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Works by the same Ahtbos 

1. A History of Indian Skipping, with Foreword of Sir Braje&dra 

Nath Seal, Kt., M.A., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Long^ioans, Green 
and Co., Ltd., London). 

2. .:The Fundamental Unity of India (from Hindu Sources), 

with Foreword of J. Ramsay MacDonald (Longmans, 
Green and Co., Ltd., London). 

3. Hindu Civilization (Longmans, Green and Co., Ltd., London). 

4. Nationalism in Hindu Culture (Asian Library Series, London). 

5. Local Government in Ancient India, with Foreword of Lord 

Crewe (Clarendon Press, Oxford). 

6. Harsha (Rulers of India Series, Oxford). 

7. Men and Thought in Ancient India (Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 


8. Asoka (Gaekwad Lectures) (Macmillan and Co., Ltd., London). 

9. Notes on Early Indian Art (Indian Press, Allahabad). 

10. Indian Land-System (Government of Bengal). 



A Stone Image of standing Bodhisattva. 


anci£:NT moiAN 





Itih&sa-^iroma^i (Baroda) ; Professor of Indian History, Lucknow University ; 
Sayaji Rao Gaekwad Priseman ; Member of Bengal L^islative Council, and of 
Land Revenue Commission 






My Wife 


My Son 



The present work is intended to fill up a gap in the literature 
cm the history of Education, which has not taken adequate account 
of the unique contributions made by Hindu Thought to both 
educational Theory and Practice. 

The work has been long in the making. The bulk of it was 
written in 1918-1920, but its completion has been delayed by 
writings on other subjects in response to the needs of my 
teaching work and research at the University. Parts of the 
work have, however, been published from time to time as 
articles in various Periodicals since 1920, such as Asutosh and 
Malavi3ra Commemoration Volumes ; the Journals of the 
Universities of Lucknow, Allahabad, and Benares'; of the 
United Provinces Historical Society, Mjrthic Society of Bangalore, 
Viivabharati, S^ntiniketana ; the Indian Antiquary and the 
Aryan Path ; and Dr. B. C. Lacw’s, Buddhistic Studies. Some of 
these articles have been drawn upon in some recent publications 
on the subject, and this has stimulated completion of the work. 
It will now form, a companion volume to my work on Hindu 
Civilization recently published. 

The work brings together for the first time the representa- 
tions of educational scenes and figures to be foimd in old Indian 
sculpture and painting. For purposes of Illustration, Line 
Drawings have been preferred to photographs as the only means 
of restoring as far as possible defaced or mutilated originals. 

My special obligations are due to my learned coUeague 
(and whilom pupil), Dr. Narendra Nath Sengupta, Professor of 
Philosophy at the University, for his valuable suggestions and 
notes on several philosophic^ points and problems, which it is 
alike my pleasure and duty to gratefully acknowledge. I am deeply 
grateful to my esteemed friend. Dr. Bimala Chum Law, for his 
kind subvention in aid of the publication of the work. I owe 
to Mr. O. C. Gangoly, the renowned art-critic, the suggestion to 
include the Illustrations shown in Plates III, VII, XIV. Plates I, 
IV, VI, VIII, XI-XIII, XVIII, XIX-XXII are based on photo- 
prints supplied by the Archaeological Department of the Govern- 
ment of India to whom belongs their copyright. Plate XVI 



is based on the photo-print supplied by the Aidueoiogical Depart- 
ment of H.E.H. the Nizam’s Government to whom belongs its 

A simplified system of transliteration of Sanskrit and Prakrit 
words has been adopted in this wOTk, and may be understood 
from the following examples : KrishfjM, Safytyana, Lichchhavi, 
A^a, PUrva-MimSfhsd. The vast amount of transliteration 
involved may have left some mistakes, in spite of best efforts 
to correct them, which, I hope, will be overlooked. 

tbb Univxrbitt, Radha Kumud Mookerji. 


M»ck. 1940. 

The printing of the work was completed as far back as 1939, 
but its publication has been delayed so long by conditions 
created by the War. 

I am grateful to my friend. Professor G. C. Raychaudhuri, 
M.A., for kindly helping to expedite the publication by passing 
for me the final proofs on the spot in London where I met him 
at the School of Oriental Studies of the London University, and 
thus obviating the delay of my doing it from India. 


[The numbers are those of pages] 


Preface vii 

Prologue xix 

(i) Backgroundi xix ; (ii) Theory, xxii ; (iii) Plan, xxv. 


Brahmanical Education 


I. Vedic Concepts and Terms . . . i 

V«da, 1 ; Mantra, 2 ; Brahmana, 5 ; SarkkilS, 3 ; 

YajHa. 7. 

H. Rigvedic Education 17 

Evolution of Rigveda and its contents, 17 ; Conservation 
of its text, 20 ; Two tjrpes of literary activity, 22 ; Tapas 
as means of Imowledge, 24 ; Recitation of texts, 26 ; 
Comprehension of their meaning, 29 ; Sa$kghas and 
SlUik&s, 31 ; Summary, 34 ; VratachM, 36 ; Y^ka on 
Vedic Education, 37 ; Achievements in (a) Language, 38 ; 

(fr) Thought, 39, (c) Growth of scienlihc spirit, 49 ; 
K^triyi^ as l^U^iiis, 50 ; Women as ^lishis, 51 ; 
Education of non-Aiyans and Depressed Classes. 51 ; 

Seats of Learning, 53 ; Secular Learning, 54 ; Veddngas, 57. 

III. Education in the other Vedas . . . 6 i 

An age of compilation, 61 ; Different classes of priests 
' and &eir learning, 61 ; ^maveda and its Science of 

Music, 62 ; Yajur>^a, 64 ; Atharvaveda, 66 ; Brahma- 
charya, 67. 

IV. Later Vedic Education .... 71 

BrMmattas, Arattyakas, and Upaniskads, 71 ; Sskkis 
and CharcttfMs, 78 ; Parishads, & ; Goiras, 83 ; Schools 
of Law, 84 ; Chara^as of Vedas and Brdhmanas, 85 ; 

System of Education, 88 ; Sv&dhydya, 88 ; Ne^ of 
teacher, 89 ; Rules of Studentship : Admission, 91 ,* 

Period, 92 ; Duties, 93 ; Inner Discipline, 95 ; Pursuit 
of Highest Knowledge, 96; Teacher’s valedict^ 

Address, 99 ; Duties of Teachers, 101 ; Education 
CompulMry, 102 ; Educated Women, 105 ; Subjects 
of Study, 105 ; Methods of Study, 112 ; Sannyisa and 
Yoga as means of Knowledge, 114; Eligibility for 
Highest Knowledge, 116 ; Charahas, 117 ; Representative 
Teachers of the age, 118 ; Types of Educational Institu- 
tions ; (a) Airamast 133 ; (b) Debati^ Circles, 133 ; 

(c) Parishads, 133; Upanishads as Transacti<ms of 
teamed Societies, 135 ; (4) Learned Conferences. 137 ; « 





Sanskrit as spoken language, 13S; Chief Centces of 
Education. 140 ; Seats of Sacrifice as Seats of Learning. 

146 ; Courts of i^ngs as Centres of Learning, 148 ; Sylvan 
Schools. 149 ; Education of non-Brahmans. 151 ; 
Summary : the Two-fold Path, 155 ; Insistence on 
MoraHty. 156 ; Vmrpm and AirmmA, 157 ; 158 ; 

Yoga, 159, 

V. Education as described in the SOtra 

Literature . . . . . .162 

Origin of SfUras, 162; Classes of Sfilra works, 165 ; Vedfifiga 
Sutras and other ipedalized studies. 165 ; Uf>aoedas, 170 ; 

SiUra Schools ana Teachers, 171 ; Educattonal System, 

173 ; Vidyth^ambha, 173 ; Upanayana, 174 ; Bndima- 
chfiri’s Uniform, 178 ; its 83 rmbolism. 179 ; Preliminaries, 

180 ; SSvitrt Vrata, 182 ; Medh&janana, 183 ; Food, 183 ; 
Begging 184 ; Service to Teadher, 185 ; Daily Duties. 

186 ; Restrictions, 187 ; Behaviour towards Teacher, 

187 ; Rules of Study, 188 ; Courses of Study, 188 ; 

Spedal Vratas for Special Studies. 189 ; Period of 
Studentship, 190; Up&karma and Uharjaiaa, 191; 
Holidays, 193 ; Places banned for Study, 194 ; Rules 
of Vcdic Study, 195 ; Description of Teaching in a Vedic ^ 
School, 197 ; Upakurvdfm and Naiskthiha, 198 ; Plurality 
of Teachers. 1^ ; Qualifications, Duties, and Grades 
of Teachers. 200 ; Obligations of Teacher to Pupil. 201 ; 
Punishment of l^pils, 201 ; Teacher’s Remuneration,' 

202 ; A Pupil’s present to his Teacher after Graduation, 

203 ; Development of Personality, 205 ; Compulsory 
Higher Education. 206 ; Education of Women. 208 ; 

c Non-Brahman Teachers. 209 ; Samdvartana (Gradua- 
tion). 209; Oral Teaching and its Advantages, 211 ; 
Individual Education, 218 ; Parishad, 219 ; Special Sutra 
Schools. 225. 

VI. Education in the Time of Panini . . 230 

Literature known to Pfiuini, 230 ; Literature known to 
Kfityayana and Patafijali, 2^ ; Popular Literature, 235 ; 

Rules of Education, 235 ; School Regulations, 236 : 

Classes of Teaciiers, 237 ; Methods of Study, 238 ; 

Different Classes of Literary Men. 240 ; Different Classes 
of Ascetics, 241 ; Variety of Educational Institutions, 

242 ; Gotra, 242 * CharatM, 243 ; Special Schools. 244 ; 
Parishad, 245 ; Women and Education, 245. 

VII. Education in Kautilya’s Artha^astra . 246 

Subjects of Study, 246 ; Schools of Artkaidstra, 248. 

VIII, The Legal Aspect of Education . . 249 

Litigation between Teacher and Pupil, 249 ; Ri^ts of 
Property in respect ot Gains of Leauning, 251 ; Hmher 
Academic Activities, 253 ; Upanyisa, 254 ; Praina, ^ ; 

V&da, 254 ; Ptddiw&yana, 254 ; Applian^ of Ijcwuming 
Impa^Ue, 256 ; TWdier as Heir of JrapiL 256 ; Property 
accruing to a person In pupilage, 2o6 ; Proper ty of 
Ascetics, 7&1. 


4IIA>< TAOm 

IX. Edtoation as conceived in the Philosophical 

StmiA Literatvee , . . . .258 

Origiti 4 « 258 ; Systems of Philosophy as Systems of 
Discipline, 280 ; 

DiaciT^ine of Vedinfa, 282 ; Views of (a) SaAkara, 

282; (5) Stueivara, 284; (c) Vidy^Uranya, 285; {d) 
Sadftnanda, 285 ; {e) R&s^ina, 265 ; (/) Nimb 2 Lrka, 

265 ; Social Implications of Vedantic Education, 266 ; 
Summary, 289 ; 

PUrva MinUMtsd S 3 ^ 8 tm of Discipline, 271 ; 

Nydya System of Discmline, 274; Elements of Know- 
le^, 276 ; Objects of Knowledge, 278 ; Discussion as a 
Me&od of Learning, 278 ; Faith and Reason, 279 ; 

VaUeshiha Discipline, 280 ; 

Sdthkhya Discipline, 281 ; Caste and Education, 283 ; 

The Yoga Sysi^ of Di 8 cy>line, 284 ; Yoga implicated 
in other Systems, 284 ; Affinity of Sdthkhya and Yoga, 

285 ; Antecedents, 2^ ; Treatment of Mind, 2Ss ; 

The terms * Yoga * and ' Samddhi 287 ; Assump- 
tions of Yoga, 288 ; S 2 ihkhya Theory of Knowledge 
as followed by Yoga, 288 ; The Twenty-five Sfiihkhya 
Categories of Knowledge, 289 ; Problem of Yoga is 
to ascend from plane of daily life to that of Pure 
Consciousness, 293 ; Yoga Psychology of Perception, 293 ; 

Yoga Scheme of Practical Discipline, 295; Chitta- 
bhdmi, 296 ; Chitta-VriUi, 298 ; Pramdfjta (F^tyaksha, 
Anumfina, Agatna), !^ 8 ; Viparyaya, 299 ; Vikalpa, 

300 ; Nidrd, 300 ; SmfUi, 300 ; Klishia and Aklishia 
Vritti, 300 ; Outiine of Process of Yoga in Different 
Stages. 301 ; Moral Practices and Technique of 
Yoga, 305; Abhydsa, ^ 305 ; Vairdgya, 305; Five 
Means of Samddhi, ^7 ; fsvara-praftidhdna, 307 ; Obstacles 
to Samddhi, 309 ; Other Distractions, 309 ; Moral Means 
of Yoga (Chitta-Panittddhi), 310; Prd^dydma, 311; 

How to achieve Abhydsa and Vairdgya, 311 ; Kriyd-yoga 
comprising (a) Tapas, ( 6 ) Svddhydya, (c) Jivarapranidhdna, 

311 ; The Five Afflictions (KUias) : (a) Avidyd, 312; 
{b)Asmitd, 312; {c)Rdga, SIS; {d) Dvesha, 313 ; (e) Abhi- 
niveia, 313 ; The Eight Aids to Yoga (Ashfdtiga) : 

(1) Yama, 313 ; (2) Niyama, 314 ; (3) Asana, 315 ; 

(4) Prd^ydtna, 315 ; (5) Pratydkdra, 315 ; ( 6 ) Dhdra^d, 

316 ; (7) Dhydna, 316 ; ( 8 ) Samddhi, 316 ; 

Different Philosophical Systems have a common scheme 
of Discipline and Aim, 316 ; 

Emphasis of Philosophical Discipline on Skill of Debate 
in Education, 317 ; Tantra-Yuhti, a special treatise on 
Debate, and its contents, 318 ; Anvikshiki work of Med- 
hfitithi Gautama, 319 ; its chapter on Satnbhdsha or 
Vddavidhi, 320 ; 

Conclusion, 322. 

X. Education in the Epics . . . . 325 

Evidence, 325 : Principles underlying Konia and Aframa, 

326 ; The Mahdbhdrata on duties of different castes, 327 ; 
Education of Brfihmaua, 329 ; Doties of Studentship, 

330 ; Eligibility for Education, 331 ; Ideal Stodents,332 ; 

Failures of Studentship, 333 ; Hermitages, 333 ; Learned 
Gathermgs at Sacrifices, 335 ; Education of the K^atriya, 

336 ; BhIShma as Teacher. 337 ; Arjuna as Pupil and 



as Teacher, 338 ; Contents of Kshatriya Education, 338 ; 

Women and Education, 343 ; Ayodhy& as Centre of 
Education in R&m&ya^a, 343 ; kirsmAS mentioned in 
R§^m&yai?a, 343. 

XL Industrial and Vocational Education . 345 

Ceremony of Admission, 345 ; Upanayana for Ayurveda, 

345 ; Medical Holida^’^, 346 ; Ceremony for Graduation, 

347 ; Rules of Medical Study, 347 ; Qualifications of a 
Physician, 348 : Success in Medical Treatment, 348 ; 
Admission to Industry, 349 ; Rules of Apprenticeship, 

349 ; Caste and Craft, 352; Guilds as Industrial 
Schools, 353 ; The Sixty-four Arts and Crafts (Kolas) 
according to different Texts, 353 ; The Arts and Crafts 
in the Time of Early Buddhist Texts and Kautilya, 363. 

XII. Some Typical Educational Institutions and 

Centres 366 

Education essentially individual, 366 ; Examples of 
Organization, 367 ; Examples of Colleges endowed by 
Temple-charities in the South, 367 ; (1) Salotgi, 367 ; 

(2) Ennayiram, 368 ; (3) A College of 340 Students, 368 ; 

(4) A School of Grammar at Tinivorraiyur, 369 ; Other 
Institutions, 370 ; Teachers’ Salaries, 370 ; Learned 
Settlements, 371 ; Noted Centres of Education in 
Mysore, 372 ; Mathas, 373. 


Buddhist Education 

XIII. The Background ..... 374 

Buddhism as a phase of Hinduism. 374 ; Buddhist 
scheme of life as influenced by Brahmanical, 376 ; 
Monachism not a monopoly of Buddhism, 377 ; Its 
Brahmanical Forms, 377 ; Pre- Buddhist Brahmanical 
Ascetic Orders, 381 ; Non-Buddhist Orders of $ramanas, 

382 : Controversies and Conversions of the Buddha, 

384 : The Buddha a product of the Brahmanical System, 

386 ; General Attitude of Buddhism towards Brahmanism, 

389 ; General Indebtedness of Buddhism to Brahmanism, 


XI\^ The System (According to Vinaya) . . 394 

Buddhist Education purely Monastic, 394 ; Initiation, 394 ; 
Pravrajyd, 395 ; Restrictions of Admission, 396 ; Vpasam- 
padd, 398 ; Democratic Procedure, 400 ; Renunciation 
of Monkhood, 401 ; Upddhydya and A chary a, 402 ; 

Duties of Pupils, 403 ; Duties of Teachers, 404; Residen- 
tial Schools or Vihdras, 406 ; Bases of Monas ticism : 

(a) Continence, 409 ; (fi) Poverty, 410; Property 

permitted to Sathgha, 412. 

XV. Discipline 414 

414; Alms-bowl, 415; Monks' Dietary, 415 
Biainer of Egging, 417 ; Manner of Eating. 418 








Invitations to Meals, 419 ; The Buddha’s Hosts, 429'; 
Gifts of provisions to Sathgha, 422 ; The Buddha's 
non-Buddnist Hosts, 423 ; Monks’ Daily Meals, 425 ; 
Medicine, 425 ; Jivaka, the Buddha’s Physician, 427 ; 
Clothing and Dress, 429. 


Five Kinds of Housing, 434 ; Varshdvdsa (rain-retreat), 
434 ; Hut, 437 ; Cave, 437 ; Vihdra, 437 ; Its Furniture, 
440 ; Ardma, 440 ; Baths, 441 ; Jetavana Vihdra, 442 ; 
Vihdra Staff, 443 ; Vihdra as a School of Arts and 
Crafts, 444. 


Training of Monks, 446 ; Parivdsa (probation), 446 ; 
Restrictions, 447 ; Disciplinary Measures, 447 ; Games 
and Sports, 447 ; Studies of Monks, 448 ; Cultivation 
of Vernacular, 449 ; Subjects Taboc^, 449 ; Subjects 
Taught, 450 ; Teaching' mainly Oral, 450 ; Regular 
and Special Teachers, 451 ; Spurious Teachers, 452 ; 
Discussion as a Method of Education, 452 ; Learned 
Meetings, 454 ; The Buddha's Daily Life, 455 ; Monks 
Seeking Solitude, 457 : Buddhist Limitations to 

Solitary Life, 459 ; Comparison of Buddhist and Brah- 
manical ^Systems, 459 ; Women in Buddhist Education. 
462 ; S^e Women Leaders of Buddhism, 464 ; Educa- 
tion outside Monasteries, 466 ; Education of the Laity, 

Industrial Education . . . . 

Medical Education 468 ; Career of Jivaka, 468 ; Evidence 
of Milinda-Pahha, 471 ; Evidence of Jdtdkas, 472. 

The Milinda-Panha on Education 

Career of Nagasena, 473 ; Subjects of Study, 475. 

Education as described in the JAtakas . 

Taxila as a Centre of Learning, 477 ; Tuition Fees, 479 ; 
Public Contributions to Education, 480 ; Invitation to 
Meals, 480 ; State Scholarships, 480 ; Day-Scholars,481 ; 
Householders as Students, 481 ; Choice of Studies, 482 ; 
Democracy of Learning, 482 ; Food and Discipline, 483 ; 
Communal Colleges, 484 ; ^nior Students as Assistant 
Masters, 484 ; Teaching by Shifts, 485 ; Birds as Aids 
to Study, 485 ; Use of Writing, 4^ ; Different Courses 
of Study, 486 ; Religion and Humanities, 486 ; Sciences, 
Arts, and Crafts, 487 ; Specialization in Theory and 
Practice, 487 ; Education made Practical, 488 ; Foreign 
Travel as Aid to Education, 489 ; Special Schools of 
Medicine, Law, and Military Science, 489 ; Schools of 
Silpas (Arts and Crafts), 4W ; Benares as a Centre of 
Education, 490 ; Its School of Music, 490 ; Hermitages as 
Centres of Highest Learning, 490. 











XXL Education in the Fifth Century a.d. 

(Account of Fa-Hien) .... 492 

Chinese Pilgrims to India. 492 ; Buddhist India. 493 ; 
Monasteries seen by Fa»Hien, 494 ; Maintenance of 
Monasteries, 496 ; Duties of Monks. 497 ; Oral Teaching. 

497 ; MSS. Copied by Fa-Hien, 498 ; Popularity of 
Sanskrit, 498 ; StOpas in Honour of Texts and Teachers, 

498 ; Guests at Monasteries, 498 : Assemblies, 499 ; 

Non- Buddhistic Sects and Charitable Institutions. 499 ; 

Chinese Pilgrims facing risks of life on journey to 
India, 5500. 

XXII. Education in the Seventh Century a.d. 

(Account of Hiuen Tsang) . . . 503 

Period, Object, Success, and Difficulties of Hiuen Tsang^s 
Visit, 503 ; His Account of Brahmanical Learning, 504 ; 

Account of Buddhist Education, 508 : Monasteries seen by 
Hiuen Tsang, 508 ; Numbers of Monks in Residence at 
Monasteries. 523 ; Monasteries turning out Leaders of 
Buddhist Thought. 526 ; Contents of Primary Educa- 
tion, 528 ; The Five Vidyds, 528 ; Contents of Higher 
Education, 528 ; Monasteries open for all Sects of 
Buddhism, 529 ; Debating Skill, 530 ; Gradation of 
Scholars, 530 ; Manual and Menial Work of Monks, 531 ; 

The Kamiaddna, 531 ; Spiritual Exercises, 531 ; 
Assemblies, 531 ; Penalties, 531 ; Worship of Images of 
Saints, 532 ; Spread of Education, 532. 


XXIII. I-tsing’s Account of Education in the 

Seventh Century a.d. .... 535 

Objects and Difficulties of I-tsing's Mission, 535 ; Places 
visited by him, 536 ; Strength of Brahmanism, 536 ; 
Elementary Education, 537 ; Medical Study, 538 ; Higher 
Study, 539 ; Admission of Monks, 540 ; Daily Duties of 
Monks, 542 ; Grading of Monks, 543 ; Secular Education, 

545 ; Non-Buddhist Students, 545 ; Breadth of Culture. 

546 ; Unsuccessful Monasteries, Teachers, and Pupils, 

546 ; Successful Monasteries, 547 ; Learned Assemblies, 

548 ; Literary Celebrities, 548 ; Worship of Images, 

Chaityas, and StOpas, 549 ; Self-Government at 
Monasteries, 551 ; Register of Names, 551 ; Menial and 
Administrative Staff, 552 ; Dietary, 552 ; Measurement 
of Time, 553 ; Aids to Spiritual Life, 553 ; Properties of 
Monasteries, 553 ; Libraries, 555 ; Cultural Intercourse 
between China and India, 555. 

XXIV. universities 557 

I. Ndlanda, S57 ; Early History, 557 ; Its Endown^ents, 

558 ; Remains of its Buildings, 560 ; Free Education, 563 : 
Difficulty of Admission, 563 ; Standard of Scholarship, 

565 ; 1,500 Teachers for 8,500 Students,565 ; 100 Lectures 
deliver^ per day, 566 ; Range of Studies, Brahmanical 
and Budd^t, 5^ ; Famous Teachers, 567 ; Ranking of 
Monks, 567 ; Provision for Hiuen Tsang, 569 ; Academic 
Titles, 569 ; Distribution of Rooms in Hostels. 569 ; 
Time-table, 569 ; Bath, 570 ; Democratic Management, 




570 ; Harmoi^ of Life amid diversity of Studies and 
Beliefs, 571 ; Library, 574 ; 

History after I-tsing, 574 ; N51andS. Scholars in Foreign 
Countries, 575 ; 

N&landS. Literature and Scholars in Tibet, 575 ; 

NS,land3, Scholars working as Missionaries in China, 578 ; 

Foreign Scholars at NSiandil, 579 ; 

Scholars from Different ^arts of India at NalandS., 580 ; 

Nolands. Rituals and Art, 581 ; Development of Tantra- 
ydna and VajraySna at NMand^, 581 ; Supposed Founders 
of NS,land5. Art, 584 ; Bronzes of Nalanda influencing 
Javanese Art, 585 ; 

II. Valabhl, 585 ; 

III. Vikrama4il5, 587 ; Site, 587 ; Buildings and Staff, 

587 ; Administration, ^7 ; Six Colleges and a Central 
Hall, 587 ; Six " Dvdra-Pati4i^as 588 ; Vikramaiila 
Scholars working in Tibet, 589 ; Career of Dipaihkara ^rl 
Jfiana Atiia, 590 ; Career of Abhayakara Gupta, 593 ; 

Moslem Destruction of Vikrama4ila, 594 ; 

IV. Jagaddala, 595 ; Its Foundation by King R^mapala, 

595 ; Its noted ^holars, 595 : 

V. Odantapuri, 595 ; 

VI. Mithild, 596 ; Early History, 596 ; Later History from 
Fourteenth Century under Different Dynasties of Rulers, 

597 ; Its early Scholars, Jagaddhara, ^nkarami^ra, and 
V5.chaspatimi4ra, 596 ; The Poet Vidyapati, 597 ; Its 
School of Nyaya under its famous Masters, Gange^a, 
Vardhamana, Pakshadhara, 597 ; Its later Scholars, 597 ; 

Its Admission Examination called Saidkd-Parikshd, 598 ; 

VII. Nadia, 598 ; Development of Nadia as a Centre of 
Learning under the Sena Kings of Bengal, 598 ; Its 
students, the Poets, Jayadeva, Dhoyl, and Umapati, 

599 ; Its Prosperity under Muslim Kings, 599 ; Nadia 
an Offshoot of Mithila, 599 ; Its School of Nyaya, founded 
by Vasudeva Sarvabhauma, a student of Mithila, 599 ; 

Its famous Logicians, 600 ; Its Schools of Smj-iti, 
TS-ntrikism and Astronomy, 601 ; 

Spread of Indian Learning in Foreign Countries, 601 ; 
Generations of Indian Scholars Working in China for over 
1,000 years, 602. 

























Nalanda : A Stone Image of Standing 

Bodhisattva ..... Frontispiece 

Facing page 

Rajgir ; Images in Stone of Seven Vedic Rishis 
Ri^ Atri and his Wife (Anasuya) . 
l^shi Vasishtha (a) Seated, (ft) Walking . 
Bharhut : a Rishi teaching Pupils . 

Muttra : An Ascetic and his Hermitage . 
Bharhut : An Ascetic and a Hunter 
Konarak : A Guru and his Royal Disciple 
Polonnaruva (Ceylon) : A Sage reading a Palm- 

leaf MS ■ . 

Bharhut : A Hermitage Scene 
Muttra : Hermitage Scenes .... 
Mamallapuram : Bhagiratha in Meditation 
Bharhut ; An Ascetic and a Snake . 

Bharhut ; Hermitage of Rishi Kapila 
Bharhut : Hermitage of Rishi Bharadvaja 
Dhara ; Image in Stone of Vagdevi, " Goddess 

of Learning ” 

Ajanta : Gautama at School .... 

Karla : Cave-Monastery .... 

Muttra : A Preacher addressing an Assembly of 
Monks ....... 

Gandhara : Gautama Buddha learning— r 

1. Writing ...... 

2. Archery . ^ . 

3. Music ...... 

Muttra : Pen and Ink in Sculpture . 
Poloimaruva : Ananda, Disciple of the Buddha 
Nalandi University : A Bird’s-eye View . 
Nalanda University : A Monastery with 

decorated plinth . . . . . 

Nalanda University : A Monastery wth its 
Cells, Court-yard, Furnace, and Well . 
N alanda University : A Bronze Image of Stand- 
ing Buddha 






























Yastu vijH&nav&n bhavaii 
Yuktena tnanasa sadd | 

Tasyendriyd'^i vaiydni 
Sadaivd iva sdrathe^ || 

" He, who is possessed of supreme krurwledge by concetUraiion 
of mind, must have his senses under control, like spirited steeds 
controlled by a charioteer ” (Katha-Upanishad, iii, 6). 


Manopubbangamd dhammd 
Manosetfhd manomayd \ 

“ Mental states always precede action of which they are the 
determining factors ” (Dhammapada, i, i). 


Chittameva asya vaiam gachchhati \ Chittena asya vaiibhutena 
sarvadharmd vaiibhavanti \ 

“ The Mind has come into his power. When one has thus 
brought the Mind under his control, all principles of things are 
under his control ” (Sintideva's ^ikshasamuchcbaya, chap. vi). 


Mana eva manushydifdm kdrai^m bandha-mokshayoh | 

Tasmdt ted abhyaset mantriyat ichchhet mokshamavyayam | 

" The mind of man is at once the cause of his bondage and 
salvation. Therefore, one should' train his mind, if he desires 
abiding freedom, by the discipline of mantra ” (Malinivijayottara- 
Tantra, xv, 38). 


Hdgddidurvdramaldvaliptam | 

CfUttarh hi samsdramuvdcha Vajri || 

" Says the teacher of Vajra-ydrut, : The Mind that is tainted 
by the indelible impurities of fassions constitutes what is called 
^ Sathsdra or the world " (Prajnopaya-Vinifichaya-Siddhdi, iv, 22). 

x«ii h 


“ Brahmacharya does not mean mere physical sdf -control. 
It means much more. It means complete control over aU the senses. 
Thus an impure thought is a breach of brahmacharya ; so is 
anger. . . And since thought is the root of all speech and action, 
Oie quality of the latter corresponds to th^ of the former. Menu 
perfectly controlled thought is itself power of the highest potency, 
and can become self-acting. That seems to me to be the meaning 
of the silent prayer of the heart. If Man is after the image of God, 
he has but to will a thing in the limited sphere allotted to him, and 
it becomes ” {Mahatma M. K. Gandhi in Harijan for 23rd fuly, 





A singular feature of ancient Indian or Hindu Civilization 
is that it has been moulded and shaped in the course of its 
history more by religious than by political, or economic, influences. 
Religion, as the ancient Hindus understood it, practically 
dominated every sphere of their national life. The fundamental 
principles of social, political, and economic life were welded 
into a comprehensive theory which is called Religion in Hindu 
thought. Practical attitudes thus followed theoretic orientations. 
The total configuration of ideals, practices, and conduct is called 
Dharma (Religion, Virtue, or Duty) in this ancient tradition. 
Thus it is Religion that gave its laws to the social life and 
organization of the ancient Hindus, and regulated even their 
economic activities and pursuits. In politics, its influence has 
been no less profound and pervasive, though not so apparent, 
and explains much of the political history of the ancient Hindus. 
From the very start, they came, under the influence of their 
religious ideas, to conceive of their country as less a geographical 
and material than a cultural or a spiritual possession, and to 
identify, broadly speaking, the country with their culture. The 
Country was their Culture and the Culture their Country, the 
true Country of the Spirit, the ‘ invisible church of culture ' 
not confined within physical bounds. India thus was the first 
country to rise to the conception of an extra-territorial nationality 
and naturally became the happy home of different races, each 
with its own ethno-psychic endowment, and each canying its 
particular racial traditions and institutions. The political and 
social reality for Hindus is not geographical, nor ethnic, but a 
culture-pattern. Country and patriotism expand, as ideals and 
ways of life receive acquiescence. Thus, from the very dawn of 
its history has this Country of the Spirit ever expanded in 
extending circles, Brahmarshide^a, Brahmavarta, Aryavarta, 
Bharatavarsha, or JambudvTpa, and even a Greater India 



beyond its geographical boundaries. In different ages of its 
history has it thus had different territorial embodiments, but 
never any territorial limits. This domination of politics by 
religion is also responsible for the initial and fundamental 
difficulty of its history. The problem of India has been the 
problem of the world, so to speak, the finding of a workable 
compromise between different nationalities and social systems, 
and is, therefore, yet to be solved. But the lines on which it 
may be solved are perhaps more clearly indicated in Hindu 
than in any other polity. In political organization, India has 
believed more in group-life which has received full scope through- 
out. It has had a most exuberant and luxuriant growth on the 
Indian soil, illustrating in the manifold forms of its organization 
all the vital and natural modes and forms of human association. 
India, indeed, thus offers the best study in group-types, and in 
group-organization in which is now being increasingly found 
in the West the best solution of popular government [See 
Miss Follet’s The New State : Group Organization the Solution 
of Popular Government (Longmans, London)]. 

The revolt against modem democracies is not mere party 
politics or expediency but Nature's own revenge against the viola- 
tion of her laws by Man in his political arrangements. The Group 
has not been given its proper place in the organization of individuals 
into the State. The democracy of to-day stresses alternately 
the Group and the Individual. Hindu Thought effects a happy 
compromise by placing the worth of the real Personality above 
all things. The concept of Personality is the point of meeting 
of the social group and the biological individual. Emphasis on 
the personality-values then brings within the purview of politics 
biological facts, social traditions, and the pattern of inner culture. 
The Indian Polity, recognizing the claims of the Group as the 
necessary and inevitable intermediary formation between the 
individuals and the sovereign central authority of the State, 
points to that principle of comprehension by which a true, 
stable, and living League of Nations can be organized and the 
state of war between them abolished. Thus has India sought to 
spiritualize her politics by taking stand upon its broader and 
truer foundations. 

Similarly, in the sphere of economic life and interests, the 
free choice of occupations, or the movement of labour, horizontal 
or vertical, was subordinated to the choice of the ideals and ends 
of life. Castes determined Crafts or vice versa. Some occupations 



were approved for certain castes and condemned for others. 
Thus economic life was controlled by religion as man’s supreme 
interest and concern, and was not left to be moulded freely by 
the operation of natural laws. For religion or Dharma reflects 
the wider outlook of the group and its material needs. 

The entire ancient Indian social organization, too, was 
planned on the principle that it should, in all its classes, ranks, 
and grades, offer the best scope for the development of the 
individual as its centre and chief concern, though it is possible to 
argue that the means adopted have not always shown them- 
selves to be as sound as the ends. In a word, the entire Hindu 
view of life is characterized by its instinctive * choice of realities ' 
of a particular order, the ideal and the spiritual as distinguished 
from the physical and temporal. Indeed, contrary to the generally 
accepted view, the Hindu thinkers are always anxious to translate 
nebulous ideals into determinate concepts, vague social attitudes 
into specific rules of conduct, and to envisage the group-hfe 
not as an indefinite aesthetic or romantic reality but as a system 
of laws. In the same way, the process of adjustment to the 
groui>life is not left to chance, to the raw impulses of the 
individual, or to the changing patterns of mores and fashions. 
The ideals of the group, its scheme of values, and the realities 
that the group-tradition conceives as supreme, must be clearly 
reflected in the mind of the individual. The end can only be 
achieved through a course of training that reshapes the psychic 
and bodily life of man. 

Nowhere is this distinctive tendency of Hindu thought 
more manifest than in the sphere of learning and education. 
Learning in India through the ages had been prized and pursued 
not for its own sake, if we may so put it, but for the sake, and as 
a part, of religion. It was sought as the means of salvation or 
self-realization, as the means to the highest end of hfe, viz. 
Mukti or Emancipation. The result is that it is Rehgion that 
creates Literature in India and wields it as an instrument for 
its own purposes, a vehicle of its expression. It fixes its very 
body and form and determines the course of its evolution. As 
Macdonell puts it [Sanskrit Literature, p. 39], since the birth of 
the oldest Vedic poetry, we find Indian Literature, for a period 
of more than a thousand years, bearing “ an exclusively religious 
stamp ; even those latest productions of the Vedic age which 
cannot be called directly religious are yet meant to further 
religious ends. This is, indeed, implied by the term Vedic, for 


Veda, primarily signifjnng KnowUdgi (from root Vfd, to know), 
designates ' sacred lore ’ as a branch of literature. B^des 
this general sense, the word has also the restricted meaning of 
* saci^ book ' 



Ancient Indian Education is also to be understood as being 
ultimately the outcome of the Indian theory of knowledge and 
a part of the corresponding scheme of life and values. That 
scheme takes full account of the fact that Life includes Death 
and the two form the whole truth. This gives a particular angle 
of vision, a sense of perspective and proportion in which the 
material and the moral, the physical and spiritual, the perishable 
and permanent interests and ^values of life are clearly defined 
and strictly differentiated. 

Of all the peoples of the world the Hindu is the most 
impressed and affected by the fact of death as the central fact of 
life. He cannot get away from the fact that while Man proposes, 
God disposes. Therefore, he feels he cannot take life seriously, 
and scheme for it, without a knowledge of the whole scheme of 
creation. He takes the biological vital process in the context of 
the total life-situation, comprising the inner self into the depths 
of which he can descend by means of contemplation (svarupd- 
nubhuti), the ideal self that he can discover through intellection 
{manana), and the social self into the laws of which tradition 
initiates him. Thus he devotes himself t6 a study of the funda- 
mental truths of life and does not care for half-truths and inter- 
mediate truths. His one aim in life is to solve the problem of 
death by achieving a knowledge of the whole truth of which Life 
and Death are parts and phases. He perceives that it is the 
individual that dies, and not the whole or the Absolute. Thus 
the Individual must merge himself in the Universal to escape 
from the sense of change, decay, and dissolution. The Absolute 
is not subject to change. Individuation is Death, a lapse from the 
Absolute. Individuation results from the pursuit of objective 
knowledge, and this has to be stopped. Thus the aim of 
Education is Chitta-vfitti-nirodha, the inhibition of those activities 
of the mind by which it gets connected with the world of matter 
or objects. 



Hindu Thought takes up the position that the individual 
as conceived in the context of social life, and the laws of the 
State, is essentially a psychologioal and biological fact. But 
the individual, in order that his ultimate datum of personality 
may be understood, must be viewed from other perspectives, 
those of his elemental nature, his potentiality for growth and 
transformation, his self-sufficiency, his capacity for effecting 
harmony between conflicting trends of impulses. Such a view 
of the self will necessarily take it out of its usual habitat. It 
means that the normal functions in terms of which the biological 
self ties itself to its material home must be checked so as to lay 
bare the core and kernel of one’s being, the true self, the naked 
personality, stripped of the envelope with which it is shrouded 
by the accretions of passing impulses and emotions. When the 
personality is thus denuded of its material and social trappings, 
five planes of vital and psychic tendencies reveal themselves. 
These are called, in the writings of the Hindu thinkers, the five 
Kashas (sheaths). Normal worldly life sets up barriers 
between them so that they manifest themselves one at a time. 
The purpose of Hindu Culture seems to be (i) to disclose the 
personality as a continuum, rather than as a stratified structure, 
and (2) thus to make the human self the meeting point of Heaven 
and Earth. As the Upanishadic text says : “He drew out the 
lustre of the heavenly fire and filled the earth ’’ (Agnerjyotir- 
nichayya ppthivya adhyabharat). Thus the inhibitions that 
daily life necessitates, the processes of ‘ rationalization ', 
symbolization, dramatization, and other kinds of distortions, 
must be righted in the course of spiritual culture. 

The individual’s supreme duty is thus to achieve his 
expansion into the Absolute, his self-fulfilment, for he is a 
potential God, a spark of the Divine. 

Education must aid in this self-fulfilment, and not in the 
acquisition of mere objective knowledge. It is more concerned 
with the subject than the object, the inner than the outer world. 
But there is a method in this madness. The theory is that it is 
hopeless to get at the knowledge of the whole in and through its 
parts, through the individual objects making up the universe. 
The right way is directly to seek the source of all life and know- 
ledge, and not to acquire knowledge piecemeal by the study of 
objects. The pursuit of objective knowledge is thus not the chief 
concern of this Education. When tlie mind is withdrawn from 
the world of matter, and does not indulge in individuation, 


Omniscience, tjtie Knowledge of the Whole, dawns on it. 
Individuation shuts out omniscience. Individuation is con- 
cretion of the Mind. The Mind take& the form of the object in 
knowing it. It limits itself to the object, like the water rained 
down from the clouds limiting itself in a tank. Thus Individua- 
tion is Bondage. It limits vision, knowledge, omniscience. 
Perception of Life in the perspective of the whole is Mukti, 
Emancipation. The individual must achieve his emancipation, 
his escape from bondage, sathsdra, the ills which flesh is heir to, 
from disease, decline, death, desire, and its satisfaction, recurring 
in a vicious circle of birth and death, to use the Buddha’s words. 

In its indifference to objective knowledge, the system 
assumes that the Universe is not limited to what is revealed 
by the mere bodily senses which man shares with the lower 
animals ; that man’s faculties of perception are not necessarily 
limited to the five senses ; and that mental life is not entirely 
bound up with or completely dependent upon what is called the 
cerebral mechanism or the brain. It is, therefore, considered 
as the main business of Education to open up other avenues of 
knowledge than the mere brain or the outer physical senses. 
It seeks to educate the mind itself as the creative principle in 
man, the creative principle of his culture and civilization. The 
Mind is its supreme concern and objective, the chief subject of 
its treatment. It seeks to train the Mind as the medium and 
instrument of knowledge, transform the entire psychic organism, 
overhaul the mental apparatus itself, rather than to fill the 
mind with a store of learned lumber, objective knowledge. It 
addresses itself more to the principle of knowing, the roots from 
which knowledge springs and grows, than to the objective 
content of knowledge. The chase counts more than the game. 

Its method, therefore, is the method of Yoga, the science 
of sciences and the art of arts in the Hindu system, the science 
and art of the reconstruction of self by discipline and meditation. 
Yoga is defined as Chitta-VriUi-Nirodha. It is to stop the 
fimctioning of Mind as the avenue or vehicle of objective know- 
ledge, the inhibition of individuation. The theory is that the 
Mind, seeking external knowledge, contacts, and is contaminated 
and transformed by Matter, and communicates this contamina- 
tion to the Soul, Self, or Purusha, who thus enters into bondage. 
The question is. How to break this bondage and escape from the 
clutches of Matter. By simply cutting off the inflow of Matter 
upon Mind, checking fhe materialization of the Mind and Soul, 



for the Soul, too, in Milton's words of insight, '' embodies and 
imbrutes." Thus Education is a process of control of Mind, to 
drive it down to its deeper layers, its subterranean depths, not 
ruffled by the ripples of the surface, the infinite distractions of 
the material world by which the Mind wears itself out in fatigue. 
When the Miild is thus led to rest in itself, and fall back upon its 
innate strength and resources, and does not lose itself in the 
pursuit of the knowledge of individual objects, there dawns 
and bursts forth on the Mind the totality of knowledge. Omni- 
science, as already stated. 

Bergson also has stressed this point and insists on the with- 
drawal of the Mind from the world of Matter which ** imposes 
upon it its spatial forms, and thus arrests the natural creativity, 
inwardness, and suppleness of conscious life For, as he says, 
Consciousness, in shaping itself into Intelligence, that is to 
say, in concentrating itself on Matter, seems to externalize 
itself." It is only when the Self ‘‘ brackets " itself out from the 
realm of things that the psychic processes regain their normal 
ways. Such withdrawal, says Bergson, permits the fusion of the 
varied functions of life and mind into a unitary and concrete 
process — the Intuition. He further points out that " the 
individual's consciousness, delving downwards, reveals to him, 
the deeper he goes, his original personality, to which he may 
cling as something solid, as means of escape from a life of impulse, 
caprice, and regret. In our innermost selves, we may discover 
an equilibrium more desirable than the one on the surface. 
Certain aquatic plants, as they rise to the surface, are ceaselessly 
jostled by the current ; their leaves, meeting above the water, 
interlace, thus imparting to them stability above. But still 
more stable are the roots which, firmly planted in the earth, 
support them from below " {Morality and Religion, p. 6]. The 
Upanishads also have a similar conception in which the Universe 
is likened to a peepul tree rooted in the universal consciousness 
(urddhamulam), spreading its branches and leaves as the life 
and the phenomenal world (guna-pravriddhd vishaya-pravdldh . . . 
Karmanubandhini manushya-loke). 



As the individual is the chief concern and centre of this 
Education, Education also is necessarily individual. It is an 



intimate relationship between the teacher and the pupil. The 
relationship is inaugurated by a religious ceremony called 
Upanayana. It is not like the admission of a pupil to the register 
of a school on his payment of the prescribed fee. The spiritual 
meaning of Upanayana, and its details inspired by that meaning, 
are elal^rated in many texts and explained below*in the proper 
place. By Upanayana, the teacher, " holding the pupil within 
him as in a womb, impregnates him with his spirit, and delivers 
him in a new birth/* The pupil is then known as a Dvija, born 
afresh " in a new existence, ** twice-bom ** [Satapatha Brdh- 
maim, xi, 5, 4]. The education that is thus begun is called by 
the significant term Brahmacharya, indicating that it is a mode 
of life, a system of practices. 

This conception of education moulds its external forms. 
The pupil must find the teacher. He must live with him as a 
member of his family and is treated by him in every way as his 
son. The school is a natural formation, not artificially constituted. 
It is the home of the teacher. It is a hermitage, amid sylvan 
surroundings, beyond the distractions of urban life, functioning 
in solitude and silence. The constant and intimate association 
between teacher and taught is vital to education as conceived 
in this system. The pupil is to imbibe the inward method of 
the teacher, the secrets of his efficiency, the spirit of his life and 
work, and these things are too subtle to be taught. The same 
principle also holds in the sphere of industrial education. As 
will be seen below, the apprentice must elect to live with the 
master craftsman to learn the secrets of his work, assimilate his 
spirit and method, which are not revealed in any formal manner. 

India has believed in the domestic system in both Industry 
and Education, and not in the mechanical methods of large 
production in institutions and factories turning out standardized 
articles. Artistic work is the product of human skill and not of 
machine. The making of man depends on the human factor. 
It depends on individual attention and treatment to be given by 
the teacher. Here the personal touch, the living relationship 
between the pupil and teacher make education. The pupil belongs 
to the teacher and not to an institution or the abstraction called 
the school. A modem school teaches pupils by “ classes **, and not 
as individuals with their differences. Is it possible to think of a 
common treatment of patients each of whom has his own 
ailment ? While it cannot be applied to the diseases of the body 
that can be visualized, how can it be applied in handling invisible, 



intangible, and sometimes intractable material, different minds 
and moral conditions ? ^ Certainly, Education is the last subject 
to be ** mechanized ” even in a modem socialist State. 

But there are deeper psychological reasons for this individual 
treatment in Education. The investigations of Psychologists 
like Jung, Jaensch, Spranger, and Kretschmer -point out that 
individuals divide themselves into a number of personality- 
types in accordance with the trend of their usual behaviour- 
patterns and the ends they seek. These also determine their 
social and intellectual activities and their vocations, which will 
vary with the types to which they correspond. This, therefore, 
makes individual treatment of pupils essential in education. 
A common scheme may economize effort and expense, but it 
will not make for maturation of the self which depends on the 
uniqueness of personal equipment and freedom of choice, factors 
which are ignored in such a scheme. 

Further, social psychology has proved that every individual 
has his own equipment of emotions, action-attitudes, and ways 
of thinking, which is the gift of the traditions and the social 
environment in which he is brought up. These can be disturbed 
only at the risk of severe derangement of the personality. Each 
scheme of training must, therefore, take into account the con- 
crete individual, a product of biological gifts and social heritage. 
A neglect of this basic situation renders the process of education 
less fruitful, and sometimes even risky to the personality. 

The investigations of Haggerty, Nash, and Goodenough 
show further that the educational status and vocation of the 
parents have a significant correlation with the level of capacity 
of the children, as indicated by the Intelligence Quotient. For 
instance, the children of professional parents or of those of a higher 
academic standing possess, on the whole, a higher value of I.Q, 
The implications of such facts cannot be ignored in schemes of 
national education. 

There i re a few other fundamentad pedagogic principles 

* That advanced educational thought in the West is seeking reform in 
this direction may be illustrated by a recent donation of the American 
philanthropist, Mr. Harkness, added to the millions of dollars with which he 
has endowed his old school, the Phillips Academy at Exeter, in the State of 
New Hampshire. The donation has been made on the condition that there should 
be on the staff of the school at least one teacher for every ten boys. A leading 
jodmal commenting on this singular gift states : “ Mr. Harkness, like many 

thoughtful Americans, is apprehensive that in the large numbers flooding into 
the higher educational institutions of the U.S.A., there was a danger ^ mass- 
production, and a loss of all that was of the highest value in education. As 
Wordsworth said : * Numbers swamp humanity.* * 


involved in this educational condition of intimate relationship 
between the teacher amd his pupil. The Guru takes the place 
of what Freud defines as the Super-Ego of the individual pupil, 
i.e. the embodiment of the ideals and traditions in which he is 
brought up. Every individual is subject to an innate conflict 
between a sense of what he is and what he ought to be. He 
imbibes the ideals and traditions of his society, which regulate 
his life from the outside, or from the plane of the unconscious. 
In both cases, he feels himself to be the passive instrument of 
social, or mysterious forces. The ideals, however, are sometimes 
assimilated as parts of his conscience or Super-Ego, when his 
actions come under the regulation of his own self, though not 
without a conflict between the different parts of his nature. 
This inner conflict is resolved by the Guru, to whom, a different 
personality, the pupil can project his Super-Ego. The ideals 
can now more easily enforce themselves, as there is no longer 
now any loophole for ignoring them, as one could in the matter 
of one’s own thoughts suggesting them. Bergson also points out 
that man obeys a moral obligation against his will, yielding to 
the pressure or propulsive force of its social consequences. But 
he will obey it naturally when its appeal comes from “ a Great 
personality incarnating morality ” which is not relative but 
“ complete or absolute ”, “as the multiplicity and generality 
of its maxims merge more completely into a man’s unity and 
individuality ” {Morality and Religion, p. 24). 

There is another moral factor involved in this intimate 
relationship between two personalities. The process of sharing 
experiences with his Guru prevents the tendency to repression 
in the pupil. Thus the inner life can grow in a normal manner 
under this system. 

Then, again, the pupil’s membership of the family of his 
Guru constitutes a constant stimulus to the ideals to which he is 
dedicated, while it also operates as a protective sheath, shutting 
out unwholesome influences. It operates as a restraining force. 
Again, the novice feels that he is not lost in a crowd. He feels 
one of a family where he has a distinct place. Hence there grows 
in him a sense of personal worth and of placid individuality which 
a healthy social group always engenders. 

Apart from the special educative value of the teacher’s 
home as the school, there is the factor of its environment or 
setting as an integral part of the scheme. The school is set in 
sylvan surroundings. The pupil’s first daily duty is to walk 



to the woods, cut and collect fuel, and fetch it home for tending 
the sacred Fire. The Upanishads frequently mention pupils 
approaching their teacher with fuel in hand, as a token that he 
is ready to serve the teacher and tend his household fire. The 
$atapatha Brdhmana explains (xi, 5, 4, 5) that the Brahmachari 
puts on fuel to enkin^e the mind with fire, with holy lustre 
A profound spiritual and cultural significance attaches to this 
worship of Agni by the offering of choice objects and oblations. 
It is the visible image and reminder of the primordial cosmic 
sacrifice at which the Supreme Being whom the Veda calls the 
Virdt-Purusha (Rigveda, Purusha-Sukta, x, 90), offered up His 
infinite body as the material and the foundation for the con- 
struction of the Universe. It was an act of supreme self- 
immolation by which the Universe is created and sustained. ''Man is 
created after God's image " and is subject to the same law of being 
which governs creation. He, too, is the creator of his system which 
depends on his self-sacrifice. The ceremony of Agnihotra brings 
home to the pupil the reality of religion in the form of sacrifice. 

The pupil’s next duty was to tend the teacher’s house and 
cattle. Tending the house was training the pupil in self-help, 
the dignity'' of labour, of menial service for his teacher and the 
student-brotherhood. Tending cattle was education through 
craft as a part of the highest liberal education. The craft selected 
is the primary industry of India. The school and the homestead 
centre round the cow whom the Indian counts as his second 
mother whose milk nourishes the child and is the best food even 
for the grown-up. Three acres and a cow has been India’s economic 
plan through the ages. The pupils received a valuable training 
in the love of the cow and the industry of rearing up cattle and 
dairy-farming, with all the other advantages it gave of outdoor 
life and robust physical exercise, which was more fruitful in every 
way than the modem barren games of Football and Hockey. 
The Chhandogya Upanishad tells of the great sage Satyakama 
Jabala who in his boyhood was apprenticed by his teacher to 
take charge of his cattle whose number grew under his guardian- 
ship from 400 to 1,000. And this training in industry was the 
foundation of the highest knowledge for which the Rishi was 
known. The Biihadaranyaka also tells of Rishi Yajnavalkya, 
the foremost philosopher of the times, good enough, with his 
band of pupils, to drive away home from the court of Janaka 
1,000 cows the king bestowed on him as the reward of his learning. 

That education was not exclusively theoretical and academic 



but was related to a craft as a part of liberal education may also 
be seen in the following description of the home of a Rigvedic 
^ishi {Rv. ix, 112) : 

‘‘We different men have different aptitudes and pursuits 
(dhiyovivratani). The carpenter (Taksha) seeks something that is 
broken ; the physician (Bhishag) a patient (rutam) ; the priest 
(Brahma) someone who will perform sacrifice (Sunvantam). 

“I am a poet (Karuh), my father is a physician, and my 
mother a grinder of com (upala-prakshini).” 

Here we find the highest philosophy yoked to the humble 
craft of grinding com in a Rishi and his mother, while his father 
was pursuing the useful art of healing as a physician. Therefore, 
the highest education was quite consistent with manual and 
vocational training to give a practical turn to human nature, 
and training to deal with objects and the physical environment. 

Another duty of the Brahmacharl is to go out on a daily 
round of begging. It was not begging for himself but for the 
support of his school. Its educative value is explained in the 
Satapatha Brahmana (xi, 3, 3, 5), which points out that it is meant 
to produce in the pupil a spirit of humanity and renunciation. 
But its moral effects may be examined more closely. First, the 
contrast between his own life and that of the world at large 
brings home to him the value of the scheme for which he stands, 
which he will now all the more try to consolidate. This makes 
for a more complete organization of the personality, a deeper 
loyalty to his system. Further, the daily duty of begging makes 
the Ego less and less assertive, and, with it, all unmly desires and 
passions, which do not shoot forth, as their roots wither. Thus 
there is reached a greater balance of the inner life. A sense of 
balance and harmony further brings out the contrast between the 
behaviour of his own group and that of the men of the world, 
and this further confirms his faith in his own group or order. 

Again, an acquaintance through begging with worldly life 
and its trials makes him realize more vividly the security of his 
own life. Lastly, begging makes the pupil feel how unattached 
he is to any ties, and a sense of independence contributing to a 
sense of self-hood. It is like a ritual for the cultivation of 
impersonal relations in life. This contact of the recluse with the 
world is a valuable corrective to the exaggerated subjectivity 
of isolated meditative life in the hermitage. Isolation and inter- 
course thus lead to a higher synthesis of the inner and the outer, 
Purusha and Prakpti, Self and the World. 



In such a scheme of Education, mere study as such occupies 
a very subsidiary place. The Upanishads mention three steps 
of education called (i) Sravana, (2) Manana, and (3) Nididh- 
ydsanaJBfi, Upa,, ii, 4, 5]. Sravana is listening to words or 
texts as they are uttered by the teacher. It is the system of 
oral tradition by which India has built up her whole culture 
through the ages ; the system called Gurupdramparya or 
Sampraddya which Udyotakara (in his Nydya-Varttika) defines 
as 'the uninterrupted ideal succession of pupils and teachers, 
by which knowledge is conserved and transmitted ' (Sampradayo 
nama Sishyopadhyayasambandhasya avichchhedena ^a^tra- 
praptih). Thus the Book of Knowledge in those days was called 
Sruti, '' what was heard.'" This character of Knowledge also 
fixed its form known as Mantra or Sutra by which the maximum 
of meaning was compressed within the minimum of words, 
of which the crowning example is the letter OM containing 
within itself a world of meaning. Knowledge did not then 
exist in the form of MSS. which could be stored up in a 
library like household furniture, for knowledge was the furniture 
of the mind, while the teacher himself was the living and walking 
library of those days. For thousands of years, even up to the 
time of Kumarila (c. eighth century a.d.), it was considered 
sacrilege to reduce the Veda to writing, for learning was not 
reading but realization, and knowledge was to be in the blood, 
as an organic part of one’s self. Another point to be noted in 
this connection is that Sabda or Sound by itself has its own 
potency and value, apart from its sense, and its intrinsic 
attributes, its rhythm, and vibrations should be captured. 
Sabda is Brahma. " The Word is God.” 

In accordance with the high aim of this Education, the 
achievement of the supreme, saving Knowledge, Sankara in 
his Viveka-Chuddmani defines Sravana as listening to the 
instruction of the teacher and knowing from him the primary 
truth that the Self is to be differentiated fron Non-Self appearing 
in various forms. To identify Self with Non-Self is Ignorance, 
causing Bondage. Bondage is removed by Knowledge. 

Hearing of texts and words uttered by the teacher is 
to be followed by the process of Manana, deliberation, reflection 
on the topic taught, but it results only in an intellectual 
apprehension of its meaning. Therefore, there is the stage of 
learning, called Nididhydsana or Meditation, by which can 
be attained the realization of truth. As the Mundaka points out 


Upakosala Kamalayana was another student who by his 
twelve years' study and austerities was not considered fit by his 
teacher for the highest kjjiowledge (ib., iv, lo). 

Therefore, the Brihaddranyaka states (iv, 4, 21) : The 

seeker after the highest knowledge should not seek after the 
knowledge of the books, for that is mere weariness of the 
tongue." Again : " Therefore, let a Br^mana, after he has 
done with learning, wish to stand by real strength (knowledge of 
the Self which enables us to dispense with all other knowledge)," 
The Katha also points out : " Not by the Veda is the Atman 
attained, nor by intellect, nor by much knowledge of books 
{h 2, 23). 

We may now have an idea of the working of the school as 
a whole. Its physical surroundings away from centres of popula- 
tion gives to its students opportunities for contact with Nature 
and for solitude. Urban life and human society wean away 
man's affections from the phenomena of Nature. The individual 
becomes in this way wholly dependent upon the social group ; 
he feels himself gradually as a mere limb of the Great Society. 
One way of counteracting this sense of dependence, and of 
poverty of spirit, is to place Man in the world of Nature, and give 
scope to the growth of an emotive relation between Man and his 
milieu. He can break away from his social habits and reshape 
them. Alone in the woods or pastures, he gets emotive responses 
in the form of fear, wonder, or joy which reawaken in him the 
consciousness of self which he loses in the crowd of the city. 
For emotional tension brings in its wake the feeling of self-hood. 

Then, again, solitude has its own effects on a man's inner 
development. In the normal course of life, each desire is directed 
to an object. The fulfilment that an impulse finds in its working 
obscures the phase of recoil that arises through the operation of 
a man's instinctive tendencies. Isolation from objects, material 
and social, permits man to observe both the aspects of his reaction, 
the urge and the recoil, elicited by an object-situation. Hence 
the life of conation can pursue a course of more complete growth 
when man is alone with himself, untrammelled by the external 
environment. Thus the system helps in the elimination of the 
disharmonies of inner life (Chitta-^uddhi) by giving scope for 
reflection and isolation, for self-possession, for the integration of 
different life-processes, and a complete awareness of one's indivi- 
duality or self-hood, so that man's being may not be dissipated like 
" broken shreds of cloud " (Chhinnabhramiva na^yati). 



It is these sylvan schoob and hermitages that have built 
up the thought and civilization of India. 

As has b^n pointed out in the graphic words of the poet 
Rabindra Nath Tagore : 

" A most wonderful thing we notice in India is that here the 
forest, not the town, is the fountain-head of all its civilization. 

“ Wherever in India its earliest and most wonderful mani- 
festations are noticed, we find that men have not come into such 
close contact as to be rolled or fused into a compact mass. 
There, trees and plants, rivers and lakes, had ample opportunity 
to live in close relationship with men. 

“ In these forests, though there was human society, there was 
enough of open space, of aloofness ; there was no jostling. Still 
this aloofness did not produce inertia in the Indian mind ; rather 
it rendered it all the brighter. It is the forest that has nurtured 
the two great ancient ages of India, the Vaidic and the Buddhist. 

“ As did the Vaidic vi^shis. Lord Buddha also showered 
his teaching in the many woods of India. 

“ The current of civilization that flowed from its forests 
inundated the whole of India.” 

No doubt these ancient ideals of education have to be 
adapted to modem conditions. The principles- on which the West 
is ordering life do not seem to make for stability. That can only 
come from-the Indian view of life, which makes for univers^ 
peace by its toleration. The exaggerated nationahsm of the West 
is (defeating itself, a victim of its own system. In this world- 
situation, surely Indian thought has its own place to fill. India 
must carefully conserve and foster the particular tjrpe of 
personality or character she has been building up through the 
ages by a corresponding system of education. Modem Psychology 
conceives of the personality as built out of diverse planes of 
psycho-vital processes. Deep down in the recesses of the Self, 
as Jung points out, lies the racial unconscious representing the 
cues of the long forgotten storms and stresses through which the 
race has evolved. These supply the archetypes that create myths 
and fables and impart form to the, yearnings and gropings of 
desires. There is then the plane of experience that the individual 
has passed through and has laid aside in the interest of imperative 
reactions which the immediate situation demands. Lastly, there 
are the configurations, impulses, and ideas of conscious life 
slowly and selectively built up by the forces of the society and 
the physical environment. A scheme of education introduced 



for the sake of transient interests and ideology often fails to 
encompass the total personality thus conceived. It violates the 
laws of self-development and leads the process- of growth through 
tortuous alleys. 

For the present, in India,' various schemes of reform of 
education are in the air, but it is to be remembered that no 
reform can take root or bear fruit unless it conforms to hational 
ideals and traditions. The course of growth of social and national 
life is regulated by certain basic ideals and norms. These define 
the structure that society and the trends of. social activity assume 
in the course of historical evolution. , They may be called, in 
Kantian terminology, the “ categories ” of national life. Divorced 
from them, social thoughts, activities, and institutions, to use the. 
Kantian notion again, follow a “ blind ” course. The discovery 
of these concepts is essential for the formulation of schemes 
for any phase of national activity. Our educationad thought, like 
every other strand of social life, must orient itself to these regula- 
tive principles which have validated themselves pragmatically, 
by “working ”, through the ages, and through tensions and crises. 

One may not believe so much in national systems in economic 
life and organization in the larger interests of the collective 
welfare of mankind, but there can be no doubt about the national 
S3rstem in education, aiding in the evolution of each nation along 
its own lines, so that it may make its particular contribution 
to the culture of mankind. “ God has written a line of His 
thought on the brow of every nation” [Mazzini]; It is the supreme 
duty of every nation to preserve and unfold its own genius and 
individuality. The culture of a nation, the civilization of a 
coimtry, is the product of its system of education. 

In several spheres of her national life, India is being swept 
off her traditional moorings, the anchor of her soul, to drift 
in the unfathomed waters of imcharted seas. It is, therefore, 
of the utmost concern and consequence to her future that she 
must not drift away from her national heritage and basic ideals 
in the sphere of culture and learning, where her achievements 
constitute to this day her only title to recognition in the comity 
of nations. India is still in request in the world for the treasures 
of her thought. These treasures are embedded in Sanskrit 
literature, together with its offshoots, Pali and the Pr&kjits, 
which is remarkable in the literature of the world for its vastness, 
volume, variety, quality, and longevity, and justifies the education 
of which it is the product. 



Chapter I 


* Ee7>wocds.’ Vedic education is to be studied as an 
integral part of Vedic Thought and Life. It will be best under- 
stood in the light of certain concepts and technical terms in which 
are concealed and stored up the traditions governing the general 
philosophy and scheme of life of the Vedic age. These terms came 
to be established as the outcome of important movements and 
trends of thought which they reflect. In some cases, as will 
be seen below, they directly point to the educational principles 
and institutions which were typical of the culture of the age. 
They are the “ key-words ” of Vedic Culture, supplying the cue 
to much of Vedic Thought that appears to be somewhat mystical 
and mysterious, and strange to modem ways of thinking. 
A study of these is a necessary preliminary to an adequate 
appreciation of the system of Vedic Education, its ideals and 
institutions. These terms are, therefore, discussed at the outset. 

‘Veda.’ The term Veia is from root Vid, to know, and 
indicates that by which is obtained the knowledge of the ways 
and means of achieving spiritual ends (Alaukikarii purush^ho- 
payam vetti aneneti). Its meaning is also defined in the 
following text : — 

Pratyakshenanumitya va yastupayo na vudhyate | 

Etaih vidanti Vedena tasmad Vedasya Vedata || 

“ The end which cannot be known by the evidence of direct 
perception, inference, and the like, can be known through Veda 
and, therefore, this determines the character of Veda.” 

Its Sabject-matter : (1) ‘Dbarma’ and (2) ‘Brahma’. The 
subject-matter of Veda, therefore, is described as twofold : 
(i) Dharma and ( 2 ) Brahma which can be known only through 
the Veda and not through any other source [Dharmabrahma^i 
Vedaikavedye (Jaimini, Pur\'a-Mlmamsa Sutra)]. Dharma is 
something which is not objective or within the ken of sense- 
perception. It is the fruit of the performance of prescribed rites 
and is something which is not visible (adfishtamiti sarvairabhi- 
dhiyate). Similarly, Brahma, too, has been explained as some- 

1 B 



thing which, as the Cause of Creation, can be known only through 
the evidence of Sastras (Sastradeva prama^at jagatojanmadi- 
karanaih Brahm§,dhigamyate). There is also the Sruti text : 
NaVedavinmanute tam bnhantam [Tax. Br., iii, 12, 9, 7] ; 
" He who does not know the Veda caimot comprehend 
Brahma," because, as further pointed out, Brahma, being formless 
and causeless, cannot be known except through the Veda. 

The Veda imparts the knowledge of its aforesaid two subjects, 
Dharma and Brahma, in its three parts called (i) Purva- or 
Karma-kdti^a, (2) Madhya- or Devatd {Upasana)-Kdi},da, and 
(3) Uttara- or jMna-kdn^a. 

The term Veda is also taken to denote the whole literature 
made up of two different portions called Mantra and Brdhmana, 
as pointed out in the following texts : " Mantra-Brdhmandt- 
makah ^abdardiir Veda iti," “ The Veda is that mass of words 
which constitute Mantra and Br^imana works ” ; Mantra- 
Brdhmanayor Vedandmadheyam [Apastamba in Yajfla-pari- 
bhdshd], “ Mantra and Brahmana are both called Veda.” ^ 

‘ Mantra.’ Yaska [Nirukta, vii, 3, 6] derives the word Mantra 
from manana, " thinking,” so that it means an “ instrument of 
thought ”, speech, sacred text addressed to a deity. Yaska 
[Ih., vii, I, i] further defines Mantra to mean the words 
employed by Rishis in praise of the Gods for fulfilment of those 
desires {artha) which are in their gift {arthdpatyam). Thus the 
Mantras are meant to be recited for the performance of worship in 
the form of what is called a YajHa or sacrifice. The entire Mantra 
portion of the Veda derives its usefulness from its practical 
application at the performance of sacrifices {prayogasama- 
veddrthasmdrakd mantrdh). 

Jaimini, in his Purva-Mimaihsa Sutras, has pointed out 
that the Mantras have a double significance. They convey a 
mystical meaning and produce unseen results, for which their 
mere recitation according to the prescribed order of their words 
{pdtha-kramaniyama) is sufficient {Mantrdixdm adrishtdrtha- 

* It is interesting to note that this orthodox Hindu ^view of the Veda being 
made up of Mantra and Brdhmafia has been practically accepted by Bloomfield 
who states [JAOS., xv, 144] that Mantra and Brdhmafia are for the least part 
chronological distinctions ; that they represent two modes of literary activity, 
apd two modes of literaiy speech, which are largely contemporaneous. . . . 
Both forms existed together, for aught we know, from the earliest times ; only 
the redaction of the Mantra collections seems on the whole to have preceded 
the redaction of the Brdhmafpas. , . , The h)anns of the Rigveda, like those 
of the other three Vedas, were liturgical from the very start. This means that 
they form only a fragment . . . late texts and commentaries may contain the 
correct explanation.'* 



muchchdra^a-mdiram ; uchchdrandt adfishtdrthdh). But they 
also convey a meaning for the fact that the sense of a sentence 
{vdkydrtha) can always be deduced from the relations of its 
constituent parts like verbs and cases, whether the sentence is 
in Vedic or secular speech (kriyd-kdraka-sambandhena prattya- 
mdnovdkydrtholokaVedayoraviiishtah) [Jaimini, i, 2, 40]. There- 
fore, while the Mantras must be properly pronounced to secure 
their spiritual effects, their meanings also must be properly 
mastered with the add of the six Vedahgas. 

The Mantras have a threefold meaning, (i) Spiritual 
(adhyatma), concerning Knowledge and Liberation (jndna and 
mukti), (2) Etymological (Nairukta), concerning objective truths, 
and (3) Ritualistic (Yajnika), concerning Sacrifices. The Ydjnika 
interpretation of Mantras is the subfect of Purva-Mimarhsa, and 
the other two interpretations, of Uttara-Mimaihsa. 

* Ahftva.’ The Vedic Mantras had been growing from time 
inunemorial. Their earliest forms are known as Ahdva, a call 
to worship or iamsana in the words : ‘‘ Samsava Om,"' “ Let us 
invoke the formless Parabrahma.'' The priest called Hota makes 
this call which is answered by the Adhvaryu priest by the words : 
^aiiisamo Daivom, Yes, sir, let us now begin the invocation of 
the Supreme Being.'' This reply to the Ahdva is technically called 
Pratigarfl, That Ahdva is the earliest Mantra is shown by the 
fact that it contains the Mantra of one letter, viz., Om or Pranava 
which is regarded as the original Vedic Mantra and called 
Akshara in i?v., x, 13, 3. 

‘Nivid.’ Another early form of the Mantra is known as 
Nivid, Its origin is described in the Aitareya-Brdhmana. 
Prajapati, filled with desire for creation, gave himself up to tapas 
in silence for a year, and then uttered the first Word twelve times, 
from which emerged the Universe. This Word of twelve syllables is 
known as Nivid, Nivids are described as being * ancient ' {piirva) 
and ** many " in several passages in the Rigveda such as i, 89, 3 ; 
i, 96, 2 ; ii, 36, 63, and referred to in iv, 18, 7 and vi, 67, 10. 

^SamhitL’ The collection of Mantras is called Samhitd. 
For ages the Vedic Mantras remained one and undivided till 
the needs of worship which became more and more systematized 
called for an arrangement and a division in accordance with its 
scheme. Tradition ascribes this division to Krishna-Dvaipayana 
Veda-Vyasa, who made a fourfold division of the Vedic Mantras 
and created out of them four Vedic Sarhhit^ known as 1 ^, 
S 5 ma, Yajus,and Atharva, which he imparted in the first instance 


respectively to his pupils named Paila, Vai^ampayana, Jaimini, 
and Sumantu. 

The principle of this division rests on that of division of 
labour among the different classes of liitvikas or priests, co- 
operating in the performance of worship or Yajtia, It is very well 
explained by Ya^ka [Nirukta, i, 8] who quotes Rigveda, x, 71, ii, 
in which it is stated : “ One priest nourishes the riks/* 

This means that it is the duty of the priest named Hold, 
at the time of the sacrifice, to make ready bis collection of the 
Riks gathered from different places, and fix it as his iastra, 
Yaska takes the word “ n^*'as equivalent to archanV* or invoca- 
tion of a deity. The Sastra of the Hota was thus separated and 
became known as the Rigveda Sarhhita in which, therefore, were 
brought together all the Riks which were chhando-vaddha 
i.e. which were in the form of verse or metre. 

“ Another priest has to sing the Gayatra as his function at 
the sacrifice.'* This priest is called the Udgdtd whose duty was 
to sing the Rik verses. The collection of the Riks in the form 
of songs is known as Sama-Veda Samhita, of which the custodian 
is the Udgata. 

“ The duty of another priest was to measure out the whole 
structure of the sacrifice {yajnasya mdtrdfh vimimlia)^ This 
priest is called the Adhvaryu, literally, one who yokes [yunakti) 
the adhvara or sacrifice, one who is the leader [netd) of adhvara. 
He is the custodian of the collection of all the Riks that are in 
prose and suitable for application in the material performance 
of the Yajha. This collection is known as the Yajurveda Samhita, 
the term yajus being from yajaii, to sacrifice. 

Yaska next points out that the Yajurveda determines the 
body of the Yajna, of which the other two Vedas serve as limbs 
and supplements by supplying the required Stotra and $astra, 
hymns and mantras. The Yajurveda is thus the mainstay upon 
which depend the other Vedas (Upajivyasya Yajurvedasya), 

The three Vedic Samhitas aforesaid are known as Trayt. 

But, according to the Rigvedic passage cited by Y^ka, the 
performance of a Yajna depends upon a fourth Ritvik called 
Brahma whose duty is to give directions to the other priests 
regarding their duties and prevent their errors [sati pramdde 
samddhdtufh samarihah). Therefore, he was one who was proficient 
in all the three Vedas {Sarvavidyah . . . V edatrayoktasarva- 
karmdbhijhah), Y^ka cites Chhandogya-Upanishad [iv, 16, i, 2] 
to explain further the status of the Brahma priest. Of Yajfta 



there are two ways, the way of Mind and the way of Words 
{Manaicha Vdk cha vartanl YajHasya), The way of Mind is 
cultivated by Brahma and the way of Words by the three priests, 
Hota, Udgata, and Adhvaryu/' This means that the Brahma 
priest has to ensure the proper performance of the Yajna as a 
whole and in parts and to revolve in his mind its entire plan to 
prevent its errors {pramddardhitydya manasd samya- 
ganusandheyah). The other three priests jointly are responsible 
for uttering the Mantras of their respective Vedas. The Brahma 
alone was responsible for the success and efficacy of the Yajna, 
its execution in accordance with its inherent purpose and spirit 
{Brahtnd tu eka eva manor upam yajnabhdgarh samskaroti), while 
the other three priests looked to its letter, its textual performance, 
and were responsible for its words as they were needed 
(VdgrUpam yajnamdrgarh sarhskurvanti). 

It will thus appear that the Vedic Mantras which were later 
classified into four Sarhhitas were inspired by the needs of prayer 
and worship in the form of performance of Yajnas or sacrifices. 
While the Adhvaryu prepared the ground of the Yajna and 
constructed its altar and platform on which he sat and offered 
oblations, the Hafd uttered the Riks to invoke the deity of worship 
and the Udgata would go round the altar chanting the relevant 
Sama Riks, while the Brahma kept the master's eye on every 
detail of the worship and the fulfilment of its general scheme 
and underlying spiritual purpose. 

The knowledge of a Vedic Mantra should mean the knowledge 
of its five particulars, viz. (i) the Rishi to whom the Mantra is 
ascribed, (2) the Metre (Chhandas) of the Mantra, (3) the Deity to 
whom it is addressed, (4) the purpose or ceremony for which it is 
applied (Viniyoga), and (5) the meaning of its words [Sabddrtha 
as well as Adrishtdrtha). 

^Brfihma^a/ Besides the Mantra portion, the Veda has 
also what is called the Brdhmam portion. The word Brahmana is 
connected with the word Brahma which is a synonym of the word 
Mantra, Literally speaking. Mantra is that by which the manana or 
contemplation of God is attempted, while Brahma is that by which 
the worship of God is expanded or elaborated (from brimhita). 
The literature bearing upon Brahma is known as Brahmana. 

The controversy regarding the differentiation between Mantra 
and Brdhmana portions of the Veda has been settled by the simple 
solution that the Brdhmana portion of the Veda is that which is 
left over after what the YdjAikas (the sacrificial priests) select 



and count as Mantras [Tachchodakeshu Mantrdkhyd ieshe 
Brdhmanaiahdah (Jaimini, Su. ii, i, 32)]. 

The Brahmana texts are marked by a twofold subject- 
matter, viz. (i) Vidhi (Injunction) and (2) Arthavdda. As defined 
by Apastamba, Br^mana texts are those which are injunctive 
of some action (Karmachodand Brdhmandni) [Yajfia, Pari. Su., 
32, 33], while their remainder is known as Arthavdda.** Vidhis, 
again, are of two kinds : (i) Apravrittapravartanam, enjoining 
an act which may not be performed,"' and (2) AjUdta-jndpanam, 
making known what is unknown."* Of these, the first kind of 
Vidhi relates to rituals dealt with in the Karmakdnda of the Veda. 
These Vidhi-Vdkyas are the source of Dharma {Vidhivdkyam 
Dharme pramdnam). The other kind of Vidhi, which imparts new 
knowledge, belongs to the Brahma-Kan(Ja of Veda, e.g. the 
knowledge that “ Atman alone is the only Reality that existed "" 
{Atmd vd idameka evdgra dslt in Ait. Ar., ii, 4, i). 

The Arthavdda, like Vidhi, is equally a part of the Veda. 
The Arthavada is really supplementary to Vidhi and is essential 
to the performance of Dharma, one of the objectives of the Veda 
itself. The Arthavdda suppUes inspiration and stimulus for 
worshippers not sufficiently exerting themselves in the execution 
of Vidhis. As is stated in the text, Vidhi and Arthavada are 
mutually dependent (sdkdthkshau) . Vidhi points out duties, 
Arthavada points out their merits (prddastya) and instigates 
their performance. Therefore, the Veda is made up of three 
integral parts, Mantra, Vidhi, and Arthavdda. 

A part of the Brahmana literature is distinguished by the 
name of Aranyaka. Brahmacharis, who wanted to continue as 
such, without marrying, in pursuit of knowledge, were called 
Aranas or Aranamdnas. These Aranas lived in hermitages in the 
forests outside the villages or centres of population. The forests 
where these Arana ascetics lived were called Aranyas. The 
philosophical speculations of these learned ascetics regarding such 
ultimate problems as Brahma, Creation, Soul, or Immortality 
are embodied in works called Aranyakas. 

The last development of the Br^mana literature is seen in 
the Upanishads which directly expound the knowledge of 
Brahma and form that portion of Vidhi which is described as 
ajndiajndpanam, as shown above. It is, however, to be noted that 
the origin of the Upanishads, the roots of their system, are to be 
found in the Rigveda itself, of which the underlying note and a 
considerable part are inspired by the conception of Brahma as 



the sole, ultimate, and all-pervading Reality, rather than 
Dharma or Yajfla, This will be shown in its proper place below. 

It may also be noted that the characteristic of Br a h ma na 
literature is its method of deliberation and discussion and that, of 
its three divisions, the Brahmanas were meant for grihasthas, 
householders, the Araiityakas for the Vdnaprasthas or hermits, 
and the Upanishads for Sannyasis. 

‘ Yajfla.’ The term Yajna is derived from root yaj, to 
worship. Those words by which worship is performed are called 
yajus. Worship was performed in the form of what is called , 
a YajHa. As the Veda itself is to serve the purposes of this kind 
of worship or Yajna which was performed primarily by the use of 
yajus, the Yajurveda, as we have seen, counts as the most 
important of the four Vedas, while some of its parts are also the 
most ancient. 

Its Bequisites. The object oi yaj ana or worship is called Yajata 
in Vedic language. These Yajatas were formless manifestations 
of the Supreme Being or Brahma for whose worship there was 
no need of any material temple or shrine. The worshippers were 
called Yajamdnas. They performed their worship or yajm by 
means of meditation or manana with the aid of the words called 
Mantras. Thus the utterance of the Mantra was essential to the 
performance of this kind of worship or yajna by which the Yajata 
or the deity was approached and invoked by mortals. 

Besides the invocation, dhvdna, of the deity by the utterance 
of the proper Mantras, the next requisite of a Yajna is what is 
called dhuti or sacrifice of oblations, of something which the 
worshipper holds dear and valuable. The oblations are offered 
to Agni or Fire kindled in the altar, Vedi, specially prepared for 
the purpose. Men approached God through Agni who invoked 
Him on their behalf and is thus called the Hotd. The essence of 
YajHa is thus sacrifice or offering as proof of devotion to the 

* Yajfla’ as Symbol of creation. Vedic thought conceived 
of Yajfla as a sjmibol or representation of creation and its 
processes as imderstood by it. As each individual creature 
is fundamentally subject to the laws governing Creation as 
a whole and is a part of the cosmic plan and purpose towards 
the fulfilment of which it is his supreme duty to contribute 
by his own self-fulfilment, the Veda invented this most wonderful 
device of the Yajfla as a visible picture of his Dharma or religion 
to remind him of the laws of his being and of his supreme dqjy 


aforesaid. The conception of Yajna is thus modelled on that of 
Creation as presented in Vedic Literature and first indicated in 
the hymns of the Rigveda, especially the hymns x, 8i, 82, 90, 
121, 129. Of these, x, 90 is the famous Purusha-Sukta first 
presenting the whole process of creation as a YajAa. At this 
primordial and original Yajna, the Creator of the Universe called 
the Virdt-Purusha created the universe by offering Himself up as 
the sacrifice to provide the foundation upon which the structure 
could rise and rest and the very material out of which it could 
be constructed. The Sruti text, Rv. x, 81, asks the fundamenteJ 
questions : “ Kim svit asit adhishthanam arambhanam ” ; 

" Kim svit VcUiaih ka u sa vriksha asa yato dyava-prithivi 
nishtatakshuh ” ; " Yat adhyatishthat bhuvanani dharayan ” ; 
“ Where was the place, what the material, where was the forest, 
and which the tree, to which the Architect of the Universe resorted 
in creating it ? ” 

Its Inner Meaning. The Purusha-Sukta answers this question 
by stating that the Vira^-Purusha, wishing for creation, wishing that 
the One should create the Many {diishd = vahu syarii prajayeya 
in X, 81, i), found in His self-immolation the only means of building 
up His wished-for creation, for which He sacrificed Himself as 
the Animal out of Whose body was created the Universe comprising 
Nature with all its forces and agents like the Sun and Moon, 
organic and inorganic matter, different forms of life, and Society 
with its classes. The Animal was tied to a yupa or post before it 
was sacrificed. The significance of this is that the Infinite chose 
to become finite, the Immortal mortal, the Great became small. 
Thus God is in every creature, high or low. This is the essence of 
Vedic thought or Hinduism. As the Sruti says [J?v. x, 81, i] : 
" Sa asisha dravinamichchhamanah prathamachchhadavaran 
avive^ ” [Sa Paramesvara asisha vahu syam prajayeya 
ityevarh rupaya punafi punalj sisiikshaya dravinamichchhama- 
nah dhanopaJakshitam jagadbhogamakarhkshamanah pratha- 
machchhat prathamara mukhyam nishprapaiicham paramarthi- 
kam rupaifa avrinvan avaran svasfishtan pranihpdaya- 
prade^anavive^a ” (Saya^)] “ He, the One, again and again, 
wishing to be Many, wishing for the enjoyment of this world of 
riches, concealed His primary Self (Absolute and Unconditioned) 
and created the world of objects and minds into each of which He 
entered.” Man also, like his Creator, has to embrace mortality and 
the limited life of the world, like the sacrificial animal tied to the 
yipa. He must bind himself to the ties of relationship, tie the 



animal in him to th^yupa of self-control, and sacrifice that animal 
at ]iit*syajila. Through the limits of individual life, the individual 
thus attains the Absolute by sacrifice. The Purusha-Sukta also 
lays down the doctrine of self-sacrifice as constituting the true 
worship of the Divine, while the device of Yajna was evolved to 
give a concrete shape to this doctrine. 

