishnan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for eleven times which is the one of the greatest award given for the honour of social work and he was nominated fifteen times for the Nobel Prize in literature.


This great person died on 17 April in the year 1975 at the age of 86 in the Chennai which in Tamil Nadu, India.

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