Gurukula is a Man Making Education System

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Abstract

This paper compares today’s imported education system vs. Gurukula system. Main concern is the quality of human material has rapidly declined in many fields. Education is the only means of civilizing ourselves to maintain high qualities of Integrity, devotion, sincerity and an ethical and moral purpose in our national life. The goal of our National Education should be to supply a constant stream of men of character, fearless open minded, truthful, patriotic, who will become the basic material, for building up the Nation. Today we have imported the class room style of education from Lord McCauley and we have made it worse! 

We have abandoned our ancient Gurukula Style of Education system, which is a 5000-year old Hindu tradition of transmitting higher knowledge and enlightenment to the students by yogic powers by the Guru with an aim to develop the latent yogic powers of the child and build him up into a Moral & Spiritual stalwarts with attention to character building to build students into a real Purusha, and not just a walking computer.

The western education takes a boy and puts knowledge into his head, but Gurukula education theory is knowledge should not be got from outside it is already there inside, it comes from within. Today a student is given textbook to put into memory and then put back into a booklet during examination.

In Gurukula education, guru will teach how to makeup defects, overcome difficulties, analyse mistakes, develops the right use of the six senses by training & practice, training of mental faculty & logical faculty, fundamentals of Hinduism like, concept of Moral Responsibility or Dharma, the scientific basis of the law of “Action & Reaction” or karma to stress the need for responsibility for one’s own action are all taught everything working, playing and living.  

EDUCATION TODAY—A CRISIS IN NATIONAL CHARACTER! 

The National scene today on the Educational front presents a bewildering picture. The situation prevailing in the Educational Institutions and the Universities is alarming. The quality of the teachers and the students has taken a nosedive, in the recent years. The production of text books, the planning of their content, the methods of instruction as well as the goals to be kept in view for making our Education serve the National goal as well as the individual aims – all these are in a sorry mess today!

Besides, the apparatus for teaching, as it exists in Indian schools, colleges and universities, has broken down, and an alternative has to be found. The framing of text books, the selection of materials for study, the preparation of reading materials and also the production of high quality study materials as well as their free marketability—all these reveal a sorry state of affairs. The new policy will have to take all these distressing trends into account and suggest remedial measures.

Today, the main concern in the modern Bharat is that the quality of human material is rapidly declining in many fields. The goal of the education should be to supply a constant stream of men of character, to man the different walks in life-business, politics, Education, science and social work, is the National Aim of education.

Education is the only means of civilizing ourselves, or training ourselves to maintain high qualities of Integrity, devotion, sincerity and an ethical and moral purpose in our national life, and correct the poisonous trends of rank opportunism and political corruption which are destroying our national character.  Our only means of educating the future political leaders is while they are still as students!

Education, must define its goal.  The goal is individual’s character-building. The aim our National Education should be to provide men of character and patriotism, who are the basic material, for building up the Nation. A fearless open minded and truthful personality as the foundation to character-building –is the first purpose of “National Education”, an honest, self-confident nature is the greatest security, against corruption, moral bankruptcy and fear complex, which we find in every walk of life to-day.

These goals should not merely to be preached or propagated by word-but studiously and thoroughly achieved – by planned action, in framing revised curricula and also by expurgating and eliminating from the reading materials of the students all that is hostile or inimical to these goals.  This is the duty of not merely our governments, but of every educated man who values the Freedom of our Nation and Liberty and also our National values. 

CURRENT EDUCATION SYSTEM IN BHARAT

EDUCATION:

We have imported the class room style of education from Lord Macauley, who was specially sent by British to prepare a project for slavery of Hindus permanently, and we have even made it worse! British after research found that even after so many attacks and rulers ruling Bharath, rulers could not destroy the culture. 100 times Muslims broke the temples and 200 times the temples were built again. 1000 times they burnt books, 2000 times they wrote again, because our guru’s memorize everything, so if one book is burnt they have written another book again. 

