ancient indian history

Ancient india

India has a rich tradition of learning and education right from the antiquity. These were handed over generations to generations either through oral or written medium. The highly esteemed Vedas have come to down to us. They existed for nearly 2000 years before they were known in India.

It was the knowledge of acoustics that enabled ancient Indians to orally transmit the Vedas from generation to generation. Institutional form of imparting learning came into existence in the early centuries of the Christian era. The approach to learning was to study logic and epistemology. The study of logic was followed by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, one of the most important topics of Indian thoughts was pramana or means of reliable knowledge. The Nyaya schools upheld four pramanas – perceptions of are liable by analogy or comparison, word (Sabda), and pronunciation of a reliable authority such as the Vedas. The Vedanta school added one more to it i.e. intuition. It is probably while studying the process of inference that the schools of true logic arose.

Ancient Indian postulated syllogism though not as accurate as that of Aristotle. Yet, they recognize some of the major fallacies of logic like reduction and absurdum, circular argument, infinite regression, dilemma, and ignorance. In the field epistemology, Jains contributed the most. There were not only two possibilities of existence and non-existence but seven more. Although the modern logicians might laugh at this pedantic system of ontological and epistemological reality they concede that the world is more complex and subtle than we think it to be. Regarding institutional form of education the first was the guru-sishya system.

According to sacred texts, the training of the Brahmin pupil took place at the home of a Brahmin teacher. In some texts the guru is depicted as the poor ascetic and it is the duty of the student to beg for his teacher. The first lesson that was taught to the student was the performance of sandhya and also reciting of gayatri.The family functioned as a domestic school, an asrama or a hermitage where the mental faculties of the pupils were developed by the teacher’s constant attention and personal instruction. Education treated as a matter of individual concern, did not admit of the method of mass production applicable in industry. The making of man was regarded as an artistic and not a mechanical process. Indeed, the aim of education was the developing of the pupil’s personality, his innate and latent capacities.

This view of education as a process of one’s inner growth and self-fulfillment evolved its own technique, its rules, methods and practices.

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