Foundations of education in Ancient Indian system and ancient

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1 ISSN: 2347-3215 Volume 1 Number 4 (2013) pp. 65-71 Foundations of education in Ancient Indian system and ancient Greeko- Roman system- some comparisons K.V.S.N. Murty* Dean, Faculty of Education & Dean i/c Faculty of Science, Sri Chandrasekharendara saraswathi Viswa Mahavidyalaya, Enathur, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu-631561, India *Corresponding author KEYWORDS A B S T R A C T Indian system of education is one of the oldest systems of the world. Both Indian system of secular and sacred education was handed over systematically by formalizing education; the system of education. We found significant growth in the system of Greeko-Romans education in our country since ancient times. Greeks and Romans have systems; contributed a lot for the growth and development of education system in in Ancient Indian ancient period in the west.We can draw as many comparisons as possible as system. far as foundations of educaiotn are concerned in both Indian systems and Greeko-Romans systems of education. The scholar has made an attempt to compare some of the aspects. Unless a prospective teacher knows about the basic philosophical foundations of education laid down he cannot discharge his/her duties as a responsible educator of the country. There is a need for all the prospective teaches, teacher educators to well acquaint with the foundations of education laid down in ancient India and the west. This would enhance the horizon of thinking to all the students of education. Introduction Indian system of education is one of the period in the west. Gradually we witnessed oldest systems of the world. Both secular tremendous growth in education in the and sacred education was handed over west. In this paper the scholar made an systematically by formalizing the system of attempt to draw some comparisons of the education. We found significant growth in foundations of education laid down both in the system of education in our country ancient India and ancient Greece and since ancient times. Greeks and Romans Rome. We begin with the Vedic age, which have contributed a lot for the growth and marks the beginning of the Indian culture, development of education system in ancient religion, literature, philosophy, science and 65

2 education. The Vedic people, just as the should reflect the ideals of the nation Greeks, had a keen desire for knowledge of and enable its people to understand the nature and man. The Vedic and Greek spirit of its civilization. educationists and philosophers have 2. They thought it was the duty of all realized the basic truth that though all men learned people to rise the generations are born equally and appear outwardly to from ignorance and the children should be the same in their innermost core of their be imbued with the traditions of the being, they differ widely and they tried to race and induced to adopt them into explain the causes for these differences and their own life. sought to locate the place of education in 3. This is so with the Vedic Indians and shaping the destiny of men. Importance of Greeks. education was sought to be emphasized by 4. The Vedic and Greek civilizations have pointing out that the educated would be preserved propagated and modified revered everywhere. Vidwan sarvatra their systems of education according to pujyate is the famous Vedic saying He the needs of the time and citizens. who is learned will be respected 5. The development of education in everywhere . ancient India underwent many vicissititudes (changes). Thus, for What then were the steps taken by the example, in the context of Indian society, men of learning and wise men to education reason (Tarka) prevailed over ensure that proper education was imparted the means of knowledge. While it is the to the rising of people from the state of same with Plato, Parmenides, and non-learning to the state of learning and Pythagoras, the case is different with knowledge? To ensure that people move sophists, Aristotle and the British forward from mortality to immortality, empiricists like john Locke who form darkness to light, from becoming to preferred experience, observation and being the Vedic people laid down it as a induction, as methods of education, condition that every citizen should undergo rather than reason. But when we come a period of training and discipline (siksha) to German idealists like Immanuel Kant during the childhood and by the time he has and G.W. Hegel, again reason prevails attained the adolescence he must have been over experience. instructed in the sacred literature and 6. Similarly at one time Indian society trained in the family profession (Vrthividya favored female education, particularly or kula vidya). The Vedic people believed in performing arts, domestic rituals, that no person could become a great interior decoration, house-keeping, scholar, or a successful administrator, or a garland and perfume making, story- skilful mechanic or a prosperous merchant, telling and so on, but at a later date the who had not received proper education. Indian society began to discourage Accordingly they laid down certain aims female education, the reasons are both and objectives to be achieved through religious and sociological, but not education. The following are some of the economical as some have put it. In the important ideals of Vedic education also context of Greeks also it is Plato who found in the Greeko-Roman education. said that education is the same for men and women (Plato s Dialogues, 1. They thought that all educational Laws , VII, and 804e, Tr. P.1376). Let institutions and systems of education 66

