Education in Vedic Period: The education method which was developed and grown first in ancient India is called as the Vedic system of education. In other words, we can assume that the ancient system of education was totally based on the Vedas and therefore it is called the name of Vedic Educational System. In Indian life, Vedas involve a very important role. The foundation of Indian culture depends upon Vedas which are divided into four parts i.e Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda, and Atharvaveda. Some of the scholars have also divided the Vedic Educational period into Rig Veda period, Upanishada period, Brahmani period, Sutra (Hymn) period, Smriti period etc but all these times, due to the predominance of the ancient Vedas, there was no change in the objects and ideals of educations. That is why, the education of these periods, is considered under Vedic period.
FEATURES OF VEDIC EDUCATION IN ANCIENT INDIA: Education in Vedic Period
- Personality Development and Character Formation: The Vedic period was completely focused on character building which was very different in Indian history. Moral values were given importance. Control of senses and practice of virtues was practiced that made one a man of character. Moral perfection could come only through following moral values. The teacher and their teaching were ideals of morality, for both followed it all through their lives. The Guru during the ancient times realized that the growth and development of personality is the individual aim of education. The characteristics of self-confidence, self-esteem, self-restraint, and self-respect were the personality features that the teacher tried to inoculate in his students through various types of example.
- Evolution of Civic Responsibilities and Social Values: The infusion of civic virtues and the social values was an equally significant objective of education in India. The Brahmachari once completes his education in the Gurukulas went back to the community to relieve the diseased, assist the rich and the poor, and the distressed. He was expected to be friendly to the guests and generous to the needy. After some time of studies, he was asked to become a householder and to continue his race and transfer his culture to his own offsprings.
- Infusion of Spiritual & Religious Values: The basic goal of ancient education was teaching pupils a spirit of being devout and religious for the glory of God and good of man. The pursuit of education was a pursuit of religious values and morals. Education without religions guidance was not education at all. It was thought that a keener recognition of spiritual values could be cultivated only through a strict practice if religious rites.
- Goals of Education: The final goal of education in ancient Indian history was not gaining knowledge as preparation for life in this world or for life beyond, but for the complete success of self for the liberation of the soul from the series of life both present and future.
- Complete Knowledge: It was said that Education is knowledge. This proverb means that knowledge opens man’s inner eye, overwhelming him with holy and divine light, which forms the prerequisite for man‘s journey through life. What is the importance of education in Vedic Period
- Methods of Instruction and Guidance: It was a student or disciple centered education. No single plan of instruction was adopted, through a speech by the student followed by an explanation by the teacher or Guru, was generally followed. Besides question session – Debate and Discussion, Answer, Storytelling was also followed according to demand. There was no classroom education. However, the monitorial system was followed and senior students were appointed to teach their Juniors. Travel was considered as necessary to give finishing brush to education so the systems of teaching generally practiced during the Vedic period were mainly Maukhik i.e oral and another system was based on Chintan (thinking or reflection). In the oral sessions, the pupils were to memorize the mantras (Vedic Hymns) and Richey’s (Verses of Rigveda) in order that would not be changed wrongly and they might remain protected in their original forms.
Types of Educational Institutions during education in Vedic Period
- Gurukulas: In ancient times Gurukulas were called the dwelling houses of gurus located in natural surroundings away from noise and bustle of cities. Parents used to send their children at the age of five years to nine years according to their castes and creed. Students lived under the shelter of their guru called ‘antevasin’ i.e under the direct guidance of their Guru. The fundamental and basic duty of the student was to help the teacher and his family. The pupils were like sons of the teacher and the whole institution was like a family.
- Parishads: Parishads were called bigger educational institutions higher educational institutions where many teachers managed to teach different subjects. Later on, the ‘Parishads’ were fixed up at the places where educated men lived in good number and slowly these institutions became permanent centers of presenting knowledge.
- Sammelan: Sammelan commonly means learning together for a particular purpose. In this kind of educational institutions, scholars assembled at one place for learned competitions and discussions generally on the invitation of the king. Scholars were duly rewarded.
Goals of Education during Vedic Period in India:
- The main goal of education in Vedic Period was to recognize the supreme and receive Supreme Consciousness (Brahman).
- Inculcation of a sense of piety and virtue was the aim of education.
- Protection and spread of ancient culture were one of the aims of the ancient educational system.
- The principal aim was to discover the spiritual and moral powers, the leadership of the individual during Vedic period.
- The purposes of education were ideal for the mental, physical, and intellectual personality of the student.
- Development of good and moral quality was also another aim of Vedic education.