4 October 2016

What are the Main Characteristics or Features of Vedic Education?

Such terms as knowledge, awakening, humility, modesty, etc. are often used to characterize education in the Vedic period. Ancient texts refer to the uneducated person as an ignorant beast. Education is regarded as the source of light. 

The main features of Vedic education can be briefly enumerated as follows:

Free education in Ancient India:- In ancient India teaching was considered to be holy duty which a Brahman was bound to discharge irrespective of consideration of the fee teacher were expected to devote their lives to the cause of teaching in the missionary spirit of self-sacrifice, and the society laid down the principal that both the public and state should help the learned teachers & educational institutions very liberally. Society realized that “Vidyadana” or the gift in the cause of education was to be the best of gifts, possessing a higher religious merit than even the gift of land. On the occasion of religious feats, students and teachers were invited and donations were given liberally.

1.  No state control on education:- Rulers of the country had very little directly to do   with education. It was a private affairs of the people managed entirely by Brahmans.

2. High status of Teachers:- Teachers were a highly honoured class-honoured by even by kings. Kings rose from thrones to receive great teachers such as Narada, Vashishtha and Vishwamitra.

3. Teachers as Parents: - Teachers behaved as parent to their pupils and pupils behaved as members of the teachers’ family. The attitude of the pupil was to be one of complete submission.

4. Residential Schools:- Teachers and pupils lived together and so identified themselves with one another.

5. Immediate aim:- Vocational: The immediate aim of education, however, was to prepare the different casts of people for their actual needs of life.

6. Curriculum:- The subjects of instruction varied according to the vocational needs of the different castes from the Vedas and Vedangas in case of Brahmanas, to the art of warfare in the case of Kshatriyas, and to agriculture and trade, arts & crafts in the case of Vaishyas.

7. Methods of Instruction:- The methods of instruction generally consisted of recitation by the teachers and repetition by pupil, followed by explanation by the teacher , questioning by the pupil, and discussion between the teacher and the pupil.

8. Individual teaching:- Pupils were tough individually not en masse by the class method

9. Method of study:- The method of study consisted in listening to the teacher, reflection on what has been listened to and its constant revision and discussion.

10. Role of Travel in Education:- Travel was regarded as necessary to give a finish tough to education.

11. Sanskrit as the Medium of Instruction:- The medium of instruction was Sanskrit.

12. Self-control & Self–Discipline:- It was considered to be the best discipline. However Corporal punishment was not altogether ruled out.

13. Wide spread education of women:- In the earlier Vedic, and Upanishad times, girls were free to go through the “Upanayana’ ceremony , live a life of celibacy, studied Vedas, vedangas and other subjects along with their brother pupils.

14. Ultimate aim of education-self-Realization:- The ultimate aim of education in ancient India was not knowledge as preparation of life in this world or for life beyond but for complete realization of self-for liberatin of the soul from fetters of life, both present and future. That knowledge was real, which led to emancipation-led from unreality to reality, from darkeness to light, from death to immortality.

Silent feature of Vedic education:- 

1). Source of light:- In Vedic period education Was considered as a source of light of illumination which enlightens an individual in all walks of life. It was only education that truth could be perceived & wisdom could be attained. Vedas where the source of all knowledge and man could understand Vedas. The person who does not have the light of education may be termed as blind.

2). Knowledge the third eye:- According to Vedas, education in knowledge. It is the man's third eye. It means that knowledge opens inner eye, flooding him with spiritual and divine life, which forms the provision for man's journey through life. Knowledge protects an individual like a mother, inspires him to follow the path of good conduct as a father does.
3). Agency of improvement:- The illumination as described will bring a complete change in the person & this change is for the better education makes us civilized, refined, polished & cultured. This transformation of a beast to cultured human being occurs because education teaches us to be neat & clean.

4). Not merely book learning:- Illumination is them contral concept of education. It does not mean that it has always to come from books. Thus education is not merely book learning.

Next : Aims, Ideals and Objectives of Vedic Education