3 us see what Plato has said on this. He reason leads to enlightenment. Knowledge says and wisdom are the culminating points of education. Knowledge gives illumination, A boy is not to attend to school if his and wisdom leads to enlightenment. These father so desires. This is exactly the two were the cherished goals of education practice prevailing in India even now. both in India and Greece. Should the parents, particularly the father, not desire the boy to go to school, there is Knowledge is virtue said Socrates. any chance of him going to the school? Knowledge is power said Lord Bacon. Knowledge is science" said A.N. Education is, if possible, to be, as the Whitehead. phrase goes, compulsory for every mother s Science is nothing but discovery and son, on the ground that the child is even invention more the property of the state than of his Knowledge increases intelligence, power parents. And, mind you, my Law will apply and efficiency . in all respects to girls as much as to boys; the girls must be trained exactly like the Thus the uses of education are too many to boys. And there should be no reservations be exhaustively enumerated; it nourishes us or exceptions on any point of training like the mother; directs us to the proper may be horsemanship the use of bow and path like father, and gives us delight and the other weapons. With the advent of comfort like the wife. It increases our fame, slavery, women-education has disappeared destroys our difficulties and makes us pure in the Greece. And with the invasion of the and more cultured. (Education as a process Huns, the Arabs, the Muslims, French, the of acculturization and socialization; Emile Dutch, the Protges, and the British, Durkheim who says that all education women-education disappeared in India and should culminate in providing a refined in the post-independent India only a culture to man) Education is at the root of negligible percentage of girls are being sent all human happiness. Education promotes to be educated in schools and colleges. the material growth and as well as spiritual advancement. Education works as an Ideals, which the ancient Indian and agency of transformation and improvement greek-roman educational systems of personality. According to Plato, represented education begins before birth and brings victory . It removes all discordant notes Education leads to illumination and helps for the concordance of the soul. Education should be properly instructed The Indians and Greeks, both believed in and directed in right way. If it is not certain ideals of education. The basic directed properly or ill directed it leads to conception of education is that it is a source dangerous results. One wonders whether of illumination, a vehicle of transformation the education in atomic science or Nuclear of the individual, psychologically, Physics is properly directed or not. If it is intellectually and even morally. In the properly directed, our scientists would not Indian context education leads to have invented atom bombs which could immortality also. Plato also believed in the destroy the entire civilization of the world. immortality of the soul and purging of all It would be apt to quote the words of evils and irrational and ignoble elements Dr.S.Radhakrishnan If we fail to adjust our from the soul attains this immortality. Pure 67

4 conscious with the growing scientific and If you play football well you understand technological revolutions, the whole human Geeta better . A good physique, the Yoga- race will put to an end . Proper direction education says, is a sine qua non of success and ill direction depends upon finding out a not only in mundane but also in religious good researcher; of course, as to the nature matters. (Kumarasambhava of Kalidasa, of a good teacher, we have said V.30) The student was given both a work- considerably in the main body of our schedule and work ethics, and is expected dissertation. Proper education is the highest to practice in both without any exception. blessings that a man can receive from his teacher and it is for this reason that in Indian context a teacher is elevated to that Infusion of piety and righteousness: of a God. Acharya devo bhava Let thy Greek education compared: (Virtue as teacher be a God unto thyself has its own the aim of education) intellectual and spiritual significance. Since religion played a large part in life in Alexander, the great, has considered ancient India and teachers are mainly from Aristotle, nothing short of a God and there priestly class and there is no wonder that are also several instances of this kind. the infusion of piety and righteousness is Imparting of education to children should considered to be the aim of education. The be in conformity with the laws of the same can be said about Greek-education. nation. There should be some scope for Socrates and Plato regarded that virtue is to amusement in education and it should have be cultivated through education. Several a refining influence on our manners and rituals were invented and the student was customs and it should be neither negative supposed to perform all these rituals at the nor rebellious. It on the other hand should beginning of both the literary and be innovative, but not dangerous. It is professional education primary and obligation on the part of the parents to higher education. The daily prayers, the educate their children because it promotes participation in the religious ceremonies virtue in children and it trains in a skilful and festivals, living in the house of the way the instincts of children. teacher and observing the code of behavior of the teacher and many such other Ancient Indian and Greek education factors have helped to foster piety and aimed also at physical development righteousness coupled with discipline in the mind of the young student. This religious Aristotle rightly says A strong mind in a environment and spiritual life enabled the strong body . Ancient Indians, therefore, students to withstand the temptations of life wisely emphasized the development of and provided a healthy academic mind and body culture (Sariramadyam environment, which ultimately produced an khalu dharma sadhanam). Swamy educated gentleman in the words of Vivekananda emphasized the need for Kilpatrick. The modern education does not development of good body in order to believe in putting certain restraints on the develop sound mind. Only those who are sense pleasures of the students. Restrained strong by both body and mind alone can behavior, control over the senses is not a contribute their mite for the growth and part of modern education. At the higher development of mankind. It is interesting to level of education students are suffered note the words of Swamy Vivekananda from many vices, but of course, what is a 68

