Know the importance of ancient education system in India

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As it is known to the world that ancient education system in India was the most advanced education which was comprised of Mathematics , Samkhya, Veda, Itihasa, Purana, Nirghandu ( dictionary ), nigama , chandas, astrology , vyakaran , Yogam, Vaiseshikam, Hetuvidya, Kavyam, humor, Sakunathraya ( sounds of birds ) and many other subjects which we discuss in below article .

Education is the path through which any nation is built. It’s the backbone of the society which decides whether the coming generation will go on a constructive path or self destructive path. Ancient education system made everyone to uplift their life in every field .

As pronouncedly said by Swami Vivekananda “ The time any nation decides to throw off its national spirit, it starts to die “ . There are an  abundance of examples which have proven it utterly true. Some of the recent examples are Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. These are the countries whose cultural values or national values were thrown off for which they all stood for.

India has always been the epicentre of higher education . People from all over the world used to come to India to gain higher education . Ancient education system was highly advanced even todays modern science .

Mahakumbh Mela is one of the most ancient celebrated and popular festivals of India which is actually a festival of arts and sciences and it is held once in 12 years on a particular date but now it has lost its Socio Political and educational importance after the British rule. Now it has shrunk up to the only religious meaning . 

As it has been said by Max Muller about India and its ancient education system :

whatever sphere of the human mind you may select for your special study whether it to be language, religion, philosophy ,laws and customs , primitive arts, primitive science , everywhere you have to go to India weather you like it or not because some of the most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India and India only. “

Another great Professor Heeren says about ancient education system of India :

India is the source from which not only the rest of Asia but the whole Western world derived their knowledge and their religion.

The transfer of knowledge from India to Europe happened directly through translation of Sanskrit into English which became the reason for sudden development in European countries in the field of science in the 15th and 16th century.

Iran (Persia) received Veda before 1500 BC which indicates that Veda must have existed several centuries earlier than 1500 BC. 

Education in ancient India had a great role in living a disciplined life. Whether we talk about the great Rishis like Panini, sushruta, Chanakya, brahmagupta, charak, and others all were once the disciples of various gurukulas in ancient India.

When we look it from a religious or Dharmik perspective, we can recall the name of Ram, Krishna, Lakshmana, five Pandavas, bhishma, Dronacharya , karna, Duryodhana , all were highly learned individual in every field of life. Bhishma, Dronacharya , karna taught in the Gurukul of Parshuram

According to  archaeological evidence, Vedic education system existed during the Indus valley or Harappa civilization which was more than  thousand years old . It even existed during the period of chera, Chola and Mughal, Vijaynagar, Maratha empire. The whole Vedic education system started to collapse after the 18th century when the British introduced the modern education system in India. 

ancient education system in India

In ancient India, Sanskrit became the educational language by the Chief efforts of Agastya who collected the knowledge of South into both Tamil and Sanskrit and Vashishtha collected it from the north into Sanskrit and this is how Sanskrit became the divine word for education.

Gurukula had the significant role in developing the society . It was the backbone for the par excellence lifestyle of people living in ancient India . Both men and women wear highly learnt people . 

Women were good in Alekhya, lekhya ( drawing and scripts ), lamghana ( jumping ) , kalari, Plavana ( swimming ). They were goods in making weapons Shabdashastra, 64 arts and Yukti Shastra.

In Tamil a term used  ” Palkalai ” . PalKalai means arts knowledge system. The basic aim of the Gurukula or the vedic education system is to make men and women proficient in ach with higher brilliancy . 

Ancient education system in Gurukul

Gurukul means a hermitage of Guru in the forest , village or nearby Temples . The teaching of Gurukul in ancient India was par excellence which not just taught about humans but also about to connect with animals by determining the kinds of sounds they make. 

We had the vedic education system with practical training in almost every field of activity . Guru-shishya Parampara was followed in ancient India to understand the meaning of Guru and Shishya .Below are some rules which need to be followed tos show gratitude towards Guru and the society . 