So British came to a conclusion that merely by conquering Hindus, there is no use. They realized that they should destroy from inside the culture and Vedas because Hindus believe in their culture, Vedas and gyana. So to destroy this British started this English Education where they pickup students as youngsters and make them cut their hair and put the shirts and pants like British people, and motivate to live like a westerner and they taught if you live like a western man you will be great, you drink wine, you dance and eat meat, you have illicit sex, the more criminal you are you are great. More money you have you are great. The result of this education is that even the Brahmins today have lost their values. So we can see how after 60+ years of Independence we have lost our Gurukula Education system and values and how British are successful in their aim of destroying our education system.

We have abandoned our ancient style of imparting Education used by the Rishis in their ashrams of Vedic times. We have copied the Western type of schooling—where, a mass of children are packed into a class and a teacher drives on and on, at the topics which have no relevance to their life; no relevance to their times, or the needs of country. We do not aim at Character—building or making the boy into a good individual and a useful citizen to the country or a capable asset to his parents. We aim at passing an examination, by methods which have no morals.

We have not only copied the class room method of Victorian England but also made our classes and sections very big. Colleges Schools and Universities—even Governments go on sanctioning larger classes! This makes a class room an animal farm!

The teacher is not even a good shepherd but a helpless victim of this mass of unmanageable boys. All this should be forthwith scrapped. The strength of class should be cut down. Even class room style of teaching must go! The teacher must live with his pupils! They must not be more than six or seven boys, who eat sleep and live with him.

The education is intertwined into their life style. The aim is not merely giving them information, or “General Knowledge” or make them into “Careers Guide books” The idea is to mould the Character, build his personality and make him a self-dependant individual, but not to make him a slave or a favour seeking subordinate; not even a voter worshipping at the feet of Governments, but a master who rules, if need be.

PARENTS:

The other important aspect in Education is the Parent is the natural teacher by default. The Child learns from the parent all that is formative in its character. The reason is obvious. The cause is the natural tendency of the child to copy, to imitate and emulate what it sees in others, the elders-doing. Because this is the natural way of learning! Learning from what you see. A careful observation of nature shows that the cat teaches the kitten how to be a cat and the Child learns from the environment what it sees in others do, or hears and it is impelled to follow suit-from what its fellows do! This is Nature’s way of educating a creature born into this world.

The modern parent has long abdicated his role-the role of living for the child and controlling, stream lining and improving his own words and deeds in the presence of children. The modern parent too often lives a life for oneself, uses the home as the outlet for his own pent-up feelings or suppressed urges and his own antisocial or unsocial reflexes which he controls or conceals in the presence of his boss or his guests or the society. The result is that the child is the target of all emotional and intellectual poisons that the parent vomits involuntary before the child.

The child copies, imbibes and if it is refined or sensitive—reacts negatively, towards the parent. For a long time this negative ness is not expressed but suppressed. But soon the limit is reached. The child makes no secret of its feelings towards the parent. The parent is shocked!

Many parents do not realize that the defects which they detect or dislike in their “problem child” are a direct result of the parent’s infection! The child is pure like a fresh recording tape—it records all the noises that it is exposed to!

It is only at this late stage of practical unmanageability of the child, that the parent gets really worried, or concerned about the child. Usually it is too late! Even then it is largely a selfish reaction—to get rid of the problem—called the child!

TEACHERS:

The usual dumping ground is usually the teacher or school. Often, teacher is a much worse remedy. He is no better than the parent. Often the teacher himself is no better as a parent! Even many times the teacher is young, or immature and does not know how to deal with one-self, not to speak, of dealing with the student. The reaction is the exploitation or misuse of the student teacher relationship.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE

We talk of student discipline! The student problem is almost entirely the result of the adult indiscipline which runs in all our Educational Institutions! The political chaos that has surrounded our thinking—surrounded all our institutions too, starting with the state, engulfing the family, the village the district administration and invaded the teacher community as well as the parents, and has produced its ‘evil seed’—the student problem!