Virftt Purusha. The Purusha-Sukta further states that 
the Virat Purusha sacrificed Himself to Himself. X, 8i, 
I makes this clear by stating that the Supreme God chooses 
(by way of what is called His lUd) to offer up the whole 
Universe as an oblation to Himself. The Universe is 
periodically dissolved in Him who remains the sole Creator 
to recreate it : '' Ya ima visva bhuvanani juhut I^shirHota 

nyasidat Pita nah.’* This only means that creation includes a 
process of evolution and its ultimate dissolution by involution 
in the Source from Which it arises. As we have seen. Creation 
originates with the desire of Brahma : “ Sah akdmayaia bahu 
sydm prajdyeya** ** Let Me be Many, let Me grow.'* This indicates 
three stages in creation, viz. (i) His Will " to be called Bhuh, 
(2) Process of “ being manifestation, called Bhuvah, and (3) 
the manifestations themselves called Svah, These three correspond 
to : (i) Prana, the life breathed into creation ; (2) Prakriti, 
processes of biological evolution ; and (3) Prakriyd, what Prana 
grows into. These three stages in creation are indicated in the 
three constituent elements of the word Yajna, viz. (i) Ya = 
samyata, antasthah, implicit, implied; (2) Jana —janma, 
manifestation, what is rendered explicit ; (3) As = the growth 
itself, the manifested state. Thus the Vedic philosophy of creation 
is that ** we are all evolved out of His will, by His will we are 
emancipated and merged in Him after growth or expansion : 
" Yato va imani bhutani jayante Yena jatani jivanti Yat pra- 
yantyabhisaihvi^anti. " 

Dynamic Universe. It is also to be understood that 
the world aptly called Jagat, “ evolving,'' “ moving," is 
not something that is static or stationary. It is emanating 
every moment into different objects. It is but the ceaseless 
working of ** the Will of Brahma, the One, to be Many ". 
This Will is being worked out by various agencies and 
forces like the Sun and Moon, Fire, Storm, Cloud, Rain, and the 
like, and these are conceived of as so many Manifestations of 
the Divine, and worshipped as so many deities, the Adhi-Devatds 
behind the cosmic forces shaping Creation. These Devatas are. 



like His Agents, carrying out the desire of Brahma for creation 
and are themselves His creation. All individuals thus created are 
called the Kshara-purushas, as distinguished from Brahma, the 
Akshara-Purusha (the Eternal Being) or Uttama-Purusha (the 
Supreme Being) in the Upanishads. These Devatds are, therefore, 
aiding in the evolution of Creation and in the performance of the 
primeval Yajna by which the Virdf-Purusha outshapes Himself 
in Creation, as stated in the Purusha-Sukta. 

FMjiPfttL We have already seen that the requisites of a YajfUt 
are Invocation {dhvdna), Fire(Agni), Sacrifice (a/tM/t), and the Altar 
(Vedi) where oblation is offered to fire. At first the aHar was a 
simple structure but, later, in the Brdhmana texts, it is very much 
elalx)rated to bring out its underlying spiritual significance. As 
Eggeling puts it [ 5 BE, 43, pp. xiv-xxiv], " in the building of the 
fire altar, the Brahmans sought to s5TnboUze the constitution of 
the unity of the universe.” As further pointed out by Professor 
A. B. Keith [CHI, i, 142], " in the Purusha hymn of the Rigveda 
occurs the conception of the creation of the Universe from the 
Purusha. . . . The Purusha is Prajapati, ' lord of creatures ' and 
the sacrifice is conceived as constantly recurring in order to 
maintain the existence of the Universe. To render this possible 
is the end of the fire altar, the building of which is the recon- 
struction of the Universe in the shape of Prajapati. Prajapati, 
again, is identified with Agni, the fire of the altar, and both 
Prajapati and Agni are the divine counterparts of the human 
sacrifice. But Prajapati is himself Time, and Time is in the long 
run Death, so that the sacrificer himself becomes death, and by 
that act rises superior to Death and is for ever removed from the 
world of illusion and trouble to the world of everlasting bliss. 
In this the true nature of Prajapati and of the sacrificer is revealed 
as Intelligence and the ^atapatha Brahmana urges the seeker for 
truth to meditate upon the Self, made up of Intelligence and 
endowed with a body of spirit, a form of Light and an ethereal 

* Sarvahuta ’ the Somema. It is also to be noted that 
in the Purusha-Sukta the Supreme Being is called Sarvahuta, 
i.e. He who is invoked by all in whatever Yajnas they 
perform. He is also called YajAa, i.e. as Yajaniya, the 
Object of worship, as explained by Sayana. The h5nnn 
thus makes clear the position as pointed out by Sfi3^a 
that though worship or YajHa is offered by individuals to different 
deities, all such worship is fundamentally the worship of the One 


Supreme God. As Sayana states : ** Though India and other 
deities are invoked in this and that Yajfia, it must be understood 
that it is the Supreme God who exists in the form of those deities 
(yadyapindradayastatra tatra huyante tathapi Parame^va- 
rasyaivendradirupenavasthanadavirodhah). Sayana, to prove his 
contention, cites Rv, i, 164, 46 : " Vipras (the enlightened' Sages) 
call the One Reality {ekam sat) by many names such as Indra, 
Varuna, Mitra, Agni, Yama, Vayu, or Aditya.'* And also 
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad [i, 4, 6] : '' Now, what (the ritualists) 
say, ' Worship This, Worship That ’ (thinking Each to be) a 
different Deity : (it is but a misconception) ; this multiplicity 
(of gods) is but His (Manifestation) . It is but He who comprehends 
all the gods.*' Therefore, Sayana lays down the fundamental 
position thus : ** In all Yajnas where different deities are invoked, 
it is the Supreme God who is really invoked (sarvairapi Parames- 
vara eva huyate).*’ 

The Rigveda is full of such sacrifices to different deities and 
they are to be understood as forms of prayer and methods of 
approach to the Most High. The Yajnas, as explained above, 
were evolved as modes of invocation of the Infinite and possessed 
of profound spiritual significance and educational value as aids 
to self-realization. 

‘ Yajfia ’ as Sacrifice. All these Yajnas were modelled on the 
primordial Yajna of the Virdt Purusha mentioned above, as 
stated in the text : “ Cha kapre tena Rishayo Mainushyah yajne 
yate Pitaro nah purane," “ Pitris, Men, and Rishis performed 
Yajnas after that primeval Yajna." 

This Divine Yajna shows creation in its three processes, 
Srishti (Beginning), Sthiti (Evolution), and Pralaya (Dissolution 
and Emancipation), as indicated in Rigvedic hymns like x, 81 
cited above. The human Yajnas were so modelled as to symbolize 
and signify this mystery and meaning of creation. They were 
based on sacrifice as the essence of Yajna, but man’s sacrifice 
could not be as complete as God’s. Instead of offering himself up 
as sacrifice, he thought of symbolic and vicarious sacrifice. An 
animal was seized for sacrifice on behalf of the sacrificer. This 
kind of ceremony was called Pasu-ydga, But Vedic religion did 
not countenance such bloody sacrificing of animals by violence. 
As the Chhdndogya Upanishad [iii, 6] puts it : “ Na vai Deva 
a^nanti na pivanti etadeva amiitarh drishtva tripyanti ; ‘‘ the 
gods who do not eat or drink should not be offered meat tainted 
with violence." Thus sacrifice at a Yajna meant self-sacrifice. 



Even where animals were sacrificed, only a few select parts of the 
animals were offered as oblations, but not their blood which was 
given away to demons. Eventually, the sacrifice of animals was 
replaced by the offering of Puroddia, a cake of vrihi or yava 
(rice or barley) and the Paiu-Ydga by what was called Ishti-Ydga. 
Similarly, there was a third kind of Vedic or Srauta sacrifice called 
Soma-Ydga where the juice of the Soma plant S3nnbolized and 
took the place of the blood of animals, just as Puroddia stood for 
their flesh, ^ 

Its Varieties. It will also appear that Yajnas were necessarily of 
different kinds according to the different kinds of offering made at 
them. The offering may be material or spiritual. As is stated in the 
text : '' Dravyayajh^tapoyajha Yogayajnastathapare Svadhyaya- 
Jnana-yajna^ha ; '' Yajnas are of different kinds : (i) 

Dravya-yajna where material objects are offered as oblations, 
objects which appeal to and indulge the senses ; (2) Tapoyajna 
where all desires and out-going activities are offered to be con- 
sumed in the fire of asceticism and penance ; (3) Yoga-yajna 
where senses are sacrificed at the fire of samyama or self-control, 
the practice of detachment; and (4) Svddhyaya-JUdna-Yajna, 
Yajna in the form of study of the Veda and pursuit of knowledge 
by brahmacharya, Rigveda i, 84, 2 mentions the Yajna of Rishis 
by means of stuH or prayer and of mortals by sacrifice, while 
i, 18, 7 refers to the Yajna of sages in their pursuit of knowledge. 
These texts thus refer to different kinds of Yajna depending on 
different degrees or kinds of sacrifice to suit different stages or 
degrees of spiritual progress achieved by the Yajamdnas concerned. 
The highest grade of Yajna for man is thus described in the 
BhagavadgUd : “ Brahmarpanam Brahma-ha vih Brahmagnau 

Brahmana hutam | Brahmaiva tena gantavyaih Brahma-karma- 
samadhina Life itself is the great sacrifice where Brahma 
Himself is at once the Yajamana or sacrificer, the fire where 
sacrifice is offered, the material of the sacrifice (havi), the God to 
Whom sacrifice is offered, Whom one attains by living his life as 
if it is Brahma-karma or an offering of all its fruits to Brahma in 
total absence of desire.” 

^ One is reminded in this connection of the doctrine of Eucharist Sacrifice 
in Christian Theology, according to which, Jesus Christ, who took his birth as 
Idan to be his Saviour, on the night before his crucifixion, distributed among his 
disciples bread and wine as symbolical of his flesh and blood. Ho gave up his 
body as sacrifice, washing away by bis blood the sins of mankind. The following 
words are put into his mouth : “I am the bread of Life. He that eateth My 
fleah and dxinketh My blood dwelleth in Me and I in him . . . and hath eternal 



• Paficha-Mahftyajftas.’ The principle of Yajna was that 
of sacrifice by which man, like his Maker, is to build 
up and uphold the system he brings into being in this 
world. He must in his own life go through the eternal creative 
processes of Beginning, Development, and Dissolution 
Sacrifice is the process of his self-expansion leading to his final 
dissolution in the Absolute, emancipated from his narrow self. 
This self-expansion is achieved by a series of Yajnas the perform- 
ance of which Vedic religion makes obligatory upon its votaries. 
The first of these is called Deva-Y ajna symbolizing man’s approach 
towards the gods, the creative forces of which he is the outcome. 
This is called Svdhd, expression of Sva or Self, which is uttered 
after the offer of oblations to the Devatds. Just as spiritually Man 
is the outcome of the gods to whom he thus makes sacrifices, 
physically he is the outcome of his ancestors, the Pit r is, to whom 
he prays by Pitri-Yajna, by uttering the word Svadhd, ‘'placing 
of his own self, Sva,** in the Pitris. Then he has to perform what is 
called Brahma-Y ajna which consisted, as we have seen, in the 
study and teaching of Veda and meditation on its Mantras {Japa), 
He has* also to perform a fourth Yajna called Bhuta-Yajna by 
offering bait (oblation) to all created beings with whom he realizes 
his oneness. '' One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin.” 
Lastly, he has to perform the Nri-Yajna by which he offers 
worship to all his fellow-men in a spirit of universal brotherhood. 
This worship is in the form of the offer of daily hospitality by the 
entertainment of guests as a part of religious duty. It will thus 
be seen how this hierarchy of five. Yajnas (known as Pancha- 
Mahdyajnas) was planned as a scheme of progressive approach 
towards the Infinite with which they provide so many links with 
the finite. 

* Agnihotra.’ We shall now discuss the cultural significance of 
some of the Vedic Yajnas proper. In the Rigveda, as w’e have seen, 
Y ajflas are performed for the worship of God in the forms of Deities 
like Agni, Vanina, Indra, Soma, and the like, each of Whom 
associated with a particular aspect or representing a particular 
formative force of creation helps in the contemplation of the Form- 
less Absolute. In the Rigveda, the more important of these Yajnas 
are those in honour of two particular Gods, Agni and Soma. Agni 
who represents the Energy operating in the whole universe and is 
the closest approximation to the Formless, the most striking and 
intimate proof of the power of the Creator in this world-emanation, 
receives a considerable degree of attention in the Rigveda and 



his praises are sung in many a h5nnn. He is worshipped as the 
Cause of Light and Heat, of Cloud and Rain, of Rain the cause of 
Food, of Food which sustains Life itself, the all-pervading One 
Who is both within and without us. Who appears as the Sun on 
high and opans our eyes as the best avenue of objective knowledge. 
Thus Agni is at the root of our life, our knowledge, and our bliss 
(dnanda). Therefore, Agni becomes the household deity 
worshipped in every hearth and home both morning and evening 
by the Yajna called Agnihotra by every householder who offers 
to Him his best as oblation. The offer may be offer of ^raddhd 
instead of a material object, in which case it will be called Sraddhd- 
homa and the ceremony will be performed with the words, “ Aham 
^raddham juhomi,” “ I offer as sacrifice my reverence.” The con- 
tinuous performance of Agni hotra in a family connotes its per- 
petuation along with the family fire which is inherited and 

‘ Soma-Tajna. ’ A greater prominence is given in the Rigveda to 
Sotna-yajnas. Though the word Soma is the name of a creeper, it is 
really used as a symbol for a deep spiritual truth in the Rigveda. 
This is made clear in several of its hymns. In viii, 48, Soma is 
addressed as ‘ Madhu, the nectar or ambrosia, the drink of 
Immortality sought by both gods and men. Even the Rishi who 
achieved the greatest fame by his learning and wisdom still 
prays for something that was lacking, this nectar. He is also 
addressed as Indu or Aditi, the primordial deity who rules the 
gods and penetrates into the hearts of all ; the nectar by drinking 
which mortals become immortal and attain heaven radiant with 
shining gods ; the vital principle of life.’ X, 85 sings in the same 
strain the praise of Soma. " Soma is the cause of the power of the 
Aditycis and of the greatness of Prithivi (Somena Prithivt Maht).” 
“ The Soma whom the worshippers of Birahma know. That is not 
something to be drunk by the mouth (Somaih yam Brahmano 
viduh na tasya^nati ka^chana).” ” He cannot be drunk by a 
materialist (p&rthiva).” " Some can drink Him but cannot decrease 
Him by such drink ” : for it is a drink of supreme knowledge, 
a draught of Immortality, which increases by each such drink, 
because Truth spreads through Its exponents. I, 91 states that 
" He is to be approciched by manlshd (effort of mind, meditation) 
along the path of virtue (rajishfhath pantham) ; the author of 
cosmic laws (Vraias), who is manifest in heaven and earth, in 
mountains, vegetation, and water.” IV, 18, i, 13, which is the 
hymn of Rishi Vlhnadeva, the author of the entire fourth Ma;><^ala, 



relates how the saving knowledge of this Madhu or Soma doctrine 
came to him. It relates that he was so poor that he was driven to 
eat the entrails of a dog {avartya iuna dntrai^i peche) and could 
not better his condition by prayers to gods, had to see his wife 
in a deplorable condition {apaiyam jay dm amahtyamdndm), 
until he was saved by God in His mercy bringing to him the nectar 
{madhu) of Soma doctrine in the disguise of a hawk (fyena). 
Thus this supreme knowledge, Madhu- or Soma-Vidya came 
to the ^ishi in a sudden flash in his darkest hour. 

We have now considered the typical Vedic Yajnas like the 
Agnihotra and the Soma- Yaga and their culturad value and 
spiritual significance. While Agnihotra was a daily yajha, some 
Yajfias were periodical like Dariayajha to be performed on 
new-moon, and PaurtjMmdsa on full-moon days. Soma-ydga 
had also several varieties the performance of which took one day, 
or several days like Jyotishtoma, or even a whole year in the form 
called Satra. A description of a Satra will show its cultural and 
social significance. 

‘ Satra.* The Satra was a sort of a national festival of the Vedic 
times and operated as a potent factor for the moral and spiritual 
uplift of the community, for the progress of its literature and 
education. All the learned philosophers and Wshis of those days 
gathered at the Satra and enchanted the vast audiences of crowds 
that flocked to it by their thrilling recitation of Vedic Mantras, 
chanting of Samans, and discourses on Brahma. Thus it was a 
sort of a religious and philosophical Congress that held a con- 
tinuous session for the whole year and gave scope to the 
promulgation and propagation of Vedic literature. References 
to such learned Assemblies or Sabhas in the Rigveda [x, 71, 2, 5, 
etc.] are dealt with below. But the Satra was not also devoid of 
its social side. The Yajamana, the householder celebrating the 
ceremony, would be throughout the year giving generously of 
his abundance by a free feeding o< the poor and lavishly enter- 
taining his learned guests as part of the ceremony. Thus Vedic 
religion was incentive to social service, sacrifice, and liberality. 
We may recall in this connection the impassioned Rigvedic h3mm 
in praise of Charity [x, 117]. 

There were other details of the ceremony, each with its own 
spiritual value and significance. The Ydga was performed in five 
parts, viz. (i) Dlkshaiytya Ishti for the diksha or initiation of the 
Yajamfina for purposes of his second spiritual birth as a dvija 
(" twice-bom ”) ; (2) Prdyatiiya Ishti or Atithya Ishfi to indicate 



that God Soma attended the Ishfi as a guest (atithi) and also 
giv^ food to the new-bom dvija ; (3) Pravar^ya Kriya to achieve 
his spiritual growth ; (4) Paiu^dga, the sacrifice of the animal in 
the worshipper ; and (5) Soma-yaga, the sacrifice at which Soma 
is drunk, S5mibolizing the drink by which the Dvija nourishes his 
soul and attains immortality. 

Summary. Now to sum up ; The YajHa which is the centre of 
the Vedic system may be thus understood as education of man in 
self-sacrifice as the law of his being and the only foimdation of his 
religion, self-sacrifice in the form of performance by him of the 
different classes of duties making up his life in the world by the 
performance of different kinds of Yajnas already explained, such as 
Yajnas of Tapas (Penance), Yoga (Meditation), Svadhydya and 
Jndna (Study and Knowledge). The Aitareya Brahmana holds 
that man is bom with three debts, debts to Pitfis, Rishis, and 
Devas, and these he can discharge only by fatherhood, yajna, 
and study, as “ Putri, Yajvd and Brahmachdrt.” Thus the Yajnas 
take the individual through a course of self-realisation in pro- 
gressive stages by which he becomes more and more imiversal 
in his outlook and interests until he is emancipated and merged 
in the Absolute. It is the Yajnas which lead to Dharma and it is 
Dharma which leads to Brahma. Thus, as we have seen, the Veda 
is concerned only with the two subjects, Dharma and Brahma, 
treated in its two sections known as Karma-kdnda (including 
Devoid- or Updsand-Kanda) and JHdna-Kdnjla, which are related 
to each other like two limbs of the structure of Vedic thought 
and scheme of life.^ 

^ References : two learned works In Bengali, (I) Yajna-Kathd by the late 
Ramendra Sundar Trivedl and (2) Veda-Praveiikd by the late Umes Chandra 
Batavyal ; and Saya^a's Introduction to his commentary on Rigveda. 
I am also specially indebted to my talented father-in-law, Mr. Dhanapati Banerji, 
M.A., B.L., and hiis brother, Mr. Sarat Chandra Banerji, M.A., B.L., both erudite 
Sanskrit scholars, and members of the Bar at Kanchi, Chhota-Nagpur, for 
valuable suggestions and notes. 

Chapter II 


The Bigreda as the Source ol Hindu Civilization. The Rigveda 
is established as the earliest work not merely of the Hindus but 
of all Indo-European languages and of humanity. “ One thing is 
certain,” says Max Muller, “ namely, that there is nothing more 
primitive, more ancient than the h 5 Tnns of the Rigveda, whether 
in India or the whole Aryan world. Being Aryan in language and 
thought, the Rigveda is the most ancient of our books ” {Origin 
and Development of Religion']. But the great paradox that it 
presents is that though this is the oldest book of India, it does 
not mark merely the dawn of its culture, but rather its meridian. 
" We cannot tell how the religion of the Hindus came into being. 
When we become aware of it, we find it already complete in its 
broad outlines, its main principles. Not only is it complete, but the 
farther back we go, the more perfect it is, the more unadulterated, 
the more closely related to the loftiest speculations of om- modem 
agnosticism ” [Maurice Maeterlinck in The Great Secret]. 

“ What we read in the Vedas, those archives of Hindu 
wisdom, gives us only a faint idea of the sublime doctrines of the 
ancient teachers, and even so these are not in their original form. 
Only the gaze of the clairvoyant, directed upon the mysteries of 
the past, may reveal the unuttered wisdom which lies hidden 
behind these writings ” [Rudolph Steiner quoted in ib., p. 8]. 
According to the Hindu orthodox view, the Rigveda contains 
within itself the seeds and sources from which the entire course 
of Hindu thought through the ages has derived and flowed in 
so many streams. It lays the foundation upon which Hindu 
Civilization has been building up through the ages. Broadly 
speaking, it is on a foundation of plain living and high thinking. 
Therefore, though ancient India is lacking in great monuments 
of material progress achieved by some of the early civilizations 
of the world, like the Egyptian or the Assyrian, she is not lacking 
in monuments of intellectual or spiritual progress. Life was simple 
but thought high and of farthest reach, wandering through 

17 e 


Art was late in coming under such conditions, but not the 
higher art of living. Some of the prayers of the Rigveda, like the 
widely known Gayatrl mantram [iii, 63, 10 ; also found in 
Samaveda {Uttara, 6, 3) and Yajurveda (3, 35 ; 22, 9 ; 30, 27)] 
touch the highest point of knowledge and sustain human souls 
to this day, while no Hindu, however modernized, will allow 
a single alteration of their original accents, letters, syllables, 
or words. 

Its Bvblation and Contents. The Rigveda itself exhibits an 
evolution ind the history of the Rigveda is a history of the culture 
of the age. The Rigveda, in the form in which we have it now, is 
a compilation out of old material, a collection and selection 
(sathhitd) of 1,017 hymns (or 1,028 hymns, if eleven of Ma^dala 
viii, added later, are counted) out of the vast literature of hynms 
which had been accumulating for a long period. As Macdonell puts 
it : “ Some hundreds of years must have been needed for all the 
h3mms found in the Rigveda to come into being.” Bloomfield 
[JAOS, xxix, 288] even considers the so-called oldest parts of 
the Rigveda as " the last precipitate, with a long and a tangled 
past behind it of a literary activity of great and indefinite length ”. 
Dr. M. Winteritz also concludes : “ Centuries must have elapsed 
between the composition of earliest hymns and the Saihhit^ 
of the Rigveda.” Accordingly, the Rigveda Samhita itself refers 
to the works of the earlier and later authors \j>iirvaih and 
nuianaik (i, i, 27)], to Agni being worshipped in bygone ages 
(piirve) by Rishis by their hymns {glrbhih) [x, 98, 9] and 
also to h5nnns extemporized for the occasion [stomarh jana- 
ydmi navyam in i, 109, 2, etc.]. 

In dealing with this vast and varied material belonging to 
different ages, the editors of the Rigveda Samhita were called upon 
to evolve advanced and comprehensive principles in constructing 
their work. Firstly, it had to be a representative collection which 
could reflect the different t5^s and tods of literary achievements 
and religious speculation already current in the country. Thus 
the Samhita is characterized by a remarkable variety in its con- 
tents, the topics dealt with in the hymns it brings together, which 
differ in their appeal and value. Thus there are many h5mins 
which are pure and sublime expressions of faith and poetry, having 
no connection with any practical purpose or rituals. There are 
other h}rmns which are applied for sacrificial purposes. Some again 
are entirely prompted by the practical needs of the sacrifice and 
read like sacrificial songs and litanies, arranged in a businesslike 


manner, by the priestly poets conducting such sacrifices. Much 
of their poetry again depends upon their subjects. Those addressed 
to Varuna, for example, rank among the highest. Indra again 
inspires 250 h3mins of a different character as the national god of 
war. These Varuna-Indra h5mins, however, are marked by great 
pathos, vigour, and raciness. Agni, again, is the god of the house- 
holder, inspiring hymns that touch the heart and rouse tender 
feelings. There are pearls of lyric poetry in the hymns to Surya, 
Parjanya, Maruts, and Ushas. Among the sacrificial hymns and 
litanies may be mentioned as the best specimens the famous 
Apri Suktas (propitiatory hymns). Of a different class are what 
may be called the funeral songs in the tenth mandala of the 
Rigveda (where there is the interesting reference to the erection 
of a mound over a corpse) [Rv. x, 18, g[0-i3]. There are also 
hymns referring to cremation and transmigration [x, 16, 1-6]. 
The hymn i, 164 reads like a riddle. It refers to a wheel of order 
with twelve spokes, revolving round the heavens, and holding 
within it in pairs 720 sons to signify the year of twelve months and 
360 days and 3^ nights. There is again the long and highly 
interesting wedding h5nnn [x, 85]. There are, further, hymns of a 
somewhat secular character. Instances of these are those called 
Samvddas, dialogues or ballads, such as x, 95 on Pururavas 
and Urva^i, x, 10 on Yama and Yarn!, or x, 85 known as the 
Surya Sukta. There are also a few didactic poems. One of these, 
X, 117, is addressed to Dana (Liberality) as its deity by Rishi 
called Bhikshu (Angirasa). It enjoins charity as more meritorious 
than Yajna, sacrifice. The gift of food is a gift of life, for hunger 
is a form of death. Friends forsake him who does not help them 
in need, and leave him homeless, for a home means friends. 
Fortune also is unstable like the wheels of a rolling chariot. So 
one must not cling to it as a miser. Nor can it save him from death. 
Nor should one be proud of it, for a rich man finds another richer. 
Twins, looking alike, differ in mind (chit), strength {vJrya), and 
liberality. So there is no religion higher than charity. Similarly, 
X, 34, is a pathetic monologue in which a gambler bemoans the 
ruin he has brought to his wife, mother, and family by dicing, 
exclaiming : Play not with dice : ply thy tillage : enjoy and 
value the property thou hast, thy cattle, and thy wife {l^tshtmit 
kf^shasva vitte ramasva tatra gdvah tatra jdyd) . There are again 
some special hymns called Ddna-stutis, about forty in number, of 
which the best is the aforesaid x, 117. Lastly, we ascend to the 
highest level of philosophy in h5nims like the song of creation in 


X, 129 ; X, 125 on Logos, or x, 90 on the sacrifice of the Virat 
Purusha to sustain his creation. 

The advance of thought from the concrete towards the 
abstract is further shown in the conception of abstract deities. 
We have such names of the Supreme Being as Dhdtd, Vidhdtd, 
Dharid, Trdid, Netd, Tvashtd, Savitd, Vihakarmd, Hiranya- 
garbha^ Kq (for which references are given below). We have also 
deities comprising personifications of abstract nouns like Manyu, 
Wrath ; $raddhd, Faith [x, 151] ; Anumaii, Favour of the Gods ; 
Aramati, Devotion ; Sunriid, Bounty ; Asu-nUi, Spirit-life ; 
or Nirriti, Decease ; and, lastly, A-diti, Liberation or Freedom, 
the Mother of Adiiyas, who delivers from the bonds of physical 
suffering and moral guilt. There is also a goddess called Aranydni 
[x, 146], the goddess of Forest Solitude, who is invoked with much 
feeling : ** Aranyani ! Thou who seemest to lose thyself there, 
why dost thou not ask the way to the village ? Dost not Terror 
seize thee at thy solitude ! She is described as at once harbouring 
wild beasts, feeding travellers on fruits, yielding abundant food, 
and fragrant with flowers ! 

It will thus be seen that the hymns chosen for the Saihhitas 
give a fair picture of the various aspects of a highly advanced 
cultural life and civilization. 

Conservation 0! its Text. Secondly, besides showing their skill 
of selection on the basis of their acquaintance with the vast 
body of hymns then extant, the editors of the Samhita were at 
pains to think out some mechanical linguistic devices by which the 
sacred text handed down from time immemorial could be con- 
served in their pristine purity and original forms and ensured 
against the interpolations of later ages. The traditional orthodox 
•respect for the sacred word was already responsible for the high 
standard of verbal authenticity which had been observed in the 
long interval between the rise of the hymns and the constitution, 
by grammatical editors, of the extant phonetic text called the 
Saihhita. These editors thus inherited an established tradition 
and literary practice which they further improved and confirmed. 
They began by a rigid adherence to the words of the old seers and 
even to their most minute irregularities of accent or alternate 
forms not supported by the grammatical rules of a later 
age, except where changes in phonetic forms were necessary 
to make them understandable. Thus, to take an instance, 
the word sumna was retained in the Saihhita text and not 
replaced by its later equivalent dyumna but the old expression 


tuam hi Agne was changed into tvam hy Agne, For Thou, 
O Agni/' 

The principle by which the Saihhita text was thus constituted 
suggested in its turn other devices for its own conservation against 
changes or corruptions in time. These devices came later. The 
text of the Saihhita was originally presented in the form called 
Nirbhuja-S^mhit^. It was followed by the formation of a new 
text of the Saihhita called the Pratrinna Saihhita in which every 
single word is shown in its independent and phonetically un- 
modified form and compounds are separated into their elements. 
This is technically called the Pada-pdtha, ** Word-text.’* To make 
assurance doubly sure, a second device was resorted to in what 
is called the Krama-pdiha, ** Step-text,'* where every word of the 
Pada-pdtha appears twice to be pronounced both after the pre- 
ceding, and before, the following one. Thus ah c d as representing 
the first four words would be read as ah, be, cd. The full scheme of 
Vedic recitation ultimately developed various forms as means of 
preserving the purity of the original Vedic texts. The Samhitd 
and Pada or krama pdthas are classed under Prakriti, while the 
other Pdthas come under what is called Vikriti and are of eight 
kinds, viz. ; (i) Jatd, (2) Mdld, (3) §ikhd, (4) Rekhd, (5) Dhvaja, 
(6) Danda, (7) Ratha, and (8) Ghana. Of these, the primary ones 
are the aforesaid Jatd and Danda. Under Dan^ are grouped Nos. 
{2), (4), (5), and (7), while Jatd includes (3). In Jatd~pdtha, the 
two words a b will be pronounced as ab, ha, ah, (as in Namo 
Rudrebhyo Rtidrebhyo Namo Namo Rndrebhyah), The Ghana-Pdtha 
combines the features of both Jatd and Danda as in ab, ha ; ahe, 
cha, ahc. 

These first essays in the editorial art and technique for secur- 
ing textual purity laid the foundation of Linguistics or Metrics 
known as Sikshd recognized as one of the six sciences which were 
auxiliaries to the Vedas (Vedangas). This literary art is elaborated 
in the later Prdtiidkhya literature in which are presented with 
examples the euphonic modification necessary for turning the 
Pada into the Samhitd text, and also in the works known as 
Anukramants, or Indexes, giving the number of the hymns, verses, 
words, and even syllables of the sacred text as means of checking 
its integrity. As Macdonell {Indians Past) has remarked, ‘‘ these 
devices have secured a faithfulness of tradition unparalleled in 
any other ancient literature.*' 

Arrangement of its Contents. When the Rigvedic text was 
thus fixed and appropriated for purposes of the Samhitd, its 


editors had to think out the principles on which the hymns could 
be best arranged. These show considerable literary skill, 
originality of design, and 4 nsight into religious needs. First, six 
representative Rishis were chosen and their works were utilized 
to constitute six different Mandalas, Manialas ii-vii, of the 
Rigveda. These Rishis are Gritsamada, Vi^vamitra, Vamadeva, 
Atri, Bharadvaja, and Vasishtha. To the nucleus of these six 
Mandalas or family-books ” were added (i) the group of hymns 
contributed by other families of Rishis to form the second part 
of Mandala i (51-191) ; (2) other hymns formed into the first 
part of the same Mancjala ; (3) the hymns handed down by Rishi 
Kanva and his family, which were constituted into Mandala viii ; 
(4) the assignment of all the Soma hymns to one place, Mandala ix, 
to prevent their being mixed up with other hymns on different 
subjects ; and (5) miscellaneous hymns on a variety of topics 
brought together in Mandala x, with their number (191) kept same 
as that of Mandala i and marked by special features of 
language, metrical form, and contents. 

In this way, the whole compilation came to include 1,028 
hymns and 10,580 verses in 70,000 lines of 153,826 words. Of 
these 70,000 lines, 5,000 lines are found to be rej)etitions. This 
shows that the makers of later hymns were only drawing upon a 
common source, the large stock or floating literature of older 
hymns which had already been in circulation in the country. 

Two Ages and Types of Literary Activity. We shall now go 
behind the Rigveda Sarhhita into the fundamental question of the 
method and system of education responsible for the remarkable 
literary output it presents and also the wider cultural background 
to which it is related. The Sarhhita itself indicates that we have 
to distinguish between two ages of literary and educational 
activity which were widely separated in both age and character. 
The first was an age of creation, of the primordial Rigveda which 
came into being in the original hymns as they were revealed by 
their so-called seers or Rishis. The Vedic Aryans then found it 
necessary for their work amidst non-Aryans (whom the Rigveda 
calls Dasas, Dasyus, or Asuras and distinguishes by several other 
physical and cultural characteristics) that they should fix their 
national sacred literature reflecting their own ideals of thought 
and life as a means of preserving their cultural integrity as a 
people. Thus was called for the collection and ordering into one 
body the floating mass of h5mins, the composition of the Rigveda 
Samhiid, But the production of this work was not a mere religious 


No. 2. — Another isolated image of a Wshi [Rajgir]. 



and political necessity. It was also a literary necessity. It was 
necessary to preserve the sacred text from the changes to which 
it was liable in the process of its oral transmission from teacher 
to pupil and from generation to generation. It was liable to be 
corrupted, modified, and modernized in the course of such trans- 
mission. It had to confront the compelling consequences of a 
natural linguistic evolution which would make the retention of 
its pristine purity and original, archaic form more and more 
difi&cult, unless it was fixed and standardized. The time soon 
arrived, as pointed out by Wilson Samhitd, I, xix], when 
the antiquity of the hymns, the obscurity of their style, the 
peculiarities of their language, and the number to which they 
had multiplied, with the corresponding difficulties of recollecting 
and teaching them, brought home the supreme necessity of 
rescuing the dispersed and obsolete Siiktas or Vedic verses from 
the risk of oblivion and moulding them into some consistent 
and permanent shape." 

Thus the age of the origination of Rigvedic hymns was 
primarily an age of creation which was necessarily followed by 
an age of criticism and compilation, of conservation and 

Y&ska’s Comment. These two ages are very well described 
by the earliest Vedic commentator, Yaska, in his Nirukta 
(c, 700 B.C.). There were, firstly, according to Y^ka, " the 
Rishis who were the direct seers of Truth. They were followed 
by the lesser men [avara) who were incapable of that direct 
perception of Truth, which comes from tapas or yoga, concen- 
trated contemplation. These may be called ^rutarshis. The 
seers, therefore, had to impart their Truths (Mantras) to these 
inferior people, the Srutarshis, by means of oral instruction 
(Upadeia). The Srutarshis are so called because they became 
Wshis or Seers only through $ruti or hearing the truths imparted 
to them as pupils by their teachers, the Rishis (UpadeSena = 
Sishyopadhyayikaya vrittya) who imparted to them both the 
words of the Mantras and also their meaning [granthatah 
arihataicha). They could not attain to the truths directly by 
their own powers of tapas and insight. These, again, in view of 
later generations further deteriorating in their powers, as means 
of facilitating the study of the Veda, compiled the Veda (i.e. 
the Saihhita text), the Nighantu and the Ved^gas [i, 20 with 
Durga's commentary]." In commenting on Rigveda, x, 98, 
Y^ska defines ^ishi as the person " who is possessed of vision. 

24 ^ 


to whom, practising austerities (tapasyaminam), the self-bom 
Brahma manifested himself ” (i.e. " the Vedas revealed their 
meaning without their study by him ”, as explained by Durga). 

*Tapa>’ as Method. ol-I^earains.. Hms the Rigveda Sariihitd, 
the form in which the Rigveda is accedsiblo.tO’ us, reveals two 
stages and t5rpes of education, and educational method. The 
matter of the Rigveda, its h5nnns, are the outcome of the first, 
the method of the pursuit of the highest Truth and of its direct 
realization on the basis of ascetic austerities and concentrated 
contemplation called Tapas which marks out the l^shi or 
“ Seer In Rigveda, x, 109, 4, there is mention of seven l^his 
absorbed in tapas {tapase ye nisheduh) and of the power of 
tapas in raising the lowest to the highest. In x, 154, 2, there is a 
reference to Tapas of veirious forms as explained by Sfiyana, 
such as (i) austerities like kfichchhra-chdndrayana whereby the 
ascetic is rendered invincible (anddhrishya), (2) sacrifices whereby 
he attains heaven, and (3) penances of the highest order [mahat), 
e.g. Rajasuya, A^vamedha, forms of Updsand (yoga) like 
Hiraityagarbha. X, 167, i refers to the conquest of heaven by 
tapas (tapah paritapya ajayah). X, 136, 2 refers to (defined 

by Sayana as " the seers of Truths beyond the senses ”) " clad 
in barks of trees (piiangd vasate maid), shining with the glow 
of tapas, attaining godly forms, and the free movement of the 
wind ”. The next verse describes the Munis as living in a state 
of divine afflatus, ecstasy, or supreme bliss (Unmaditdh) (due to 
renunciation of the world, as explained by Sayana), with their 
souls detached from their bodies which alone are seen by mortals, 
which means that they lived in a state of Samddhi, living in the 
spirit and not in the body. They are also described as assuming 
the subtle body resembling the wind (Vdtdn a tasthimd). The 
following verse further extols the Muni who becomes all-pervading 
like the Va5Ti, and all-seeing like the sun (by worshipping them), 
and the equal of the gods (deva-sakhd) by sukfiti, pious deeds. 
The next verse again describes him as attaining to the 
forms of the gods (Vayu or Surya) or as one whom the 
gods themselves wish to attain (deveshita). I, 55, 4 refers to 
^his dwelling in forests (vane) in contemplation of God. 
There is a reference to Sannydsa in viii, 24, 26. The ^hi 
of X, 117 is named Bhikshu and the whole Sukta is in praise 
of charity and gifts to one who begs in need. X, 190, i rises to 
the culminating conception of Rita and Satya, truth of thought 
and speech, as the fruit of Tapas, and of the whole creation 

I^ISHI Atri and his Wife (Anasuya) 

[Facing p. 24 



resulting from the Tafas of Brahma. Besides Rishi and Muni, 
other terms indicative of highest spiritual advancement are 
Vipra, Vedhas, andifaw [i, 127, i ; 129, i, ii ; 162, 7 ; iv, 26. i]. In 
i, 164, 45, there is a reference to seers called Manlshts who 
comprehend Vak or speech in all its four forms, Brahma as 
Sabda, as Yogis. Of these four forms of Vdk, three are stated to 
be hidden in guha, i.e. in the depths of the soul, while the fourth 
is manifest as the speech of man, laukiki bhdskd. This states the 
philosophical position that what is rendered explicit in the 
creation is only a fragment of the Implicit or the Absolute. 
A similar idea is contained in the 41st verse describing Sabda 
as Brahma unfolding itself in gradual stages as Ekapadi, Dvi- 
padi, Chatushpadi, Ashtapadi, and Navapadi and ultimately 
pervading the Universe as Sahasrdkshara. Only a part of this 
$abda or Vdk is captured by man for his use as laukiki or vyava- 
hdriki bhdshd. This verse also indicates that Vedic Sanskrit 
grew out of spoken language or popular vernacular Sanskrit. 

Method of Learning according to capacity. When highest 
knowledge was thus built up by these Seers and revealed and 
stored up in the h)mns, there were necessarily evolved the 
methods by which such knowledge could be acquired, conserved, 
and transmitted to posterity. Thus every Rishi was a teacher 
who would start by imparting to his son the texts of the know- 
ledge he had personally acquired and such texts would be the 
special property of his family. Each such family of Rishis was 
thus functioning like a Vedic school admitting pupils for 
instruction in the literature or texts in its possession. The 
relations between teacher and taught are well established in the 
Rigveda. The methods of education naturally varied with 
the capacities of pupils. Self-realization by means of tapas would 
be for the few. 

As the Rigveda itself ix)ints out [x, 71, 7] : " Class-mates 
[sakhds, i.e. those of same knowledge (samanaih khyanam jnanarh 
y esham) or who have studied the same $dsiras (samaneshu iastreshu 
krita^rama^)] may have equality in the possession of their 
senses like the eye and the ear, but betray inequality in respect 
of their power or speed of mind [asam^ manojabeshu = 
manas&ih prajaveshu (Yaska, Nirukia, i, 9) ; or the knowledge 
or wisdom which is attained by the mind (Sayana)]. Some are 
like tanks which reach up to the mouth (‘ vmfathomable, i.e. 
minds whose depths .cannot be reached as explained by 
DurgSchaiya), others up to the breast only (i.e. ‘shallow. 



whose bottom is within sight ’). Some axe fit for bath, others 
are to be seen only.” As Sayaina points out, this passage refers 
to three grades of students, the MahaprajMn, the Madhyatna- 
prajUdn, and the AlpaprajUdn, students of high, medium, and 
low ability. In i, 112, 2 there is a reference to pupils (dhiyah) 
approaching for instruction the teacher called Vachas, i.e. one 
possessed of sound learning. In i, 8, 6 there is a mention of 
Vipras being instructed in supreme knowledge as its seekers 

Recitation of Texts. The subject of learning being these 
h3nnns, the first step was naturally to impart the sacred texts 
to the learners by recitation. The air was resounding with the 
recitation of the hymns in the Vedic Schools. It was such a 
familiar phenomenon that it has inspired even a hjmrin of the 
Rigveda [vii, 103] which compares the monotonous recitation 
of words by the teacher and his pupils [yadeshamanyo 
anyasya vachaih ^aktasyeva (i.e. ^ktimatah ^ikshakasya) 
vadati (anuvadati, repeats) Sikshamanah (i.e. ^ishyah) ] to the 
croaking of frogs exhilarated by the approach of rain. 

As has been already indicated, recitation of Vedic texts 
was cultivated as an art by itself. A great value and potency 
attached to the very sounds of the letters and syllables by which 
the sacred words were uttered. Such utterance weis not left to 
mere natural or individual pronunciation but was artificially 
r^;ulated by metres. The passage i, 164, 24 is very explicit on 
this point. It states how by conjunction of letters (strictly 
syllables) are produced seven metres [aksharena mimate (i.e. 
nirmanam kurvati, makes) sapta vdnih (i.e. sapta chhandamsi). 
These seven metres are known as (i) Gayatri, (2) Parhkti, (3) 
Anushtup, (4) Brihatl, (5) Viraj, (6) Trishtup, and (7) Jagatl, 
being made up respectively of 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, and 48 
syllables. The same verse defines a Chhandas or Metre being 
made of Pddas or divisions and Pddas of Aksharas. Thus, as 
explained by Sayana, the Akshara is the root of the division of 
the Rigveda into Varga, Sukta or Anuvdka [Aksharaili padal> 
paiimiyamte | Parimitaih padai^hhamdarhsi | Tatal]i pada- 
nam chhaihdasamaksharam mulamiti | Tatha Rigvarga- 
suktanuvakadlnam chaksharaih mulamiti akshara-pra^aihsa |]. 

Every day the student started recitation of Vedic Texts 
‘ before birds announced break of day ' [purd-vayabhyah = pakshyi- 
dinSm v&gvadanaraihbhat prak (Taitti. Sam., vi, 4, 3, i)]. 
The AUareya Aratj^yaka [viii] mentions three ways of reciting 



the Rigveda, pratfi^i^, nirbhuja, and ubhayamantare’v^, by 
taking the words singly, as in Pada Patha, or in pairs, or in the 
continuous way, as in Kratna Patha. There was also already 
a sound system of phonology. The Aitareya and Satapatha 
Brahma^Kis distinguish sounds as ghosha, ushman, and vyaiijana, 
dental and lingual », and the sibilants i, sh, and s, and also 
discuss rules of sandhi or combinations of words. The Upanishads 
[e.g. Taitti, i, l, 2] recognize phonological factors like mdtrd 
(quantity), bala (accent), sdma (euphony), and santdna (relations 
of letters). 

Evolution ol Alphabets. Thus Rigvedic education as its 
first step comprised the transmission of the sacred texts by the 
teacher to his pupil by means of regulated recitation and pre- 
scribed pronunciation which the pupil had to listen to as 3 ruti 
and commit to memory. Sayana [Introduction to Rigveda 
Commentary] quotes the saying that " the text of the Veda is 
to be learnt by the method of learning it from the lips of the 
teacher and not from a MS. (Adhyanavidhi^cha likhitapatha- 
divyaviitya adhyayanasariiskritatvam svadhyayasya gamayati).” 
Because this education was thus primarily a matter of hearing 
and memorizing by repetition of its texts in the manner of the 
croaking of frogs, it has been assumed that there was not evolved 
at that time the art of writing as an aid to memory and education, 
nor the conception of letters or alphabets as the basis of writing. 
It has been believed that $ruii or Veda should appeal to the 
ear and not to the eye, and was not to be reduced to writing. 
No doubt, the tradition of Vedic learning was to impart it to 
the ear as a secret doctrine to be contemplated and realized, 
and not to make it a visible object available to all, irrespective 
of their fitness, and this tradition has been continuing through 
the ages, even up to the time of Kumarila Bhatta (of about 
eighth century a.d.) who has described the writing of Veda as 
sacrilege. The Mahdbhdrata condemns to hell those who write 
the Veda {Veddndm lekhakdK^. Kumarila [Tantra Vdrttika, i, 3, 
p. 86] states : “ That knowledge of the truth is worthless which 
has been acquired from the Veda, if the Veda has not been rightly 
comprehended or if it has been learnt from writing." But even 
if such learning had passed from ear to ear directly under a 
system of oral tradition and banned the individual method of its 
transnoission through writing, it does not follow that a knowledge 
of writing or alphabets for use even for secular purposes was not 
then achieved. Several passages of the Rigveda have been 



already cited, showing definite reference to Akshara as the root ^ 
of the Rigveda as explained by Sayana (who considers this verse 
as intended to be akshara-praiamsd, stressing the importance 
of the letter to learning) ; or i, 164, 41 which refers to the 
expansion of speech in a thousand (i.e. innumerable) letters 
(sahasrakshara). Again, the verses vi, 53, 5-8 use metaphors 
which can only be suggested by the practice of writing then in 
vogue. In the first two, there is mentioned ein instnunent of 
writing called ard which Sayana explains as a fine-pointed 
iron-tipped pencil or stylo {sukshmalohdgro daifdah) with which 
hard hearts may be pierced (paritrindhi = parividhya). In 
the third verse, the god is asked to “ write ” (drikha = dlikha) 
on such hard hearts, while in the fourth, the instrument of such 
“ writing ” is called again drd or goad. Again, the verse x, 13, 3 
refers to the utterance of Akshara (known as Omkdra or Pranava) 
required in the performance of sacrifice, while x, 71, 4 refers 
to both the methods of learning, by seeing and hearing (Uta tvah 
pa^yanna dadar^a vacharh uta tvah ^rinvanna srinoti enam). 
Again, a Yajus is defined to be “ that in which the number of 
letters is not fixed '' by any metre (aniyata-aksharavasano 
yajuh). The evolution of letters, alphabets, and writing may, 
therefore, be assumed as an aid to learning for an age which 
had paid so much attention to the purity and rules of pronuncia- 
tion of the texts taught. 

Efficacy of Recitation. Thus the first step in Rigvedic 
education was correct recitation of the texts taught. Jaimini 
in his Purva-Mimdfhsd Sutra [i, 2, 32], has the dictum Vdkyani- 
yamdt which means that the words of Mantras must be recited 
in the prescribed manner to achieve their full fruit. Mere 
recitation of the texts in the order prescribed has a spiritual 
efficacy of its own (Niyatapathakramasaphalyaya uchh^ana- 
meva mantraprayojanam). Thus the recitation of Mantras has 
a mystical use by itself. A spiritual benefit flows from the 
observance of the strict order of words of the text recited. This 
tradition of the independent efficacy of the mere word and correct 
recitation of the Vedic text has found expression in the extreme 
position stated in a later text [Pdnini-iikshd, v, 52] to the 
effect that the slightest lapse in uttering a letter or a word of the 
Vedic mantra on the part of a teacher will spell utter ruin and 

^ According to Max Muller [Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 507], akshara 
which is used for letter and syllable means what is indestructible, radical, or 
an element.*' 



disaster to him [Mantro h!na^ svarato varnato va mithyapra3rakto 
na tamarthamaha | sa va|;vajro yajamanarii hinasti yathendra- 
^tni^ svaratoparadhat]. But Jaimini does not deny that 
Mantras do convey their meaning with reference to the particular 
sacrifice with which they are connected and states that this 
fimction of a Mantra, though a non-spiritual one, should not be 
left out of account (Sayana’s Introduction to Rigveda]. 

In this connection Jaimini has an interesting Sutra [i, 2, 48], 
Vidydvachana-Sathyogdt, on which he instances the case of a 
girl Purtiikd husking in a room where a student was reciting the 
words of the Veda without reference to their meaning. Here 
was thus the operation of husking going on to the accompaniment 
of the relevant Mantra being recited by a Vedic pupil without 
any connection between the two operations (Veda-Vidyagrahana 
-kale arthasya yadavachanaih tadyajnasamyogadupapadyate | 
Na hi Purnikaya avaghato yajnasamyuktah | Napi manavako 
yajnamanutishthati) . 

Understanding Texts more important than their Recitation. 

Rigvedic Education, however, was not confined to mere learning 
by rote the sacred texts. The contemplation and comprehension 
of their meaning was considered as more important and vital 
to education than their mere mechanical recitation and correct 
pronunciation. The Rigveda has several significant passages 
condemning and holding up to ridicule those whose knowledge 
is confined only to the repetition of its words without insight into 
their inner meaning, and emphasizing the supreme need of 
realizing that meaning by constant and concentrated con- 

VII, 103, I refers to a period of such contemplation in 
silence, during which Brahmanas achieve enlightenment. Then 
they burst out into speech (vachaih avadishuh) like frogs 
quickened into activity by the clouds (parjanya) after a year’s 
slumber. It is this enlightenment which fits the pupils (called 
Brdhmaifd vratacharinah explained by Yaska in his Nirukta, ix, 6 
as abruvdtidh, i.e. maintaining the vow of silence) for the 
task of expounding the sacred texts. 

Again : " I ask : what is the source of Vdk, Speech ? 
Speech or Word is God (Brahmayaih Vachalj). That Word I 
cannot comprehend so long as I am bound by the senses and 
objectivity (ninyah satmaddho manasa charami). It is the dawn 
of Rita (Supreme Knowledge) which alone leads to the 
comprehension of Vdk ” [I, 164, 37]. 



" He who does not realize the ultimate Truth behind the 
Rik and Akshara (word and letter) in which rest all gods — ^what 
win he do by merely reciting, and repeating the Riks ? ” The 
Rigveda is apard (inferior) vidyd to one who does not go behind 
its words to their inner meaning (Sayana) [i, 164, 35, 37, 38]. 
“ (Among pupils studying together) there may be one who 
merely sees the Word but does not see its meaning. Another 
hears It, but does not hear It fully. [He only utters the sound 
without understanding its sense {dhvanimdtramevochchdrayati)]. 
But to a worthy pupil It fully unfolds Itself like the devoted 
wife appearing in her best dress before her husband (who can 
‘ see ’ and ‘ hear ’ her fully) ” [x, 71, 4 as interpreted by Yaska 
in his Nirukta, i, 19, and Durgacharya]. 

" He who is established (sthira) and has drunk in supreme 
knowledge (pitam = pitartham) is counted as indispensable in 
the assemblies of the learned seeking such knowledge [sakhye = 
vidushaih saihsadi, the assembly of those associated with know- 
ledge (Sayana)]. But he [who merely recites the Word without 
a knowledge of Its hidden meaning (kevalapathakah)] wanders 
about with a barren cow (adhenva), not 3delding the milk of 
desires [nasmai kaman dugdhe vagdohyan (Yaska)], with the 
mere symbol (mayaya) of speech [vakpratirupaya (Yaska)], 
having only grasped its sound (^uiruvan) without its sense, 
like the tree not bearing any fruit or flower (Vacham . . . aphalama- 
pushpam) [ib. 5]. Sayana (in his Introduction to Rigveda 
Commentary) takes the pushpa (flower) of this passage to mean 
knowledge of Dharma as expounded in the purva-kdnia of 
Rigveda and phalam (fruit) as knowledge of Parabrahma 
expounded in its uUara-kdnda, and further explains that, as 
fruit brings us satisfaction, knowledge of Brahma fulfils all 
our desires. He also explains the other simile to mean that the 
Veda or Vdk, as a cow, does not 3deld its milk of Dharma and 
Brahma-jnana, Religion and Supreme Knowledge, to one who is 
given only to recitation of its texts (pathamatraparam 

“ Those who are devoid of the meaning of the sacred word 
(arvak) and of wisdom (aprajajnayah) are fit only, by their 
cultivation of the imperfect popular speech {Vacham abhipodya 
papaya = Vacham laukikim prdpya tayd papaya pdpahdyiiyyd 
vdchd), to turn the plough or the loom (as peasants or weavers) 

[ib. 9]. 

Yaska [Nirukta, i, 18] further condenms the mere reciter 



of the Veda who does not attend to its meaning by quoting the 
following two passages as translated below from Samhitopanishad 
Brdhmafui : 

" He is only the bearer of a burden, the blockhead {sthdnu- 
rayath bhdrahdrah), who having studied the Veda does not under- 
stand its meaning (like an ass, sthdnu, carrying a load of 
sandal- wood whose weight it feels without enjoying its fragrance). 

‘‘ Learning without understanding is called cramming 
(nigadenaiva ^abdyate) ; like dry wood on ashes, which can 
never blaze.'* 

Say ana [ib.] explains this passage to mean that the words 
of the Veda which are received from the teacher without their 
meaning, and are repeatedly recited as texts, do not kindle, 
and reveal their inner essence " (yad vedavakyamacharyat 
grihitaih arthajnanarahitam patharupenaiva punah puna- 
ruchcharyate tat kadachidapi na jvalati svarthaih na 

Sayana cites an opinion that the mere reciter of Vedic 
Text (kevalapathaka) only does not lose his caste and does not 
count as a Vratya. But he is incapable of performing any 
sacrifice or winning its fruit such as attainment of heaven. 

Other passages throw further light on the aims and methods 
of education in those days. These are mostly to be found in 
Sukta 71 of Mandala X. 

Evolution of Vedic Sanskrit out of Secular and Spoken 
Tongue : Work of Learned Assemblies (* Brfihmana-Saiiighas ’). 

X, 71, I is itself addressed to the deity named Parabrahma- 
jnana. The Brihaddevatd states that ** by this hymn Rishi 
Brihaspati invokes God as Supreme Knowledge and Blazing 
Radiance (sujyotih) whom one can attain only through yoga 
This hymn points out that the first step in education is the 
cultivation of popular speech, the spoken tongue or vernacular, 
by which individual objects are named (namadheyam dadhanah). 
But this language which deals with the objective cannot give 
expression to what is beyond the objective, th^ supreme 
{ireshtham) and perfect {aripram) knowledge hidden in the 
depths of the heart {nihitafk guhdy dm). That knowledge comes to 
light by the grace of Sarasvati through Vedic learning (premna 

This passage is also construed to mean that Vedic Sanskrit 
has grown out of the spoken tongue of the times as its root. 
This point is discussed by Yaska [Nirukta, i, 16]. Y^ka quotes 


the objection of Kautsa that the Vedas have no meaning (anar- 
thaka hi mantrah) and answers it by pointing out that the 
Vedas have meaning because their words are identical with those 
of the spoken language (arthavantah iahdasdmdnydt : samdna 
eva hi iabdo loke mantreshu cha, “ identical are the words of both 
spoken tongue and the Vedas, e.g. the word go which occurs in 
both Words which have meaning in the bhdshd (spoken 
language) must have meaning when used in the Veda. Yaska 
[xi, 29] also cites Rigveda, viii, 100, ii, which refers to Vdk 
as articulate and understandable in man and inarticulate in 
the lower creatures** [Tarn vacharh vi^varupah pa^avo vadanti — 
vyaktavacha^cha (manushyadayah) avyaktavacha^cha (gava- 
dayah) (Yaska and Durga*s Comment)]. 

Another passage, x, 71, 2, indicates the method of evolution 
of Vedic Sanskrit out of the spoken tongue. The learned (dhirah) 
meet in their Assemblies where through their discussions language 
is refined into the language of the Veda, like groats through 
a sieve (saktumiva tita una punanto). As fellow-seekers of 
Truth they are bound by a community of ideas (sakhayah 
sakhyani janate) to which they give expression in that language, 
the source of the highest good and knowledge (eshaih vachi 
bhadra lakshmih nihita). Thus this verse indicates that Vedic 
Sanskrit was hammered into shape out of spoken Sanskrit of the 
times at learned Assemblies where it was the vehicle of philo- 
sophical discussions. It may also be inferred that the Rishis 
used to gather in these Assemblies to disclose and discuss the 
hymns they had themselves individually attained as the result 
of their tapas and meditation. And this hymn, according to 
Say ana, thus refers to what may be called the Conference method, 
the method of discussion, for the development of this Vedic 
Language and Knowledge (Vidyat-Saihghe vachamakrata). 

The next hymn, x, 71, 3, makes the interesting addition 
that these learned Assemblies were held at the sacrifices. These 
sacrifices are therefore described as opening up the way which 
the wise (dhirah = viditarthah) tread for finding speech ** 
[yajnena vachah padaviyam ( = margaih) ayan]. The Rishis 
were the repository of such speech and they revealed it at such 
sacrificial gatherings of the learned. Their words thus acquiree^ 
were then collected and spread far and wide. The system adum- 
brated here is that at the Yajna- Assembly each Rishi brought 
forward his individual contributions to Speech and then th||e 
were collected and codified. Then this standardized speech was 



suitable for being imparted to pupils and was thus propagated 
through the whole covmtry. The different processes in this 
method of learning and evolution of Vedic Sanskrit are indicated 
by the words ayan, avindan, dbhritya, and adadhuh, i.e. “ attain- 
ment, mastery, collection, and propagation ” of the words 
which were originally confined to the Rishis and brought to 
light by them at the learned assemblies accompan3dng the 
sacrifices. The manner of learning and teaching this Vedic 
Sanskrit is also indicated here. It was to be learnt in the form 
of metres. “ Seven metres embraced Vedic speech and made it 
articuj|ite, like warbling birds flocking to the speechless tree.” 
I, 164, 24 even defines Arka or Mantra as being in the form of 
Chhanda, and Sdma as being made of such Arka. The Vedic 
hymns being thus revealed in the form of metres, it was easier 
to commit them to memory in that form than if they were in 
the form of prose. A metre can be more easily memorized than 
mere individual words in prose. 

The next verse, x, 71, 6, repeats the relationship of Vedic 
to spoken or secular speech. Without Vedic speech and know- 
ledge, all speech is useless (alakam) and does not lead to any 
good in life. The student of the Veda is extolled as its friend 
(sachi) who conserves it by teaching it, and the Veda as the 
friend {sakhd) of man whom it benefits by awakening his insight 
into truth. The person forsaking these [titydja) misses the way of 
performing any religious ceremonies or good deeds {nahi praveda 
sukritasya panthdm). Not knowing Vak or Vedic speech, “ what 
he hears, he hears amiss ; he cannot ascertain the path of 

The verse x, 71, 8 again mentions the learned Assemblies 
(Brdhmana-Samghas, as Sayana calls them) where Brahmanas 
united in fellowship in Vedic learning {sakhdyah) come together 
{samyajante) for the purpose of developing further the truths 
they had realized in their hearts (hridd tashteshu) or reached by 
their minds {manaso javeshu). They exclude from such assemblies 
the ignorant who cannot follow their discussions, so that they 
may have full freedom to wander about unhampered in the 
realm of speculation (vicharanti) and work out their own con- 
clusions (yathakamaih vedartheshu vini^chayartham pravar- 

The next verse condemns those who are not fit to move 
with the Brahmanas (brahmanaih saha na charanti) as being 
fit only for the plough or the loom, as already stated. 


The superiority of Vedic knowledge to all other knowledge 
is very well expounded by Sayana (in his Introduction to Rigveda 
Commentary). ** The Veda expounds the truth about gods, 
dharma, and Para-brahma. He who does not recite the Veda 
but only utters secular speech full of slander, falsehood, and 
strife cannot have access to true knowledge (Sakaladevatanaifa 
Dharmasya Parabrahmatattvasya cha pratipadakaifa Vedaih 
anuchcharya para-ninda-anrita-kalahadi-heturh laukikirh vartain 
sarvatra uchcharayatah spashta eva vachi bhagyabhavah)."' 
Again : Let not a man study too many words, for that is waste 
of words (vacho viglapanarh hi tat). Such a person may listen to 
poems and plays which lead to no good because they do not 
know of the right path (yadyapyasau kavya-natakarh i^rinoti 
tathapi nirarthakameva tachckhravanam)/' He also quotes the 
verse ; " The dvija who, without studying the Veda, applies 
his labour otherwise degrades himself to the status of a §udra 
even in this life with his posterity."' Sayana quotes Purushd- 
rthdnuidsana which points out that the subject-matter of the 
Veda is twofold : (i) Dharma and ( 2 ) Brahma, 

Summary : Highest Knowledge attained by * Tapas ’ and 
revealed in Veda. To sum up : the system of education adum- 
brated in the Rigveda thus concerns only the acquisition of the 
highest knowledge and saving wisdom and not of ordinary 
secular knowledge or intermediate truths for purposes of worldly 
life. The method of this learning is determined by its aims and 
contents. The method of attaining the knowledge of the 
Absolute, '' Parabrahma-jnana," is not the method of acquiring 
a knowledge of the objective sciences, arts, and crafts. It is the 
method of realization of the highest and ultimate truths called 
Rita and Satya by inhibition of the senses and the objective, 
the method of meditation (dhydna ; cf . dhlrdh) sustained by a life 
of austerities, tapas or yoga. In a Rigvedic passage, Tapas is 
described in a literal sense as ** the most radiant effulgence coming 
from the highest knowledge " (tapah uttamam mahah), where 
the worshipper prays for the highest gift, the light of supreme 
knowledge or Tapas (the opposite of Tamas or ignorance). 
The vehicle, the language, of this learning, too, is different. 
The Rigveda describes the popular speech, the spoken tongue, 
as ‘'imperfect" papaya vdchd”) and " untrue" [alaka), because 
it cannot serve as the vehicle of Truth or supreme knowledge. 
It is the language of the field and factory, a fragment of Vak 
or Brahma [Brahmdyam Vdchah), which cannot express the truths 



hidden in the depths of the soul {nihiUm guhdydm). These 
highest and ultimate truths are revealed by a different language, 
the language of the Vedic Mantras evolved out of the popular 
speech by means of tapas and yoga by learned men called Vipras, 
Vedhasas, or Kavis, Rishis, Mamshis, and Munis who live in 
a state of trance {unmaditdh) and in the subtle body {vdtdn d 
tasthimd) and are worshipped of the gods themselves \deveshita). 
We are further told that these learned men and seers developed 
Vedic knowledge and speech by their discussions at Assemblies 
or Conferences meeting on occasions of Sacrifices where this 
knowledge and speech were " attained, mastered, collected, and 
distributed It was these Academies and learned Assemblies 
which were thus the agencies for the formulation and propagation 
of Vedic learning. The members of these bodies are described 
as Sakhds, i.e. those who come together by the bond of fellowship 
in learning, and are fellow-seekers after Truth. 

Mastery ol Vedic Texts and their Meaning. When Vedic 
learning was thus brought to light and fixed in a comprehensible 
form by its great Masters, the creative geniuses of the Rishis, 
the need arose, and suitable methods were evolved, for conserving 
and teaching that learning. The first method naturally was that 
of committing to memory the texts of that learning as they were 
recited by the teacher. There was a method by which the teacher 
recited the texts. He recited them in the form of Metres, pro- 
nouncing every letter, syllable, and word according to 
standardized rules regulating accents and stresses and giving 
scope to the vibrations of every sound so as to call up its inner 
sense. The young pupils had thus to repeat the letters, syllables, 
and words of the text, as they fell from the lips of their teachers, 
with mechanical precision and monotony, like a body of 
“ croaking frogs.” 

But the mastery of texts was only the first step of learning. 
The more important step was the mastery of their meaning. 
As Sayana puts it by quoting the dictum ‘‘ Drishtau prapti- 
saihskarau ”, the mastery of texts, akshara-prdpti, is followed 
by artha-hodha, perception of their meaning [Introduction to 
^gveda Commentary]. This mastery of meaning was a difficult 
and prolonged process, the result of severe thinking and concen- 
tration. Pupils had to undergo a proper discipline for it and are 
described as being vratachdrinah, practising vows. Yaska, as 
we have seen, interprets this vrata or vow as a vow of silence 
and meditation by which the pupil has to realize the truths 



imparted to him through the texts. The period of this silent 
meditation is likened to the season of slumber into which frogs 
fall till they are quickened into activity by the rains. The pupils 
also, after achieving enlightenment, burst into activity in dis- 
courses {vdcham avddishuh) as teachers. Yaska describes this 
process of learning by stating that the l^shis by their upadeia 
or teaching lead their pupils to become Srutarshis. They become 
“ seers ” of Truth after " hearing ” it from the lips of their teacher. 

The ideal of this learning was thus the re^ization of Truth, 
and not the mere mastery or recitation of its texts. Many passages 
are cited above from the Rigveda on this point. One of these, a 
most typical one [i, 164, 39], may be cited again for its profound 
and emphatic exhortation : • “ Wcho akshare parame vyoman 
yasmin deva adhi viSve nisheduh | yastanna veda kim richa 
karishyati ” ; on which Sayana forcefully comments : “ vedana- 
sadhanena Vedena vedyamaviditva kim sadhayati iti.” The Veda 
is useless learning to him who only recites its Rik without compre- 
hending its meaning. The Veda is apard vidyd, worthless learning, 
to him who does not achieve the knowledge of the Paramdtman, the 
Reality behind its Riks and Aksharas, its verses and letters ! 
To such an ignoramus, even the words of the Veda, so big with 
meaning, are “ barren of any fruit or flower ” {vdcham aphald- 
mapushpdm) ! The mere crammer of Vedic texts (the Kevala- 
pdthaka as Yaska calls him), is condemned as arvdk by the 

‘ Vratachftrl.’ We thus get in the Rigveda glimpses of an 
educational system which comprised the small domestic school 
run by a teacher who admitted to his instruction resident pupils. 
These had to live with him under prescribed disciplines or vows 
as vratachdrls. An actual reference to a Brahmachari and 
Upanayana ceremony is found in Rigveda,* x, 109, 5 and also 
iii, 8, 4 and 5. In the primary stage, the school would be marked 
by noisy recitation and repetition of texts by pupils in the 
manner of frogs lustily croaking after rain. In the second stage, 
the collective work of the pupils in a class ceased, and their 
individual work commenced. Each had to achieve for himself 
by his individual effort, by his own tapas and yoga, by his silent 
and solitary meditation, the truth of the texts which had been 
taught to the class in common. Very soon differences manifested 
themselves among these sakhds or class-fellows in regard to their 
mental powers, like tanks of varying depths [x, 71, 7]. The 
more unfit were weeded out, sent back to the plough or the loom 



[x, 71, 9]. They were not meant for higher learning and spiritual 
Ufe. The Rigveda tells of a family where the son was pursuing 
religious learning (as a kdru, “ maker of hymns '*), the father a 
practising physician {Jbhishak), and the mother a grinder of com 
{updla-prakshint) [ix, 112, 3], and of differences of mental 
aptitudes and occupations among men [nd ndnam dhiyo vratdni 
jandndm) such as those of the carpenter {takshd), physician 
iphishak), or learned man {brahmd = brdhmana) [ib. i]. 

‘ Saiiighas.’ The highest stage of education is represented 
in what are called the Brdhmana-Samghas, the Assemblies or 
Academies where the more successful students flocked together, 
as we have seen, for the advancement of knowledge by discussing 
their respective contributions to it. Thus the conference method 
for the promotion and diffusion of learning, the method of 
discussion in seminars and academies, was first evolved in India, 
as evidenced by the Rigveda. 

T&ska on Vedic Education. Yaska in his Nirukta [ii, 3, 4] 
throws further light on the methods of this Vedic education. 
He states that the teacher ‘‘ must avoid teaching {na nirvruydt) 
isolated syllables {ekd-paddni) and should not also teach pupils 
ignorant of grammar {avaiydkarandya) nor any one who is not 
a regular pupil living with his teacher [na anupasanndya). 
He should teach only such a regular pupil as well as one who is 
specially qualified *by his intelligence [medhdvt) or asceticism 
[tapasvi] or thirst for knowledge This passage shows that 
Grammar as a subject was evolved as early as the Veda itself, 
when a knowledge of Grammar was necessary for understanding 
the text (padas) of the Veda. It also shows that the essential 
of Vedic education was the system of pupils living with their 
teacher under formal studentship or brahmacharya. 

Yaska further cites an old text which describes the Vedic 
educational system thus : — 

Verily, the goddess of Learning [Vidyd) approached Brah- 
mana, saying : ' Protect me : I am thy tre^ure. Do not expound 
Me to the following unworthy persons, — him who is jealous 
(asuyaka), who is wanting in simplicity and straightforwardness 
(anfiju), or who is devoid of self-control (ayata). Then alone shall 
I be potent.' 

“ * One should honour him as a father and mother and should 
never bear iU-will towards the teacher who pierces the ears 
with (the needle of) Truth without causing pain but giving the 
boon of immortality by knowledge. 


' Like teachers who do not feed (but send away) unworthy 
pupils who do not honour them, though possessed of the highest 
learning {viprdh = medhavinah grihltavidya^i), by their word, 
thought, and deed, knowledge also will shun them. 

' In order to protect thy treasure, O Brahmana ! expound 
Me to him alone whom thou knowest to be pure [iuchi), devoid 
of passion {apramatta), possessed of intelligence, and established 
in brahmacharya, the disciphne of religious studentship {brah- 
macharyopapanna).* " 

These verses thus point to the following features of the 
educational system, viz. (i) the home of the teacher as the 
school where the pupil had to live with him and was fed by 
him ; (2) the admission of a pupil on the ground of his moral 
fitness ; (3) the discipline of brdhmacharya imposed upon the 
pupil ; (4) the duty of the pupil to honour the teacher like his 
father or mother by word, thought, and deed ; and (5) the 
expulsion of a pupil who does not observe this duty. 

Achievements of Rigvedic Education : (a) In Language. We 
may now comment upon the language and literature that were 
developed in these Rigvedic Schools as the result of their system 
of education. The language of the Rigvedic hymns represents 
the earliest stage of a literary language of which the latest stage 
is classical Sanskrit as stereotyped and standardized in the 
epoch-making work, the grammar of PaniniVho had flourished 
earlier than 500 B.c. But Rigvedic Sanskrit does not show itself 
to be a language that is growing. Its entire grammatical 
mechanism is perfected ; every tense, mood, every number and 
person of the verb, is fixed, and all the terminations of the 
cases are firmly established, pointing to the later and more 
advanced inflectional stage in the life-history of a language. 
The Rigvedic Sanskrit exhibits a much greater variety of forms 
than Classical Sanskrit, more numerous case-forms in both 
nominal and pronominal inflexion, more participles and gerunds, 
greater evolution of verbal forms as illustrated in the frequent 
use of the subjunctive, and the infinitive, which alone has twelve 
forms, of which only one has survived in Classical Sanskrit, and, 
lastly, a greater elaboration in respect of accent. The Rigvedic 
accent, like ancient Greek, is of the nature of music, depending 
upon the pitch of the voice, unlike the stress accent of later 
Sanskrit, which depends on quantity. Thus Rigvedic Sanskrit is of 
great importance to Comparative Philology. Indeed, as Bunsen 
truly remarks, ''even these earliest specimens of Vedic poetry 



belong to the modem history of the human race/' Macdonell also 
states : " Considering their great antiquity, the hymns are com- 
posed with a remarkable degree of metrical skill and command of 
language." He also points out that the Rigveda contains '' much 
genuine poetry ", " much beautiful and noble imagery ", shows 
a " remarkably high average of literary merit ", and considers 
that " its most poetical hymns, those addressed to Ushas, are 
equal, if not superior, in beauty to the religious lyrics of any 
other literature." 

(b) In Thought. It will be out of place in this work to 
deal with the level of philosophical thought and religious attain- 
ments registered in the Rigveda. It may suffice only to cite a 
few references in this connection. The Rigveda ^ presents the 
worship of thirty-three gods divided into three groups of eleven 
each and assigned to the three planes of the Universe, the celestial 
{dyuloka), the intermediate {antariksha) , and the terrestrial 
{bhurloka). The celestial gods are Dyaus, Varuna, Mitra, Surya, 
Savitri, Pushan, the two Alvins, and the goddesses Ushas and 
Ratri. The gods of the intermediary sphere are Indra, Apaih 
napat (the lightning form of Agni which lurks in the cloud), 
Rudra, the Maruts, Vayu, Parjanya, and Apas. The terrestrial 
deities are Prithivi, Agni, and Soma. 

Each of these three planes or spheres of existence has a 
presiding deity, Savita (or Surya) for the celestial, Indra or 
Vayu for the intermediate, and Agni for the terrestrial sphere. 
The thirty-three gods are mentioned in the §atapatha Brdhmana 
[iv, 5, 7, 2] as comprising 8 Vasus, ii Rudras, 12 Adityas, together 
with Dyau and Prithivi, The eight Vasus are Dhava, Dhruva, 
Soma, Apa, Anila, Anala, Pratyusha, and Prabhasa. The twelve 
Adityas are Dhatri, Mitra, Aryaman, Rudra, Varuna, Surya, 
Bhaga, Vivasvat, Pushan, Savitri, Tvashtri, and Vishnu. The 
eleven Rudras are thus named in the Mahdhhdrata [i, 121] : 
Mrigavyadha, Sarpa, Nirriti, Ajaikapada, Ahirbudhnya, Pinakin, 
Dahana, I^vara, Kapalin, Sthanu, and Bhaga. In Rigveda, 
hi, 9, 9, these thirty-three gods are multiplied into 3,339 gods by 
way of enumeration of the glorife of the original thirty-three, as 
explained by Sayana. But the fundamental religious conception 
in the Rigveda is that of the One emerging as Three, Thirty- 
three, and in any number to denote the innumerable aspects of the 
Supreme Being. Each of these gods is worshipped as the Highest 

1 Rv.. i, 34, 11 ; 45, 2; 139, 11 hi, 6, 9 ; viii, 28, 1 ; 30, 2 • 35, 3 ; ix, 

92. 4. 



God, the creator and sustainer of the Universe by turns. Each 
god is an Aspect of the One God. That is why Yaska in his 
Nirukta emphatically points out that ' the three chief deities 
aforesaid, viz. Agni of PrithivI, Vayu or Indra of Aniariksha, 
and Surya of Dyu have each many names suggested by their 
greatness or diversity of functions [karma-prithaktvdd) , just as 
the names of Hotri, Adhvaryu, Brahma] and Udgdtri are applied 
to one and the same person (according to the particular offices 
which he happens to be fulfilling) ' [vii, 5]. He also states [vii, 4] : 
'' Owing to the greatness of the Deity, the one Soul is celebrated 
as if It were many. The different gods are separate members of 
the one Soul. . . Soul is a god's essence (Mahabhagyad devatayah 
ekah atma bahudha stuyate | Ekasya Atmanah anye devah 
pratyahgani bhavanti. . . Atma sarvaih devasya)." 

Thus these different deities are worshipped as manifestations 
of the Supreme Deity in the different aspects and forces of 
Creation and Nature, aiding in the conception of the Cosmic 
Power and Order which rule and sustain the Universe, Viiva. 
The hymns addressed to these various deities should not make 
one miss the fundamental note running through the entire 
Rigveda, uttering forth the profound conception of the One in the 
Many. Sayana also explains in his Introduction to the Rigveda 
already cited that although Indra and other gods are invoked 
in many Vedic texts, it is the supreme God who is invoked in 
the form of Indra and other gods (Yadyapindradayastatra 
tatra huyante tathapi Parame^varasyalvendradirupenavas- 
thanadavirodhah). The Vajasaneyins have the text : * Some 
say. Worship This or worship That ; but the whole Creation is 
His, in whom all the gods are comprehended.' " We may also cite 
the Brihad’Devatd, i, 70-4 : “ The Seers in their Mantras say 
that the Devatas have a common source ; they are called by 
different names according to the spheres in which they are 
established. . . Because of the magnitude of the Oversoul, a 
diversity of names is given . . . according to the distribution of 
their spheres." 

We shall now assemble some conspicuous texts which 
affirm the identity of the One and the Many. 

Indeed, in one particular hymn, the Deity it invokes is 
" directly described as Parabrahma-Jndna, the knowledge of the 
Absolute [x, 71, I, already cited]. Sukta 164 of Man^ala I 
contains many hymns giving striking expressions to the con- 
ception of the Absolute. Hymn 46 clearly states that the Vipras 



(sages) call the One that is by many names such as India, Mitra, 
Vanina, Agni, Yama, or Matari^vana (Ekaih Sat Viprah bahudha 
vadanti). H3nnn 4 refers to Atmd, the Absolute, as anasthd, 
formless, manifesting Itself in creation {jdyamdnam) by taking 
form {asthi) and to the unfathomable mystery of creation (Kah 
dadarSa prathamam jayamanam) by which Spirit {Atmd) trans- 
forms Itself into Matter {hhumi), Life {asuh = prdnah) and 
Blood {asrik = ionitam). Where is the teacher to explain this 
mystery or the pupil to receive his teaching (Kah vidvariisam 
upagat prashturh etat) ? This mystery is not known even to the 
gods (devanaih ena nihita padani) [ib. 5]. The next verse states : 
“I, who am ignorant, shall ask the wise {Kavi) to explain the 
mystery of the One {Ekam) who always is, without birth {Aja == 
gamanailla-janma-rahita).** Another verse refers to the eternally 
revolving wheel of Time (chakram ajararh vi vavrita) [ib. 14]. 
Another asks : Whence has sprung the illumined mysterious 
Mind (devammanahkutahadhiprajdtam) [18] ? Verse 20 describes 
the Jivdtmd and Paramdtmd, the soul in the individual, and the 
Oversoul, as two birds of the same feather (suparna sayuja 
^akhaya) flocking together on the same tree, one of which eats its 
sweet fruits but the other only looks on (tayoh anyah pippalarh 
svadu atti ana^nan anyah abhi chaka^Iti) ! Verse 30 refers to 
immortal soul (amartyah jivah) surviving its perishable body 
(mntasya). Verse 34 inquires after the limits of the Earth and 
the centre of the universe and the supreme source of Speech 
(Vachah paramarh vyoma). The next verse states that Brahma 
is the supreme source of speech (Brahmayaih Vachah paramarh 
vyoma). The next verse points out that one does not realize 
his oneness with creation as he wanders about in attachment 
to objects of sense (saihnaddhah ninyah manasa charami). 
When supreme knowledge {Rita) dawns on him, then alone does 
he realize the meaning of Vdk, the ultimate Word or Atman. 
Verse 38 states how the Mortal and the Immortal springing from 
the same ultimate source (amartyah martyena sayonih) are 
linked together while people recognize one and not the other. 
Difficult of realization is the knowledge of the Atman, as Sayana 
remarks. The culminating conception of the Absolute is reached 
in Verse 39 already cited where it is boldly stated that the Veda 
itself will avail little to one who does not know its subject, the 
Supreme Being, in Whom rest the whole creation and the gods, 
but he who knows Him becomes merged in Him. In i, 22, 20 
this Supreme Being is called Vishnu who pervades the universe, 



Whose omnipresence is constantly perceived by tbe^ 5 «m or 
Yogis, as the unobstructed expanse of the sky is seen by the eyes 
opened in all directions (diviva chakshuratatam). I, 24, i 
introduces Him as Aditi in the sense of universal Nature or the 
whole Earth {sakala^jagat or akhanda-nlyd prithivi, as explained 
by Sayana). In i, 89, 10 this Aditi is described as manifesting 
Himself in all that is created {jdtah), in heaven and sky, father, 
mother, offspring, all the gods, all varieties of being, as the supreme 
creative principle (janitvam).^ In i, 90, 6-8 He is conceived of as 
the Supreme Good, Madhu, who brings bliss through tl^ blowing 
wind, the flowing rivers, the medicinal plants, night and day, 
the earth and its habitations, sky, forests, sun, and cattle. In 
ii, 26, 3 Brahmanaspati is described as the parent of the gods. 
In iii, 55, II the different gods are described as springing from 
a common source (Hiranyagarbha). Ill, 62, 10, conveys the famous 
Gayatrl Mantram which * states : '' We meditate [dhimahi) 

on the Supreme {Varenya) Essence {Bharga) of the One who, 
self-illumined {deva), illumines all, who recreates all, from Whom 
all proceed, to Whom all return {Savitd), Who inspires all our 
thoughts and deeds {dhiyo yo nah prachodaydt)/' III, 54, 8 
contains the significant expression Viivam ekam, pointing to 
the noble conception of the integral multiplicity IV, 26 
opens with a description of the One as Manu (sarvasya Mantd 
Prajapati, * Prajapati, Lord of created beings, who moves the minds 
of all '), as Surya, i.e. One who inspires all as their ultimate source 
(sarvasya prerakah savitd) ; as Vipra (Sage) and Rishi (Seer) ; 
Whom one sees ev^jy where ; the Giver of Space (hhumi), of Rain 
(vrishti), of sounding waters (vdvaidndh apah) ; Whose Purpose 
the gods follow. IV, 40, 5 is the famous Hamsavatl Rik which 
describes the One as all-pervading (Hathsah from harhti = gati), 
Who penetrates into the mind of man, and the external universe 
like the Sun, both the subjective and the objective worlds ; 
who fills the realm above (antariksha) as Vasu or Vdyu, Wind 
(sarvasya vasayita Vasuh Vayuh) ; Who is worshipped as Agni at 

^ Max Muller thus comments on this hymn : “ Aditi, an ancient god or 

goddess, is in reality the earliest name invented to express the Infinite ; not 
the Infinite as the result of a long process of abstract reasoning, but the visible 
Infinite, visible by the naked eye, the endless expanse, beyond the earth, beyond 
the clouds, beyond the sky ** Translation, i, 230]. Yaska, in his Nirukta, 
describes Aditi as the jnother of gods [iv, 22]. Aditi is contrasted with Diti 
in Rigveda, v, 62, 8, where Sayana explains Aditi as representing the Earth 
as an invisible whole (akhatiianlyam bhumim) and Diti the separate creatures 
(khai^iitam prajddikam). His supreme position as deliverer from sin is indicated 
in several other passages [i, 162, 22 ; ii, 24, 14 ; iv, 12, 4 ; v, 82, 6 ; vii, 87, 7 ; 
93, 7 ; X, 12, 8]. 


every altar {Vedisat atithih sarvada pujyat Agnili) and dwells in 
every household (duronasat) (as fire for cooking food) (duronaih 
grihanama tatra pakadisadhanatvena sthitah laukikagnih) ; 
who dwells in Man {nri-sat) (in the form of his consciousness, 
nfishu chaitanya-riipet^a sidati iti nfi-sat) ; who dwells in the solar 
orb {Vara-sat, i.e. vare varapiye mandale sidatiti Adityah) ; 
who manifests Himself as Rita or Truth ; as Vdyu pervading the 
sky (vyoma-sat) ; who originates in water (auy'd) (in the forms of 
aquatic life), in rocks (adri-jd), in light-waves {go-jd goshu 
ra^mishu jatah), in Truth (Rita-jd) (as being visible to all) 
(Ritaih Satyarh sarvair dri^yatvena satya-jatah) and is himself 
Rita or Truth, free and all-pervading (Satyam avadhyam 
sarvadhishthanarh brahma-tatvam). The deity of iv, 42 declares : 
" I am Almighty {Kshatriya), Ruler of the Universe {viivdyah), 
Ruler of two worlds (Earth and Heaven), Whom the gods worship 
as well as men ! I am supreme Ruler, Varuna, to execute Whose 
purposes the gods acquire necessary powers ! I am limitless in 
width and depth {mahitvd urvl gahhire) ! I am possessed of 
supreme knowledge {vidvdn) ! I am the Creator {Tashtvd) who 
breathes life into all creatures (viiva bhuvanani tasmairayaih 
samprairayam) and sustains the Universe {rodasi dhdrayam) ! 
I am the author of all actions {aham td vihd chakaratn) whose 
power is invincible ! ” VI, 9 is a hymn in praise of the Supreme 
God called Vai^vanara, the Light of the Universe dispelling its 
darkness, whose appearance causes the rotation of Day and Night 
by recognized turn (vivartete vedyabhih) ; Who alone knows 
what happened before creation and emergence of Time and its 
sequence ; Who alone comprehends the warp and the woof in 
the fabric of creation {tantu and otu), i.e. the subtle and the gross 
in creation (purusha and prakriti), the Immortal (amfitasya 
gopd) manifesting Itself in mortal forms {avah charan) (the 
Paramatma appearing as Jivatma) till He (as Guru, by Vidyd) 
leads back mortals (as Sishyas, pupils) to Immortality, and 
Omniscience (paiyan). As Sayana explains : " He, manifesting 
Himself, manifests all ; His Light illumines all ” (Tameva 
bhatamanubhati sarvam Tasya bhasa sarvamidarh vibhati). 
‘ Vai^vanara is the first Hota, of Whose Sacrifice the Creation is the 
outcome. Man must worship Him (Ayam Hota prathamah 
paiyata, i.e. bhajata). Himself Immortal, He dwells in every 
mortal body as Jyoti, its soul (or Jdfhara, fire of hunger) {Idam 
Jyotih Amritam martyeshu). Himself Motionless (Dhruvah), All- 
pervading (Anishattah), and Inunortal {Amartyah), He assumes 


mortal body {tanu) and subjects Himself to birth (jajtU) and 
growth (vardhamanah). He, the Motionless {Dhruvam), yet 
swifter than Thought (manah javishtham), dwells in (nihitam) 
every moving (mortal) being (patayatsu antah) as the Jyoti or 
Brahma (or Chaitanya) to Whom, as showing the way to supreme 
knowledge (driiaye dar^anartham jnanena. hi sarvam janamti), 
all the senses, together with mind and consciousness (V'iive devah 
sarvani indriyani samanasah saketah), refer as to the ultimate 
Cause of Creation (Ekaih Kratum abhiviyanti sadhu samyak). 
His infinite attributes and forms my ears and eyes seek ! The 
light (of intelligence) that is in my heart {Idam Jyotih dhitath 
hfidaye yat) is seeking to see Him ! So also is my mind, that is 
attached to objects, seeking Him ! Little can the finite know the 
Infinite (Kimu nu manishye) ! ' VI, 47, 18 describes the Absolute 
(Paramatma) as Indra who by His power of Mdyd assumes 
different forms and manifests Himself in different bodies (Rupaih 
ruparii pratirupo babhuva. . . Indrah mayabhih pururupah 
iyate) ; the counter-form of every form, " the single form that is 
the form of many different things.” In vii, 59, 12 Rishi Vasishtha 
says : " We worship Tryarhbaka (the parent of the three deities, 
Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra, the god of gods, Mahadeva, as 
explained by Sayana), subtle and all-pervading like fragrance 
(sugandhim), the seed of .the universe (pushti-vardhanarii = 
jagat-bljam). May I (by His grace) be liberated from (the bondage 
of) Death (mrityor-mukshiya) like the Urvaruka (Karkati) 
fruit from the tree but not from immortality (mamritat) (i.e. 
May I attain immortality by conquering death !) ” VIII, 58, 1-2, 
again, refers to the One whom the Ritviks conceive of in many 
forms (Yam ritvijah bahudhd kalpayamtah) in their meditations 
(sachetasah) , the silent Presence at sacrifice {Yah anuchdnah 
brdhmanah yuktah), of Whom the sacrificer has but little knowledge 
(kd svit tatra yajamdnasy a samvit). That One, as Agni, is effulgent 
in many forms (eka evagnih bahudhd samiddha) ; as Surya sways 
the whole universe (ekah Suryah viivamanu prabhiitah) ; as 
Usha, reveals all this. The One became the Many (Ekarh vd idam 
vi babhuva sarvam). VIII, 30, i states : " Among you, O gods, 
there is none that is small, none that is young : you all are great 
indeed.” This is the famous hymn to " all the gods ”, Viive Devas, 
representing a more advanced stage of thought than the hymns 
to individual deities. But even where an individual god is wor- 
shipped, he is as good as all the gods to the worshipper. As 
Max Muller points out [Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 533 ]. 