5 vice and what is not a vice is an open It on the other hand, is useful and question. beneficent. Plato s views on education compared Education of soldiers with Indian idealism What kind of studies will have the power to Education not acquisition, but use of produce the guardians of the city ? vision within us Basically these guardians must be youthful and be athletes of war. They must also have While explaining the function of education the additional qualifications of being Plato draws our attention to the basic fact educated in gymnastics. It is a subject to be how our senses will be disturbed by two studied for the understanding of the growth causes: and strength of the body. Of course, study 1. The shift from light to darkness, of body is not the final one, because body 2. The shift from darkness to light. grows and decays and finally perishes. Even in Indian system of education Both the above mentioned disturbances particularly during the period of Ramayana unable the soul to discern something that is and Mahabharata education for solders coming from a brighter life of its vision. were given with the same objectives. The darkness again is of two kinds: (a) the familiar darkness, and (b) unfamiliar Music was the counterpart of gymnastics darkness. In both the cases the soul will be disturbed. Then the function of the Music educates the guardians through education is not in reality what some habits, imparting by the melody a certain people proclaim it to be in their harmony of spirit that is not science, and by professions. What they ever is that they can the rhythm, measure and grace and also put true knowledge into a soul that does not qualities akin to these in the words of tales possess it, as if they were inserting vision what are fables and those that are more into blind eyes . The organ of knowledge, nearly true. says Plato, must be turned around from the All arts, in the opinion of Plato, are base world of becoming together with the entire and mechanical . soul, like the scene being shifted in a Subjects of study suggested by Plato: theatre, until the soul is able to endure the contemplation of essence and the brightest region of being. Education is the art, the 1. Gymnastics. speediest art and the most effective art of 2. Athletics. shifting the soul from darkness to light. It is 3. Music not an art that produces vision, but it is an 4. Number theory. art, which rightly directs the vision. The other virtues of the soul are created by habit The true education is that which makes and practice. But the virtues that are man good at any time and practice nothing produced in the soul by education are not but good from early childhood. An the same as those produced by habit and educated child is one who plays well in practice. Excellence of thought, which can games and also plays with earnestness. never lose its potency, is the result of Thus, if a boy is to be a good farmer, or education. It is neither useless nor harmful. again a good builder, he should play in the one case at building toy houses, in the other 69