Most of the student unrest is a reaction to the unbearable mess that is created and perpetrated in our Educational institutions!

Student Unions, with politicalized Elections, frequent gheraos bandhs and Yuva—morchas and their monstering share—in to devilizing the honest student-have all contributed liberally in driving Education out of our Colleges and Universities!

SYLLABUS & EXAMINATION SYSTEM

Often, a generation of youth is wasted in studying and specializing in subjects which have no job-value or market value. Even if the students work hard and try to do well in the examinations, most of the recruiting agencies do not believe the examinations and their marks! Because for every recruitment or selection there is, what is called “open competition” or competitive tests which are conducted almost on a parallel scale to our Examinations of the Universities. This amounts to doubting the degrees given by the universities as spurious, even if such a fact is not stated openly. The result is wastage of man hours and labour of the honest student, who works hard to do well in the examinations. He has to do the same thing all over again for the competitive tests. “Then to what purpose is all this duplication of exercise? Is the question, asked by many students who are honest? The only way out, is to abolish one, or the other.

FAILURE OF MODERN EDUCATION

Education today is considered as transferring mere information from a book into the mind and from mind into the answer book. Since some of the young men who are resourceful they don’t see why the information must first be transferred into the head and then into the book; it can, as well be transferred from one book to another! And this, exactly—is the reason for the failure of modern education.

Education therefore does not concern any such transferring of information from a book into the mind of a boy. Because by the time he mugs-up and by-hearts that information, then that information has become out-dated and so, is useless. By the time, he has learnt something, it has become outdated. By the time he has mastered some passages, these have no value. We are asked to recite Miltons’ Paradise Lost. We go on memorizing Shakespeare’s Macbeth and suddenly we find ourselves in a Taluk Office where neither Milton nor Shakespeare can matter! We are taught morals and values, and then thrown out to work in a world of trained criminals and Political morons. Such a generation suffers! 

 

OVERVIEW OF TRADITIONAL GURUKULA SYSTEM

Gurukula system of teaching is a 5000-year-old Hindu tradition of transmitting higher knowledge and enlightenment to the students by yogic power by the Guru. The Gurukula is the house of the Guru where a Bhramachari- a boy student and kanya- a girl student is taught everything working, playing and living. Life is a school that is the idea of Gurukula.

The aim of our traditional Gurukula technique is to develop the latent yogic powers of the child and build him up to into a Moral & Spiritual stalwart and not just a walking computer. In Gurukula, Guru develops his students into a real Purusha. A Purusha means a real hero, who is not afraid of everything, he is not afraid of life, disease. He also teaches how to analyze the fear and try to surpass it. The youngsters are trained in exercises and in Yogic Asanas and Mental Training in high concentration through Meditation for Awakening of Higher centers of understanding. Gurukula system devotes special attention to character building.

In the words of Dr Vedavyas

“Gurukula is the house of the Guru i.e. what you learn is not a school, it is your home, it is a home of knowledge, then they ask me where is the guru, I said Guru is inside everybody, thinks Guru is a man outside this man, that man, no doubt he helps you to get knowledge or discovers how to get knowledge, but somebody talks to you, laughs, you know he is angry with you, how do you know all that, because there is a center ness, the knowledge center even in a 3 years old child, the child sees mother and smiles, that means he understands, so this understanding center is called Guru.”

EDUCATION OF THE RISHIS

Education, as it is understood in the Modern World today, is conceived as acquiring information from outside. This may be in the form of spoken word from the teacher or written word from the books or facts observed in the laboratory or from text books, prepared from out of the above sources. The idea is that Man gets knowledge from his environment, through his senses and the brain, in any of the above forms.

The Education of Rishies, is ‘Education from Within’ The basic idea underlying this concept, is that Man has in himself, the Source of true knowledge. The techniques adopted by religious mystics or Saints and Rishies, involves this idea of ‘illumination from Inside’.