" it would be easy to find, in the numerous hjnnns of the Veda, 
passages in which every single god is represented as supreme and 
absolute/' It will thus appear that the apparently different deities 
like Vanina, Indra, Surya, Savitri, and Agni are severally 
described in strains more suitable to the supreme deity than to 
subaltern divinities exercising a limited dominion, as having 
created and as sustaining heaven and earth, and as rulers of the 
Universe. The notion of particular gods is expanded and aJl divine 
attributes. are ascribed to particular objects of worship, while the 
names like Vi^vakarma or Prajapati do not designate any limited 
function but the more general and abstract notion of divine power 
operating in the creation and maintenance of the universe. 

These various expressions of the conception of the Absolute 
reach their culmination in the tenth Mandala of the Rigveda in 
its hymns, 72, 81, 82, 90, and 129, as the fundamental feature of 
Rigvedic thought and religion. Hymn 72 describes at length the 
process of creation, the existent springing from the non-existent 
{asatah sadajdyata), the Earth from Uttanapada and the regions 
from the Earth, Daksha from Aditi, and after Aditi, the gods. 
It was Brahmanaspati who blew forth these births like a black- 
smith {eta sum karmdrah ivddhamat). Hymn 81 calls the Absolute 
as the Hotd^ the Sacrificer, Who sacrifices the whole Creation 
to Himself at its dissolution and remains as the sole Father of all. 
Pita. Then He the One again wishing [dsishd) to be Many, wishing 
(ichchhamanah) for the enjoyment of creation [dravinam), con- 
cealed his primary Self {prathamachchhat) and created Objects into 
which He penetrated {avardn dviveia). He the Viivakarmd, 
Architect of the Universe, the Rishi All-knowing, the Vihacha- 
kshdh, All-seeing, created Earth {Bhumi) and Heaven {Dyd) by 
His own power {mahind) out of His own Self, the Self-supporting 
and Self-sufficient, for Whom there was no external support 
{adhishthdnam) or material {drambhanarh). He, the self-shining 
One {Devah Etah), produced Earth and Heaven and comprehended 
the universe within the reach of His Eye or Mouth, Arm or Foot 
{Viivataichakshuh Viivatomukho Viivatobdhuh Viivataspdt). 
What was the Wood and what the Tree out of which He, the 
Divine Carpenter, fashioned out (nishtatakshuh) the Heaven and 
Earth ? Let the wise who have achieved mastery of their minds 
{Manishinah) ask themselves in their own minds by what support 
He holds the universe {yat adhi-atishthat bhuvandni dhdrayan). 
Hymn 82 continues the theme. He, the Creator of the eye, i.e. 
the objective world {chakshushah Pitd), engendered the water 


{ghfitam) and then the two. Earth and Heaven, floating, undis- 
tinguished, on the waters. Viivakarmd is mighty of mind, 
Vimand, and power, Vihdyd, the Maker, Dhdtd, the Dispenser, 
Vidhdtd, the Most High (Paramd), and All-seeing, San-drik, the 
One beyond all [Par ah Ekam). He is our Father, Pitd, Progenitor, 
Janitd, Dispenser, Vidhdtd, to Whom are known the different 
planes of existence [dhdmdni), all the worlds [bhuvandni) and 
the whole universe [Viivdh), the One who bears the names of 
many gods [Yah Devdndm ndmadhdh Eka eva). He, the Unborn, 
Aja, resting upon the waters of His own creation, upon Whose 
navel was placed the Brahmancja or Germ of the Universe : 
Him ye cannot perceive. Him Who is of a different stuff from ye, 
sentient beings, possessed of individual consciousness [anyat 
yushmdkam antaram babhuva). Him they cannot perceive, 
wrapped up as they are in mists of ignorance [nlhdrena prdvritdh), 
giving themselves up to vain pursuits [jalpa), pleasures of life in 
this world [asu-tripah) and prayers for gain in the next world 
[ukthaiasaicharanti ) . 

X, 90 is the famous Purusha-Sukta, hymn to the Adi-Purusha, 
Primordial Being, Who comprehends all that is, has been, or will 
be [Purusha eva idam sarvam yat hhutam yat cha bhdvyam), the 
Lord of Immortals and Mortals who grow by food [amritatvasya 
iidnah yat annena atirohati). But His greatness is not confined 
to these limits of Time, past, present, or future : He is beyond 
Time [Etdvdn Asya mahimd atah jydydn cha Purushah), For all 
created beings of past, present, and future only represent a fourth 
part of Him. The larger part of Him is not manifest in mortal 
creation [pddah Asya viivd bhutdni tripdt Asya Amritam), 
Three-fourths of Him are in the transcendent state (i.e. above 
mdyd) [tripdt urdhvah udait Purushah). A fourth of Him [mdyd- 
pdda) came into being in this world again after its dissolution 
[pddah Asya iha abhavat punah). Then He, becoming Many 
[Vishvam), penetrated into all forms, animate and inanimate 
[vyakrdmatsdiandnaiane). Thus the process of creation is that 
out of the Adi-purusha arises the Virdt-deha [vividhdni rdjarhte 
vastuni atra iti Virdt, in Whom are contained all objects ”) 
the universe-body [brahmdnda-deha). Seizing that body. He 
vitalized it and created out of it the Virdf-purusha [Tasmdt virdf 
ajdyata Virdjah adhi-Purushah). The Virdt-purusha, thus bom, 
extended itself [atyarichyata = atiriktah abhut) beyond its 
original form, covering space on all sides [bhumirh viivatah 
vfitvd) and also the inner world [daidngulam) (i.e. both macrocosm 

RiGVEDic Education 


and microcosm), He of countless heads, eyes, and feet 
(as representing all created beings) {Sahasraitrshd Purushah 
Sahasrdkshah Sahasra-pdt), He then offered up in sacrifice His 
body as the material out of which the Universe was made, its 
creatures of the air, of the forests, of the villages, horses and cattle, 
goats and sheep, the four classes of mankind, Brahmana, Rajanya, 
Vai^ya, and Sudra, the sun and moon, air and sky, the earth and 
its four quarters, the different worlds, and also supreme knowledge 
as revealed in Vedic hymns, chants, metres, and sacrificial formulae 
and the gods themselves. 

X, I2I gives another expression to the same conception of 
a Supreme Creator of the universe. In the beginning, there 
existed Hiranyagarbha, or Prajapati, * Lord of all creatures,* 
who is so called because * He is all Intelligence up to the depth of 
His being {garhha), the Intelligence that is luminous and illumining 
like hiranya or gold * [Hiranyam atyujjvalaih praka^a^Ilam 
jflanaih tad garbhah antahsaro yasya sa Htranyagarbhah 
{Bhdsvatl-Pdtanjalabhdshya)].* As soon as He was born. He became 
^the sole Lord of all created beings {bhutasya jdtah patireka dsU), 
f He established in their proper places this earth and heaven above : 
^He, the Oversoul, the giver of individual souls, of life and strength, 
n whose shadow is Immortality : who has conquered Death 
^^{Atmadd Baladd Yasya Chhdyd Amritam Yasya Mrityuh) : 
oHe who is the sole lord of all animated beings, who are endowed 
^th Motion and Sight, by His innate greatness {yah prdnatah 
?nimtshitah mahitvd Ekah it Rdjd jagatah babhuva) : By whose 
jpower the Sun rises and shines {yatrddhi Sura udito vibhdti) : 
^e who is the One Supreme Source of Life of all the gods 
^Devdndm asuh Ekah) : Who arose out of the primeval Agni 
|[Fire) generated in the primeval waters in which the universe was 
engulfed : the God of gods {yah Deveshu adhidevah Ekah dsit) : 
the Creator of the Earth {Jcmitd Prithivydh), Heaven, and the life- 
giving waters {yah cha dpah chamdrd brihatlh jajdna) : Who holds 
the universe by His cosmic laws {Satya-dharmd) ; Prajapati who 
Jilone can comprehend this infinite creation and none else : To 
that mysterious Deity do we offer worship {Kasmai Devdya 
havishd vidhema),' 

Lastly, we come to what is called the Hymn of Creation, 
X, 129. Then {iaddnim, at the beginning, before creation) 
there was neither Being (Sat) nor non-Being {A-Sai). ^ There 

' Sat is what has form ; asat is formless. Or sat may stand for the eternally 
existing, the Prakriti of Samkhya, and A-Sai for the Void of ^Unyavddis. 


was neither the atmosphere nor the heavens beyond.^ What did 
it contain ? Where ? And under whose direction ? Were there 
waters, and the bottomless deep ? ^ 

'' There was then neither Death nor Immortality {Na 
Mrityuh dslt Amritam na tar hi). The Day was not divided from 
the Night. Only the One breathed, in Himself, without extraneous 
breath {amt avdtam svadhayd Tat Ekam). Apart from Him, there 
was nothing {Tasmdt ha any at napjxrah kim chanadsd)} 

'' In the beginning {agr^ was Darkness covered by Darkness. 
Nothing was distinguishable : all was Water {apraketam salilath 
sarvam). All was immersed in a formless void (tuchchhya). Out 
of that void arose the One by power of Tapas (meditation, thought 
of creation). 

Then for the first time Desire came to possess Him {Kdmah 
Tat agre samavartata adhi), Desire that was the first seed of the 
Spirit {Manasah retah prathamam yat dsit). In that Desire, the 
Sages {Kavayah), pondering in their hearts, with their fully 
developed mental faculties {mantshd), found out the link between 
Being and non-Being. 

The desire for creating was followed by the emergence of 
two Agents or principles of creation, the male or active, Retodhd, 
and the female or passive, Mahimdnah, whose operations, like the 

^ Yaska interprets raja as lokas or different planes of existence. The term 
may also imply the paramditu, the ultimate particle or nucleus of the world, 
as supposed by Naiydyikas, In that case, Vyoma will stand for dkdia as the 
first creation. 

^ Max Muller [Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 560], says : " ' That One,' 

the poet says, ‘ breathed, and lived ; it enjoyed more than mere existence ; 
yet its life was not dependent bn an>^hing else, as our life depends on the air 
which we breathe. It breathed breathless.' Language blushes at such expressions, 
but her blush is a blush of triumph. 

" After this the poet plunges into imagery. ' Darkness there was, and all 
at first was veiled in gloom profound, as ocean without light.' No one has ever 
found a truer expression of the Infinite, breathing and heaving within Itself, 
than the ocean in a dark night, without a star, without a torch. . . . 

" But now this one had to be represented as growing — as entering into 
reality. . . As yet, the real world existed only as a germ, hidden in a husky 
shell ; now the poet represents the one substance as borne into life by its own 
innate heat (tapas). . . The question how there was generation in nature 
was still unanswered. A miracle had ip be appealed to : this miracle was Love. 

' Then first came Love upon it,’ the poet says ; a power which arises from the 
unsearchable depths of our nature, making us feel our own incompleteness, 
and drawing us, half-conscious, half-unconscious, towards that far-off and desired 
something, through which alone our life seems to become a reality. . . The 
One Being which the poet had postulated was neither self-sufficient nor dead : 
a desire fell upon it — a spring of life, manifested in growth of every kind. . . 
Here, then, the poet imagines he has discovered the secret of creation — the 
transition of the nothing into the something — the change of the abstract into 
the concrete. Love was to him the beginning of real reality, and he appeals 
to the wise of old, who discovered in Love * the bond between created things 
and uncreated ' " 



Sun's rays (Ra^mi), spread in all directions, oblique, above, and 
below. Creation was the work of Svadhd and Prayati, Siva and 
Sakti, the One manifesting Itself in the Many, the Formless 
choosing to appear in forms. 

Who knoweth and who can explain whence it originated, 
whence came this Creation ? Even the gods came after this 
Creation. Who then knows whence it has arisen ? 

‘‘ Whence this Creation has arisen ; whether He created it 
or did not create it : He, the Most High, who oversees all. He 
only knows, or He may not " ! ^ 

(c) In growth of Scientific Spirit. The Rigveda shows a lively 
sense of the immutable laws governing Creation. Its best 
expression is hi, 56, i, a hymn of Visvamitra. It means that the 
Vratas or Cosmic Laws which are at the root of creation {prathamd, 
primeval) operate for all time and regularly [dhruvdni), which 

^ Commenting on these hymns Maurice Maeterlinck says : “ Is it possible 
to find, in our human annals, words more majestic, more full of solemn anguish, 
more august in tone, more devout, more terrible ? Where, from the depths of 
an agnosticism, which thousands of years have augmented, can we point to a 
wider horizon ? At the very outset, it surpasses all that has been said, and goes 
farther than we shall even dare to go. No spectacle could be more absorbing 
than this struggle of our forefathers of five to ten thousand years ago with the 
Unknowable, the unknowable nature of the Causeless Cause of all Causes. But 
of this Cause, or this God, we should never have known anything, had He 
remained self-absorbed, had He never manifested Himself. ‘ Thus it is,' say the 
Laws of Manu, ‘ that, by an alternation of awakening and repose, the immutable 
Being causes all this assemblage of creatures, mobile and immobile, eternally 
to return to life and to die ’ [i, 57]. He exhales Himself, or expels His breath, 
and Spirit descends into Matter, which is only a visible form of Spirit ; and 
throughout the Universe innumerable worlds are born, multiply, and evolve. 
He Himself inhales, indrawing His breath, and Matter enters into Spirit, which 
is but an invisible form of Matter : and the worlds disappear, without perishing, 
to reintegrate the Eternal Cause, and emerge once more upon the awakening 
of Brahma — that is, thousands of millions of years later ; to enter into Him 
again when He sleeps once more, after thousands of millions of years ; and 
so it has been and ever shall be, through all eternity, without beginning, without 
cessation, without end. 

" ‘ VHien this world had emerged from the darkness,' says the Bhdgavaia 
Purdv^am, ‘ the subtle elementary principle produced the vegetable seed which 
first of all gave life to the plants. From the plants, life passed into the fantastic 
creatures which were bom of the slime in the waters ; then, through a series of 
different shapes and animals, it came to Man.' ‘ They passed in succession by 
way of the plants, the worms, the insects, the serpents, the tortoises, cattle, and 
the wild animals — such is the lower stage,' says Manu again, who adds : ‘ Creatures 
acquired the qualities of those that preceded them, so that the farther down its 
position in the series, the greater its qualities ' [i, 20]. 

“ Have we not here the whole of Darwinian evolution confirmed by geology 
and foreseen at least 6,000 years ago ? On the other hand, is this not the theory 
of Aka^a which we more clumsily call the ether, the sole source of all substances, 
to which our science is returning ? It is true that the recent theories of Einstein 
deny ether, supposing that radiant energy — visible light, for example — is pro- 
pagated independently through a space that is an absolute void. But the scientific 
ether is not precisely the Hindu Akdia which is much more subtle and immaterial, 
being a sort of spiritual element or divine energy, space uncreated, imperishable, 
and infinite " [The Great Secret, pp. 28, 30, 35, 36, 43, 44]. 



can never be violated {adruhd) by anyone however clever {mdyinah 
= iilpinah) or wise (dhtrdh). There is no one in earth or heaven 
who by his power of supreme knowledge {Vedydbhih) can set 
them at naught. ** They cannot bend like mountains {parvatdh 
na niname). The same note is struck in x, 85, i, stating how 
the earth remains suspended {Uttabhita) in space by the force of 
Satya, and Aditya by the force of Rita ; and also in x, 190, i : 

Ritam cha satyam cha abhtddhvdt tapasodhyajdyata \ the 
whole creation is the outcome of Rita and Satya which are again 
the emanations of the Light of supreme knowledge called the 
tapas of Brahma.” Similarly, vii, 42, i refers to the creative 
agencies called Vratas, while i, 25, 8 describes the Creator as 
Dhritavrata, the Upholder of Cosmic Order. The Creator is also 
called in another hymn Rita-dhdman. We also find such ex- 
pressions as ** guardians of rita ” {gopd fitasya) and practisers of 
rita * {ritdyu). No religion has given a more scientific definition 
of God so early in man's history. In ii, 12, 5 the atheist unable 
to find in the Laws of Nature, which are apparentlj^ self-sufficient, 
their Maker, is asked to find Him in those Laws themselves. 
For Rita is God : ” Ritamekakshararh Brahma.” 

The scientific spirit of the Rigveda is also evident in some 
amount of free thinking to which it refers at places. Dissenters 
are denounced as '' haters of the Veda ” {Brahma-dvish) , 
maligners of gods ” {deva-nid), or men devoid of any doctrine ’, 
{apavrata). Evidence of heterodoxy and scepticism is also 
indicated in two hymns, ii, 12 and x, 82. The first is at pains to 
prove the supremacy of Indra, which is questioned, and the second 
holds up to ridicule the votaries of the Veda described as ** selfish 
prattling priests plying their business in self-delusion ”. 

Kshatriyas as Rishis. W*hat is known as the caste-system 
is known to the Rigveda, but it was not known to it in all the 
rigidity and elaboration marking it in later times. Though its 
Rishis or “ Seers ” were generally Brahmins, it was not exclusively 
so. Supreme knowledge was not confined to caste and did not go 
by birth but by inner worth achieved by tapas, as already seen. 
The Rigveda Sarhhita preserves the names of several Rishis who 
were kings or kshatriyas. For instance, Rv, i, 100 in its 17th 
verse mentions five kings as Rishis, of whom Ambarlsha is also 
the Rishi of ix, 98. Trasadasyu is the royal Rishi of iv, 42 and 
also of V, 27, along with Tryaruna and A^vamedha. Purumilha 
and Ajamilha are the royal Rishis of iv, 43 and 44. VI, 15 has as 
its Rishi King Vitahavya ; x, 9, Sindhudvipa, son of Ambarlsha ; 



X, 75, Sindhukshit ; x, 133, the famous King Sudas ; x, 134, 
M^dhata; x, 179, Sibi as well as Pratardana (King of Ka§!) 
and Vasumanas, and x, 148 Prithi Vairya. 

Women as Kshis. Women were then admitted to full religious 
rites and consequently to complete educational facilities. The 
wife was a regular participator in the sacrificial offerings of the 
husband [Rv. i, 122, 2 ; 131, 3 ; iii, 53, 4-6 ; v, 43, 15 ; viii, 31. 5 ; 
X, 86, 10 ; etc.]. Women-sages were called Rishikas and Brahma- 
vadints. The Rigveda knows of the following ^^shikas, viz. (i) 
Roma^a [i, 126, 7], (2) Lopamudra [i, 179, 1-6], (3) Apala [viii, 
91, 1-7], (4) Kadru [ii, 6, 8], (5) Vi^vavara [v, 28, 3], and several 
others mentioned in the tenth Mandala, such as : (6) Ghosha, 
h) Juhu, (8) Vagambhrinl, (9) Paulomi, (10) Jarita, (ii) 
Sraddha-kamayani, (12) Urva^i, (13) Sarnga, (14) Yami, (15) 
Indrani, (18) Savitri, (19) DevajamI, while the Samaveda 
adds the following, viz. (20) Nodha [Purvarchchika, xiii, i], 
(21) Akrish^abhasha, (22) Sikatanivavari [Uttararchchika, i, 4], 
and (23) Gaupayana [ib., xxii, 4]. 

The Brahmavadinis were the products of the educational 
discipline of brahmacharya for which women also were eligible. 
Rigveda v, 7, 9 refers tt» young maidens completing their educa- 
tion as brahmacharinis and then gaining husbands in whom they 
are merged like rivers in oceans. Rv. iii, 55, 16 mentions un- 
married learned and young daughters who should be married to 
learned bridegrooms. Yajurveda [viii, i] similarly states that a 
daughter, who has completed her brahmacharya, should be 
married to one who is learned like her. The Atharvaveda [xi, 6] 
also refers to maidens qualif3dng by their brahmacharya, the 
disciplined life of studentship, for married life in the second 
dirama {brahmachary^na kanyd yuvdnarh vindate patim). 

A most catholic passage occurs in Yajurveda [xxvi, 2] which 
enjoins the imparting of Vedic knowledge to all classes, 
Brahmanas and Rajanyeis, Sudras, Anaryas, and Charanas 
(Vai^yas) (not to speak of women) [yathemdm vdcharh kalydnl- 
mdvaddni janebhyah Brdhmaita-Rdjanydbhydth iudrdya chdrydya 
cha svdya (one’s own people) chdraz^dya]. 

Education of Non-Aryans and * Depressed ’ Classes. The non- 
Aryans are distinguished in the Rigveda by several characteristics, 
physical and cultiural. They are described as (i) krishrta-garbha, 
" a dusky brood,” and (2) andsa, " snub-nosed,” recalling the proto- 
Australoids, the original inhabitants of India. It was thus a 
difference of race and colour (Vari^a) between the Aryan and the 



non-Aryan. The term Varna later came to be synon3mious with 
caste. Culturally, the non-Aryan differed deeply from the Aryan, 
because he (i) spoke a different language {mridhravdk, * of 
hostile speech'), (2) did not follow Vedic rituals {dkarmari), or (3) 
Worship {abrahman), or (4) Ordinances (avrata and anyavrata), or 
(5) Deities {adevayu) whom he even reviled {devaptyu), nor (6) 
performed Vedic sacrifices {ayajvan). He was condemned as a 
worshipper of phallus [SiSnadeva) [Rv. vii, 21, 5 ; x. 99, 3]. 

And yet all these vital differences were rapidly yielding to 
the process of social assimilation for which the Aryan system stood. 
At the beginning, the non-Aryan yielded to the Aryan, and was 
called a Dasa, Dasyu, Asura, or Pi^acha, to signify his political 
subjugation, but his mark of inferiority was being wiped out under 
processes of fusion through marriage and alliance. The Sudra 
caste was evolved in Aryan Society to receive him. The non- 
Aryan began to count as an Aryan. A solemn religious recognition 
is given to this fact in the famous Purusha-Sukta of the Rigveda 
where the Brahmana and Kshatriya, the Vai^ya and the Sudra 
are described as limbs of the Creator. In the political field, in the 
Rigvedic Battle of Ten Kings (Da^a-rajna), with their following 
of more than twenty peoples, the non- Aryan figures as the equal 
and ally of the Aryan, fighting for a common cause. The same 
equality is seen in the sphere of culture. The author of Aitareya 
Brahmana, Mahidasa, had a Sudra mother, while the Rishi, 
Kavasha Ailusha, was born of a DasI, according to that work 
[viii, i]. The Rigveda also tells of five peoples who offered 
sacrifice to Agni [x, 45, 6] {Jana yadaghim ayajanta pafLcha), 
and these five peoples ", according to Yaska [Nirukta, vi, 7], 
included the four castes and the Nishadas. Another Rigvedic 
passage [ix, 66, 20] describes Agni as ‘‘ the chief priest of all the 
races five " (Agnirrishih pavamanah panchajanyah purohitah). 
On this Mantra, the significant comment of Uvata and Mahidhara 
is that it recognizes the right of the Nishadas, equally and along 
with the four higher castes, to offer sacrifices [Panchajanyah 
panchajanebhyo hit ah chatvaro varna Nishadapanchamah 
panchajanastesham hi yajne adhikarah asti (Uvata). Again : 
Vipradaya^chatvaro Varna Nishada^cheti panchajanastesham 
yajne adhikarat]. Again, Rv. viii, 65, 23 refers to the participa- 
tion in Soma-sacrifice by all these five peoples {janeshu pahchashu). 
In Rv. vi, 61, 12 the river Sara^vati is mentioned as making the 
five peoples flourish The Nishadas in all these passages indicated 
the non-Aryans and depressed classes of those days who must 



have had considerable access to Vedic learning to be able to take 
part in these sacrifices. We may finally cite again the following 
decisive Mantra of the Vajasane3d Saiiihita [xxvi, 2] stating 
that “all classes have an equal right to study the Veda ” ; 
“ Yathemaih Vacham kalyanimavadani janebhyah | Brahmana- 
Rajanyabhyam Sudraya charyaya cha svaya charanaya || 

Seats 0! Learning. We have now to relate the Rigveda to 
space and locality. Unfortunately, its evidence only indicates in a 
general way the geographical limits within which the Rishis had 
lived, moved, and had their being, revealing or composing its 
truths or hymns, and pla5dng their part in the political history 
of the regions concerned. There is no evidence pointing to in- 
dividual or particular seats of learning. Rigvedic India is marked 
out by its rivers, some twenty-five of which are mentioned. 

To the west of the Sindhu (Indus) were the rivers Kubha 
( = " Kophen ” or Kabul), Suvastu (" of fair dwellings ” = Swat), 
Krumu (Kurram), Gomati (“ abounding in cows ” = Gomal) 
and Mehatnu [Rv. x, 75, 6 ; v, 53, 9 ; viii, 24, 30 ; 19, 37]. The 
Sindhu is mentioned many times [i, 126, i ; 94, 16 ; 122, 6 ; ii, 
15. 6 ; iv. 30, 12 ; v, 53, 9 ; vii, 33, 3 ; viii, 20, 25 ; x, 64, 9 ; 75, 
6 .] There are also mentioned the five rivers of the Panjab ; 
Vitasta (Jhelum), A^iknl (Chenab), ParushnI (Iravati or Ravi), 
Vipas (Beas) and Sutudri (Satlej) ; and, beyond these, the Saras- 
vati, Ganga and Yamuna [Rv. x, 75, 5 ; also A^iknl in viii, 20, 
25 ; Parushni in vii, 18, 89 and 63, 15 ; SutudrI in iii, 33, i ; 
Vipas in iii, 33, 1-3, and iv, 30, ii ; Ganga in vi, 45, 31 (Gangya) ; 
Yamuna in v, 52, 17 and vii, 18, 19 ; Sarasvati in iii, 23, 4 (along 
with the Drishadvati), vi, 61, 2, 13 ; vii, 95, 96 ; etc.]. One 
hymn [iv, 36, 18] also mentions the river Sarayu (in Oudh) which 
thus marks the easternmost limit of Rigvedic India. It will appear 
that, of these rivers, the Sarasvati as well as the Sindhu is men- 
tioned most in the hymns, showing that the easterly regions had 
already acquired a reputation as the home of Rigvedic learning 
and culture. 

Pargiter has gone so far as to assert that Rigvedic learning 
had originated in the East and spread to the West on the ground 
that the rivers mentioned in the famous Nadl-stuti are from the 
east to the west, beginning with Ganga, Yamuna, and Sarasvati, 
in accordance with the course of migration of Rigvedic learning 
from east to west. Hopkins adds to this geographical evidence that 
of the physical or natural scenery depicted in the Rigveda. A 
part of the Rigveda and of its highest poetry is inspired by Ushas, 



the deity of Dawn, whose splendours are best seen in the western 
parts of the Panjab, to the west of the Indus, which are not 
troubled much by clouds.and rainfall. But the other parts of the 
Rigveda tell of contrary natural phenomena, of clouds and storms, 
outbmsts of torrential rains, thimder, and lightning, which point 
to the easterly region between the Sarasvati and the Dfishadvati. 

Some further light is thrown on the question of the localiza- 
tion of the Rigveda and its culture by a study of the geographical 
distribution of its principal peoples, each of whom was dis- 
tinguished by its association with a particular ]^shi who acted 
as the Purohita of its king, invoked its gods, and performed 
its sacrifices with the h3mins of his own creation. Thus the 
settlement of each such people was also a seat of the learning 
represented by the Rishis moving with them. The chief Vedic 
settlements are mentioned as follows : (i) The Gandharas (known 
for the wool of their good sheep) ; (2) the Mujavants whom 
Zimmer locates on the south bank of the Kubha up to its mouth 
in the Indus and down its east side to some extent ; (3) the Purus 
settled on both banks of the Sarasvati [Rv. vii, 95, 96] ; (4) the 
Turvaias, with the Kai^vas as their priests, moving about the 
banks of the Parushni [Rv. vii, 18] ; (5) the Anus on the Parushpi 
[viii, 74, 15 ; vii, 18, 14] ; (6) the Druhyus on the same river, 
with the Bhfigus as their priests [i, 108, 8 ; vii, 18, 14 ; viii, 10, 
5] ; (7) the Bharatas settled in the region of the Sarasvati, 
Apaya, and Dfishadvati, with the Kuiikas as their priests [iii, 33, 
11-12 ; 53, 9 ; 12, 24]. Under iWshi Vi^vamitra they advance to 
the Vipas and Sutudri [ib.] and are defeated and rescued with 
the aid of Vasishtha [vii, 8, 4 ; 33, 6], whence they are probably 
to be connected with the Tritsus whose subjects they are stated 
to be [vii, 33, 6, where the Bharatas are called Tritsunarh Viiah ] ; 
and (8) the Tjitsus who, led by king Sud^ and iWshi Vasishtha, 
were the victors in the famous Battle of the Ten Kings and settled 
themselves as the paramount power in all that region between 
the Yamuna and the Parushni. 

The Rigvedic h5nnns, with the learning and culture resulting 
from them, saw the light in the regions occupied by these peoples 
led by their respective !^his, the makers of both their political 
and spiritual well-being. 

Secular Learning. Rigvedic Education proper as described 
above, being purely religious and literary in its character, was for 
the few who were fit and eager for a dedicated life in quest of the 
highest truths and supreme knowledge. It was thus not meant for 



the many or the masses. And yet Rigvedic India did not present 
a one-sided development. 

There must have been a considerable amount of secular non- 
religious education to build up its economic life. It is known for 
its progress in all departments of national life, economic, political, 
or religious, its progress in the various arts and crafts of civilized 
life, in Agriculture, Industry, and Trade. And this progress must 
have rested ultimately on the foundation of an appropriate 
system of technical, industrial, and commercial education, which 
found its outlet in a corresponding diversity of occupations. The 
Rigveda itself hardly furnishes any direct evidence on such educa- 
tion, but a glimpse of it may be found in the following hymns 
throwing light on the economic life of the times [ix, 112] : — 

‘*1. We different men have different tastes and pursuits 
(dhiyo vi vratdni). The carpenter (Taskhd) seeks something that is 
broken (rishtam), the physician {Bhishag) a patient (rutain), the 
priest {Brahma) someone who will perform sacrifice (sunvantam 

'' 2. With dried-up faggots (jaratlbhiroshadhthhih) , with 
birds' feathers {parnebhih iakundndm), with stones [aimabhih) 
and fire (?) {dyubhih), the artisan {kdrmdrah) continually seeks 
after {ichchhati) a man with plenty of gold {hiranyavantam). 

** 3. I am a poet (Karuh aharh), my father is a physician 
(Bhishag) and my mother {nand) a grinder of corn {Upalapra- 

With our different inclinations {ndnddhiyo), seeking gain, 
we run after (our respective objects) as after cattle {Vasuyavo 
anugd iva tasthima). 

4. The draught horse {aivo volhd) wishes for {ichchhati) 
an easy-going chariot {sukharh ratham) ; merry companions 
{upamantrinah) a laugh {hasandm) ; the female sex, the male ; 
and frogs a pond." 

This hymn gives a graphic picture of the realities of life in the 
Rigvedic Age which was not exclusively an Age of Saints and 
Seers. Even the Rishi-head of a family could not secure that all 
the members of his family should tend towards rishi-hood. The 
mother of a Rishi happens to be an illiterate lady who behaves 
like a good housewife, grinding com, while his father goes about 
curing persons not of their spiritual but physical ills, and that for 
the sake of earning his family's livelihood. Each is after material 
gain {vasuyavah), an ‘ economic man ', even in the Rigvedic Age 
resounding so much with the utterance of Mantras. Society thus 


ridden by economic motives opened up various avenues of employ- 
ment outside the religious sphere. We come across the wood- 
wright, the metal-worker, the capitalist, wealth in cattle, draught 
horses, and youths given to gay life and not behaving like severe 

And in the body of the Rigveda are scattered references ^ 
to the diverse economic pursuits of the times betokening a diffusion 
of industrial education in the country. There was considerable 
progress in Pasture, Cattle-rearing, and Agriculture. The 
domesticated animals included sheep, goats, asses, and dogs used 
for hunting, guarding, and tracking cattle, and keeping watch 
at night. The draught animals were bulls, oxen, as well as horses. 
Cultivation v^as highly honoured as an occupation which dis- 
tinguished the Arya from the Vrdtya, The plough was drawn by 
oxen in teams of 6, 8, or I2. There was use of manure {iakan or 
karisha). The water for irrigation came from lakes {hrada), 
canals (kulyd), and wells. Water was drawn out of wells by 
buckets {koia) tied to leather-strings {varatrd) pulled round a 
stone-pulley [aima-chakra] and then emptied into broad channels 
for irrigation. As regards Industry or Handicrafts, the carpenter 
was kept busy making carts, chariots, and draught wagons 
{anas), and also artistic carved works. The blacksmith turned out 
utensils of metal and the goldsmith ornaments of various kinds. 
Tanning was known and the leatherer was in great request for 
supplying bowstrings, slings, thongs, reins, whips, and bags. 
The weaver {Vdya) was quite prominent, as Rigvedic India was 
advanced in textiles. We have already referred to the Rigvedic 
passage asking those not fit for the higher learning to take to the 
plough or the loom. The trader and money-lender were in evidence, 
together with Barter, Debt, Interest, and Money-economy (as 
shown in the mention of a gift of loo nishkas). We also read of 
sea-borne trade carried on in boats or ships {nau or plava) 
propelled by oars {ndvam aritraparamm) and going to sea 
(ndvah samudriyah). There is a reference to a ship with lOO oars 
{Satdritrdm ndvam) by which was rescued a person ship-wrecked 
on the main where there is no support, no rest for foot or 
hand The standard of its material civilization is indicated 
in the architecture and cities of Rigvedic India. Cities or fortified 
places are called Pur, There is a reference to a hundred cities of 
stone (iv, 30, 20 : Satam aimanmaytndm pur dm). These cities 

^ These are fully given in my work Hindu Civilization (Longmans, London, 
1936 ). 



must have been in localities bordering on hills from which stone 
could be quarried. Iron cities or fortifications are also mentioned 
{purah dyaslh in Rv. i, 58, 8 ; ii, 20, 8 ; iv, 27, i, etc.), as also 
cities with a hundred enclosures or fortifications {iatabhuji, Rv, i, 
166, 8 ; vii, 15, 14). Probably these forts consisted of a series of 
concentric walls. All this economic progress was built up by 
the talent and training produced by schools of craftsmanship, 
the existence of which wexan only infer in the absence of any 
direct evidence from the Rigveda. 

The Ved&ngas. Orthodox learned opinion describes the Veda 
as Shadafiga-Veda,i\ie Veda of six limbs, and holds that the study 
of the Rigveda simultaneously gave rise to the six subsidiary 
studies known as Siksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chhanda, 
and Jyotisha. Although these subjects are now extant in the 
forms of Sutras belonging to a much later age, their origins must 
be found in the age of the Rigveda, because the Rigveda could 
not be properly studied without the aid of these Vedangas. As 
the Veda was learnt by recitation and proper pronunciation, it 
was first necessary to learn the science of Siksha. The word 
iikshd is from the root iikshy to give. The guru was giving the 
Veda to his pupil by uttering it. Therefore, a knowledge of Siksha 
was preliminary to study of Veda, the mastery of which depended 
upon its proper pronunciation and recitation. This point is made 
clear in a verse in Hymn vii, 103, in the expression '' yadesharh 
anyo anyasya vacham ^aktasyeva vadati siksham^ah Here the 
word idktasya = iaktimatah HksJCakasya refers to the teacher who 
was possessed of the ability to teach by his knowledge of the 
science of Sikshd, according to which he was uttering and pro- 
nouncing the Vedic texts which his pupils were reciting from his 
lips [anuvadati). 

It may also be assumed that just as the Veda was recited 
according to the rules of Siksha, it was also applied for the per- 
formance of Yajna according to the rules of the second Vedanga 
called Kalpa, Similarly, the Vedangas, Vydkarana and Nirukta, 
had also to be studied as aids to the comprehension of the meaning 
of the Vedic text upon which so much stress was laid. The mere 
crammer of Vedic texts {Kevala-Pdthaka) to whom the Veda 
merely conveyed a sound without sense {Nigadenaiva iabdyate) 
was condemned as the bearer of a burden, like an ass carrying a 
load of sandal-wood without relishing its smell. 

Similarly, the Vedanga called Chhandas must have been 
regarded as preliminary to Vedic chanting. The rules of poetical 


composition, of versification, and metre, had to be mastered 
for following the many varieties of metre employed in the 

Lastly, a study of Jyotisha gave an insight into unchanging 
and regular laws of nature and kindled the scientific spirit in 
that age. 

It may also be assumed that behind these Vedanga sciences 
there must have been a study of the sctence of sciences, the science 
of reasoning or logic. A glimpse of this study is given in Rigveda 
hi, 26, 9, where the expression Vaktvdndm Melim ( = Melakam) 
refers to one who can reconcile conflicting views advanced by 
what are called the Purva-Paksha and the Siddhantin. 

The scientific spirit of the Vedic age finds expression in the 
recognition of an immutable cosmic order or the Laws of Nature 
for which there are employed such terms as Dhdtd, Satya, Rita, 
Dharma, and Vrata. Dhata refers to what has been, as an accom- 
plished fact, revealing the law of happenings, like the tree growing 
from a seed, of the sun rising in the east, of Agni always consuming 
objects thrown into it. Similarly, Satya refers to what is {Sata) and 
to what is contributory {Hita) to what is happening, the law, for 
example, by which the sun still rises in the east, fire gives heat, 
and a plant grows out of a seed. Dharma is that which holds in 
the midst of change. 

There may be a doubt whether Kalpa as a subject of study 
is known to the Rigveda. But the doubt is solved by a reference 
to the Hymn vii, 103, where there is a verse mentioning Soma- 
ydji Brahmanas, Satra continuing for full one year (Parivatsarl- 
nam) and Adhvaryu. A sacrifice lasting for one year must have 
required for its performance the services of the full complement 
of priesthood consisting of sixteen members. There is another 
verse in the same hymn describing how the Udgata priests 
(Gayatrinah) were chanting (gayanti) hymns, how the Arkis 
(Hota Priests) were uttering their Arkas (hymns) in praise of 
the deity (Archanti) and also the Brahma priests who were 
supervising the sacrifice. The elaborate scale on which the Soma- 
sacrifice was performed is also indicated in a passage of Rigveda : 

Yat sanoh sanurh aruhat bhuri aspashta-kartvam,'' implying 
that it required bhuri or elaborate preparation [i, 10, 2j. 

The same doubt is expressed about the development of 
Nirukta and Vydkarana as subjects of study at the time of Rig- 
Veda. Sayana cites a text : ** Tasmat Brahmana ubhayam 
Vacharh vadanti ya cha devanaih ya cha manushyanam iti." 


This shows that Deva-bhashd or Vedic speech was already separ- 
ated from the spoken tongue in the time of the Brahma^as. 
There are some passages of the Rigveda which throw light on 
these linguistic problems. I, 164, 45 refers to four varieties of 
speech [Vak), of which three were known to Brahmanas, who were 
Manishls, i.e. who had achieved mastery of their minds but not 
to the ordinary people who knew only the fourth class of speech. 
Now what are those four varieties of speech ? According to the 
Yajfiikas, these were the languages of (a) Mantra, (6) Kalpa, 
(c) Brahmanas, and (d) that popularly spoken. According to the 
Nairuktas, the three languages were those of Rik, Yajuh, and 
Sama Veda, and the fourth was the vernacular language of the 
times. Thus, in this view, the language of the three Vedas was 
not accessible to the common people. 

The same sense is conveyed by Rv. x, 71, already cited, where 
Vedic speech is described as refined (samskrita) speech, speech 
that is refined and created by the minds of the learned by 
separating the pure elements from the impure like a sieve. In 
that refined speech dwells Bhadra-Lakshmi, the Goddess of Good. 
It leads to the highest good. This speech was evolved by ^shis 
by employing it at Yajnas where they used to gather. The Yajna 
was thus the primary centre of learning and education in those 
days. It provided the sphere where Vedic speech was in circula- 
tion, was cultivated and perfected. Vedic speech was the outcome 
of the Yajna which alone gave the occasion for its use. It had 
no use in the secular spheres of life. That is why another hymn 
states how ordinary people only " see ’’ or " hear ” the words of 
the Veda by their mere forms and sounds, but they cannot per- 
ceive their sense. The Vedic speech thus originating at the Yajnas 
was conserved and transmitted through the Vedic schools of the 
times comprising students called Sakhds, those bound by the ties 
of a common learning (Vidya-sambandha). 

The cultivation of this difficult and refined Vedic speech 
depended upon the special sciences called Nirukta and Vydkaraita. 
The Taittiriya Sariihita has a story : “ Vag vai parachi avyakrita 
avadat [ Tam Indrah madhyatah avakramya vyakarot | Tasma- 
diyaih vyakrita Vak udyate,” which means that originally 
Vedic speech was unintelligible like the roar of the ocean till 
Indra made it intelligible by differentiation of roots, sufi&xes, and 
prefixes. This thus refers to the sciences of Etymology and 
Grammar rendering Vedic speech fit for study. The same meaning 
is conveyed in Rv. x, 71, i, already cited, where the first stage of 

to ANCim INBZAN amunoN 

Vedk speech is stated to be the meaning of objects ** {Ndma 
dheyam dadkdnd^h must have been the work et the students 
of Nirukia (which collects the various words signifying the same 
object) and Vyakarana throwing light on single and compound 
words. The second stage of Vedic speech belongs to a different 
and higher plane and concerns its subtle and spiritual meaning to 
be attained by meditation, as distinguished from its gross and 
literal meaning given by the grammarians who understand only 
the letter but not the spirit of the Vedic speech. For this 
Brihaspati is invoked in the hymn. 

Images ot Bishis. The Ideal of Life and Education as 
embodied in the Vedic Rishis became the established Ideal of the 
country and finds expression in its Art. I unexpectedly dis- 
covered some images in stone of these Rishis in the wUds of 
Rajgir [Plate II]. A proof of the popularity of the Rishi type in 
Indian culture and tradition is to be found in some old Sanskrit 
works on Tantrika Buddhism, which were carried to China by 
the NaJanda scholar, Subha Kara Siihha, in a.d. 716, and trans- 
lated by him into Chinese in a.d. 730. Thus the original works 
were much older than their Chinese translations. ThCwSe works 
contained portraits of (i) Rishi Atri and his wife (Anasuya) and 
(2) Rishi Vasishtha in two postures, seated and standing. 

These portraits were preserved in a Japanese work called 
Hizoki which was compiled by Kukai who lived about the end 
of the eighth century a.d. Copies of these are to be found in the 
published parts of the Dictionary called Hobogirin, by S. Levi 
and Taka Kusu. Plate III is based on drawings of these. 

In the picture, Atri holds in his left hand a water-pot and covers 
his body by the right hand. His wife (Anasuya) is seated by him. 

Vasishtha is seated on a mat, with his left knee raised, 
holding a lotus in his right hand and a garland in his left. 

The walking Vasishtha is an emaciated figure of Asceticism 
leaning on a staff which he holds in his left hand and making a 
sign by his right hand. The recorded tradition is that he is here 
represented in the act of constructing a hermitage on Mount 
Potalaka, the abode of his Deity, Avalokite^vara. 

These Rishis are figuring here as Assistants of Agni in the 
outer courtyard of the Garbha-man^ala, or * Mystical Circle 
as conceived in Tantrika Buddhism. 

We may note how the Indian Ideal of Asceticism as embodied 
in the Rishi type of character, of which the Buddha was a most 
powerful example, had had its hold on both China and Japan. 


( 5 ) Walking 

(a) Seated 

VASISHTHA {Facing p. 60 

Chapter III 


The other Vedio Saihhitfts. These show the trend of 
learning and educational development as influenced by the trend 
of religious thought. The three latef Vedic Sarhhitas of Sama, 
Yajuli, and Atharva usher in the age of the Brdhmanas, a different 
type of literary activity. The principle governing their compilation 
is quite different. It follows the order of an established ceremonial 
pointing to a fixed order of sacrifices. But in the Rigveda Samhita, 
as we have seen, the order of the hymns has nothing to do with 
the order of the sacrifices, while it included many hymns which 
have no use for any sacrifice. The other two Vedic Sarhhitas 
were compiled exclusively for purposes of ritual application. The 
fact is that in their time the old Rigvedic religion showed con- 
siderable developments of ceremonial and priesthood out of their 
beginnings in the Rigveda. The priesthood now had a personnel 
of sixteen members as described below : — 

(i) Hotfi, with his Assistants called Maitravaruna, Achavaka, 
and Gravastut ; 

(ii) Udgatfi, with his Assistants, the Prastotri, Pratihartri, 
and Subrahmanya ; 

(iii) Adhvaryu assisted by Pratishthatri, Neshtri, and Unnetri ; 

(iv) Brahman, with Assistants called Brahmanachchhaihsin, 
Agnidhra, and Potri. 

All these sixteen priests were called by the general name of 
Ritvij. There are also mentioned priests of inferior status who 
were Assistants of the Adhvaryu, viz. the Samitri, the Vaikarta, 
and the Chamasadhvaryu. The Kaushitakins added a seventeenth 
l^tvij called the Sadasya who is to superintend the whole 

Of this full complement of priesthood, the Rigveda [ii, i, 2] 
mentions only seven, viz. Hotri, Potri, Neshtri, Agnidh, Pra^astri, 
Adhvaiyu, and Brahman, besides the institutor of the sacrifice, 
and the Udgatfi and his Assistant, Prastotri [viii, 81, 5]. 

Higher education now related itself to the requirements of this 
priesthood and ritualistic religion. The extemed, material, and 
mechanical aspects of worship and sacrifice became now the 




principal subjects of study which, in their range and complexity, 
even called for a considerable degree of specialization and division 
of labour among its students. There were four classes of students 
and specialists to master the four parts of worship or sacrifice 
already indicated, viz. (i) recital of hymns in which the Hotfi 
specialized ; (2) the chanting of hymns requiring a special training 
for which the Udgdtri equipped himself ; (3) the actual perform- 
ance of sacrifice involving a number of operations and material 
details in which the Adhvaryu specialized ; and (4) the superin- 
tendence and direction of the worship as a whole, for which the 
Brahman priest had to qualify by acquiring proficiency in all the 
three Vedas so as to be able to correct errors in the performance of 
the different parts and operations of sacrifice as described above, 
and to give decision on all doubtful points and disputes, thereby 
la3dng the beginnings of what were later developed as the systems 
of Nydya and Mtmdthsd. 

But even this age of ceremonialism was marked by its own 
creative efforts in different directions. 

The Sfima Veda. The Udgdtris contributed some new elements, 
78 out of 1,549 verses, to the Samaveda. The bulk of the verses 
of the Samaveda is taken out of the Rigveda and mostly from 
its Ma^idalas viii and ix. These verses are arranged in the Sama- 
veda in two parts : (i) the Archika of 585 single stanzas or fiks ; 
(2) the Uttardrchika comprising 400 chants, mostly of three stanzas - 
each. In the Samaveda the text is treated only as a means to an 
end, the learning of melodies. The student whose object was to 
be trained as an Udgatri priest in the schools of Samaveda had 
first to learn the melodies and this he could do with the aid of the 
Archika or the song-book where is given only the text of the 
first stanza of each song as an aid to the recollection of the tune. 
Here it is not usually the case, as in the west, that a verse is sung 
to a particular tune. It is the reverse : this or that melody 
(Saman) is sung upon a particular stanza. Here the melody arises 
out of the Rik or stanza which is thus called theyom of the melody. 
No doubt a stanza can be sung to various melodies, and one 
melody can be applied to different stanzas, but certain stanzas are 
marked out and fixed as the texts or yonis for certain melodies. 
The Uttdrchika gives the stanzas out of which are formed the 
stotras to be sung at the sacrifices, to the tunes which the Archika 

It is thus like a song-book giving the complete text of the 
songs and not merely the text of the first stanza of a song. 


Iti Musical System. Of course, the Samhitd can give 
only the texts as they are spoken. Their melodies were 
taught by oral and also instrumental rendering. Music 
is known to the Rigveda, as also the instruments producing 
music by means of percussion, wind, and string, such as 
drum (Dundubhi) [i, 28, 5], lute (Karkari, ii, 43, 3), and lyre or 
harp (Vana) with its seven notes recognized and distinguished 
[x, 32, 4], together with the flute (of reed) called Nadi [x, 135, 7] . 
The oldest notation for music was probably that indicated by 
.syllables such as ta. cho, etc. But very often the seven notes were 
indicated by the figures i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, corresponding 
respectively to F, E, D, C, B, A, G of our modem scale of music. 
It may be further noted that the Archika has got two supplements 
called Grdmageya-gdna (book of songs to be sung in the village) 
and Arafyya-geya-gdna (book of forest songs). The number of 
melodies then known was quite large, being computed at 8,000 by 
R. Simon, while each melody had its own name. The melodies 
called Bfikat and Rathantara are known to the Rigveda.^ 

Some students of Music find in the Vedic Svaras called 
Udatta, Anudatta, and Svarita the origins of the seven Svaras, 
" Sha-Ri-Ga-Ma-Pa-Dha-Ni " distinguished in modem Indian 
Music in measuring the gamut. They depend for this view on 
certain old texts found in Panini's Sikshd, in Narada's work, 
and in Yajnavalkya-Siksha. These may be cited here : 

(i) Udatte Nishada-Gandharavanudatte !Rishabha-Dhai- 
vatau I Svaritaprabhava hyete Shadja-Madhyama-Panchamali | 
" Udatta means and includes Ni and Ga ; Anudatta, Ri and 
Dha ; and Svarita, Sha, Ma, and Pa.” 

^ The Chhandogya Upanishad marks out five parts in a Sama-song, viz. 

(1) Prastava or introduction preceded by the syllable Hunt sung by the Prastotri ; 

(2) Udgitha to be sung by the Udgatp priest first uttering the sound Om ; 

(3) Pratihdra (** joining in "), preceded by Hum, to be sung by Pratihartri who 
joins in the last syllable sometimes taken in two parts, viz. (4) Upadrava or 
recession, consisting of the last two syllables of the Pratihara sung by Udgatji, 
and (5) Nidhana comprising two syllables or Om sung by adl the three 
prieste. These five parts may be thus shown in the first verse of the Samaveda 
(taken from Pv., vi, 16, 10) : — 

1. Hum Agne [Prastava]. 

2. Om ay5. hi vltaye gru;iano havyadataye [UdgUha]. 

3. Ni hot§ satsi varhisW Om [Pratihdra] to be divided into. 

4. Ni hots satsi va [Upadrava]. 

5. — !l^shi Om [Nidhana]. 

** The modem R§.gas or arrangements of different notes may be equated 
to the different S&mans named after a typical song (the Chdla of Indian music) ; 
these names are innumerable, such as V&ru^a, Saubhara, BrUhma Rathantara, 
Vinardi, Yajfl5-yajftlya, Yodhaja 3 ra, and so on ** (C. V. Vaidya's History of 
Sanskrit Literature, vol. i, pp. 121 f.]. 



(2) Uchchau Nishada-Gandharau NichSLvjishabha- 
Dhaivatau | ^eshUstu Svaritajfieya^ Shadja-Madhyama-Pafi- 
chamah || 

“ The high-toned (Udatta) means and includes Ni and 
Ga ; the low toned (Anudatta), Ri and Dha ; while the rest, 

(3) Gandharva-Vede ye prayukta^ sapta shadjadaya^ 
svarkh ( Ta eva Vede vijneyah traya uchchadayah svaralji || 

“ The self-same seven Svaras beginning with Sa as employed 
in the Science of Music are to be understood as being implied 
in the three Svaras of the Vedas, beginning with Udatta.” 

Experts in Music also hold that Vedic Udatta corresponds 
to modem Ga (including within itself its sarhvddl or consonant Ni), 
Anudatta to Ri (including its samvddi Dha), and Svarita to Sha 
(with its samvddis, Ma and Pa). It will thus appear that the 
nucleus of the Saman scale is primarily Ga-Ri-Sha, which shows 
struggles to reach the fourth Ni, and even the fifth Dha bordering 
on Ni. It is also evident that what we now call the seven Svaras, 
the ancients call the seven Yatnas, viz. Krushta, Prathama, 
Dvitiya, Tfitiya, Chaturtha, Mandra, Atisvarya [Taittirtya- 
Prdtiidkhya, xxiii, 13], and that while the modem Svaras are 
in the ascending order, the ancient Yamas are counted in the 
descending order. Thus the only Hght that the Samaveda throws 
on Education is that it was responsible for the development of 
Indian Music and its School. 

The Tajorveds. Just as the Samaveda is the song book of 
the Udgatri, the Yajurveda is the prayer-book of the Adhvaryu 
priest. Prayers were accompanied by sacrificial acts about which 
differences of opinion were more likely to arise. Any deviation 
in the ceremonial or in the liturgy led to the formation of a new 
Vedic School. Thus the Yajurveda lent itself to the formation 
of numerous schools the number of which was loi in the time of 
Patanjali (as stated in the Introduction to his Mahdbhdshya). 

The Yajurveda has two divisions called Black (Krishna) 
and White (Sukla), also called Vajasanep-Saihhita. The white 
Yajurveda contains only the Mantras, the prayers, and sacrificial 
formulae which the priest has to utter, while the black Yajurveda 
contains the Mantras in verse and also a portion in prose, the 
earliest Indian prose, presenting the sacrificial rites that go with 
the Mantras along with discussions thereon, anticipating the 
later Brahma^a literature. Thus from the point of view of 
education, the Yajurveda has made a material contribution 


to it by the creation of a prose literature which later culminated 
in the literary masterpieces of the Upanishads. 

The Yajurveda fixes the religious scheme and ordering of 
Hindu life in the course of ceremonies it prescribes. It prescribes 
various sacrifices among which may be mentioned those for 
the New and Full Moon, the Fathers {Piif 4 <i-pitriyajfia), Fire 
(Apiihotra to be performed both morning and evening), seasons 
(Chaturmasyas to be performed every four months), Rajastiya 
(for kings only), Alvamedha (for a King of Kings), and Agnicha- 
yana (ceremony for building the Fire-altar which lasted for a 
year and was possessed of a mystical significance). This ceremony 
throws some light upon the architecture of the times. The altar 
was to be built of 10,800 bricks in the form of a large bird with 
outspread wings. In its lowest stratum were immured the heads 
of five sacrificial animals. Their bodies were thrown into water 
out of which was taken the clay for the manufacture of the 
bricks and of the fire-pan. Prayers accompanied every process 
of building, the modelling and baking of the fire-pan and the 
individual bricks, some of which bore special names. Equally 
symbolic was the horse-sacrifice of which the purpose was national 
well-being, as stated below [Vdjasaneyi Sathhitd, xxii, 22] : — 

“ O Brahman ! May in this Kingdom be bom the Brahmana 
who is radiant with supreme knowledge (Brahmavarchasi 
jayatam asmin rashtre) ! May here be bom the Kshatriya 
who is a tme hero, a good marksman, a skilful shot, and an accom- 
plished charioteer (Maharathah) ! Also cows which yield plenty 
of milk, oxen that can draw well, the swift horse, and the good 
housewife ! May to this sacrificer be born the hero of a son, 
victorious, a mighty chariot-fighter, and eloquent at Assemblies 
(Sahh^a ) ! May we get rain according to our needs and our 
plants yield good fruit and crops ! May there be happiness and 
prosperity for all ! ” 

This prayer shows a remarkable appreciation of the factors 
making for the welfare of a country. 

The contents of the Yajurveda show how it gave impetus 
to the development of new subjects of study, both religious 
and secular. The need of correct pronunciation of hymns by the 
Hotfi priest laid the beginnings of subjects like Siksha (phonetics) 
and Chhandas (metrics) treated as Vedangas (parts of Vedic 
study) and of the elaborate Pratilakhya literature. And some 
of the functions with which the Adhvar3m priest was charged 
in regard to the material performance of sacrifices led to the 


development of several secular sciences and practical arts. 
Measuring the ground for sacrifice ; building the altar and 
platform according to area and volume previously determined ; 
ascertaining of proper seasons and moments for the actual 
performance of the sacrifice : these laid the foundation of 
geometrical logistics and of Jyotisha or astronomy. Some of the 
Assistants of Adhvaryu again had to cultivate a knowledge of 
the parts of the bodily frame of the animals to be immolated 
at sacrifices, and this led to the study of Anatomy (especially 
Osteology) and to physiological and medical speculations for 
which the Atharvaveda is chiefly noted. 

The Atharvaveda. The Atharvaveda, indeed, contains 
much new and original matter not to be found in the Rigveda. 
Of about 6,000 stanzas making up 731 h3mns divided into 
twenty books, some 1,200 are derived from the Rigveda, chiefly 
from its first, eighth, and tenth Books, and only a few from the 
other Books. A large part of this Vedic Saihhita refers to and 
mentions appropriate herbs as remedies against diseases like 
fever, leprosy, jaundice, dropsy, scrofula, cough, ophthalmia, 
baldness, impotence, and surgical ailments like fractures and 
wounds, bite of snakes and other injurious insects, and against 
poison in general, mania, and other complaints. The Atharva- 
veda is somewhat ungenerous in wishing away some of the ills 
of life like fever to distant regions and peoples such as the 
Mujavans, the Bahlikas or a Sudra girl whom it is asked to shake 
— fever, which is " now cold, now burning hot ”, which " makest 
all men yellow ”, with its “ brother, consumption, and sister, 
cough, and nephew, herpes ” [v, 22]. The Atharvaveda thus 
ranks as the oldest work of Indian Medicine. Its ninth 
book anticipates Astronor^y by its mention of the lunar 
mansions. A part of it deals with domestic rites at birth, marriage, 
or death, thereby anticpating the later Grihya Sutras. Along 
with spells for warding off evil, it also contains spells for securing 
good, such as harmony in family and village life, reconciliation 
of enemies, long life, health, prosperity, safety on journeys, and 
luck in gambling. There are, again, some h5mns giving interesting 
data, economic [xii, i], pohtical [xi, 10 ; vii, 12 on Kings and 
Assemblies] and philosophical [e.g. iv, 16, exalting divine 

Thus these later Vedic Samhitas, besides extending religious 
literature in response to the growing needs of worship, gave the 
start to a variety of speculations which resulted in the growth of 


a number of secular sciences and arts still subserving the ends 
of religion. 

Evidence on Education. In ancient India, the system of 
education was fixed and standardized on the basis of certain 
universally admitted and established ideals and practices 
connoted by the term Brahmacharya. The Atharvaveda is the 
only Veda which directly extols, exdts, and expounds this funda- 
mental system and institution of Brahmacharya which forms 
the foundation of the entire structure of Hindu thought and 
life. Subjects and courses of study may vary, but the system of 
education, its methods of training and discipline, must remain 
the same under all conditions. Studentship in ancient India 
was evolved into a science or an art of life which did not admit 
of any change according to age or clime but was taken to be of 
universal validity. 

The Atharvaveda [xi, 5] contains a separate long hymn 
describing this system of studentship. The pupil enters ‘upon 
his stage of studentship through the performance of the ceremony 
of initiation called Upanayana by his chosen teacher called 
Acharya. The ceremony takes three days {ratrlstisrah) during 
which the teacher holds within him the pupil to impart to him 
a new birth and regenerated life whence the pupil emerges as a 
dvija or twice-bom. His first birth he owes to his parents who 
give him only his body. It is a mere ph5rsical birth. His second 
birth is spiritual. It unfolds his mind and soul [Acharyah 
upanayamano brahmacharinaih krinute garbhamantah= 
Acharyah antah vidyaiarirasya madhye garbham krinute 
(Sayana), " the teacher recreates the pupil in a new body of 
learning ” | Tam ratrlstisrah udare bibharti]. After this 
upanayana or initiation, the pupil emerges as a Brahmachari, 
a new and changed person both externally and internally. He 
lives according to prescribed regulations governing both his 
dress and habits by which he is marked out. He goes about 
wearing a girdle {mekhald) of Ku^a grass, the skin of the black 
antelope (kdrshnam) and long hairs [dtrghaimairu) and carries 
fuel which he has to offer to Agni both monxing and evening 
[Samidhd samiddhah}. Besides these external marks, he is also 
distinguished by some inner attributes and disciplines. These 
are stated to be (i) Srama, self-restraint ; (2) Tapas, practice 
of penance and (3) Dikshd, consecration to a life of discipline 
through prescribed regulations such as begging and the like 
(Sayaiia). Thus the Brahmachari is abroad {eti), an example of 


that disdpline and detachment which have created and sustain 
the nniverse. The Supreme Being Himself is described as the 
prime BrahmacharL All creation is the outcome of Brahmacharya 
and Tapas, Through these, a King protects his Kingdom. 
Through these, the gods have conquered Death ... All creatures 
which have sprung from Prajapati have breath separately in 
themselves ; kn of these are preserved by supreme knowledge 
(brahma) which is produced in the Brahmacharin (Pfithak sarve 
prajapaty^ pranan atmasu bibhrati | tan sarvan brahma 
rakshati brahmacharini abhritam).'' 

The Acharya or preceptor is similarly extolled. He is com- 
pared to Yama [either the guru of Nachiketas or the god of 
Death killing the sinner (Sayana)] ; to Vanina [either the guru 
of Bhrigu or the protector against sins (Sayana)] ; to Sun and 
Moon as the givers of light and happiness, from whose pleasure 
is to be derived all prosperity [of which the s3nnbols mentioned 
are aushadhayah, i.e. rice and wheat and payah or kshiram 
(Sayana)]. The Acharya is also mentioned as being sustained 
by the devoted disciple performing faithfully his prescribed 
duties [Tapasd piparti = svanmdrga-vrittyd pdlayati (Sayana)] 
and by grateful gifts to him, even as Mitra, the disciple of Varuna, 
gave him presents up to the limit of his resources. 

Briefly put, the Brahmacharl, after his initiation into a 
new life whereby he is recreated by his guru, has to undergo 
a twofold course of discipline, physical and spiritual. The former 
comprised (i) wearing the Ku^a girdle and deer skin, (2) letting 
his hairs grow, (3) collecting fuel and tending the household 
fire, and (4) begging. The spiritual discipline included (i) offering 
fuel to and worshipping Agni twice daily, (2) control of senses, 
(3) practice of austerities, (4) living a dedicated life, and (5) 
satisfying the teacher by gifts acceptable to him. 

Besides this special Hymn in praise of the Brahmacharl, 
the Atharvaveda contains a few other passages also on the 
subject. XIX, 41 refers to Brahmacharya as a distinct stage in 
life and as a system of discipline [tapo-dlkshdmupanisheduh). 
VII, 105 contains an exhortation to holy life which is quoted in 
Kau^ika Sutra (55, 16) in connection with the Upanayana 
ceremony as the teacher takes the pupil by the arm and sets 
him facing eastward [Pranitib abhyavartasva = prakrishta- 
nayanadi-veda-brahmacharya-niyatih (Sayana)] . The prayers 
of the Brahmachiu*! show the high aims for which he stands. 
He prays for success in his study of the Veda and for its freedom 

Hermitages in Bharhut Sculptures (c. second century b.c.). 

No. 1. — It bears the inscription : Dighatapasi sise anusasati, " the ascetic of long p»enance instructs his pupils.** 
Cunningham takes some of these pupils to be female i^ishis. The position of the pupils* fingers shows counting called for 
in Sdma-Veda chanting. 

[Facing p. 68 



bam fvE. 54, x-2 ] ; for faith {iraddhi), insight 

(^fuiki^MaikUmda-ihdra 9 ^^ progeny {praja), wealth 
(dhana), longevity {ifyu), and immortality {amfitatva) [xix, 64]. 
In vii, 61 he ckims insight into the Vedas, longevity, and 
wisdom as the fruits of tapas^ 

CMrl-stndents. It is to be noted that brahtnacharya was 
also applicable to girls in those days. X, 5, 18 states how 
maidens win youths (yuvSnam) as their husbands through 
brahtnacharya. This probably refers to studentship preceding 
the married state or second airama in the case of both boys 
and girls. 

Holidays. Lastly, in connection with the prayer for non- 
interruption of study, it is interesting to note the holidays 
observed in these Vedic Schools on occasions of cloudy 
(antarikshe = meghdchchhanne) or windy {vdte) weather. Vedic 
study was also not to be under the shade of trees {vriksheshu = 
vrikshachchhdydydm), ip sight of green barley {ulapeshu = 
haritaiasya-sannidhau) and within hearing of cattle {paiavah 
airavanam) [vii, 66]. 

Evidence ol ‘Taiurveda.* The Yajurveda [Taitti. Sam., vi, 3, 
10, 5] contains a reference to this system of studentship which 
shows that it was an established system for long. It states that 
man owes three debts which he must repay in three prescribed 
ways. viz. (i) the debt to Rishis to be repaid by brahmacfiarya by 
which he is to acquire and spread the knowledge he inherits 
from the Rishis ; (2) the debt to gods by yajhas (sacrifices) to 
realize his kinship with the spiritual world (of gods) ; and (3) the 
debt to ancestors by fatherhood to continue the family in which 
he is bom. The debt to ^l^ishis is the debt which one owes to 
learning in the shape of his cultural heritage. Such an obligation 
he can only discharge by making his own contribution to 
learning, which he can achieve only on the basis of brahma- 

In conclusion, it may be noted that the Yajurveda read as 
a literary work is not perhaps interesting but it is supremely 
important and interesting to a student of religion who will find 
in it a source for the study not only of Indian but also of the 

^ SS.ya^a describes three kinds of Tapas, viz, (1) tending the fires, (2) sub- 
duing the flesh by austerities {knchchhrddydcharanena ^arira-doshanam), and 
(3) concentration of the mind and senses on &e divine (manasaiScha indriyanam 
cha aikS.gryaih tapa uchyate). Sayan a also cites Patafljali-Stltra which mentions 
the followmg four processes of realizing the Divine, viz. (1) (purity), 

(2) Santosha (contentment), (3) Tapa (penance), and (4) SvWAyay a (Vedic study). 



general science of religion. He will find it specially valuable 
for a study of the origin, development, and the significance of 
prayer in the evolution of religious ideas. The Yajurveda also 
supplies the key to an understanding of the later literature of 
the Brdhmai^as of which it contains the origins and also of the 
Upanishads following the Brdhmavas. 

Chapter IV 


Soorces. We shall now study Education in the light of 
the data furnished by the vast body of later Vedic literature, 
comprising what are called the, Arattyakas, and 
Upanishads. In one sense, it may be stated that Indian Education 
reached its climax and achieved the highest degree of efficiency 
and success in this period when it could produce a literature 
hke the Upanishads which are universally admitted to record 
the utmost possibilities of human speculation regarding some of 
the ultimate problems of life and metaphysical mysteries. 
Unfortunately, the evidence on the subject is comparatively 
meagre and not given in any one place in any of the numerous 
works to be studied for it. One can only find bits of evidence 
here and there and piece together the scattered bits for con- 
structing a system that may be understood. 

An account of these source-books has first to be given in 
their possible educational bearings and cultural implications. 

We have already seen how the Rigveda Sarhhita presents 
the two aspects of Religion, the aspect of Thought, Philosophy, 
Meditation, and Concentration (Tapas) and the practical aspect 
of Religion as exemplified in external worship of individual 
deities by means of Yajfias or sacrifices. The first aspect is 
distinguished as JAdna-kdn^a and the second Karma-kdrida. 
The Karma-kdi^a, the practical needs of worship, called for 
the growth of priesthood and its necessary texts, the two Vedic 
Saihhitas of Sama and Yaju^i. Religion now began to centre 
more and more in ceremonial and sacrifice, the details of which 
were more and more elaborated and called for sviitable texts by 
which they could be regulated, fixed, and conserved. This 
explains the emergence of a new tjrpe of literature, the Brdhmanas, 
which is unique in the annals of literature. It is the literature of 
priesthood and has a very narrow appeal. But like the Yajurveda 
it is important as a source of religious history, the history of 
sacrifice and priesthood. Ritualism runs riot in these Brahmana 



works. An age of creation is now succeeded by an age of conserva- 
tion, compilation, and criticism. Poets and Seers are now replaced 
by Priests and Theologians. A reaction soon followed and 
expressed itself in the Upanishads which bring back into religion 
the atmosphere of abstraction and pure thought which the 
Rigveda breathes. 

As has been already explained, the Brdhmai^as are works 
that deal with brahma, i.e. devotion and prayer, and are of the 
nature of textbooks for rituals or treatises on the “ science of 
sacrifice ”. They are thus composed in prose. Their main purpose 
is to explain the relations between the Vedic texts and their 
corresponding ceremonial and also to explain their sjnnbolical 
meaning with reference to each other. They are meant not for 
the lay-worshippers for whom they are too technical, but only 
for those who are already familiar with sacrificial performances 
so that the descriptions they give of such performances are not 
required to be exhaustive. Their subject-matter has been, as 
we have seen, analysed by Sayana into (i) Vidhi or practical 
directions for the performance of a yajha or sacrifice, and (2) 
Arthavdda or explanations, exegetical, m3dhological, or polemical, 
including theological or philosophical speculations on the nature 
of things (Upanishad). While its Vidhi portion thus makes of the 
Brahtnana a liturgical work concerned with the cult and technique 
of sacrificial performances, its Arthavdda portion is free from the 
tranunels of such technical practicalities of ritualism and freely 
introduces matters of general interest in the form of legends, 
ethical teachings, philosophical discussions, historical episodes, 
et3Tnologies, myths, and the like, covering a wide range of 
intellectual activity that adds to the value, volume, and variety 
of this literature. 

To each of these Brdhmaij,as is also annexed an Ara^yaka 
or “ forest-portion ”, i.e. the portion to be studied in the forest 
by those sages who have become its denizens and do not need to 
perform sacrifices. The idea is that the Araityakas are the 
vehicles of metaphysical and mystical truths which are best 
studied in the solitude of the forests and not in the distractions 
of cities. India has thought her highest in the forests, her 
civilization is sylvan and not urban, the product of out-of-the- 
way^ schools or hermitages. 

A yet further and more remarkable literary development 
is roistered in what are called the Upanishads of which the very 
title, like that of the Aranyakas, points to the special educational 


methods of which they are the fruits. The expression upa-ni- 
shad literally means “ sitting down near ” and indicated ‘‘ con- 
fidential session ” at which the secret or esoteric doctrines of 
these works were taught to select pupils towards the end of their 
studentship in discourses from which wider circles were excluded. 

The extant Brahmanas group themselves round the several 
Vedas which thus determine their subject-matter. Thus the 
Brahmanas of the Rigveda contain only such explanations of 
the ritual as are needed by the Hoiri priest in his task of collecting 
from the total body of the hymns the verses suited to each 
particular occasion as its iastra (canon). Being liturgical works, 
they follow the order of the sacrificial performance without 
reference to the sequence of the hymns in their Veda. The 
BrdhmavMS of the Saman and Yajus confine themselves to the 
duties of the Udgatri and Adhvaryu priests and follow the order 
of the ritual already established in their respective Vedas. 

The literature of the period in its threefold branches of 
Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads may be indicated as 
follows : — 


A. BrfthnyuuM : 

(1) Aitareya attributed by Sayana to Mahidasa Aitareya, 
son of Itaifi,, one of the many wives of a Rishi named Vi^ala. 
This Aitareya was probably the founder of a Sakha or school of 
Aitareyins whose doctrines, ceremonial, philological, and philo- 
sophical, are incorporated in the Brahmana, Aranyaka, and 
Upanishad attached to his name. These works seem to have 
been afterwards adopted by the later Sakhas of the Rigveda, 
for we actually hear of an A^valayana text of the Aitareyakam, 
A^valayana being the pupil of Saunaka. 

(2) lS&nkb£yana, which cites the views of the two previous 
authors, Paingya (the sage mentioned in the Brahmana of the 
White Yajus from whom Yaska Paingi was descended) and 
Kaushitaka whose views it regards as more authoritative and 
therefore this Brdhmaita might be a remoulding of the stock of 
dogma derived from the Kaushitakins whence it is also known 
as Kaushitaki Brahmar^a. 

It may be noted in this connection that, along with previous 
teachers, some previous forms of literary composition are also 
referred to by both these Brahmarj^as in such terms as dkhydna 
and gdthd, i.e. a kind of memorial verses. 


B. Ars^yakas : 

(1) Aitareya, which lays great stress upon keeping its 
doctrines secret and the importance of those familiar with them. 
It gives the extant arrangement of the Eil^-Sariihita with the 
names of its subdivisions ; mentions the other Vedas ; comments 
on some h5Tnns on the Rigveda in the manner of a Nirukta ; 
contains some grammatical matter ; and names many individual 
teachers among whom are two ^akalyas, a Krishna H^ita, and 
a Pahchalachanda. 

(2) Kanshliaki, parts of which coirespond to the former 

C. Upanishads : 

(1) Aiiareya. 

(2) Kanshltaki in which AjataSatru, King of Kali, is 
mentioned as teaching the proud Brahmana Balaki ; the wise 
king, Chitra Gangyayani, as instructing Aruni. 


A. Br&hmapas : 

(1) Tftpdya, also called Panchavimia, concerned with the 
Soma sacrifices -in general, ranging from minor oUerings to those 
which lasted 100 days or even several years (called sattras, or 
sessions). It also contains minute descriptions of the sacrifices 
on the Sarasvatl and Drishadvati and also of Vrdtya-stomas 
by which non-Brahmanical Aryans were admitted into the 
Brahmanical order. It is also hostile towards the Kaushitakins 
whom it brands as vrdtyas (apostates) and yajndvakir^a (unfit 
to sacrifice). The name Tan(Jya is mentioned as that of a teacher 
in the Brahmana of the White Yajus. 

(2) Shadviihla, a supplement to the former. 

(3) Adbhflta, a supplement to the former in which are 
mentioned Uddalaka Aruni and other teachers. 

(4) Chh&ndogya, of which the major part is its Upanishad. 

(5) Talavakftra in five books, of which the first three are 
connected with sacrificial ceremonial, the fourth is called the 
upanishad Brahmana, which contains the Kenopanishad, and the 
fifth is called Arsh^a Brdhmaiia which enumerates the composers 
of the 95 maveda. 

There are three other short works which are mere Brdhma^as 
in name, viz. the Samavidhdna, showing the uses of chants for 
superstitious purposes, the Devatddhydya, giving some particulars 



about the deities of the sdmans, and the Vamia which gives a 
genealogy of the teachers of the Samaveda. 

The Samaveda has no Aranyakas. 

B. Upsnishada : 

(1) Chh&ndogya known for its mention of the Naimishlya- 
^shis, the Mahaviishas, and the Gandharas ; of Krishna 
Devakiputra as a pupil of Ghora Ahgirasa ; of Pravahana 
Jaivali, a Kshatriya engaged in philosophical discussions ; 
Ushasta Chakrayaija, a teacher ; Sandilya, a teacher ; Satya- 
kama Jabala, a teacher, the son of a slave girl by an unknown 
father who was initiated as a Brahmacharin by Gautama 
Haridrumata and was also a pupil of Janaki Ayasthuna ; 
Uddalaka Aruni ; Svetaketu ; and A^vapati, a prince of the 
Kekayas who instructed Prachina^^a and other Brahmins. 
These names are also mentioned in the Brihaddranyaka. The 
work also mentions Sanatkumara, Skanda, Narada, and subjects 
like Atharvahgirasah, Itihasa and Purana which probably 
attained independent forms at the time of this reference. There 
is also some legal material, e.g. capital punishment for denied 
theft, trial by ordeal, which points to its comparatively late age. 
Philosophical doctrines are termed Upanishad, adeia, guhya 
ddeia (the secrecy of which is repeatedly insisted upon). 

(2) Kena, remnant of the Brahmana of the Talavakaras. 


1. Black : 

A. Brfthmapa : Taittirtya. 

B. Aranyaka : Taittirlya in 10 books. 

C. Upanishad : 

(1) Taittiiiya, books vii-ix of the Aratyyaka ; 

(2) MahA-Nftrayapa or YdjHikl, book x of the Aranyaka ; 

(3) Maitr&yana taught to King Brihadratha, an Aikshvaku ; 

(4) E&(haka (with the legend of Nachiketas) ; 

(5) Svetfiilvatara named after its individual author. 

2. White : 

A. Brfthmapa : Satapatha, the contents of which will be 
commented on later. 

B. Arapyaka : the last book of the Brdhmaita. 

C. Upanishad ; ( 1 ) Bfihaddranyaka formed by the con- 
cluding six chapters of the Aranyaka ; it gives two lists of teachers 
which, compared with the list attached to Bk. x of the Satapatha, 
would point to the conclusion that the leading teachers of the 


ritual tradition (Brahtna^as) were different from those of the 
philosophical tradition (Upanishads) [Macdonell, Sans. Lit., 
P- 235] ; it contains the famous dialogues between King Janaka 
and Yajnavalkya ; between Yajnavalkya and his wife Maitreyi. 

(2) l6a of eighteen stanzas only. 


A. Br&hma^a : Gopatha, the second book of which is 
based on the Vaitana Srauta Sutra, thus showing a reversal of 
the usual historical relation between a Brdhmana and a Sutra, 
and other parts of which are derived from other Brahmanas 
like Aitareya, Kaushitaki, Satapatha, and Panchavim^a as also 
the Maitrayani and Taittiriya Saihhitas. 

B. Upanishads : 

(1) Mundaka, the Upanishad of the tonsured, an association 
of ascetics who shaved their heads. 

(2) Praina, treating of questions addressed by six students 
to the sage Pippalada. 

(3) Mdndukya. chiefly known as having given birth to the 
Kdrikd of Gaudapada, probably the teacher of Govinda, whose, 
pupil was Sankara. 

A large and indefinite number of Upanishads is attributed 
to the Atharvaveda, of which twenty-seven are recognized. 
Most of them are post-Vedic. 

We shall base our study on the ten Upanishads recognized 
by Sankara in his commentary on the Vedanta Sutras. 

We have now broadly considered the total quantity of- 
literary output of the period, from which we have now to derive 
the data for the construction of its educational history. 

How these works were taught and transmitted. At the outset 
of this inductive study we should, however, note that the 
available Brahmana literature indicated above does not represent 
the entire literary matter produced. This is clear not merely 
from the internal evidence of the extant works but also from 
a consideration of the methods by which the works have been 
handed down from age to age. From internal evidence we know 
that to the number of the, or recensions of the 
Saihhitas, which have been lost to us, belong those of the 
Vashkalas, Paihgins, Bhallavins, Satyayanins, K§labavins, Lama- 
kayanins, Sambuvis, Kha<^ayanins, and Salahkayanins. As 
regards the circumstances of the origin of these Brdhmai^as and 
the conditions and methods of their transmission, it may be 



safely stated that they originated from the opinions of individual 
sages, imparted by oral tradition, and preserved as well as 
supplemented in their families and also by their disciples. As 
these separate traditions grew in number, the necessity was more 
and more felt for bringing them into harmony with one another. 
For this purpose learned individuals in different parts who were 
specially qualified for the task undertook compilations embodying 
the various traditions and different opinions on each subject and 
trace them in each case as far as possible to their original 
exponents. These compilations or digests again in their turn 
were orally transmitted in accordance with the well-known 
orthodox predilections on the subject and were not written down. 
We thus find here and there that of the same work there are 
two texts entirely differing in their details. Thus would also 
be produced frequent differences and conflicts between these 
compilers, as a result of which we find expressions of strong 
animosity against those whom a particular compilation regards 
as heterodox. There was also going on among these rival and 
competing compilations a struggle for existence leading to the 
survival of the fittest, which became so either by virtue of their 
intrinsic value, or of the fact that their authors appealed more 
to the hieratic spirit, the prevailing religious tendencies of 
the times. Thus we encounter the rather lamentable fact that 
the works representative of the disputed opinions have for the 
most part disappeared (with the possibility of mere fragments 
thereof being recovered here and there) while those which in the 
end came off victorious have almost entirely supplanted and 
effaced their predecessors. 

Variety ot Institutions for propagation of Learning. The 

peculiar literary processes or movements noticed above bring 
us to a general consideration of the organization and methods 
which were evolved in ancient India for the conservation and 
transmission of her literature from age to age. For what has 
been described regarding the Brdhmanas applies also to the 
Vedic compilations as well as the Sutras, The organization and 
machinery for the preservation and propagation of the entire 
Vedic literature which rested on the time-honoured system of 
oral tradition developed in course of time several types of 
institutions known as Sdkhds, Charanas, Parishads, Kulas, Gotras, 
and the like, of which we shall now indicate some particulars. 
All of these were of the nature of assemblies, academies, literary 
or religious guilds, serving as Schools of Vedic learning in which 


that learning was conserved, commented upon, andcommtmicated 
by successive generations of teachers and pupils gathering round 
a distinct tradition bequeathed to them by the particular founder 
of a School named after him. 

6&khfts and Charagaa. The term Sakha was originally 
applied to the three original Saihhitas of the Rik, Santa, and 
Yajus regarded as the three branches or stems of the Veda-tree ^ 
having the same root, revelation {Sruti), and bearing tha same 
fruit, the sacrifice (karman) [Kumarila and Apastamba quoted 
by Max Muller, Sans. Lit., p. 124], More frequently, however, 
the term was used with reference to the different traditionary 
texts of each of the four Vedas. As Madhusudana Sarasvati 
puts it [ib. 122], “ for each Veda there are several Vakhas, and 
their differences arise from various readings.” The growth of 
a variety of readings in even the sacred texts of the Vedas is 
of course to be traced to the methods of teaching in vogue in 
those ancient times. Literary works did not then exist in writing 
and were devoid of any tangible, external form. The Vedic 
hymns had no outward existence except through those who 
heard and remembered them. Thus a book then existed merely 
as a body of thought handed down in schools or in families. 
A man who had mastered a book was himself the book. A work 
once composed might either wither for want of an audience, or 
grow, hke a tree, of which every new listener who would learn 
it by heart would become a new branch (literally, idkhd). But 
we should not fail to distinguish between the branch, as the book, 
and the branch, as the reader ; that is to say, between the trust 
and the trustee. The former is to be designated Sdkhd and the 
latter as the reader of a Sdkhd, while we should also note in this 
connection that the term Charana is to be applied to those ideal 
successions or fellowships to which all those belonged who read 
the same Sdkhd. Thus the analogy of a branch of a tree was 
employed to convey what we in modern times understand by 
an edition, say, of a hundred copies. Literary works were handed 
down by or^ tradition in different communities which thus 
represented, so to say, different works, or even different recensions 
of one and the same work, like so many MSS. in later times. 