  • Each Guru and each shishya in vedic education system was the university in themselves.
  • The basic study of Gurukul started with Veda, Vedanga, upaunga, Meemamsa, lokayatha, samkhya, 18 smritis, Puranas, kavya, natka. 
  • The study of Agro economy, the arts  Sciences, trade relation, Ayurveda, gandharva vidya,Dhanurvidya were parts of Gurukul. 
  • Shruti or oral tradition was the soul Protector of Vedas and Sanskrit with its proper pronunciation . Even after the presence of the alphabets ,symbols and granthas, Guru and shishya used to pass their tradition orally. 
  • The law of life taught was the same for every student only the subjects of the study were different from each other. 
  • Each kula had the kulavidya and the guilds to propagate made it possible to get access in any gurukul of ancient India. 
  • Under Lalithavisthara, there are several sub branches of literature which teaches Ganit , Samkhya, Veda, itihasa, Purana, Nirghandu ( dictionary ), nigama , Shiksha, chandas, Jyothisha, vyakaran , Yogam, Vaiseshikam, Hetuvidya, Kavyam, hasyam ( humor), Sakunathraya ( sounds of birds and determining the good or bad onem of sounds) . 
  • Gurukul taught Grahaganit under which Suryalakshnam, chandralakshnam, rahulakshnam , grahalakshnam etc. 

Some other most significant knowledge given in the Gurukul are below :

1. Knowledge of making liquids and solids from sugarcane. 

2. To measure land in equal proportion for making lakes,s tanks and palaces. 

3. Making a new metal by mixing different metals together in right proportion wish never existed before. 

4. The art of taking out and arrow which has gone deep into the vein without injuring the life. 

5. Making Chaapa, Chakra, kripanam,Shakti, parasu and Gada with proper equipment and materials

6. Study of Architecture, engineering, townplanning, chemistry and pharmaceutics ( Rasavidya for mercury , gandhavaatham for sulphur, dhathuvadam for metallurgy). 

Lifestyle of Gurukul of ancient education system

There were several rules to be followed in Gurukul to teach desciples a desciplined life. 

1. Each disciple of Gurukul needs to follow brahmcharya. 

2. Doing achmana of the water. 

3. Do not sleep in daytime.

4. Learning Vedas with guru bhakti.

5. Food is essential part for keeping fire of intellect alive so, to always serve all inmates, animals and birds of the Gurukula. 

6. Student used to go for bhiksha to the society. This bhiksha is the food for entire Gurukula , and  this bhiksha also remove the ego and make the habit of doing something Co operative for entire society to which one belong to. 

7. Whatever students obtained from bhiksha is given to Guru to run the Gurukula and not for one self.

8. Whatever spiritual and the mundane work performed by Guru, disciple become participant in each and help Guru in them. no one is exemptive from this task irrespective of the son of the great Emperors to prepare disciples for grihasthashram, as a teacher and as a responsible member of the society. 

9. Performing sacred Homa daily in morning and in evening both. 

10. The first basic thing needs before studying each Veda is the purity of mind. There are many spiritual rules to be followed before studying Vedas in Gurukul.

Difference between Vedic education and Buddhist education

Vedic education system ( Gurukul )Buddhist education system
1 . Guru can be a sanyasi or a grihastashram ( major asharam of Gurukul )Guru must be a sanyasi
2 . Scholars knew both Sanskrit and regional languages. all children were given primary education in both languages.Scholars knew both languages but children were given only education in regional languages.
3 . Education was categorised in different parts or ashramThere is no concept of Ashram in Buddhism
4 .  Responsibility to one self society and to entire living and nonlivingShrink to the religious organization only
5 .  Rishikas existed. They had equal status. They also went through upanayana. 
The women were initially prohibited but after the Recommendation of Ananda ,Buddha allowed it


The education system today is not serving the right thing which a man or a woman need to have to live in a society while the ancient Education system in India was purely based on co-existence . If any matter living on this planet earth starts to find himself more superior than others and considered himself that they can live without the dependency of others then this is the horrible mistake they are doing with themselves because ultimately it’s going to impact their own life miserably . And this is what we are seeing it in today’s world .

It is high time to start look into our education system because education is the base of our future which is going to shape the world order . We need to get back to the original ancient education which teaches us the art of living with nature not excluding it .

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