The Gurukula concept of Education as practiced by Ancient Vedic Rishis involves the  idea of knowledge received from within—as a kind of inner light. ‘Tapas’ of penance involves purification of the body and the mind and sublimation of the desires and the lower cravings, and is followed by meditation/concentration by yoga. Tapas or penance in Yoga involves the purification of the mind. This mind is purified from all kinds of egoistic selfish and passionate impulses, by a regulated living of the disciple, or Bramhachari under the direct supervision of the Guru. This involves living with the Guru or personal initiation or Upadesha and training in practice. When mind achieves purification, the next stage is called “inward turning of the consciousness” (Anthar mukhatwam). When man achieves the Higher Knowledge by turning his attention to focus it inwards-he gets a totally different understanding! It is simultaneous knowledge! It is instantaneous understanding. Thought need not proceed from fact to fact or from one fact after the other.

As a light switched on in a room makes all the objects visible at one time and not one after the other, but simultaneously—so, too. The higher knowledge of “simultaneous understanding” is likewise instantaneous—and multi-dimensional. It is understanding in all directions at the same time! Such is the Theory of “Education from Within”. This knowledge, received from inside, is not subject to the normal defects of sense perception. Such is the idea of – Education from within is the fundamental concept of Gurukula System of education as practiced by the Rishies from Vedic India.

 

COMPARISION OF MODERN TO GURUKULA SYSTEM OF EDUCATION

Now that we have examined the basic difference between the two methods of educating man—the education from within—based on the principles laid by the Rishis of India—we shall now try to understand how they are applied for changing human character, by changing the thought pattern in our mind’s functioning.

Education, of our today’s schools and colleges goes, is imparting factual knowledge. It is still largely of a student addicted to books and examinations, is therefore imparting mere information—from book to Man.

Education is training of the boy to ‘think for himself’. Is it only thinking? You may protest. Yes! Thinking—is almost a lost art in mankind today. The culprit is the Yoga is a unique gift of the Vedic Rishies to modern Man. It is by the use of Yoga Principles in Education and combining both Yoga and Education that we have to evolve a “New Education”, Here Education means educating the body and the mind. To learn how to use one’s mind, and not be used by the mind! The modern man is a slave to his mind, a slave to his habits and a slave to his passion, Yoga liberates Man from all this.

Because by ‘Yama’ and ‘Niyama’ it teaches how to break the shackles of thought and bondage of habits and by “Pranayama” to raise one’s Consciousness. By “Dhyana” we raise the level of our thoughts. But all this has to be built-in into our Education. This is our task! A “New Yoga” and “Education” have to be evolved.

EXPERIMENT OF GURUKULA SYSTEM OF EDUCATION

This Man—making needs a new syllabus! The materials of education need not be re-invented but re-establishing their efficacy of the proven ancient methods. So a new experiment in Education-methods is being carried out for turning out a different type of Mankind, altogether by our organisations USCEFI and Vedavyasa Bharati Trust which were founded by Dr. Vedavyas, IAS, PhD. This ‘National Education’—with its system of ‘Ashram’ type of Gurukula Public Schools have been started as an experiments of this Man-making Education after studying these have been integrated into our model of ancient Rishis and the experiments of Shri Aurobindo on National Education, Gurudev Tagore at Shanti Niketan and of Annie Besant in Theosophical College, Adyar and of J. Krishnamurthy. We are trying to revive the educational methods which produced Adi Shankara, Guatama Buddha and Lord Rama and Krishna. We have also richly drawn upon the work of Sister Nivedita and Vivekananda and the educational techniques. Few of the methods and techniques, fused and synthesized, we are experimenting in 3 of our Gurukula Schools (Sri Venkateswara Gurukul School, Sri Parvatm, near Rajahmundry; Shiridi Sai  School, Unagatla Village, near Nidadavolu and Rishi Vatika Gurukul School, near Madanapalli, AP).

