As a proud Indian when it comes to the ancient Indian traditions and customs, it’s like a feather in my cap. Particularly the ancient Indian educational system. In the past, Indians had the Gurukul system of learning. That means a pupil had to leave his family and live in an Ashram along with the Guru and his family for the purpose of attaining education. This system had certain distinct features. There would be no discrimination here. Be it the king’s child or a merchant’s child or for that matter a poor Brahmin’s child, everyone would be considered as a student and given the same treatment. And, isn’t that remarkable? With some parts of the world in this modern era are still practising discrimination. In fact, the traditional Indian learning system firmly believed that ‘education was for the making of a man and not just for survival.’ And that is what makes traditional Indian knowledge sustainable to today—be it Yoga or Ayurveda. The three stages of learning were-
1. Shravana: listening to truths from the teacher.
2. Manana: assimilating the lesson by the student himself.
3. Nididhyasana: complete comprehension of truth.
The best part about our ancient system of education was that it was part of nature and not apart from it. The students always used to be among lakes and trees, birds and animals, oceans and mountains. This sense of being connected with nature not just helped them in being closer to nature but also primarily played a very important role in their entire course of education. If we want to understand the laws of nature (that’s what primarily the purpose of education should be), we need to be connected to it. The magnanimity of this past system of education was so tremendous that students from very distant places (that is foreign lands) used to stay in Nalanda, Takshashila to study at these universities. In fact, there are instances where students completing their education at these ancient Indian universities took certain books to their lands to enlightening their countrymen.
It is this traditional Indian system of learning that produced Aryabhata and Bhaskaracharya and their mathematical concepts (concepts of trigonometry, zero), Sushruta and his medicinal studies (instances of surgery have been noted), Rishi Kanad and his concept of parmanu (close to the atom).
And it is this very traditional Indian education system which has left its roots to inspire modern Indian scientists, thinkers, philosophers, and scholars. And this makes me really proud as an Indian.
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