The reahty of the phenomenon we have been noticing 
will be more fully realized from the fact that it had led to the 
growth of the special class of literature called the PrdtUdkhyas 

‘ It is said of S3.ya;ia that he wrote commentaries on each of the Sikkis 
of the Veda. 


associated with what are known as the Vedic Vakhas. Prdiisdkhya 
does not mean a treatise on the phonetic peculiarities of each 
Veda but a collection of phonetic rules peculiar to one of the 
different Sdkhds of the four Vedas, i.e. to one of those different 
texts in which each of the Vedas had been handed down for ages 
in different families and different parts of India. The Sdkhds, 
as already explained, were not independent collections of the 
old hymns but different editions of one and the same original 
collection which in the course of a long continued oral tradition 
had become modified by slight degrees. The texts of the Veda 
as they existed and lived in the oral tradition of various sets of 
people became Sdkhds differing from other Sdkhds somewhat 
in the same way as the MSS. of the New Testament differ from 
one another. Indeed, most Sdkhas differ merely in single words 
or verses, and not materially, in the arrangement of the hynyis, 
and it is only in a few cases that we find one Sdkhd containing 
some hymns more than another. Now along with this variety 
in the texts, there was also an inevitable variety in the methods 
of their pronunciation pursued by the different Sdkhds or seats 
of Vedic learning. There thus grew up a certain number of local 
varieties in accent and pronunciation and in the recital of h)mins, 
which were strictly and religiously adhered to out of the natural 
respect paid by each teacher, by each family, and by each Brah- 
manic community or guild to its own established oral tradition. 
Thus the Prdtisdkhyas, besides giving general rules for the 
proper pronunciation of the Vedic language as a safeguard 
against its further corruption — for already the idiom of the 
Veda was left far behind the spoken language of India as a kind of 
antique and sacred utterance so as to need for the preservation 
of its proper pronunciation a system of rules on metre, accent, 
and the like — ^were intended to record what was peculiar in the 
pronunciation of certain teachers and their schools in the absence 
of any criterion for determining what was the ancient and most 
correct way of reciting the sacred songs of the Veda. Even in 
cases where these Schools had become extinct, we find the names 
of their founders preserved as authorities on matters connected 
with the pronunciation of certain letters or words. 

We have now considered the origin of the Vedic Sdkhds 
which, as we have seen, rested on a variety of both readings and 
pronunciation. The original sense of the term Sdkhd takes it to 
be a literary work, as in tlje expression Sdkhdth adhite, " he reads 
a particular recension of the Veda.” But from its original sense 


of various editions, it soon came to mean the various traditions 
that branched off from each of-the three original branches of 
the Veda, and in this latter sense it became synonymous with the 
term Charana. The reason of this change in the use of the word 
seems to be that the Sakha existed in those times not as a written 
book but only in the traditions of the Charanas, each member of 
a Charami representing what, in our modern times, we should 
call the copy of a book. Thus the two terms were used in the same 
way as we speak of the Jews when we mean the Old Testament 
or of the Koran when we mean the Moslems. 

This was, however, a loose use of the term Sakha, for the 
real difference between a Sakha and a Charana was fully 
recognized. In a Vdrttika to Panini [iv, i, 63] the term Charana 
is taken to mean the readers of a Sakha (Sakhddhyetri). 
In another place, Panini alludes to Charanas as consisting of a 
number of followers [iv, 2, 46]. He also mentions the Kathaka, 
Kalapaka and Paippaladaka as Vedic recensions belonging to 
the Charanas of the Kathas, Kalapas, and Pippaladas [iv, 
3, 126]. Again, in a Varttika to Panini [iv, i, 63], there is a 
reference to women as belonging to a Charana, for a Kathl points 
to a woman who belongs to the Charana, or reads the Sakha, of 
the Kathas. The best definition of a Charana occurs in a passage 
in Jagaddhara's commentary on the Mdlatimddhava, where the 
Charana is defined as a number of men who are pledged to the 
reading of a certain Sakha of the Veda and who have in this manner 
become one body” [Charanaiahdah idkhdviieshddhyayanap- 
araikaidpanna-janasamghavdcht). Thus, while the Sakha^ denoted 
the texts, their propagators or pravartakas were the Charanas. 

BrShmana-Charanas. Thus the Charanas were practically 
the Schools for the cultivation and propagation of particular 
texts of the Vedas. It should, however, be noted that just as 
the several Vedas under the system of oral tradition developed 
a variety of texts, so also did the Brdhmanas which, moreover, 
being not written in metre, like the Vedas, were more exposed 
to alteration in that process of propagation. This means that, 
besides the adoption of a particular text or recension of any 
of the Vedas, the second factor in the formation of a Charana 
was the adoption of a Brdhmana which, be it understood, was 
not usually or necessarily any independent work but merely 
one of the various recensions branching out of a common Brd}^ 
mana. Originally, there was but one body of Brdhmanas for 
each of the three Vedas ; for the Rigveda, the Brdhmanas of 


the Bahvrichas, for the Samaveda, the Brdhmanas of the 
Chhandogas, and for the Yajnrveda in its two forms, the Brah- 
maitas of the Taittiriyas and the Satapatha Brahmana. These 
original Brdhmanas were compiled out of a floating stock of 
sayings and discussions which necessarily grew up in connection 
with the work of the several classes of priests, each specializing 
in a particular department of the sacrifice. They were, however, 
from their very character liable to much greater alteration in 
the course of a long-continued oral tradition than the Samhita 
texts and were not to be met with very soon in their original 
forms, but in various recensions creating, and also adopted by, 
different Charanas which may be distinguished as Brahmana- 
Charanas from the 5<a:mAi^i-Charanas. Thus the original 
Bahvricha-BraAwawa of the Rigveda appeared in two recensions 
belonging to the Charanas of the Aitareyins and the Kaushitakins 
or ' Safikhayanins ; the original Chhdndogyam appeared as the 
Brahmana of the Tandins and as the now lost works belonging 
to the Charanas of the Satyayanins and the Kauthumas ; instead 
of one Adiivdsyu-Brdhmana, we have the dark code of the old 
Charakas, or the Taittiriyas and the Kathas, and the new 
Brahmana of the Vajasaneyins and their descendants, the Kanvas 
and the Madhyandinas. But the very variations in these 
Brdhmana texts preserved by their respective Charanas point 
clearly to one and the same original from which they descended. 
This is true even of the two Brdhmanas of the Aitareyins and 
the Kaushitakins, which exhibit apparently deep differences in 
respect of ceremonial rules, order in which the sacrifices are 
described, and even illustrations and legends, but nevertheless 
show a common origin in their literary coincidence of whole 
chapters, frequent occurrences of the same sentences, comparisons, 
and instances, and the like. 

There was thus quite a multitude of these Charanas due 
to differences in the text of the Vedic hymns as well as to dis- 
crepancies in the connected Brdhmanas y to judge from the 
numerous and frequent references to them. We can easily recall 
to ourselves the circumstances under which they arose. A great 
teacher gathering round him a number of students introduces to 
his newly-founded colony some sacred text which differs but 
slightly from the traditional texts kept up in the community 
to which he originally belonged. But he himself adds some 
chapters of his own composition or makes other changes in the 
imported text which in the eyes of the disciples united under 


his teachings might be sufficient to constitute a new work that 
should no longer pass under its original title. Thus new Charaijtas 
would be founded and the institutions would multiply, aiding 
in the propagation of the sacred learning and the extension of Ihe 
area of its influence. It is thus that Vedic culture radiated 
in all directions from a comparatively small number of original 
centres until it spread over the entire continent. It should be 
noted in this connection that most of these Charanas differed from 
one another more in respect of their Brdhmaatas than their 
Saihhitas. Students following different 3 dkhds, as far as their 
Brdhrmna was concerned, might very well follow one and the 
same Sdkhd of the Saihhita, though they would no longer call 
it by its own original name. But in most cases, and particularly 
in the Charanas of the Yajurveda, it is seen that a difference in 
the BrdhntafMs leads to corresponding differences in the Sarhhita, 
such as we find, for instance, in the h3nnns of the Kanvsis and 

Parishads. There was also a third type of institutions 
developed for the cultivation and propagation of learning. These 
are known as Parishads (lit. sitting round). The term, as used in 
the Upanishads, means an assemblage of advisers in questions of 
philosophy. It was a settlement of Brahmanas, a community or 
college to which members of any Charatj.a might belong. It there- 
fore rested on a broader basis than a Charana which signified 
an ideal succession of teachers and pupils who learn and teach 
a certain branch of the Veda. Thus members of the same Charatia 
might be Fellows of different Parishads and Fellows of the same 
Parishad might be members of different Charanas. The Gobhila 
Grihya Sutra refers to a teacher with his Parishad [iii, 2, 40 : 
Achdryam saparishatkarh = saha parishadd Ushyaganena vartate 
iti saparishatkah tarn]. The term pdrshada is often applied to the 
Prati^akhyas [Nirukta, i, 17] and is explained by the commentator 
Durgacharya to mean " those pdrshada books by which in a 
Parishad (parish or college) of one’s own Charaita (sect) the 
peculiarities of accent, Saihhita and kratna-x&djding, of Pragyihya- 
vowels, and separation of words, are laid down as enjoined for 
and restricted to certain Sdkhds (branches or recensions of the 
Veda) Thus the term pdrshada is a generic term applied to any 
work that belonged to a Parishad, or formed, so to say, part of 
the traditional library of the p>drishadyas, so that the Pratiia- 
khyas would be a section in the library of the pdrshada works. 
Thus, while'every Prati^akhya may be called a pdrshada, not 



every parshada can be called a Prati§akhya. If a follower of the 
^&kala-Charana was a Fellow of the Vatsa-Parishad, the Sakala- 
prati^akhya would necessarily be one of the Parshada works of 
the Vatsas, and the Parishad of the Vatsas would through this 
Fellow be connected with the Sakala-Charana. It should be noted 
in this connection that in later literature ^ the term Parishad 
does not denote so much an academic institution as a body of 
advisers on religious topics, also the assessors of a judge, or the 
Council of ministers * of a prince. 

To smn up, we may say in modern phraseology that a Parishat 
corresponds to a University comprising students belonging to 
different colleges called Charu'^s. 

Ootras. Somewhat akin to the institutions of Sakha, Charana, 
and Parishad is that of the Gotra or Kula which means a family 
depending on a real or imaginary community of blood and may 
exist among all the three castes. The Charanas, confined only 
to the Brahmins, depend, as we have seen, not on the community 
of blood but on the community of sacred texts and were thus 
ideal fellowships held together by ties more sacred than the mere 
ties of blood. Hence members of different Gotras might belong to 
the same Charana, the new Charana might bear the name of its 
founder, and thus become synon5nnous, but not identical, with a 
Gotra. The names of the Chara^s were naturally preserved 
as long as the texts which they embodied continued to be studied. 
The names of the Gotras were liable to confusion in later times 
when their number became too large, but the sacred works preserve 
the genealogical lists for Brahmins which, considering the respect 
they pay to their ancestors, may be taken to present a correct 
account of the priestly families of India. All Brahmin families are 

^ Cf. Manu and Yajflavalkya (i, 9), according to whom the parishad should 
consist of twenty-one Brahmanas well versed in philosophy, theolo^, and 
law. Para^ara, however, lays down the following particulars regarding the 
constitution of parishads : 

“ Four, even three able men from amongst the Brahmins in a village, who 
know the Veda, and keep the sacrificial fire, may well form the Parishad. 

Or, if they do not keep the sacrificial fire, five or three who have studied 
the Vedas and Vedafigas and know the law. 

Of old sages, who possess the highest knowledge of the Divine Self, who 
are twice-bom, perform sacrifices, and have purified themselves in the duties 
of the Veda, one also may be considered as a Parishad. 

“ Thus five kinds of Parishads have been described by me : but if they 
all fail, three independent men may form a Parishad.” 

According to Brihaspati, “ where seven, five, or three Brahmins who know 
the customs of the world, the Veda, and its Afigas, and the law have settled, 
that Assembly is like a yajtia {yajHasadriil sahhd). 

• The Kau^iliya uses the term in this sense and refers to the different numbers 
of members which, according to different political writers, can constitute that 
administrative council. 



supposed to have descended from the seven ]^ishis, viz. Bhjigu, 
Ahgiras, Vilvamitra, Vasishtha, Kaiyapa, Atri, Agastya, but 
the real ancestors are the following eight, viz. Jamadagni, 
Gautama, Bharadvaja, Viivamitra, Vasishtha, Kalyapa, Atri, 
Agastya, The eight Gotras descending from these Rishis are again 
subdivided into forty-nine Gotras and these forty-nine branch off 
again into a still larger number of families. The names Gotra, 
Varhia, Varga, Paksha, and Gana are all used in the same sense 
to express the larger as weU as the smaller families descended from 
the eight ^shis. A Brahmin, who keeps the sacrificial fire, is 
obliged by law to know to which of the forty-nine Gotras his own 
family belongs, and, in consecrating his own fire, he must invoke 
the ancestors who founded the Gotra to which he belongs. This 
invitation or invocation of the ancestors came to be called 
Pravara. Each of th® forty-nine Gotras claims one or two or three 
or five ancestors, and the names of these ancestors constitute the 
distinctive character of each Gotra. Lists of these are to be found 
in the Kalpa-Sutra works. Their reality is, to some extent, 
borne out by the fact that they have an important practical bear- 
ing upon the two essential ceremonies of Brahmanic society, 
viz. marriage and consecration of sacrificial fires. 

Vedic Schools as Schools ol both Law and Learning. We have 
now gained an insight into the system by which the Samhitas 
and Brdhmanas were handed down from generation to generation, 
the institutions by means of which Vedic literature was fostered 
and propagated until it extended to all parts of a vast country. 
Quite a network of Vedic schools was spread over the country, 
each of which specialized in particular texts of the Vedas and 
developed special commentaries of their own and later on even 
special codes of law so as to become a centre of both life and 
learning.^ For in these ancient seats of learning there was no 

^ In the commentary to Para^ara's Grihya Sutras (quoted by Max Muller, 
History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature), it is thus stated ; “ Vasishtha declares 
that it is wrong to follow the rules of another Sakha. He says, ‘ A wise person 
will certainly not perform the duties prescribed by another Sakha ; he that does 
is called a traitor to his Sakha, Whosoever leaves the law of his Sakha, and adopts 
that of another, he sinks into blind darkness, having degraded a sacred Rishi/ 
And in another law book it is said : ‘ If a man gives up his own customs and 
performs others, whether out of ignorance or covetousness, he will fall and be 
destroyed/ And again, in the Pari^ishta of the Chhandogas : ' A fool who 

ceases to follow his own Sakha, wishing to adopt another one, his work will be 
in vain/ " Sometimes, different Brahmanical clans developed different physical 
marks distinguishing them. In a passage in the Giihya-saihgraha-pari^ishta 
(referred to by Max Muller, ibid.), it is mentioned how the VSsishthas wear 
a braid on the right side, the Atreyas wear three braids, the Ahgirasas wear five 
locks, the Bhrigus have their heads quite shaved, others have a lock of hair 
on the top of the forehead 


divorce between theory and practice, thought and life, speculation 
and action. Education, true to its literal sense, meant the develop- 
ment of all the faculties of man and included within its purview the 
totality of interests which make ap life and not merely a section 
thereof, viz. the interests of intellectual life. It was education 
not merely in the contents of the sacred lore but also in the 
methods of living and self-culture according to the ideals embodied 
therein. Thus these seats of ancient learning were also the centres 
of life, of all that was best and highest in the community, centres 
of influence which vitalized the country. These ancient schools 
were not detached buildings of brick and mortar like modem 
schools, but were colonies in which were centred the talent, the 
piety, the culture of the community, from which they radiated 
in all directions. In them was represented the highest level of 
life marking the high water-mark of the nation’s progress, from 
which it gradually filtered down to the lower planes of society. 
The secret of the success of these schools in spreading the learning 
and culture entrusted to their custody lay in the principle of 
decentralization, the principle akin to that underlying the domestic 
system of industrial organization as distinguished from the factory 
system. In the colonization of a new country the methods of 
extensive cultivation are more appropriate than those of intensive. 
Similarly, in the spread of a new culture and civilization, what is 
most needed is a multiplicity of centres of the new life and learn- 
ing, any number of foci from which the new light can shine. 
Similar indeed are the methods of both physical and spiritual 
settlement and reclamation, of colonization and civilization. 

Thus the numerous Vedic schools which sprang up in the 
different parts of the country were the chief agents in the Aryaniza- 
tion of the continent, in spreading through it the religion of the 
Vedas and the social system resulting from it. We shall now 
adduce some concrete particulars and facts regarding these schools 
of Vedic learning so as to appraise precisely the part they played 
in the propagation of the cause they were called upon to serve. 

Chara9as ol the Vedas. Though the text of the Rigveda 
has come down to us in a single recension, there is no doubt that 
its propagation was accomplished in ancient times by the develop- 
ment of a number of CharaniMs based on a variety of its Sdkhds. 
A comparatively late work belonging to the Sutra period and 
known as the Charana-vyuha or “ Exposition of Schools ” mentions 
as the five $dkhds or branches (more properly Chara^as) of the 
Rigveda, the following, viz. : — 


1. The ^alcalas. 

2. The Bashkalas. 

3. The A^valayanas. 

4. The ^aAkhayanas. 

5. The Man^ukeyas. 

This list leaves out the names of several old Vakhas such as the 
Aitarejdns, Saiiiras, Kaushitakins, Paihgins. The Sai^ira ^akha 
may itself be a subdivision of the ^akala Sakha, as the Puranas 
mention Sai^ira as one of the five pupils of Sakala like Mudgala, 
Gokula, Vatsya, S^iya and Si§ira with the variants of the names 
in different Puranas, each of whom propagated different Sakhas 
of the Rigveda. The largest number of Sdkhds, said to have been 
a thousand, is ascribed to the Sdmaveda of which the greater 
pairt is lost. The Charatja-vyuha mentions seven Sdkhds of whom 
two are now known, viz. the Kauthumas, still existing in Gujarat, 
and the Rdndyantyas at one time settled mainly in the Maratha 
country and now surviving in Eastern Hyderabad, while the 
Kauthumas themselves had five branches of which that called 
Naigeya is known. The munber of 3 dkhds of the Yajurveda is 
stated at eighty six. There are twelve Charanas comprehended 
under the common name of Charakas. Of these, the Kathas 
together with the Kapisthala-KaXhas were located in the time of 
the Greeks in the Panjab, and later in Kashmir also, where the 
Kathas are even now to be found, but the Kapisthalas have dis- 
appeared. Another branch called the Maiirdyanlyas is itself 
subdivided into seven Charanas. They were originally called 
Kdldpas and appear at one time to have occupied the region 
around the lower course of the Narmada for a distance of some 
two hundred miles from the sea, extending to the south of its 
mouth more than a hundred miles, as far as Nasik, and north- 
wards beyonj^ the modem city of Baroda. A few remnants of 
this School are still to be found in Gujarat, chiefly at Ahmedabad, 
and further west at Morvi. In tffe centuries before the Christian 
era, these two Schools seem to have been very widely diffused 
throughout India. Patanjali, the grammarian, for instance, refers 
to the Kathas and Kalapas as the universally known Schools of 
the Yajurveda whose doctrines were proclaimed in every village. 
The Rdmdyatta also tells us that these two schools were highly 
honoured in Ayodhya (Oudh). Two new Schools afterwards rose 
to prominence and supplanted the old ones. These were the Schools 
of the Taittiriyas and the Vdjasaneyins. The Taittiriyas had 
two branches, one of which, the Khd'^iktya, had itself five 


subdivisions, viz. the Kaleyas, the Sdtyayanins, Hiraif.yakeUns, 
Bharadvajins, and Apastambins. The have been found 

only to the south of the Narmada where they can be traced as far 
back as the fourth century a.d. The Apastambas still survive in 
the region of the Godavari and the Hiranyakeiins still farther 
north. The Vdjasaneyins comprising fifteen subordinate S^khas 
spread themselves along the Ganges valley towards the south-east. 
At the present day they are to be found in North-East and Central 
India. The number of Atharvaveda Vakhas is given as nine includ- 
ing the Paippaladas, Saunakas, and the like. [See Macdonell,- 
Sans. Lit., pp. 176-7.] 

Vedic Charapas known to P&nini. It is interesting to note 
that the existence of the following Vedic Schools was known to 
Panini and his commentators : — 

1. Sakalas [iv, 3, 128 ; 2, 117]. 

2. ASvalayanas [iv, i, 99]. 

3. Safikhayanas [iv, i, 19 ; i, 119]. 

4. Mandukayanas [ib.]. 

5. Charakas [iv, 3, 107 ; v, i, ii]. 

6. Ahvarakas [ii, 4, 20 ; vi, 2, 124 ; iii, 2, 135]. 

7. Kathas [iv, 3, 107 ; ii, i, 65 ; vii, 4, 38 ; vi, 3, 42 ; ii, 4, 

3 ; i. 3, 49 : ii, 1, 163]. 

8. Prachya-kathas [vi, 2, 10]. 

9. Kapisthala-kathas [viii, 3, 91]. 

10. Charayaniyas [iv, i, 89 ; iv, i, 63 ; i, 99 ; 3, 80]. 

11. Varatantaviyas [iv, 3, 102]. 

12. Manavas [iv, l, 105]. 

13. Varahas [iv, 2, 80]. 

14. Haridraviyas [iv, 3, 104]. 

15. Syamayaniyas [ib.]. 

16. Aukhiyas [iv, 3, 102]. 

17. Jabalas [vi, 2, 38 ; ii, 4, 58]. 

18. Baudheyas [ib.]. 

19. Kanvas [iv, 2, iii]. 

20. Paundravatsas [vii, 3, 24]. 

21. Avatikas [iv, i, 17 ; iv, i, 75]. 

22. Audheyas [ii, 4, 7]. 

23. Paippaladas [iv, 2, 66]. 

24. Saimakas [i’^', 3, 106]. 

Succession Lists ol Teachers. Over and above the Charanas 
and other institutions, the Brdhmarias furnish us with lists of 
teachers through whom they were handed down. The Chhandogas, 



for instance, have assigned a separate Brdhmaif^a to the list of 
their teachers, viz, the Vamia-Brdhmana. In the Satapatha 
Brdhmai^a, these lists are repeated at the end of various sections. 
The number of teachers in the Vamia-Brdhniai}.a amounts to 
fifty-three. In the ^atapatha, there are four Vathias, the most 
important of which stands at the end of the whole work and 
consists of fifty-five names. 

From the methods of the propagation of Vedic literature 
we now proceed to consider the methods of training, the ideals, 
rules, and principles regulating the relations between the teacher 
and the taught. 

System ol Education : ‘ Sv&dhyftya.’ As has been already 
indicated, education was not yet regarded as an end in itself but 
only as a means to an end, viz. the attainment of Brahmavarchasa, 
i.e. sacred knowledge or knowledge of the Absolute. This is 
pointed out in numerous passages of Vedic literature.^ The 
performance of sacrifice, of specific ritual acts * is also mentioned 
as means to this end of spiritual development but more stress is 
laid upon the study of the sacred texts. Indeed, the importance 
of such study is repeatedly insisted upon,® for which the technical 
name svddhydya is applied. The efi&cacy of svddhydya is pointed 
out by the Satapatha Brdhmana which regards it as a form of 
sacrifice to the Brahman by which an imperishable world is 
gained [xi, 5, 6, 3]. It is also pointed out that by the study and 
teaching of the Veda, one becomes C2ilm in mind (yuktamandh), 
independent of others, the best physician for himself, with his 
restraint of the senses, uniformity of mental attitude, growth of 
intelligence, fame, and the power of perfecting the people [ib., 
7, i]. The Taittirlya Aranyaka [ii, 9-15] also regards svddhydya 
as brahmayajna or sacrifice of devotion and lays down certain 
directions as to the exact place and time of study. One should 
go outside the town or village, north or north-east, until the roofs 
cease to be seen and after sunrise and then repeat to himself the 
Vedas (as also other subjects connected therewith such as 
Brahmanas, Itihasas, Puranas, Kalpa, Gathas and Nara^amiis). 
In times of difficulties the study may be carried on in the town or 
village during the day or night according to convenience. In that 

1 e.g. Taitt, Safh,, iv, 1, 7, 1 ; vii, 5, 18, 1 ; K&th, Safh., A^vamedha, v, 14 ; 
V&ja. Safh., xxii, 22 ; xxvii, 2 ; Taitt, Br., iii, 8, 13, 1 ; Ait, Br., iv, 11, 6-9; 
Sat, Br,, xiii, 2, 6, 10 ; x, 3, 5, 16 ; xi, 4, 4, 1 ; Paftchav, Br., vi, 3, 5. 

• K&th. Sath,, xxxvii, 7 ; Taitt, Br., ii, 7, 1, 1 ; PaUch. Br., xxiii, 7, 3, etc. ; 
Sat. Br., ii, 3, 1, 31, etc. 

• Sat. Br,, i, 7, 2, 3 ; xi, 3, 3, 3-6 ; 5, 7, 10. 


case there should be no loud repetition of the texts. In the after- 
noon one should recite more. When he returns home he is to make 
a gift. For this kind of study by one’s own self without the aid of 
a teacher there is no anadhydya or prohibition of study except 
when one is unclean in body or is in an unclean place. Another set 
of rules of Vedic study is given in the Aitareya Araiiyaka [v, 3, 
3] ; " When the old water about the roots of the trees has been 
dried up, he should not study (the time after the full moon of 
Pausha, i.e. January-February is meant), nor in the forenoon, 
when the shadows meet, nor in the afternoon, nor when a thick 
cloud has arisen; and when rain falls out of season he should stop 
his study of the Veda (but not the study of Vedangas, like 
Vyakarana, as Sayana points out) for three nights, nor in this 
time should he tell tales, nor even at night at this time be fain to 
set them forth ” [Keith’s translation]. We may recall in this 
connection the earlier prohibitions of Vedic study in some specified 
times, places, and conditions in the Atharvaveda [vii, 66, Harvard 
ed.], viz. in cloudy weather, in storms, under the shade of trees, 
in green fields and within hearing of cattle. 

Need ol the Teacher. The necessity of self-study did not 
preclude that of the student finding a teacher for himself. The 
futility of mere self-study is always recognized. The teacher is 
represented as indispensable to knowledge in Katha-Upanishad 
[ii, 8] : “ Apart from the teacher, there is no access here.” 
Similarly, the Mundaka-Upanishad [i, 2, 3] : " Let him, in order 
to understand this, take fuel in his hand and approach a Guru 
who is learned and dwells entirely in Brahman.” Again [iii, 2, 3] : 
” Not by self-study is the dtman realized, not by mental power ; 
nor by amassing much information.” A teacher is regarded as 
necessary to disperse the mist of empirically acquired knowledge 
from our eyes, as explained so beautifully in the following passage 
from the Chhandogya Upanishad [vi, 14, 1-2] : “ Precisely, 
my dear sir, as a man who has been brought blindfold from the 
country of Gandhara and then set at liberty in the desert, goes 
astray to the east or north or south, because he has been brought 
thither blindfold and blindfold set at liberty ; but after that some- 
one has taken off the bandage, and has told him, ‘ In this direction 
Gandhara lies, go in this direction,’ instructed and prudent, asking 
the road from village to village, he finds his way home to Gand- 
hara ; even so the man, who in this world has met with a teacher, 
becomes conscious, ‘ To this (transitory world) shall I belong only 
until the time of my release, thereupon shall I go home .’ ” 


In the older Upanishads we repeatedly come across the prohi- 
bition to conranmicate a doctrine or ceremony to anyone except 
a son or a pupil adopted by the rite of upanayanam first mentioned 
in the Atharvaveda [xi, 5]. In Aitareya Aranyaka [iii, 2, 6, 9] 
the mystical meaning of the combinations of the letters must 
be “ communicated to no one, who is not a pupil, who has not 
been a pupil for a whole year, who does not propose himself to be 
a teacher ” [cf. also v, 3, 3, 4]. Again, the Chhandogya Upanishad 
[iii, II, 5] states : “ A father may therefore tell that doctrine 
[i.e. the doctrine of Brahman as the sun of the universe] to his 
eldest son, or to a worthy pupil. But no one should tell it to any- 
body else, even if he gave him the whole sea-girt earth, full of 
treasure.” In Brihadarai},yaka Upanishad [vi, 3, 12] the ceremony 
of the mixed drink must be communicated to none but a son or 
a pupil. Similarly, the Svetaivatara Upanishad [vi, 22] : “ This 
highest mystery in the Vedanta delivered in a former age should 
not be given to one whose passions have not been subdued nor 
to one who is not a son, or who is not a pupil.” And the 
Maitrdyana-Upanishad [vi, 29] : " Let no man preach this most 
secret doctrine to any one who is not his son or his pupil. . . 
To him alone who is devoted to his teacher only, and endowed 
with all necessary qualities may he communicate it.” 

We also find in the Upanishads men and gods taking 
fuel in their hands and submitting to the conditions of pupilage. 
The Chhandogya Upanishad [viii] relates how Indra himself 
was obliged to live with Prajapati as a pupil for loi years in 
order to obtain the perfect instruction. In the Kaushitaki- 
Upanishad [i, i] Aruni takes fuel in his hand and becomes a pupil 
of Chitra Gaiigyayani. In the Bfihadaranyaka [ii, i, 14] Gargya 
says to Ajataiatru : " Then let me come to you as a pupil.” In 
the Praina-Upanishad [i, i] Suke^as, Satyakama, Sauryayanin, 
Kausalya, Vaidarbhi, and Kabandhin take fuel in their hands to 
become pupils of Pippalada [cf. also Mun^. Up., i, 2, 12, cited 

Instniction without formal pupilage. At the same time the 
evidence seems to indicate that a formal pupilage was not 
absolutely binding in the earlier period. The differentiation 
between the four compulsory airamas or life-stages was a com- 
paratively late growth. Thus in the Chhandogya [iv, 9, 3] it is 
merely said that “ the knowledge which is gained from a teacher 
(as opposed to supernatural instruction by beasts, fire, geese, or 
ducks) leads most certainly to the goal.” In another passage 



[v, II, 7] King Aivapati instructs six Brahma^as who 
approach him with the fuel in their hands anttpantya, ” without 
first admitting them as his pupils,” or ‘‘demanding any 
preparatory rites In still another passage [vi, i, i] we read : 
“ There lived once Svetaketu Aruneya. To him his father 
(Uddalaka, the son of Arana) said : ‘ Svetaketu, go to school ; 
for there is none belonging, to our race, darling, who, not having 
studied (the Veda) is, as it were, a Brahmana by birth only.’ ” 
From this remark it may be reasonably inferred that at that time 
entrance upon the life of a Brahmin-student, while it was a 
commendable custom, was not yet universally enjoined upon 
Brahmins. Similarly,, the entrance also of Satyakama upon 
studentship appears to be his voluntary determination (ib., iv, 
4, i]. Again, in the Brihadaranyaka [ii, 4] Yajnavalkya instructs 
his wife Maitreyi and King Janaka [iv, 1-2, 3-4] who yet were 
not strictly his pupils ; he also imparts knowledge on the deepest 
problems [as, e.g. iii, 8, in the conversation with GargiJ in the 
presence of a numerous circle of hearers, and only exceptionally, 
when he desires to explain to Artabhaga the mystery of the soul’s 
transmigration, does he retire with him into privacy [iii, 2, 13]. 

Father as Teacher. It is also evident from the evidence just 
cited that it was possible in those days for a man to receive 
instruction from his father or at the hands of other teachers. 
Svetaketu did both [Chhand. Up., v, 3, i ; Brihad., vi, 2, i ; 
Kau?t. Up. i, I ; and Chhand., vi, i, i]. The Satapatha Brahmana 
[i, 6, 2, 4] shows that a Brahmin was expected to instruct his own 
son in both study and sacrificial ritual, and furnishes an illustra- 
tion of this in Varana, the teacher of his son Bhrigu. This fact 
also is borne out by the evidence of some of the names in the 
Vamia Brdhmarui of the Sdmaveda and the Varii^a or list of 
teachers of the Sdhkhdyana Aranyaka [xv, i]. It should, however, 
be noted that these Vathias and those of the Satapatha Brdhmarui 
also show that a father often preferred that his son should have a 
famous teacher. 

Admission to Studentship. Studentship is normally 
inaugurated by the ceremony of upanayana or initiation, the 
significance of which is most beautifidly set forth in the Atharva- 
veda in the passage already explained. The spiritual significmce 
of the details of the Upanayana ceremony is also indicated in the 
Satapatha [xi, 5, 4]. ‘‘ The teacher lays his right hand on the head 
of the pupil whereby he becomes pregnant with him {tena garbhi 
bhavaii) and then in the third night the embryo issues out of the 



teacher and, being taught the SSvitii, obtains true Brahminhood ” 
[see Sayana's commentary]. “ He is like a divine creature bom 
from his teacher’s mouth ” [xi, 5, 4, 17]. The request to be received 
by the preceptor was to be duly made [cf. vidhivat in Mun^a. Up., 
i, I, 3], according to the Brihadaranyaka [vi, 2, 7], with the 
words — upaimi ahath hhavantam. In the Satapatha [xi, 5, 4, i] 
the student has to say formally : " May I enter upon brahma- 
charya ”, and " Let me be a Brahmacharin The student has also 
to take the fuel in his hand as a token that he is willing to serve 
the teacher, and especially to maintain the sacred fires [see 
previous passages cited : Kausht. Up., iv, 19 ; Chhdnd., iv, 4, 5 ; 
V. 13, 7 ; viii, 7, 2 ; 10, 3 ; ii, 2 ; Mund., i, 2, 12 ; Praina., i, i]. 
Before receiving him, the teacher makes inquiry into his birth 
and family. Satyakama Jabala going to Gautama Haridmmata 
said to him : ” I wish to become a Brahmacharin with you, Sir. 
May I come to you. Sir ? ” He said to him : " Of what family 
are you, my friend ? ’ ” The manner of the inquiry shows that it 
was made in a very indulgent fashion and the uncertainty regard- 
ing his parentage was not in actual practice admitted as a bar to 
the teacher’s acceptance of the pupil [Chhdnd., iv, 4, 4]. In the 
Satapatha Brdhmana [xi, 5, 4, i], similarly, the teacher merely 
asks the name of the intending pupil and then accepts him. 

Period of Studentship. The period of studentship was normally 
fixed at twelve years. Svetaketu returned home after spending 
twelve years with his preceptor [Chhdnd., vi, i, 2]. Upakosala 
Kamalayana " dwelt as a Brahmacharin in the house of Satya- 
k^a Jabala and tended his fires for twelve years ” [ib., iv, 
10, i]. There also seem to have been longer terms than twelve 
years. Satyakama Jabala spent “ a series of years ” with his 
preceptor during which " four hundred cows had become a 
thousand ” [iv, 4, 5]. The Aitareya Brdhmana [xxii, 9] tells of 
a student neimed Nabhanedishtha’who had been absent from home 
on brahmacharya under his teacher for such a long time that his 
father divided up his property among his other sons in the mean- 
while. Studentship for thirty-two years is also mentioned [Chhdnd., 
viii, 7, 3] and also for loi years [ib., ii, 3]. 

The age at which such studentship commenced is indicated 
in the case of Svetaketu who “ began his apprenticeship with 
a teacher when he was twelve years of age ” [ib., vi, i, 2]. 

We shall now consider the conditions and duties of student- 

External Dntiei of Studentship. The first condition, of course. 



was that the student had to live in the house of his teacher. 
Even the Atharvaveda [vii, 109, 7] refers to this condition in the 
phrase “if we have dwelt in studentship ” {brahmacharyath 
yadushitna). It is also referred to in the Saiapaiha Brahmans 
[xi. 3» 3. 2] as also in the Aitar^a^ [v, 14] and Taittirtya^ 
Brahtnattas [iii, 7, 6, 3]. The Chhdndogya Upanishad applies to 
the student the epithets dchdrya-kula-vdsin [ii, 23, 2] and ante- 
vdsin [iii, ii, 5 J iv, 10, i]. The latter epithet is also used in 
Bfihadaraifyaka [vi, 3, 7] and Taittiriya Upanishads [i, 3, 3 ; 

II, i]. 

Begging. It was the usual rule of the Brahmacharin to go 
about begging for his teacher. In the Chhdndogya [iv, 3, 5] while 
the householders ^aunaka Kapeya and Abhipratarin Kakshaseni 
were being waited on at their meal, a religious student begged of 
them, "^he Satapatha Brdhmana [xi, 3, 3, 5] also refers to the 
Brahmacharin begging for alms, as well as the Atharvaveda 
[vi, 133, 3]. It is also clear from the aforesaid passage of the 
Batapatha that begging was prescribed for the student to produce 
in him a proper spirit of humility : “ Having made himself poor, 
as it were, and become devoid of shame, he begs alms.” 

Tending Rre. Another of his duties was to tend the sacred 
fires. Upakosala tended the sacred fires for twelve years and yet 
his teacher does not allow him to return home but goes away on a 
journey without having taught him {Chhdnd.,iw, 10, 1-2]. Looking 
after the sacrificial fires is also mentioned in the Batapatha 
Brahma^ [xi, 3, 3, 4]. Elsewhere in the same work [xi, 5, 4, 5] 
the duty of the Brahmacharin is stated to be to “ put on fuel ”, 
the spiritual significance of which is also explained, viz. “ to 
enkindle the mind with fire, with holy lustre.” 

Tending Cattle. Tending the house also was one of his duties. 
In the Batapatha Brdhmaita we read : “ Wherefore the,, students 
guard their teacher, his house, and cattle ” [iii, 6, 2, 15]. In the 
Chhdndogya Upanishad [iv, 4, 5] Satyakama is sent away with 
the teacher’s herds of cattle into a distant covmtry where he 
remains for a succession of years during which four hundred cows 
had become a thousand. The duty of guarding the teacher’s 
cattle grazing on their pasture grounds is also referred to in the 
Bdhkhdyana Aratiyaka [vii, 19]. In the Aitareya Aranyaka [iii, 
I, 6, 3-4] Tarukshya guards his teacher’s cows for a whole year. 

^ The story of a boy whose brothers divided the paternal property among 
themselves while he lived with his teacher, studying the Vedas {brahmacharyam 

' Yo no devS^charati brahmacharyam. 


The Brahmachmn is also enjoined not to sleep in the daytime 
[Satap., xi, 5, 4, 5]. 

On festive occasions, the teacher was accompanied by his 
pupils who awaited his commands. At the sacrifice of Janaka 
of Videha, whither had come the Brahmanas of the Kurus and 
Pafichalas, when a thousand cows with ten pddas of gold attached 
to each pair of their horns were offered to the wisest Brahmana, 
Yajnavalkya stepped forward and asked his pupils to drive them 
away [Bfihad. Up., iii, i, 1-2]. 

Study. Together with, and after, these acts of service, " in 
the time remaining over from work for the teacher ” \Guroh 
karmdtiieshena] the pupil prosecuted his studies [Chhand., viii, 
15]. Considering the early age at which students were admitted 
to study, we should consider what might have been its contents 
in that primary stage of education. For initiation into such study 
which was then a study of the Veda, the student should start with 
a knowledge of the pronunciation of its texts with all that it 
implied, a knowledge of phonology, metrics, and elementary 
grammar and etymology. The Taittirlya Pratiiakhya [chap, xxiv] 
states that a student of Veda should first know all about the 
production of voice or sound : " the degree of effort involved in 
it, whether it is heavy {guru), light {laghu) or equal (sama), 
whether it is long {dlrgha), short {hrasva), or very long or elongated 
{pluta ) ; whether it has undergone elision (lopa), addition {dgama), 
or modification {vikdsa ) ; its exact nature {prakriti) and modifica- 
tion {vikriti), as also stages in the process of its production 
{kratna) ; the degree of its pitch, high (svarita), moderate (uddtta), 
or low {ntcha ) ; the degree of strength of breath in its utterance 
{ndda and ivdsa) and also place of its origin {udgama)." ‘ He should 
also have a special knowledge {mieshajna) of the Pada-Pdtha and 
Varna-Pdtha (i.e. how each letter is modulated under the influence 
of each preceding and succeeding letter) ; the difference between 
svaras (vowels) and the mdtrd or measure of effort with which they 
are pronounced. 

An idea of the actual regulations governing Vedic studies may 
be obtained from a passage from the Aitareya Aranyaka at the 

^ The character of a sound as a, ka, cha, ia, ta, pa, ya, etc., depends on the 
place of its origin along the passage of breath used in its utterance within the 
mouth, whe^er it is throat (kantha), tip of tongue {jihvamUla) , lips {oshfha), etc. 
From jihvamula, there are three bifurcations towards palate {t&lu), mUrdhd 
(head), and teeth (danta), producing what are called labial, cerebral, and dental 
sounds. Svara or vowel implies free passage of voice as a ; it is not free but 
touches other places in the case of consonants {vyafljanavartpa). If the touch is 
slight, the result is antastha-varpa. Thus vowel is a-sprishfa, consonant sPfishfa, 


end of its fifth Aratiyaka giving restrictions as to the recitation 
and teaching of the Mahavrata. The passage gives the following 
rules among others : 

” The teacher and pupil should not stand, nor walk, nor lie 
down, nor sit on a couch ; but they should both sit on the ground. 

" The pupil should not lean backward while learning, nor 
leein forward. He should not be covered with too much clothing, 
nor assume the postures of a devotee, but without using any of 
the apparel of a devotee, simply elevate his knees. Nor should 
he learn, when he has eaten flesh, or when he'has seen blood, or a 
corpse, or when he has done an unlawful thing ; when he has 
anointed his eyes, oiled or rubbed his body, when he has been 
shaved or bathed, put colour on, or ornamented with flower- 
wreaths, when he has been writing or effacing his writing (probably 
the earliest mention of actual writing in Sanskrit literature).” 

Inner Disciplines. By means of these external practices and 
regulations it was sought to develop in the young pupils those 
internal conditions \j>ratyasanna, direct, as opposed to vadhya], 
or mental and moral attributes, which would afterwards fit them 
for being taught the highest knowledge, the knowledge of the 
Brahman forming the special subject-matter of the Upanishads. 
Various presuppositions of Upanishadic instruction, or preparatory 
means to a knowledge of the Brahman, are laid down in the 
Upanishads as well as in some earlier works. 

Thus the Gopatha Brdhtnana [ii, i, 2, 1-9] requires the 
Brahmacharin to overcome the same passions, viz., caste-pride 
[hrahmavarchasam), fame, sleep, anger, bragging, personal beauty 
and fragrance as are associated respectively with the antelope, 
the teacher, the boa, the boar, water, maidens, trees, and plants. 
If he clothes himself in the skin of the antelope he obtains 
hrahmavarchasam ; if he works for his teacher, he obtains the 
latter’s fame ; if, though sleepy, he abstains from sleep, he obtains 
the sleep that is in the boa ; if, humble in spirit, he does not injure 
an3tt>ne through anger he obtains the anger that is in the boar ; 
if he does not perform braggart tricks in the water he obtains the 
vanity that is in the water ; if he does not look at a naked maiden 
he obtains the beauty that is in the maiden ; if he does not smell 
at plants and trees, after having cut them, he becomes himself 
fragrant [Bloomfield, Atharvaveda, p. in]. 

The Upanishads ^ require that the Brahmacharin, before he 
is taught the highest knowledge, the knowledge of the Brahman, 

^ Brih,, iv, 4, 23, enumerating all the five attributes. 


should show that he is calm and unperturbed in mind {idnta)} 
self-restrained {ddnta), self-denying {uparata),* patient [titikshu) 
and collected {samdhita).^ To these are sometimes added purity 
of food and as a consequence purity of nature (sattvaiuddhi) * ; 
the fulfilment of the vow of the head {iirovratam) ® which indicated 
either the rite of carrying fire on the head, or, as Deussen * 
suggests, of shaving the head bare (as implied by the term 

Achievement of Highest Knowledge. More often, as might be 
naturally exp)ected, the realization of the knowledge of Brahman, 
with its hard conditions and pre-requisites, required the dedication 
of a whole life and not merely of a part of it. Svetaketu coming 
home, after twelve years of studentship, " conceited, considering 
himself well-read and stem ” and ignorant of the knowledge of the 
Brahman, was probably typical of such students as failed to 
attain the highest knowledge during the comparatively brief 
period of their pupilage and were deemed unworthy of that in- 
struction [Chhdnd., vi, i]. Upakosala Kamalayana was probably 
another such case who in spite of his twelve years of austere 
studentship was not deemed worthy of instruction by his teacher 
[ib., iv, lo]. Indeed, it is reasonable to assume that some of the 
moral attributes insisted upon as presuppositions of instruction, 
being, as they are, but the preparatory means to the highest end 
of human life — the attainment of the knowledge of the Brahman — 
belong to the last stages of a disciplined life as the fruit of a long 
struggle rather than to its first stage. They cannot be regarded 
as the normal initial endowments with which a youthful student 
starts in his career. The epithets ianta, ddnta, uparata, and the 
like are hardly applicable, for instance, to an immature stripling 
who has had no experience of the struggle and temptations of 
life, of “ the ills that flesh is heir to 

Its Porsoit through Life. This view is supported by several 
passages from the Upanishads in which the conception of the 
scope of brahmacharya is widened so as to embrace not merely 
the student-period proper but the entire course of life regulated 
by the disciplines of its four successive dsramas or stages as the 
way that leads to the Atman. Thus in the Bfikaddranyaka 
[iv, 4, 22] we read ; “ Brahmanas seek to know Him by the study 

* Katha, ii, 24 ; i, 2, 13 ; Svet., vi, 22 ; Maitri., vi, 29. 

• Katha, ib. » Ib. 

* Chhand.t vii, 26, 2 ; Muit4>t iu» 2, 6 ; cf. also Mahdndr., x, 22, and 

Kaivalya, 3, 4. * Muft^^ka, iii, 2, 10-11. 

• Philosophy of the Upanishads, p. 73, to which I owe some valuable hints. 



of the Veda, by sacrifice, by gifts, by penance, by fasting, and he 
who knows Him becomes a muni. .Wishing for that World (for 
Brahman) only, mendicants leave their homes. Knowing this, 
the people of old did not wish for offspring . . . and they having 
risen above the desire for sons, wealth, and new worlds wander 
about as mendicants.'" There is here a clear reference to all the 
four diramas or life-stages. Similarly, in the Chhdndogya [ii, 23] 
we read : ** There are three branches of duty. Sacrifice, study, and 
charity are the first (i.e. the grihastha-dirama) ; austerity the 
second (i.e. Vdnaprastha, the third dirama), and to dwell as a 
Brahmacharin in the house of a teacher, always mortifpng the 
body in the house of a teacher, is the third (referring not to the 
ordinary, but the nai^thika, or perpetual, brahmachdrin) . All these 
obtain the worlds of the blessed ; but the Brahmasaihstha 
(referring to the fourth dirama, the sannyasin or parivrdj) alone 
obtains immortality." A more explicit passage occurs in the same 
IPpanishad [viii, 15] in which the Brahmacharin is exhorted, 
after completing his studentship, to become a householder and 
attain fruition in a life of self-study and self-discipline. In another 
passage [viii, 5], the observances of the last three diramas such 
as sacrifices, vow of silence, fasting and living an anchorite's 
life in the forest are recognized as being ultimately but forms of 
bfahmacharya as the underlying principle of life. In the Kena 
[xxxiii] asceticism, self-restraint, and sacrifice (tapas, dama, 
karman) are specified as the preliminary conditions (pratishthdh) 
for attaining the Brdhml Upanishad, i.e. the mystical doctrine 
which reveals Brahman. In the Katha [ii, 15], all the Vedas, all the 
practices of tapas and brahmacharyam are described as means 
by which Om (Brahman) is to be sought as the final aim. In 
Mun^aka [ii, i, 7] the observances of the diramas are referred to 
as tapas, iraddhd, satyam, brahmacharyam, and vidhi. The 
Praina [i, 2] insists on penance {tapas), abstinence {brahma- 
charyam), and faith {iraddhd). Thus the knowledge aimed at in 
the Upanishads calls for the application of the whole life through 
all its stages. It is also clear that the various prerequisites men- 
tioned for that knowledge rest upon a common basis of a life of 
abstinence and asceticism for which the term brahmacharya or 
tapas is generally applied in an extended connotation. Nearly 
all the Upanishads emphasize the need of asceticism or practice 
of tapas in all stages of life. In the Brihaddranyaka [ii, 4] 
Yajfiavalkya departs into the solitude of the forest in order to 
practise tapas which, by gradually increasing privations and 


penances, destroys in the ascetic the last links of depeadlnioe tm 
earthly existence. In the Chh&ndogya [iv, lo] Upakosala, the 
student, is “ quite exhausted with austerities, and from mortifica- 
tion was not able to eat The Taittirtya Upanishad [i, 9] 
demands of the student asceticism and study of the Veda and 
quotes the views of two teachers, Taponitya Paurulishthi and 
Naka Maudgalya, of whom the former requires ” asceticism 
alone ” and the other *' study of the Veda ", for " this is 
asceticism Varuna repeatedly urges his son Bhfigu thus : " By 
tapas seek to know Brahman ” [ib. iii]. In Muifd^ka [i, 2, ii] 
the way of the gods is promised to those " who practise asceticism 
and faith in the forest The Praina [i, 10] offers it to those 
" who have sought the dtman by asceticism In the Maitrayana 
[iv, 3] it is stated that " without being an ascetic it is impossible 
either to attain the knowledge of the dtman, or to bring work to 
fruition ”, but asceticism alone does not always secure knowledge 
of the dtman, as in the case of King Brihadratha who, renouncing 
^is kingdom, went into the forest and practised highest penance 
for a thousand days without " knowing the Self ” [i, 2]. 

Examples. That the teaching of the Upanishads was not 
alway§ confined to the first period of life is also evident from a 
few concrete examples. Svetaketu Aruneya, on reporting to his 
father Gautama the imperfect character of the instruction he 
received from him, as proved by his inability to answer some 
questions put to him by King (Rajanya) Pravahapa Jaivali, 
was thus told by his father : "You know me, child, that whatever 
I know, I told you. But come, we shall go thither, and dwell there 
as students.” Gautama then goes to the king who asks him ; 
" Gautama, do you wish (for instruction from me) in the proper 
way ? ” Gautama replied : " I come to you as a pupil.” In the 
Chhdndogya [vi, 1-6] the father of Svetaketu himself regards his 
son’s education as incomplete when he returns home after twelve 
years of studentship and is not able to answer his father’s question 
whether “ he had that teaching whereby what is not heard of, 
thought of, or understood becomes so, just as by one piece day, 
copper, or a pair of scissors, everything made of clay, coffMT, 
or iron, may be known And then the father nndatil^ 

the further education of his son at home. There are other 
which point to tempOTary association between teadbers. aDd 
elderly pupils or householders, for the impaiting of knowledge 
of some special doctrines and truths. In the Bfihad&ra^yaka 
[ii, 4 ; iv, 1-2, 3-4 ; iii, 8 ; 2, 13, already dted] Y&jfiavalkya 



instructs Maitreyi, Janaka, GargI, and Artabhaga. In the 
ChMndogya [v, ii], “ five great householders and theologians ” 
— Pr3.china6ala Aupamanyava, Satyayajna Paulushi, Indra- 
dyumna Bhallaveya, Jana Sarkarakshya and Budila A^vatara^vi 
— ^first go for some special instruction to Udd^aka Aruni and 
these — ^all of advanced age — then go to Aivapati Kaikeya as 
the best teacher for the purpose. In the Mw^aka [i, i, 3] 
^aunaka, who is described as a great householder {mahdidlah) 
approaches Afigirasa for instruction. In the Chhand. [vii, i] 
Narada approaches Sanatkumara after completing the period of 
ordinary studentship during which he has studied a variety of 
subjects, and says ; " I, Sir, have learnt all the mantras but do 
not yet know what Atman is.” In another passage [viii, 7-11] 
Indra grows old in learning at the house of his preceptor. 
Ap£istamba cites the opinion of ^vetaketu that a person who 
has returned home {niveie vritte) after completing his studentship 
should spend two months every year with his teacher if he wishes 
to extend his knowledge [dvau dvau mdsau dchdrya-kule vaset 
hhuyah irutam ichchhan (i, 4, 13, 19-21)]. But this opinion was 
against Sastra (tat 4 astraih vipratisiddham | Niveie vritte 
naiyamikani iruyamte), because householders have their own 
duties to attend to. Nevertheless, Apastamba accepts this 
doctrine for a graduate who has need to master a subject, for 
which he can return to his teacher to complete his unfinished 
knowledge [ii, 2, 5, 15]. 

Teacher’s Farewell Address to Students. That the period of 
studentship was regarded as preparatory for the realization of the 
knowledge of the Absolute is also evident from the following 
parting words a teacher generally addressed to his student when 
he was permitted to return home after the completion of his studies 
and begin the next stage of life as a householder : 

“ Say what is true ! Do thy duty ! Do not neglect the study of 
the Veda! After presenting gifts ^ to thy teacher, take care that the 
thread of thy race be not broken ! Do not swerve from Truth, from 
duty ! Do not neglect your health I Do not neglect your worldly 
prosperity I ^ Do not neglect the learning and teaching of the Veda I 

“ Do not neglect the (sacrificial) works due to the Gods and 
Manes I Let thy mother be to thee like unto a god I Let thy father 
be to thee like unto a god ! Let thy preceptor be to thee like 

* The Satapatha Brahtnava lays dovoi that one must “ not beg alms after 
he has bathed (at the end of studentship) ” — a ve^ sign^cant ^d wholesome 
restriction for the householder with the responsibilities of his position [xi, 3, 3, 7]. 



unto a god ! Let thy guest be to thee like unto a god I Whatever 
actions are blameless, those should be regarded, not others. 
Whatever good works have been performed by us, those should 
be observed by thee — ^not others. And there are some Brahmanas 
better than we. These you should show proper reverence. What- 
ever is given should be given with faith, not without faith — ^with 
joy, with modesty, with fear, from sense of duty. If there should 
be any doubt in thy mind with regard to any sacred act or with 
regard to conduct, — 

“ In that case conduct thyself as Brahmanas who possess 
good judgment conduct themselves therein, whether they be 
appointed or not, as long as they are not too severe but devoted 
to duty. And with regard to things that are doubtful, as 
Brahmanas who possess good judgment conduct themselves there- 
in, whether they be appointed or not, as long as they are not too 
severe but devoted to duty. 

" Thus conduct thyself. This is my admonition. This is 
the teaching. This is the true pmrport (upanishad) of the Veda. 
This is the command. Thus should you observe. Thus should this 
be observed.” 

These words addressed to the student at the end of his career 
read almost like the Chancellor’s Convocation Address to the 
students of a modem University passing out of its portals on their 
admission to their degrees. It will be noticed that in the ancient 
valedictory address, emphasis is laid upon several interesting 
points. In the first place, entering upon the householder's life 
and fatherhood is enjoined as a compulsory religiotis duty in the 
interests of the continuity of the race. In the second place is 
enjoined the duty of stud}Tng and teaching the Veda in the 
interests of the continuity of culture. Indeed, one of the under- 
stood conditions of studentship is the obligation to teach and thus 
transmit learning from age to age [Ait. Ar., iii, 2 , 6 : napravaktre 
(" don’t teach one who won’t himself teach ”)]. In the third place, 
the duties of domestic and social life are indicated. They are : 
to honour ^ father, mother, teacher, and guest as gods ; to honour 
superiors ; to give in proper manner and spirit, in joy and humility, 
in fear and compassion, so that it may “ bless both him that gives 
and him that takes”; to perform sacrifices and, in all doubtful 
cases, to order himself according to the judgment of approved 
authorities. Lastly, the pupil is also admonished not to neglect 

^ This anticipates the almost similar language employed in some of the 
Asokan rock-edicts. 



health and possessions \Taitt. Up., i, ii]. In an earlier passage 
[i, 9] learning and teaching of the Veda are enjoined together with 
the pursuit of Right, Truth, Penance, Restraint, Tranquillity, 
Consecration of Fires, Sacrifice, entertainment of guests, social 
duties, marriage, fatherhood, and grandfatherhood. We may in 
passing note the spirit of humility characterizing the teacher 
as shown in his asking his pupil to imitate his good points and 
ignore his bad ones, and recognizing his superiors. 

Relations between Teacher and Tanght. The relations between 
the teacher and the taught were of the happiest kind. The pupil 
looked up to his preceptor as his father \Praina, vi, 8]. As indicated 
in the propitiatory verse beginning with Sahanavavatu, which is 
uttered at the beginning of each day’s study, the teacher and his 
pupil were united by a common aim of preserving and propagating 
the sacred learning and showing its worth in their life and conduct. 
Sometimes, the antevdsins living in the house of the teacher 
preferred, and were permitted, to continue that life throughout, 
because it was so agreeable [Chhdnd., ii, 23, 2]. 

We have now considered the conditions and duties appertain- 
ing to studentship. We shall now consider those of the teacher. 

Duties of the Teacher. He is to possess the highest moral 
and spiritual qualifications. " This Truth is not grasped when 
taught by an inferior man,” says the Kapha [i, 2, 8]. The Muv 4 <ika 
[i, 2. 12] requires him to be well versed in the sacred lore {irotriya) 
and dwelling entirely in the Brahman (brahmanishtha). He must 
have a conviction based upon realization of the Unity on which he 
is to enlighten his pupils ; otherwise it would be like the blind 
leading the blind. 

It is the duty of the teacher, when a fit pupil approaches him, 
to teach him the truth exactly as he knows it [Mund., i, 2, 13] 
without concealing anything from him, for such concealment 
would spell ruin to him [Pra^na, vi, i]. The Taittirtya Ar any aka 
[vii, 4] lays down that the teacher must teach with all his heart 
and soul. He was bound also, according to the Satapatha Brdh- 
mana [xiv, i, l, 26, 27], to reveal everything to his pupil who at 
any rate lived with him for one whole year {sathvatsara-vdsin), 
an expression which probably hints at possible changes of teachers 
by students. The teacher, however, was quite free, it must be 
understood, to impart to his pupil only the knowledge that he was 
fit for and reserve subjects to which he was not equal. There 
are on record certain cases of learning kept secret and revealed 
only to special persons [e.g. the Vasishthas and the Stomabhagas 


in PaUch, Br. xv, 5, 24, Taitt. Br., iii, 5, 2. i ; Kafh.Sam., xxxvii, 
17 ; Pravahana Jaivali and his knowledge of Brahman in Bfihad. 
Up., vi, I, II]. 

Change ol Teacher. Where the teacher found that he was 
not quite fit to teach a subject, he considered it to be his duty to 
send up its student to a fitter teacher. An interesting case on this 
point is mentioned in the Gopatha Brahmana [i, i, 31]. As a 
result of discussion between two teachers, Maudgalya and 
Maitreya, Maitreya J[ound his friend to have a superior knowledge 
of the subject he was teaching. He was so conscientious that he 
at once dissolved his class studying that subject and would not 
resume teaching until he mastered the subject like Maudgalya. 

Teacher’s Desire lor Pupils. This conscientiousness on the part 
of teachers was, however, consistent with their desire for securing 
as many pupils as they could teach. This desire was natural in 
teachers who felt that the truths they had discovered should live 
after them in their pupils through a succession of teachers, guru- 
paratnparya, keeping up the continuity of culture and an un- 
broken tradition in knowledge. Every teacher was anxious to 
assure the continuity of his School of Thought and for pupils 
who could contribute to that continuity. The Taittirlya Aranyaka 
[vii, 4] shows this anxiety of teachers to get pupils and a kind 
of competition among them for same. A prayer to the same effect 
is contained in the Taittinya Upanishad (i, 4, 3] : "As water runs 
downward, as the months go to the year, so, 0 God, may Brahma- 
charins always come to me from all quarters ! " Very often good 
teachers were themselves soughf after by many pupils, and that 
from distant places. Patanchala Kapya was thus sought by " a 
company of students wandering as far as the land of the Madras 
(on the Hyphasis or Beas) to learn the Sacrifices ” of which he was a 
master [Bri. Up., iii, 3, i ; 7, i]. 

Studentship Open to First Three Castes. In connection with 
these details regarding the religious studentship of the period we 
have now to consider how far it was thrown open to the other 
castes and the other sex. 

According to the later evidence of the Gjihya Sutras, the 
three twice-bom castes were all required to undergo a period of 
studentship. It was practically a system of universal compulsory 
education for the Indo-Aryans.^ The course of training and 

^ This probably explains the ground of the remarkable boast of King 
A^vapati Kaikeya in the Chhdndogya Upanishad [v, 11, 5] : “In my kingdom 
there is ... no ignorant person. . . .“ 



subjects of study were not of course uniform for all the castes. 
Some scholars support the evidence of the Grihya Sutras by the 
reference in the Atharvaveda [xv, 5, 17] to the king guarding his 
country by Brahmacharya, though it lends itself to a different 
interpretation. More conclusive, however, is the evidence of the 
Kdthaka Samhitd [ix, 16] in its reference to the rite intended to 
benefit one who, although not a Brahmana, had yet studied 
{vidydm anuchya) but had not acquired fame. We must add to 
this the evidence of the Brdhmanas and Upanishads regarding 
learned Kshatriyas and princes who studied the Vedas and attained 
proficiency in the sacred lore which was the special property of 
the Brahmanas. 

Kshatriyas as Teachers. In the Satapatha Brahmana [xi, 6, 
2, i] King Janaka of Videha meets with some travelling 
Brahmanas named Svetaketu Aruneya, Soma-^ushma Satyayajni, 
and Yajnavalkya, and asks them how they offered the agnihotra 
oblation. Each of the three answers the question but with regard 
to the answer of Yajnavalkya the King compliments him by 
saying : ” Thou hast approached very close to a solution of the 
Agnihotra, O Yajnavalkya,” pointing out at the same time the 
incompleteness of his answer in certain respects. The Brahmanas 
then said amongst themselves : “ This Rajanya has surpassed us 
in speaking ; come, let us invite him to a theological discussion.” 
Yajnavalkya, however, interposed: ‘‘ We are Brahmanas and he a 
Rajanya ; if we overcome him, we shall ask ourselves. Whom have 
we overcome ? But if he overcome us, men will say to us, A 
Rajanya has overcome Brahmanas. Do not follow this course.” 
In the end the Agnihotra is explained by Janaka and on Yajna- 
valkya offering him the choice of a boon he replied : ” Let mine 
be the privilege of asking questions of thee when I list.” Hence- 
forward Janaka became a Brahmana, i.e. brahmi^tha, full of 
divine knowledge. 

Janaka was typical of a class of learned Kshatriyas of the 
period. In the Kaushttaki Upanishad [iv, i] the Brahmana 
Gargya Balaki " well read in the Veda ” is ” silenced by the 
display of superior knowledge on every topic by Ajata§atru, 
King of Ka^i. “ Then the son of Balaka approached the king with 
fuel in his hand and said, ‘ Let me attend thee (as thy pupil) ' 
[SamiipdV’ih pratichakrame updydni *<*]. The king replied, ‘ I 
regard it as an inversion of the proper rule that a Kshatriya should 
initiate a Brahmana. But come, I will instruct thee then. Having 
taken him by the hand, he departed ” [Pratilomarupameva tad 


manye yat Kshatriyo Brahmaj^aih upanayeta]. In the Satapatha 
Brdhtnaiia [v, 3, 7] nearly the same story is told of Dripta-Baiaki 
Gargya and also in Bfihaddranyaka Upanishad [ii, i, i]. Similarly, 
Pravahana Jaivali, King of the Pahchllas, silenced Svetaketu 
Aruneya and his father and treating them as his^disciples communi- 
cated to them knowledge which " has never heretofore dwelt in any 
Brahmana” \$alap. Br., xiv, 9, i, i ; Brihad.yi, 1,1; Chhdnd., i, 8, i ; 
v,3, i]. Another learned king was A^vapati Kaikeya to whom came 
" with fuel in their hands ” five learned Brahmanas to become his 
pupils. The king said : “ How is this, venerable Sirs, when ye are 
learned in the scriptures and sons of men learned in the scriptures ? ” 
They replied : " Venerable Sir, thou knowest Vai^vanara 

thoroughly : teach us Him ! ” He said : “ I do indeed know 
VaiSvanara thoroughly : put your fuel on (the fire), ye are become 
my pupils ” [Satap. Br., x, 6, i ; Chhdnd., v, ii, with slight varia- 
tions], Lastly, Narada is taught by Sanatkumara, the god of 
war [Chhdnd., vii]. 

There is a difference of opinion regarding the exact conclusion 
to which all this evidence should lead. Macdonell and Keith 
who have carefully considered the subject incline to the view that 
these cases of Brahmins learning from Kshatriyas or princes have 
hardly much significance, for ‘‘ the priests would naturally 
represent their patrons as interested in their sacred science. It 
is thus not necessary to see in these notices any real and indepen- 
dent study on the part of the Kshatriyas ” [Vedic Index, ii, 87]. 
In any case, the stories refer only to a few selected Kshatriyas 
of high rank while there is no evidence that the average Kshatriya 
was concerned with intellectual pursuits. The people who are 
represented to us as stud3dng and disputing are normally 
Brahmins, the bearers par excellence of Hindu culture ; the 
kings are few and far between, and much of their fame seems 
to have been due to their generosity in regard to gifts ; the 
Kaushltaki Upanishad [iv, i], indeed, contains a hint that the 
fame of Janaka's generosity caused Ajata^atru some embarrass- 
ment. The Kshatriya’s first care was war and administration 
which were sufficient to absorb his attention. We may, of course, 
imagine a king in his spare moments amusing himself with the 
disputes of ritualists and philosophers and we may even concede 
that a king might himself be the originator of some philosophic 
doctrine, especially as we have references to royal sages 
[Rdjanyarshi in Pailch. Br., xii, 12, 6] and traditions like the 
one given in the Nirukta [ii, 10] relating how Devapi, a king’s 


son, became the purohita of his younger brother Santanu. But 
at the Same time we must not forget that to attribute wisdom 
to a king was a delicate and. effective piece of flattery when such 
wisdom was really not held in much respect, as indicated in a 
passage of the Satapatha BrdhmaijM [viii, i, 4, 10]. The real 
relation between Brahmins and learned Kshatriyas is most 
clearly indicated in the episode regarding the instruction of 
Yajfiavalkya by King Janaka in the Agnihotra, at the end of 
which the latter, far from assuming any position of superiority, 
still looks up to the former as his respected guru whom he asks 
for the following significant boon : “ Let mine be the privilege 
of asking questions of thee when I list, O Yajfiavalkya ! ” [ib., 
xi, 6, 2, 10]. 

Educated Women. The available evidence shows that 
education was not denied to women. Sometimes they are found 
to share in the intellectual interests of the day. Of the two 
wives of Yajfiavalkya [Brihad, iii, 4, i ; iv, 5, i] one takes no 
unimportant part in the disputations on philosophical topics. 
Two directions given in the Aitareya Upanishad [ii, i] imply 
that elderly married women were permitted to hear Vedantic 
discourses. The Upanishads mention several other women as 
teachers, but it is not clear whether they were married. The 
Bfikaddranyaka Upanishad [vi, 4, 17] mentions an interesting 
ritual by which a person prays for the birth to him of a daughter 
who should be a panditd or a leairned lady. The Kaushttaki 
Brdhmana [vii, 6] tells of an Ary2in lady Pathyasvasti proceeding 
to the north for study and obtaining the title of Vdk, i.e. Sarasvati, 
by her learning. In this connection, we may note that women 
were taught some of the fine arts like dancing and singing which 
were regarded as accomplishments unfit for men ^ [Taittir. Sam., 
vi, I, 6, 5 ; Maitrd. Sam., iii, 7, 3 ; Satap. Br., iii, 2, 4, 3-6]. 

Yarious Classes of Works and Subjects of Study. We now 
proceed to consider the subjects of study and various forms of 
literature known and developed during this period. 

As has been already indicated, the technical name for study 
proper, i.e. Vedic study, is Svddhydya, the blessings of which are 
eloquently described in the Saiapatha Brdhmana [xi, 5, 6, 3. 9 ; 
also Taitt. Aranyaka, ii, 13]. Elsewhere the bliss of the learned 

^ In the Satap, Br., xiii, 4, 3, 5, we find a Riljanya as a lute player and 
singer at the A^vamedha sacrifice, probably the forerunner of the Kshatriya 
bards from whom sprang the Epic. 

The presentation of this subject is based on JRAS., 1908, pp. 868-870 
(Keith's comments), and Vedic Index, i, 206 ; ii, 87. 


Srotriya or student is deemed equal to the highest joy possible 
[Brihad. Up., iv, 3, 33 ; Taitt. Arai^yaka, ix, 8]. The object 
in view was the threefold knowledge {trayl vidyd), that of the ^k, 
Yajus, and Saman [Satap. Br., i, i, 4, 2. 3 ; ii, 6, 4, 2-7 ; iv, 6, 
7, 1. 2 ; V, 5, 5 , 9 ; vi, 3, i, 10. ii. 20 ; x, 5, 2, i. 2 ; xi, 5, 4, 
18 ; xii, 3, 3, 2, etc.]. A student of all the three Vedas is called 
Tri-Sukriya [Kdthaka Sam., xxxvii, i, 7] or Tri-Sukra, “ thrice 
pure ” [Taitt. Br., ii, 7, i, 2]. 

Besides the three Vedas, there are also mentioned in several 
works of the period various other subjects of study which may 
be noticed as follows : — 

1. Anu^Ssana,^ which, according to Sayana, is the name 
given to the six Vedahgas, viz. (a) Phonetics, (b) Ritualistic 
Knowledge [Kalpa), (c) Grammar, (d) Exegetics, (e) Metrics, 
(/) Astronomy. 

2. VidyS,* which, according to Sayana, means the 
philosophical systems of Nyaya, Mimarhsa, etc., but it may 
refer, according to Eggeling [S.B.E., 44, 98, n. 2] to such special 
sciences as the Sarpavidyd (science of snakes) [mentioned in 
xiii, 4, 3, 9] or Vishavidyd, or to the first Brdhmanas [Geldner]. 

3. TUovftkyam, apparently some special theological dis- 
course or discourses, similar to (if not identical) with the numerous 
Brahmodya disputations on spiritual matters. According to 
Geldner, it is an essential part of Itihasa-Purana, the dialogue 
or dramatic element as distinguished from the narrative portion. 
In the Chhdndogya the term is explained by Sankara as " the 
art of disputation ” * [Tarkaidstram). 

4. ItihSsa-pnrfipa.* Both are first mentioned in the 
Atharvaveda.^ Itihdsa singly is mentioned in the Satapatha 
Brahmana,® the JaiminIya,’Brihadaranyaka,®and Chhandogya • 
Upanishads. In the latter, it makes up with Purdna the fifth 
Veda, while the Satapatha in one passage identifies both with 
the Veda. The distinction between the two is not clear. Sayana 
(as well as Sankara) understands by Purdna the cosmological 
myths or accounts such as "In the beginning this universe was 
nothing but water ”, etc., and by Itihdsa stories of old heroes and 

* Satap. Br., xi, S. 6, 8. • Ib. 

* Satap. Br., iv, 6, 9, 20 ; xi, 5, 6, 8 ; 7, 5 ; ChhSttd., vii, 1, 2, 4 ; 2, 1 ; 

7, 1 . SSyai^a refers as an example of such dialogue to that between UddSiaka AruQi 
and Svaid3.yaua Gautama in Sat. Br., xi, 4, 1, 4. 

* See Vedic Index, i, 76-7. • xv, 6, 4, etc. 

* xiii, 4, 3, 12. 13, and as compounded in xi, 5,jB, 8 ; 7, 9. 

’ i, 53. * ii, 4, 10 ; iv, 1, 2 ; v, 11. 

* iii, 4, 1. 2 ; vii, 1, 2. 4; 2, 1 ; 7, 1. »• xiii, 4, 3, 12. 13. 



heroines (puratana-purushavrittdnta) like the story of Puru- 
ravas and Urvaii. Yaska ^ knows only Itihdsa and interprets 
Aitihdsikas * as those who interpret the Rigveda by seeing in 
it legends where others see m3^hs. Both, as separate subjects, 
were probably known to Patanjali.* 

5. Akhyftna. In the Aitareya BrdhmavM we have the 
Sauna^i^epa dkhydna related at the Rajasuya [vii, 18, 10] and 
also the Akhydnavids who tell the Sauparna legend [iii, 25, i] 
which is called a Vy dkhydna in the Satapatha [iii, 6, 2, 7]. Stories 
used at the A^vamedha during the year of the horse’s wandering 
belong to the series called cyclic {pariplavam). 

6. Anvftkhy&na, literally “ after-story ”, and hence supple- 
mentary narrative. In two * of its uses, however, in the Batapatha 
Brdhntana, it merely indicates a subsequent portion of the book, 
while in the third passage ® it is distinguished from Itihdsa proper. 

7. Anuvyftkhy&na (glosses) is a species of writing referred 
to in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad * which Sankara interprets 
as " explanation of the Mantras 

8. Vyftkhyfina used in the sense of " commentary ” 
{Arthavdddh) in the Bfihadaranyaka ’ and in some passages ® 
of the Satapatha Brdhmana but in another passage * of the 
latter it means only a " narrative ”, e.g. that of the dispute of 
Kadru and Suparni. Sankara connects it with Sutras and 
Anuvydkhydna with Mantras or Slokas. 

9. Oithft, a Rigvedic “ term meaning “song or verse”, 
in one place‘s is classed with Ndrdiarhsl and Raibhi. The 
Aitareya Ar any aka regards it as a form of verse with !Rik, 
Kumbya, while the Aitareya Brdhmana regards Rik as divine 
and Gdthd, human. Several Gdthds epitomizing the sacrifices of 
famous kings are preserved in the Satapatha Brdhmana,^* some 
of which are of the nature of Danastutis or praises of gifts 
like Nara^aihsi verses as defined in the Brihaddevatd, iii, 154. 
Sayana ** identifies the two but refers to the other view that 
Gdthds are verses like that about " the great snake driven from 
the lake ” {Satap. Br., xi, 5, 5, 8] while Ndraiarhsts (verses 

* Nirukta, ii, 10 ; 24 ; iv, 6 ; x, 26 ; xii, 10. • Ib., ii, 16 ; xii, 1. 

* VSrttika on PS^ini, iv, 2, 60, and Mahabhashya, 2, 284. Puratfa, according 
to Sankara (on Brihad., ii, 4, 10), thus means cosmogonies (making up one of 
the five traditional elements of the later Furapas), while Itihdsa means legends. 

* vi, 5. 2, 22 ; 6, 4, 7. ‘ xi, 1, 6, 9. 

* ii, 4, 10 ; iv, 1, 2, ; 5, 11. » ii, 4, 10 ; iv, 1,6; 5, 11. 

* vi, 1, 27, 33 ; vii, 2, 4, 28. • iii, 6, 2, 7. 

i, 43, 4 (gStha-pati); i, 7, 1 (gfithin) ; i, 190, 1 (gatha-nl) ; v, 44, 5 (fijugatha). 

“ ix, 85, 6. >• ii, 3, 6. “ vii, 18. 

** xiii, 5, 4 , etc. “ xiii, 4, 2, 8. »• On xi, 5, 6, 8. 


" telling about men ”) would be such as that regarding Janame- 
jaya and his horses [ib., xi, 5, 5, 12]. 

10. NSiUaihsI occurs first in the Rigveda [x, 85, 6] and is 
distinguished from Gatha in later works [Av., xv, 6, 4 ; Taitt. Sam., 
vii, 5, II, 2 ; Ait. Br., vi, 32 ; Kaushi. Br., xxx, 5 ; Katha. 
Sam., V, 5, 2 ; Taitt. Aranyaka, ii, 10, etc.]. The Kdthaka 
Samhitd [xiv, 5], while distinguishing the two, affirms that both 
are false (anritam), while the Taittiriya Brdhmana [i, 3, 2, 6] 
has the phrase “ a Gdthd celebrating men ” {Ndrdiamsi). 

11. Brfthma^a, " religious explanation ” [Ait. Br., i, 25, 
15 ; iii, 45, 8 ; vi, 25, i, etc. ; Taitt. Sam., iii, i, 9, 5 ; 5. 2, 1 ; 
Satap. Br., iii, 2, 4, i, etc.], is the title of a class of books mentioned 
as such in the Nirukta [i, 15, 5 ; ii, 36, 5] and also in the Taittiriya 
Aranyaka [ii, 10]. 

12. Eshatravidyft, the science of the ruling class, is mentioned 
in the Chhdndogya Upanishad [vii, i, 2. 4 ; 2, i ; 7, i]. Safikara 
glosses the term with Dhanur-veda, the science of the bow. 

13. BUi [Chhdnd., vii, i, 2. 4, etc.] is explained by ^afikara 
as Ganitam, science of numbers or arithmetic. 

14. Nakshatra-Vidyfi, the science of the lunar mansions, 
astronomy, is mentioned with other sciences in the Chhandogya 
[ib.] which Sankara explains as Jyotisham. 

15. Bhuta-vidy&, which Macdonell takes as the science of 
creatures that trouble men and of the means of warding them 
off, and hence it may be " demonology ”. It is also one of the 
sciences mentioned in the Chhdndogya [ib.]. Sankara explains 
it as Bhutatantram, literally the science of life. Rangaramanuja, 
however, takes it as “ the art of controlling ” [Vaiikarana- 
vidydl. We may note in this connection the art termed Mdyd 
in the Satapatha Brdhmana (xiii, 4, 3, ii] which corresponds 
to the Asura-Vidyd [= Indrajdlavidyd, magic art, trickery (by 
sleight of hand, “ ahgulinydsarupam ”)] according to the com- 
mentator of the Safikhayana [x, 7] and A^valayana [xiii, 4, 3, ii] 
Srauta Sutras. 

16. Sarpa-Tidyft, the science of snakes, is mentioned in the 
Chhdndogya as well as the Satapatha Brdhmana [xiii, 4, 3, 9], 
by which the commentator on Aivalayana Srauta Sutra [x, 7, 5] 
imderstands the Kdiyapdya and other treatises (tantra) on 
venoms. That it was a well-developed science is evident from the 
fact that a section {parvan) of it is required to be recited. The 
Gopatha Brdhmaifa has the form Sarpa-veda. Safikara explains 
it as Gdru 4 a-vidyd. 



17. AthanrUsirMall^ is the collective name of the Atharva- 
veda in some of the Brdhmai^as [e.g., Taitt., iii, 12, 8, 2 ; Satap. 
xi, 5, 6, 7 ; Bjihai. Up., ii, 4, 10 ; iv, i, 2 ; 5, ii ; Chhdnd. 
Up., iii, 4, 1. 2 ; Taitt. Up., ii, 3, i ; Taitt. Aranyaka, ii, 9 ; 10]. 
The term occurs once in the Atharvaveda itself [x, 7, 20]. The 
first part of the name probably refers to the auspicious practices 
of the Veda {bheshajdni, Av., xi, 6, 14) and the second to its hostile 
witchcraft [ydtu {$atap. Br., x, 5, 2, 20) or abhi-chdra (KauSika 
Sutra, 3, 19)] associated repectively with the two mythic 
personages Ghora Ahgirasa and Bhishaj Atharvan. 

18. Daiva appears in the list of sciences in the Chhdndogya 
Upanishad (in the passages cited above) where Sankara explains 
it as UtpdtajMna, the knowledge of portents. 

19. Nidhi also appears in the list of sciences of the 
Chhdndogya Upanishad and is taken by Sankara to mean Mahd- 
kdlddinidhi-idstram and by Rangaramanuja as Nidhi-darianopdya- 
idstram which is probably some science of divination. 

20. Pitiya appears in the Chhdndogya list of sciences and 
is taken by Sankara to mean rituals so far as they concern the 
worship of the manes (irdddha-kalpa) . 

21. Sdtra (prose formulae) used in the Brihaddrai),yaka 
Upanishad [ii, 4, 10 ; iv, i, 6 ; 5, ii] in the sense of a book of 
rules for the guidance of sacrifices and so forth. 

22. Upanishad as a class of literature is mentioned first 
in the Brihaddranyaka Upanishad [ii, 4, 10 ; iv, i, 2 ; 5, ii]. 
Some of the sections of the Taittiriya Upanishad also end with 
the words ityupanishad, while the Aitareya Aranyaka [iii, i, i] 
commences its third part with the title “ The Upanishad of the 
Saihhita ” which also occurs in the Sdhkhdyana Aranyaka 
[vii, 2]. 

23. I^loka in the Brihaddranyaka [ib.] is rendered by 
Sahkara as those Mantras which are to be found not in the 
Vedas but in the BrdhmanMS {brdhmatMprabhavdh mantrdh). 

24. The Veda ol Vedas (Veddndrh Veda) in the Chhdndogya 
is explained by Sankara to mean “ grammar of old Sanskrit ”, 
through which the five Vedas are to be understood [Vedanam 
Bharata-pahchaman^ (cf. Ved^adhyapayamasa Mahabharata- 
pahchaman) Vedarh Vyakaranamiti]. 

25. Ekftyana in the Chhdndogya is explained by Sankara 
as Nlti-idstram, or science of conduct ; literally, “ the only, 
and narrow and right path of morality.” 

26. Devi^vidyt in the Chhdndogya is taken by Sahkara 



to mean Nirukta or Exegetics but RaAgaramSlnuja explains it 
as the science of the worship of gods {devatopdsandprakdra- 

27. Brahma-Vidyi in the Chhdndogya is explained by 
Sankara to mean the VedaAgas of Siksha (pronunciation), Kalpa 
(ceremonial), and Chhandas (prosody). 

28. Deva-jana-vidyA, the last in the Chhdndogya list of 
subjects of study, means, according to Sankara, the arts affected 
by the lesser gods such as the making of perfumes [Gandhayukti 
which the commentator on Sankara explains as kuhkumddi- 
safhpddanam, which may mean dyeing], dancing, singing, playing 
on musical instruments, and other fine arts [Nritya-GUa-Vddya- 
Silpddi-Vijhdndni], Rangaramanuja, however, splits up the 
compound into two parts, viz. Deva-vidyd = the arts of the 
Gandharvas, and Jana-Vidyd = Science of Medicine {Ayurveda), 

Supreme Knowledge. Besides indicating these branches of 
knowledge, arts, and sciences, the Upanishads speak of the 
supreme or highest knowledge technically called pard vidyd 
as distinguished from all other knowledge termed apard [Munda,, 
i, I, 4]. The Mundaka [i, i, 5] defines apard vidyd as comprising 
the four Vedas and the six Vedangas or ancillary subjects of 
Phonetics, Ritualistic Knowledge, Grammar, Exegetics, Metrics, 
and Astronomy. By the pard vidyd the Mundaka understands 
that knowledge through which the Ultimate Reality is known. 
All knowledge, pard or apard, is opposed to Ignorance or avidyd. 
It is, however, this pard vidyd or highest knowledge which forms 
the real subject matter of the Upanishads. It is extolled as sarva- 
vidyd-pratishthd, the foundation of all arts and sciences [Munda,, 
i, I, 2], as Veddnta, the final and highest stage of Vedic wisdom 
[ib., iii, 2, 6], and as, verily, the science of sciences wherein 
lies implicit the knowledge of everything [ib., i, i, 3]. On 
account of the emphasis thus laid upon this particular t3^e of 
knowledge, all other subjects of study are thrown into the back- 
ground and even branded as avidyd in some of the Upanishads. 
A few citations will show clearly how the insufficiency of even the 
knowledge of the Vedas and indeed of all existing knowledge 
is recognized in the Upanishads. 

In the Chhdndogya [vii, i], Narada acknowledges to Sanat- 
kumara : 

I have studied, most reverend Sir, the Rigveda, Yajurveda, 
Samaveda, the Atharvaveda as fourth, the epic and mythological 
poems as fifth Veda, grammar, necrology, arithmetic, divination, 



chronology (?), dialectics, politics (?), theology, the doctrine of 
prayer (?), necromancy, the art of war, astronomy, snake- 
charming (?), and the fine arts — these things, most reverend Sir, 
have I studied ; therefore am I, most reverend Sir, learned indeed 
in the scripture [Mantra-vid) but not learned in the Atman 
i^Atma-vid). Yet have I heard from such as are like you that he who 
knows the Atman vanquishes sorrow. I am in sorrow — ^lead me 
then over, I pray, to the farther shore that lies beyond sorrow.” 

" Sanatkumara said to him : ‘ Whatever you have studied 
is but words.’ ” 

Similarly, in the Chhdndogya [v, 3-10], Brihaddranyaka 
[vi, 2], and Kaushitaki [i], treating of the same topic, Svetaketu 
professes to have been taught by his father Aruni, but fails to 
answer the eschatological questions propounded by King 
Pravahana [in the Kaushitaki, Chitra], and returning in anger 
to his father, reproaches him : " So then, without having really 
done so, you have claimed to have instructed me ” [Chhdnd., 
V, 3, 4] ; “ it was imagination, then, when you previously declared 
that my instruction was complete ” [Brihad., vi, 2, 3]. 