  • We are using Yoga which is a unique gift of the Vedic Rishies to modern Man. It is by the use of Yoga Principles in Education and combining both Yoga and Education that we are trying to evolve a “New Education”. The concept is Education means educating the body and the mind in tandem. To learn how to use one’s mind, and not be used by the mind! The modern man is a slave to his mind, a slave to his habits and a slave to his passion, Yoga liberates Man from all these.
  • We emphasis greater importance of learning mother tongue and a national linking language Hindi and Sanskrit.
  • The environments of our schools are more natural with good vegetation, flowers sunlight and fresh air.  The students commune with Nature.  The aim is to make students learn from within, and discover the secret source of knowledge inside him.  The teaching is more about “Laws of Nature” which are to be obeyed in life-if good health, peace of mind and harmony in life are to be developed.
  • The basic Laws of Karma and – Living according to higher Laws of Divine Living which cultivate a Higher thinking about the purpose of life and the good of human race—are to be given to the students in an easy to assimilate form. Not merely mental study but practice—of these principles in daily life is ‘insisted upon’. 
  • The role of money and the proper place of wealth in the Higher Laws of Divine Life is inculcated in the formative period of life. A basic change in the student’s attitude to life comes by changing of these money based to life based values.
  • We are attempting to create a new Syllabus, Curriculum, Books to bring this New “Yoga Education”.  
  • We have introduced in our curriculum Unselfish Service as a Spiritual Sadhana to the students from the young age so that this will lead to elimination of the lower self and greed.  This we achieve through unselfish work. Real merger of the Small ‘I’ or the individual self, into the larger self or the Universal Self is possible only through truly selfless action!
  • Another important principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught. We do not consider teacher as an Instructor, he is a facilitator and a guide. He only suggests and does not impose. He does not actually train the pupil's mind, he only shows him how to perfect his instruments of knowledge and helps and encourages him in the process. He does not impart knowledge to him; he shows him how to acquire knowledge for himself. We also achieved in our “Gurukula” Schools the student teacher barrier by making the senior class student work as Teacher for his juniors. 
  • We educate students and orient them on the achievements and Highlights of Ancient – India and the real history with a view to develop – a love and patriotism for Indian. The rich Cultural heritage of India should be imparted to the child at a tender age for early fulfillment and encourage self-expression and artistic expression and to inculcate the sense of right conduct and duty to Motherland as a Sacred Duty. 
  • Our School is a family of teachers and pupils and a temple of Knowledge! God is our Father—the teacher, the Pupil and the Parent are His devotees. Education is our worship—of knowledge. Character-building of the child and child’s all sided growth is the aim.
  • Exercise—not only for the body—but also for the child’s higher faculties, Physical education, training of the mind and body self-control, Self-sacrifice, hard work also healthy nutritious food and dynamism is worked out into an objective programme as a basic component in the Education of our schools.
  • Finally we are keeping our Education in expensive and within the reach of the poorest man. A student must be able to educate himself while earning his livelihood by his labour, while living in Gurukula, thus contributing to his upbringing!

CONCLUSION

In order to make Bharat ‘Guru of Nations’, and save our education from extinct, we have taken up the work of bringing back the  Ancient education system to bring up the children of tomorrow as spiritual and learned stalwarts and not as mere educated adults. In coming years with more research and our experiments, we will be able to share the facts and results and make it a replicable education system. We invite all academicians and intellectuals to associate with us and contribute in this Yagna of bringing back the Gurukula System of Education.   

Author is Honorary Director, International Institute of Vedic Sciences, Rishi Vatika, Andhra Pradesh and Correspondent- Rishi Vatika Gurukul School, Rishi Vatika, Chittor Dist, Andhra Pradesh.

References

1 National Education, Dr Vedavyas, IAS, Ph.D, USCEFI 1988.

2  Hinduism in the Space Age, Dr. Vedavyas.

3 Sri Aurobindo's writings A SYSTEM OF NATIONAL EDUCATION. 

4 My Idea of Education by Swami Vivekananda

5 Hints on National Education in India by Sister Nivedita

6  Lord MaCauley's Address to British Parliament in 1835.

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