In woman and had a considerable influence

this essay, I will be analyzing the practicality of educational philosophy of
famous Russian philosopher and novelist Leo Tolstoy life (1828-1910) in today’s
world. After giving considerable background of Leo Tolstoy’s life, his views
about education and religion, it is argued that educationalists and parents
nowadays can draw-out key pedagogical matter from his work.



at Yasnaya Polyana at his family estate on August 28, 1828, in Russia’s Tula
province. He was youngest of the four sons. After the death of his father in
1837, his aunt Alexandra Osten-Saken became the legal guardian of the children.
She was a religious woman and had a considerable influence on young Tolstoy.
After the death of their aunt, the children were sent to Kazan, Russia to
another aunt. Tolstoy was educated by the German and French tutors at home.
Though not very good in studies, he possessed considerable skills in games. He
entered university in 1843, he wanted to get a diplomatic degree so he opted
for the Oriental Language Department. Two years later he switched to the law
faculty as he found the Oriental Language study too challenging. In the law
department, he authored a comparison between French political philosopher
Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Laws and Catherine the Great’s nakaz (instructions
for a law code). He started to develop his interest in the ethics and
literature and was soon drawn towards great authors like Charles Dickens and
Jean Jacques Rousseau. He dropped out of university in 1847. After that he
returned back to his home-land Yasnaya Polyana to be a father to his farmhands.
This venture was not successful as he was lacking in dealing with the poor
farmers and workers and spent much of his time in social activities in Moscow
and Tula. During this time-period, he started to main a log of his life, a
habit he continued till his death. 1 2

in Military and Discovery of Literary Talent:

his brother Nikolay visited him while on a leave from military in 1848 and
asked him to join army, he did not say no. Because of the mundane nature of the
army job, he began to write. His first publication was, an autobiography named
“Childhood”, released in 1852 and was widely acclaimed all over the Russia. The
already famous novelist  Ivan Turgenev
praised the 23-year old Tolstoy by calling him the next big thing Russian
Literature. Tolstoy fought in the Crimean War from 1854 to1855. Even during the
heat of war, he managed to write “Youth” , the second part of his trilogy,
first being the “Childhood”. He also wrote the three Sevastapol Tales namely:
Sevastapol in December, Sevastapol in May and Sevastapol in August which put
the readers in Tolstoy’s shoes and made them feel the siege of Sevastapol as
Tolstoy himself had experienced. 2 After leaving the
army as a successful soldier and writer, he was accepted into the Moscow
literary circle. Later he said of this time:

cannot now think of those years without horror, loathing and heartache. I
killed men in war, and challenged men to duels in order to kill them; I lost at
cards, consumed what the peasants produced, sentenced them to punishments,
lived loosely and deceived people’. 3 4.

on Educational Theory:

to the life-style of his fellow writers and novelist, he came back home with
the aim of making the life of his peasants better by providing them education.
In order to understand the tid-bits of modern educational theory, he travelled
to Germany and France to observe the practice there. After meeting Charles
Dickens and visiting school in England, he considered England as “the most
educated country”. 5 4After coming back to
Russia, he started to build schools around his estate. But in 1862, he
abandoned the whole project and got married and during this time he wrote 2 of
his greatest publications : War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenin (1876). His
work served him accolades all around the world.

and Spiritual Crisis:

after having all the fame and glamour, Tolstoy started to question his
spiritual beliefs. He read on almost all the worldly religions and made his
very own translation of the Gospel. He wanted to find out the ‘correct
relationship to life’. He did so by adopting vegetarianism, he started to dress
like a peasant, work with the peasants and abandon his estate. 4 He wrote his book ‘Resurrection’ in
1899. Even though he has given up the rights of all of his work, he decided to
sell ‘Resurrection’ in order to help the Christian sect of Dukhobors relocate
to Canada as they have been oppressed by the Russian government for quite some
time. 6


Tolstoy influenced many great personalities because of his innovative and
revolutionary philosophies. Two most famous ones are : Mahatma Gandhi and
Martin Luther King Jr. His publication “The Kingdom of God is within You” which
proposed the core principles of non-violent resistance greatly influenced
Gandhi as his struggles against the Britain were majorly based on this
philosophy. 7