Again, in the Chhdndogya [vi, i] it is shown how Svetaketu’s 
“ thorough ” study of “ all the Vedas ” for full twelve years 
leaves him only full of conceit and confidence in his study and 
wisdom, but ignorant of the questions put to him by his father 
regarding the One and the Self-existent with whose knowledge 
everything is known. 

Accordingly, we find several emphatic declarations of the 
principle pointed to by these examples. “ Therefore let a 
Brahmana, after he has done with learning, wish to stand by real 
strength (knowledge of the Self which enables us to dispense with 
all other knowledge),” says the Brihaddranyaka [iii, 5, i]. ” He 
should not seek after the knowledge of the books, for that is 
mere weariness of the tongue ” [ib., iv, 4, 21]. " Before whom 

words and thought recoil, not finding him ” \Taitt., ii, 4]. ” Not 
by the Veda is the Atman attained, nor by intellect, nor by much 
knowledge of books ” [Kapha, i, 2, 23]. 

In this view, the Kapha [i, 2, 4-5] regards even apard vidyd 
as avidyd, and emphasizes its essential inferiority emd worth- 
lessness, although the apard vidyd means, according to the 
Mundaka [i, i, 5], the four Vedas together with the six 

Similarly, Kalpa or ritualism comes in for its special share of 
condemnation from the standpoint of this imcompromising 



idealism.^ The Mi*i} 4 aka [i, 2, 7] openly brands as fools those 
that seek to perform mere rites and ceremonies. The Bfihadd- 
raifyaka [i, 4, 10] in a spirit of depreciation thinks it fit to compare 
those who, instead of knowing and recognizing the Atman as 
the only Reality, merely offer sacrifices to the gods, to domestic 
animals ministering to the comforts of their owners. In i, 5, 16 
we have : " By sacrifice the world of the Fathers, by knowledge 
the world of the gods, is gained.” In the Aitareya Araityaka 
we find the following : ” To what end shall we repeat the Veda, 
to what end shall we sacrifice ? For we sacrifice breath in speech, 
or in breath speech ” [iii, 2, 6]. In the later Upanishads, however, 
we find a more friendly attitude towards the sacrificial cult. 
In Katha [i, 17] the performance of certain ceremonies and works 
leads to the “ overstepping of birth and death ” and to " ever- 
lasting rest This reaction attains its climax in the Maitrdyai^a 
Upanishad, of which the very first passage affirms that the la5dng 
of the sacrificial fires leads to a knowledge of Brahman, while in 
iv, 3 it is expressly laid down that a knowledge of the Veda, 
observance of caste-duties, and airawa-duties are all essential 
to the emancipation of the natural dtman and its reunion with 
the supreme dtman. It should be noted, however, that orthodox 
and traditional Brahminical opinion does not find any real 
antagonism between the sacrificial cult, the scheme of practical 
life, under the orders of caste and airama on the one hand, and 
the Upanishadic spirit of the quest of the Brahman on the other. 
The one is taken as a preliminary to the other and the intention 
of such passages is only to emphasize the supreme importance and 
worth of para vidyd. 

Methods of Study. From the subjects of study we now pass 
on to the methods of study prevailing in the period. The 
Upanishads often fall into the form of a dicdogue which shows 
that the method of teaching was catechetical, the method of 
explaining a subject by an intelligent and graduated series of 
questions and answers, anticipating the method of the great 
Greek teacher, Socrates. The pupils asked questions [there was 
no lack of boldness in some of them ; e.g. Praina, iii, 2] and the 
teacher discoursed at length on the topics referred to him [e.g. 
Kenopanishad, Katha}. In these discourses are found utilized 
all the familiar devices of oral teaching such as apt illustra- 
tions [Praina, ii], stories {Katha}, and parables [Kena, iii]. 
The Taittiriya BrdhmarM uses the technical terms, Prainin 

^ For the entire evidence see Deussen's Philosophy of tho Upanishads, p. 63. 



(questioner), Ahhi-prainin (cross-questioner), and Praina-vivdka 
(answerer), while the Atharvaveda knows of the Prdvdchika 
or expounder (whence Nirvachana and Niruka). The use of dis- 
cussion as a method of study led to the development of the 
Science of Logic called Vdkovdkyam, as we have seen, by which 
Sahkara understands Tarka-Sdstra, the Science of Disputation. 
Thus it was in these Vedic Schools that the foundation was laid 
of a science which later attained remarkable developments in the 
many works of Nyaya. 

It should not be understood that these discourses leave 
nothing for the pupil to think out for himself. The need for 
introspection and contemplation on his part is never overlooked. 
Manana or cogitation as a means of convincing oneself of the 
truth of what he has learnt and thus fortifying himself against 
possible future doubts is specifically prescribed [cf. Bri. Up., 
ii, 4]. Even as regards the initial teaching it is usual for the 
preceptor to furnish only broad hints and ask the pupil to work 
them out fully. The most interesting instance of this method of 
teaching is found in the Taittiriya Upanishad [iii] where Varuna, 
in instructing his son Bhrigu, contents himself with indicating 
in only general terms the features of the Absolute and leaves to 
his son the discovery by reflection of Its exact content. This 
method of giving general hints and directions is repeated four 
times and it is only in the fifth turn that Bhrigu is able to 
comprehend the nature of the Absolute. Another interesting 
instance of the same method is contained in Chhdndogya 
[vi], where Svetaketu’s father, in teaching his son how the 
Mind and its faculties depend for their functioning upon the body, 
how psychological conditions are bound up with the physiological, 
puts his son through a course of actual fasting so that he may 
achieve a direct perception of that truth by his own experiments 
and experiences. He makes him fast for fifteen days, cutting 
off all food except drinks of water, to show that life (prdna) 
depends on water. After this fast, his father asks him to recite 
the Vedas. The son, to his surprise, finds that that knowledge 
has vanished from his mind (na pratibhdta). It began to dawn 
on his mind, as he began to take food. By this experiment he 
realized the truth that Manas, Mind, depended upon Anna, 
Food. It could not function except in a body that is nourished 
and not famished. Similarly, the faculty of speech, Vdk, depends 
upon tejas or heat of the body (its element of calories coming from 
food to give it energy). His father concluded by saying : “ Just 



as by covering it with a piece of straw {trivia), one may make a 
single small spark (khadyot) left in it to blaze up, so is it with you ! ” 

Indeed, the main part of education was the work of the 
student and not of the teacher. The Bfihaddranyaka Upanishad 
clearly states that education in the highest knowledge depends 
upon the three processes following one another, viz. (i) Sravaifa, 
(2) Manana, and (3) Nididhydsana. Sravav^ is listening to what 
is taught by the teacher, but even for this there are specified 
six aids {lingas, signs or phases), such as («) Upakrama, a formal 
ceremony to be performed before reading the Veda ; (ft) Abhydsa 
constant practice or recitation of the texts taught ; (c) ApUrvatd, 
inunediate apprehension of the meaning, (d) Phala, comprehension 
of results , (c) Arthavdda, study of explanatory texts, the Brdhmaija. 
texts ; and (/) Upapatti, attainment of conclusions. Manana is 
defined as constant contemplation of the One Reality in accord- 
ance with the ways of reasoning aiding in its apprehension. 
Nididhydsana is concentrated contemplation of the truth so 
as to realize it. 

Need of Renunciation (Sannyftsa) and Meditation (Yoga) 
tor Highest Knowledge. Study and teaching can, however, 
only lead to a mediate knowledge. For an immediate knowledge 
of the Ultimate Truth and Reality, the pupil must depend upon 
himself. The whole of the empirical knowledge which Narada 
has acquired is declared by Sanatkumara as mere words when he 
begins his instruction. For the knowledge of Brahman was 
essentially of a different nature from that which we call 
" knowledge ” in ordinary life. Narada with all his familiarity 
with the then conceivable branches of knowledge and empirical 
science finds himself in a condition of ignorance (avidyd) as regards 
the Brahman. The knowledge of the Real cannot grow out of the 
knowledge of the unreal, of the realm of experience, which is the 
realm of ignorance. The knowledge of the Atman cannot be 
gained by mere speculation (tarka) concerning it, but only by 
revelation as the result of the proper degree of self-growth. The 
acquisition of such knowledge which means emancipation is not 
a matter of study but of life. It presupposes two things : (i) 
annihilation of all desire, (2) annihilation of the illusion of a 
manifold universe, of the consciousness of plurality. The means 
evolved to secure these two ends were what are popularly known 
as the systems of (i) Sannydsa, which means the “ casting off ” 
from oneself of his home, possessions, and family and all that 
stimulates desire. It thus " seeks laboriously to realize that 



freedom from all the ties of earth in which a deeper conception 
of life in other ages and countries also has recognized the supreme 
task of earthly existence, and will probably continue to recognize 
throughout all future time The system of Sannyasa as a means 
to the knowledge of the Brahman and to emancipation is com- 
pletely developed in a series of later Upanishads (such as Brahma, 
Sannyasa, Aruneya, Paramahamsa, etc.), with which we are not 
concerned for the present. 

(2) Yoga which, by withdrawing the organs from the objects 
of sense and concentrating them on the inner self, endeavours to 
shake itself free from the world of plurality and to secure union 
with the Atman. 

In post-Vedic times the practice of Yoga was developed into 
a formal system with its own textbook (the Sutras of Patanjali). 
Its first beginnings are, however, shown in Katha [iii and vi], 
$vet. [ii], and Maitra. [vi]. The system implies the following 
eight members (angas) or external practices : (i) Yama, discipline 
(consisting in abstinence from doing injury, truthfulness, honesty, 
chastity, poverty) ; (2) Niyama, self-restraint (purity, content- 
ment, asceticism, study, and devotion) ; (3) Asanam, sitting 
(in the right place and in the correct bodily attitude) ; (4) 
Prdpdydma [B^ihad., i, 5, 23], regulation of the breath ; (5) 
Pratydhdra, suppression (of the organs of sense) [Chhdnd., viii, 
15] ; (6) Dhdrand, concentration of the attention \Katha, ii, 
6, lo-ii] ; (7) Dhydnam, meditation ; (8) Samddhi, absorption. 

As has been already indicated, both the systems are a 
perfectly intelligible consequence of the doctrine of the Upanishads 
according to which the highest end is contained in the knowledge 
of self-identity with the Atman. As means to the attainment 
of that end, we must purposely dissolve the ties that bind to 
the illusory world of phenomena (Sannydsa) and practise self- 
concentration (Yoga). Thus arose two remarkable and character- 
istic institutions of Indian culture through which emancipation 
was sought to be attained and expedited by processes and dis- 
ciplines invented by the spiritual genius of the people. The first 
seeks by calculated methods to suppress desire and the second 
the consciousness of plurality and the entire practical phil- 
osophy and morality of the Hindu is comprehended in these 
two methods of self-realization pursued separately or in 

1 In treating of this topic I have largely followed Deussen’s truly Indian 
presentation in his Philosophy of the Upanifods. 



Eligibility tor Highest Ejiowledge. We thus see that the 
instruction of the teacher is as necessary for Upanishadic studies 
as the self-exertion of the student in developing a spirit of self- 
sacrificing asceticism and the power of self-concentration in the 
pursuit of knowledge. Accordingly, we frequently find the striking 
feature constantly reouring in the Upanishads that a teacher 
refuses to impart any instruction to a pupil until he has proved 
to his satisfaction his competence, mental and moral, to receive 
the instruction, especially when that instruction is connected 
with the highest truths of life. The t5q>ical instance of this 
kind of pupil is Nachiketas in the Katha approaching Yama 
for instruction on the nature of the Soul and its destiny when 
Yama first satisfies himself as to his sincerity and zeal in the 
pursuit of Truth by offering him the strongest temptations that 
might divert him from his end — ^viz. " sons and grandsons who 
shall live a hundred years, herds of cattle, elephants, gold and 
horses, sovereignty of the wide abode of the earth, fair maidens 
with their chariots and musical instruments, and control over 
death ”. Nachiketas answers like a true Sannydsin ; “ Keep thou 
thy horses, keep dance and song for thyself. No man can be 
made happy by wealth.” Then Yama»is compelled to admit : 
" I believe Nachiketas to be one who desires Knowledge, for even 
many pleasures did not tear thee away.” Indra deals similarly with 
Pratardana by asking him to choose a boon, but Pratardana is 
wise enough to leave the choice to Indra [Kaushl, iii, i]. King 
Jana^ruti Pautrayana similarly approaches Raikva for instruction 
with 600 cows, a necklace, and a carriage with mules, whereupon 
Raikva answers : "Tie, necklace and carriage be thine, O Sudra, 
together with the cowS ” [Chhand., iv, 2]. Satyakama Jabala 
did not impart instruction to Upakosala Kamalayana even after 
his tending his fires for twelve years [ib., iv, 10, 2]. Pravahana, 
approached by Aruni for instruction, says to him : " Stay with 
me sometime ” [ib., v, 3, 7 ; Brihad., vi, 2, 6]. Similar is 
the treatment meted out by Prajapati to Indra and Vairochana 
[Chhand., viii, 8, 4], and by Yajnavalkya to Janaka [Brihad., iv, 
3, I f.], and by Sakayanya to King Bjihadratha [Maitr., i, 2]. 
All these cases but emphasize the pupil’s own efforts along with 
those of his teacher as factors in education. The Vedic teacher 
imposed exacting moral and mental tests for admission of pupils ; 
he refused to work with inferior and unsuitable material. Narada 
is admitted as a pupil by Sanatkumara when he has mastered 
all the arts and sciences of his times by which he qualified 



himself for the knowledge that was above the empirical and 

Wandering Teachers (* Charakas *). Instruction was derived 
not merely from the regular teachers settled in their homes of 
learning where they admitted pupils, but also from other sources. 
Such were Charakas ^ or wandering students who, though 
not normally competent as teachers, are yet regarded as possible 
sources of knowledge by the Satapatha Brahmana [iv, 2, 4, i]. 
This institution of peripatetic teachers was thus another useful 
agency for the spread of learning and culture. They were the 
real educators of thought. These bands of wandering scholars 
went through the country — the Brihaddranyaka refers to one 
such band wandering as far North as the land of the Madras 
[iii, 3, I ; 7, i] — ^and engaged in disputes and discussions at 
which prizes were staked by the parties. In the $atapatha Brdh- 
maifa [xi, 4, i, if.] Uddalaka Aruni, a Kuru-Panchala Brahmin, 
goes to the North where he offers a gold coin as a prize “ for the 
sake of calling out the timid to a disputation ”. Seized with fear, 
the Brahmins of the northern people challenged him to a dis- 
putation on spiritual matters with Svaidayana ^aunaka as 
their champion. In the end, Uddalaka finds himself unable to 
answer the questions put to him by Saunaka, " gave up to him 
the gold coin,” and became his pupil to study those questions. 
Such discussions were also encouraged and organized by the 
more intellectual and spiritually-minded kings. Thus in the 
Satapatha Brahmana [xi, 6, 2, i f. ; 3, i ; also Brihad., iv, i, 
1-9, 20, 29] Janaka, King of Videha, having come across some 
travelling Brahmins, arranges a discussion with them on the 
Agnihoira as a result of which he makes liberal gifts to the most 
successful of the disputants. Indeed) the literary patronage of 
Janaka made his contemporary Ajata^atru, king of Kaii, 
admit that he could hardly find any learned man to patronize, 
because all learned men were running after Janaka and settling 
at his court [Bfihad, ii, i, i]. Discussion with Yajnavalkya 
was the chief means adopted by Janaka for his education in 
spiritual lore, at the conclusion of which he says to his teacher; 
" Sir, I give you the Videhas, and also myself, to be together 
your slaves ” [ib., iv, 4, 23]. Further examples of such learned 

* According to Saftkara, they were called Charakas because they were 
observing {char) a vow for the sake of study. The word occurs in one of the 
inscriptions of U$avad&ta at Nasik — ** charaka parshabhyah ” — ^where there 
is a reference to Brahminical schools at four places named in the record [I A., 
1883, p. 30]. 


debates are those between Yajhavalkya and GSrgl Vicbaknavi 
[ib., Hi, 8] and between him and Vidagdha $ikalya [Ib., 
ui, 9 ; Br., xi, 6, 3, 3]. 

A similar agency for the spread of education was the 
institution known as Brahmodya (riddle poetry). It was a special 
form of theological discussion for which a regular place was 
assigned at the Aivamedha [Saiafi. Br., xiii, 5, 2, ii] and at the 
Daiaratra, ten-day festival [ib., iv, 6 , 9, 20]. 

Representative Teachers of the Times. — We shall now give 
an account^ of some of those representative teachers and pupils 
in whom were embodied the learning and culture of the period. 
They are named as follows in the alphabetical order : 

1. Ajfttaitatro, a king of Ka£! who instructs the proud 
Br^min Balaki as to the real nature of the Self. It has been 
already stated how he became jealous of his contemporary 
Janaka who collected in his court all the learned men of the 
times by his lavish patronage [BiiAad., ii, i, i, etc. ; Kau&ht, 
iv, I.] Gargya Balaki was himself “ famous as a man of great 
reading ” in the entire literary world of the day, for ” he lived 
among the U^inaras, Satvat-Matsyas, Kuru-Panchalas, and 
Ka§i-Videhas ” and Ajata^atru was only honouring himself 
by honouring such a far-famed scholar [ib.]. 

2. Aplchin Kauna. an authority on ritual and a contemporary 
of Jabala and Chitra Gau^rayani in the Kaushltaki Brahmana 
[xxiii, 5]. 

3. Atidhanvan Saunaka, the teacher of an udgitha of his 
pupil Udara-Sandilya in the Chhdndogya [i, 9, 3]. 

4. Atyaihhas Anipi, a teacher in the Taittirlya Brahmana 
[iii, 10, 9, 3-5], who sent a pupil to question Plaksha Dayyaihpati 
as to the Savitra (a form of Agni), for which his pupil was severely 

5. Abhiprat&rin E&ksba>seni is mentioned in several works 
as engaged in discussions on philosophical topics \Jaiminiya Up. 
Bt>., i, 59, I ; iii, I, 21 ; 2, 2, 13 ; Chhdnd., iv, 3, 5 (where he 
refuses alms to a religious student) ; Pahcha. Br., x, 5, 7 ; xiv, 

I, 12, 15]. The Jaimimya Brahma^ gives the further fact that 
there was a division of his property among his sons in his life- 
time, he being a Kuru and a prince [iii, 156]. 

6. Ampa Anpaveli Gautama, which is the full name of a 
famous teacher whose son was the more famous Uddalaka 

^ This account has been written with the indispensable aid of Macdonell 
and Keith's Vedic Index. 


Aruni. He was himself the son of Upave^a and a contemporary 
of King A^vapati Kaikeya whom he approached for instruction 
on a particular spiritual topic [TaitL Sam., vi, i, 9, 2 ; 4, 5, i ; 
MaUr. Sam., i, 4, 10 ; hi, 6, 4, 6 ; 7, 4 ; s/g ; 10, 5 ; * Kdth. 
Sam., xxvi, 10 ; Taitt. By ., ii, i, 5, n ; §atap. Br., ii, 2, 2, 20 ; 
X, 6, 1, 2 , xi, 4 i 4 ’ 5 > 3> 2 » Btihad. Up,, vi, 5» 3l* 

7. Aivapati Kaikeya, a learned prince, and an ideal king 
who could boast : ** In my kingdom there is no thief, no miser, 
no drunkard, no man without an altar in his house, no ignorant 
person, no adulterer, much less an adulteress/' He was pre- 
eminent in both politics and religion. Five great Brahmin 
theologians, viz. Prachina^ala, Satyayajha, Indradyumna, Jana, 
and Budila under the leadership of Uddalaka Aruni approached 
him for instruction regarding the mystery of the Va^vanara 
Self, which he was the only man of his times to master [Chhdnd., 

v, II, 1-5 ; Satap. Br., x, 6, i, i, 2, where the name Mahaiala 
appears instead of Prachina^ala]. Regarding A^vapati's special 
knowledge of the doctrine of Vai^vanara, the Brahmins said: 
" Venerable Sir, thou knowest Vai^vanara thoroughly : teach 
us Him " [$atap., ib.] ; and in the Chhdndogya: Sirs, Asvapati 
Kaikeya knows at present that Self called Vaisvanara, etc." 

8. Asvala, the Hotri priest of Janaka, king of Videha, who 
figures as an authority at the sacrifice of A^vamedha to which the 
king invited the Brahmanas of the Kurus and Panchalas. The 
king offered precious gifts to the Brahmin who was the " best 
read " of them. Yajnavalkya stepped forward, asserted his 
superiority, and asked his pupils to carry away the gifts, where- 
upon the other priests headed by Asvala tested his superiority by 
questions [Brihad., iii, i, 2, 10]. 

9. Ahinfi Ai^vatthya, a sage {muni) who achieved immortality 
by knowledge of the special rite called sdvitram [Taitt. Br., 
iii, 10, 9, 10]. 

10. Akt&kshya, the name of a teacher whose views are 
quoted on a point bearing on the Agnichiti or piling of the sacred 
fire, but are stated to be different from the " settled practice " 
[Satap. Br., vi, i, 2, 24]. 

11. Aru^eya Svetaketu or Audd&laki is mentioned repeatedly 
in the Satapatha Brdhmana [x, 3, 4, i ; xi, 2, 7, 12 ; 5, 4, 18 ; 
6 , 2, I ; xii, 2, I, 9 ; Audddlaki in iii, 4, 3, 13 ; iv, 2, 5, 14], the 
Bfihaddranyaka [iii, 7, i ; vi, i, i] and Chhdndogya [v, 3, i ; 

vi, I, I ; 8, 'i] Upanishads. As a student, he became known for 
his insistence on the eating of honey which a Brahmacharin 


was not permitted to take. He was the contemporary of the 
Pafichala king, Pravahana Jaivali, who also gave him some 
instruction. He was also a contemporary of the Videha king, 
Janaka, whom he met while travelling about with two other 
companions and participated in the discussion started by the 
king. One of these companions was Yajnavalkya with whom 
he had on another occasion a discussion at which he was defeated 
[Brihad., hi, 7, i]. At another time, he went to the Samiti or 
parishad (assembly) of the Panchalas where he failed to answer 
any of the five questions put to him by the King Pravahana 
Jaivali. It is also recorded that his career as a student was 
begun when he was twelve years old and ended when he was 
twenty-four and during this period though he studied all the 
Vedas under several teachers [Chhdnd,, vi, i, 7] the study did 
not produce the desired and expected effect on his character, 
for he returned home “ conceited, considering himself well- 
read and stem,*' until his father brought his ignorance home to 
him by questions he could not answer. Thus his entire intellectual 
career was marked by a series of discomfitures. The Kaushltaki 
Brahmana refers to him as an authority on the intricate subject 
of the duty of the seventeenth priest called Sadasya at the 
ritual of the Kaushitakins, whose function was to exercise a 
general superintendence over the ceremony and notify errors 
in its performance. 

12. Asuri appears as a ritual authority in the first four 
books of the Satapatha Brahmana and as an authority on 
dogmatics, specially noted for his insistence on truth in the last 
book [i, 6, 3, 26 ; ii, i, 4, 27 ; 3. 9 ; 4. i. 2 ; 6, i, 25. 33 ; 
3, 17 ; iv, 5, 8, 14 ; xiv, i, i, 33]. 

13. Indrota Daivapa iSaanaka is mentioned in the Satapatha 
Brahmana as the priest who officiated at the A^vamedha of 
Janamejaya [xiii, 5, 3, 5] and in the Jaiminlya Upanishad 
Brahmana as a pupil of Sruta [hi, 40, i]. 

14. Udanka ^aulb&yana, a contemporary of Janaka of 
Videha, who was taught by him the doctrine that ''prana is 
Brahman '' [Brihad., iv, i, 3]. He was also known for his opinion 
that the Da^aratra ceremony was the best part of the sattra 
{" sacrificial session **), 

15. Uddfiiaka Aruni, the son of No. 6, Aruna Aupave^i 
Gautama and father of No. ii, Svetaketu. His, therefore, was 
one of the most cultured families of the period whose liter- 
ary fame extended over several generations. He was ** a 



KurupaSchala Brahmin ^ ** [Satap., xi, 4, i, 2] whose son Sveta- 
ketu attended the Panchala Parishad. His teachers were (i) Aruna, 
his father [Brihad,, vi, 4, 33] ; (2) Patahchala Kapya of Madra 
[ib., iii, 7, i]. His pupils ^ were (i) Proti Kausurubindi of 
Kauidmbl [Satap., xii, 2, 2, 13] ; (2) the famous Yajnavalkya 
Vajasaneya [Brihad., vi, 3, 7 ; 4, 33] who was afterwards clever 
enough to beat his guru [ib., hi, 7, 31] ; (3) Kaushitaki 

[Sdhkhdyana Ar any aka, xv]. His opponents in academic disputa- 
tions whom he defeated were (i) Prachmayogya Saucheya 
[$atap,, xi, 5, 3, I, etc.] and probably (2) Bhadrasena Ajata- 
iatrava [ib., v, 5, 5, 14] (apparently son of AjataSatru, king 
of Kail, the contemporary of King Janaka, the patron of 
Yajnavalkya whom he bewitched), and (3) Svaidayana Saunaka 
\Satap,, xi, 4, I, I, 9], the champion of the northern Brahmins, 
challenged by Uddalaka to a disputation at which Uddalaka 
had to yield to him a gold coin as token of his superiority and 
wanted to become his pupil, but Saunaka said he would teach 
him without his becoming his pupil. His contemporaries were 
(i) Divodasa Bhaimaseni [Kdthaka Samhitd, vii, 8] and (2) 
Vasishtha Chaikitaneya, his patron [Jaim. Up, Br,, i, 42, i]. 
He was chosen as the chief priest by Chitra Gahgyayani for the 
performance of a sacrifice to which he deputed his worthy son 
Svetaketu. But Chitra puts to him a question regarding future 
life which neither he nor his father to whom it is referred can 
answer, and in the end both the son and father go as pupils to 
Chitra for instruction which is at once given because they 
were worthy of Brahman, being free from pride [Kaush. Up,, 
i, i]. To Aruni also is attributed the formula with which the 
morning and evening sacrifice is celebrated [Satap,, ii, 3, i, 34] 
and in several other Yajus formulae are found traces of Aruni's 
hand [ib., iii, 3, 4, 19]. His place in the history of Indian 
culture is thus indicated by Oldenberg : When the time shall 
have come for the inquiries which will have to be made to create 
order out of the chaotic mass of names of teachers and other 
celebrities of the Brdhmana period, it may turn out that the most 

^ The Mahdhharata [i, 682], describes him more closely as a Panchalya. 

* The Mantha-doctrine was first taught by Uddalaka and transmitted by 
a succession of pupils which may be shown thus : Uddalaka-Vajasaneya 
Yajnavalkya-Madhuka Paingya-Chala Bhagavitti- J anaki Ayasthuna-Satyakama 
Jabala [Brihad., vi, 3, 7-12]. Thus in the person of Uddalaka meet the most 
divergent lines of tradition : he is named as the teacher of Yajriavalkya [bat,, 
xiv, 9, 3, 15 ; 9, 4, 33 ; v, 5, 5, 14] ; of Kaushitaki and ^ankhayana [Kaush, 
At,, xv] ; and of Madhuka Paifigya, the head of another branch of Rigvedic 
school tradition. 



important centre for the formation and diffusion of the Brahma^a 
doctrine will have to be looked for in Aruni and in the circles 
which surrounded him [Buddha, p. 396 n.]. Most of the 
important works of the period constantly refer to him as a 
recognized authority on rituals and philosophy [e.g. Satap,, 
i, I, 2, II ; ii, 2, I, 34 ; iii, 3, 4, 19 ; iv, 4, 8, 9 ; xi, 2, 6, 12 ; 
Brihad., iii, 5, i ; Chhdnd., iii, ii, 4 ; v, ii, 2 ; 17, i ; vi, 8, i ; 
Ait. Br., viii, 7 ; Kaushl. Br., xxvi, 4 ; Sadvimia Br., i, 6 ; and 
Kausht, Up., i, i, etc.]. 

16. Upakosala Kfimalfiyana, who was a student in the house of 
his teacher Satyakama Jabala for twelve years [Chhdnd., iv, 10, i] 
and then, instructed by Agni, became himself a teacher [ib., iv, 14]. 

17. XJshasti Ch&kr&yana was one of the disputants at the 
court of Janaka on the occasion of his Asvamedha, who tried to 
question the superiority asserted by Yajnavalkya and was 
forced to ** hold his peace '' [Brihad., iii, 4, i]. He is also 
mentioned as living as a beggar with his wife at Ibhyagrama 
'' when the Kurus had been destroyed by hailstones '' and the 
resulting famine, until he presented himself at the sacrifice of the 
king where he is thought fit to take all the sacrificial offices 
[Chhdnd., i, 10, i ; ii, 2, 3). 

18. Kahoda Kaushitaki or Kaushitakeya is mentioned as a 
teacher contemporary with Yajnavalkya with whom he once 
disputes [$atap., ii, 4, 3, i ; Brihad., iii, 5, i ; Sdmkhdyana 
Aranyaka, xv]. 

19. Kusri V&jasravasa is a teacher concerned with the lore 
of the sacred fire in the Satapatha Brdhma'na [x, 5, 5, i]. 

20. Eusurubinda Auddilaki, probably a brother of Svetaketu 
(No. ii), is mentioned as an authority on rituals in several works 
[e.g. Pahchav. Br., xxii, 15, i. 10 ; Taitt. Sark., vii, 2, 2, i ; 
Jaimi., i, 75 ; Shad. Br., i, 16 ; cf. No. 15 — Proti Kausurubindi]. 

21. Efishna DevaUputra, mentioned . in the Chhdndogya 
[iii, 17, 6] as having learnt a particular view of the sacrifice from 
Ghora Angirasa, is regarded as the person deified later as the god 
Krishna by both tradition and modern scholars like Weber 
[Ind. Lit., pp. 71, 148, 169], Grierson [Encyclopcedia of Religion 
and Ethics, Bhakti] and Garbe. In the Upanishad, he is but a 
scholar, eager in the pursuit of knowledge, belonging, perhaps, 
to the military caste [Weber]. 

22. Eanravy&yapi-putra is mentioned as a teacher to whom 
is attributed the doctrine of dkdia or ether in the Brihaddranyaka 
[v. I, I]. 



23. Eraash^aki is mentioned as a grammarian in the Brihad- 
devatd [iv, 137] and Nirukta [viii, 2] but as an astrologer in a 
PariSishta of the Atharvaveda. 

24. Kha9dika AudbhSri is mentioned as a teacher of Ke^in 
in the Satapatha Btdhmana [xi, 8, 4, i] and as having been 
defeated by him as a sacrificer in Maitrdyanl Samhitd [i, 4, 12]. 

25. Gardabhi-vipita, a Bharadvaja, was one of the teachers 
from whom King Janaka learned a particular doctrine, viz. 
that '' Srotra is Brahman ** but whose limitations are pointed 
out by Yajnavalkya [Brihad., iv, i, 5]. 

26. Gdrgi Vichaknavl, a learned lady, was one of the circle 
of disputants who questioned the superior knowledge claimed by 
Yajnavalkya at the court of Janaka on the occasion of his 
A^vamedha. In the end she admits : “ No one, I believe, will 
defeat him in any argument concerning Brahman '' [Brihad., 
hi, 6, I ; 8, 12]. 

27. Gotama Rfihugana, first mentioned in the Rigveda [i, 78, 
5], figures ir\ the Satapatha Brdhmana as the Purohita or family 
priest of King Mathava Videgha and as a bearer of Vedic civiliza- 
tion in the famous passage in which Weber finds depicted three 
successive stages of the eastward migration of the Brahminical 
Hindus. At the time of the hymns of the Rigveda the Aryan 
settlements extended over the Panjab as far as the Sarasvatl, the 
Yamuna, and the Ganga. Thence the Aryans pushed forward, led 
by the Videgha Mathava and his preceptor Gotama Rahugana as 
far east as the river Sadanira, i.e. Karatoya [Sayana], forming the 
eastern boundary of the Videhas, or GandakI [Eggeling] forming 
the boundary between the Kosalas and Videhas. The progress 
beyond this limit was stopped for some time by the ‘‘ very un- 
cultivated, very marshy land east of it, but at the time of the 
Satapatha, “ there are many Brahmans to the east of it '' and the 
land was '' very cultivated [i, 4, i, 10-16]. 

28. Gausla is a teacher represented as in disagreement with 
Budila A^vataraa^vi in the Aitareya Brdhmana [vi, 30]. 

29. Gl&va Maitreya, also known by the name of Vaka 
Dalbhya, is mentioned as going out to repeat the Veda in a quiet 
place in the Chhdndogya [i, 12] in connection with the udgitha 
of the dogs. He appears as Pratistotri at the snake festival of the 
Pahchavimia Brdhmana [xxv, 15, 3] and is mentioned also in the 
Shadvimia Brdhmana [i, 4]. He is defeated in a scholastic disputa- 
tion with Maudgalya in the Gopatha Br, [i, i, 31]. 

30. Chftkra» whose full name is Revottaras Sthapati Patava 



was the sthapati [a royal official, a governor (cf. Nishada- 
Sthapati in Apas, Sr, Su, ix, 14, 12) or a chief judge (Vedic index, 
ii, 486)] of the exiled Dushtaritu Paurhsayana, a king of the 
Sniijayas, and succeeded in restoring him to his royal dignity, 
despite the opposition of the Kauravya King Balhika Pratiplya 
by performing the Sautramani, and hence he must have been a 
sage rather than a warrior [Satap, Br,, xii, 8, i, 17 ; 9, 3, i, etc.]. 

31. Chitra OfingySyani or Gargyayani is mentioned as a 
contemporary of Aruni and Svetaketu in the Kaushttaki 
Upanishad [i, i], 

32. Chitra Gaui^rSyani is mentioned as a teacher in the 
Kaushttaki Brdhmana [xxiii, 5]. 

33. Chelaka Sfindilyfiyana is mentioned as a teacher of one 
of the doctrines of mystic imports upanishadamade^^ 

in the Satapatha along with Satyayani [x, 4, 5, i, 2, 3,]. 

34. Chaikitfineya Brahmadatta is brought into connection 
with the Soma in Brihaddranyaka [i, 3, 24]. In the Jaiminiya 
Upanishad [i, 38, i ; 59, i] his patron is the Kuru King, 

,35. Chailaki Jivala is a teacher in the Satapatha [ii, 3, i, 34] 
which quotes his views. He is represented as reproving Takshan. 

36. Jana ^ftrkarakshya is one of the five disputants who, 
under Uddalaka Aruni, went to A^vapati Kaikeya for instruction 
[Chhdnd., v, ii, i ; 15, i ; Satap,, x,^, i, i]. 

37. Janaka, king of Videha, is one of the most prominent 
figures of the period, whose court was practically the centre of 
Vedic culture and civilization. Though a Videhan, he is always 
found to associate with the Brahmins of the Kuru-Panchalas, 
like the sages Yajnavalkya and Svetaketu, which probably, 
indicates that the seat of the Upanishadic philosophy and Vedic 
learning was in the Kuru-Panchala country rather than in the east. 
Janaka is mentioned for his learning and encouragement of 
learned men in several works [e.g. Satap,, xi, 3, i, 2 ; 4, 3, 20 ; 
6, 2, 1, etc ; Brihad,, iii, i, i ; iv, i, i ; 2, i ; 4, 7 ; v, 14, 8 ; Jaimin, 
Br,, i, 19, 2 ; Kausht, Up,, iv, i, etc.]. These references will show 
that discussion was' the method of instruction conveniently 
adopted by the king who could thus count quite a number of 
teachers, viz. (i) Yajnavalkya, though he was himself in his 
earlier years once taught by the king [Satap,, xi, 6, 2], (2) Jitvan 
Sailini, (3) Udanka Saulbayana, (4) Barku Varshna, (5) Gardabhi- 
vipita Bharadvaja, (6) Satyakama Jab^a, and (7) Vidagdha 



38. Jala J&tiUkar^ya achieved the pre-eminent position of 
being the Purohita of three different peoples and kings, viz. those of 
Ka^i, Videha, and Kosala \$dnkhdyana §rauta Sutra, xvi, 29, 6]. 

39. J&ta Sfikfiyana is an authority on rituals in the Kdihaka 
Samhitd [xxii, 7]. 

40. J&ratk&rava Artabh&ga is one of the eight disputants with 
Yajfiavalkya at the A^vamedha of Janaka [Brihad., hi, 2, i ; also 
Sdnkhdyana Aranyaka (vii, 2)]. 

41. Jitvan iSailini, a teacher who taught Janaka that Vdk 
(Speech) was Brahman [Brihad., iv, i, 2]. 

42. Taponitya Pauru-sish^ is the name of a teacher in the 
Taittiriya Upanishad, who believed in the supreme value of tapas 
or penance as contrasted with learning and practising the Veda '' 
[h 9 > I]- 

43. T&n$ya is the name of a teacher in the Satapatha [vi, i, 
2, 25] quoted on a point bearing on the Agnichiti or piling of the 
sacred fire. The school of the Tandins had the Tdndya Mahdbrdh- 
mana or Panchavimsa Brdhmana of the Samaveda. 

44. Tuminj a Aupoditi is mentioned in the Taittiriya Samhitd 
[i, 7, 2, i] as a Hotri priest at a Sattra or sacrificial session and as 
having been engaged in a discussion with Su^ravas. 

45. Tura K&vasheya is the teacher of the doctrine regarding 

the fire-altar set forth in the tenth book of the §atapatha 
Brdhmana, Sandilya refers to him also as having erected a fire- 
altar on the Karoti [ix, 5, 2, 15] and in that connection he makes 
the significant remark : Let there be no bargaining as to 

sacrificial fees, for by bargaining the priests are deprived of their 
place in heaven."' As a purohita, he consecrates as king Jana- 
mejaya Parikshita [Ait. Br., iv, 27 ; vii, 34 ; viii, 21]. He is 
supposed to be mentioned in the Pahchavimia Brdhmana [xxv, 
14, 5] as Tura, the deva~muni, the saint of the gods. 

46. Tura-i^ravas is the name of a seer in the Panchavimsa 
Brdhmana [ix, 4, 10] as having, by the composition of two Samans 
(chants), pleased Indra who in return gave him the oblation of the 
Paravatas on the Yamuna. 

47. Tri-sanku in the Taittiriya Upanishad [i, 10, i] has his 
teaching of the Veda quoted and is called a poet. 

48. Dirgha-§ravas (far-famed) is the name of a royal seer 
mentioned in the Panchavimsa Brdhmana [xv, 3, 25] as having 
been expelled from his kingdom and reduced to starvation till 
he obtained succour from his being able to reveal or see " a 
certain Saman. 



49. Dri^hachyut Agasti was the Udgatii priest at the sattra 
(sacrificial session) of the Vibhindukiyas [Jaimi, Br,, iii, 233]. 

50. Deva-bh&^a iSrantarsha was the Purohita of the two 
peoples, the Srinjayas and Kurus [$atap,, ii, 4, 4, 5]. He is said 
to have taught Girija Babhravya the science of the dissection of 
the sacrificial animal [paior vihhakti) in the Aitareya Brahmana 
[vii, i], while in the Taittirlya Brahmana [iii, 10, 9, ii] he is 
deemed an authority on the Savitra Agni. 

51. N&ka Maudgalya is cited as a teacher in the Satapatha 
[xii, 5, 2, I ] in connection with ceremonies concerning the death 
of the Agnihotrin and in the Taittirlya Upanishad [i, 9, i] for 
his view that learning and practising the Veda are the true tap as 
or penance and also in the Brihaddranyaka [vi, 4, 4]. 

52. Nfirada, first mentioned as a seer in the Atharvaveda [v, 19, 
9 ; xii, 4, 16, 24, 41] figures in the Aitareya Brahmana as priest, 
with Par vat a, of Harischandra [vii, 13], as a teacher of Somaka 
Sahadevya [vii, 34] and as anointing Ambashthya and Yudhaih- 
^raushti [viii, 21]. He is mentioned as a teacher also in the 
Maitrdyanl Samhitd [i, 5, 8] and as a pupil of Brihaspati in 
the Sdmavidhdna-Brdhmana [iii, 9] and of Sanatkumara in 
the Chhdndogya Upanishad [vii, 1,1]. 

53. Patanchala KSpya, a famous teacher in the land of the 
Madras and a specialist in sacrificial lore whose reputation drew 
renowned pupils from the south like Uddalaka Aruni and Bhujyu 
Lahyayani [Brihad,, iii, 3, i ; 7, i]. 

54. Pippaldda is a great sage in the Praina Upanishad [i, i] 
whose instruction was sought by six advanced students named 
Sukesas, Satyakama, Sauryayanin, Kausalya, Vaidarbhi, and 
Kabandhin, who were themselves devoted to Brahman, firm 
in Brahman but “ seeking for the Highest Brahman they 
** thought that the Venerable Pippalada could tell them all that '' 
and so approached him with fuel in their hands. The Rishi, how- 
ever, insisted on their year's stay with him with penance, 
abstinence, and faith as qualifying them for his instruction. 

55. Prav&hapa Jaivali is one of the learned princes of the 
day whose instruction was sought by noted Brahman scholars 
like Svetaketu Aruneya and his father Uddalaka [Brihad,, vi, 
2, 1-7]. He was a leading figure in the Academy {Samiti, Parishad) 
of the Panchalas [Chhdnd,, v, 3, i]. He was famed for his special 
knowledge of udgitha (i.e. Om) along with two other Brahmana 
scholars, Sflaka Salavatya and Chaikitayana Dalbhya, with whom 
he had once a discussion in which he seems to have come out 



victorious [ib., i, 8]. He was also a specialist in the subjects 
connected with the mystery of life, death, and immortality of 
the soul, on which he put five questions which could not be 
answered by Svetaketu and his father [see infra]. 

56. Priltl-bodM-patra is the name of a teacher in the Aitareya 
[iii, I, 5] and Sdnkhayana [vii, 13] Aranyakas. 

57. Priyavrata Somfipi or Saum&pi is the name of a teacher in 
the Aitareya Brahmai},a [vii, 24] and Sdnkhdyana Aranyaka 
[xv, i]. Priyavrata Rauhinayana is the name of a teacher in the 
Satapatha [x, 3, 5, 14]. 

58. Babara PrSv&hani is the name of a person whose ambition 
was to become an orator and by the use of the Pancharatra sacrifice 
he acquired rhetorical powers [Taitt. Sarhhitd, vii, i, 10, 2]. 

59. Babhru Eaumbhya is the name of a seer to whom a 
Saman or Chant is attributed in the Panchavirhia Brdhmana 
[xv, 3, 13]. 

60. Babhru Daiv&vridha is mentioned in the Aitareya 
Brdhmana [vii, 34] as a pupil of Parvata and Narada. 

61. Barku Vfirshna is a teacher in the Brihaddranyaka 
Upanishad [iv, i, 4] who taught Janaka Videha the doctrine that 
chakshus (sight) is Brahman. He is also mentioned in the 
Satapatha [i, i, i, 10] where his views are regarded as wrong. 

62. Basta B&makfiyana is a teacher in the Maitrdyanl 
Samhitd [iv, 2, 10]. 

63. Bfidhva is the name of a teacher whose views are cited 
in the Aitareya Aranyaka [iii, 2, 3] on “ the four persons ”, viz. 
those of the body, the metres, the Veda, and the great person. 

64. Bu^ila AsvatarSsvi is one of the six Brahmins who had a 
discussion with King A^vapati Kaikeya regarding “ that Self 
called Vai^vanara ” [Chhdnd., v, ii, i ; 16, i ; $atap., x, 6, i, i]. 
His views are cited in another place in the Satapatha as those of an 
authority on rituals [iv, 6, i, 9]. The Brihaddranyaka Upanishad 
makes him a contemporary of Janaka Videha who puts a question 
to him " as knowing the Gayatri ” [v, 14, 8]. 

65. Bbima Vaidarbha is mentioned in the Aitareya Brdhmana 
[vii, 34] as having received instruction regarding the substitute 
for the Soma juice through a succession of teachers from Parvata 
and Narada. 

66. Bhujyu L&hy&yani was one of the eight disputants who 
questioned the intellectual superiority claimed by Yajnavalkya 
at the horse-sacrifice of Janaka Videha [Brihad., iii, 3]. 

67. Madhuka Paingya is a teacher in the Satapatha [xi. 


7, 3» 8] whose views are quoted on a point regarding animal 

68. Hahfti^Sla JfibSla is a teacher to whom Dhira ^ataparneya 
r^airs for instruction and has a discussion with him on Agni 
[Satap,, X, 3, 3]. He himself goes along with five other Brahmins 
including Uddalaka for instruction to the* Kshatriya, King 
A^vapati [Satap,, x, 6, i, i ; Chhdnd,, v, ii, i]. 

69. MahidSsa Aitareya (according to Sayana, the son of 
Itara) is the sage from whom the Aitareya Brdhmana and 
Aranyaka take their names as being compiled ""by him. The 
references to him and to his views in the Aranyaka [i, i, i ; 
ii, I, 8 ; 3, 7] indicate that he was its editor and not its author 
and was also a philosopher of distinction. His exceptional 
longevity (of 116 years) is referred to in the Chhdndogya 
Upanishad [iii, 16, 7] as the result of his special spiritual practices 
and also in the Jaiminlya Upanishad Brdhmana [iv, 2]. 

70. Mfikshavya is a teacher in iht Aitareya Aranyaka [iii, i,] 
who defines dkdia as the union of earth and heaven. 

71. M&hfichamasya is the patronymic of a teacher to whom 
the Taittirlya Aranyaka [i, 5, i] ascribes the addition of Mahas 
to the triad Bhur Bhuvas Svar. 

72. MShitthi is the patronymic of a teacher mentioned in the 
Satapatha whose views are cited in several places [vi, 2, 2, 10 ; 
viii, 6, 1, 16, etc. ; ix, 5, i, 57 ; x, 6, 5, 9]. 

73. Maitreyi was the learned wife of Yajnavalkya who “ was 
conversant with Brahman while his other wife Katyayani 

possessed such knowledge only as women possess When 
Yajnavalkya was about to renounce the life of a householder for 
that of a hermit, Maitreyi insists on his giving her instruction in 
spiritual wisdom. 

74. YSjnavalkya is a prominent authority on rituals in the 
^atapatha Brdhmana and on philosophy in the Brihaddranyaka 
Upanishad, In the Satapatha he, however, appears exclusively 
and very frequently in the first five and the last four Kdndas 
as a noted teacher whose opinion is appealed to as the decisive 
authority, although in one place he is said to be in contradiction 
with the Rigveda [ii, 5, i, 2] and in another [iii, 8, 2, 24] with the 
Charaka-Adhvaryus, one of whom curses him. It may also be 
noted that these books associated with him mention only the 
races settled in eastern or central Hindusthan such as the 
Kuru-Panchalas, Kosala-Videhas, Sviknas, and Srinjayas [with 
the exception of the following peoples mentioned only once 



in them, viz. the Vdhlkas (western tribes) as opposed to the 
Pr achy as (eastern tribes), Udtchyas (northern tribes), and the 
Nishddhas (southern tribes), alluded to in the name of their king, 
Nala Naishadha], while the other Kansas [vi-ix] recognize Sancjilya 
as the final authority and mention only the north-western peoples, 
viz. the Gandharas, with their King Nagnajit, the halvas, and 
the Kekayas. This shows which part of India Yajnavalkya came 
from. His association with the Kuru-Panch^a Brahmins, 
Uddalaka, and his son Svetaketu, points more definitely to his 
place of origin. Uddalaka was one of his teachers from whom he 
learnt the Mantha-doctrine [Brihad., vi, 3, 7]. Svetaketu was 
one of his fellow-discfples with whom, and another fellow-disciple, 
Soma^ushma Satyayajni, he wanders about, until he meets King 
Janaka of Videha, driving in a car, who stops and invites the party 
to a discussion on Agnihotra. The king, dissatisfied with the 
Brahmins' wisdom, mounted his car and drove away. The dis- 
comfited Brahmins, finding themselves out-talked by a Kshatriya, 
wanted to challenge him to a disputation, but Yajnavalkya, 
preferring knowledge to rivalry, mounted his car, drove after the 
king, and overtook him, and made him teach the Agnihotra 
[Satap., xi, 6, 2]. Yajnavalkya afterwards grows up to be one of 
the most learned teachers of the times. His own guru Uddalaka 
Aruni could not hold his own in a disputation with him [Brihad., 
iii, 7, i] in a vast assembly or Congress of scholars of the entire 
Kuru-Panchala country, which was summoned by King Janaka 
of Videha in connection with his celebration of the horse-sacrifice. 
In that Assembly, Yajnavalkya asserted and maintained his 
superiority in the knowledge of sacred writ against all the 
renowned scholars of the age such as (i) ASvala, the Hotri priest 
of Janaka, who put to him no less than eight knotty questions 
regarding sacrifice ; (2) Jaratkarava Artabhaga, who put five 
questions ; (3) Bhujyu Lahyayani, who questioned him regarding 
the destiny of the Parikshitas who perpetrated the crime of 
brahmahatyd but performed Asvamedha ; (4) Ushasta Chakrayana, 
regarding the Self who is within all ; (5) Kahola Kaushitakeya, 
who put a similar question ; (6) GargI Vachaknavi, the learned 
lady, who engaged in repeated disputations at the end of which she 
publicly declared before the Assembly : '' Venerable Brahmins, 
you may consider it a great thing if you get off by bowing before 
him. No one, I believe, will defeat him in any argument concerning 
Brahman " ; (7) Vidagdha Sakalya, who started a discussion on the 
gods at the end of which, for his impertinence, he lost his life. 


In conclusion, Yajnavalkya said : Reverend Brahmanas 

whosoever among you desires to do so, may now question me 
Or question me, all of you. Or whosoever among you desires it, 
I shall question him, or I shall question all of you.'* But those 
Brahmanas durst not say anything. Thus Yajnavalkya justified 
his initial appropriation of the prize of victory offered by the 
king, viz. i,ooo cows to each pair of whose horns were fastened 
ten padas of gold, when he said to his pupil : '' Drive them away 
my dear " {Brihad,, in ; cf. Satap.^ xi, 6, 3]. His whilom teacher, 
Janaka, also figures as his most important pupil later on. He 
learns from him the Agnihotra for which he gives him 100 cows 
[§atap,y xi, 3, I, 2, 4]. On another occasion the king descended 
from his throne to receive instruction from him as his formal pupil, 
for otherwise he would not accept any reward which the king 
would fain give. Then Yajnavalkya, after testing the knowledge 
previously imparted to the king by other teachers, delivers his 
discourse on Brahman, at the end of which the king says : Sir, 
I give you the Videhas, and also myself, to be together your 
slaves " [Brihad., iv, 1-4]. Janaka also recognized Yajnavalkya's 
special knowledge of the Mitravinda sacrifice [Satap., xi, 4, 3, 20]. 
Yajnavalkya was also noted as an authority on the way in which 
the oblation is to be treated [ib., xi, 4, 2, 17], on the expiatory 
ceremonies in connection \vith the Agnihotra, and on the offering 
of the omenta [ib., xiii, 5, 3, 6]. He had two wives, Maitreyl 
and KatyayanI, the former being learned, conversant with 
Brahman, and the latter like other women. He has a discourse on 
Brahman with Maitreyi on her insistence, after which he bids adieu 
to the world to spend the last days of his life in contemplation in 
the solitude of the forest after making a due settlement between 
the two wives [Brihad., iv, 5]. The concluding passage of 
Brihaddranyaka [vi, 5, 4] attributes to him the White Yajus 
[Sukldni yajumshi]. In the $atapatha Brdhmana, Yajnavalkya 
is represented as a somewhat recalcitrant priest to whom are 
attributed some new views and doctrines. He protested against 
the priest's new demand that the benefit of the sacrifice should 
accrue in part to the priest, and said : “ How can people have faith 
in this ? Whatever be the blessing for which the priests pray, this 
blessing is for the worshipper (sacrificer) alone " [i, 3, i, 26]. His 
comparative nobility of heart is apparent from his prayer to the 
Sun : ** Give me light, varcho me dehi " instead of the usual “ Give 
me cows " [i, 9, 3, 16]. * 

75. Baikva is the name of the person whom the pious King 


JSLna^niti Pautrayana, famed for his liberality in '' always 
keeping open house and building places of refuge everywhere so 
that people should everywhere eat of his food approached for 
instruction with the present of 600 cows, a necklace, and a 
carriage with mules But Raikva replied : " Fie, necklace and 
carriage be thine, O Sudra, together with the cows/' Then the 
king “ took again 1,000 cows, a necklace, a carriage with mules, 
and his own daughter ", whereupon Raikva relented and gave him 
the instruction, viz. that Vayu (air) and Prana (breath) are to be 
meditated upon as Brahman [Chhdnd., iv, i. 2. 3]. 

76. Vatsapri Bh&landana is a seer to whom is attributed the 
Vatsapra Saman [Taitt, Sam,, v, 2, i, 6 ; Kdtha. Sam,, xix, 12 ; 
Muitr, Sam,, iii, 2, 2 ; Panchav, Br,, xii, ii, 25 ; Satap,, vi, 7, 4, i]. 

77. Vfitavani is a Rishi in the Panchavimia Brdhmana [xxv, 
3, 6] who, commencing a certain Sattra or sacrificial session, did 
not finish it and hence came to grief, while his colleague, Driti, 
carried it through, whence the Darteyas were more prosperous 
than the Vatavatas. 

78. iSilaka iSSlSvatya was a contemporary of Chaikitayana 
Dalbhya and Pravahana Jaivali who were all well- versed in the 
Udgitha [Om), on which they had a discussion in which the 
Kshatriya proved his superiority to the Brahmins and taught them 
the knowledge [Chhdnd,, i, 8]. 

79. iSaunaka is a common patronymic. It is applied to 
Indrota and Svaidayana [Satap,, xiii, 5, 3, 5, in connection with the 
offering of the omenta ; xi, 4, i, 2, where Svaidayana is a champion 
of the northern Brahmins who were challenged to a disputation 
by the famous Kuru-Pafichala scholar, Uddalaka Aruni (see No. 
15). It is also applied to Rauhinayana [Brihad,, ii, 5, 20 ; iv, 5, 26 
(Madhyarhdina)], Atidhanvan [No. 3], and Kapeya [Chhdnd., iv, 3, 
5 » 7 ; Jciimi. Up. Br., iii, i, 21] while a Saunaka appears as a 
great authority on grammatical, ritual, and other matters 
[Brihaddevatd, i, xxiii]. 

80. Saiiisravas Sauvarchanasa is a teacher who has a dis- 
cussion on a point of ritual with Tuminja [Taitt. Sam., i, 7, 2, i]. 

81. SatyakSma J&bSla has an interesting history. Wishing 
to become a Brahmacharin he asked his mother : "Of what 
family am I ? " The mother replied': " I do not know, my child, 
of what family thou art. In my youth when I had to move about 
much as a servant (waiting on the guests in my father's house) 
I conceived thee. I do not know of what family thou art. I am 
Jabala by name, thou art Satyakama. Say that thou art 


Satyakama/' The boy then approached for instruction Gautama 
Haridrumata who asked him, " Of what family are you, my friend ? ' ' 
He reported fully what his mother had said and on this Gautama 
exclaimed : No one but a true Brahmana would thus speak out. 
Go and fetch fuel, friend, I shall initiate^ you. You have not 
swerved from the tfuth.’* Thus his truthfulness dispelled all 
doubts as to his origin and caste and admitted him to studentship. 
As a student he was equally true and dutiful. The first duty 
prescribed for him by his teacher was to tend his cows, 400 lean 
and weak ones. But Satyakama resolved within himself : I shall 
not return unless I bring back a thousand and so dwelt a number 
of years in the forest till the number of cattle grew into his 
calculated figure. In the meanwhile, in the solitude of the forest, 
he acquires a knowledge of Shodasha-kalavidya, the sixteen parts 
of Brahman, and, on his return home, his teacher says to him : 

Friend, you shine like one who knows Brahman. Who then has 
taught you ? '' Satyakama replied : ''Not men (it is an offence to 
have instruction from any other man than his accepted teacher). 
But you only. Sir, I wish, should teach me.'' Then the teacher 
gave him full instruction — " nothing was left out." With his 
studentship thus nobly spent, Satyakama grew up to be a famous 
teacher. One of his pupils mentioned is Upakosala Kamalayana 
whom he makes tend his fires for twelve years. To him is 
attributed the famous parable of the rivalry of the organs in which 
the prana proves its superiority to the other vital organs (eye, 
ear, speech, rtianas, etc.) and this doctrine {prdnasamvdda) he 
communicated to another pupil named Go^ruti Vaiyaghrapadya 
\Chhand., iv, 4, i, etc ; 5, i ; 6, 2 ; 7, 2 ; 8, 2 ; 9, 10 ; 10, i ; 
V, 2, 3]. King Janaka Videha also seems to have been one of his 
pupils to whom he imparted the doctrine that manas (mind) is 
Brahman [Brihad,, iv, i, 6]. One of his teachers was Janaki 
Ayasthuna from whom he learned the Mantha-doctrine handed 
down from Uddalaka Aruni through a series of teachers and pupils 
[vi, 3> 12]. 

82. Satya-vachas B&thitara is the name of a teacher who holds 
that truthfulness is the one thing needful in a Brahmacharin 
[Taitt, Up,, i, 9, i]. 

83. Suke§in BhSradv&ja was one of a circle of six Brahmin 
students who approached the Rishi Pippalada for instruction 
regarding the Highest Brahman. The reason of his seeking that 
instruction was his failure to answer the question on the subject 
put to him by the prince of Kosala (Ayodhya) named 



Hiranyanabha. The Rishi insisted on their staying with him for 
one full year in penance, abstinence, and faith, and then imparted 
the instruction \Praina Up., i, i, 2,; vi, i]. 

Three Types of Educational Institutions : (1) Homes of 
Teachers as Schools. From the evidence adduced so far regarding 
the educational conditions of the period, it will be seen that, 
broadly speaking, there were evolved three different types of 
institutions for the spread of learning. 

Firstly, there was the normal system under which the teacher, 
as a settled householder, admitted to his instruction pupils of 
tender age who, on the first dawn of consciousness, leave the home 
of their natural parents where their body was cared for and 
nurtured for that of spiritual parents where their mind and soul 
would be nourished. This entry into the preceptor’s home was a 
sort of spiritual birth and hence a rebirth whence the brahmacharin 
becomes a dvija and an antevdsin. The admission of the pupil 
was formally made by the celebration of the specific ceremony of 
upanayana or initiation, the details of which declare the essentially 
spiritual character of the process as distinguished from the 
mechanical character of its modern substitute under which a pupil 
is admitted into a school on payment of a fee securing the registra- 
tion of his name on its rolls. Details regarding this kind of student- 
ship have been already given. A typical instance of this institution 
may be again conveniently cited of Satyakama Jabala going to his 
preceptor’s house as a young boy where he spends several years 
tending his cattle and later on he himself, as a teacher, admits 
to his house as his pupil Upakosala Kamalayana who tends his 
fires for twelve years. 

(2) Debating Circles and Parishads (Academies). Secondly, 
there was another type of institutions which ministered to the 
never-to-be-satisfied needs of the advanced students whose quest 
of Truth and Knowledge did not cease with the period of formal 
studentship and necessarily elementary education but was 
continued into the householder’s state. Such students improved 
their knowledge by mutual discussions or by the instruction of 
renowned specialists and literary celebrities in search of whom 
they wandered through the country. 

Examples. Uddalaka Aruni, from the Kuru-Pafichala country, 
goes to the north where in a disputation to which he challenges 
the northern scholars he has something to learn from their leader, 
Svaidayana Saunaka \$aiap. Br., xi, 4, i, 2 f.]. Similarly, 
Svetaketu Aruneya, Soma^ushma Satyayajni, and Yajnavalkya, 



while travelling about, were met by Janaka of Videh^, who raised 
a discussion at which the Brahmin scholars learnt something from 
the Kshatriya [ib., xi, 6, 2]. Silaka Salavatya, Chaikitayana 
Dalbhya, and Pravahana Jaivali had a discussion on UdgUha 
in which the Brahmins learnt something from the Kshatriya 
Pravahana Jaivali [Chhand., i, 8]. King Jana^ruti Pautrayana 
sought instructioit on a special topic from Raikva [ib., iv, 2, 3]. 

King Pravahana Jaivali was a member of the Panchala 
Parishad, an academy of advanced scholars, which he went out of 
his palace every morning to attend. In one of the meetings of the- 
academy, Svetaketu could not answer the questions raised by the 
king which brought home to his mind that his education was not 
quite complete. Svetaketu went back sorrowful to his father’s 
place and pointed out the insufficiency of his teaching though at 
first he held it to be sufficient. The father, also finding himself 
incompetent to answer the king’s questions, goes with his'son to 
the king’s palace where they are treated with proper respect and 
asked to stay for some time [ib., v, 3 ; Brihad., vi, 2, 1-7]. 
“ Five great householders and theologians came once together and 
held a discussion as to what is our self and what is Brahman,” 
and then went together to the famous sage Uddalaka Aruni 
” who knows at present that Self, called Vai^vanara ”, but 
Uddalaka “ recommended to them another teacher ”, viz.. 
King A^vapati Kaikeya, to whom all the six went. They are 
respectfully treated with proper presents by the king who 
" without demanding any preparatory rites ” indicative of formal 
pupilage proceeded straightway to give them the instruction 
asked for \Ch}idnd., v, ii ; Satap., x, 6, i, 1-2]. Svetaketu, 
returning home after completing his education during a twelve 
years’ studentship, has his knowledge tested by his father in a 
discussion in which it is found to be wanting and further 
instruction is imparted to him by his father [Chhand., vi, i]. 
Narada, an advanced student, who mastered all the arts and 
sciences of the times, has his knowledge further extended and 
improved in a discussion with Sanatkumara [ib., vii, i f.]. 
Uddalaka and his son Svetaketu had another discussion with 
King Chitra Gangayani from whom they receive further knowledge 
[Kaush. Up., i, i]. Driptabalaki Gargya, whose fame ” as a man 
of great reading ” was known to several countries and peoples 
such as those of the U 4 inaras, Satvat-Matsyas, Kuru-Panchalas, 
and Kaii-Videhas, is still beaten at a disputation with Ajata^atru, 
King of Ka^i, who knew the Brahman in its true character “ as 



something not ourselves while Balaki worshipped the Brahman 
as the Sun, Moon, etc., i.e. as limited, active, and passive [Kaush,, 
iv, I ; Brihad,, ii, i, i, etc.]. Yajhavalkya teaches his learned 
wife, Maitreyi, by means of a discussion [Brihad,, ii, 4 ; iv, 5]. 
The principal means adopted by King Janaka of Videha for his 
instruction was to invite the learned men of his times to discussion 
in his court, [ib.* iv, etc.]. The venerable saint Sakayana was 
moved by the thousand days' penance of King Brihadratha who 
renounced the world for the sake of knowledge which is then 
imparted by the Rishi [Maitr. Up,]. We thus see that, along with 
the settled homes of learning in which education was begun and 
imparted under a regular system of rules and discipline governing 
the entire life of the Brahmacharin as a whole-time inmate of his 
preceptor's house, there was this system of academic meetings 
for purposes of philosophical discussions among advanced 
scholars wandering through the country in quest of knowledge 
and of the teacher who was able to impart it. It was in these 
learned debates of fluctuating bodies of peripatetic scholars that 
the truth about the Atman, the Ultimate Reality and foundation 
of things, was thoroughly threshed out and the study and wisdom 
of the elementary schools were tested and matured through the 
ordeal of criticism and friction of minds. 

The Upanishads as the outcome ol such discussions. It may 
be noted in this connection that the Upanishads themselves are 
in a sense to be regarded as the record and outcome of such 
academic disputations, the transactions, so to speak, of the 
philosophical societies or circles of the literary celebrities of the 
times. They represent the results of the researches of advanced 
scholars with whom the pursuit of Truth, the quest of the Atman, 
superseded all other pursuits and quests and who frequently 
met together to discuss and compare the results of their 
independent investigations. They constitute a kind of knowledge, 
a body of truths, which could not usually and naturally be 
attained in the preliminary and preparatory period of formal 
pupilage under a system in which the student was to '' sit down 
near " [upa + ni + sad^ to sit down) his teacher for instruction. 
And yet that is the system or institution supposed to be implied 
by the term upanishad in the prevailing acceptation of the term 
based on its derivation. But though this particular derivation of 
the word is grammatically sound, it does not make other deriva- 
tions impossible. While nearly all Western scholars are agreed 
about the aforesaid derivation, Indian scholars led by Sankara 


derive the word from the root sad, in the sense of destruction, 
or from the root sad, in the sense of approaching.^ In the former 
case, the word would mean the knowledge which destroys all 
worldly ties and thence the treatises which embody that knowledge, 
while in the latter case it would indicate the means by which the 
knowledge of Brahman comes near to us or by which we approach 
Brahman. Sayana suggests another derivation according to which 
the Upanishad would be that '"wherein the highest good is 
embedded"' (upanishannamasydm param ireyah). The derivation 
given by the Indian scholars has at least the merit of explaining 
the various primary senses in which the word is used in the 
Upanishads themselves, whereas Max Muller himself admits 
that "it is strange that upanishad, in the sense of session or 
assembly, has never, so far as I am aware, been met with’" [S.J5.E., 
i, Ixxx]. I am tempted to think that if the word is at all to mean 
" sitting down near ", it was sitting down near the sacrificial fire 
and not near a teacher. The connection of the Upanishads with 
sacrificial celebrations is amply borne out by the evidence of the 

^ The original use of the word seems to have been in the sense of sitting 
down near somebody to listen or to meditate and worship as in ix, 11,6; 
X, 73, 11 ; i, 65, 1, and in Chhdnd. Up., vi, 13, 1 ; vii, 1 ; and vii, 8, 1. In the 
Trikdi?,4aieshakosha the word is explained as sitting down near a person [saml- 
pasadana ; cf. Pdnini, i, 4, 73 (upanishatkritya), and hi, 4, 72, commentary)]. 
It has thus been taken to express the idea of session or assembly of pupils sitting 
down near their teacher to listen to his instruction and also the idea of a con- 
fidential secret sitting in contrast to parishat or samsad (assembly). It has also 
been suggested that the contents of the Upanishads were thought to be so esoteric 
that they could not be taught publicly to a miscellaneous assembly but only to 
a son or a regular pupil who would approach very near the teacher to hear those 
subtle doctrines. The Upanishads themselves contain restrictions in this regard 
[e.g. Ait. Up., hi, 2, 6-9 ; Chhdnd., hi, 11, 5 ; Brih,, vi, 3, 12 ; Svet., vi, 22 ; 
Mun4., hi, 2, 11 ; Maitr., vi, 29]. These explanations of the word are, however, 
not accepted by any orthodox Indian scholar from Sankara downwards, nor 
are they supported by the passages in which the word occurs in the Upanishads 
themselves where it has been used in one or other of the following meanings, 
viz. : — 

(1) Secret or esoteric explanation [e.g. Ait. Ay., hi, 1, 6, 3 ; Taitt. Up., 
i, 3 ; Ait. Ar., hi, 2, 5, 1 ; Chhdnd., i, 13, 4; ih, 11, 3 ; vih, 8, 4]. [Cf. also 
^atap., X, 3, 5, 12 ; 4, 5, 1 ; 5, 1, 1 ; xh, 2, 2, 23.] 

(2) Knowledge derived from such explanation [Chhdnd., i, 1]. 

(3) Special rules or observances incumbent on those who have received 
such knowledge [Taitt. Up., ii, 9 ; hi, 10, 6]. 

(4) Title of the books containing such knowledge [Brihad. Up,, ii, 4, 10 ; 
iv, 1, 2 ; 5, 11]. [See on the whole subject, SBE., i, Ixxx, etc.] 

Oldenberg traces the use of the word to the earlier sense of worship as in 
updsand. But Deussen points out [Philosophy of the Upani^ads, p. 13 f.] that 
in the Upanishads upa -f as is always “ to worship ", never " to approach for 
instruction " and upa -j- sad always " to approach for instruction ", never 
" to worship ". He agrees with such Indian scholars as explain the word upanishad 
by rahasyam, i.e. secret, and points for support to such expressions as guhy- 
dde^d^ [Chhand., hi, 5, 2], paramam guhyam [Kaiha., hi, 17 ; Svet., vi, 22], 
vedaguhva-upanishadsu gddham [^vet., v, 6], and guhyatamam [Maitr., vi, 



Satapatha Brahmana, the Brihadaranyaka, and Chhandogya 
Upanishads. The various conversations reported in such works 
mostly took place in the course of the celebration of big sacrifices. 
For instance, in the Chhandogya [i, 10, ii] Ushasti Chakrayana 
went to a king’s sacrifice and, having challenged the Prastotri, 
the Udgdtri, and the Pratihartri to explain the nature of the 
various deities they were severally concerned with, explains it 
himself and concludes with a praise of the Udgitha which forms 
the burden of the whole chapter. In the fifth chapter there is the 
typical story of five learned scholars headed by Uddalaka Aruni 
going to King A^vapati Kaikeya to have instruction regarding 
Vai^vanara, Self, and the king before instructing them proposes 
to hold a sacrifice. The various discussions of philosophical 
problems now embodied in the Upanishads originally took place 
during the celebration of a great sacrifice. Literary disputations 
have always been the characteristic feature of such festive 
occasions. It was during such sacrificial sessions that Sukadeva 
recited the Bhdgavatam to Janamejaya and Suta recited other 
Puranas to Rishis.^ 

(8) Conferences : An Example. This brings us to the third 
type of institutions developed for the spread of learning in these 
ancient times. Besides the small circles of philosophical disputants 
and parishads or academies of different localities, there was 
occasionally summoned by a great king a national gathering or 
Congress in which the representative thinkers of the country of 
various Schools were invited to meet and exchange their views. 
One such Congress of Rishis (the first of its kind in history) 
is reported in the Brihaddranyaka Upanishad, the Satapatha 
Brdhmana, and the Vdyu Purdna, King Janaka Videha performed 
a horse-sacrifice to which he invited all the Brahmanas of the 
Kuru-Panchala country. The king offered a special prize of 
great value (1,000 cows with horns hung with gold) to the person, 
“ the best read,” ” the most learned in sacred writ,” and ” the 
wisest ”, and the prize was at once appropriated by Yajiiavalkya. 
This was the signal for the great tournament of debate to begin, 
and Yajnavalkya’s assumed superiority was challenged by seven 
representative scholars of the age who began to put a series of 
perplexing problems to Yajfiavalkya requiring him to explain a 

^ Bodas in JBRAS., XXII, 71, has a clever suggestion that the word 
Aratiyaka might be traced to aratii or wooden sticks by rubbing which the 
sacrificial fire is produced which may therefore be called arav^ya and the discourses 
compiled in the presence of, or relating to, the sacrificial fire may have come 
to be called Afai(tyaka, 


large variety of points concerning the ritual, the gods, the soul, 
the supreme cause of the world and the soul of all, good deeds, 
bad deeds, etc. The satisfactory answer that Yajnavalkya was 
able to give to each and all of the numerous questions by which 
his boasted and assumed supremacy was questioned at once won 
for him a country-wide fame [cf. Briha., iii, 8, 12] and demon- 
strated the versatile character of his learning and wisdom whereby 
he felt quite at home in problems ranging from the domain of the 
most practical and petty details of rituals to that of the most 
abstract and subtle philosophy and eschatology. It is worthy of 
note that in these learned debates in the midst of the gorgeous ^ 
sacrificial solemnities at the courts of kings, there flocked with 
Brahmans eager for the fray learned Brahman ladies not less 
eager for the contest to cross lances in argument regarding the 
Atman or the Highest Truth. The wise GargI, one of the inter- 
locutors of Yajnavalkya, says to him : '' As an heroic youth from 
Ka4l or Videha bends his unbent bow and takes two deadly 
arrows in his hand, I have armed myself against thee with two 
questions, which solve for me."' Not less bold and piercing was 
the thrust of another opponent : “ When anyone says ' that is an 
ox, that is a horse it is thereby pointed out. Point out to me 
the revealed, unveiled Brahma, the Atman which dwells in every 
thing : the Atman which dwells in everything, what is that, O 
Yajnavalkya ? '* 

Was Sanskrit spoken language P It may be presumed that the 
language of these debates, the medium of instruction in these 
times, was Sanskrit which was a spoken language then. During 
the Brahmana period and down to later times, there is no doubt 
that, as F. W. Thomas has pointed out [JRAS.y 1904], Sanskrit 
was the language of public religious rites, of domestic ceremonies, 
of education, and of science.'" In the Satapatha Brahmana [xiii, 
4, 3] is given a vivid picture of the Brahman priest teaching the 
people (men, householders unlearned in the scriptures, old men, 
handsome youths, maidens, evil-doers, usurers, fishermen, etc.) 
the Pariplava legend, the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Atharva- 
veda, the Ahgirasa, the Sarpavidya, the Devajanavidya, Magic, 
Itihasa, Purana, the Samaveda. Some of the sacred works of the 

1 Be it noted that, as Oldenberg so forcibly points out [Buddha, p. 32], 
side by side with these highly-coloured court scenes where renowned masters 
from all lands, who have knowledge of the Atman, contend with each other 
for fame, patronage, and reward, the texts give us another very different picture : 
“ Knowing Him, the Atman, Brahmans relinquish the desire for posterity, the 
desire for possessions and worldly prosperity, and go forth as mendicants." 
This was what even the victorious Yajfiavalkya did. 



period distinguish two kinds of speech, divine {daivl) and human, 
which probably stand for the Sanskrit of the hymns and ritual, 
the language of divine service, and the Sanskrit of ordinary 
conversation respectively, and not, as Sayana suggests, for Sanskrit 
and Apabhraih^a [ib., vi, 3, i, 34 ; Kdth. Sam., xiv, 5 ; Maitr. 
Sam., i, II, 5 {yai cha vedayai cha na) ; Ait. Br., vii, 18, 13 {om 
iti vai daivam tatheti mdnusham, etc.) ; Ait. Ar., i, 3, i]. Both 
kinds of speech are known to the Brahmin [Kdth., ib., Maitr., 
ib.]. Reference is also made to Aryan [Ait. Ar., hi, 2, 5 [dryd 
vdchah)] and to Brdhmin [ib., i, 5, 2, which Sayana vaguely 
comments on as vedasambandhi vdkyam] and these distinctions 
represent an early piece of evidence for the existence of several 
dialects of the ancient Indian language. As yet the opposition 
meant seems to be to the non-Aryan tongues of the period [cf. 
Tandya Mahd. Br., xvii, i, 2, 9]. In Keith’s opinion [Ait. Ar., 
p. 196 n.], whatever be the history of Vedic and Sanskrit, it is 
difficult to believe at this date (800-700 b.c.) in very much 
development of Prakritic forms so as to render contrast with 
them natural, though no doubt such forms existed. Thus a 
twofold linguistic differentiation was known in the period, 
viz. (i) Sanskrit designated as Aryan or Brahmin speech to 
distinguish it from non-Aryan tongues, (2) within the domain 
of Sanskrit, the daivl or sacerdotal forms of Sanskrit as distin- 
guished from its popular forms. In the Sundarakdnda of the 
Rdmdyana, Hanumant in choosing the language in which he 
should speak to Sita mentions as his alternatives the above 
two varieties of Sanskrit {vdcham mdnushlm samskritdm or 
dvijdter iva vdcham samskritdm). By the time of Dandin, the 
term daivl vdch had come to be used for Sanskrit [Kdvyddaria, 
i> 33]- 

The best Sanskrit of the times seems to have been current 
in the country of the Kuru-Panchalas and probably also of the 
Uttara-Kurus in Kashmir and men went there to study the 
language [Satap., hi, 2, 3, 15 (a passage difficult, however, to 
construe) ; KausMtaki Br., vii, 6]. The Satapatha [hi, 2, i, 
23. 24] also refers to barbarisms in speech which were to be 
avoided. These barbarisms were probably characteristic of the 
Vratyas who are described in the Panchavirhia Brdhmana 
[xvii, I, 9] as speaking the language of the initiated {dlkshita- 
vdch), though they, uninitiated {a-dlkshita), do so with difficulty 
for “they call what is easy of utterance {a-durukta) difficult 
to utter”. This shows that the Vratyas were very probably 


Aryans who had been already developing prakritic forms of 

Geographical Background. We shall now proceed to consider 
the geographical background of this many-sided culture of the 
Brahtnana period and bring together the available data for the 

KnrU'PahchSla, Kosala, Videha. The most important work to 
be considered in this connection is the Satapatha Brdhmana, the 
geographical data of which point to the land of the Kuru- 
Panchtlas as being still the home and headquarters of Brahmanical 
culture. The kings of these parts who performed the horse-sacrifice 
are all eloquently extolled under what appears to be “ a still fresh 
feeling of gratitude ” [Weber, Ind. Lit., 125]. We have mention 
of the Kuru King Janamejaya Parikshita with his three brothers 
who by means of horse-sacrifice (performed at his capital, 
Asandivant) were absolved from the guilt of hrahmahatyd. The 
sacrificial priest was Indrota Daivapa Saunaka, who is once 
mentioned as coming forward in opposition to Bhallaveya and 
to Yajnavalkya who rejects his view. We have mention of the 
Panchala kings Kraivya (the Panchala overlord of the Krivis, 
formerly called the Panchalas) and Satrasaha ; of Bharata 
Dauhshanti (bom of Sakuntala at Nadapit, the hermitage of 
Rishi Kanva) and Satanika Satrajita, king of the Bharatas and 
enemy of the Ka^I king ; of Purukutsa Aikshvaka ; Dhvasan 
Dvaitavana, king of the Matsyas ; Rishava Yajnatura, king of 
the Sviknas. The renowned scholars Uddalaka and Svetaketu, 

^ The claim that Prakritic dialects became very early the ruling speech 
of the people superseding Sanskrit cannot be well supported. They were subse- 
quent to the Mantra literature and to the earliest epic (not mere dkhydnas 
or itihdsas), Brahmanas, Upanishads, and Aranyakas (800-600 b.c.). The 
necessary interval of time is to be allowed for the complete separation of the 
literary and vulgar speech. The place of the Epic must be found either before 
the decay of speech had rendered Sanskrit unintelligible to the warrior 
classes of the populace or after the general revival of Sanskrit in the second and 
third centuries a.d. The latter view is not quite in accord with our conception 
of the history of language and literature. Besides, we have references to the 
Mahdbhdrata and Ramdyana in the Kautillya (300 B.c.) and the Mahdhhdshya 
(150 B.C.). The fact, besides, cannot be doubted that the Epics constituting the 
fifth Veda were meant to be studied by ordinary worldly people, warriors, 
husbandmen, and ladies, just as the four Vedas and the Brahmanical literature 
founded on them were studied by the priests. The Prakrits were certainly 
posterior to Panini (350 B.c. at the latest) who distinguishes the laukikahhdshd 
or the spoken SansMt of ordinary life from chhdndasa or poetical language of 
the Vedas. Again, since Pataftjali knew the drama we must assign to his period 
the separate use of Sanskrit and Prakrit for the different characters when Sanskrit 
could be used by kings and nobles as intelligible to their inferiors. [On the 
whole subject see Macdonell, Vedic Index (on Vdcha and Vrdtya) ; Sans, Lit,, 
pp. 20-4 ; JRAS„ 1904, pp. 435 f. ; Keith, JRAS., 1906, p. 2 ; and Ait. Ar., 
pp. 179, 196, 255 (notes). I have here adopted Dr. Keith's conclusions.] 



father and son, who figure prominently in the Satapatha are 
expressly stated to be Kuru-Panchala Brahmins. Nevertheless, it 
is clear that the Brahmanical system had also by this time spread 
to the countries to the east of Madhyade^a, to Kosala with its 
capital, Ayodhya, and Videha with its capital, Mithila. Among the 
horse-sacrificers, the Kausalya king, Para Atnara, is mentioned. 
The court of King Janaka of Videha figures, as we have seen, 
as the centre of the culture of the times which drew to itself the 
learned Brahmins of the Kuru-Panchala country in literary 
Congresses and Conferences summoned on important sacrificial 
occasions. The neighbouring kingdom of Ka^I was devoid of 
learned men who were all attracted to Janaka for his lavish patron- 
age and, accordingly, Ajata^atru, the Kasi king, could not but 
envy his great contemporary. Yajnavalkya was the hero of the 
tournaments of debate held at Janaka' s court and was himself 
probably a Videhan, and the fact that he is represented as getting 
the better of the most distinguished teachers of the West in 
argument probably shows that the redaction of the White 
Yajurveda took place in this eastern region [Macdonell, Sans. Lit., 
p. 214]. The earlier stages of this movement of Vedic culture 
towards Videha and the eastern regions are allegorically repre- 
sented in the legend of Mathava, King of Videgha, and his 
preceptor, Gotama Rahugana, which has been already referred to. 
It has also been stated that a part of the Satapatha, Books vi-x, 
where Sandilya is regarded as the highest authority, and where 
the north-western peoples alone are mentioned, viz. the 
Gandharas, Salvas, and Kekayas, has a north-western origin, while 
the remainder, where Yajnavalkya is the authority and the peoples 
of central and eastern Hindusthan alone are consequently men- 
tioned, viz. the Kuru-Panchalas, Kosala-Videhas, Sviknas, and 
Srinjayas, belongs to those parts. 

Vasa-Usinara, Kfisi. Most of the geographical data, together 
with really historical statements, are to be found in the last 
books of the Aitareya Brdhmana from which it at any rate specially 
follows that their scene is the country of the Kuru-Panchalas 
and Va^a-U^Inaras. The ethnological table given in viii, 14 is 
sufficiently clear on this point. In the middle asydm dhruvdydm 
madhyamdydm pratishthdydm diii " in which the use of the word 
asydm as distinguished from etasydm used in respect of other 
territories shows that the compiler of the text belongs to this very 
territory] lie the realms of the Kuru-Panchalas together with 
Va^as and U^inaras. To the south of this Land of the Middle there 



dwell the Satvats, eastward the Prachyas (i.e. the Ka^i, Kosala, 
Videha, and Magadha peoples), westward the Nichyas, Apachyas. 
In the north the Middle Land is bounded by the Himalaya, 
beyond which {parena Himavantam) dwell the Uttara Kurus and 
Uttara Madras. This sketch of the distribution of Indian peoples 
points to the land which formed the centre of genuine Vedo- 
Brahmanic culture from which it radiated in all directions. This 
land was later known (cf. Manu) as the land of the Brahmarshis 
whose customs and rites are taken as a model, whose warriors 
are the bravest, the land of Kurukshetra and of the Matsyas, 
Panchalas, and Surasenas [ii, 19 ; vii, 193] corresponding to what 
is set down in the Aitareya as madhyamd dii and as south ; but 
what is regarded in the Aitareya as west and east, above all, the 
land of the eastern peoples of Ka^i, Kosala, Videha, and Magadha, 
is by Manu excluded from the land of the Brahmarshis. 

The Sdnkhdyana (or Kaushltaki) Brdhmana gives the 
interesting information that the northern parts of India were 
then famous as seats or centres of linguistic studies and people 
resorted thither in order to become acquainted with the language 
and on their return came to be regarded as authorities and 
specialists on linguistic questions. 

Matsya. The KaushUaki Upanishad knows only of •the 
territory enclosed between the northern (Himavant) and southern 
(Vindhya) mountains and mentions a list of peoples in accord with 
this, viz. the Vasas, Uslnaras, Matsyas, Kuru-Panchalas, and 

Places of Sacrifice. The Tdndya or Panchavimsa Brdhmana 
contains a variety of interesting geographical data. In the first 
place, we have minute descriptions of sacrifices on the Sarasvatl 
and Drishadvatl. Secondly, we have descriptions of Vrdtyastomas 
or sacrifices by which Aryan but non-Brahmanical Indians were 
admitted into the Brahmanical order. Thirdly, the great sacrifice 
of the Naimishlya Rishis is mentioned, along with the river 
Sudaman. Weber concludes from these data that they point to an 
active communication with the west, particularly with the non- 
Brahmanic Aryans there, and, consequently, to the fact that the 
locality of its composition must be laid more towards the west. 
But there are other data which point us to the east such as the 
mention of Para Atnara, King of the Kosalas, of Nami Sapya, 
King of the Videhas (the Nimi of the Epic), of Kurukshetra, 
Yamuna, etc., of the Vedic name Trasadasyu Purukutsa (con- 
necting it with the earlier Rishi period) and the significant 



absence of any allusion to the Kuru-Panchalas or to Janaka 
(showing probably its origin in a different locality pr its priority 
to the flourishing epoch of the Kuru-Panch§Jas). 