6 at farming, and both should be provided by and all should devote their energy to amend their tutors, with miniature tools on the it. pattern of real ones. In particular, all necessary preliminary instruction should be Education begins before birth: 7.789 acquired in this way. Today we have been (Laws) teaching the students to learn through simulation. This learning through The discussion of the nature of children and simulation is known to ancient Indians and education is given a paramount importance Greeks. Thus, for example, the carpenter by Plato, both in Republic and Laws. The should be taught by his play to use the rule privacy of home has its own limitations to and plumb line, and the soldier to sit at deal with this subject. Children, if horse, and so on. We should seek to use unchecked, will develop a tendency to games as a means of directing children s transgress and commit misdeeds. Neither tastes and inclinations towards the station legislation, nor silence would help the they are themselves to fill when they children to make better. It is possible to become adults, so we may say, in fact, the mend the ways of children through right sum and substance of education is the right education. The right system of education training which effectually leads the soul of and nurture must be that which can be the child at play on to the love of the shown to produce the highest possible calling in which he will have to perfect, perfection and excellence of body and soul, after its kind, when he is a man. perfection of the body is possible to attain in children if they grow straight from their When we talk of one as educated and the earliest days. And, furthermore, it is a fact other as uneducated, what does this mean? of observation that in all living things This needs to be clarified simply because growth is most conspicuous and rapid in its there is no unanimity of opinion among initial springing so much so indeed, that philosophers, says Plato. Some hold the many people have believed in that the view that education is nothing but stature reached by human being in its first schooling from boy-hood in goodness five years is that what makes him even at which inspires the recipient with passionate the age of twenty. All impositions on the and ardent desire to become a perfect child should be laid while the child is being citizen, knowing both how to wield and nursed in the womb. Such kind of ideas of how to submit to righteous rule. Any Plato to nourish the child while it is still in training which has as its end wealth or the womb of the mother could be found in perhaps bodily strength, or some other the Indian content also. Vamadeva, a great accomplishment unattended by intelligence saint, is said to have learned everything, and righteousness, it counts vulgar, illiberal while he is still in his mother s womb. A and wholly unworthy to be called proper regimen is to be administered even education. A rightly educated person is one to the embryo. It is evident that Abhimanyu who proves what is good and that no aspect learnt chasing padmavyuha taught by his of education is to be disparaged. Education father Arjun while he was in the womb of is the highest blessings bestowed on his mother. Even toady many musicians are mankind and it is the best of them on whom doing research about the grasping of the it is most fully bestowed. When it takes a child while he was inside the womb of its false turn, which permits of correction, one mother. 70

7 Education brings victory Aims, International Library of Philosophy of Education . London : What considerable advantage the boy or the Rutledge, Kegan Paul.De Guimps, city derives from the education and again Roger . from the educated? The answer is easy, Keay, F.E., 1960 . Ancient Indian says Plato. Education is the way to produce Education: An enquiry into its origin, goodmen, (It is this idea of Plato that has development, and ideas . New remarkably influenced Kilpatrick to say Delhi : Cosmo Publications . that the sole aims of education is to produce Kilpatrick, William Heart., 1954 . an educated gentleman ) and, once Philosophy of Education. New York: produced, such men will live nobly, and The Macmillan vanquish their enemies in the field. In Mukherji, R.K., 1969 . Ancient Indian ancient Indian system education not only Education. Delhi: Motilal Banarasi brings victory but also liberates the human Dass . soul form the earthly bondages. Sarkar, S.C., 1928 . Educational Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India . Patna . We can draw as many comparisons as Ulich, R., 1947 . Three Thousand Years of possible as far as foundations of education Educational Wisdom . Harvard : are concerned in both Indian systems and Harvard University Press . University Greeko-Romans systems of education. The of Calcutta . scholar has made an attempt to compare Venkateswara, S.V., 1928 . Indian Culture some of the aspects. Unless a prospective through the Ages . Vol, London: teacher knows about the basic Longman, Green & Co philosophical foundations of education laid Williams, D., 1789 . A Treatise on down he cannot discharge his/her duties as Education. !774. Lectures on a responsible educator of the country. Education. 3 Vols. There is a need for all the prospective teaches, teacher educators to well acquaint with the foundations of education laid down in ancient India and the west. This would enhance the horizon of thinking to all the students of education. References Altekar. A.S., 1948. Education in ancient India. Banaras: Nanda Kishore & Bros. Bokil, V.P., 1925. A History of Education in Ancient India. Vol. I, Bombay. Das. S.K., 1930. The Educational systems of the Ancient Hindus . Calcutta : Dearden, R.F., and Others, 1972. Education and Development of Reason. London : Rutledge, Kegan Paul . Dearden, R.F., P.H. Hirst and R.S.Petrey (Eds.)., 1978 . A critique of Educational 71

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