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Articles > Taxila - An Ancient Indian University

taxila - an ancient indian university

Kunala Stupa in Taxila

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Published in the "Mysore Dasara Exhibition Souvenir" (1961)

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"Taxila - An Ancient Indian University" by Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri


The ancient system of education from the Vedic times had as its main goal the development of personality in all its aspects, secular as well as spiritual. It was considered to be Samskara & a process of refinement. According to the ancient conception, the inherited and acquired characteristics of an individual had to be properly disciplined and canalised so as to serve the four ends of Man, or Purushartha-ethics and morality or Dharma, the economic and political obligation-Artha, the sublimation of desire and the sex instinct-Kama, and finally salvation-Moksha.


Education therefore meant a proper conditioning of the body and the mind of the individual. To "educe" or bring out the inherent potentiality and help the individual to adjust himself to the changing condition, the educational system aimed at the transformation of the individual even from the mother's womb by proper Samskara or ceremonies. The elementary education was imparted up to the eighth year and after the initiation ceremony, the higher education was imparted according to the capacity and needs of the individual. The student was expected to lead a life of strict celibacy or Brahmacharya until his course of study was completed. Then he had to travel and acquire a knowledge of the world and become a Snataka or a graduate.


Teacher - Pupil Relationship

The relations between the teacher and the pupil were never impersonal or based on monetary considerations in the Vedic times. The Dharma Sastras expressly condemn the teacher who imparts education for a stipulated fee and say such education benefits neither the pupil nor the teacher. After the teacher has given permission to the pupil to go back to his home and set up a family, the student may show his gratitude by making an offering to the teacher according to his capacity. 

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"Taxila (Takshashila) University" (Among the world's oldest Universities) 

"Taxila (Takshashila) University" (Among the world's oldest Universities) 

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