The Chhdndogya Upanishad mentions the Naimishlya, the 
Mahavrishas, and the Gandharas which would make its origin more 
western, while the Brihadardnyaka to which it is more akin ^ 
in other respects belongs distinctly to the eastern part of 

The general conclusion drawn by Oldenberg from the geo- 
graphical data of the literature of the period is that the culture of 
the Vedas was indigenous to but one portion of the Aryan peoples 
of Hindusthan and from them reached the other afterwards only 
at second hand ; that the home of Brahmanic civilization has 
been with the Kuru-Panchalas and the stocks of the west standing 
in closer union with them who, as the qualified champions of Aryan 
culture, are to be distinguished from those who were not regarded 
as equally accredited partakers in this culture. Though this con- 
clusion seems to be contradicted by the fact that our Brdhmana 
texts like the Satapatha, for instance, do not mention the western 
peoples to the exclusion of the eastern (as have been already 
shown), we should, however, bear in mind that the cases of their 
being mentioned, specially of the Kurus and Panchalas, and, in a 
second degree, of the Bharatas, surpass at once in frequency the 
mentioning of the eastern peoples ; and that the texts frequently 
attribute to the western peoples unmistakably the weight of an 
older and higher sacral authority than to the eastern groups, which 
latter are plainly named in a hostile or contemptuous tone, or at 
least appear as peoples who have received from the west 
instruction in the spiritual knowledge which has its home there. 

Kurukshetra. Oldenberg has adduced a body of select 
evidence on the point which may be set forth after him. The 
Kurukshetra is the place of sacrifice of the gods [$atap., iv, i, 5, 
I3 ; xiv, I, I, 2]. From the Chamasa which the gods used in the 
sacrifice was produced the sacred tree Nyagrodha ; the first-born 
of the Nyagrodha trees grew on the Kurukshetra [Ait. Br., vii, 
30]. In the tale of Pururavas and Urva^i, the Kurukshetra plays 

^ The two have in common the following names : Pravahana Jaivali, 
Ushasti Chakrayana, Sandilya, Satyakama Jabala, Uddalaka Aruiji, Svetaketu, 
and A^vapati. The somewhat late date of Chhdndogya may be inferred from the 
mention of Atharvahgirasah, Itihasas, and Puranas as existing in independent 
forms (though Sankara regards them as parts of the Brdhmanas) ; of legal cases 
recalling Manu’s Code, viz. infliction of capital punishment for denied theft, 
trial by ordeal (carrying red-hot axe) ; and of the doctrine of transmigration of 
souls (also mentioned in the Brihaddrattyaka). 


a part [Satap,, xi, 5, i, 4]. The offerings which must be made on 
the Sarasvatl, Drishadvati, and Yamuna are known [Panchav, 
Br,, XXV, 10; ^dnWi, $r., xiii, 29 ; Kdty., xxiv, 6], In the 
north, among the Kuru-Panchalas, is the country where the Vach 
has her peculiar home ; the Vach, as she there is, is truly {niddnena) 
to be called a Vach [Sat,, iii, 2, 3, 15]. Some prefer the Pancha- 
vattam to the Chaturavattam, but the Chaturavattam follows 
the custom of the Kuru-Panch^as ; therefore, let it be given the 
preference'' [ib., i, 7, 2, 8]. There are other references to the 
Kurus or Panchalas showing their relative importance, e.g. 
a saying of the Kuru-Panchalas with reference to such of their 
kings as have performed the Rajasuya [Sat., v, 5, 2, 5] ; a form 
of Vajapeya offering called Kuru-Vajapeya [Sdnkh. Sr., xv, 3, 15] ; 
a disaster of a shower of stones to the Kurus [Chhdnd., i, 10, i] ; 
an old verse, '' the mare saves the Kurus " [ib., iv, 17, 9] ; 
a Brahmin's threat that the Kurus shall be obliged to fly from 
Kurukshetra [Sankh. Sr., xv, 15, 10]. 

Equally significant is the brilliant part played by the Kuru 
King, Janamejaya, in a series of Brdhmana texts, as well as that 
noble ode in praise of his father, Parikshita [Av., xx, 127, 7]. 

As Parikshita and Janamejaya among kings, so Aruni 
Udd^aka among those versed in sacred writ stands on a high, 
perhaps on the highest platform, as will be evident from the details 
of his life and work given above. 

Certain peculiarities of recitation are attributed to the 
Panchalas among whom probably arose the method of Vedic 
recitation [Sdnkh. Sr., xii, 13, 6 ; Rik-Prdtii. Sutra, 137 and 

The land of the Bharatas. A similarly important position 
attaches to the Bharatas in the texts. We have already referred 
to two Bharata princes in the Satapatha list of A^vamedha 
offerers and their greatness is stated in the accompanying verses 
to be as far beyond that of other mortals as the heavens are above 
the earth. In other places, the Bharatas are regarded as the 
exemplars of correct conduct, the knowledge of whose customs 
is stated to be something which not everyone has [Sat., v, 4, 4, 
I ; Ait. Br., ii, 25 ; iii, 18]. According to Oldenberg, the testi- 
mony of the Rigveda shows the Bharatas emerging, out of the 
struggles in which the migratory period of the Vedic stocks was 
passed, as the possessors of the regions round the Sarasvati 
and Drishadvati on whose banks the Bharata princes perform their 
sacrifices. The weapons of the Bharata princes and the poetical 



fame of their Rishis may have co-operated to acquire for the cult 
of the Bharatas the character of universally acknowledged rule 
and for the Bharatas a kind of sacral hegemony : hence Agni 
as friend of the Bharatas, the goddess Bharati, the sacredness of 
the Sarasvati and Drishadvati. Then came the period when the 
countless small stocks of the Saihhita age were fused together to 
form the greater peoples of the Brahmana period. The Bharatas 
found their place, probably together with their old enemies, the 
Purus [cf. the vanishing enmity in Rv., i, 112, 4 ; vii, ig, 3], 
within the great complex of peoples now in process of formation, 
the Kurus ; their sacred land now became Kurukshetra. 

Videha under Janaka. To the evidence here adduced (partly 
from the Satapatha) of the pre-eminence of the Kuru-Panchalas 
in the Vedic world may be opposed, however, the evidence of the 
same text itself regarding the important part played by the people 
of Videha living far in the east and their king Janaka. In the 
literary Congress held by Janaka who invited to it the entire 
body of Kuru-Panchala Brahmins, the palm of victory belongs 
to Yajnavalkya, a Videhan scholar [xiv, 6, i, 1-3 ; especially 
6, 9, 20]. This shows, firstly, that Vedic culture was held in 
honour at a place far east from the land of the Kuru-Panchalas — 
a shifting, so to speak, of the literary centre of gravity — and, 
secondly, the most important figure in that Congress of Brahmins, 
whose authority on spiritual questions is regarded as decisive, 
belongs to that eastern region. This fact, however, has to be 
considered along with other facts related about the Congress in 
order to get at the truth of the matter. For the $atapatha 
Brahmana itself shows clearly that Brahmanic culture among the 
Videhas is only an offshoot from the Kuru-Panchalas. Yajna- 
valkya himself, as we have seen, is a pupil of Aruni, a Panchala. 
Next, the Brahmans whom Janaka invites to his Congress are all 
— except Yajnavalkya — Kurupahchdldndrh brdhmandh. The 
king of the east, with his regard and partiality for the culture of 
the west, pays homage to that culture by collecting at his court 
the literary celebrities of the west — much as the intellects of 
Athens gathered at the court of Macedonian princes. Over 
and above this stands the evidence already cited, showing how 
the authority of the west, of the Kuru-Panchalas, is felt and 
acknowledged throughout the text and how the land of the 
Videhas was once a stranger to the sacrificial system as it 
flourished on the Sarasvati. 

Position ol Hagadha. Farther off from the old centres 



of Vedic culture than the Kosalas and Videhas stood the Magadhas 
to whom along with the Ahgas in the farther east and the Gand- 
haris ^ and Mujavants in the far north-west fever is wished 
away, as we have seen, in a well-known passage of the Atharva- 
veda [v, 22, 14]. ThafMagadha Brahmins were held in light 
esteem is evident from other passages in Vedic literature [e.g. 
Vdja, Sam,, xxx, 5, 22], but the reason for it is their imperfect 
brahminization and not, as surmised by Weber, the success of 
Buddhism in their country. 

We thus find that the literature of the Brdhmanas points 
to a certain definitely circumscribed circle of peoples as its 
home, as the home of genuine Brahmanism, corresponding to 
the region held noted for its purity by Manu. This community, 
a complex of peoples of earlier Rigvedic stocks (like the Purus, 
Turva^as, Bharata-Tritsus), is to be distinguished from the 
Kosalas, the Videhas, and the Magadhas, who were pressing 
forward farther to the east down the Ganges, as the former 
peoples were pressing forward through the Pan jab towards their 
later habitations. 

Seats of Sacrifice as Seats 0! Learning. We have now had 
an idea of the general geographical background of the culture of 
the Brdhmana period, but regarding the actual seats of this 
ancient learning we have unfortunately but little evidence. No- 
where in the entire range of this vast and varied literature do 
we find any direct mention of the locality of any of the numerous 
schools through which that literature was preserving and pro- 
pagating itself except in one solitary passage in the Chhdndogya 
Upantshad [v, 3, i] repeated in the Satapatha Brdhmana [xiv, 
9, I, i] testifying to the Assembly or Parishat of the Panchalas 
which counted among its members the distinguished scholars, 
the Brahmin Svetaketu and the Prince Pravahana Jaivali. If we, 
however, proceed on the assumption that the places celebrated 
for sacrifices were also those celebrated for learning, then we 
can avail ourselves of some additional evidence. Nor is the 
assumption far from truth. It has been already shown how the 

^ The Gandharas in the north-west will have to be regarded also as standing 
outside the pale of Vedic culture, despite the reference to Gandhara in the 
Chhdndogya Upanishad [vi, 14], which proves, according to Oldenberg, neither 
the northern origin of its compiler, nor the antiquity of the text, as supposed 
by Max Muller, but rather the contrary, as will appear from the context and 
contents of the passage where there is a comparison of a man who is led (dnlya) 
away by the Gandharas with closed eyes and who then inquires his way back 
from village to village. Thus in the passage the Gandharas are made to reside 
the farther from the land where the statement of the passage may have been 



culture of the Upanishads centred round the sacrifice which 
was made the occasion for learned debates in meetings of scholars 
well versed in the wisdom of the age. One of the most renowned 
places of such sacrifice in these ancient times was the far-famed 
Naimisha forest. The Rishis of the Naimisha forest and their 
sacrificial festivals are frequently mentioned in the literature 
of the period [e.g. Kdth, Sam,, x, 6 ; Panchav, By., xxv, 6, 4 ; 
Jaimi. By., i, 363 ; Kaush. By., xxvi, 5 ; xxviii, 4 ; Chhdnd. Up.^ 
i, 2 , 13, where the Udgatri of the Naimishiya sacrificers is 
mentioned, viz. Vaka Dalbhya]. It may be noted, too, in this 
connection that one of the sacrificers in this Naimisha forest 
was Saunaka at whose sacrificial feast Sauti, the son of Vai^am- 
payana, is said to have repeated before the assembly of Rishis 
the MahdhhdYata recited by his father on an earlier occasion 
to Janamejaya (the second) together with the HuYivamsa. 

It is also to be noted that these sacrifices were celebrated 
in a great variety of ways. According to the Panchavimia 
BYdhmana, the Soma sacrifices extended over one day or several, 
or finally over more than twelve days. The latter were known as 
SattYas or sessions which Brahmins alone could perform and that 
in considerable numbers. These might last 100 days or even 
several years. It is thus clear how these sacrificial sessions would 
naturally be the occasions for learned discussions by the concourse 
of Brahmins engaged therein. Like the Soma sacrifices, the 
horse-sacrifices which only great kings were entitled to perform 
were also accompanied by gatherings of learned men, the most 
typical instance of which is the A^vamedha of Janaka of Videha 
who brought together for the occasion a vast assembly 
of Brahmins from the Kuru-Panchala country. 

Some of these horse-sacrifices are described in a few of the 
sacred texts. 

At Asandtvant, the capital of the kingdom of the Kuru king 
Janamejaya, a horse-sacrifice was performed by the Rishi Indrota 
Daivapa Saunaka [§at., xiii, 5, 4]. The AitaYcya BYdhmana 
mentions Tura Kavasheya as the Rishi of Janamejaya [viii, 
14, 4 ; 19, 2]. At the sacrifice of Kraivya, '' the Panchala king," 
at a place called PaYtvakYd, the immense offering was divided 
" among the Brahmins of the Panchalas from every quarter " 
so that it must have been the occasion for a great gathering of 
learned men [3at., ib.]. Near the lake of Dvaitavana in the country 
of the Matsyas was the scene of the sacrifice of its King Dhvasan 
Dvaitavana [ib.]. Then there were the sacrifices of Bharata 


Dau^shanti with his priest DIrghatamas Mamateya in the country 
of Mashnara where he distributed as gifts inumerable elephants 
with white tusks and golden trappings ; innumerable cows to 
1,000 Brahmins of the country named Sachtguna ; and kept 
78 steeds in a place on the Yamuna and 55 in the place named 
Vfitraghna on the Gangd [ib. ; Ait. Br., ib.]. At the sacrifice 
of Rishabha Yajnatura, king of the Sviknas, the Brahman- 
folk assembled divided between them the offering-gifts [$at., 
ib.]. At the sacrifice of the Pdnchdla King Sona Satrasaha, 
the assembled Brahmins became satiated with wealth [ib.]. 
There were sacrifices performed on the Sarasvatt and Drishadvatt 
of which minute descriptions are given [Panchav. Br.]. 

Courts of Kings as Centres of Learning. Besides the noted 
seats of sacrifice which were also, on the view taken here, the 
seats of learning, we are able to trace some definite Schools in 
the sense of circles or associations of learned men, of teachers 
and pupils, flourishing independently or in connection with the 
courts of kings. Proceeding from the periphery of Brahmanical 
culture in the east, we find a centre of learning in the court of 
Ajata^atru, king of Ka^i, associated with the famous scholar, 
the proud Balaki Gargya, whose fame was spread through the 
entire land of the U^inaras, Satvat-Matsyas, Kuru-Panchalas, 
and Videhas. Bhadrasena Ajata^atrava who was a contemporary 
of Uddalaka and was defeated by him in argument was probably 
a son or descendant of the Ka^i king. 

Another easterly centre of learning was the court of King 
Janaka of Videha. Janaka himself was the centre of a 
distinguished literary circle. Many learned scholars of the day 
revolved round him like satellites, among whom are mentioned 
Yajnavalkya, Svetaketu, Jitvan ^ailini, Udanka Saulbayana, 
Barku Varshna, Gardabhivibhita Bharadvaja, Satyakama Jabala, 
and Vidagdha Sakalya. The learned men of the Kuru-Panchdla 
country were also associated with the court of Janaka through 
the tournaments of debate accompanying his horse-sacrifice, and 
we have the names of their representatives who took part in 
that debate, viz. A^vala, Jaratkarava Artabhaga, Bhujyu 
Lahyayani, Ushasta Chakrayana, Kahoija Kaushitakeya, Gargi 

Next to Videha, we have Kosala also figuring as a seat of 
culture. The Prince of Kosala (with his capital called Kosala, 
i.e. Ayodhya) was a learned man who sought instruction from 
the ^hi Suke^in Bharadvaja. We have also seen that 


another Kosala king Para Atnara Hairanyanabha performed 

In the country of the Panchdlas the court of King Prava- 
hana Jaivali was another centre of culture on account of the 
wisdom of the king himself, which attracted to him scholars like 
Svetaketu Aruneya, and his father, Silaka Salavatya, and Chaiki- 
tayana Dalbhya. 

Similarly, the court of King A^vapati Kaikeya was another 
such centre in the far north. The circle of scholars that gathered 
round that learned king included the famous Uddalaka, Prachlna- 
6ala, Satyayajna, Indradyumna, Jana, and Budila. If the kingdom 
of Kekaya is to be placed between the Vitasta and Sindhu, the 
court of A^vapati must be deemed to have been far-famed as a 
seat of learning to attract thither scholars from the distant 
Kuru-Panchala country. 

The north was also famous for other renowned teachers and 
centres of learning. For we find Patanchala Kapya as a famous 
teacher in the land of the Madras and round him gathered an 
association of scholars from distant parts like Uddalaka Aruni 
and Bhujyu Lahyayani. 

The centre of another circle of learned scholars in the 
north ^ was the famous Svaidayana Saunaka, the champion 
of northern scholars, whose superiority was acknowledged by 
the great scholar of the Middle Country named Uddalaka 
who went to him to test his knowledge, just as the superiority 
of the great eastern scholar, Yajnavalkya, was admitted by 

Lastly, we have scholars of the eminence of Yajnavalkya, 
Uddalaka, or Pippalada who were institutions by themselves. 
The circles of scholars that gathered round them and the contri- 
butions they made to the advancement and diffusion of culture 
have been already indicated in the notices of their respective 
careers given above. 

Sylvan Schools. In this connection a reference may also 
be made to the type of schools implied in the literature of the 

^ In this connection we may recall the evidence already cited regarding 
the reputation of the northerners or Udlchyas for learning and scholarship. 
In the ^atapatha Brdhmana [iii, 2, 3, 15] we have a reference te the speech 
of the north as being similar to that of the Kuru-Panchalas. Indeed, the 
Northerners’ speech was so well known for its purity that, according to the 
Kaushitaki Bfdhmaxta [vii, 6], scholars from other parts used to go to the norf^ 
for linguistic studies. According to Franke [Pali and Sanskrit, 88, 89], Sanskrit 
was specially developed in Ka^mira. It may be also noted that Taksha^ila 
(in Gandhara) was one of the most famous centres of learning in India according 
to Buddhist and Brahmanical texts. 


Aranyakas, According to Sayana, ^ the Aranyakas are so 
called because they had to be read in the forest. In another 
place, Sayana defines an Aranyaka as a Brahmana appointed 
for the vow of the anchorite. Oldenberg [Prolegomena, p. 291] 
holds that the Aranyaka is so called because the mysterious 
or mystical character of its contents requires that it should 
be imparted to the pupil in the solitude of the forest (aranye) 
outside the busy haunts of men and far from the madding 
crowd's ignoble strife. Perhaps an instance of this may be found 
in the Brihaddranyaka [iii, 2, 13] where Yajnavalkya with 
reference to the discussion of a secret doctrine with another 
scholar in a public meeting says : Take my hand, my friend. 
We two alone shall know of this ; let this question of ours not 
be discussed in public." “ Then these two went out and argued." 
[Cf. the terms rahasyam, upanishad as explained above.] Deussen 
accepts the second interpretation of Sayana because, as he states, 
the Aranyakas consist mainly of all kinds of explanations of the 
ritual and allegorical speculations embodied in the Brdhmanas 
which would serve as a substitute in the life of the forest for the 
actual sacrificial observances. Max Miiller also opines that it 
might almost seem as if the Aranyakas were intended for the 
Vdnaprasthas only, people who, after having performed all the 
duties of a student and a householder, retire from the world to 
the forest to end their days in the contemplation of the Divine, 
as Yajnavalkya is said to have done in the Brihaddranyaka 
[iv, 5]. Indeed, it is even explicitly stated in the Arunikopanishad 
that the Sannydsin, the man who no longer recites the Mantras, 
and no longer performs sacrifices, is bound to read, out of all 
the Vedas, only the Aranyaka or the Upanishad. 

Keith [Ait, Ar,, p. 15], however, holds this view as far- 
fetched, for originally the Aranyaka was meant to give secret 
explanations of the ritual and hence presupposed that the ritual 
was still in use and known. The tendency was of course for the 
secret explanation to grow independent of the ritual until the 
stage is reached where the Aranyaka passes into the Upanishad, 
and, by that time too, there grew up the order of dividing the 
life of the Hindu into the four stages or A^ramas. 

^ Aranye eva pathyatvat Araijyakam (Preface to Aita. Aranyaka), 

AranyavratarQpam Brahmarmm (ib.). 

Again: Aranyadhyayanat etat Aranyakam iti [Taitti. Ara.]. Also: 

Etat Araijiyakam sarvam navratl ^rotumarhati ” [ib.]. 

Panini [iv, 2, 129] uses the word araiiyaka in the sense of “ a man living 
in the forest but the author of the Vdrttikas remarks that the same word is 
also used in the sense of ** that which is read in the forest 


Thus the Ar any aka represents the forest-portion '' of the 
Brahmana and points to the development of forest life as an 
institution by itself in the social life of the community. It is to 
this forest-life and to the solitary little sylvan seats of learning 
that, as Weber so rightly points out, we must chiefly ascribe 
the depth of speculation, the complete absorption in mystic 
devotion by which the Hindus are so eminently distinguished, 
and, accordingly, we find the Aranyakas bear this character 
impressed upon them in a most marked degree. In harmony 
with their prevailing purpose, to offer to the Vanaprastha an 
equivalent for the sacrificial observances, for the most part no 
longer practicable, they indulge in mystical interpretations of 
these, which are then followed up in some of the oldest Upanishads. 
It should, however, be remembered that, as Max Muller points 
out, as sacrifices were performed long before a word of any 
Brahmana or Sutra had been uttered, so metaphysical specula- 
tions were carried on in the forests of India long before the names 
of Aranyaka or Upanishad were thought of.^ 

Education of Castes other than Brahmana. An account of 
the education of the Brahmana period will not be complete 
without a reference to the position of the castes other than the 
Brahmana in respect of same. But, unfortunately, as the literature 
of the period from which we have to derive our evidence is almost 
exclusively religious in its character and, as such, is only con- 
cerned with that caste to which society committed the care and 
ministrations of its religion, we can hardly expect to find much 
evidence on the subject. Macdonell and Keith frankly admit 
[Vedic IndeXy i, 207] that ‘‘ of the training and education of 
Kshatriya we have no record The education of a caste in those 
days was necessarily determined to a large extent by the particular 
occupations and functions assigned to it in society. But the 

^ Cf. Max Muller : " The very fact that the Aranyakas are destined for a 
class of men who had retired from the world in order to give themselves up to 
the contemplation of the highest problems shows an advanced . . . society. . . . 
The problems, indeed, which are discussed in the Aranyakas and the old 
Upanishads are not in themselves modem. They had formed the conversation 
of the old and the young, of warriors and poets, for ages. But in a healthy 
state of society these questions were discussed in courts and camps : priests 
were contradicted by kings, sages confounded by children, women were listened 
to when they were moved by an unknown spirit. This time, which is represented 
to us by the early legends of the Aranyakas, was very different from that which 
gave rise to professional anchorites, and to a literature composed exclusively 
for their benefit. . . We must carefully distinguish between a period of growth 
and a period which tried to reduce that growth to rules and formulae. . . The 
generation which became the chroniclers of those Titanic wars of thought was 
a small race ; they were dwarfs, measuring the footprints of departed giants.” 


degree of the separation of castes did not in the earher stages 
quite correspond to that of the separation of functions. Accord- 
ingly, in the earlier literature, we find sometimes a variety of 
occupations for each caste. The- most glaring instance of such 
variety in respect of the Brahmana caste is given by a Rigvedic 
passage [ix, 112] already cited, where the author of the h3min 
says he is a poet, his father a physician (Bhishaj), and his mother 
a grinder of com (Upala-prakshini). This would seem to show 
that a Brahman could practise medicine while his wife would 
perform the ordinary household duties. So we find a Purohita 
accompanying the king in battle, and, like the medieval clergy, 
not unprepared to fight as Vasishtha and Vi§vamitra seem to 
have done and as priests do even in the Epic from time to time 
[/AOS., 13, 184], while Dirgha^ravas in the Rigveda [i, 112, ii] 
is taken as the example of a Brahmin turning merchant through 
poverty. All this, however, does not by any means establish 
that the priests normally fought or that they were normally 
agriculturists [cf. Brahmacharin tending cattle of his teacher 
[Chhand., iv, 4, 5 ; Ait. Ar., iii, i, 6)] and merchants, though they 
could on occasions turn to agricultural or mercantile pursuits. 
The Brahmin represented the intellectual and spiritual interests 
of the community and “ was required not merely to practise 
individual culture but also to give others the advantage of his 
skill either as a teacher or as a sacrificial priest [at least for the 
more important (^rauta) rites] or as a purohita guiding the king 
in secular, political matters. Similarly, the normal duties of the 
Kshatriya were administration and war. The bow is his special 
attribute, as shown in a number of passages in Vedic literature.^ 
There is hardly any reference to Kshatriyas engaging in agri- 
culture, trade, or commerce. We have already discussed the 
question how far the evidence regarding the exercise of the 
priestly or Brahminical functions of learning and teaching or 
officiating as Purohita justifies the theory advanced by some 
scholars that the distinction between the Kshatriya caste and 
Brahmana was not yet. The stories of such priestly functions 
assumed by the Kshatriyas refer only to a few selected Kshatriyas 

^ The Vedic Index gives the following references on the point : Av., xviii, 

2, 60 ; Kdth. Sam., xviii, 9 ; xxxvii, 1 ; Sat, Br., v, 3, 5, 30 ('* the bow truly is 
Ithe nobleman"s strength") ; Taitt. Ar., vi, 1, 3. In the Aitareya Brahmai^a 
[vii, 19], the list is longer — chariot, breastplate (kavacha), bow and arrow 
(ishu-dhanvan) — and in the prayer for the prosperity of the Kshatriya (raj any a) 
at the A§vamedha, the Rajanya is to be an archer and a good chariotrfighter 
[Taitt. Sam., vii, 5, 18, 1 ; Maitr. Sarh., iii, 12, 6; Kdth Sarh., A4vamedha, v, 14; 
Vdjas. Sath., xxii, 2]. 


of high rank, while there is no evidence that the average Kshatriya 
was concerned with intellectual pursuits when there were other 
engrossing duties connected with the protection of the people 
to absorb his attention. It is thus a fair deduction that the royal 
caste did not much concern itself with the sacred lore of the 
priests, though it is not unlikely that individual exceptions 

Thus the Kshatriya was normally and primarily concerned 
with those subjects of study which would give him a training 
in the occupations he had to follow. In the lists of subjects of 
study referred to in the literature of the period (as discussed above), 
those termed Kshatravidyd (the science of the ruling class, of 
polity or administration), Ekdyana (as interpreted by Sankara, 
viz. Nlti-idstram) or Dhanur-veda were therefore suitable for 
the Kshatriya. But it would appear from the evidence that the 
Kshatriya had to depend upon Brahmin teachers even for 
instruction in those subjects. Narada, when he approaches 
Sanatkumara for instruction, informs him of his mastery of 
those subjects [Chhdnd,, vii, i], while the Brahmin priest is 
elsewhere [Satap, Br., xiii, 4, 3] represented as teaching the 
people (irrespective of classes and castes) even such subjects as 
Sarpa-vidya, Magic, Devajanavidya or fine arts. 

The admittedly close connection between the Brahmins 
and the Kshatriyas of the highest rank — the kings — rested on a 
community of culture and intellectual equipment. The link of 
connection was of course the sacrifice. The sacrifices special 
for kings were the Rajasuya, Vajapeya, and A^vamedha in which 
they had naturally to take an active part with the officiating 
priests and this participation implied their knowledge of the 
sacred lore which enabled them to utter the various Mantras used 
by the priests in the performance of the sacrifices. 

The Vai^ya plays singularly little part in Vedic literature, 
which has so much to say of Kshatriya and Brahmana. Accord- 
ingly, there is hardly any evidence to show how he was educated. 
And yet the definite and important part he played in the economic 
life of the community implies that he must have received the 
required training for it. Agricultmre was his chief pursuit. The 
goad of the plougher was the mark of a Vai^ya in life \Kdth, 
Sam., xxxvii, i] and in death [Kauilika Sutra, Ixxx]. Probably 
the trade of the country was in his hands, for the Vanij is 
known to the Rigveda [i, 112, ii ; v, 45, 6j and later 
[Av., iii, 15, I ; §at. Br., i, 6, 4, 21 ; Panch. Br., xvii, i, 2 

Similarly, there is but little evidence regarding the character 
of the education that the Sudras received, although there is 
much evidence pointing to the undoubted results of such educa- 
tion in the economic development of the country as regards 
agriculture, pasture, cattle-rearing, and the numerous arts and 
crafts of civilized life.^ In the list of subjects, too, for the period, 
we find mention of one termed Deva-jana-vidyd which, according 
to Sankara, included some of the fine arts like dancing, singing, 
playing on musical instruments, perfumery, dyeing and the like, 
and, therefore, just the subjects in which the Sudra was interested. 
The evidence seems also to point out that the teachers of those 
subjects were the Brahmins themselves, for the Chhdndogya 
mentions Narada as a master of same, while, in the Satapatha 
passage already referred to, the Brahmin is stated to be teaching 
similar secular subjects to circles of pupils that included even 
usurers (probably Vaisyas), fishermen, snake-charmers, bird- 
catchers (Sudras), and men unlearned in the scriptures. 

It may be finally noted that it was probably the culture and 
importance of the Vaisya and Sudra alike which entitled them 
to a place in the ceremony of Ratnahavirhshi or jewel-offerings 
in connection with the Rajasuya. Among the recipients of 
these offerings (the Ratninah) we find the Grdmanl, the Go-nik- 
arta^a (Superintendent of games and forests),' and the Pdldgala 
(Courier) [Satapatha, Br., v, 3, i, 3, etc.], or the Vaifya-grdmam 
and Taksha-rathakdrau (the carpenter and the chariot-maker) 
\Maitr. Sam., ii, 6, 5 ; iv, 3, 8], along with the other principal 
officers of the State (lit. the jewels ” in the crown of sovereignty) 
such as the Sendni (commander-in-chief), the Purohita, the 
queen-consort {Mahisht), the Suia (court minstrel and chronicler), 

^ See my Hindu Civilization for an account of economic life in Vedic India. 



the Kshattfi (chamberlain), the treasurer (Samgrahltri), the 
collector Bhdgadugha), and the superintendent of dicing (Akshd- 
vdpa). The Atharvaveda [iii, 5, 7] gives a list of the Rdja-kartris 
or Rdja-krits who, not themselves kings, aided in the consecration 
of the king and these were the Suta, the Ratha-kdra (the repre- 
sentative of the industrial population), the Grdmani and the 
Viiah (the people generally). 

We have now concluded our account of education in the 
Brdhmana period, and it may be well to sum up here some of its 
general and principal features. The Brahmanas were the real 
intellectual leaders controlling education. We must assume among 
them a very stirring intellectual life which really accounts for 
the supremacy established and exercised by them over the rest 
of the people. Wide was the scope of their intellectual interests 
and activities ; it embraced the whole range of Brahmanical 
theology, extending in like manner to questions of worship, 
dogma, and philosophical speculation, all of which were closely 
interwoven with each other. Not merely did they teach fixed 
groups of students settled in their homes as '' internal students 
(to use a modern expression), but they also had to admit 
“ external '' students pursuing advanced (‘' post-graduate '*) 
studies after completing their normal period of studentship. 
There were circles formed around them of travelling scholars, 
who made pilgrimages from one teacher to another according 
as they were attracted and led by the fame of the special learning 
they were seeking. Nor did the military caste hold aloof from the 
intellectual activities of the time when they had already earned 
for themselves a time of repose from external warfare. Neither 
did the women, who are found to be partners of their husbands 
in every department of life. We have here, indeed, a close corre- 
spondence to the scholastic period of the Middle Ages in Europe ; 
'' sovereigns whose courts form the centres of intellectual life ; 
Brahmanas who, with lively emulation, carry on their inquiries 
into the highest questions the human mind can propound ; 
women who with enthusiastic ardour plunge into the mysteries 
of speculation impressing and astonishing men by the depth and 
loftiness of their opinions. . . As to the quality of their solutions 
(of philosophical problems) and the value of all these inquiries 
generally, that is another matter. . . It is only the striving and 
the effort which ennobles the character of any such period '' 
[Weber, Ind, Lit., p. 22]. 

Summary. We shall now sum up the principal features of 



Education and Culture in this most important period in the 
history of Indian Civilization, the peri^ of the Brahmanas 
and Upanishads. 

The Twofold Path. The Upanishads tell of the twofold path 
pursued by man in life, the Path of Prey as, of worldly life, pleasure, 
and prosperity; to be achieved by Karma and Dharma, deeds 
and rituals, the fruits of which will accrue to him in this life and 
extend beyond it to its later incarnations in other worlds. The 
other Path is the Path of Sreyas by which Man seeks the sole 
and ultimate Reality, the everlasting Good, in a life of sustained 
and strenuous meditation on the Atman, We have already seen 
that there is no inherent conflict between the two Paths, between 
Karma or Dharma, and Jndna, in the Vedic scheme of life, as 
the one Path leads to the other, and Jndna or realization of the 
Atman is the fruit of Dharma and Karma. Ultimately, as the 
Kaivalya Upanishad puts it, neither through rituals [Karma) 
nor through progeny or wealth, but renunciation alone, persons 
attain to Immortality.'' 

The two Paths only imply the two phases of life, social and 
spiritual. There is the outer and external life of man as a member 
of society which imposes upon it its rules and regulations, con- 
ventions and obligations, ultimately based on morality. But 
behind this external, social life, there is the inner life of man as 
an individual, his spiritual life, which is regulated and shaped in 
the Upanishads by Updsand (worship) and Yoga (psychic control) 
whereby Anubhuti and Moksha are attained. 

Morality. There is a view that morality or ethics has no 
place in the teaching of the Upanishads, which concentrate only 
on the Atman or the Absolute as the sole Reality, whereas 
ethics implies social relationships, a world of plurality. This is 
mistaking the truth of the Upanishads which always take morality 
as the only foundation of spirituality. The Mundaka, for instance, 
states that spiritual truths can be imparted only to the pupil 
who approaches the teacher with proper respect, whose thoughts 
are not deflected by desire and are completely composed " 
[i, 2, 13]. Similarly, the discussion between Yama and Nachi- 
ketas shows that Yama considered Nachiketas as fit for the 
highest knowledge only when the pupil proved to him that he 
was above all desire, desire for “ hundred sons and grandsons, 
many cattle, elephants, gold, and horses, wealth and long life, 
lovely maidens with chariots, with lyres — ^whatever desires are 
hard to get in the mortal world ", which Yama promised him to 


Hermitages in Bharhut Sculptures (c. second century b.c,). 

No. 2. — The ascetic, clad in birch bark, with his matted hair bound up into a knot, leaning and grieving ovei 
his dead pet antelope. 

{Facing p. IS") 



wean him away from the pursuit of Truth. Nachiketas answered 
Yama : ** Thine be the vehicles {vdha), the dance and song, 
ephemeral things ! '' We have also seen how the Upanishads 
are always insisting that the pupil must be santUy ddnta, uparata, 
possessed of dama, ddna^ dayd, iraddhd, and satyam, the essential 
virtues. Besides, the very doctrine of the One Ultimate Reality 
is the strongest support and foundation of morality and the social 
sense or feeling. As the Brihaddranyaka points out [ii, 4, 5], 
all others are dear to us not for their sake but for our own sake. 
It is the love of the Self that causes love of husband, wife, son, 
love of all beings. Not for love of all is all dear, but for love of the 
Self, all is dear.*’ Thus, as Patafijali states in his Yoga-Siltras 
[ii, 36], spiritual life is to be built up on the basis of '' these 
universal moral practices which are not confined to any particular 
people, country, time, or age The position is thus clenched in 

the Chhdndogya [viii, 5, i] : Continence is the only yajna 

and the only worship (ishta) through which one can attain 

Asrama. The Upanishads know of the four Asramas of 
life, as already indicated. The Brahmacharya-asrama has been 
fully described. The duties of the Grihastha are detailed in the 
Taittinya [i, 2, 1-7] already cited. As regards the third Asrama, 
that of Vanaprastha, we may recall the example of King Briha- 
dratha who, ” establishing his son in the kingdom, went forth 
into the forest where he performed extreme austerities ” [Maitri, 
i, 2]. As an example of the fourth Asrama, we may cite the case 
of Yajnavalkya who renounced the world and embraced sannydsa, 
or the life of a parivrdjaka [Brihad.y ii, 4, i ; iv, 5, i], declaring 
that ” Brahmanas knowing the Atman overcome the desire for 
sons, for wealth, for worlds, and live the life of mendicants ”. 
The words, however, do not indicate clearly whether they refer 
to the third or fourth dsrama. 

Varna. The Upanishads know of what is called Varndsrama- 
dharma, the system of Caste and Asrama. As we have seen. 
Caste is first adumbrated definitely in the Purusha-sukta of 
Rigveda [x, 90] where thi! four castes are described as the four 
limbs of the Purusha, related to one another as parts of a common 
organism. This idea is fully developed in the Brihaddranyaka 
[i, 4, II f.] : ” Verily, in the beginning, this world was Brahma, 
one only. Being One, He did not flourish. He projected an 
excellent form, the Kshatriya, gods like Indra, Varuna, Rudra, 
I^ana. . . Yet He did not flourish. He projected the Vaisya, 



even gods like the Vasus, the Adityas, the Vi^vadevas. He did 
not yet flourish. He then created the $udra caste, Pushan. 
This earth is Pushan, for she ‘ nourishes * (root push) everything 
that is/' This passage shows that the completeness of social 
life requires a variety of groups and functions, all of which 
are necessary for it. The Sudra is aptly called Pushan, as he 
is a child, a thorough-bred, of the soil, rooted in the mother- 
earth, supporting society by production of food. The tiller of 
the soil is the foundation of the social structure and remains so 
to this day. Thus Sruti or Veda does not differentiate between 
the different castes but treats them as equally indispensable as 
members of the social organism, like the limbs of the body. Even 
the gods could not complete creation till the Pushan was forth- 
coming, springing out of the mother-earth, to lay the foundations 
of economic and social life in agriculture. The paramount con- 
ception of functions in Caste without any suggestion of social 
inequalities in status or dignity is also indicated in other significant 
passages. In the Chhdndogya [vi, i, i], Uddalaka Aruni 
reprimands his son Svetaketu Aruneya for his disinclination for 
learning, the prescribed function of a Brahmana, saying, Verily, 
my dear, from our family there is no one who is not learned 
{ananuchya) and is a Brahmana by mere birth {Brahmabandhu),'* 
In the same strain, the Brihaddranyaka [ii, 4, 6] states that 
Brahmanahood deserts him who knows Brahmanahood in 
aught else than the Self." Again [iii, 5, i] : “By what means 
would he become a Brahmana ? By that means by which he 
does become such a one." Further [iii, 8 , 10] : " If one performs 
sacrifices and worship and undergoes austerity in this world 
for many thousands of years, but without knowing that Imperish- 
able, limited, indeed, is that work of his." 

Process o! Knowing. Broadly speaking, the Upanishads 
prescribe Updsand and Yoga as the means of acquiring the 
highest knowledge, the knowledge of the Atman. Updsand 
or worship refers itself to the Saguna aspect of Brahma as dis- 
tinguished from Nirguna, The conception of these two aspects 
of Brahma is indicated in the Brihaddranyaka in the discussion 
between the Brahman scholar, Driptabalaki Gargya, and Ajata- 
^atru. King of Benares. Balaki defined Brahma by His mani- 
festations like the Sun, Moon, Lightning, Space, Wind, Fire, 
Water, Sound, and the like. Ajata^atru stated that there were 
two aspects of Brahma, one with form {Mtlrta) and the other 
without any form {Amiirta), mortal and immortal, stationary 



and moving. Wind and atmosphere is formless Brahma, while 
the sun is Brahma in form. Brahma the Formless can only be 
indicated by a negative process of elimination to the effect that 
It is Not thus ! Not so ! " [Neti Neti). 

But the Upanishads recognize the steps by which the mind 
can fix itself on Nirguna Brahma, the need of Updsand or worship 
of symbols of God. This is called the Pratlka-updsand, Various 
symbols are prescribed to suit persons in different stages of 
spiritual progress. As many as twenty such symbols were 
suggested by Sanatkumara in teaching Narada the knowledge 
of Brahman, starting with meditation on Name as Brahman, 
and ending with meditation on the Great [Bhuman), the Supreme 
Bliss, as Brahman. 

The most important of such symbols is the mystic syllable 
Om, The syllable is made up of three parts, a, u, m, corresponding 
to the three states of consciousness, waking, dreaming, and deep 
sleep, which have for their objects the gross, the subtle, and the 
causal world. Through the meditation of these three parts is 
reached the highest plane, the fourth [Tuny a) “ which is imper- 
ceptible, not subject to any development, is blissful, without 
a second.'' The Om thus meditated upon is ** verily the Self. He 
who knows this, with his self, enters the Self " [Mdndukya, 
12]. The process of this meditation is further described in 
Muvdaka : '' Om is the bow, the self is the arrow, Brahma is its 
mark. It is to be hit by a man whose thoughts are composed. 
Then, as the arrow becomes one with the target, he will become 
one with Brahma." 

This Pratlka-updsand includes the worship of God in the 
forms of different deities like Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Prajapati, 
Agni, Varuna, or Vayu as mentioned in the Maitreyi Upanishad 
V, I. In such prayers may be seen the beginnings of the Bhakti 

The Upanishads also pave the way of the worship of Saguna 
Brahma merging in the meditation of Nirguna Brahma. This 
is effected by the direction that he who worships God must 
think of Him as his own self in the spirit of the doctrine. 
Tat Tvam Asiy or the other doctrine. Ay am Atmd Brahma or 
Aham Brahmdsmi. The Upanishad condemns the worshipper 
who keeps up a sense of duality in Updsand : " Now if a man 
worships another deity, thinking the deity to be one, and him- 
self another, he does not know." 

Toga. It has been already indicated in a general way that 


the system of discipline for which the Upanishads stand is based 
upon that of Yoga as has been elaborated later in the Yoga- 
sutras of Patanjali, of which some of the most important concepts 
and terms are derived from the Upanishads. 

A start is made with the statement that it is the Chitta 
alone which is Samsdra [Maitreyt, Up., i, 5). Again : '' What- 
ever his chitta thinks, of that nature a man becomes '' [ib.]. 
Further : ''If his chitta is so fixed on Brahman as it is on things 
of the world, who would not then be freed from bondage ? " 
[ib., i, 7]. This means that the process of Yoga is chittavritti- 
nirodha, as defined by Patanjali, to detach the mind from the 
objects of senses so as to inhibit all its creative ideations and 
concentrate it on God. 

Much of Yoga psychology is anticipated in the Upanishads. 
Katha, hi, 3, 6, 10, 13 defines the terms Atma, Sarira, Buddhi, 
Manas, and Indriya. The Atmd is described as riding in the 
chariot of $anra, of which the driver is Buddhi, the horses are 
the Indriyas, Manas as the reins, and the objects of sense what 
the horses range over. When Purusha is joined to Indriya, and 
Manas becomes the Bhoktd, the Indriyas, out of control, are like 
the vicious horses of a chariot-driver. 

Thus, according to this analysis, higher than the senses 
are the objects of sense {Artha) ; higher than these is Manas ; 
higher than mind is Buddhi ; higher than Buddhi is the great 

Katha, vi, 10, ii defines Yoga as firm control of the senses 
[Tam yogam iti many ante sthiram indriyadhdranam) . The Yogi is 
Apramatta , undistracted . 

" When one ceases the five kinds of knowing through the 
senses, together with the mind, and Buddhi (intellect) also is 
inoperative [na vicheshtate), that is called the highest course 
[Paramd gati)^ 

Prdndydma is referred to in Brihaddranyaka, i, 5, 23. Again, 
the same Upanishad [iv, 4, 23] uses the following significant 
terms of Yoga, viz. Sdnta-ddnta-uparata-titikshd-samdhita. 

Chhdndogya [vi, 8] uses the term Pratydhdra and defines 
it as making all the senses rest in Atmd [Atmani sarvendriydni 
sampratisthdpya ) . 

Mundaka [ii, 2, 3, 4], as already cited, describes Pranava as 
the bow, Atmd the arrow, Brahma the mark [Laskhya). One 
should shoot undistracted [Apramatta) at the mark and be 
merged in it like the arrow and the mark [iaravat tanmayo bhavet). 



Maitri [vi, i8] refers to Shadanga-yogdi as comprising 
Asana (posture), Pranayama (Restraint of breath), Pratyahara 
(Withdrawal of the senses), Dhyana (Meditation), Dharana 
(Concentfation), Samadhi (absorption). 

The process of Yoga is further described in vi, 19-29. Yoga 
(joining) is defined as oneness of mind and the senses. 

If a man practises yoga for six months. 

And is constantly freed [from the senses], 

The infinite, supreme, mysterious Yoga is perfectly produced. 

But if a man is afflicted with Passion (rajas) and Darkness 

Enlightened as he may be — 

If to son and wife and family 
He is attached — for such a one. 

No, never at all ! '' 

The ^vetdivatara [ii] describes how the Yogi acquires 
lightness of body, freedom from diseases, calm of mind, radiant 
countenance {varnaprasdda), and pleasant voice [svarasaushtava), 
anticipating the Bibhuti-pdda of Yogasiitras. 

The same Upanishad mentions how the pursuit of Yoga 
should be undertaken in a congenial physical environment which 
it thus describes : In a clean (suchau) level (same) spot, free 

from pebbles (iarkard), fire (vahni), and gravel (bdlukd), by the 
sound of water and other propinquities favourable to meditation 
(manonukule) , and not offensive to the eye (na chakshupidane) , 
in a hidden retreat, one should practise Yoga (prayojayet). 

Chapter V 


Changing Conditions. We now leave the period of the 
Brdhmanas and come to that of the Sutras which introduce us 
to new types and forms of literary activity called forth by the 
requirements of the times, by new social, religious, and* political 
conditions. The rise of the Sutra literature is connected with the 
necessities of self-defence and self-preservation of the old Vedic 
religion. We have already seen how in the first or Chhandas period 
the Vedic bards or Rishis, by giving free and full utterance to 
their inner intuitions and revelations, their inspired thoughts and 
sentiments, were giving to the Indians a new world of religious, 
moral, and political ideas ; how in the second or Mantra period 
all that rich harvest was being garnered and preserved ; and how 
the literary activity of the third or Brdhmana period chiefly 
occupied itself in systematizing and interpreting the precious 
poetry of the earlier age which had already become unintelligible 
and sacred. The result was the growth of a vast and varied litera- 
ture of commentaries round the original kernel of religion which 
none but specialists could extract and unfold, of a complicated 
system of theology and ceremonial of which the knowledge 
became more and more the exclusive property of particular 
families (of priests) in which it became hereditary. 

Need of simplified Literature. There was, however, a natural 
limit to this exuberant growth of literature in particular directions. 
The mass of matter became too vast ; there appeared the risk 
of the substance of religion, the tenor and spirit of the whole, 
being lost in the details. Diffuse discussion of details had to be 
replaced by their concise collective summaries. The result was 
the creation of a new t3q)e of literature, the Sutras, which were 
all thus written with a practical object. The Sutra-karas claim 
no inspiration for themselves. They made a scientific study of 
the literature handed down to them from previous times and 
they wanted to make the contents of that literature more easily 
accessible through the results of their own studies. Thus the 
style of composition which they necessarily adopted for that 



purpose was businesslike in the extreme. The utmost brevity 
was required in comprising within the smallest compass the vast 
mass of literary material that had to be handled in order that 
the memory might not be overburdened. Brevity was the soul 
of this new literary style and there is a proverbial saying (taken 
from the Mahdbhdshya) that an author rejoiceth in the 
economizing of half a short vowel as much as in the birth of a 
son Thus arose in pursuit of this ideal of brevity a remarkably 
condensed and enigmatical style which was more and more 
cultivated as the literature of the Sutras became more independent 
and popular with the growing appreciation of its advantages. 

Conditions created by Buddhism. Apart, however, from 
pedagogic considerations and educational requirements, there 
seems to have been in operation another factor connected with the 
political history of the period, which was contributing towards 
the growth of this new literature. That factor was connected with 
the rise of a new school of thought, viz. Buddhism, whereby 
Brahmanism was called upon to meet a novel situation to which 
it had never been accustomed before. It is, however, to be borne 
in mind that Buddhism, as Weber rightly points out, originally 
proceeded purely from theoretical heterodoxy regarding the 
relation of matter to spirit and similar questions. The early 
Buddhism was but one out of many sects then existing. There 
was as yet no schism but mere controversy such as we find in the 
Brdhmanas themselves between different schools of thought. 
Buddha himself, according to his own canonical biographer, 
learned the Rigveda and was well versed in the various branches 
of Brahmanic lore. Many of his pupils were Brahmins and no 
hostile feeling against the Brahmins finds utterance in the 
Buddhist canon, nor any slur cast on the gods and songs of the 
Veda. Matters, however, gradually became different in course of 
time when Buddhism addressed itself to practical points of 
religion, worship, and life, and ceased to concern itself with the 
settlement of mere theological or speculative issues. Then there 
began a real conflict between the two systems, a struggle for 
self-preservation and supremacy. At first the position of 
Brahmanism was seriously imperilled by certain disadvantageous 
circumstances of its own creation. For Buddhism developed into 
a system of easy devotion which was naturally resorted to with 
considerable eagerness and a sense of relief by that vast majority 
of people whom Brahmanism alienated and frightened away by 
the inaccessibility of the literature in which it was embodied, by 

i 64 ancient INDIAN EDUCATION 

its difficulty and complexity. At the same time that Buddhism 
attracted the ignorant among the Brahmins, it received with open 
arms the poor and the miserable of all classes. Thus Brahmanism 
was forced to forge a suitable weapon of defence against the 
onslaught which a new religion directed against its weak points. 
It was forced to find an easier and more popular medium for the 
imparting of its instruction and thereby remove the difficulties 
in the way of its propagation. Changes in the sacred literature of 
a people never take place except under the pressure of a grave 
necessity such as that of its self-preservation, and the object which 
the Sutras were created to serve could be no other than to offer 
practical manuals to those who were discouraged by the too 
elaborate treatises of the Brdhmanas and yielded themselves as 
wilhng recruits to a rival faith that opened out to them easier 
means of religious instruction and ways to salvation. 

The Sutras a more suitable Vehicle of Old Knowledge. These 
historical facts are, indeed, indicated by the internal evidence, 
the style, of the Brdhmanas and Sutras themselves. The 
deliberately popular style of the Sutras shows that the time 
was now gone when students would spend ten or twenty years 
of their lives in fathoming the mysteries and mastering the 
intricacies of the Brdhmana literature. We miss, too, in the Sutras 
that self-complacent spirit which pervades the Brdhmanas, It 
seems as if the authors of the Sutras feel that their reading public 
will no longer be satisfied with mere endless theological swaggering 
but will demand something else. There may be deep wisdom in 
the previous literature but they feel that the people will not 
appreciate or accept wisdom unless it is clothed in a garb of clear 
argument and imparted in easier language. Thus their words 
contain all that is essential in the Brdhmanas, but they give it in 
a practical, concise and definite form. They represent in fact the 
quintessence of all the knowledge previously acquired and 
accumulated by the study and meditation of centuries. Their 
language is also firm, though no longer inflated, indicating a spirit 
of self-confidence that did not quail before the first attacks levelled 
by a popular religion. Lastly, a part of the Sutra literature (the 
Grihya-Sutras treating of the ceremonies of domestic life such as 
those relating to birth, death, and marriage) goes by the name of 
Smritiy i.e. that which is the subject of memory, as distinguished 
from Sruti, i.e. that which is the subject of hearing, in so far as 
the former impresses itself directly on the memory, without special 
instruction and provision for the purpose. It belongs to all, it is 


the common possession, the property, of the whole people ; it 
is supported by the consciousness of all and does not therefore 
need to be specially inculcated. Not so is ritual which, in spite of 
its origin in the common consciousness, was developed in its 
details by the speculations of a special class which owned it as its 
exclusive property and monopoly, while custom and law were 
thrown open to all as common property. It is for this reason also 
that we find in these works a rich treasure of ideas and conceptions 
of extreme antiquity. Domestic manners and customs have been 
left untouched and handed down in their ancient form ; there was 
no interest in changing them, for they were devoid of all political 
bearings [Weber, Ind, Lit., p. 19]. 

We shall now consider the evidence of the Sutra literature 
regarding the education of the period. 

Classes of Sutra Works : New Subjects of Study. In the first 
place, it gives us an idea of the number and variety of the subjects 
of study then existing. The Srauta Sutras are a continuation of the 
Brdhmanas on their ritual side, as the Upanishads are on their 
speculative side. The rites they deal with are never congregational 
but are always performed on behalf of a single individual called 
Yajamdna (sacrificer). The second branch of ritual Sutras are the 
Grihya Sutras treating of numerous ceremonies applicable to the 
domestic life of a man and his family from birth to death. Since 
these lay outside the scope of the Brdhmanas, the authors of the 
Grihya Sutras had to rely on popular tradition in dealing with 
observances of daily life. The third branch of the Sutra literature, 
based on tradition or Smriti, are the Dharma Sutras which deal 
with the customs of daily life [Sdmay debar ika) and are thus our 
earliest legal literature. There is lastly a division of the Sutras 
called the Sulva Sutras connected with religious practice ; they 
are practical manuals giving the measurements necessary for the 
construction of the vedi, of the altars and so forth. They show 
quite an advanced knowledge of geometry and constitute the 
oldest Indian mathematical works [Macdonell, Sans. Lit., p. 264]. 

The VedShgas. The entire body of the Vedic works composed 
in the style of the Sutras is according to the Indian traditional 
view divided into six branches called Veddhgas (members of the 
Veda). The names of these six subjects are first mentioned in the 
Mundaka-Upanishad [i, i, 5]. A consideration of the contents of 
these Vedmgas will give us an idea of the multiform literary 
activity of the period and the subjects of study then prevailing. 

&ksh&. Sikshd is defined by Sayana as the science of the 



pronunciation of letters, accents, and the like. Some of the 
headings in the seventh book of the Taittinya Ar any aka are ; 
" On Letters,” ” On Accents,” " On quantity,” “ On the organs 
of pronunciation,” “ On delivery,” ” On Euphonic Laws.” 
It was thus an important branch of knowledge which was 
necessary for the right understanding of the sacred texts, especially 
of the philosophical parts of the Veda as distinguished from the 
ceremonial parts (Karma-Kan^a). Originally a part of the 
Brdhmanas, the subject came to be treated in independent 
scientific treatises called the Prdtiidkhyas which, besides giving 
general rules for the proper pronunciation of the Vedic language 
in general, were intended to record what was peculiar in the 
pronunciation of different Vedic schools. A Prdtiidkhya is thus 
a collection of phonetic rules peculiar to a Sakha of a Veda, i.e. 
to one of the different texts in which each of the four Vedas had 
been handed down for ages in different families and different 
localities. Thus ancient dialectical differences, and even 
irregularities and exceptions, created by the freedom of a spoken 
language, were preserved and rescued from oblivion ; general 
laws were derived from the collection of a large number of similar 
passages ; and a start was thus given to that scientific study of 
language which reached its perfection in the grammatical master- 
piece of Panini. 

Chhandas. The second Vedanga is Chhandas or Metre, to 
which there are many scattered references in the Brdhmafias. 
But it is in the Sutras (e.g. the Sdhkhdyana Srauta Sutra, the 
Rigveda Prdtiidkhya, and the Niddna Sidra) that an attempt is 
made to arrange the archaic metres systematically. 

Vy&karana. Vydkarana or Grammar was the third subject 
developed. The foundation was already laid in the Padapdthas 
which distinguish parts of compounds, prefixes of verbs and 
suffixes and terminations of nouns, in a word, the four parts of 
speech. The most important information regarding pre-Paninean 
grammar is to be derived from Yaska’s work. 

Nirnkta. The fourth Vedanga is Nirukta or Etymology as 
represented in the work of Yaska, which is a sort of an 
et3miological lexicography of Vedic terms. The Nirukta together 
with the Prdtiidkhyas and Panini’s Grammar supplies the most 
interesting and important information on the growth of 
grammatical science in India. The Nirukta is in reality a com- 
mentary on the Nighantu, a collection of Vedic words and 
synon3mis which, by virtue of their arrangement, largely explain 


themselves. Yaska had before him five such collections of which 
the first three contain synonyms, the fourth a list of specially 
difficult Vedic words, and the fifth, a classification of the various 
divine personages who figure in the Veda. 

EaJpa. The fifth Vedanga is the Kalpfi or ceremonial of 
which we have already treated. The Kalpa-Sutras are based 
entirely on the Brdhmanas of which they presuppose not only 
three distinct collections but also different Sdkhds or recensions 
which in course of time had branched off from each of them. 
It is also to be noted that the Sutras were intended by their 
authors for more than one Charana or adapted to more than one 
Sakha, No single Sakha contained a complete account of the 
ceremonial and a reference to other Sdkhds was absolutely 
necessary. Even if a Brahmin had studied the Sarhhitas and 
Brdhmanas of the three Vedas according to their various Sdkhds, 
he would still have found it difficult to learn from them the correct 
performance of each sacrifice. To remove this difficulty the Sutras 
were composed as a kind of grammar of the Vedic ceremonial 
useful for members of all Charanas, There were, of course, Kalpa 
Sutras for the different classes of priests, viz. those for the Hotri, 
the Adhvaryu, and Udgatri priests. Another point to be noticed 
in this connection is that different communities, after adopting 
a collection of Sutras as the highest authority for their ceremonial, 
became naturally inclined to waive minor points of difference in 
the Sarhhitas and Brdhmanas and thus coalesced into a new 
Charana under the name and sanction of their Sutrakdra, When 
once these new Sautra-Charanas were started, even the Samhitas 
and Brdhmanas which were current among their members came 
to be designated by the name of the new Charanas. 

Jyotisha. The last of the Vedahgas is called Jyotisha or 
Astronomy, of which the literature available is very scanty. As 
is always the case, the growth of this subject was due to religious 
requirements. The knowledge of the heavenly bodies was 
necessary to fix the days and hours of the Vedic sacrifices. The 
first impulse to astronomical studies came from the establishment 
of a sacred Calendar. Even in the Brdhmanas and Aranyakas we 
come across references to astronomical subjects, and the Vedic 
h5nnns point to observation of the moon as the measurer of 
time [cf. Rv., viii, 3, 20 ; ii, 32 (phases of the moon) ; i, 25, 8 
(intercalary or thirteenth month) ; Vdja, Sarh,, vii, 30 ; xxii, 
31 ; XXX, 10 ; 20 [ganaka) ; Taitt, Br,, iv, 5 [nakshatra-daria). 

Other Supplementary Studies. There were also other minor 



subjects of study developed during this period. The Sutras had 
their supplements called Pariiishtas which form an extensive 
literature. There were also developed for the proper understanding 
of the sacrificial ceremonial special t5^es of literature called 
Prayogas or Manuals which describe the course of each sacrifice 
and the functions of the different classes of priests with reference 
to its practical performance and Paddhatis or Guides which follow 
the systematic accounts of the Sutras and sketch their contents. 
There were also versified accounts of the ritual called Kdrikds. 
There were further the Anukramanls or Vedic Indices giving lists 
of hymns, the authors, the metres, and the deities in the order 
in which they occur in the various Saihhitas. 

Specialization. It may also be as well noted in this connection 
that the age of the Sutras was an age of scientific study and 
specialization. As will be explained more fully later on, at first 
the study of these Angas was strictly subservient to the primary 
needs of the Veda-study, and education meant only the trans- 
mission of traditions from the teacher to the pupil and the com- 
mitting to memory the sacred texts. In course of time, however, 
the content of this education began naturally to widen out, and 
each one of the several Angas of the Veda began to develop, 
snapping the bonds of its connection with the Veda-study and 
declaring its independence in special Schools. Thus arose the 
special sciences and specialists. The sacrificial ritual itself led to 
the growth of some of the sciences. Geometry and Algebra arose 
out of the elaborate rules for the construction of altars. Sometimes 
it was necessary to erect a round altar covering the same area as 
a square one, giving rise to problems like squaring the circle. 
Astronomy and Astrology grew out of the necessity of finding out 
the proper times and seasons for sacrifice and other purposes. 
The foundation of Anatomy was laid in the dissection of sacrificial 
animals. Grammar and Philology had their origin in the care to 
preserve the sacred texts from corruption and fix the methods of 
their proper pronunciation. Thus each of the original Vedic Angas 
was giving rise to a number of allied sciences through its 
specialized and scientific study in special Schools. Panini's work 
is to be treated as the final outcome of a long process of 
grammatical development. New subjects also began to develop 
as a result of this freedom of thought and study. Law was the 
most important of them. The different legal Schools came to be 
represented on the Parishads regulating the life of the com- 
munity. Experts in the new subjects like Nyaya, Mimaihsa, 


Nirukta, and Law are placed side by side with those proficient 
in the Vedas and Ahgas as members of the same Parishad. The 
specialists were as necessary to the community as the Vaidikas. 
The latter possessed a complete verbal knowledge of the sacred 
texts but had an imperfect understanding of the meaning thereof 
and were like walking libraries. The former reduced the quantity 
of the sacred texts to be committed to memory and devoted 
the mental energy thus saved to specialized study of other subjects 
like sacrifices, grammar, law, or astronomy. Questions bearing on 
these could no longer be solved by the Vaidikas who were not fitted 
to put their learning to practical use. The performance of sacrifices 
needed the services of the Srauti, the expert in sacrificial literature. 
The Jurist alone could decide doubtful points of law. Grammar 
in its developed form was adequate by itself to absorb the entire 
mental energy of a student. Thus the expansion of learning 
brought in the system of specialization. 

Religion still shaping Literature. The brief and broad survey 
we have made of the literary activity of the period shows to what 
a large extent that activity was still determined and shaped by the 
dominant considerations of religious needs. The variety of literary 
productions was but answering the variety of religious interests 
developed. Intellectual life was but the handmaid of the life 
spiritual. It had no independent course of its own. The mind 
was but a means of ministering to the spirit. Much of the literature 
of the period, as we have already seen, is but founded essentially 
on the Brdhmanas and must be considered as their necessary 
supplement as a further advance in the path struck out by the 
latter in the direction of a rigid ritualism and formalism. The 
stimulus to the growth of this literature came, as has been 
explained, from the needs of the preservation and propagation 
of the religion which was being assailed by a new and rival religion 
working on more proper lines. As regards that part of Sutra 
literature which has no direct connection with the Brdhmanas, 
we shall still find that it has a direct connection with religion and 
such of its aspects as are not treated of in the Brdhmanas, The 
Grihya-suiraSy equally with the Dharma-sutras, only aimed at 
giving its final form and shape to the Brahmanical polity or 
system of social life expressive of the individuality of the Vedic 
civilization which was thus secured against all attacks levelled by 
heretical religions. Similarly, the very advances in linguistic 
research for which the age of the Sutras is so much noted received 
their impetus from the needs of religious life. The various works 


making up the linguistic part of Sutra literature will be found to 
be connected with one or other of the following necessities for 
safeguarding the interests of religion : firstly, there was the need 
to fix the text of the Vedic prayers ; secondly, to establish a 
correct pronunciation and recitation ; thirdly, to preserve the 
tradition of their origin ; and lastly, when in course of time 
the literal sense of the old texts became more and more 
foreign to the current language, or the spoken dialects of the 
day, to take precautions whereby the original sense might be 
secured and established and not lost. It is thus that we find 
that even the linguistic Sutras stand on the same basis on which 
the Brdhmanas themselves stand. While the Brdhmanas are con- 
cerned with the elucidation of the relation of the prayer to the 
sacrifice, the Sutras are concerned with the form in which the 
prayer itself was drawn up. 

Upa-Vedas. Regarding the subjects of study, it is interesting 
to note that some of the Sutra works furnish evidence showing 
the growth of a few secular subjects. There is a passage in 
Apastamba [Dh, Su,, ii, ii, 29, 11-12] which states : The 
knowledge which Sudras and women possess is the completion of 
all study. They declare that this knowledge is a supplement of 
the Atharvaveda."' According to the commentator, the know- 
ledge which ^udras and women possess is the knowledge of 
dancing, acting, music, and other branches of the so-called 
Artha^astra, the science of useful arts and of trades. The object 
of the Sutras is to forbid the study of such matters before the 
acquisition of sacred learning. The same forbiddal is given also 
by Manu [ii, 168 other and worldly study ” forbidden)] and 
by Vasishtha [iii, 2] and Vishnu [xxviii, 36]. It may be noted that 
Apastamba knew the division of Hindu learning as taught in the 
Prasthanaveda of Madhusudana Sarasvati who points out that 
each Veda had a Upa-Veda or supplementary Veda and that the 
Upa-Veda of the Atharvaveda is the Artha^astra. It may also 
be noted that outside the circle of Brahminical studies there were 
thus existing the secular arts and sciences which were normally 
to be studied by the women of all castes and by the ^udras, but 
it is also implied that they were not unworthy of study by the men 
of the three twice-bom castes, provided they first completed their 
normal course of sacred studies. It may be further presumed that 
it was possible to find Brahmin teachers of these secular arts and 
sciences comprising the Artha^astra or Upa-Veda of the Atharva- 
veda, and we may compare in this connection the references 


given above from the Upanishads on this subject. Lastly, the 
theory of the Upa-Vedas is a clever way of connecting all branches 
of human knowledge with the Vedas as their ultimate and common 
source on which Hindu orthodox opinion is unanimous through the 

Sutra Schools and Teachers. We shall now consider the 
evidence available regarding the geographical background of the 
Sutra literature and the noted teachers of the period. 

Firstly, we shall consider the evidence of the Sutras con- 
nected with the Rigveda. The Asvaldyana Iraida Sutra gives 
us some particulars. The name A^valayana is probably to be 
traced back to A^vala, the Hotri priest of Janaka, king of Videha, 
of whom we have already given a notice. Again, the formation of 
the word by the affix dyana probably points to the time of 
established schools [ay ana ?). Names formed in this way occur 
but seldom in the Brdhmanas and only in their later portions 
and may be taken to betoken a late period. Among the teachers 
quoted is an A^marathya referred to by the scholiast on Panini 
[iv, 3, 105]. Another teacher quoted is Taulvali expressly 
mentioned by Panini [ii, 4, 61] as belonging to the prdnchas or 
dwellers in the east At the end, there is an interesting 
enumeration of the various Brahmana-families distributed among 
the family stems of Bhrigu, Ahgiras, Atri, Vi^vamitra, Ka^yapa, 
Vasishtha, and Agastya. The sacrifices on the Sarasvatl are also 
briefly touched upon. Lastly, it may be noted that Asvalayana 
is the author of the fourth book of the Aitareya Ar any aka ; 
that he was the pupil of Saunaka who is stated to have destroyed 
his own Sutra in favour of his pupil's work which he considered to 
be so good. According to Weber, the Sutra of Asvalayana along 
with the Aitareya Brdhmana belonged to the eastern part of 

The Sdnkhayana Srauta Sutra wears in general a somewhat 
more ancient aspect, particularly in its fifteenth and sixteenth 
books where it assumes the appearance of a Brdhmana. There is 
a paddhati to the Sdhkhdyana-Grihya by Ramachandra who 
lived in the Naimisha forest in the middle of the fifteenth century, 
and Weber holds that this Naimisha forest was the birthplace of 
the Sutra itself. 

The Grihya Sutras of the Rigveda are also those of 
Asvalayana and Sankhayana. They introduce us to three female 
sages : Gargi Vachaknavi, the familiar figure of the Upanishads ; 
Vadava Pratitheyi; Sulabha Maitreyi [ci.Saulabhdni Brdhmandm 



quoted by the scholiast on Panini, iv, 3, 105). Again, the 
Sdnkhdyana-Grihya mentions the following names : Sumantu- 
Jaimini-VaiSampayana-Paila-Sutra-bhashya[-Gargya-Babhru] . . 
while the Aivaldyana mentions : Sumantu-Jaimini-Vai^am- 
payana-^^aila-Sutra-Bharata-Mahabharata-Dharmacharyah. We 
may notice here the tradition of the Vishnu Purana which assigns 
the Atharvaveda compilation to Sumantu, the Samaveda to 
Jaimini, the Yajurveda to Vaisampayana, and the Rigveda to 

Secondly, we shall consider such of the Sutras of the 
Samaveda as give us evidence on the points we are dealing with. 
The Ldtydyana Crania Sutra is probably- connected by its very 
name with the country of Lata lying quite in the west, directly 
south of Surashtra, and its western origin is borne out by other 
data too. Among the teachers cited are San^ilya (mentioneddn the 
Chhandogya), Dhanahjapya, and Sandilyayana as expounders of 
the Panchavimsa Brdhmana ; Gautama Sthavira ; Sauchivrikshi 
(a teacher known to Panini), Kshairakalambhi, Kautsa, Varsha- 
ganya, Bhanditayana, Lamakayana, Ranayaniputra, etc. ; the 
Satyayanins and Salahkayanins (of the western part of India). 
There is also a reference to the Sudras and the Nishadas (i.e. 
the Indian aborigines) who are treated better than later, being 
allowed to attend in person at the ceremonies although outside of 
the sacrificial ground. The general name given to these western, 
non-Brahminical Aryan tribes is Vrdtmas (cf. Panini, v, 2, 21], and 
they are put on a par with the non-Brahminical peoples of the 
eastern parts, for we are told by Latyayana that the converted 
Vratyas must transfer their wealth (and thereby their own former 
impurity) to such of their brethren as abide by the old mode of 
life or else to a Brahmabandhu Magadhade^iya 

The Sutras of the Black Yajus do not give much evidence, 
except the Prdtiidkhya-Sutray which mentions some peculiar 
names of teachers such as Atreya, Kaundinya (once by the 
Buddhist title of Sthavira), Bharadvaja, Valmiki, Agnive^ya, 
Agnivesyayana, and Paushkarasadi (cited in the Vdrttikas to 
Panini by Katyayana). The two last names as well as that of 
Kaundinya are mentioned in Buddhist works as those of pupils 
or contemporaries of the* Buddha. There is also an allusion for 
the first time to the Mimarhsakas and Taittiriyakas and to a 
distinction between two types of Sanskrit, Chhandas (Vedic) and 
Bhasha (ordinary). 

Among the Sutras of the White Yajus the first tjj be 


considered is the Srauta Sutra of Katyayana which mentions the 
following teachers : Laugakshi, Bharadvaja, Jatukarnya, Vatsya, 
Badari, Ka^akritsni, and Karshnajini, of whom the three last 
appear in the V eddnta-Siitra of Badarayana, while Badari is also 
mentioned in the Mlmdmsd Sutra of Jaimini. Among other par- 
ticulars given may be mentioned the reference to the custom of 
dig-vijayas [xx, 4, 26], to the sacrifices on the Sarasvatl, and the 
Vratya-sacrifices at which figure the Magadhade^Iya Brahmaban- 
dhu [xxii, 4, 22] . Next, in the Prdtisdkhya Sutra of the White Yajus 
are mentioned three grammarians, Sakatayana, ^akalya, and 
Gargya (all mentioned by Yaska and Panini) ; also Kasyapa 
(mentioned by Panini) ; and, lastly, Dalbhya, Jatukarnya, 
Saunaka, Aupa^ivi, Kanva, and the Madhyamdinas. 

Educational System ol the Sutras. We now proceed to con- 
sider the educational system and organization as reflected in the 
Sutra literature which fortunately furnishes ample evidence on 
the subject. It is to be remembered at the outset that the Sutra 
works do not introduce any innovations but only continue and 
embody the older traditions started from the Vedic age to which 
they only give their final form and shape in an age in which they 
were liable to be affected by the growth of differing systems of 
religion and social life. They sum up the entire previous develop- 
ment, and codify pre-existing traditions, unwritten laws, and 
customs as indicated in the sacred texts on which they are 
essentially based. They usher in the age of social legislation, of 
a rigid system of rules, regulations, and restrictions for the sake 
of the preservation of the culture they represent. 

Vidy&rambha. The pupiFs first introduction to education 
was made by his performance of a ceremony called Vidydrambha 
(also called Akshara-svikaranam) at which he was to commence 
the learning of the alphabets for the first time. The ceremony 
was to be performed when the child attained his fifth year [prdpte 
tu panchame varshe) and was open to children of all the castes. 
It consisted in the child offering worship to the deities (i) Hari, 

(2) Lakshml, and (3) Sarasvati (the goddess of learning), and also 
to (i) the Vidyd cultivated by his family, or ancestral learning 
{sva-vidyd), (2) the Sutra-kdras of that particular Vidyd or subject, 
the sages who have promulgated that learning and in particular 

(3) the Vidyd or subject of his choice [Smriti-Chandrikd, Mysore 
ed., pp. 6^67]. 

The ceremony of Vidydrambha followed that of Chudd- 
karana or tonsure, and was followed by Upanayana, According 


to Kautilya [Arthaidstra, i, 2], the Vidydramhha for a Prince who 
was duly tonsured {vritta-chaulakarmd) meant that he was to 
learn Writing [Lipi) and Numbers [Samkhyd). 

Upanayana. The formal and regular introduction to education 
was, however, made by the ceremony of Upanayana, which 
was ordained for all the castes,^ Brahmana, Kshatriya, and Vai^ya, 
though under different rules. Members of these castes, however, 
who committed sinful deeds, as also the Sudras, were not eligible 
for this ceremony [ib.]. 

Eligibility of iSudras for Upanayana. But it may be noted that 
Baudhayana \Gr. S., ii, 5, 8-9], alone among the law-givers, 
admits the Sudra, Rathakara, to the ceremony of Upanayana. 
He says : " Let him initiate a Brahmana in spring, a Kshatriya in 
summer, a Vai^ya in autumn, a Rathakara in the rainy season ; 
or all of them in spring.” Baudhayana here follows Vedic tradition. 
The ancient Vedic ritual in certain cases admitted Sudras, and, 
particularly, the Rathakara or carpenter who, according to all 
accounts, had 5 udra blood in his veins, to a participation in the 
$rauta rites. The Taittirlya-Brahmana even mentions certain 
Mantras which are to be recited by the Ratha-kara at the 
Agnyddhdna sacrifice. Baudhayana [Dh. 5 ., i, 9, 17, 6] defines 
the Rathakara as the offspring of a Vai^ya male and Sudra female, 
and the hostility shown against the mixed castes, and the 
exclusion of the carpenter from the privilege of initiation or 
Upanayana (which is an expression of that hostility), as shown in 
the works of the Sutra-karas like Apastamba, are to be regarded 
only as the outcome of the later doctrines of later ages. 

Age and Time of Upanayana. The normal age for Upanayana 
is 8 for a Brahmana, ii for a Kshatriya, and 12 for a Vai^ya 
[Manu and Yajnavalkya]. Logakshi makes it 7, 9, and ii 
respectively for these three castes. But these normal ages are 
different where the Upanayana is performed with reference to a 
particular aim {kdmya), as stated by Gautama. For a Brahmana 
whose aim is Brahmavarchasa, the age of Upanayana is 5 [Manu 
and Angirasa]. Brahmavarchasa is the divine glory and spiritual 
pre-eminence or sanctity resulting from proficiency in Brahma 
or Veda. Where his aim is Ayu or longevity, the age of Upanayana 
should be 9 [Angirasa]. For a Kshatriya whose aim in life is 
increase (vriddhi) of Power (Bala) and Life (Ayu), the age of 
Upanayana should be 12 [ib.]. A Vaiiya whose ambition in life 
is the attainment of Ayu, longevity, and Iha, “ prosperity in 
^ Baudhayana, D.S,, i, 2, 3, 10 ; Apastamba, i, 1, 1, 6. 


Agriculture and other pursuits (Krishyddivishaya-cheshtd) should 
perform his Upanayana at the age of 14 [ib.]. These variations 
of age according to those of castes and aims are brought under 
a general rule applicable to all by Apastamba [i, i, i, 21-6] as 
follows : ** The age of Upanayana is to be 7 where the objective is 
Brahma-varchasa ; 8 where it is Ayu ; 9 where it is Teja or physical 
vigour ; 10 where it is livehhood [annddi) ; ii where it is vital 
force [indriya) ; and 12 where it is increase of live stock {pashu). 

It will appear that the ages are fixed in accordance with 
the different capacities and aptitudes for learning in the pupils 
and the studies of their choice determining the periods required 
for their completion. The age of admission to learning is, for 
instance, the lowest for a Brahmana in view of his high aims, and 
the difficult and extended course of study and discipline required 
for their realization. Where a pupiFs paramount aim in life is its 
longevity, he should pay more attention to his body than his 
mind and begin study later. Education similarly begins later and 
is shorter in length where worldly aims are sought after. 

It is also to be noted that the maximum limit of age of 
Upanayaya is also fixed on the basis of the same considerations. 
It is 16 for a Brahmana, 22 for a Kshatriya, and 24 for a Vai^ya 
[Apastamba, Dh. S., i, i, i, 27 ; Gautama, i, 5, ii ; Baudhayana, 
i, 2, 3, 7-9 ; etc.]. The age of 16 is none too high for a Brahmana 
who has completed his preliminary training as preparation for 
Vedic study which is not elementary but advanced study. The 
age for higher study is always stated to be 16 in the Jatakas 
referring to admission of students at Taxila. The age of 16 is also 
considered as the maximum for a Brahmana from the moral 
point of view for which he stands. This point is brought out by 
Jaimini [Grihya Siitra, i, 12] who forbids Upanayana after 16 
on the ground that a pupil older in years will find Vedic study 
difficult and mind prone to sexual distractions for want of an 
earlier discipline by brahma-chary a \na atishodasavarsharh 

upanayita \ prasrishtavrishanah hi eshah vrishalibhuto bhavati]. 
Besides the age of Upanayana, its time also is different for 
-different castes. According to Apastamba, the Upanayana of a 
Brahmana should be performed in the season of Spring {Vasanta), 
that of a Kshatriya in Summer {Grtshma), and that of a Vai^ya 
in Autumn {$arat). In the Jyotisha-^astra, the general rule is stated 
that the Upanayana for all the castes should be performed in the 
five months from Magha, perhaps because these constitute the 
auspicious portion of the year, known as Uttarayana. Apastamba 


[D.S., i, 19] also specially recommends the season of Spring for 
the Upanayana of Brahmanas belonging to Yajuh-Sakha. 

Defaulters 0! Upanayana. The defaulters, those who do 
not have their Upanayana performed within the age-limits 
prescribed, are condemned as Sdvitn-patita and Vrdtya, devoid 
of Savitri Mantra and the vrata or vow of Brahmacharya, and 
hence degraded, degenerate, and unclean/' These persons are, 
therefore, to be shunned with care " (pariharyah prayatnatah) 
[Vyasa]. This implies, as stated by Vasishtha, that *'no one 
should have any dealings with them (na abhivyavahareyuh) 
such as teaching them or performing sacrifices for them ", to 
which another text adds even matrimonial connections (adhya- 
panam yajanaih cha vivahadi cha varjayet). This implies their 
complete social boycott and ostracism. Manu calls them apurta, 
" unclean," with whom there can be no " brahma-sambandha ", 
relationship by learning or religion [ii, 39, 40 ; x, 20 ; §dnkhd. 
G.S,, ii, I, 9-13 ; A^vald. i, 19, 8-9, etc.]. 

Their Redemption. These sinners are not, however, past 
redemption. They are reclaimed by performances of certain 
expiatory ceremonies and penances. Yajhavalkya prescribes 
the ceremony {Kratu) called Vrdtya-stoma. Apastamba [i, i, i, 28] 
prescribes an easier penance of observance of all restrictions 
which are imposed upon a Brahmacharl, such as continence and 
the like, for a period of two months. Vishnu [liv, 26] prescribes 
three Prajapatya penances, and Manu three Krichchhra penances 
[xi, 192]. Vasishtha [xi, 76, 77] prescribes that " the Patita- 
Sdvitnka must perform Udddlaka Vrata, subsisting for two 
months on barley-gruel {ydvakena vartteta), one month on milk 
{payasd), half-month on dmiksha (the solid part of milk extracted 
from its liquid, Bengali chhdnd), eight days on ghrita, six days 
on alms given without asking, three on. only water, and one 
without any food or drink, by complete fasting. Or he may 
perform the A^vamedha sacrifice or Vratya-stoma " \Smriti 
Chandrikd, pp. 67-74]. 

Education Compulsory. These penances and penalties 
attaching to the violation of this primary obligation of Upanayana 
only show to what extent education was valued by Hindu society 
and how it was sought by law to make education universal and 
compulsory among all the three castes which made up Aryan 
society in those days. They also imply by contrast the supreme 
efficacy of Upanayana as a purifying influence, a factor of moral 
and spiritual uplift. 


Education a Second Birth. The texts describe with great 
feeling how Upanayana accomplishes a second birth which is 
purer in its origin than man's natural birth. Here, as Manu 
says [ii, 146, 148], his mother is Savitri, and father the Acharya 
who imparts to him what is higher than the body, the Veda or 
Knowledge which builds up his mind and soul. '' That birth 
which the teacher procures for him through the Savitri is exempt 
from age and death." As Apastamba states, " this birth is the 
superior birth, as it originates from knowledge. What father 
and mother generate is the mere body." Thus all are " twice- 
born " by Upanayana and become known as Dvijas, " The 
first birth is due to the mother, the second to maunjl-handhanci " 
[Vasishtha and Yajnavalkya]. Thus man is " reborn " by 
education in the life spiritual aptly called Brahma-janma by 
Manu. With this high conception of education and its effects 
by which man is refined [samskrita) and spiritualized, there is 
no wonder that the man not taking education is deemed unworthy 
of social intercourse and an outcast. 

Details of the Ceremony: Meaning of the term ^ Upanayana’. 
We shall now go into the details of the important ceremony of 
Upanayana and bring out their full educational significance. 

The term Upanayana (from upa -f ni) literally means the 
introduction of the pupil, but it is not the introduction of 
the pupil to the teacher by his father or any other relation. The 
texts imply that it is the introduction of the pupil to brahmacharya 
by the teacher himself. The pupil enters upon [upaiti] brahma- 
charya or enters with the teacher and he who has thus entered 
upon studentship is designated upeta [Sdhkhd. iv, 8, i ; Paraskara, 
hi, 10, 10]. In this sense, the word Updyana is sometimes used 
for the more usual term Upanayana [Smriti-Chandrikd, pp. 67, 
68]. This sense is anticipated, as we have seen, in the Satapatha 
Brdhmana where [xi, 5, 3, 13] Saucheya says to Uddalaka 
Aruni : "I will enter as a student with the reverend one [updydmi 
bhagavantam)” Aruni replies : " Come, enter (with me) 

[ehyupehi)/* and he initiated him " [tarn hopaninye). In another 
passage [xi, 5, 4, 16], it is stated that, according to some, a 
teacher who has initiated a Brahmana as a student {brdhmanant 
brahmacharyam upanlya) should abstain from sexual intercourse, 
because a student who enters upon brahmacharya becomes as 
it were a garbha [SBE., xxix, p. 58]. 

The later text Vlramitrodaya describes Upanayana as “ the 
ceremony by which a dvija is brought into contact with 


the following, viz. Guru, Vrata, Veda, Yama, Niyama, and the 

The Student’s Uniform. The first step in Upanayana is to 
impose upon the pupil certain external marks of differentiation 
concerning his dress, equipment, and appearance by which he 
is singled out and recognized. 

‘ A jina. ’ The Brahmachari is to wear Ajina or upper garment 
of the skin of certain animals. It should be the skin of Krishna 
or Ena, black buck, for a Brahmana ; of Ruru, or spotted deer, 
for a Kshatriya ; of Vasta or Aja, goat, for a Vai^ya [Brihaspati ; 
Yama ; Sankha]. It may also be the skin of the cow [gavyam] 
for all, according to Paraskara (sarveshdm vd gavyam). 

‘Vasa.’ Vasa is the lower garment which may be made of 
the following materials, viz. (i) idna, hemp ; (2) kshauma, 

fibre of atasi plant ; (3) chtra, darhha, or ku^a grass ; (4) kutapa, 
wool derived from mountain goats and used to make kamhala 
or blankets ; and (5) kdrpdsa, cotton. According to Vasishtha, 
it may be only woven cotton cloth {tdntavam). But it should 
be woven or manufactured in the home of the pupil for purposes 
of the ceremony [Vdsah sadyah krittotam (Baudhayana, G.S., 
ii, 5, ii)]. This shows the use of loom and khaddar in every 
household in those days. According to Taittirlya Aranyaka 
[ii, i], cloth could alternate with skin {ajinam vdso vd dakshinatah 

According to Manu, the Brahmana should use Vdsa of 
$dna, the Kshatriya of Kshanma, and the Vai^ya of Avika or 
goat's wool. But most texts agree that different castes should 
use Vdsa of different colours. The Brahmana should use his 
Kdrpdsa which is white, clean, and fresh, and coloured red with 
manjishthd. The Kshatriya should have his Kshauma cloth 
coloured yellow, and the Vai^ya Kauieya cloth [Vasishtha]. 
According to Apastamba, the Brahmana should use cloth coloured 
with kashdya, a vegetable dye (vriksha-kashaya-nirmitaih 
varksham), the Kshatriya mdnjishtha cloth, and the Vai^ya 
hdridra cloth. 

‘Danda.’ The Brahmachari is also to be equipped with a 
danda or staff of wood of lengths which are different for different 
castes. The different woods mentioned are Bilva, Palana, Vata, 
Khadira, Pilava, Udumbara, Plaksha, Nyagrodha, Vetasa, 
A^vattha, and, failing these, any wood fit for use in sacrifice 
(yajniya). It should reach up to head in length for a Brahmana, 
up to forehead for a Kshatriya, and up to nose for a Vai^ya. 


