Ancient India Education

Nalanda UniversityIndia has a rich tradition of learning and education right from the antiquity. The excavation of the sites of Indus valley civilization has brought to our notice the prevalence of written script that suggests people of that time had sufficient knowledge and education must have played a huge part in shaping up their lives.  Unfortunately, the script of that time has not been deciphered, so nothing can be told more about the education Ancient Indiasystem prevalent during the Indus Valley Civilization.

It was around 1500 BC, when the Aryans settled in Gangetic valley more elaborate system of education got evolved. The Hindu religion also evolved at this time and the compilation of the Vedas took place.  Initially the four Vedas were orally passed on from one generation to the other, but later they were written down. It was the knowledge of acoustics that enabled ancient Indians to orally transmit the Vedas from generation to generation. The Rig Veda, the main religious and socio-economic text of Hindus was written between 1300 and 1100 BC.

Institutional form of imparting learning came into existence in the early centuries of the Christian era. The approach to learning was to study logic and epistemology. The study of logic was followed by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. In the field epistemology, Jains contributed the most.

Education in ancient India centred on three simple processes; Sravana, Manana and Niddhyaasana. Sravana was listening to the truths as they fell from the lips of the teacher. Knowledge was technically called Sruti or what was heard by the ear and not what was seen in writing was the essence of Sarvana.

The second process of knowledge was Manana that implies that the pupil has to think out for himself the meaning of the lessons imparted to him orally by his teacher so that they may be assimilate fully.

The third step was known as Nidhyasana meaning complete comprehension by the pupil of the truth that is taught so that he may live the truth and not merely explain it by words.
In ancient India the objective of knowledge was that it must result in realization of truth. The admission was made by the formal ceremony Upanayana or initiation by which the pupil left the home of his natural parents for that of the preceptor to gain knowledge. In this new home he had a second birth and was called Dvijya or twice-born.