Institutions of higher learning and education in ancient India
- 12 May 2020
- Posted by: Durgesh
- Category: Uncategorised
The UGC NET Paper 1 Syllabus consist of 10 units, in this article we will discuss about Higher Education System only.
- Institutions of higher learning and education in ancient India
- Evolution of higher learning and research in Post Independence India
- Oriental, Conventional and Non-conventional learning programs in India
- Professional, Technical and Skill-Based education
- Value education and environmental education
Part I Institutions of higher learning and education in ancient India
There are a number of famous ancient institutions in India, they are:
1. Takshashila (Taxila):
It was located in modern-day Pakistan. It is estimated to exist around the 5th century BC. It is believed that Chanakya composed the Arthashastra at this place. Both Buddhist and Hindu theologies were taught here. Subjects like Political Science, Hunting, medicine, law, military tactics were taught here. Noted teachers and students from Takshashila include Chanakya, Charaka, Panini, Jivaka, Prasenajit, etc
The most renowned university in South Asia. It is not clear as to who established it; it was in existence during Gupta period. It gained prominence under Harshavardhana’s reign and Pala kings. All three Buddhist doctrines were taught here, however, it was a major site for Mahayana Buddhist teachings. Subjects like Vedas, fine arts, grammar, philosophy, logic, medicine, etc were also taught here. It had eight separate compounds and even had dormitories for students. It attracted scholars from Central Asia, South-East Asia and other parts of the world. The teachings of the university deeply influenced Tibetan Buddhism. Famous scholars of Nalanda are Nagarjuna (Madhyamika Shunyavad) and Aryabhatta the astronomer. Hsuan Tsang spent two years at the university. Another Chinese scholar I-Tsing spent ten years at Nalanda in the late 7th century.
It was situated in Saurashtra, Gujarat. It was an important centre of learning for the Hinayana Buddhism. Various disciplines like administration and statecraft, laws, philosophy etc were taught here. It was visited by the Chinese scholar, Hseun Tsang. It was supported by the grants of rulers of Maitraka Dynasty of Gujarat.
It is located in present-day Bhagalpur district of Bihar. It was established by King Dharampala of Pala dynasty, primarily as a Buddhist learning centre. The scholars were invited by kings outside India to spread Buddhist teachings. The Vajrayana sect flourished here and Tantric teachings were taught. Other subjects like logic, Vedas, astronomy, urban development, law, grammar, philosophy, etc were also taught.
This University had been established long before the Kings of Pala dynasty came into power in Magadha. Odantpuri could not attain that level of fame and repute which either Nalanda or Vikramshila had accomplished. Still, nearly 1000 monks and students resided and received an education there. Odantapuri contributed its share in spreading the tenets of Buddhism. It attracted students from Tibet too.
Jagaddala Pal King, Raja Ram Pal of Bengal had set a city on the banks of Ganga. It was the beginning of the 11th century and it was named as Ranavati. He also constructed a monastery and named it as Jagaddala. Soon after this University became the centre of learning it remained the centre of Buddhist culture for about 100 years. It was destroyed by Muslims in 1203 A.D. In Jagaddala there were many scholars notable for their knowledge. Their reputation reached Tibet and their books were translated into the Tibetan language.
In the Upanishadic age, Mithila became a prominent seat of Brahmanical system of education. It was named as Videha. Raja Janak used to hold religious conferences, wherein learned Rishis and pandits took part in religious discussions. Even in the Buddhist period, it continued its glorious task and remained an important centre of learning and culture. Later on, this pace produced devotees of Lord Krishna. Famous poet Vidyapati, who had written in Hindi and Jaideo who was a prominent poet of Sanskrit literature was born here.
Nadia was formerly called Navadweep. It is situated at the confluence of Ganga and Jalangi rivers in Bengal. It was the centre of trade and commerce as well as learning and culture. It had produced innumerable scholars from time to time. The lyrics of Gita Govind by Jaideva still reverberate in the ears of the people. Even during the Mohammedan rules, Nadia enjoyed popularity and fame as an important centre of education, especially for such branches of learning as Logic, Vyakaran, Politics and Law.
It was a centre of learning for Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism from 1st century AD and achieved great name under the rule of Pallavas.
It is now called Malkhed (Karnataka). It rose to prominence under the Rashtrakuta rule. Scholars of Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism studied here. It has a ‘matha’ of Dvaita school of thought.
11. Pushpagiri Vihara and Lalitagiri (Odisha):
It was established by Kalinga kings around 3rd century AD near the Udayagiri hills. It was mainly a Buddhist learning centre.
12. Sharada Peeth:
It is located in present-day Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. It was an important place for the Sanskrit scholars and many important texts were written here. It also has a Sharda Devi temple.
It is situated 160 km from Amaravathi in Andhra Pradesh, and it was a major Buddhist centre with scholars from Sri Lanka, China, etc coming for higher-education. It had many Viharas, Stupas, etc. It was named after Nagarjuna, a south Indian scholar of Mahayana Buddhism.