But in all cases, it should be straight, beautiful, non-tp.rri ty ing 
{anudbegakara), unbumt, and in its natural condition (satvacha) 

*Mekhal&.’ The Brahmachari’s uniform also comprises a 
mekhald or girdle made of different materials for different castes. 
It is munja grass for the Brahmana, (bowstring) for Kshatriya 
(symbolizing his military avocation), and thread for the 

Vaiiya. It may also be of rope used for yoking the oxen to the 
plough (symbolical of agriculture as his occupation). 

Symbolism of Uniform. There is spiritual significance 
behind each of these external marks prescribed for the Brahma- 
charl. Apastamba states [D.S., i, i, 3, 9] : “ He who wishes the 
increase of Brahmana power shall wear Ajina (skins) only ; 
he who wishes the increase of Kshatriya power shall wear cloth 
only ; he who wishes the increase of both shall wear both [cf. 
Gopatha Brahmana, i, 2, 4]. Hiranyake§in [i, i, 4, 6] calls the 
skin as " a chaste, mobile vesture ”. The symbolism of Vasa 
or garment is thus explained by Paraskara [ii, 2, 7] : “ In the 
way in which Brihaspati put the garment of immortality on 
Indra, thus I put (this garment) on thee, for the sake of long 
life, of old age, of strength, of splendour.” Hiranyake^in [i, i, 4, 
2-3] extends still further this symbolism by stating that the 
student puts on the garment that he may be clothed " with 
long life, in the increase of wealth, and be a protector of human 
beings against imprecations ”. 

The Mekhald was made of a triple chord to indicate the 
protection of the three Vedas encircling the child. It was tied 
round his waist to the recitation of verses stating that it was a 
daughter of the deity Sraddhd (Faith) and a sister of the sages 
{svasd rishindm), born of tapas {tapaso’dhijdtd) {Av., 133, 4], 
the protector of purity {rita), and asceticism {tapas), against evil 
[Varaha, Gr. S., 5]. Hiranyake^in calls the Mekhald " the blessed 
one who has come to us, who drives away sin, purifying, our 
guard, and our protection” [i, i, 4, 4]. Gobhila [ii, 10, 37] and 
Paraskara [ii, 2, 8] also call the Mekhald the girdle of protection. 

The Danda also has a spiritual meaning. According to 
Paraskara [ii, 2, 12-13], the student is to be equipped with it 
" for the sake of long life, holiness, holy lustre ”, or because 
" he enters upon a long Sattra ” [cf. Satapatha, xi, 3, 3, 2 ; 
Katyayana, Sr. S., vii, 4, 1-4]. Mdnava Gr. S., i, 22, ii takes 
the staff as an aid to the traveller on the quest of Truth. Vardha 
Gf. S., 6 takes it to indicate that, armed with it, the Brahmacharl 


will guard the Vedas. Apararka (on Yajnavalkya, i, 29) takes 
a materialistic view of it as a weapon of defence to the Brahma- 
chari when he is out in the forests to collect firewood, in darkness, 
or unknown places like a tank or river. 

‘ Yajnopavlta.’ The equipment of the Brahmachari is com- 
pleted by the Yajnopavlta or sacred cord to be worn by him 
in three sets of three threads each. These nine threads {tantu) 
are consecrated to the following nine deities who impart to 
them their own potency, viz. (i) Omkara, (2) Agni, (3) Naga, 
(4) Soma, (5) Pitri, (6) Prajapati, (7) Vayu, (8) Surya, (9) All 
Deities together. The thread is to be made of cotton (karpasa) 
for a Brahmana, of iana for a Kshatriya, and of goat’s skin for 
a Vai^ya [Manu]. " He who does not know the divine origin 
and significance of the Upavita will have all his religious cere- 
monies such as Snana, Dana, or Japa fruitless.” [See Smriti- 
Chandrikd, pp. 68-85, for most of above references.] 

Dressing of Hair. There are rules for the arrangement of 
the hair which were determined not by the individual choice 
of the student but by the custom of his family, school, or country. 
The following ways of arranging the hair are mentioned, viz. 
shaving the head, wearing the hair tied in a braid, or keeping 
merely a lock on the crown of the head tied in a braid (shaving 
the other portions of the head) [Apa., i, 2, 31-2 ; 30, 8, etc.]. 

Preliminary Queries. When the intending pupil is thus 
properly dressed, he had to satisfy some preliminary queries 
put to him by the teacher before he initiates him. The first 
query was as regards his name and lineage. The second asked 
him to declare formally that he wants admission as a disciple. 
The form of the declaration is thus prescribed by Hiranyake^in 
[i, 2, 5, 2] : “I have come hither to be a student. Initiate me ! 
I will be a student, impelled by the god Savitri.” Paraskara 
makes the teacher ask the pupil, “Whose pupil art thou?” 
and the pupil answer, " Yours ” [ii, 2, 19-20]. The object of 
this was probably to make the pupil promise that he would 
abide by the rules of brakmacharya upon which he would be 
presently entering. According to Vishnu [xxix, 5, 9, 10] the 
teachef must not admit to his teaching one whom he does not 
know. There are also laid down certain moral conditions 
quahfying a pupil for admission. " He must not be a scomer, 
a wicked man, or one of uncontrolled passions ; he must be 
pure, attentive, possessed of a good memory, and chaste, who 
will not grieve nor rfevile the teacher, to whom the sacred 


knowledge can be revealed as to a keeper of one’s gem " [cf. 
Manu, ii, 109 (ten persons eligible for Vedic instruction), 112-15]. 

Invocations. The student is then committed to the charge 
of the gods with prayers varying also with his caste. The 
Brahma^a is committed for the sake of great learning, the 
Kshatriya for great royalty, and the Vai^ya for great wealth 
[Hiraiiya. i, i, 4, 8]. According to Sahkhayana [ii, 2, 13-14], 
“ those who are desirous of a host of adherents should be initiated 
with the verse : ‘ Thee, the Lord of Hosts ’ [Rv., ii, 23, i]," 

and " warriors, with the verse : ‘ Come here, do not come to 

harm ’ " [Rv., viii, 20, i]. 

Prayers. Some of the prayers used in the performance of 
the ceremony indicate the objects of education. They are both 
religious and secular and such as are necessary for the harmonious 
development of a man’s nature. The pupil prays to the gods for 
insight, offspring, splendour, strength, and vigour \Asval., i, 
21, 4]. The gods invoked are named Bhaga, Yama, Aryama, 
and Savitri. Savitri was invoked to ward off evils like disease 
and death [ib., Gf. S., i, 20, 6 {Deva Savitaresha Te Brahma- 
chan sa md mritah)]. In the Sahkhayana [ii, 3, i] he prays for 
long life, offspring, and strength, increase of wealth, mastery 
of all the Vedas, fame, and bliss. Paraskara [ii, 4, 3] makes him 
worship Agni with the following poetic prayer : “To Agni 
have I brought a piece of wood. As thou, Agni, art inflamed 
by wood, thus am I inflamed by life, insight, vigour, offspring, 
cattle, holy lustre.’’ Hiranyake^in [i, 2, 5, 13] has the prayer 
for offspring, valiant sons, splendour, wealth, wisdom, and pupils 
(for the student must develop into a teacher and help forward 
the spread of learning). There is also a special prayer for in- 
telligence [i, 2, 6, 4]. He has also a similar prayer to Agni : “ As 
thou art inflamed, Agni, through that piece of wood, thus inflame 
me through wisdom, insight, offspring, cattle, holy lustre, and 
through the enjoyment of food ” [i, 2, 7, 2]. 

* A^mfiroha^a.’ After prayers came the ceremony of the 
Brahmachari being made to stand on stone as a symbol of 
steadfastness at study [Mdnava Gr. S., i, 22, 12], or strength and 
invincibility [Bhdradvdja Gr. S., i, 8]. 

Admission. The teacher’s formal acceptance of the pupU 
is made with the following words which indicate the sacred and 
inviolable character of the spiritual bond that connected them : 
“ Thy heart shall dwell in my heart ; my mind thou shalt follow 
with thy mind ; in my word thou shalt rejoice with all thy 

i 82 


heart ; to me alone thou shalt adhere ; in me thy thoughts shall 
dwell ; upon me thy veneration shall be bent ; when I speak 
thou shalt be silent.” \Hira‘^ya. i, 2, 5, ii ; Sankh., ii, 4, i ; 
Pdrask., i, 8, 8 (formula for marriage) ; Adval., i, 21, 7.] The 
pupil was also formally asked the question, “ Whose Brahma- 
charl art thou ? ” When he answered, ” Thine,” the preceptor 
stated : " Thou art the Brahmachar! of Indra, Agni is the 
Acharya, I am thy Acharya ” [Pdrask. Gr..S., ii, 3]. He also 
stated that he was admitting him as a pupil under god Savitri 
[Aiva. Gr. S., i, 20, 4]. 

Admonition. The ceremony of initiation concludes with 
the following charge laid upon the Brahmacharin : “A Brahama- 
charin art thou ! Drink water. Do the service. Do not sleep 
in the day-time. Devoted to the teacher, study the Veda ” 
[Aival., i, 22, 2]. The Sahkhayana [ii, 4, 5] adds the further 
duty — " Put on fuel ” [cf. also Pdrask., ii, 3, 2 ; Gobhila, ii, 10, 34 ; 
Hiraitya. i, 2, 5, ii]. 

The first observance of Brahmacharya: Sftvitrl Vrata. The 

Brahmacharl now starts on his career by taking on the Sdvitri 
Vrata as a part of the Upanayana ceremony. Brahmacharya 
literally means " attendance on Brahma or Veda ” and involves 
the observances which the student has to keep through certain 
periods of time before the different Vedic texts which he has 
to learn can be taught him. Thus the study of the Veda is opened 
by the Savitri [cf. Satap. Br., xi, 5, 4, 6 f.]. The Brahmana 
student is to be taught the Gayatri which belongs to Vi^vamitra 
[i?t)., iii, 62, 10] ; the Kshatriya is to be taught the Trishtubh 
which is a verse ascribed to Hira^yastupa [i?v., i, 35, 2] ^ ; 
the Vai^ya is to be taught the Jagati which is a verse ascribed 
to Vamadeva [i?t>., iv, 40, 5] or to Hiranyastupa [ 22 v., i, 35, 9].* 
The Savitri Vrata which the student observes «is a preparation 
for that instruction might last for one year or three days or the 
Savitri can be taught immediately after the initiation [Sdnkh., 
ii, 5, 1-6 ; 7, ii]. According to Paraskara [ii, 4, 3, 6], the Savitri 
Vrata may last for one year, six months, twenty-four days, 
twelve days, six days, or three days. [For teaching the Savitri, 
cf. Gobhila, ii, 10, 39 ; Hiraiiya., i, 2, 6, ii ; Ap. Gr., iv, ii, 9 f. ; 
Kh., ii, 4, 20 ; Aiv., i, 21, 5 f. ; 22, 29.] The normal period 

^ Or Rv., i, 35, 9, according to Nar5yai;M commenting on SSdkhSyana 
Gr. S., ii, 5. 

* Or Rv., V, 81, 2, according to Medhitithi (on Manu, ii, 38), SatSt^a 
(cited by Vlramitrodaya) and Laugakshi (cited by Apararka on Yajfia, i, ; 
or Rv., V, 81, 1, according to Aiva. Gr. S., iii, 7 and v&r&ha. Gr S., 6. 


set for this, the first of the Brahmacharin’s vratas or special 
observances, seems to have been three days. During this time, 
the student had to live on special food, which was not to be either 
pungent or saline, or milk, according to Khadira [ii, 4, 32], 
and to beg that food, firstly, of his mother, and " of two other 
women friends or of as many as there are in the neighbourhood ” 
[Gobhila, ii, 10, 43] or " other houses where they are kindly 
disposed towards him ” [Hiratiya., i, 2, 7, 17], or of “ a woman 
who won’t refuse ” [^ankh., ii, 6, 6 ; Aival., i, 22, 7], or " from 
three women who will not refuse or from six, twelve, or an 
indefinite number ” [Parask., ii, 5, 5, 6]. Manu [ii, 50] makes 
the pupil beg food first of his mother, then of his sister, then 
of his own maternal aunt and then of a femile who will not 
disgrace him by a refusal. The alms were to be collected in a 
bowl given to the pupil by his teacher \Hiratiya., i, 2, 7, 14]. 

‘ Medh&janana.’ After three days’ observance of the Savitrl 
Vrata, the ceremony of Upanayana is ended by the performance 
of the Medhdjanana rite whereby the gods are invoked for the 
development of the Brahmachari’s mental powers [Bhdradvdja 
Gr. S., i, 10]. Then Brahmacharya or studentship formally 
begins under prescribed conditions governing the life and studies 
of the pupil dwelling in his teacher’s house. 

Food. The restrictions of Upanayana ceremony as regards 
food are withdrawn, and the student is allowed to eat pungent 
and saline food and vegetables [Hiranya., i, 2, 9, 9]. Manu 
forbids the taking of honey, meat, substances used for flavouring 
food and substances turned acid [ii, 177 ; cf. Baudh., i, 3, 23-4 ; 
Parask., ii, 5, 12 ; Gobhila, iii, 117, 19, 23]. According to Apas- 
tamba, also, the Brahmacharin shall not eat food offered at a 
sacrifice nor pungent condiments, salt, honey, or meat [i, i, 2, 
22, 23 ; i, I, 4, 6]. Apastamba, appealing to the Mimaihsists, 
combats the doctrine implied in the injunctions of Baudhayana 
that pupils may eat forbidden food, such as honey, meat, and 
pungent condiments, if it is given to them as leavings by their 
teacher. For the general rule is that students should eat the 
fragments of food given to them by their teachers and to obey 
their teachers except when ordered to commit crimes which 
cause loss of caste and such crimes, according to Baudhayana, 
did not include eating forbidden food. Gautama [ii, 13], prohibits 
honey and meat. The hour of eating is also prescribed : it is 
the fourth, six, or eighth hour of the day [Vasishtha, vii, 8]. 
The manner of eating is thus laid down : ” he shall eat in silence. 


contented and without greed ” after receiving permission to 
eat from his teacher [Gautama, ii, 39, 41]. Manu prescribes 
eating with a concentrated mind, a pleased face, and without 
contempt, after meditating on the food as the sustainer of life 
and forbids eating between the two meal-times, over-eating, 
and giving to any man the food that is left [ii, 53-7 ; cf. Baudh., 
ii. 3 . 5 . 21 ; ii. 12, 7, 9 ; ii, 13, ii ; Gaut., ix, 59 Vishiatu, Ixviii, 
34-5 ; 42-3 ; 48 ; Vasishtha, iii, 69 ; Ap., ii, i, 2, 3]. Apastamba 
requires the pupil to clean his dish after he has eaten [i, 3, 36]. 

Though there is restriction as to food and drink for the 
Brahmachari, there was no restriction as to quantity of these 
he should consume. He could take as much nourishment as was 
necessary for his health. “ The Muni (of the fourth dirama) 
should restrict his food to only eight mouthfuls ; the Hermit 
(of the third dirama) to sixteen mouthfuls ; the Householder 
to thirty-two ; but there was no limit for a Brahmachari.” 
This rule is based on that of health which requires that the 
quantity of food must be largest for youths and decrease with 
age. The same text forbids the penance of fasting for both a 
Brahmachari and a Gfihastha [Baudhayana, ii, 7, 31-3 ; Stnfiti- 
chandrikd, p. 114]. 

Begging. One of the standing duties of the Brahmacharin 
was to go out begging for alms. Generally, the women were 
to be addressed in prescribed terms var3dng according to the 
caste of the begging student. A Brahmin is to use the word 
“ Lady ”, at the beginning, a Kshatriya, in the middle, and a 
Vai^ya, at the end, of the sentence prescribed for asking for alms 
[Pdrask., ii, 5, 2-4 ; Apastamba, i, i, 3, 28-30]. The student had 
to go out for begging twice a day, in the morning and evening 
[Ap., i, 1, 3, 25 ; Aival., i, 22, 4]. According to Gopatha Brdhmana 
[i, 2, 1-8], and Baudhayana-Dharma-sutra [i, 2, 52], a pupil 
must perform a prescribed penance for his omission to beg at 
least once a week. This rule indicates (i) that begging was 
enjoined mainly as a measure of discipline 4or its educative 
value, and (2) that it was not a compulsory daily duty. According 
to Apastamba [ib.] the student may beg of " everybody except 
low-caste people unfit for association with Aryas and Abhi- 
^astas ”. Gautama [ii, 35] also forbids the students begging of 
” abhiiastas and outcastes ”, while Vishnu [xxviii, 9] restricts 
the begging to " the houses of virtuous persons, excepting those 
of the Guru or his relatives ”, Where, however, no alms could 
be obtained by aforesaid means, the student might beg in his 


own house, or in that of his teacher or his relations [Gautama, 
ii, 37). According to Manu, the proper persons to be approached 
for alms are those who are not deficient in the knowledge of the 
Veda and in performing sacrifices, and who are noted for adhering 
to their lawful occupations [ii, 183-5 > ^^so Baudhayana, i, 
2, 3, 18]. Manu also condemns a student as guilty of theft if he 
gathers by begging more food than he needs and sells the surplus 
[cited in Viramitrodaya, p. 486]. Begging was also not permitted 
to a Sndtaka [Samavrittasya bhikshd aiuchikard (Baudhayana, 
ii, I, 63)]. The student shall not beg for his own sake alone 
[Ap., i, I, 3, 35], but submit the proceeds of his begging to his 
teacher [ib., 31 ; Aiv., i, 22, 10 ; Vasishtha, vii, 14 ; Vishnu, 
xxviii, 10]. If the proceeds are other than food, such as cattle 
or fuel, they are to be offered to the teacher as rewards given 
to priests for the performance of a sacrifice {Ap., i, i, 4, 3]. 
Baudhayana [i, 2, 4, 7] points out the virtues of begging, viz. 
that by this the student makes himself poor and humble in 
spirit. It was thus valued as a method of moral discipline. 

Service to Teacher. The life of the student was regulated on 
the principle that he must do what is pleasing and serviceable to 
his teacher [Gautama, ii, 30 ; Vishnu, xxviii, 7]. One text sums 
up the position by stating that the pupil is to serve his teacher 
as a son, supplicant, or slave (Putravat dasavat arthivat cha 
anucharata tvaya). Charaka [Vimanasthana, viii, 4] states that 
" the pupil should serve his teacher as he serves Agni, Deva, 
King, Father, and Master, with steady devotion '' As Apastamba 
puts it more definitely, the pupil shdl “ assist his teacher daily 
by acts tending to the acquisition of spiritual merit and of 
wealth ” [i, i, 4, 24]. The former class of acts will comprise 
collecting sacred fuel, ku^a grass, cow-dung, earth, and flowers 
for sacrifice, as also fetching a pot full of water, while the latter 
class implies gathering fuel for cooking, begging alms, etc. [Manu, 
ii, 182]. 

But this relationship of service must always rest on a moral 
foundation. If the teacher goes wrong, the pupil should first 
complain to him in private [Pramadan acharyasya rahasi bodhayet 
(Apastamba, i, 2, 6, 13)]. Gautama terminates this relationship 
where the teacher indulges in adharma or sinful conduct [iii, i, 15]. 

Fetching Water, Flower, Fuel : Tending Fire. Thus the 
next important class of duties after begging is that connected 
with fuel and fire. The pupil is to fetch fire-wood out of the forest 
without damaging the trees {Pdrask., ii, 5. 9] before sunset 


{Ap., i, I, 4, 15]. The fuel thus fetched daily from the forest is 
to be placed on the floor of the teacher’s house. After having 
kindled the fire, and swept the ground around the altar the pupil 
is to place the sacred fuel on the fire every morning and evening. 
He shall sweep the place around the fire after it has been made 
to bum (by the addition of fuel) with his hand, and not with the 
broom (of Ku§a grass) but before adding the fuel, he is free to 
use the broom at his pleasure [ib., 16-19]. 

Besides fetching fuel and tending the fire twice daily, the 
pupil was to fetch water in a vessel for the use of his teacher both 
in the morning and evening [ib., 13]. 

Thus the standing duties to be performed by the student 
in the interests of his teacher and of his own discipline and 
moral life were begging, fetching fuel, water, and flowers and 
other articles for sacrifice, and tending the sacred fire. These 
duties were more of the nature of services rendered to the teacher, 
but there were others more directly connected with his own 
life. We have already considered the regulations prescribed 
regarding the student’s diet. We shall now consider those 
regarding his dress, the luxuries he must avoid, his general 
behaviour, the habits he must eschew or cultivate, and the 

Duties ol Student. According to Apastamba [i, 2, 5, 9-10], 
the duties of a student consist in acts pleasing to the spiritual 
teacher, the observance of rules conducive to his own welfare 
and industry in stud5dng. " Acts other than these need not be 
performed by a student ” (such as pilgrimages and the like, 
according to the commentator, thus showing the puritanic 
austerity of the discipline which won’t allow even these innocent 
diversions because they are for the householders and aged people). 
We have already considered the first class of these duties, viz. 
the services to be rendered to the teacher. Now we shall consider 
the second class of duties connected with the student’s own 
welfare, from which we can gather his daily routine. 

His Daily Routine ol Duties. The student is to rise from 
his bed before his teacher ^ and before sunrise ® in the last watch 
of the night.® Penances are prescribed for the sin of sleeping 
when the sun rises, or sets, or when the teacher is awake. 

Then he is to bathe and purify himself.® He is not to sport 

• Vi., xxviii, 13 ; Ba., i. 3, 21. 

• Ap., ii, 12, 13-14 : Ga., jcxiii, 21 ; Vos., xx, 4 ; Ba., ii, 7, 16 ; Vi., xxviii, 
53 ; Manu, ii, 220. 

• Ap„ i, 5, 12. 

* Manu, ii, 176 ; Ga., ii, 8-0. 


in the water whilst bathing, but must swim motionless ^ or 
plunge into the waters like a stick.* He must not wash his body 
with hot water for pleasure, but if it is soiled by unclean things, 
he might clean it with earth or water in a place where he is not 
seen by a guru.® He is not to use any bathing powder or the like 
for cleaning himself. The bath has to be taken three times a 

His next duty is to perform his morning devotions (sandhyd 
or muttering the Savitrl). This must be done with a concentrated 
mind in a pure place outside the village, and in a standing posture, 
and in silence. The prayer is to begin from the time when the 
stars are still visible, and to end when the sun rises. The evening 
prayer is also to be similarly performed from the time when 
the sun still stands above the horizon until the stars appear.® 

Returning home after his twilight devotions, the student 
is to offer libations of water to gods, sages, and manes, worship 
the images of the gods, and place fuel on the sacred fire.® 

Restrictions. He must avoid the following luxuries : 
perfumes, garlands, anointing his body, appl3dng collyrium 
to his eyes, use of shoes, umbrella, parasol, and carriage, and sleep 
in the day-time. 

There are laid down many moral injunctions which the 
student must obey. He must avoid singing, playing musical 
instruments, and dancing, at which he must not even look 
[Ap., i, 3, ii]. He must not go to the assemblies (for gambling, 
etc.), nor to crowds assembled at festivals. 

Certain virtues or moral qualities are specified for his cultiva- 
tion and practice. He must avoid idle disputes and gossiping, 
backbiting and lying. He must be free from sexual desire, anger, 
envy, covetousness. He must not injure animate beings. He 
must talk with women only so much as his purpose requires. 
He must be forgiving, untired in fulfilling his duties, modest, 
possessed of self-command, and devoid of pride. 

Behaviour towards Teacher. There are rules regulating 
the behaviour of the student towards his teacher. He must 
always obey his teacher except when ordered to commit crimes 
which cause loss of caste. He must not contradict him. He 
must occupy a couch or seat lower than that of his teacher. 
When he meets his teacher after sunrise (coming for his lessons), 

» Ap., i, 2, 30 : Ba., i, 3, 39-40. • Vi., xxviii, 5. 

• Ap., i, 2, 2S-9. * Va., vii, 17 ; Ga., u, 8. 

• Manu, ii, 101, 222 ; Ga., ii, 10-11 ; Va., vii, 16 ; Ap., i, 30, 8 ; Ba., u, 

7, 13-14. * Manu, ii, 176. 


he shall embrace his feet, and shall study, after having been 
called by the teacher, and not request the teacher to begin 
the lesson. He must not stretch out his feet towards him but, 
•according to some, he may, if the teacher be lying on a bed. 
He shall not address the teacher whilst he himself is in a reclining 
position, but he may answer the teacher sitting, if the teacher 
himself is sitting or lying down. And if the teacher stands, he 
shall answer him after having risen also. He shall walk after 
him if he walks, and run after him if he runs. He s hall not 
approach his teacher with shoes on his feet, or his head covered, 
or holding implements in his hand, except when on a journey, 
or occupied in work. He shall approach his teacher with the 
same reverence as a deity, without telling idle stories, attentive, 
and listening eagerly to his words. He shall not sit either too 
near to, or too far from, his teacher, nor with his legs crossed. 
In the presence of his gmu, he is to avoid covering his throat, 
leaning against a wall, stretching out his feet, spitting, laughing, 
yawning, and cracking the joints of his fingers. He must not sit 
with his teacher to the leeward or to the windward of him, but 
may sit with his teacher in a carriage drawn by oxen, horses, 
or camels, on a terrace, on a bed of grass or leaves, or a mat, 
on a rock, on a wooden bench or in a boat. 

Rules of Study. From the regulations governing the life of 
the student in the home of his preceptor, we now pass on to the 
regulations governing his studies. 

The student must commence his study in the morning, 
embracing the feet of his teacher both at the beginning and 
end of his lesson. After having received permission, he will sit 
down to the right of his teacher, turning his face towards the east 
or towards the north. Then the Savitrl is to be recited, together 
with the syllable Om before the instruction in the Veda is begun. 
The student must be very attentive the whole day long, never 
allowing his mind to wander from the lesson during the time 
devoted to studying. During the time for rest (which he has, 
after attending to his studies and the business of his teacher, 
as has been indicated above), the pupil is to give his mind to 
doubtful passages of the lesson leamt. 

Courses of Study. The <;ourses of study included the " whole 
Veda ”, together with " the Rahasyas ” as stated by Manu 
[ii, 165]. There were also accompanying various kinds of 
austerities and vows prescribed by the rules of Vedic study. 
By the ” whole ” Veda, as already stated, the commentators 


understand the four Vedas with the six Angas or the ritualistic 
treatises comprising Phonetics (Sikhsha), Rituals proper (Kalpa), 
Grammar (Vyakarana), Etymology (Nirukta), Prosody (Chhanda), 
and Astronomy (Jyotisha), and the esoteric treatises such as the 
Upanishads ; or one entire Sakha of Veda, consisting of the 
Mantras and the Brdhmana, By the term Rahasyas are meant 
esoteric treatises, the Upanishads, or the secret explanations 
of the Veda. According to Vishnu [xxviii, 34-5], the student 
must first acquire by heart one Veda, or two Vedas, or all the 
Vedas, and thereupon the Vedahgas. If, without studying the 
Veda, he applies himself to another study, he degrades himself 
and his progeny to the state of a Sudra. In another place, he 
discusses the comparative merits of the different subjects of study 
which include the hymns of the Rigveda, the Yajus texts, the 
Saman melodies, the Atharvaveda, as well as the Puranas, 
Itihasas, Vedahgas, and the Institutes of Sacred Law [xxx, 34-8]. 
In yet another passage [ib., 43], the knowledge imparted to 
the pupil is stated to be of three kinds, viz. worldly knowledge 
(relating to poetry, rhetoric, and the like subjects), sacred know- 
ledge (relating to the Vedas and Vedahgas), and knowledge of 
the Supreme Spirit. 

Special Observances {* Vratas ’) for Special Subjects of Study. 

It has been already indicated that there were prescribed some 
special Vratas or observances which the student had to keep 
through certain periods of time before the different texts appointed 
in the course of Brahminical studies could be taught him. We 
have already referred to the first of these, the Sdvitra Vrata, 
by the observance of which the student is introduced to the 
Savitri verse. Then follows the Sukriya Vrata (duties of holiness) 
to be kept for three days, or twelve days, or one year, or any 
other period of time, according to the teacher’s discretion [Sdnkh, 
Gr, Sw., ii, II, 10]. By this Vrata, the student is enabled to 
study the main portion of the Veda. Next follows the Anu- 
vdchana, or the way of studying the Veda ** which can be done 
only after the Sukriya Vrata has been enjoined on the student. 
Before that nothing but the Savitri can be taught to him ” [ib., 
p. 69, note, S,B,E. ed.]. Finally come the Sdkvara, Vrdtika, 
and Aupanishada observances, each of which has to last one year, 
and which refer to the different parts of the Aranyaka. These 
three are special Vratas connected with the character of mystical 
secrecy attributed to the Aranyaka. After the lapse of the year 
through which the Vrata is kept, a ceremony is performed called 


Uddikshai^iM, i.e. the giving up of the Diksha or preparatory 
observance for the study of the Aranyaka texts. This Uddiksha- 
iiikd consists chiefly in the teacher’s ascertaining whether the 
student has fulfilled the duties involved by the Vrata. Besides 
that, a repetition of the Upanayana also formed part of the 
preparatory rites for the study of the Aranyaka.^ After this, 
the teacher goes out of the village in a north-eastern direction 
and sits down on a clean spot, turning his face to the east. Then 
when the sun has arisen, he recites in the way prescribed for 
the Veda-study (i.e. the anuvdchana) the Aranyaka texts to the 
student or the ” Rahasya ”, as termed by Manu. 

These Vratas which the student has to undergo in the 
time of his studentship are those of the Rigvedins. There are 
some different Vratas for the followers of the Samaveda, which 
are thus explained by the commentator on Gobhila Grihya 
Sutra, iii, i, 28 : " The Upanayana Vrata has been declared to 
refer to the study of the Savitrl ; the Godana Vrata, to the study 
of the collections of verses sacred to the gods Agni, Indra, and 
Soma Pavamana (this is the Purvarchika of the Samaveda) ; 
the Vratika-wditz., to the study of the Aranyaka, with the exclu- 
sion of the Sukriya sections ; the Aditya-vrsAa., to the study of 
the Sukriya sections ; the Aupanishada-yraiSi, to the study of the 
Upanishada-Brahmana ; the Jaishtha-samika-vraXa, to the study 
of the Ajya-dohas ” \SBE., xxx, p. 69 n]. 

It is thus clear that the graduated course of studies corre- 
sponded to a graduated course of special observances or practical 
^sciplines, whereby the gradual development of the inner capacities 
answering to the growing difiiculty of the subjects of study was 
sought to be secured. 

Period ot Studentship. All the Sutrcis are agreed as to the 
length of the period of studentship. It is to consist ordinarily 
of twelve years for the mastery of each Veda. " Twelve years 
lasts the Brahmacharya for each Veda, or until he has learnt 
it ” [Aivalayana]. ” The studentship lasts for forty-eight 
years, or twenty-four years, or twelve years, or until he has learnt 
the Veda ” [Hiranyake^in]. " He who has been initiated shall 
dwell as a religious student in the house of his teacher for forty- 
eight years (if he learns all the four Vedas), or a quarter less 
(i.e. for thirty-six years), or less by half (i.e. for twenty-four 
years), or three-quarters less (i.e. for twelve years), but twelve 

* Accordiag to Apastamba, a fresh initiation is necessary for the study of 
the Atharvaveda but not of other Vedas [see Vaitino-Satra, i, 1, 5]. 


years should be the shortest time for his residence with his 
teacher ” [Apastamba]. Manu, however, recognizes only the 
three Vedas for study, and permits thirty-six years, or half 
that time, or quarter, of the period required by the student 
to learn them perfectly [iii, i]. Baudhayana, prescribing the same 
time-limits, calculates that, at the least, one year will be required 
for the study of each Kanda (of the seven Kansas of the Taittirlya- 
sarhhita) [i, 2, 3, 3]. The rather excessive length of the period of 
studentship under the scheme of the Sutras- is also noticed 
by Baudhayana who says that life is uncertain (Life is short. 
Art long), and quotes a passage from the Sruti which 
declares, “ Let him kindle the sacred fires while his hair is still 
black.” This means that the period of studentship must not 
be protracted too long. 

Academic Session : * Up&karma ’ and * Utsarjana ’ Cere- 
monies. In connection with the length of the period of 
studentship, we have to consider the length of what may be 
called the academic session, i.e. the number of days of actual 
teaching done in these Brahminical schools in the year. The 
school-term opens solemnly with the performance of a special 
ceremony called the Updkarman on the full moon of the month of 
Sravana (July-August). From this opening day, for a month, 
study in the evening is not permitted (though, according to 
Haiadatta, the commentator, it is not sinful to study later in 
the night after evening). The term then continues until the full 
moon of the month of Pausha or the Rohini day when it is 
solemnly closed by the performance of the Utsarjana ceremony 
after which the student has to leave off reading the Veda. Thus 
the term comprises five months in the year, viz. latter half 
of Sravana, Bhadrapada, Alvina, Karttika, Marga§irsha, and 
the fijTst half of Pausha [see Apas., i, 3, 9]. Manu [iv, 95-6] 
makes the academic session comprise four months and a half by 
prescribing for the Updkarman ceremony the alternative date of 
the full moon of Bhadrapada, and for the Utsarjana, the Pushya 
(or sixth) day of Pausha or the first day of the bright half of 
Magha. Thus the interruption of Vedic teaching lasts for six 
months and a half or five months and a half [Sdnkh., iv, 6, 7~8]. 
During this period, though the teaching was not done, the private 
study of students was, however, not to be interrupted. Manu 
[iv, 98] lays down the rule that, after the performance of the 
Utsarjana ceremony, the student is to study the Veda during the 
light nights of each month until the full moon of Srava^a in 


order to fix in his mind the part learned already ; and in the dark 
fortnight of each month he is to study all the Vedafigas, grammar, 
and the rest [Haradatta's commentary quoted in SBE., ii, 33]. 
With the commencement of the next academic session the student 
will begin the study of a fresh part of the Veda. 

Their Details. Some of the ritualistic details of these 
ceremonies of Upakarma and Utsarjana are worth noting for their 
educational bearings. The term upakarma is part of the full 
expression Chhandasdnu upakarma, showing that upakarma 
was meant for study and conservation of Vedic texts. The 
ceremony is also known as SrdvaV'i, as it began in Sravana when 
the rains set in and keep the people out of work after the sowing 
of harvest is over. It was celebrated by the teacher uttering the 
Savitri Mantra before his assembled pupils [Khadira, iii, 2, 18, 
19] ; praying for pupils by uttering a suitable Mantra {Paras., 
ii, 10 ; Varaha Gr. S., 7 {antevdsindm yogamichchhannatha 
japati)] ; and giving a feast to his pupils [Jaimini Gr. S., 
i, 14 (Sabrahmachdrinaicha upasametdn bhojayeddchdryah)]. 
Updkarma also included invocation of appropriate deities. The 
Rigvedins worshipped Savitri, Sraddha, Medha, Prajna, Dharana, 
and the ^ishis of the Veda, and then recited the first and last 
stanzas of the ten Mancjalas of the Rigveda, offering oblations of 
curds and saktu to Agni. The Yajurvedins first offered oblations 
to the sacrificial deities for success in the performance of sacrifices 
in which they wanted to specialize, and then they invoked the 
deities of the Samhitas and their Rishis. Next, the four Vedic 
Sarhhitas, together with Itihasa and Purana, were reverently 
recalled. In this connection, the Yajurvedins also paid their 
homage to the memory of scholars who had built up their studies : 
Krishna Dvaipayana, Vai^ampayana, Tittiri (author of Black 
Yajurveda), Atreya (author of Yajurveda Pada-patha), Kaundinya 
the Vfittikdra, Baudhayana the Pravachana-kdra, Apastamba 
the Sutrakdra, and also to Satyashadha, Hiranyake^in, 
Vajasaneya, Yajnavalkya, Bharadvaja, and Agniveiya. The 
Samavedins in their turn recalled such names as Jaimini, 
Talavakara, Ranayani, Bhaguri, and the like [A^va. Gr. S. ; 
Baudhd. Gr. S., iii, i]. This ritual of recalling with worshipful 
gratitude on the opening day of the school the names of those 
who have contributed to its studies and traditions was the best 
inspiration to its pupils to keep up the culture now committed 
to their care, to keep burning the torch of learning left to them. 
A sense of Guru-pdramparya, of succession of teachers, creates 


a sense of responsibility to learning in its new devotees who are 
thus inspired to do their best for it as their worthy successors. 
Such a significant ritual should have its modem substitute. 

Holidays. The academic session is punctuated by numerous 
holidays. Intermptions of study were allowed for a variety 
of causes and circumstances. The first cause of such intenuption 
is the occurrence of certain natural phenomena. These include 
the following : wind whirling up dust in the day-time (dust- 
storm) or audible at night ; sky flaming red ; rainbow ; hoar 
frost settling on the ground ; clouds out of season ; thunder, 
rain (sufficiently heavy to cause dripping of water from the 
edge of roof) and lightning out of season or in season (in 
which case the study is to stop for the remaining hours of 
the day or night) ; Jupiter, Venus, Sun, and Moon surrounded 
by a halo ; thunder, earthquake, eclipse, and fall of meteors 
(to stop study until the same time next day, i.e. for 24 hours) ; 
simultaneous rain, thunder and lightning (to stop study for 
three days). Secondly, the standing fist of holidays included 
the following : new moon (two days’ leave) ; full moon days of 
the months of Karttika, Phalguna, and Asha^ha ; eighth and 
fourteenth days of each half-month and full-moon days of every 
month [Manu, iv, 113] ; certain other days set apart for religious 
ceremonies, e.g. three Ashfakas (involving three days’ leave 
for each) ; Upakarma and Utsarjana (with three days’ leave for 
each) ; spring festival (which, according to Haradatta, falls on 
the thirteenth of the first half of Chaitra), and the festival of 
Indra in the month of Asha^ha (when the study of an Anuvaka ^ 
is forbidden, according to Apastamba) ; and, lastly, festive days 
(the day of the initiation and the like) [Gaut., xvi, 43]. Thirdly, 
study is forbidden in the case of certain political or other events 
taking place, e.g. invasion of the village [Gautama, xvi, 34 ; 
Manu, iv, 118] ; when the cows are prevented from leaving the 
village due to cattle-lifting by robbers and the like [Ap., i, 
3 i 9 > 25] ; or during a battle [Vishnu, xxx, ii] ; if outcasts 
[" robbers such as Ugras and Nishadas ” (Haradatta on Ap., i, 
3, 9, 18)] have entered the village or if good men have come ) 
or when a king or a learned Brahmin (who has mastered one Veda; 
or a cow, or a Brahmin in general has met with an accident ; 
if there is an outbreak of fire in the village ; or when the king of 

^ According to Haradatta, Apastamba uses the word Anuvaka in order 
to indicate that smaller portions of the Veda may be studied. Others think that 
by Anuvaka the Samhi^ and Brahma^a are meant and that the study of the 
Ahgas is permitted [5B£., ii, p. 42 n.]. 


the country has died [Gautama, xvi, 32] or has become impure 
through birth or death in his family (cf. modem ” court 
mourning ”) [Manu, iv, no]. Fourthly, study is to be stopped 
when certain sounds are heard, e.g. howling of jackals, baring 
of dogs, braying of donke}^, grunting of camels, cry of a wolf, 
screeching of an owl ; the sound of an arrow, of a large or small 
drum ; the noise of a chariot ; the wail of a person in pain or 

Places banned for Study. There are specified certain circum- 
stances under which study is not permitted. One must not study 
in the following places : a burial ground, extremity of a village, a 
high road, a village in which a corpse lies or Chandalas live, or 
a forest if a corpse or a Chandala is in sight. Nor must one study 
during impurity when his near relations have died, or when he 
has partaken of a funeral repast or of dinner on the occasion of a 
sacrifice offered to men (when the study is stopped for a day and 
a night). Considerations of health dictate stoppage of study under 
certain circumstances, e.g. when the pupil has vomited or 
emits a foul smell or suffers from sour eractations, or when he 
has taken his evening meal. 

Lastly, there is an interesting regulation of a different kind 
for the stoppage of study. " If some of his fellow-students 
are away on a journey, he shall not study during that day the 
passage which they learn together ” \_Ap., i, 3, ii, ii]. “ If one 
pupil has gone on a journey and another stays with the teacher, 
the study of the Veda shall be ‘ interrupted until the absentee 
returns ’ ” [Gautama, xvi, 33]. 

In connection with some of these rules for interruption 
of study, it should be noted that they seem to apply to the study 
of new parts of the Veda and not of the parts already leamt 
nor to the study of the Angas of the Veda. This is clear from Manu 
[ii, 105-6] ; “ Both when one studies the supplementary treaties 
of the Veda and when one recites the daily portion of the Veda, 
no regard need be paid to forbidden days, likewise when one 
repeats the sacred texts required for a burnt oblation. There 
are no forbidden days for the daily recitation, since that is 
declared to be a Brahmasattra (an everlasting sacrifice offered 
to Brahman) ; at that the Veda takes the place of the burnt 
oblations, and it is meritorious even when natural phenomena 
requiring a cessation of the Veda-study take the place of the 
exclamation, Vashaf." The same view is held by Apastamba 
[i, 4, 12, 9], according to whom these various cases for the 


prohibition of study refer only to the repetition of the sacred texts 
in order to learn them and not to their application at sacrifices. 
He quotes V ajaianeyi-Brahmai)^ which declares that Vedic 
recitation is a sacrifice and must be done when it thunders, or 
a thunderbolt falls, or lightning flashes, for these sounds are 
like Vashaf (which, when pronounced by the Hotri-priest, serves 
as a signal for the Adhvaryu to throw the oblations into the fire) 
which must not be heard in vain. 

Rules ol Vedic Study. We shall now consider the methods 
of teaching, the rules of Vedic study implied by what is technically 
termed Anuvdchana. These rules are best explained in the 
Smkhdyana Gfihya Siitra [ii, 7, 18-27]. first place, 

the text of a h3min of the Rigveda is taught the student. Secondly, 
the ^shi. Deity, and Metre of the hymn are indicated to him. 
In this way the teacher is to go on reciting the hymns, belonging 
to each Rishi, or each Anuvaka, which make up the lesson for 
each day. There seem to have been, however, shorter lessons 
for the students of other castes who had no intention of becoming 
Vedic scholars. For these students, a day’s lesson might comprise 
an Anuvaka of the Kshudrasuktas or short hymns of the Rigveda 
(i.e. the tenth Ma^^ala) ; or as much as the master may think 
fit for them ; or it was still further whittled down to the first 
and last h3min of a Rishi or an Anuvaka, the study of which 
would by a sort of fiction be regarded as the study of the whole 
portion belonging to that Rishi or the entire Anuvaka ; or, 
lastly, it might be even only one verse of the beginning of each 
h3nnn (of the collection belonging to a Rishi or making up an 

Hiranyake^in [i, 2, 8, 16] lays down that at the beginning 
and on the completion of the study of a Kan^a (i.e. of the Black 
Yajur Veda which is divided into books called Kandas), there is 
to be performed a special ceremony or a sacrifice for which a 
verse is prescribed, in which the student prays for the gift of 
insight. Apastamba [i, 3, ii, 6-7] also refers to the ceremony 
for beginning a Kan^a and also to ceremonies prescribed on 
beginning or ending the recitation of one entire Veda. He further 
lays down the rule that when the student studies the index of 
the Anuvakas of a Karwja (i.e. completes the study of the Kan^a), 
he shall not study that Kan^a on that day jior in that night. 
In another place [i, 4, 13, 10], he enjoins that without a vow of 
obedience a. pupil shall not study nor a teacher teach a difficult 
new book with the exception of the texts called Trih-^rdvai^ 


and Tri^ahavachana ; but he quotes the contrary opinion 
of Hirita who does not allow that exemption but insists on a 
vow of obedience for the study of the whole Veda. This shows 
also that the Ahgas or works explanatory of the Veda need not 
be studied under a vow of obedience. 

Uiana [81-2] states that mastery of the mere text of Veda 
is to be followed up by that of its meaning. " The mere recitation 
of the Vedas becomes useless like a cow in mire. He who studying 
duly the Veda does not discuss the Vedanta becomes like a 
Sudra with his whole family.” Daksha [ii, 27] refers to the five- 
fold practice of Vedic study comprising (a) admission of the 
superiority of Vedic study, (b) discussion on Vedas, (c) study 
and (d) recitation of Vedas, and {e) imparting lessons to disciples. 
These five limbs of Vedic study are stated by Vachaspati Misra 
to be (i) Adhyayana (hearing o^words), (2) Sabda (apprehension 
of meaning of words heard), (3) Uha (reasoning leading to generali- 
zation), (4) Suhritprdpti (confirmation by friend or teacher), 
and (5) Dana (application). Dhiguna enumerates the following 
steps of Vedic study : (i) Suirushd, (2) SravaijMm, (3) Grahaimm 
(apprehension), (4) Dhdranam, (5) Uhdpoha (discussion), (6) 
Arthavijndnam, and (7) Tattvajndnam (knowledge of ultimate 
truth) [Stnriti-Chandrikd, pp. 131-3 ; S. K. Das, Educational 
System of the Ancient Hindus, pp. 127-8]. Manu puts the matter 
in a nut-shell thus : ” The student learns a fourth from his 
Acharya, a fourth by his own intelligence by himself, a fourth 
from his fellow-pupils, and the remaining fourth in course of time, 
by experience.” 

A few more rules of Vedic study are laid down by Apastamba 
[Ib.]. Out of term the student must not study any part of the 
Veda which he has not learnt before. Nor shall he study during 
term some new part of the Veda in the evening. That which has 
been studied before must never be studied during the vacation 
or in the evening. According to Vishnu [xxx, 27], a student must 
not lie down to sleep again when he has begun to study in the 
second half of the night. This is, of course, study by himself 
and not with his teacher. 

According to Gautama [xvi, 21] and also Vishnu [xxx, 26], 
the Rigveda and Yajurveda must not be studied while the sound 
of the Samans is heard, while, according to Apastamba [i, 3, 10, 
20], if another branch of the Veda is being recited in the neigh- 
bourhood, the Saman melodies must not be studied. A student 
must also first master the Sdkhd of the Veda which belongs to his 


family and forms its heritage from its ancestors [Svakula- 
paramparagata ' ^akha adhyetavya (Vasisljitha)]. One who 
forsakes the study of his own Sakha is to be ostracized (vahish- 
karya) like a Siidra and is called a Sdkhdrai^a [ib.]. According 
to Narada, a student must study under a teacher and not from 
mere books. Otherwise he is not recognized in any Sabhd (Pustaka- 
pratyayadhitarn nadhitam guru-sannidhau | Bhrajate na sabha- 
madhye jaragarbha iva striyab). 

Lastly, there are mentioned six hindrances to study, viz. 
(i) Gambling {dyuta), (2) Dependence on MSS. {pustaka-iuirushd), 
(3) Addiction to dramatic art (ndtakdsakti), (4) Women, (5) 
Lethargy and (6) Sleepiness {nidrd). 

Description ol actual Teaching in a Vedic School. Details 
of the methods of oral instruction pursued by these ancient 
teachers are furnished by a Prati^akhya of the Rigveda [cited 
by Max Muller in his History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature 
(pp. 503-6)]. They show how the teaching of the Vedic Texts 
was conducted in the Lecture-rooms of these Brahmanic colleges ; 
” The Guru, who has himself formerly been a student, should 
make his pupils read. He himself takes his seat either to the east, 
or the north, or the north-east. If he has no more than one or 
two pupils, they sit at his right hand. If he has more, they 
place themselves according as there is room. They then embrace 
the feet of their master, and say, ‘ Sir, read ! ’ The master 
gravely says, ‘ Om,’ i.e. ‘ Yes ’. He then begins to say a Pra^na 
(Question) which consists of three verses. In order that no word 
may escape the attention of his pupils, he pronounces all with 
the high accent and repeats certain words twice, or he says 
‘ so ’ (iti) after these words. 

“ The chief difficulties in the pronunciation of the Veda 
are changes of the final and initial letters. The pupils are instructed 
in these euphonic rules independently (the Sikshd), but whenever 
a difficult case of sandhi occurs, the Guru examines his audience 
and explains the difficulties. And here the method followed is 
this. After the Guru has pronounced a group of words, consisting 
of three or sometimes (in long compounds) of more words, the 
first pupil repeats the first word, and when anything is to be 
explained, the teacher stops him, and says, ‘ Nirvachyetu,' 

‘ explain it.' After it has been explained by the pupil who is 
at the head of the class, the permission to continue is given with 
the words,' Well, Sir.’ After the words of the teacher have thus 
been repeated by one, the next pupil has to apply to him with the 


word, ' Sir/ When there is no difficulty, the rule seems to be that 
the Guru says two words at a time, which are then repeated by 
the pupU. If it is a compound, one word only is to be pronounced 
by the Guru, and to be repeated by the pupil. After a section of 
three verses has thus been gone through, all the pupils have to 
rehearse it again and again. When they have mastered it, they 
have to recite the whole without any break, with an even voice, 
observing all the rules of Sandhi, marking slightly the division 
in the middle of compounds, and pronouncing every syllable with 
the high accent. It does not seem as if several pupils were allowed 
to recite together, for it is stated distinctly that the Guru first 
tells the verses to his pupil on the right, and that every pupil, 
after his task is finished, turns to the right, and walks round 
the tutor. This occupied long hours every day, considering that 
a day’s Lecture consisted at least of sixty and more Prainas, 
or of about i8o verses. The pupils were not dismissed till the 
Lecture was finished. At the end of the Lecture, the tutor, after 
the last half-verse is finished, says, ‘ Sir ’ ; the pupil replies, 

‘ Yes, sir.’ He then repeats the proper verses and formulas, which 
have to be repeated at the end of every reading, embraces the feet 
of his tutor, and is allowed to withdraw.” 

Life-long Studentship. We have now completed the con- , 
sideration of the various regulations governing the life and studies 
of the Brahmacharin during the period of his stay at his teacher’s 
house. But some students would elect to make the period of 
that stay life-long without any desire for the householder’s 
life or the married state. Such students are known as Naishfhika 
Brahmacharins as distinguished from the others called Upakurvdifas. 
It is probably for these that such long periods of studentship as 
24, or 36, or 48 years are meant. Those who would be house- 
holders would have to confine their studentship to a period of 
twelve years, and naturally to satisfy themselves with the mastery 
of a portion of the prescribed studies. There is a most interesting 
saying quoted by Apastamba [i, 4, 13, 19-22] in which the 
famous scholar $vetaketu of Upanishadic fame is made to 
declare : “He who desires to study more after having settled as a 
householder shall dwell two months every year with collected 
mind in the house of his teacher. For by this means I studied 
a larger part of the Veda than before (during my studentship).” 
But Apastamba does not approve this practice because it would 
interfere with the duties belonging to a householder’s life, though 
he makes the concession that it could be allowed where a graduate 


Konarak (Orissa) 

Sculpture showing Vaishuava Guru and his royal disciple, 
holding in his right hand a MS, with his attending guards shown 
below. The sculpture is executed in black slate on the famous 
temple at Konar^ (Kov^avha, temple of the Sun, c, 13th century 
A*D.) [See Plate 72a of Coomaraswamy's VUvakarma], 

[Facing p. 198 


felt his study was not adequate, in which case he could return to 
his teacher to complete it under prescribed discipline [ii, 2, 5, 15 : 
yaya vidyaya na virocheta punardchdryamupetya niyamena 
sddhayet]. In another place Apastamba [i, 2, 5, 6] refers to the 
same ^vetaketu as a rare example amongst the men of later 
ages (when rules of studentship are always transgressed) of a 
scholar who became a ^ishi by his knowledge of the Veda, but, 
be it noted, that, as shown in the previous passage, he acquired 
that knowledge as a householder by observing the vow of student- 
ship for some months in the year. This is another confirmation of 
the conclusion already stated that in what has been called the Brah- 
mana period, there were agencies and arrangements for the contin- 
uance of studies beyond the normal period of formal studentship. 
Plurality of Teachers. The Sutras also continue the tradition 
of the Upanishads in another respect. They point to a plurality 
of teachers for the student. Young Brahmins in olden times, 
just as now, went from one teacher to the other, learning from each 
what he knew. Each such teacher would generally know and 
teach only one Veda and a student would have to learn several 
Vedas from several teachers. The rules which seemingly require 
a pupil to stay with one and the same teacher refer only to the 
principle that the pupil must stay with his teacher until he has 
learnt the subject which he began with him. This is evident from 
the following passage of Apastamba [i, 2, 7, 14] : “ If a pupil 
has more than one teacher, the alms (collected by him) are 
at the disposal of him to whom he is just then bound.” Another 
passage [i, 2, 8, 26] expressly refers to a pupil ” attending to 
two teachers ”, while, according to another [i, 2, 7, 26], the 
student is permitted, in the event of the incompetence of his 
teacher, "to go to another and study there.” Sometimes, the 
regular teacher may appoint another to do his work. So long as 
his instruction lasts, the new teacher is to be treated with the 
same respect as the principal but, according to some, only if 
he is a worthy person in point of learning and character. In 
any case, obedience as towards the teacher is not required to be 
shown towards his substitute. We are also told of teachers younger 
than their pupils who are not, of course, to show him the obedience 
proper for the regular teacher. One such teacher was “ young 
Kavi, the son of Angiras, who taught his relatives who were old 
enough to be fathers, and as he excelled them in sacred knowledge 
he called them ‘ Little sons ', for a man destitute of sacred 
knowledge is indeed a child ” [Manu, ii, 15 1-3]. Lastly, three 


are mentioned persons teaching each other mutually different 
redactions of the Veda, in which case obedience towards each 
other is not ordained for them [see Apastamba, i, 4, 13, 13-17]. 

Change ot Teacher. But teachers could be changed not 
merely on intellectual grounds. The obedience of the pupil was 
limited by the conduct of the teacher. We have already adverted 
to the rule that a pupil is not to obey his teacher if he asks him 
to commit such crimes as cause loss of caste. But we have again 
the further regulation that where a teacher transgresses his 
duties through carelessness or knowingly, the pupil will first 
point it out to him privdtely. But if, in spite of this, he does 
not amend his conduct, the pupil shall either himself perform 
the religious acts omitted by his teacher or he may forsake 
him and return home \_Ap., i, i, 4, 25-7]. 

Qualifications and Duties of Teachers. This leads us to a 
consideration of the qualifications and duties of the teacher. 
According to Apastamba [i, i, i, 12-17], he should be a man in 
whose family sacred learning is hereditary, who himself possesses 
it, and who is devout in following the law. Under him the sacred 
science must be studied imtil the end, provided the teacher 
does not fall off from the ordinances of the law. He from whom 
the pupil gathers (achinoti) the knowledge of his religious duties 
{dharmdn) is called the Acharya whom he should never offend, 
as he is his spiritual father who, by imparting to him the sacred 
learning, gives him a new life, a second birth which is the best. 

Grades of Teachers. There seem to have been different 
classes or grades of teachers. The Acharya is defined by Manu 
[ii, 140 f.] to be one who initiates a pupil and teaches him the 
Veda, together with the Kalpa (the Sutras referring to sacrifices), 
and the Rahasyas [lit. the secret portions, i.e. the Upanishads 
and their explanation (Medh., Gov., Kull., Ragh.), or the extremely 
secret explanation of the Veda and Afigas, not the Upanishads, 
because they are included in the term Veda (Nar.)]. According 
to Gautama [i, 9-10] the title Acharya belongs to one who 
initiates a pupil and teaches him the Veda. According to Vishnu, 
the Acharya is he who, having initiated a pupil, instructs him in 
the Vratas,^ teaches him one branch * of the Veda, together with 

' As already mentioned, the Vratas are certain observances to be kept by 
him before he is admitted to the regular course of study of the Veda, and again 
before he is allowed to proceed to the study of the Mah&n^mnl verses and to 
the other higher stages of Vedic learning [SBE, vii, p. 121 n.]. 

• This is in accordance with the provision by which the studentship is 
allowed to terminate after twelve years, the period ordinarily taken for learning 
one Veda. 



its Aiigas. Vasishtha [iii, 21], however, insists on the teaching 
of the whole Veda for the Achdrya. One who teaches only a 
portion of the Veda or who teaches the Ahgas of the Veda is to 
be called Upddhydya (sub-teacher) according to him. Manu 
[ii, 141] and Vishnu [xxix, 2], however, regard the Upddhydya 
as the person who teaches the aforesaid subjects " for a fee ” 
or “ for his livelihood The Achdrya is ten times more venerable 
than the Upddhydya [Manu, ii, 145] ; he is chief among all 
Gurus [Gautama, ii, 50] ; he is called an Atiguru, along with 
father and mother [Vishnu, xxxi, 1-2]. 

Obligations of Teacher to Pupil. There are prescribed 
regulations governing the teacher’s relations with, and duties 
towards, his pupil. The teacher is to adopt and love the pupil 
as his own son so that Baudhayana [Dha. Su., i, 2, 48] considers 
a teacher devoid of a natural issue as not issue-less if he has 
a pupil. He should teach him the sacred science with whole- 
hearted attention without withholding from him any part of 
the whole Law. He is described as leading the pupil from darkness 
of ignorance to the light of learning [Ap. Dh. S., i, 10, ii] and 
uncovering that light hidden in a cover [Apararka on Ydjha., i, 
212]. A teacher who neglects the instruction of his pupil ceases 
to be his teacher {Ap., i, 2, 8, 27]. Such neglect is described 
as giving the pupil work which interferes with his studies (Na cha 
cnam adhyayanavighnena atmartheshu uparundhyat anapatsu). 
Thus, though it is the duty of the pupil to render services to the 
teacher to please him, the teacher must be careful to see that 
the pupil is not exploited for his own purposes to the detriment 
of his studies. Such services are meant for the pupil’s own moral 
improvement and not solely for the economic advantages of the 
teacher. In times of distress, however, the teacher was permitted 
to accept the assistance of his pupil [Ap., ib., 24-5]. 

Punishment of Pupils. These old-world teachers were against 
hard punishments being inflicted on their young pupils. According 
to Gautama, “ as a rule the pupil shall not be punished corporally. 
If no other course is possible, he may be corrected with a thin 
rope or cane. If the teacher strikes him with any other instrument, 
he is liable to punishment by the king (i.e. under the law) ” 
[ii, 42-4]. Manu [viii, 299-300] allows a pupil who has committed 
faults to be beaten with a rope or split bamboo but only on the 
back part of the body, never on a noble part. The teacher who 
strikes him otherwise will incur the same guilt as a thief. Gautama, 
as we have seen, permits bodily punishment only as the last 


resource, when other means of reformation fail. These other 
means are defined by Apastamba to consist, first, of reproof 
by the teacher, and then of " frightening, fasting, bathing in cold 
water, and banishment from the teacher's presence ", which 
are to be applied according to the magnitude of the pupil's 
fault until the pupil is completely corrected and leaves off sinning 
[i, 2, 8, 28-9]. 

Teacher’s Bemnneiation. We have already seen that 
the teacher proper who was called the Acharya did not accept 
any remuneration for his work. He did the work of teaching as 
a matter of religious duty. The admission of a pupil was not a 
source of income to the teacher but an addition of a member to 
his family like that caused by the birth of a son. The teacher 
and the pupil were not connected with each other by the “ cash- 
nexus ” but by ties of spiritual relationship whereby both were 
repaying the debt they owed to the l^ishis by the pursuit of 
knowledge. Manu says that a student should not pay anything 
to his teacher before he finishes his education [ii, 245]. A teacher 
teaching for fees is condemned as being guilty of a sin, upa- 
pdtaka [Vishiiiu, xxxvii, 20, 21, 34 ; YdjHa, iii, 236, 242]. U§ana 
[iv, 24] brands him as a Vrittika. The Smriti-chandrikd (p. 140) 
not merely condemns the acceptance of a fee by the teacher but 
also any proposal for it as a condition of the pupil's admission. 
The Saura Purdna [x, 42] condemns to hell teacher and pupil 
working on the basis of any fees fixed. This tradition receives its 
classic expression in the Mdlavikdgnitnitram [i, 17] where Kalidasa 
condemns the learning which is sold as an article of merchandise 
and means of livelihood {yasydgamah kevalajivikdyai tarn 
jMnapanyam vaV'ijath vadamti). The teacher who imparts instruc- 
tion for a fee would be called an Upddhydya. But though the 
Achdrya could not accept a fee from a pupil under instruction, 
he could accept the same from the pupil whose instruction was 
completed. In fact, it was one of the obligations of the Brahma- 
charin to bring to a close the period of his formal pupilage by 
making presents to his teacher. Of course, in the majority of 
cases it could not be expected that such presents would be at aU 
any adequate remuneration for the amoimt of labour and expense 
involved in supporting and educating a student for a minimum 
period of twelve years. It was a case, in modfem parlance, of 
free board, lodging, medical aid, clothing, and tuition given to 
the student during a continuous and long period exceeding a 
decade, the cost of which could not be properly assessed and 


much less paid in the shape of parting presents, especially in 
the case of a student of the Brahmin caste which was distinguished 
for its phenomenal poverty. It is, therefore, a misconception 
to argue that these parting gifts of a student to his teacher 
after completion of his studies disprove the honorary character 
of the work of the teacher and show the incorrectness of the pre- 
vailing assumption which makes it out to be a labour of love, 
a virtue which is its own reward, while it is essentially, looking 
beneath the appearances, a mere economic transaction. 

A Pupil’s presents to his Teacher after end of Pupilage. 
According to Manu, “ he who knows the sacred law must not 
present any gift to his teacher before the Samavartana (rite 
performed by student to end his studentship) ; but when, with 
the permission of his teacher, he is about to take a final bath, 
let him procure a present for the venerable man according to his 
ability, viz. a field, a cow, a horse, a parasol and shoes, a seat, 
grain, even vegetables, and thus give pleasure to his teacher ” 
[ii, 245-6]. The word " procure ” implies that the student is 
ordinarily of such circumstances that he has to collect the gifts 
for his teacher by begging. This supposition is indeed clearly 
confirmed by a passage in Apastamba [i, 2, 7, 19-21] in which 
he enjoins that the student “ shall procure in a righteous manner 
the fee for the teaching of the Veda to be given to his teacher 
according to his power The “ righteous manner ” means that 
unless his teacher is in distress and need of immediate relief, 
the student is not to take a fee from an Ugra [" either the off- 
spring of a Vai^ya and of a Sudra woman or a twice-bom man, 
who perpetrates dreadful deeds ” (Haradatta quoted in SBE,, ii, 
p. 27)] or from a Sudra, though " some declare that it is lawful 
at any time to take the money for the teacher ” from such persons. 
Efforts of poor students to procure such fees for their teachers 
are mentioned in the Jdtakas, as stated below [e.g. No. 478] 
or in the Raghuvarhia of Kalidasa in the story of Kautsa 
[Canto v]. The Mahabhdrata mentions a typical case of King 
Poshya asking his wife to make a gift of her precious kundala 
(ear-rings) to the poor Snataka, Utanka. It will thus appear 
that the pa3nnent of the fee is enjoined more as a religious act 
formally bringing to a close the period of studentship and marking 
the fulfilment of a sacred vow than as any kind of material 
remuneration for useful services rendered. Indeed, one text 
emphasizes the ideal position that “ there is no object in the 
world by the gift of which a pupil can discharge his debt to his 


teacher, even if he has taught him only one letter [Ekam api 
aksharaih yastu guru^ 4 ishye nivedayet | Prithivyam n^ti tad 
dravyaih yad dattva so’njini bhavet] . But this rule did not apply 
to the exceptional cases of the rich. In the Mahabhdrata, Bhishma 
appointed Dropa as the teacher of the Kaurava princes by first 
paying him a handsome fee [i, 142, i]. The Jdtakas, as cited 
below, are full of cases of rich and royal guardians paying in 
advance the whole remuneration to the teachers of their wards. 
In the Milinda PaHha [i, 17], the father of Nagasena pa}^ to 
the teacher first, as he sends his son to him for Vedic study. 
But the idealist monk, Nagasena, refuses the lavish gifts of Ms 
royal pupil, Menander, who humbly urges their acceptance to 
escape from the scandal of not paying his teacher [ib., i, 134-5]. 
Along with rich students thus pa3dng their teacher in advance, 
the BuddMst works tell of poor students who were admitted 
by their teachers as " free ” students, so that poverty was not 
allowed to operate as a bar to education in the system of the times. 
But such students were differently treated from the regular 
students. They were employed on manual work for the school 
in the daytime when the teacher was occupied in instructing 
the other students. He would, however, give the evenings to 
their instruction [cf. Dhammantevasika achariyassa kammam 
katva rattim sippamugganhamti achariyabhagadayaka gehe 
jetthaputta viya hutva sippameva ugganhamti {Tilamt 4 thi Jdtaka, 
No. 252)]. 

Freedom ol Honorary Teachers. It may also be noted in 
this connection that, on account of the absence of any economic 
relationship between the teacher and the taught, the independence 
of the former as regards the choice and admission of the latter 
was complete and absolute. A most thoroughgoing test of mental 
and moral fitness was imposed on the student whose fulfilment 
of same gained him admission and not any other consideration. 
The spirit of the system is beautifully expressed in the following 
passages from Manu [ii, 112-15] : " Even in times of dire distress, 
a teacher of the Veda should rather die with his knowledge than sow 
it in barren soil. Sacred Learning approached a Brahmapa and 
said to him : ‘ I am thy treasure, preserve me, deliver me not 
to a scomer ’ [nor to a wicked man, nor to one of xmcontroUed 
passions' (Vishiiu, xxix,'9; Vasishtha, ii, 8] ; so (preserved) 
I shall become strong. But deliver me, as to the keeper of thy 
treasure, to a Brahmana whom thou shalt know to be pure, of 
subdued senses, chaste and attentive.” The same spirit is 


expressed by BaudhSyana [i, 2, 4, 2] : " As fire consumes dry 
grass, even so the Veda asked for but not honoured destroys the 
inquirer.” In a word, the passport for admission to such Brah- 
manical schook was constituted by the inherent fitness of the 
pupil for the Vedic studies, a fitness of which the recognized 
tests were a desire and aptitude for learning and a spirit of 
obedience and discipline. Before admitting the student, the 
teacher would satisfy himself that he has in him the vital principle 
of growth, an inherent responsiveness to moral stimulus and that 
he is not like dull, dead, inert matter incapable of any expansion. 

Main Aim ol Education was Development ot Personality. 
These tests for admission and the regulations governing the 
life of the student after the admission during the period of his 
education were no doubt determined by the very ideals and 
aims of that education. We have already seen how in the scheme 
of this ancient education moral training fills a scarcely less 
important part than mental training. The development of the 
inner nature or character of the student was deemed as one of the 
essential objects of education. The value attached to this aspect 
of education is apparent from the following significant declaration 
of Manu [ii, 97] in the chapter treating of the rules of studentship. 
" Neither the study of the Veda nor liberality nor sacrifices nor 
any self-imposed restraint nor austerities can ever procure the 
attainment of rewards to a man whose heart is contaminated 
by sensuality.” This definitely and emphatically lays down the 
ancient view that mere intellectual development without the 
development of character, learning without piety, proficiency 
in the sacred lore with a deficiency in the practices it implies, 
will defeat the very ends of studentship. Thus the part of educa- 
tion that deals with the life of the students probably fills a larger 
place in the ancient pedagogic scheme than the part that deals 
with the mere intellect. Indeed, as the elaborate regulations we 
have already considered show us, the intellectual part of educa- 
tion covered only a .part of the year ; the lecture of the Vedic 
Professors continued during about half the year, the term practi- 
cally beginning with the rainy season, while even from this 
comparatively short period we have to deduct the time taken by 
a fairly numerous list of holidays. But the strict and rigid rules 
governing the daily life of the student knew of no relaxation or 
interruption ; the course of moral training provided for no 
holidays; the disciplinary regulations acted unceasingly as 
impersonal teachers, exercising a sleepless vigilance and control 


over the elastic and tender natures committed to their care. 
Daily has the student to get up early in the morning before 
sunrise, failing which he has to perform a penance [fasting the 
next day and muttering the Savitri (Manu, ii, 220)]. He has 
to say his prayers twice a day at sunrise and sunset. Every morn- 
ing and evening he has to go round the village begging and 
whatever is given him he has to hand over to his master. He is 
himself to eat nothing except what his master gives him. He 
has to fetch water, to gather fuel for the altar, to sweep the 
ground round the hearth, and to wait on his master day and night. 
This looks like menial service interfering with the student’s 
studies according to our modem ideas, but we must bear in 
mind the accompanying explanatory regulation that the teacher 
is never to utilize the labour of his pupil for his own selfish, 
household purposes and Apastamba’s definite declaration that 
the observance of those rules is in the interests of the student’s 
own welfare [i, 2, 5, 9]. Nor must we forget to consider that 
along with a progressive course of studies was prescribed a pro- 
gressive course of austerities and discipline in the form of the 
'Various Vratas to be observed for promotion to higher stages of 
learning. The growth of the whole nature of the boy, and not 
the growth of his intellect merely, was the objective of this 
ancient pedagogy. The raw material is received into the workshop 
after due examination as to its soundness ; it is then treated to 
different processes of manufacture ; and finally sent out to the 
world as a finished product. The making of the nation or the 
country was in the charge of these schools. Their aim was to 
produce not mere recluses or scholars but whole men, ideal house- 
holders who would perfect family, society, and country. 

Higher Education open to first three Castes. It has been 
first stated that the nation was in the making in these schools. 
But a doubt is sometimes expressed that the nation as a whole 
did not benefit by such schools which were close corporations 
not open to all but only to a select class, the Brahmins. 
'The evidence adduced above will show the falsity of this charge. 
But let a higher authority speak on the point. The following 
remarks are made by Max Muller [LecUtres on the Origin of 
Religion, p. 349] : “ Before the ancient language and literature 
of India had been made accessible to European scholarship, 
it was the fashion to represent the Brahmins as a set of priests 
jealously guarding the treasures of their sacred wisdom from the 
members of all the other castes and thus maintaining their 



A Sage reading a palm-leaf MS ; supposed by O. C. Gangoly 
to be the Vedic ]?ishi Pulastya after whom is named the city 
Pulasta-nagara = Polannaruva in Ceylon [Plate 51 of 
Coomaraswamy’s Viivakarm&'\, 

[Facing p. 206 


ascendancy over an ignorant people. It requires but the slightest 
acquaintance with Sanskrit Literature to see the utter groundless- 
ness of such a charge. One caste only, the Shdras, were pro- 
hibited from knowing the Veda. With the other castes, the 
military and civil classes, a knowledge of the Veda, so far from 
being prohibited, was a sacred duty. All had to learn the Veda ; 
the only privilege of the Brahmins was that they alone were 
allowed to teach it. It was not even the intention of the Brahmins 
that only the traditional forms of faith and the purely ritual 
observances should be communicated to the lower castes, and 
a kind of esoteric religion, that of the Upanishads, be reserved 
for the Brahmins. On the contrary, there are many indications 
to show that these esoteric doctrines emanated from the second 
rather than from the first caste.” 

The view which Max Muller thinks was in vogue before the 
discovery of Sanskrit Literature unfortunately still persists with 
great vigour in some quarters even in this country and it is 
necessary in the interests of truth to combat it. Indeed, one 
passage of Manu [ii, 165] proves conclusively that the rules of 
studentship applied not merely to the highest caste, but practically 
to the entire Indo-Aryan people ; “ An Aryan must study the 
whole Veda together with the Rahasyas, performing at the same 
time various kinds of austerities and the vows prescribed by 
the rules of the Veda.” It is to be noted that the Aryas were 
made up of the three twice-bom classes and the Sudras making 
up the lowest castes were outside the pale of Aryan society.^ 
Regarding the other feature or fact noted by Max Muller in our 
ancient educational system, viz. that it was a system of com- 
pulsory universal education, we may bring together a few select 
passages from the Sutra works. “ A tAvice-bom man who, not 
having studied the Veda, applies himself to other (and worldly 

1 See the account of social divisions of Ancient India in my Local Government 
in Ancient India. Cf. Max Muller [Lectures on the Origin of Religion, p. 350 f.] : 
“ We find the old Indian Society divided, first of all, into two classes, the Aryas 
or nobles hom, and Madras, the servants or slaves. Secondly, we find that the 
Aryas consist of Brahmapas, the spiritual nobility, the Kshatriyas or Rajanyas, 
the military nobility, and the Vai^yas, the citizens. . . A much more important 
feature, however, of the ancient Vedic society than the four castes consists in 
the four a^ramas or stages. A Brahmana, as a rule, passes through four, a noble 
man through three, a citizen through two, a Sodra through one of these stages 
[Aryavidyd-sudhdnidhi, p. 153]. . . As soon as the child of an Arya is bom, 
nay, even before his birth, his parents have to perform certain samskdras. As 
many as twenty-five samskdras are mentioned, sometimes even more. Stidras 
only were not admitted to these rites ; while Aryas who omitted to perform 
them were considered no better than Stldra. (According to Yama, otldras also 
may receive these sacraments up to the upanayana but unaccompanied by Vedic 


study) soon falls, even while living, to the condition of a Sadra 
and his descendants after him ” (Manu, ii, i68). We have already 
cited other passages [e.g. Manu, ii, 39] in which it is laid down 
that persons who do not initiate themselves within the periods 
fixed for their castes “ become Vratyas (outcasts), excluded from 
the Savitri and despised by the Aryans It was not, however, 
mere social degradation with which breaches of the sacred and 
compulsory duty of a man to educate himself were punished. 
Vasishtha [iii, 4] quotes a very remarkable passage from Manu 
in which it is laid down that “ the king shall punish that village 
where Brahmanas, unobservant of their sacred duties and 
ignorant of the Veda, subsist by begging ; for it feeds robbers 
Thus the state enforced this wholesome law of compulsory 
education framed by society by penalizing a village that even 
acquiesced in the culpable ignorance of Brahmins by giving 
them alms to which they were not entitled, and such Brahmins 
were to be treated not merely as Sudras but also as robbers, 
thus meriting both social and moral odium. It is thus that we 
can also very well realize the force and truth of the following 
legitimate boast of a king in the Upanishads : “In my kingdom 
there is no thief, no miser, no drunkard, no man without an 
altar in his house and no ignorant person ’’ [Chhdnd., v, ii„ 5]. 

Education ol Women. The Vedic tradition was continued 
as regards education of women. The Bfihat-devatd calls the 
Rigvedic Women-Rishis (such as Ghosha, Roma§a, Lopamudra, 
or Vi^vavara) as Brahma-Vddints. Some of the Smpti texts 
understand by a Brahma-V ddini a Kumari who does not marry. 
Harita [xxi, 23] says ; " Women are of two classes : (i) Brahma- 
Vadint, (2) Sadyo-badhu. The former is eligible for Upanayana, 
Agnyadhana (Sacrifice to Fire), Veda-Study, and practice of begging 
within the household. The Sadyo-badhu had only to perform 
Upanayana in some form before she is married.” Yama also 
says : “ In times of yore, girls were eligible for (i) Mauftji- 

bandhana (i.e. Upanayana), (2) study of Veda, and (3) Sdvitri- 
vdchana (use of Savitri Mantra).” 

The ^rauta or Gfihya Sutras mention Vedic Mantras being 
uttered by the wife at ceremonies along with her husband 
[e.g. A§valayana &r. S,, i, ii ; Gobhila Gr. S., i, 3 ; ii, 3 ; Apas., 
xii, 3, 12 ; Pdrask., ix, 2, i]. Gobhila [Gr. S., i, 3] states that the 
wife should be educated to be able to take part in sacrifices 
{nahi khcA» anadhltya iaknoti patnl hotumiti). Again, Adhi- 
kara^a III of Chapter I of Jaimini’s Purva-Mtmdmsd is taken 


by Sahara Swami to deal with the equal rights of men and women 
in the performance of sacrifices, while Madhavacharya (Nyaya- 
MMd-Vistara, p. 335), commenting on same states : “ Asyaiva- 
dhikaranasya anusarena ashtavarshambrahmanaih upanayltatarii 
adhyapayita ityatrapi striyopi adhikarah ” : " Brahmana boys 
of eight years are to be initiated and taught and the same right 
also belongs to girls.” Lastly, we may cite ths^statement of 
Hemadri that “ Kumaris, unmarried girls, should be taught 
Vidya and Dharmaniti. An educated Kumari brings good 
to the families of both her father and husband. So she should 
be married to a learned husband [manlshi), as she is a 

Non-Biahmin Teachers. There is one other statement of 
Max Muller which also requires to be qualified. He says that the 
teachers were recruited only and exclusively from the Brahman 
caste. Exceptions were, however, allowed to this rule. Baudha- 
yana [i, 2, 3, 41] permits " study under a non-Brahmin 
teacher in times of distress ”. This is confirmed by Apastamba 
[ii, 2, 5, 25], who says that “ in times of distress a Brahmana 
may study under a Kshatriya or Vai^ya ” and also by Gautama 
[vii, i]. Such a non-Brahmin teacher was to be paid due 
honour by the Brahman student throughout the long period of 
his studentship. He must “ walk behind him and obey him ” 
[ib.]. The same injunction is also given by Manu [ii, 241] : 
” he shall walk behind and serve such a teacher, as long as the 
instruction lasts.” The supply of non-Brahmin teachers in the 
country was, of course, created by the system which freely 
admitted them to the Brahminical schools and made education 
compulsory for all. We may in this connection recall the eminence 
achieved by Kings and Kshatriyas in the realm of highest know- 
ledge of which they figure as teachers in the Brahmanas and 
Upanishads, kings like Janaka, Ajata^atru, A^vapati, or Jaivali, 
and also a significant passage in the Kathaka Samhitd [ix, 16], 
prescribing a ceremony by which a non-Brahmana who had 
mastered the Vedas but was not faring well in life could achieve 
his due reputation and affluence {yah abrdhmanah vidydmanuchya 
naiva rochate sa etdnichaturhotfin vydchakshtta). 

Ceremony ending Studentship ; ‘ Sam&vartana ’ (graduation). 
The studentship was brought to a close by what has been termed 
the Samdvartana (lit. the returning home of the student) ceremony 
to be performed by the pupil. It included a number of acts 
signifying the end of the austerities imposed upon the condition 



of studentship. First, the Brahmach^I was confined in a room 
in the morning lest his superior lustre puts to shame the sun 
who shines in the lustre borrowed of him [Bharadvaja Gfi. S., 

ii, I, 8] ! No higher compliment to education can be conceived. 
Coming out of the room at midday, he shaved his head and 
beard and cut off all marks of his studentship. Then followed 
the bath accompanied by the use of powder, perfumes, ground 
sandalwood, and the like to be presented by the friends and 
relations of the student, and then were also thrown into the water 
all the external signs of his brahtnacharya such as the upper 
and lower garments, girdle, staff, skin. After the bath, he becomes 
a Snataka wearing new garments, two ear-rings, and a perforated 
pellet of sandalwood overlaid with gold at its aperture — ^the 
gold which brings gain, superiority in battles and in assemblies — 
and he prays that he may be loved of all. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, 
Vai^yas, Sudras, and Kings [see Hiranyakeiin, i, 3, 9-11]. 
Some of the Sutras distinguish three kinds of Sndtakas [Gobhila, 

iii, 5, 21-3 ; Paraskara, ii, 5, 3, 32-5]. “ He who performs the 
Samivartana ceremony after having finished the study of the 
Veda but before the time of his vows has expired is a Vidyd- 
sndtaka. He who performs the Samavartana after his vows have 
expired but before he has finished the study of the Veda is a 
Vrata-sndtaka. He who performs the Samavartana after having 
finished both is a Vidyd-Vrata-Sndtaka.” “ Of these the last 
ranks foremost ; the two others are equal to each other.” Thus 
a Sndtaka (one who has bathed) or a Samdvritta (one who has 
returned home) would be, according to modern ideas, one who 
had taken his degree. A homa or sacrifice was performed with 
a prayer that the Sndtaka will have any number of pupils to teach 
in his turn [Baudhd. Gri. S., ii, 6]. Then he, donned in his new 
robes, was to pay a visit to the local learned Assembly in a chariot 
or on an elephant to be introduced to them as a full-fledged 
scholar by his teacher [Drdhydyana Gfi. S., iii, i, 26; Apa. Gfi. S., 
i. II. 5 ]- 

A Snataka, however, was permitted to return to his teacher 
and live with him for purposes of further study for a period not 
exceeding four months [Baudhdyana, ii, i, 46]. This shows that 
facilities for study did not end with studentship. At the same 
time, studentship was not to be unduly prolonged. Baudhayana 
enjoins that one must marry in youth before he grows grey hairs 
[i, 2, 31]. Sukra prescribes deportation or imprisonment of 
persons who continue a life of asceticism and celibacy to escape 



from their social obligations [iv, i, 105]. At the time of parting, 
the teacher would say to the Snataka the following valedic- 
tory words : Apply thyself henceforth to other duties " 

[Apas,, i, 2, 8, 30]. The teacher's valedictory message is given 
in a more elaborate form in one of the Upanishads (cited 

The Rule of Oral Teaching. We have now considered the 
salient features of the educational system of ancient India as 
exhibited in the Sutra literature. There is one fundamental 
aspect of that system which clearly distinguishes it from the 
modem system of education, viz. its complete independence 
of the external aids given to learning by the art of writing. 
This basal factor will easily explain the characteristic features 
of the ancient Indian educational methods which almost follow 
from it as corollaries. It is not yet definitely known when the 
art of writing itself was evolved in India. But the point to be 
noted in this connection is that even when the art of writing was 
completely prevalent in the country, the indigenous teachers 
and educationists deliberately omitted to take advantage of it 
for purposes of instruction. The Vedic system of oral teaching, 
like everything else to be found in the Vedas, was the first and 
last word on the subject of pedagogic methods ; that was the only 
authoritative system to be pursued through the subsequent ages 
in spite of all material facilities they might bring in their course. 
It is hardly to be doubted that by about 500 B.c. at the latest 
there must have been developed the complete Sanskrit alphabet 
on phonetic principles, the alphabet assumed in the grammar 
of Panini (giving him the latest possible date, viz. fourth 
century B.c.) and yet it was a long time before writing was used 
for the preservation and propagation of our sacred literature, 
for it was relegated to the sphere of business or secular life. 
There was a traditional opinion absolutely condemning the 
acquisition of knowledge from written sources. This opinion 
has been already cited from the Mahdbhdrata and Tantra- 
Vdrttika of Kumarila. 

This view is only consistent with, and indeed the natural 
outcome of, that held regarding the Veda itself which has thus 
been elaborated by Kumarila : '' The Veda is distinctly to be 
perceived by means of the senses. It exists, like a pot or any 
other object, in man. Perceiving it in another man, people leam 
it and remember it. Then others again perceiving it, as it is 
remembered by these, leam it and remember it, and thus hand 


it on to others. Therefore, the theologian concludes, the Veda 
is without a beginning.” And again : " Before we hear the word 
Veda, we perceive, as different from all other objects, and as 
different from other Vedas, something in the form of the Rigveda 
that exists within the readers, and things in the form of Mantras 
and Brdhmattas, different from others.” From these explanations 
it is clear that when a material existence is attributed to the 
Veda, it is conceived of as existing only in the minds of men, 
written if at all on the tablets of their hearts — and not as some- 
thing written on paper. It is also clear how this conception 
determines the method by which the Vedic learning has to be 
preserved and propagated. It is held to be too holy to be left 
to exist as an external object ; it must live in the memory of 
man as a part of him to be cherished dearly in his heart, and not 
as something external or foreign to him. It is thus that the Smritis 
constantly refer to Vedic knowledge as the cause of a man’s 
second birth, because its assimilation is supposed to effect a 
radical transformation of the student’s nature. 

Cultivation of Memory. Thus this view of the subject- 
matter of learning necessarily moulded the methods and system 
under which it was to be imparted. Hence we find that the 
preliminary stage of learning was the learning by heart the 
sacred texts through indefinite repetition and rehearsal by both 
the teacher and the taught. This means that the cultivation of 
memory was accorded a most important place in the ancient 
system of education. The powers of verbal memory were 
accordingly developed to a degree almost incredible in modem 
times. As Max Muller well puts it : “ We can form no opinion 
of the power of memory in a state of society so different from 
ours as the Indian Parishads are from our universities. Feats 
of memory, such as we hear of now and then, show that our 
notions of the limits of that faculty are quite arbitrary. Our 
own memory has been systematically undermined for many 
generations. To speak of nothing else, one sheet of The Times 
newspaper every morning is quite sufficient to distract and 
unsettle the healthiest memory.” As Max Muller has further 
stated in some of his writings, this dependence on verbal memory 
for the transmission of sacred literature has continued to this 
day in a sense, ” Even at the present day when MSS. are neither 
scarce nor expensive, the young Brahmins who leam the songs 
of the Veda, the Brahmanas, and the Sutras, invariably leam 
them from oral tradition and know them by heart. They spend 


year after year under the guidance of their teacher, learning a 
little, day after day, repeating what they have learnt as part of 
their daily devotion until at last t%ey have mastered their 
subject and are able to become teachers in turn/' Max Muller 
himself arranged to collect various readings for his edition of 
the Rigveda not from MSS. but from the oral tradition of Vaidik 
^rotriyas who are fittingly described by the Indian scholar, 
Mr. Shankar Pandurang, who was entrusted with the work, 
in the following passage : " / am collecting a few of our walking 
Rigveda MSS., taking your text as basis." We may also have in 
this connection some idea of the quantity of literary burden 
and matter carried in the small heads of these young learners. 
The Rigveda alone, as we have already stated, consists of 1,017 
(1,028) poems, 10,580 verses and about 153,826 words. But 
besides the Rigveda, the Sutra works mention a number of other 
subjects to be learnt by the student. An Indian scholar informed 
Max Muller that even so late as the early 'seventies, the Vedic 
curriculum comprised the following : (i) The Samhitd or hymns ; 
(2) The Brdhmana ; (3) The Aranyaka ; (4) The Grihya Sutras ; 
(5-10) The six Veddhgas. 

Max Muller calculates that these ten books contain nearly 
30,000 lines, with each line reckoned as thirty-two syllables. 
According to his informant, this course was to be finished in 
eight years. Now, " a pupil studies every day during the eight 
years except on the holidays, the so-called anadhydya, non- 
reading days. There being 360 days in a lunar year, the eight 
years would give him 2,880 days. From this 384 holidays have 
to be deducted, leaving him 2,496 work-days during the eight 
years." On this computation, a student of the Rigveda has 
to learn about twelve slokas a day, a sloka of thirty-two 

Different Forms of Vedic Texts as Aids to Memory. This 
vast literary matter was memorized by suitable mechanical 
methods invented for the purpose. The system of rote-leaming 
has been well described in the Rik-Prati^akhya we have already 
cited, but the description implies a variety of methods naturally 
evolved under the system. These methods aim at different 
arrangements of the words of the texts, and each such arrange- 
ment is given a distinct name. We take the following from the 
account of Sir R. G. Bhandarkar in the Indian Antiquary (1874) : 
“ In the Sarhhitd text, all words are joined according to the 
phonetic rules peculiar to Sanskrit. In the Pada text, the words 


are divided and compounds also are dissolved. In the Kratna 
text, suppose we have a line of eleven words, they are arranged 
as follows, the rules of Sandhi being observed throughout for 
letters and accent : i, 2 ; 2, 3 ; 3, 4 ; 4, 5 ; 5, 6 ; 6, 7 ; 7, 8 ; etc. 
The last word of each verse, and half-verse too is repeated with 
iti {veshtana). In the Jafd, the words are arranged as follows : 

1, 2, 2, I, I, 2 ; 2, 3, 3, 2, 2, 3 ; 3, 4, 4, 3, 3, 4 ; etc. The last 
word of each verse and half-verse is repeated with iti. In the 
Ghana, the words are arranged as follows : i, 2, 2, i, i, 2, 3, 3, 

2, I, I, 2, 3 : 2, 3, 3, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, 2, 3 ; 2, 3, 3, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 

3, 2, 2, 3, 4 ; 3, 4, 4, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 4, 3, 3, 4, 5 ; etc. The last two 
words of each verse and half-verse are repeated with iti, as, 
e.g., 7, 8, 8, 7, 7, 8 ; 8 iti 8 ; and again, 10, ii, ii, 10, 10, ii ; 
II iti II. Compounds are dissolved (avagraha). The object of 
these different arrangements is simply the most accurate pre- 
servation of the sacred text. Nor is the recital merely mechanical, 
the attention being constantly required for the phonetic changes 
of final and initial letters, and for the constant modification of 
the accents. The different accents are distinctly shown by 
modulations of the voice.” 

Merits ol the Method. Thus this wonderful mnemonic 
system was developed to aid the memory in its responsible work 
of preserving the nation’s sacred literature, and there is no 
doubt that it admirably achieved its work. As remarked by 
Max Muller, “ the texts of the Veda have been handed down to 
us with such accuracy that there is hardly a variant reading in 
the proper sense of the word, or even an uncertain accent, in the 
whole of the Rigveda. There are corruptions in the text which 
can be discovered by critical investigation ; but even these 
corruptions must have formed part of the recognized text since 
it was finally settled. Some of them belong to different Sakhas 
or recensions, and are discussed in their bearings by ancient 

“ Thus, as far back as we know anything of India, we find 
that the years which we in modem times spend at school and 
at university were spent by the sons of ancient India in learning, 
from the mouth of a teacher, their sacred literature. Thus the 
Vedic succession was never broken — ^for this oral learning and 
teaching came to be one of the compulsory religious duties of 
the people, one of the great yajHas or sacrifices.” . 

Personal Touch in Education. Education has been aptly 
defined as the transmission of life from life to life. This ideal 


seems to have been literally realized under this ancient pedagogic 
system which did not permit the introduction of any dull, dead, 
inert matter — the written literature — as an instrument of educa- 
tion. Some of the Indian religions provide for intermediaries 
between God the Most High and sinful humanity below to work 
out the latter's salvation, but in the educational organization 
there was no intervening medium between the guru and his 
disciple. The teacher was the direct and sole source of light and 
life and the pupil must depend upon him absolutely for his 
educational salvation for there was no other source of knowledge 
available in the country. Thus there was always a personal 
touch, a human element, a living inspiration in such instruction 
which helped to make it a vital and not a mechanical and 
monotonous process : it was a commerce of life, a communion 
of souls. 

Teacher’s control over spread ot Knowledge. We may now 

trace the further consequences and corollaries of this system 
of oral tradition under which the education was imparted. The 
deliberate adhesion to the principle of confining the sacred texts 
to memory instead of trusting them to writing produced certain 
characteristic results. In the first place, the spread of the sacred 
texts was completely controlled by those to the keeping of whose 
memory they were committed. Written works, like most other 
material things, are economic goods, traffic in which cannot be 
controlled. But the knowledge that is carried in the head is a 
monopoly of the knower and is devoid of that externality and 
materiality which would make it capable of appropriation by 
others. The spread of such knowledge is thus absolutely deter- 
mined by the choice and sweet will of the knower who has the 
liberty to dictate on what terms he would exercise his choice. 
In the inner chambers of his soul have been stored up the literary 
treasures to which no one can have access unless he consents to 
unlock them with the key he holds. Thus the system could 
logically lay down conditions of admission which would eliminate 
all those who were not deemed to be sufficiently qualified, by 
aptitude, temperament, and character, to receive instruction 
in the sacred learning. Thus undeserving persons would be 
naturally and automatically excluded from the study of the 
sacred texts which stood in no fear of being misused, reviled, 
and desecrated. Thus the very conditions of teaching helped 
to make the teacher absolutely independent as regards the 
selection of his pupils. 


Knowledge insured against risks. Secondly, the system 
contributed to the preservation and propagation of its literature 
in a most remarkable and unique manper. Nowadays human 
knowledge is stored up for the most part in books stocked in 
libraries, and is thus made liable to all those risks to which all 
material things are liable. History records many an instance of 
political vandalism which has deliberately destroyed valuable 
libraries under a spirit of bigoted animosity against the know- 
ledge they stored up and preserved. Many a library, if not a 
victim to human malice, has succumbed to nature*s destructive 
agencies or physical accidents such as earthquake, deluge, or 
fire. Recently, the destruction of Louvain has beaten the record 
of the horrors of war and barbarism. But the knowledge and 
culture of ancient India were not left from the very outset to 
the tender mercies of these risky and precarious, faithless and 
unreliable agencies. The human mind — and no perishable material 
storehouse — ^was the repository of our ancient, accumulated 
wisdom. And, if the individual dies, the nation lives. Thus 
Indian culture has been immortally preserved through an un- 
broken succession of teachers. Every literary man of ancient 
India was himself a living library, so to speak. Thus the storage 
and preservation of the learning of the country were effected 
by means of what were practically immaterial and immortal 
agencies. It would appear as if the Vedas which, according to 
orthodox traditional opinion, are not perishable books but 
eternal verities have also evolved their appropriate methods of 
transmission from age to age. There were no centralized libraries 
wherein was accumulated the wisdom of the ages, so that to 
strike at them would mean striking at the sources of knowledge. 
There was the widest possible diffusion of learning through the 
millions of the living libraries and domestic schools of ancient 
India that helped to insure her culture against the risks alike 
from Nature and Man — from the destructive effects of physical 
accidents and political revolutions. And the result of this 
remarkable system is, as has been well pointed out by Max 
Muller, that at the present moment if all the MSS. of the Vedas 
were lost we should still be able to recover the whole of them 
from the memory of the Srotriyas of India ; and that, further, 
“ if writing had never been invented, if printing had never 
been invented, if India had never been occupied by England, 
young Brahmins in their hundreds and thousands would probably 
have been engaged just the same in learning and saying by heart 


the simple prayers first uttered on the Sarasvati and the other 
rivers of the Panjab by Vasishtha, Vi^vamitra, Syava^va, and 

A feat of memory in spreading Knowledge. A remarkable 
example of a feat of memory and of the way in which this system 
of oral tradition could achieve the spread of learning from one 
province of India to another through her ” moving libraries ” 
is furnished by the history of the rise of the Navadvipa school 
of Logic in Bengal. The founder of that school was Vasudeva 
Sarvabhauma who, having completed his study of the Upanishads 
at Benares, sought the instruction of the renowned scholar 
Pakshadhara Mi^ra of Mithila which was then (in the fifteenth 
century) the most important centre of learning in Northern 
India. It was a condition imposed by Pakshadhara Mi^ra upon his 
pupils that they were not to transcribe any copy of Chintdmani 
by Gahge^a Upadhyaya, the best work on Logic, of which the 
only MS. was in his possession, so that the college of Mithila 
might enjoy its monopoly in regard to instruction of Logic. 
Equally valuable were also the interpretations and commentaries 
of Pakshadhara. This monopoly was, however, broken down by 
the memory of the pupil Vasudeva who got by heart the four Parts 
of Chintdmani, its annotations, and also a greater part of the 
famous work Kusumdhjali, and came to Nadia where he estab- 
lished a School which soon outrivalled Mithila as a centre of 
learning. Thus the spread of learning overcame its physical 

A Teacher’s obligation to conserve and spread Knowledge 
as its Custodian. Thirdly, this particular system of transmitting 
knowledge had the natural effect of producing a keen sense of 
responsibility in those who came to be the custodians and 
guardians of that knowledge. Every teacher felt that his primary 
and paramount duty was to discharge himself of the sacred 
obligation he owed to the Rishis, to the cause of culture and 
learning, by finding proper pupils to whom he might communicate 
the knowledge borne by him. That knowledge he could not 
permit by any means to die with him. Thus a serious and solemn 
responsibility attached to the position of a teacher as the trustee 
of the nation's culture, and the violation or non-fulfilment of 
that sacred trust was one of the gravest of sins. Indeed, every 
teacher took to his profession as a supreme religious duty and 
as he used to take a number of pupils he would have the satis- 
faction of finding that he has been able to create in them several 


centres and sources of knowledge where there was only one such 
centre and source, and that he has, by his personal contribution, 
amply repaid the debt he owes to the cause of the culture of his 

Teacher’s Home as School. Fourthly, the system of oral 
tradition rested upon a continuous personal connection between 
the teacher and the taught which could be cultivated only 
in the home. The domestic system of education was the inevitable 
consequence of the particular pedagogic methods employed. 
Memorizing a vast quantity of texts with absolute accuracy 
in the pronunciation of every accent and word thereof implied 
the ready and constant supervision on the part of the teacher 
such as can be exercised only in the teacher’s home upon pupils 
who would live there at all hours. This result could not be 
achieved under a system of temporary connection for a few hours 
only between the teacher and the taught as in modern schools 
and colleges. Thus the ancient educational arrangements insisting 
on the residence of the pupil in the home of his teacher were 
demanded by the very system of rote-leaming in vogue in the 

Oral Teaching determines its Period. Fifthly, the period of 
such residence and studentship, the time required for the com- 
pletion of the study of the normal curriculum were also determined 
on similar principles. The minimum period of twelve years 
prescribed for studentship was none too long if we consider the 
quantity of literature which had to be assimilated by the memory 
(of which an account has been already given), and the number of 
non-reading days allowed and the prescribed length of the 
academic term during which lectures and new lessons were 

Study o! One Subject the Bole. Sixthly, the system had 
the merit or demerit of being able to produce only specialists, 
mere masters of one subject. As Max Muller justly remarks, 
“ the ambition to master more than one subject is hardly known 
in India.” We have already referred to the evidence showing 
how pupils had to go from one teacher to another for instruction 
in different branches of sacred learning. Generally, a teacher 
was the master of one particular Veda, and, even of that, he 
specialized in a particular idkha or recension. 

Teaching was Individual. Lastly, the system of teaching 
was necessarily individual. The teacher had to address himself 
separately to the instruction of each pupil. The occasions when 


anything was explained to all the pupils together were compara- 
tively few in number. The need of bestowing individual attention 
upon the pupils placed a natural limit to the number of such 
pupils which a teacher could accept and hence determined the 
size of these domestic schools of Ancient India. Sometimes, 
as is indicated in a passage in Manu [ii, 208], the son of the 
teacher would help his father by undertaking some of his work 
and there was also the custom in later times of senior pupils 
doing the same, but these makeshifts did not materiEilly alter the 
conditions which limited the number of admissions to such schools. 
Even the physical capacity of the preceptor’s home to accom- 
modate pupils must have operated as a material factor in 
determining the number to be admitted. 

Education under ‘Achfirya’. We have now seen that the 
normal t5^e of educational institutions as evidenced in the 
Sutra literature is that represented by an Acharya or Preceptor 
admitting, according to his unfettered discretion, a number of 
pupils who would have to live with him at his own house as 
members of his own family under the discipline of a system of 
rules and regulations governing their life and studies for a 
minimum period of twelve years. The Acharya would not accept 
any fees from the pupils under his instruction and the only con- 
dition imposed upon their tenure of studentship was the pleasure 
of the teacher produced by a conformity to its rules. The progress 
shown by the pupil was the only factor that determined the 
continuance of his apprenticeship. 

Education under * Up&dhy&ya We have, however, other 
types of educational institutions indicated by the evidence of 
the period. We have already referred to the schools conducted 
by teachers technically called Upddhydyas who would admit to 
their instruction on payment of fees temporary pupils who 
sought lessons in particular subjects. Generally speaking, the 
Upadhayas provided supplementary instruction and were pro- 
ficient only in the Vedic Ahgas or a part of the Veda. 

‘ Parishad.’ The Sutra works, however, reveal a third t3^e 
of educational institutions, the scope and purposes of which make 
it radically different from the other two types of institutions. 
Every educational colony or settlement in ancient India had 
within itself an academy of learned and religious men called a 
Parishad. According to Gautama [xxviii, 49], a Parishad should 
consist at least of the ten following members, viz. four men who 
have completely studied the four Vedas, three men belonging 



to the three Orders enumerated first (viz. a student, a house- 
holder, and an ascetic), and three men who know three different 
Institutes of Law. Vasish^ha [iii, 20] and Baudhayana [i, i, i, 8] 
lay down the same definition of a Parishad but instead of the 
three members knowing three different Institutes of Law they 
specify one who knows the Mimamsa, one who knows the Afigas, 
and a teacher of the sacred law. Manu [xii, in] gives a somewhat 
different composition of the Parishad. According to him, the 
ten members include three persons who each know one of the 
three principal Vedas, one logician, one Mimaihsaka, one who 
knows the Nirukta, one who recites the Institutes of the sacred 
Law, and three men belonging to the first three Orders (which 
do not include the hermit who cannot enter a village). Manu 
also permits a Parishad to be constituted by three members 
learned in the three Vedas. It will also be observed that the 
eligibility for the membership of such an authoritative academic 
body did not rest on mere intellectual qualifications. Even 
if thousands of Brahmanas who have not fulfilled their sacred 
duties are unacquainted with the Veda and subsist only by the 
name of their caste meet, they cannot form a Parishad [Manu, 
xii, 114 ; Baudhayana, i, i, i, 16]. And again: '‘Whatever 
an assembly consisting either of at least ten or of at least three 
persons who follow their prescribed occupations declared to be 
law, the legal force of that one must not dispute '' [Manu, xii, 
no]. Or again : “ There may be five or there may be three or 
there may be one blameless man who decides questions regarding 
the sacred law. But a thousand fools cannot do it [ib., 113 ; 
Baudh., i, i, i, 9]. 

Thus the Parishad was a distinctive and higher type of 
institution which was meant to give instruction regarding doubtful 
points of law. There are distinguished in the Sutras three sources ^ 
of sacred law, viz. {a) the Veda or Sruti, (b) the Smriti (i.e. 
the sacred law as explained by tradition), and { 6 ) the practices 
of the Sishtas, i.e. those who are free from the ordinary human 
passions (such as envy, pride, covetousness, prudence, hypocrisy, 
anger, etc.), and who in accordance with the sacred law have 
studied the Veda together with its appendages and are able to 
draw inferences from same and adduce proofs perceptible by the, 
senses from the Sruti or revealed texts. On failure of these, a 

^ Cf. Baudhayana [i, 1, 1, 12] : ** Narrow and difficult to find is the path of 
the sacred law, towards which many gates lead/’ The “ gates ” of the Sacred 
Law are many, because the redactions of the Vedas and Smptis are numerous 
and the practices vary in different countries. 


Parishad is to decide disputed points of law [Baudh., i, i, i, 
1-7 ; Manu, xii, 106-9]. Hence the Parishad was intended 
to be an academy of experts from whom emanated authoritative 
interpretations and decisions on doubtful points in the sacred 
texts which would be as binding on the community as the sacred 
texts themselves. Apastamba refers to a Parishad as a 
Brahminical school which studies a particular redaction of the 
Veda. He refers us to the teaching and works of other Parishads 
for " further particulars regarding the interruption of the Veda 
study ” [i, 3, II, 38]. 

Therefore, the composition or constitution of the Parishad 
was quite in keeping with the gravity of the functions and 
responsibilities entrusted to it. Because it had to direct the life 
of the community, it was at once the most representative and 
authoritative body that the community could think of. The 
highest talent and character in the community were represented 
on this Committee. In the first place, there was an adequate 
representation of Vedic learning which was the fountain of all 
law. By this feature the Parishad is easily distinguished from the 
ordinary domestic school of the period presided over by an 
Acharya who was normally an expert in only one of the Vedas. 
The Parishad included four experts in the four Vedas. Secondly, 
there were, in the words of Manu [xii, 106], those who could 
explore the 5 ruti and Smriti by modes of reasoning not repugnant 
to the Veda-lore. The “ modes of reasoning ” as mentioned here 
are, according to Medhatithi and Kulluka, the Mimariisa of 
Jaimini to be distinguished from philosophical Schools like the 
Bauddhas, Nirgranthas, and Lokayatikas, who deny the authority 
of the Vedas. Thirdly, there were those who were experts in what 
may be called the secular law, the Dharma and Grihya Sutras, 
of which the different Schools were represented on the Parishad, 
whereas the ordinary school of an Acharya was connected with 
one particular School of Sutras determined by the particular 
Vedic Sakha to which that Acharya belonged. Fourthly, the 
Parishad represented the particular wisdom and the experience 
belonging to each of the three Orders or A^ramas, viz. the student, 
the householder, and the Vanaprastha or the ascetic, but not the 
hermit who had no concern for secular matters at all and would 
not pass through human habitations. The representation of the 
student community on such an authoritative body shows a 
degree of recognition of their special interests and status which is 
not allowed even in modern educational organizations professing 



advanced democratic ideals. As the commentator Govinda 
[on Baudhdyana, i, i, i, 8] points out, professed students are 
declared to be particularly holy in the Dharmaskandhabrdhmaifa. 
The Brahmacharin was a " well of wisdom undefiled ” by contact 
with the world, which a body like the Parishad could ill afford 
not to take advantage of. Besides there might crop up disputed 
points regarding the laws of studentship itself on which an actual 
student or Brahmacharin might throw much light from his fresh 
experience and place before the Parishad the student’s point 
of view. Like the student, the householder by himself claimed 
a special representation, although, perhaps, except the student, 
and the ascetic members, the other eight members were all house- 
holders themselves. Similarly, the ripe wisdom and experience 
of one who passed from the householder’s state to that of an 
ascetic detached from the world constituted a valuable asset 
which society had a right to utilize. The ascetic was a good judge 
of the doubtful points of law not only on account of his seniority 
arid superior experience of life but also on account of his judicial 
temperament, disinterested attitude, and impartial outlook 
that are the natural characteristics of a man in the third airama 
of life no longer affected by its passions or problems. 

Thus the Parishad was an academic institution of a composite 
or federal type on which were represented the different faculties 
or departments of the learning of the times, together with the 
different classes of experience and interests in society. Thus 
constituted and composed, it was competent to discharge its 
high and responsible functions sometimes as a judicial assembly 
and sometimes like an ecclesiastical synod. It was also an associa- 
tion of teachers and students and other learned men, and 
would thus form the nucleus of something corresponding to a 

The composition of the Parishad is also interesting from 
another point of view. It shows the progress of specialization in 
Vedic study achieved during this period. According to Gautama, 
as we have already seen, there were, firstly, four specialists in 
the four Vedas of the " walking library ” type. Next, there were 
three others who specialized in the three different Institutes of 
Law, besides another three who were proficient in the laws relating 
to the three a^ramas of life. Vasishtha and Baudhayana refer, 
however, to specialists in the Mimaihsa, in the Arigas, and in 
sacred law. Manu wants three specialists in the three Vedas, and 
specialists in Logic, Mimaihsa, Nirukta, and Law. It will be noted 


that all these references point to the early development of special 
law Schools. Vasishtha and Baudhayana mention side by side 
with one who knows the Ahgas the reciter or teacher of the sacred 
law (Dharma-pdthaka), who must therefore be a person who 
specially devotes himself to the study of that subject and knows 
more than one Dharma-sutra. He is, so to speak, the Law Member 
of the Parishad and to speak of one legal expert means that special 
law Schools were already existing, the collective literature of which 
had to be mastered by that expert. Gautama, however, con- 
stitutes his Parishad rather differently : he does not create a 
special seat in it for an individual law member ; he requires three 
persons knowing three different Dharma-sutras and says nothing 
of any experts specially devoted to the study of the sacred law. 
Manu’s Parishad, however, knows of an individual law member 
like that of Vasishtha and Baudhayana. 

Special Sutra Schools. Thus the evidence regarding the 
constitution and function of the Parishads introduces us to the 
more general and fundamental question' regarding the special 
Sutra Schools that grew out of the original and primary Vedic 
Schools or Charanas, and thus constitute the fourth type of 
educational institutions characterizing the period. 

It will appear that in the original and primary Vedic schools, 
the principal objective of instruction was a full and accurate 
knowledge of the sacred texts. Thus the curriculum, as has been 
already noted, comprised the Saihhita texts of the Mantras and 
Brdhma^as, together with their Pada, Krama, and other still 
more difficult pdthas or modes of recitation added in the later age 
when these were devised. To complete this course would require 
a considerable time and must have fully occupied the twelve 
terms of four and a half or five and a half months which the 
Smritis give as the average duration of the studentship for the 
acquisition of one Veda [see ante']. Besides the Veda, the student 
had also to learn the Ahgas, and as long as these consisted of short 
simple treatises, it was possible for him to commit them to memory 
in the time prescribed for it, viz. the seven or eight dark fortnights 
from the month of Pausha to that of Vai^akha, though, according 
to some Smritis, the Ahgas might be studied at any time out of 
term [cf. Fas., xiii, 7]. The literature of the Ahgas was not, 

^ This subject has been discussed in the learned Introductions prefixed to the 
translations of the various SQtra works in the Sacred Books of the East Series and 
most thoroughly and exhaustively in the Introduction of Buhler to his translation 
of Manu. The remarks that follow are largely based on the facts and arguments 
set forth in these Introductions. 



however, stationary but was growing. In course of time one of 
its branches, the Kalpa or Ritual alone, reached large dimensions 
as seen in the Sutras of the Baudhayaniyas and Apastambiyas. 
Another branch, Vyakarana or Grammar, also developed similar 
proportions and a scientific system of treatment as reflected in the 
final work^f Panini. But the Angas were developing not merely 
in bulk but also in number. Thus Nyaya or Purva Mimarhsa, the 
art of interpreting the rules of the Veda, was added to the list of 
the auxiliary sciences which had to be studied in connection with 
the sacred texts. It was thus becoming a matter of sheer im- 
possibility for a student to commit to memory the vast literature 
that was meant by these sacred texts together with the Angas in 
their developed forms. The fact of the matter was that though it 
was in the Vedic schools that the study of the Vedangas was first 
started as a supplement to the study of the Vedas, the impetus 
given to their cultivation gradually and naturally resulted in the 
production of a literature which could no longer be contained 
within the purview of the original Vedic schools. Thus these 
Vedic schools lost their old monopoly as centres of the intellectual 
life of the Aryas, for new special schools of science grew up in 
response to the requirements of a growing culture. There was 
a large accumulation of material for each of the Angas, 
requiring a more specialized study and scientific treatment than 
was possible in the Vedic schools proper. The quantity of 
the matter to be learnt and the natural difficulty of its acqui- 
sition necessitated a readjustment of educational arrangements. 
The expanding culture of the country was outgrowing its old 

Thus two alternatives presented themselves before the 
members of the Vedic schools. They might either commit to 
memory all the Vedic texts of their Vakhas together with the 
Angas without aiming at their complete understanding, or they 
might reduce the quantity of the matter to be memorized for the 
sake of a thorough mastery of what they learnt. Those who 
adhered to the former course became what we have already called 
“ living libraries but lacked the power of putting their learning 
to much practical use. Those who followed the latter course 
became specialists in the auxiliary Sciences of Sacrifice, Grammar, 
Law, or Astronomy, though, of course, they could not hold their own 
against the other class of students in respect of the verbal know- 
ledge of the sacred books. Thus these special Schools of Science 
grew out of the original Vedic Schools which, by themselves, 


could no longer minister to the expanding educational needs and 
enjoy the monopoly in the spread of learning. 

Separate Schools of Kalpa» Vyfikarapa, and Jyotisha* apart 
from Vedio Schools. We have some evidence in the Sutra literature 
by which we can trace the process of this change whereby the 
Vedic Charanas were depressed from their old position by special 
Schools which took over the scientific cultivation of some of the 
most important portions of the Afigas. Some of these special 
Schools grew up even before the age of Yaska's Nirukta which,for 
instance, mentions Vaiydkaranas or grammarians, Nairuktas or 
etymological exegetes, and Ydjnikas or ritualists and even con- 
trasts their conflicting opinions. The very fact of the disputes 
between these Schools regarding grammatical or exegetical 
questions demonstrates that these subjects were not taught as 
auxihary branches of the Vedic lore to the students of a common 
school, but that each of these subjects was attaining independent 
development through treatment in a special School. This view 
is confirmed by the actual conditions in which the various Afigas 
have been preserved. It shows that two at least, Vyakarana and 
Jyotisha, slipped away from the control of the Vedic Charanas 
in very early times. For we hardly know of any grammatical 
or astronomical work belonging to any of the Vedic Schools whose 
textbooks have survived. The works embodying the earliest 
speculations on grammar as an auxiliary of Vedic study in the 
Vedic Schools have no doubt been lost to us. But we have clear 
evidence to show that grammar won for itself an independent 
status in fairly early times. It declared its independence long 
before the days of Panini. Panini's Ashtddhydyi itself is now the 
sole representative of the Vyakarana branch of the Angas 
acknowledged equally by the followers of all the Vedas. But it is 
to be noted that the subject, as treated by Panini, is no longer 
completely subservient to the needs of mere Veda-study but has 
an independent hfe and destiny of its own, though it does not 
exclude the Veda from its purview. It is no longer a '' mere 
handmaiden of the Vedavidya It is a distinct science laying 
down the laws applicable to the entire Sanskrit language, of which 
the typical form assumed is what we call classical Sanskrit 
regarded as the standard of Aryan speech, the Vedic forms being 
treated as anomahes. Thus the work of Panini is to be regarded as 
the final outgrowth of a long scientific development achieved in 
the special Schools of Grammar, the earliest phases of which 
are represented by the various older Schools and teachers referred 



to not only in Panini’s work bnt also in the Prati^akhyas and in 
Yaska’s Ninikta. 

Similarly, the growth of Astronomy is far less indebted to 
the Vedic Schools. Its existence as an AAga of the Veda is to be 
traced only in the small treatise entitled Jyotisha, of which, as 
Biihler states, two slightly different recensions are extant, one 
belonging to the Rigveda and the other to the Yajurveda. All the 
famous works on the subject like the Gargi Saihhita or the later 
Vasishtha Saihhita and Siddhanta show no connection with the 
Veda or Vedic schools except that their authorship is attributed 
to Rishis or descendants of the families of Rishis. 

Dharms-Sutras included longer in the studies of Veda and 
Brfthmai^a * Chara^as As regards sacred law, however, there 
is no doubt that it formed part of the curriculum of the Vedic 
Schools for a much longer time. At first each Vedic Chara^a or 
School developed its own Dharmasutra or body of rules for the 
guidance of its own pupils. All the Dharmasutras were originally 
the property of particular Vedic Schools, were held to be authorita- 
tive in restricted circles, and were later on acknowledged as sources 
of the sacred law applicable to all Aryas. It is also to be noted 
in this connection that the rise of Sutra literature (under circum- 
stances already explained in detail) meant the rise of Sutra- 
Charanas which supplanted the earlier Vedic and Brahmaiia 
Charanas based on the texts of the Samhitas and Brahmanas. 
The founder > of a Sutra-Charana did not claim to have received 
a revelation of Vedic Mantras or of a Brahmana text but merely 
gave a new systematic arrangement of the precepts regarding 
sacrifices and the' sacred law. The members of these new Sutra- 
Charanas would preserve the text of the Saihhita and Brahmaiia 
of an earlier Chara^a from which they originally branched off. It 
is also clear that the ground of distinction among these Sutra- 
Charanas being in the Sutras, they would naturally make light 
of the minor differences between the texts of the Saihhitas and 
Brahmanas which, in previous times, were deemed to be all- 
important and there was even a tendency to reunite different 
Vedic Sakhas into one, as a result of which many old Sakhas 
have been actually lost. It was these Sutra-Charanas that first 
commenced the systematic cultivation of the sacred sciences ; 
they first collected the fragmentary doctrines, scattered in the 

» For instance, Apastemba [D*. Sfl., i, 2, 5, 4-5] clearly disclaims any right 
to the title of IgUshi or inspired seer of Vedic texts, for he belongs to the age of 
the Avaras as a child of ihe Kali Yuga. 


older Vedic works, and arranged them for the convenience of oral 
instruction in Sutras or strings of aphorisms. Among the subjects 
which these Schools chiefly cultivated were included the several 
Vedaflgas like ritual, grammar, phonetics, to which was added the 
sacred law too. Thus each Vedic School or Charana possessed a 
peculiar work on Dharma and this view is also supported by the 
tradition of the Mimosa school. The Manava Sutra-Charana, 
for instance, which was a subdivision of the Maitrayanlya Schpol 
connected with a redaction of the Black Yajur-veda, developed 
a Dharma-Sutra of its own, of which the extant Manava Dharma- 
idstra is considered to be a recast and versification. Similarly, 
the Gautamiya Dharmaidstra is believed to have been originally 
the exclusive property of a school of Samavedins. Further, the 
Apastambiya Dharma-Sutra, as Buhler points out, forms part 
of an enormous Kalpa literature or body of aphorisms, which 
digests the teaching of the Veda and of the ancient i^ishis regard- 
ing the performance of sacrifices and the duties of twice-bom 
men. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vai^yas, and which, being 
chiefly based on the second of the four Vedas, the Yajurveda in the 
Taittiriya recension, is primarily intended for the benefit of the 
Adhvaryu priests in whose families the study of the Yajurveda 
is hereditary. Thus Hindu sacred law has its source in the teaching 
of the Vedic Schools, the Sutra-Charanas, of which the teachers 
coinposed prose works or manuals that were meant to be com- 
mitted to memory by the young Aryan students and to teach them 
their duties. Every School had its own code of manners and morals, 
so to speak. Sometimes the same code or Dharma-Sutra might 
be adopted by several Sutra-Charanas [e.g. the Dharma-Sutra 
which both the Apastambiyas and Hairanyake§as study or the 
Chayana-Sutra which the Bharadvajas and Hairanyake^as have 
in common (Buhler, S.B.E., 14, xiv)] and in such cases we must 
assume that the later School did not care to compose a treatise 
of its own on a certain subject but preferred to adopt the work of 
an earlier teacher. 

Formation of special Law Schools, apart from purely Vedic 
Schools or Chara^as, on the basis of Dharma-lSSstras such as those 
of Mann and T&jflavalkya. Sacred Law, like Grammar and 
Astronomy, had also to part company with the Vedic schools in 
the interests of its own development. It demanded an independent 
treatment uncontrolled by the needs of Veda-study. Special 
Law Schools grew up even in the time of the two Dharma-Sutras 
of Vasishtha and Baudhayana, as we have already seen. The 



formation of special Law Schools was, however, but the first step : 
the second step was the composition of Manuals for their use, of 
that class of secondary Smritis the chief surviving representatives 
of which are the Dharma-iastras of Manu and Yajnavalkya. 
The original Dharma-sutras with which these special Law Schools 
started offered copious materials for special study, as also grounds 
for it. Most of their topics were connected with the moral duties 
of jthe Aryas, of which detailed rules are given, but the rules are 
not systematically arranged. They also treat of the legal pro- 
cedure, the civil and criminal law, but the treatment is un- 
satisfactory except that of the law of inheritance and partition. 
From the standpoint of the Vedic Schools a more detailed and 
orderly treatment of such matters was irrelevant, as they were 
more concerned with the means of acquiring spiritual merit and 
warning to pupils against commission of sins. Some of their 
members might, of course, be called upon to assist the administra- 
tion as Dharmadhikarins or legal advisers or as judges and to 
settle the law between man and man, but for this purpose a 
mere knowledge of the general principles was sufficient in an age 
which recognized the great authority of local customs. The case, 
however, was quite different when sacred law came to be studied 
as a separate science by specialists who would naturally seek to 
remedy the deficiences of the older books either by remodelling 
them or composing new works. In general the first alternative 
would commend itself to them more. Thus the first work of the 
special Law Schools was the production of the secondary Smritis 
on the basis of older Dharma-sutras and the consequent conver- 
sions of locally authoritative Sutras of mere School-books into 
works claiming the allegiance of all Aryans. 

Time of these Developments. That these processes accom- 
plished themselves before the time of the grammarian Patanjali 
is shown from some of his allusions. He mentions Dharma-sutras 
and also refers to the formation of the special word " Dhdrtna- 
vidyd ” which denotes “a person who studies or knows the dharma- 
vidyd, the science of the sacred law ”. The word Dharma-idstra 
which also occasionally occurs in his Bhdshya may perhaps point 
to the Manuals composed and studied in the special Schools, which 
were distinct from the Dharma-sutras. 

Their modem Remnants. A picture of these processes is 
afforded to some extent by the conditions of sacred learning even 
in modem times. The trae modem representatives of the ancient 
Charaifas are the so-called Vaidiks of whom an interesting account 


is given by Sir R. G. Bhandarkar [” The Veda in India in the 
I, A., hi]. A Vaidik of the A^valayana school knows by heart the 
Rigveda according to the Saihhita, Pada, Krama, Jata, and Ghana 
pathas, the Aitareya Brdhmana, and Aranyaka, the ritualistic 
Sutras of A^valayana, Saunaka's Prdtiidkhya, and the Siksha, 
Yaska's Nirukta, Panini's Grammar, Jyotisha, Chhandas, 
Yajfiavalkya's Dharma-^astra, portions of the Mahdbhdrata, and 
the philosophical Sutras of Kanada, Jaimini, and Badarayana. 
Similarly, the Vaidiks of the Yajus, Saman, and Atharvan schools 
are expected to recite all the works of their respective Sakha^ 
together with certain other non-Vedic works. Now those who 
carry in their head such a vast quantity of learning cannot be 
expected to be experts in its exposition or practical application. 
A professional Vaidik, as Biihler points out, is not the person who 
can be trusted with the proper performance of the sacrifices accord- 
ing to the Srauta-Sutras, or with the interpretation of the intricate 
system of Panini's grammar or even decision of knotty points of 
Law according to the Dharma-Sutra or the secondary Smriti which 
he knows by heart. Each of these subjects can be dealt with only 
by specialists. The Srotriya or Srauti is the man for sacrifices : 
he knows by heart the sacred texts of his Sakha, understands 
fully the meaning of the Srauta-sutras and has a practical 
knowledge of the actual Kriyd or manual work described 
in the Prayogas. His colleague, the Yajnika, is similarly a 
specialist in the Grihya Sutras and domestic ceremonies. But 
these two will thus have their knowledge confined only to a few 
branches of the entire literature of the Angas such as Kalpa 
or parts of it, and perhaps the Siksha. Similarly, those who would 
specialize in the other Anga subjects such as Grammar, Law, or 
Astronomy, will have to reduce proportionately the quantity of 
learning related to the Veda and its auxiliary subjects. Their 
obligations in respect of Veda-study, for instance, would be 
fulfilled by their committing to memory a few important sections 
of the Vedas such as the Pavamani-hymns of the Rigveda or the 
Satarudriya of the Yajurveda or the verses occurring in the 
Brahmayajna and the Sandhyavandana. 

Chapter VI 


Education as revealed in the grammatical Sdtras of Panini, 

together with the works of Katyayana and Patanj ali. The account 
of education in the Sutra period will not be complete without the 
consideration of the evidence of the grammatical literature as 
represented in the works of Paiiini and of his two famous com- 
mentators, Katyayana and Patanj ali. That evidence is indeed 
unique in its interest and importance. It may be further noted 
that, chronologically speaking, the entire Sutra period may be 
roughly considered to lie between the time of Panini with whom it 
begins and the time of Patafijali with whom it ends. Accordingly, 
some of the chief characteristics of the educational system and 
conditions of the period are reflected in the literature that grew 
round the grammar of Panini. It may also be easily understood 
that, on account of the inevitable and vital connection that must 
exist between a grammatical work and the standing language and 
literature and the established forms and usages of speech upon 
which it is based, grammatical works must always be a fertile 
source of social and political history, abounding in references to 
contemporary and pre-existing institutions, ways of life, and 
conditions of culture. 

Literature known to P&^ni. Panini throws light on the 
literature of his times. Four classes of literature are distinguished. 
The first is that which is “ seen (drishtam) or revealed, e.g. 
the Samaveda. Some of the seers " of the Samaveda are also 
mentioned, viz. Vamadeva [iv, 2, 7, and 8]. Katyayana and 
Patanj ali add the names of Kali, Agni, U^anas, and Aupagava. 
The second is that which is " enounced [iv, 2, 63 ; iv, 3, loi 
(proktam)']. To this class would belong the Veda or Chhandas 
enounced by Tittiri, Varatantu, Khan^ika, and Ukha ^ ; works 
by the ]^shis like Ka^yapa and Kau^ika ; the Chhandas works 
of Saunaka and others * ; of Katha and Charaka ; of KalapI and 

^ Patafijali mentions the works called Kathaka, K2LUlpaka, Maudaica, and 
Paippaladaka [iv, 3, 101 (3)]. 

• As others ** the KaiikH mentions Katha, Satha, VSljaianeya, SSAgarava, 
^an^garava, Sahpeya, Sakheya, Kha];L^ayana, Skandha, Skanda, etc. The 
Saunaka of this rule is taken by Goldstucker on the authority of Saya]:La to be 
the ]^hi who is supposed to be the author of the second Ma^i^ala of the Rigveda 
as we now have it. Accordingly, since this Mai;i^ala is classified by Pacini under 




Chhagal! ; and of the direct pupils of Kalapi^ and VaiSampayana. 
In this class are also included such Brdhmaifa* and Kalpa * works 
as are enounced by the ancient sages, thereby excluding, accord- 
ing to Katyiyana and Patanjali, the works of later sages * like 
Yajfiavalkya and Sulabha. Lastly, Panini mentions as examples 
of this class of literature the Bhikshu-sutras as enounced or 
originally propounded by Para^arya and Karmanda as well as 
the Nata-sutras as propounded by their founders mentioned as 
Silalin and Kri^a^va. The Bhikshu-sutra means a collection of 
rules or precepts for mendicants, while the Nata-siitra means 
a collection of rules for actors [iv, 3, loi-iii]. The third class 
of literature distinguished by Panini is that which is " discovered ” 
and not handed down by tradition [ii, 4, 21 ; iv, 3, 115 ; vi, 2, 
14 {Upajnd)']. As examples of this class the Kdiikd mentions the 
works of such original authors as Panini, Ka^akrishna, Apiiali, 
and Vyacji, The fourth class of literature comprises the ordinary 
compositions of ordinary writers on any subject [iv, 3, 87 and 
116]. As examples, Patanjali mentions the books of Story 
{dkhydyikd) such as Vdsavadattd, Sumanottard, Bhaimarathl, to 
which the Kdiikd adds Urvait. The Kdiikd mentions mytho- 
logical works like Saubhadra, Gaurimitra, and Ydydta. In iv, 3, 88 
Panini refers to works on such peculiar subjects as the child’s cry 
[Siiukrandlya) or the court of Yama {Y amasabhlya) to which the 
Vdrttika adds the works bearing on the wars between gods and 
demons such as Devdsura, Rdkshosura, and the Kdiikd adds 
the works called Agnikdiyapiya, Syenakapotlya, Indrajanantya 
(also mentioned by Pariini) and Pradyumndgamantya. Patanjali 
further mentions under this class the Kdvya or poetical works of 
Vararuchi and the Slokas known as Jdliika [iv, 3, loi (3)]. Panini 
also refers to Slokas as eulogistic verses [iii, i, 25] and to their 
author as Slokakdra [ib., 2, 23]. There is also a reference to 

prokta (proclaimed) as distinguished from the dfishta, literature, it is to be 
regarded in Goldstucker’s opinion as being later in Pajjini’s view than the other 
Ma^dalas. Goldstucker further argues that the very first hymn of the second 
Ma^dala fully confirms this impression, for, by speaking of Hotri, Potp, Neshtfi, 
Agnidhra, Pra^astp, Adhvaryu, and Brahman priests, it certainly betrays a very 
advanced development of sacrificial and artificial rites. According to the KdUka, 
^aunaka is the reputed author of the Rik-prdtiidkhya which is thus considered 
to be anterior to Panini. 

^ According to the KdiiKd, there are four such pupils of KalapI, viz. Haridru, 
Chhagall, Tumburu, and Ulapa, while there are nine of Vai^ampayana, viz. 
Alambi, Palanga, Kamala, ^chava, Aru^i, Taij(Jya, Syamayana, ifiaitha, and 

• E.g. those of BhSllava, Satyayana, and Aitareya [KcUikd"]. 

• E.g. those of Paii^ga and Aiuijaparaja [ib.]. Patafijali also mentions 
Asuflya Kalpa [iv, 1, 19 (2)]. 

• The Kdiikd adds the Kalpa work of A^maratha. 



Gathds [ib.], to a composer of Mantras (Mantrakara), and 
to the author of Padapa^ha {Padakara). Papini also mentions a 
Mahabharata [vi, 2, 38] and the followers of Vasudeva and 
Arjuna [iv, 3, 98]. Yudhishthira also is mentioned [viii, 3, 95], 
wMe Patanjali mentions Yudhisthira and Arjuna as elder and 
younger brothers respectively [ii, 2, 34]. Non-rishi families of 
Vrishni and Kuru are also mentioned [iv, i, 114], as members of 
which Patanjah instances Vasudeva, Viladeva, Nakula, Sahadeva, 
and Bhaimasenya. In addition to the above four t5T)es of litera- 
ture, Panini mentions separately the literature of Commentaries 
[iv, 3, 66 {Vyabhyana)], as examples of which Patanjali mentions 
the commentaries on Nirukta and Vyakarana and also on Kalpa 
works such as Agnishtoma, Rdjasuya, and Vajapeya. Panini refers 
to commentaries on Soma sacrifices {kratu) and other sacrifices 
(yajna), as examples of which Patanjali mentions Pdkayajnika, 
Ndvayajnika, Pdnchaudanika, Sdptaudanika, Sdtaudanika [iv, 3, 
68]. Commentaries on sections of grammar alluded to by Papini 
are mentioned by Kdiikd as Saupa (on case-affixes), Tainga 
(on verbal affixes) and Kdrta (on krit affixes), also Shdtvai),dtvikam 
and Ndtdnatikam [iv, 3, 66, 67]. Panini [ib., 69] refers to com- 
mentaries on chapters {adhydyas) of works of Rishis, as examples 
of which the mentions Vdsishthika-adhydya, Vaiivdmitrika. 

Panini refers to commentaries on the verses or mantras on Puro- 
ddia (sacred cake) as PuroddUka and Pauroddiika. He refers to 
the formations Chhandasya and Chhdndasa as commentaries on 
Chhandas. He refers to the commentaries called Brahmanika, 
Archika, Prathamika, Adhvarika, Pauraicharanika, Namika, 
Akhyatika, and Namakhyatika, as also to commentaries of which 
the Kdiikd gives the names as Aishtika, Paiuka, Chaturhotrika, 
Panchahotrika. Lastly, he refers to commentaries on certain 
classes of works belonging to the category called Rigayanddi 
which, according to Kdiikd, included a great variety of subjects 
such as Chhandobhasha, Chhandovichiti, Nyaya, Vyakarana, 
Nigama, Vastuvidya, Angavidya, Kshatravidya, Upanishat, 
Siksha, etc. [iv, 3, 703]. 

We thus see that Panini was acquainted with a wide range of 
subjects, religious and secular. He knew the Rigveda [vi, 3, 55, 
133 ; vii, 4, 39] and refers to its Pada [vi, i, 115 ; vii, i, 57 ; 
viii, 1, 18, etc.] and Krama pdtha [iv, 2, 61], while the division into 
Adhyayas and Anuvakas was also known [v, 2, 60]. He also uses 
the word Chhanda in the sense of Metre [viii, 3, 94]. He knew the 
Sdmaveda [i, 2, 34 ; iv, 2, 7, and 60 ; v, 2, 59 ; etc.]. He knew 



also of a Yajurveda [ii, 4, 4 ; iv, 2, 60 ; v, 4, 77 ; vi, i, 117 ; 
vii, 4, 38 ; viii, 3, 104 ; etc.]. All the three Vedas are referred to in 
one Sutra [iv, 3, 129] together with the Schools orCharanas based 
thereon. The Sdkala SaJcha of the Rigveda is also referred to 
[ib., 128]. Regarding his knowledge of the Atharvaveda, there 
is no positive evidence as the word occurs only in the Ganas to 
the Sutras or in the Varttikas [see iv, 2, 38 and 63 ; iv, 3, 133 ; etc.]. 
Nor do we know definitely whether the White Yajurveda was 
known to him, because it was left to a Varttika [to iv, 3, 105] to 
refer to its author Yajnavalkya as a comparatively later Rishi 
(probably a contemporary of Panini, as I interpret the Varttika) 
than those contemplated in the said Sutra. It is also uncertain 
whether Panini knew the Ara'tyyakas on account of his rather 
significant omission to refer to that meaning in explaining the 
formation, Aranyaka [iv, 2, 129]. The omission was left to be 
supplied by Katyayana. ■ On this supposition the Upanishads, 
as we have them now, were not probably known to him because 
these were developed out of the Aranyakas. Panini mentions 
the word Upanishad only once and that probably in the sense of 
a secret [i, 4, 79] (though the Bdlamanoramd takes it to mean the 
literary work, Veddntahhdga), but the word occurs twice in the 
Ganas [iv, 3, 73 (in the sense of a literary work) and iv, 4, 12]. 
There is, however, no doubt that he knew of the Brahmai^as 
[ii, 3, 60] and Kalpa works and also of Sutras [iv, 2, 65] (which 
are interpreted to mean grammatical Sutras by Katyayana and 
Patanjali). He definitely mentions Brdhmana works of thirty and 
forty adhydyas or chapters [v, i, 162]. Lastly, he refers to works 
which are similar to the Brdhmanas and called Anu-Brdhma^as 
[iv, 2, 63], while there was something like the Indexing of the 
Mantras for convenient reference at the time of sacrificial per- 
formances [iv, 4, 125-7] t>y different classes of priests which are 
also known to Panini [v, i, 135 and 136]. 

The range of secular literaturein Pauini’s times seems to have 
been remarkably wide and varied, considering that he discusses 
grammatical formations connected with such subjects as those 
bearing upon the rules and practices of actors and mendicants, 
and upon the treatment of children’s cries, or the seasons [iv, 2, 
64],^ or fables and stories [ib., 102]. 

* The growth of such a varied profane literature as is indicated by these 
casual references inclines one to doubt the correctness of the supposition that 
such ancient religious texts as the Atharvaveda, Ihe Arai^yakas, the Upanishads, 
the VSjasaneyi SaifahitS, or the Satapatha Brahmai;ia were unknown to Pacini. 
The matter requires to be carefully considered by more competent scholars. 


Literatrue known to Kfttyftyana and Patailjali. We notice a 
considerable advancement of learning in the subsequent ages of 
Katydyana and Patafijali. The advancement is shown in regard 
to both depth and width, i.e. in the growth of the literature 
bearing on the old traditional subjects and the growth of new 
subjects in the process of time. We have already cited above the 
evidence proving it. But there is some further evidence to be 
considered in that connection. For instance, there is to be noticed 
a considerable growth of grammatical literature. Panini mentions 
among his predecessors Api^ali, Ka^yapa, Gargya, Galava, 
Chakravarmana, Bharadvaja, Sakatayana, Sakalya, Senaka, 
Sphotayana, and also those authors designated by the collective 
appellation of eastern [ii, 4, 60 ; iii, 4, 18 ; iv, i, 17. 43. 160, etc.] 
and northern grammarians [iii, 4, 19 ; iv, i, 130. 157 ; etc.]. 
To this list of names Patanjali makes his own additions. In one 
place he mentions the four landmarks in the history of grammar, 
viz. those represented by the schools of the four Acharyas, 
Apiiala — Panini — Vyadi — Gautama [vi, 2, 36], the order of the 
mention being, according to a Sutra [the Varttikas to ii, 2, 34], 
that of chronology. He mentions also grammarians of the School of 
the Bharadvajiyas [iii, i, 89 (i) ; iv, i, 79 (i) ; vi, 4, 47 (i) ; 
ib., 155 (i)], and Saunagas [ii, 2, 18 (1-4) ; vi, 3, 44 (i)], as also 
Ku^aravadava [vii, 3, i (6)], Sauryabhagavat [viii, 2, 106 (3)], 
and Kuni [Kaiyyata’s gloss on i, i, 75]. There is also an indefinite 
number of grammeirians designated under the words “ some ” 
and " others ” {Kechit and Apare) [see Goldstucker's Panini 
for these references]. There is also a reference to those who study 
or understand the Varttikasutra and Sariigrahasutra.^ Besides 
grammar, there is a number of other secular subjects mentioned. 
A person well-versed in the science of (augury from observing) 
crows is called Vdyasavidyika. Similarly, there are references to 
experts in sciences bearing upon cows (Gaulakshanika) and horses 
(Alvalakshanika), upon interpretation of signs (Lakshanika), 
upon dyes of lac (Lakshika ?). There is a reference to a subject 
called Anusu (the meaning of which I cannot ascertain). 
Next we have references to Angavidyd (knowledge of lucky or 
unlucky marks on the body), Kshatravidyd (military science or 
Dhanurvidyd, the science of the bow, archery) and Dharmavidyd 

^ There was indeed a considerable growth of Varttika literature, of which 
we may distinguish three distinct and different strata : (1) The Kdrikas or 

Sloka-varttikas, (2) Traditional Varttikas which end in the expression it is 
remembered and (3) Opposf/ioM- Varttikas which dictate a rule m the style of 
the Sutras. 


(Law). Patanjali distinguishes between Akhydnas (historical 
stories), e.g. those connected with Yavakrlta, Priyahgu, Yayati, 
and Akhyayikds (works of fiction), e.g. those connected with Vasa- 
vadatta or Sumanottara, and refers to Itihdsa and Purdna [iv, 2, 
60]. A Varttika mentions Vyasa whose son is named Sukaby Patan- 
jali [iv, I, 97]. The story of Kariisa being killed by Krishna is 
referred to by Patanjali as being very popular [iii, i, 26 (6)]. 

Popular Literature. PatanjaU’s was indeed an age of popular 
literature, of Akhyanas, Akhya3dkas, Itihasas, Puranas, of 
recitations from the Epics of the Mahabharata and Ramayana 
[Valmiki being mentioned in the earlier Taittirlya Prdtiidkhya 
(v, 36)], of homely slokas, of vocal and instrumental musicians, 
of actors and the like. The spread of popular education due to 
this growth of a vast and varied popular literature may be 
inferred from one of the t3rpical illustrations of Patanjah (in his 
gloss to Varttika on ii, 4, 56). He there describes a dialogue 
between a grammarian and a coachman in which the latter gets 
the better of the former in regard to the accuracy of a grammatical 
formation. An extract from the dialogue will be interesting : 
“ A certain grammarian asked, ‘ Who is the Pravetd (driver) of 
this chariot ? ’ The Suta (charioteer) answered : ‘ Sire ! I am 
the Prdjitd.’ The learned grammarian said : ‘ This word (Prajita) 
is grammatically incorrect.’ The Suta retorted : ‘ The fool knows 
the rule (of Panini) but not the ishti of the teachers.' The 
grammarian answered : ' Oh ! how troubled are we by this 
opposite of a Suta [Duruta = Dur + ve (weave) + kta = 
iU-woven, to which the grammarian thinks Suta is a cognate].' 
This answer provokes a stronger retort from the coachman who 
says : ‘You think that Suta is derived from the root ve, whereas 
it is really derived from the root sit, to propel. If, however, 
you wish to use a correct term of contempt for me you must use 
the form Duhsuta.’ ” 

Rules ol Education. We shall now consider the evidence 
regarding, the conditions and regulations of education. The 
ceremony of initiation is referred to as Acharya-karana [i, 3, 36] 
and Upanayana. The sense of the latter term, according to Panini, 
is that the teacher, by bringing, according to religious rules, the 
pupil unto himself, brings himself up as a teacher through in- 
struction, whence the expression, Mdfiavakath Upanayate. 
The Bdlamanoramd cites an interesting verse defining an Acharya 
as one who, receiving unto himself {upaniya) a pupil, teaches him 
the Veda together with the Kalpas and Rahasyas. 


Relations between Teacher and Pupil. Next, we have certain 
expressions indicative of the relations between the teacher and 
pupil. The same affix is applied to their relationships as to that 
of blood [iv, 3, 77 and vi, 3, 23]. The pupil is called a Chhdtra 
[iv, 4, 62] because, as explained by Patanjali, the preceptor is 
like an umbrella sheltering the pupil or covering his defects, or 
the pupil is like an umbrella maintaining his preceptor. The pupil 
must secure the affection of his teacher for the sake of his own 
welfare both here and hereafter [Patanjali on iii, i, 26 


Marks of Pupilage. All the well-known marks of pupilage 
are known to Panini. The pupil is to live with his teacher [ante- 
vast) but there is also a reference to day-scholars, the common 
mark of both classes of pupils being the carr5dng of the dan^a 
or staff [iv, 3, 130]. Another mark of the pupil is the bowl in 
his hand [i, 4, 84 (2) — Kama^dcdu-pdntm chhdtram]. The most 
important mark of the pupil was his going on begging rounds to 
approved householders for food and other necessaries [Patanjali 
on i, I, 56 (i)]. There were several pupils thus serving their 
common teacher, as indicated by the special term applied to the 
boarder-pupils of the same school [iv, 3, 107 {sattrthya)]. Special 
vratas or vows of the Brahmacharin are also referred to [v, i, 94] 
as well as the ceremony of Anupravachana [v, i, iii]. 

School Regulations. We have also a glimpse into some of 
the regulations of the school. The Acharya is stated by Patanjali 
to sit with sacred grass in his hand at a pure moment with his 
face towards the east and then commence teaching with great 
care [i, i, i (7)]. The pupils reciprocated the treatment of their 
teacher. There is a reference to studious pupils working night and 
day [Patanjali on ii, 4, 32]. Some, when they could not get oil 
for their lamps, would even bum dried cow-dung and study by 
themselves in an isolated comer by the light thereof, so zealous 
were they [Patafijali on iii, i, 26 (2)]. There is also a reference 
to prescribed times and places of study [iv, 3, 71]. ^ 

Unworthy Pupils. Unworthy pupils and teachers were not 
imknown. Some pupils found study too painful and difficult 
and abstained. Sometimes the rough manners of a teacher might 
also repel them [i, 4, 26, together with Patanjali's gloss]. Some- 
times a pupil would not have the courage to face his teacher who 
would rebuke and dismiss him for some offence committed [ib., 
28]. Or a pupU would not have the patience to complete his full 
period of studentship and leave it prematurely for the life of ease 


of the householder without his teacher’s permission or the per- 
formance of the concluding purificatory bath. For such a person 
the standing contemptuous epithet was Khatvdru4ha, i.e. one who 
begins sleeping on a cot without being entitled to it by a completed 
studentship when he ought to sleep on the ground [ii, i, 26, with 
Patanjali's gloss]. Sometimes a pupil would change teachers and 
schools too frequently, in which case the contemptuous epithet, 
Tirthakaka, would be applied to him, because he is as fickle as a 
crow that does not stop long at a place of pilgrimage [ii, i, 41, 
with Patanjali’s gloss]. Other contemptuous epithets are con- 
templated in another Sutra of Panini [vi, 2, 69] with reference 
to an antevdsin and a mdnava when they become pupils for 
reprehensible motives. As examples the Kdiikd mentions the 
term Kumdn-Ddkshdh, which means those who study the works, 
or make themselves pupils, of Daksha for the sake of girls, and also 
the term Bhikshd-mdnava which applies to a person entering upon 
studentship for the sake of the proceeds from begging it brings. 
Similar terms mentioned by Patanjali are Odana-Pdnintydh, 
i.e. those who become pupils or study the work of Pauitii only 
for the sake of securing boiled rice, Ghrita-Rau^Myas (the 
Raudhiyas desirous of ghfita), and Kambala-Chdrdyaiyiyas (the 
Chaxayanlyas desirous of blankets) [see Patanjali on Varttika 6 to 
i, I, 73 and Kdiikd on vi, 2, 69]. Thus there was not always the 
pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and deviations from the 
ideal were so common or general that special epithets were evolved 
requiring grammatical explanations for their formation. Be it, 
however, considered that students pursuing studies for worldly 
advantages accruing therefrom earned a legitimate social oppro- 
brium, and this in a manner testifies to the strict insistence upon 
the true ideals of studentship. Nowadays most persons acquire 
knowledge because it brings odana, ghrita, and kambala but escapes 
the application of epithets expressive of social censure. 

‘ Taujana-lSatika.’ The Brihaddranyaka Upanishad (see 
ante) mentions a famous teacher in the land of the Madras to 
whom came pupils from distant countries. We have an interesting 
confirmation of this evidence regarding the existence of such far- 
famed teachers in the Mahdhhdshya [v, i, 74 (2)] which explains 
the grammatical formation Yaujana-iatika as the designation 
applied to a guru whom pupils seek from distances of hundreds 
of miles {yojanaiatddabhigamanamarhati). 

‘ Var^l.’ P anini gives evidence of the fact that studentship 
was open to all the three twice-born castes in the grammatical 


formation Vartfi which is explained as a general term for a 
Brahmach^r! [v, 2, 134]. 

Gilts. Patafljali mentions the gift of cows to the teacher 
[i, 4 . 32]. 

Father as Teacher. He refers to a pupil having his father as 
his teacher [i, 4, 51]. 

Terms for Teachers. Four terms are used to indicate the 
teacher, viz. Achdrya, Guru, Sikshaka, and Upddhydya. It may 
be noted that the term Achdrya is reserved by Patanjali for 
application to the highest t3^e of teacher, to an original thinker 
and master like Panini, while the other three terms he uses with 
reference to the ordinary teachers. 

Methods ol Study. There is some evidence available regarding 
the methods of study and instruction. These were, of course, 
necessarily determined by the character of the curriculum. Where 
only Vedic texts were the subject of study, rote-leaming was the 
suitable method. It is this method of study that Panini refers to 
in his Sutra — Srotriyaichhandodhlte [v, 2, 84], which means that 
the Srotriya is he who learns by heart the Chhandas or Veda. 
Patafijali refers to " reading aloud ” and " reading low ” [ii, i, 2 
(7)]. Examinations in the recitation of texts seem to be contem- 
plated in two Sutras of Panini ^v, 4, 63 and 64] upon which 
Patanjali unfortunately does not comment, so that we have to 
depend upon the Kdiikd for information on the point. The 
examinee who made a single mistake in the pronunciation of 
sacred texts ^ was designated Aikdnyika, i.e. pupil of one error. 
We have similar epithets based on the number of lapses thus 
committed which might be even twelve, thirteen, and fourteen. 
These epithets which became so common and important as to 
deserve the notice of Panini indicate that there were different 
grades or classes according to which the examinees were ranked 
in the order of merit on the results of their oral examination. In 
this connection we may also refer to a Sutra [v, i, 58] in which the 
practice of learning by repetition seems to be alluded to. Thus 
PaUchakodhitah means " what is studied five times ” \Kdiikd]. 

But rote-leaming was not of course the only method of 
study. There were indeed various subjects of study in the learning 
of which memory played a far less important part than under- 
standing. Panini’s grammar was itself one of the most conspicuous 

^ YasySUihyayane niyuktasya partkshaidUe pathatab skhalitamapapathard- 
pamekaih j&taih sa uchyate Aildlnyika iti Kdiikd. Bhattojidlkshita explains 
the mistake as viparltochchdranipariApam, i.e. as one of pronunciation. 


of such subjects, demanding a most sustained exercise of the 
reader's reasoning faculty in comprehending the orderly evolution 
of a perfectly scientific system on the basis of a combined apphca- 
tion of approved deductive and inductive methods. Thus the 
methods of both mechanical and critical study are explicitly 
referred to by Panini in his Sutra [iv, 2, 59] — Tadadhlte tadveda 
upon which the gloss of Patanjali is equally explicit. The term 
adhtte in the Sutra refers to studies which depend upon memory, 
i.e. texts which have to be learnt by heart, while the other term, 
veda, applies to studies depending upon understanding. Patanjali 
distinguishes a pupil who simply commits to memory texts, 
without understanding their meaning {sathpdtham pathati), from 
one who elects studies that involve the exercise of intelligence. 
The Balamanorama (a commentary on Bhattoji-dikshita’s 
Siddhdntakaumudt) defines the technical term adhyayana as 
used by Panini in the sense of the repetition by the pupil of the 
syllables in the order in which they issue from the lips of his 
teacher, while the term vedanatn is explained as the knowledge of 
the meaning of the words heard.^ 

The currency of the two methods of study in times anterior 
to Panini may be taken for granted. This is indeed proved by the 
very fact that it has formed the subject-matter of a Paninean 
Sutra. We are not, therefore, suprised at the emphatic protest 
of Yaska (already mentioned) against the method of rote-learning 
as generally applied to Veda-study. He strongly condemns those 
who would make the Vedic texts a mere matter of memory, 
not of an intelligent Jind critical study. In the words of Yaska 
[Nirukta, i, 18] : " The person who is able only to recite the Veda 
{adhitya) but does not understand its meaning is like a post or a 
mere load-bearer ; but he who understands the meaning will 
attain to all good here and hereafter, being purged of sins by 
knowledge. For the words that are simply memorized and not 
understood will merely sound when uttered, and not enlighten, 
just as wood, be it never so dry, will not blaze if it is put into what 
is not fire.” Thus, in Yaska’s opinion, the words of the Vedic 
texts were not more important than their meaning and hence the 
Vedas should be treated to both mechanical and rational methods 
of study. Yaska has also sought to discharge the responsibility 
of his opinions by composing a work which contributes towards 
a comprehension of the meanings of Vedic texts as distinguished 

' Gurumukhadakshaxanupurvlgraha^amadhyayanam | Sabdarthajfianadi 
vedanam | 


from their proper prommciation which is the exclusive objective 
of the Prati^akhya literature. It may be also supposed that this 
spirit of reaction against the excessive dominance of mechanical 
methods of study to which we owe the preservation of the sacred 
texts was due to the intellectual tendencies of the age towards 
critical thinking and philosophical speculation which culminated 
in the Upanishads and Aranyakas. 

Different Classes of Literary Men. Panini acquaints us with 
different classes of literary men. These may be inferred from the 
different classes of literature mentioned in his Sutras which have 
been already noticed. At their head is the !^shi whose literary 
work, as we have already seen, is not created or composed 
(“ kfita ”) but “ seen ”, revealed, inspired. We have already 
noticed the names of some of the Rishis mentioned by Panini. 
To these we may add the names of Praskanva, Manduka, 
and Hari^chandra [vi, i, 153 ; iv, i, 19]. The manner of the 
mention [e.g. iv, 3, 105] shows that the age of the Rishis was 
long gone. P 5 .nini has to take note of the distinction between irsha 
and andrsha (non-fishi) literature [i, i, 16]. We have some Sutras 
explaining formations that only apply to non-]^ishis [e.g. iv, i, 
104 (anrishi)]. Next comes the promulgator of original works. 
The works thus promulgated (“ prokta ” and not drishia or 
reveded) might be Chhandas, Brahmana, and Kalpa works. We 
have already noticed the authors of these three different classes 
of religious literature as mentioned by Panini. Some of them might 
be Rishis [iv, 3, 103]. From the manner of Panini’s mention it is 
clear that the age of these promulgators was long past [iv, 3, 105], 
though there were still some later representatives of the class as 
noticed by Katyayana, viz. Yajiiavalkya and Sulabha. The 
original works promulgated might also be in the domain of secular 
learning. Panini refers to the originators of literature bearing 
upon ascetics (bhikshus) and actors (nafas), as we have already seen 
The third type of men of letters is the discoverer of original 
systems, who brings to light new knowledge as distinguished from 
the knowledge that is handed down [iv, 3, 115]. The fourth t3rpe 
was the ordinary author of ordinary works (which were neither 
dfishta, nor prokta, but kfita). Katyayana mentions the formation 
Sditrakfit [Varttika to iii, i, 85]. The fifth t3q)e was the com- 
mentator [see ante for these references]. Thus Panini practically 
refers to all possible varieties of literature and literary men that 
would all be connected with one or other of the following, 
viz. {a) inspired literature, (6) original works connected with 


Bharhut : A Hermitage Scene [No. 3] 


traditional literature, sacred and profane, {c) original works 
embodying new knowledge, {d) commentaries, (e) ordinary com- 
positions. Besides these classes of authors, Panini refers also to 
thinkers and teachers who might not be the authors of actual 
works themselves. Three different types of philosophical thinkers 
are distinguished, viz. (i) the Astika, who believes in the life after 
death, (2) the Ndstika, who has no such belief, and (3) the 
Daishtika, a rationalist (according to the Kdsika) or a fatalist, a 
predestinarian (according to Bhattojidikshita [iv, 4, 60]). There 
are also two other references to the prevalence of similar beliefs 
[v, 2, 92 ; vi, I, 49]. Besides thinkers and philosophers, Panini 
mentions teachers of the first rank who, though not themselves 
famous for any works of their own, were famous for the works of 
their pupils. Kalapa and Vai^ampayana were teachers of this 
type whose discourses were so fruitful that they gave rise to 
different schools of thought, all within the domain of the 
subject-matter of those discourses. Each of the several 
pupils of those great instructors became the founder of an 
independent system, so vital and varied were the seeds of 
thought implanted in their minds [iv, 3, 104]. In this con- 
nection we may also refer to the Brahmavddins who, according 
to Katyayana [Varttika 2 on hi, 2, 78], discoursed on sacred texts, 
though they might not themselves be authors of independent 

Classes of Ascetics. There were also other educators of thought 
in the country. Panini refers to the class of Parivrdjakas or 
religious mendicants of the last A^rama or fourth stage of life who 
were also called Maskarinah [vi, i, 154]. They were so called 
because, as explained by Patahjali, they preached thus to the 
people : Perform ye no works (i.e. sacrifices) : seek ye peace 
as the highest end.'' Thus these wandering preachers, renouncing 
the world, went about the country teaching doctrines which 
preferred the pursuit of inner peace as being more religious than 
the disquieting performance of external ceremonies. Panini 
alludes to two classes of ascetics [iv, 4, 73], viz. those called 
Aranyakas who, according to the rules of their order, must dwell 
at least two miles away from human habitations and those called 
Naikatika bhikshus who are permitted to live in the vicinity of 
society [Kdiika ; but, according to the Bdlamanoramd, the 
Naikatikas do so in violation of rules]. 

Thus the spread of learning was being promoted by the co- 
operation of various agencies, by books and men, by literature 



and instruction, by authors and teachers, by regular training and 
occasional discourses. 

Variety ot Educational Institutions. Panini indicates the 
variety of institutions in the country through which its learning 
and culture were promoted. There were &stly, of course, the 
schools proper of the residential type where the householder- 
teacher would regulate the life and studies of S' number of boarder- 
pupils he could conveniently manage. But, as has been already 
explained in some of the earlier chapters, the precise character of 
the work of these schools cannot be properly appreciated without 
a reference to their social and cultural background. We must 
view them not by themselves as isolated institutions out of touch 
with the larger life of the community but as parts of the entire 
organization of learning and culture which the country developed. 
That organization was made up of several typically Indian institu- 
tions which were known as Ktda, Gotra, Charana, and Parishad. 
We have already dealt with the distinctive character, scope, and 
functions of these institutions and are here concerned only with 
what we may know of them from the Paninean literature. It is, 
however, to be noted once again that these institutions are 
primarily concerned and connected with the social life of the 
community, but they have certain important cultural and educa- 
tional aspects which cannot be ignored. 

‘ Gotra.’ The Goira may be defined as a system of relations 
based upon community of ancestors. In the earlier stages of the 
history of the institution, the joint-membership in any given 
Gotra seems to have been determined less on the grounds of mere 
physical descent than on those of spiritual connection and 
inheritance. The Vedic mantras, religious traditions, and sacrificial 
customs which came to be associated with the name of a particular 
^ishi became the property of the Gotra in later times. Its physical 
aspects were strengthened by the connected ceremony of the 
pravara by which Agni had to be invoked under the names of 
three or five ancestors. Thus a knowledge of ancestors descended 
from generation to generation and helped to impart a certain 
degree of stability or definiteness to the genealogical relations of 
various families. Panini has quite a number of references to the 
Gotra [ii, 4, 58-61, 63-70 ; iv, i, 78, 79, 89-94, 98-112, 162-7 : 
iv, 2, III ; iv, 3, 80 and 126]. They give numerous well-known 
Gotra-names, e.g. Paila, Taulvali, Yaska, Atri, Bhrigu, Kutsa, 
Vasishtha, Gotama, Angiras, Tika, Kitava, Agastya, Kaundinya, 
Kunja, Harita, Saradvat, ^unaka, Darbha, Drona, Parvata, 


Jivanta, Garga, Madhu, Babhru, Kapi, Bodha (an Ahgirasa), 
Vatanda, A^va, Siva, Kanva. They also give us a glimpse of the 
system of social organization. It was made up of patriarchal 
families. Three forms of surnames are mentioned by Panini 
as denoting the Gotra or family. The first was the patronymic 
by which the head of the united family, the patriarch, was known. 
Thus Garga or Gargacharya was the recognized head of the united 
family of all the Gargas who may be more than a hundred. The 
second form of the surname was applied to his eldest son and heir 
who was called Gargi, while the third form was applied to his 
grandsons, called Gargyas. On the death of the patriarch his 
eldest son, Gargi was to be called Garga, and his eldest grandson 
Gargi, while the great-grandsons, who were called Gargayanas, 
were now to be called Gargyas. It may be also noted that on the 
death of the patriarch, the other sons designated youths [yuvan) 
were subordinate to his authority. On the failure of a direct 
descendant in the line, the paterfamilias passed on to a collateral 
relation, but a position of superiority attached to the oldest 
surviving member, be he an uncle of the surviving representative 
of the Gotra or the elder brother of his grandfather. Panini also 
notices the term Kula [iv, i, 79 and 139], which is explained by 
the commentators to be the non-famous Gotras or families, e.g. 
Punika, Bhunika, Mukhara as instanced by Kdiikd and Gargya, 
Vaida, and Angas as instanced by Patanjali [gloss on ii, 4, 64]. 

‘ Chara^as.’ These Gotras or close corporations of culture 
could not, however, remain as such for ever. The special body of 
knowledge, of traditions, doctrines, and customs which was vested 
in each as its exclusive property could not long continue in its 
necessary narrowness, but had to be thrown open to the community 
in the interests of its own growth and of public instruction. Thus 
the Gotras came to be federated together for their common good. Out 
of this federation arose that peculiar synthesis or institution known 
as the Charana, Members of different Gotras with their particular 
culture-traditions now united in the Charanas to widen their 
culture. The Gotra became more and more indicative of the blood- 
relationship, while the Charana indicated a spiritual relationship, 
an ideal fellowship. Every pupil had thus a double relationship, 
what Panini calls Vidyd-yoni-samhandha, i.e. relationship in 
learning and blood. As every person was bound to seek an 
Achdrya for instruction, he was considered to be his descendant in 
a spiritual sense [i, 3, 36 {dchdryakarana)'\. 

The Charanas in Panini’s times had a much wider basis 


than before. Two elements are distinguished in that basis by 
Katyayana [Varttika, ii, to iv, 2, 120], viz. (i) Amndya, i.e. 
the sacred texts handed down by repetition, and (2) Dharma, i.e. 
the laws peculiar to the Charana. Thus each Charana had its own 
particular set of traditional texts and customs or practical usages 
and regulations [see also iv, i, 63]. 

Variety of * Charanas ^ Thus the Charanas, from their very 
constitution, promoted a considerable degree of specialization. 
The specialization was also necessarily carried in a double 
direction, theoretical and practical. Panini thus refers to a wide 
variety of such special schools. 

Schools based on different Vedic texts are mentioned. Thus 
Sdkala or §dkalaka is the name of the Samgha or Charana for the 
study of the Sakala Sakha or recension of the Rigveda [iv, 3, 128]. 
Panini also refers to the schools of Katha, Charaka, and Kalapin 
[ib. 107, 108], to which Patahjali adds Kauthuma [gloss on ii, 
4, 3], Maudaka, and Paippaladaka [iv, 3, 120 (ii)]. According to 
Patanjali, the Kathaka and Kalapaka recensions were very 
popular, being taught in every village. Paippaladaka refers to 
a recension of the Atharvaveda, while the other terms are con- 
nected with the Sakhas of the Yajurveda. Katyayana refers to 
the School of the Atharvanas [Varttika 2 to iv, 3 (i3i)J. We may 
also note in this connection the different Vedic Charanas founded 
by each of the four immediate pupils of Kalapi and of the nine of 
Vai^ampayana as indicated by Panini [iv, 3, 104]. 

Special Schools. Specialization was also achieved in the 
domain of priestly literature and practices. Panini mentions the 
special schools of the Chhandoga priests (who sang in metre, i.e. 
the Udgatri priests) and also of the Ukthikas [who recited certain 
verses called Ukthas to be distinguished from Sdman verses which 
are chanted and from Yajus verses which are muttered sacrificial 
formulas (Monier Williams)]. There are also mentioned the 
schools of the Yajnikas and Bahvrichas (i.e. priests connected 
with the Yajurveda and Rigveda, the latter being the Hotri priests 
who represent the Rigveda in sacrificial ceremonies). The Schools 
of these classes of priests were the custodians of the texts and 
rules which they had to study to qualify themselves for their work 
[iv, 3, 129]. 

There was also progress of specialization in other departments 
of knowledge not directly connected with religion. Panini refers 
to the School of the Natas. The formation Ndfyam connotes the 
literature and practices bearing on the dramatic art [ib.]. 
Patanjali mentions specialists in instrumental music like the 



Mardangika [iv, 4, 55]. Panini mentions the specialist in the art 
of storjr-telling [Kdthika, iv, 4, 102]. Patanjali mentions specialists 
like the Aitihdsika and Paurdnika [iv, 2, 60], the Vaiydkarana, and 
Mtmdfhsaka [gloss on ii, 2, 29]. He mentions grammarians of 
the school of Sakalya [iv, i, 18 (i)]. He also refers to military 
schools where the science of the bow was taught [Dhamtshi 
sikshate, i, 3, 21 (3)]. It may be noted that he mentions fight 
with cavalry [asvairyuddham) and with weapons {asiviryuddham) 
[v, I, 59 (4)]. 

‘ Parishads.’ Lastly, we have also references to the Parishads. 
We have already examined in an earlier chapter their constitution, 
composition, and functions. They were of the nature of an 
executive council regulating the relations between different 
Charanas and giving authoritative and binding decisions on the 
doubtful points in the general social laws. Panini refers to 
the Institution in two Sutras [iv, 4, 44 and loi]. In the one, the 
formation Pdrishadya is explained as one who attends a meeting, 
and therefore is a member of the Parishad, and in the other, the 
formation Pdrishada is explained as one who is clever at debates 
in the meetings of the Parishad [Parishadi sddhii]. The term 
Sabhya was used to signify the specialist in oratory [iv, 4, 105]. 

Women and Education. Women were not denied education. 
The Varttika on iv, i, 48 makes this quite clear. Women teachers, 
not their wives, are called Upddhdyi or Upddhydyd, Achdryd. 
Bhattojidikshita ^ explains these terms to mean ladies who are 
themselves teachers, while the Bdlamonoramd quotes an interest- 
ing old verse to show that in earlier times there were women 
who were well versed in Vedic literature and were called 
Brahmavddinls.^ Women-students of Vedic Sakhas are referred 
to by Panini [iv, i, 63]. Thus Kathl means the female student 
of the Katha Sdkhd ; Bahvrichl means the student who studies 
many hymns, i.e. the Rigveda [Bdlamonoramd and Kdsikd']. 
Women seem also to have been admitted to military training, 
as indicated by the formation, Sdktiki, mentioned by Patanjali 
[iv, I, 15 (6)], which means a female spear-bearer, and in this 
connection we may indeed refer to the Amazonian bodyguard 
of armed women which Megasthenes noticed in the palace of the 
emperor, Chandragupta Maurya. 

^ Yatu svayamevadhyapika. 

* Yugantare Brahmavadinyali striyal^i santi tadvishaye idam | Pura 
yugeshu narlnaih maunjibandhanamishyate | Adhyapanaihcha Vedanaih Savitrl 
vachanam tatha || iti smaranat | This shows that the women were admitted to 
the discipline of hrahmacharya as indicated by the binding of the munja girdle and 
to the studies of the Vedas and repetition of the Savitrl mantra, so that they 
would afterwards be qualified teachers. 

Chapter VII 


Kantilya’s * Arthadftstra The conditions of education 
in the Sutra period are very clearly, if somewhat succinctly, 
indicated in that famous work, the Arthaidstra of Kautilya, 
which is now regarded almost unanimously by all scholars 
as the work of the minister of the emperor, Chandragupta 
Maurya. Kautilya indicates the entire circle of the then knowledge 
as being made up of four divisions called (i) Anvikshakt, (2) 
Trayi, (3) Vdrtd, (4) Dandamti, Each of these divisions comprises 
a number of subjects or sciences. 

Subjects of Study. The name Anvikshaki stands for the 
sciences derived from subjective or metaphysical speculation 
involving keen introspection. Three such different subjects or 
systems of thought and philosophy are known to Kautilya, 
viz. Sdmkhya, Yoga, and Lokdyata, 

The division called Trayl is, of course, made up of the three 
Vedas, Sama, Rik, and Yajus. The Atharvaveda and Itihasa- 
veda are also known as Vedas. The Vedahgas are also enumerated, 
viz. Siksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chhandas, and 

The rules of studentship are clearly mentioned. 

Studentship was open to the first three castes. The first 
A^rama or stage of life obligatory upon all the three castes was 
that of studentship. 

The duties of the student comprised (i) repetition of sacred 
texts, (2) worship of fire, (3) ablution, (4) observance of the 
vow of begging, (5) service to the teacher to the end of his life 
and in his absence to his son or to the fellow-disciple. 

Certain moral and mental qualities are insisted upon as 
constituting the eligibility for studentship, implying the duties 
as mentioned above. Learning is regarded as a process of discipline 
which cannot operate successfully except upon suitable material 
[Kriydhi dravyam vinayati nddravyam]. Learning cannot train 
up any student unless he is intent upon or keen about the following 
requisites thereof, viz. (i) desire to learn, (2) receiving the lessons 




duly, (3) understanding them, (4) retaining them in memory, 
(5) reflection upon them, (6) exercise of judgment or discrimina- 
tion, and (7) love of truth. 

The need of a teacher is emphasized. The regulations regard- 
ing instruction and discipline will be determined by him according 
to the subjects of study. 

The Kautiliya gives some new information regarding the 
preliminary training to be given to a child before he is old enough 
to be admitted to formal studentship. After the ceremony of 
tonsure was over, the child was to be taught Writing {lipi) and 
Numbers (i.e. arithmetic, samkhyd). 

The studentship begins with the ceremony of Upanayana. 
Then the student is introduced to the different subjects of study 
connected with the four principal divisions of knowledge 
mentioned above under competent teachers. 

The Kautiliya is primarily concerned with the education of 
the prince belonging to the ruling Kshatriya caste for which the 
following details are given. 

The studentship of a prince is to continue only up to his 
sixteenth year when he must marry. During this necessarily 
short term ^ of his studentship, he is to pursue a threefold course 
of studies. The first course is in the department of the Trayt 
and Anvikshaki, i.e. religious and philosophical subjects. The 
teachers of this course must be Sishtas, i.e. teachers who^ie 
authority was acknowledged as much for their character as for 
their learning. The second course of studies was connected 
with Vdrtd, i.e. subjects relating to agriculture, cattle-rearing, 
and trade. These subjects the prince must study under practical 
experts, viz. the heads of the several actual government depart- 
ments administering the interests pertaining thereto. The 
third course for the prince was in Dandaniti or the science and art 
of government. The teachers should be those who were equally 
proficient in the theory and practice of administration. 

Even after his marriage the prince was to continue his 
studies, for which a time-table is given. In the forenoon he is 
to receive training in the military arts connected with the four 
departments of the army, viz. the elephant, the horse, the chariot, 
and the infantry (which implies training in the art of handling 
various weapons of war). The afternoon he is to spend in listening 

1 Considering that the Dharma-satras prescribe the eleventh year as the age 
when the Kshatriya is to commence studentship, its term for the prince would 
thus comprise only six years. 


to discourses on Itihdsa, which included, according to Kautilya, 
the following subjects, viz. Purana, Itivritta, Akhyayika, 
UdaJiarana, Dharmasastra, and Artha^astra. During the avail- 
able intervals of day and night he is to acquire new and revise 
old knowledge. In the case of lessons not grasped, he must listen 
to repeated instruction. Besides these studies, companionship 
with men of ripe wisdom and culture is also prescribed for the 
prince as the root of mental and moral growth. In the case of a 
king, such companionship was afforded by his Purohita whom 
he is to obey as the pupil his preceptor, the son his father, or 
the servant his master. As regards the qualifications of the 
Purohita, it is stated that he must have the culture and character 
of a family well versed in traditional learning, fully educated 
in the Vedas, the six Vedahgas, the science of portents and 
omens, the art of administration, and able, by his knowledge 
and application of the Atharvan remedies, to ward off calamities 
due to divine and human agencies. 

Schools o! Arthas&stra. That the Sutra period was an age 
of specialization leading to the growth of numerous schools of 
thought in various subjects of study then known is also shown 
by the evidence of Kautilya. In connection with the special 
subject of the Artha^astra with which alone he is concerned 
in the book, he refers to a number of Schools named after their 
founders which all grew up long before his time. These Schools 
are called the Manavah, Barhaspatyah, Au^anasah, Parasarah, 
and Ambhiyah. Besides Schools, individual specialists are also 
mentioned, viz. Bharadvaja, Visalaksha, Para^ara, Pisuna, 
Kaunapadanta, Vatavyadhi, Bahudantiputra, Katyayana, 
Kanihka-Bharadvaja, Dirgha-Charayana, Ghotamukha, 
Kihjalka, and Pi^unaputra.^ 

^ A convenient list of these names is given in Professor D. R. Bhandarkar’s 
Carmichael Lectures, 1918, pp. 89, 90, 

In this connection we may note the exact significance of the name Arthaiastra 
as defined by Kautilya himself. Artha — the source of livelihood of men = the 
earth as peopled by men whom it supports. The Artha-^dstra is the science 
(and art) dealing with the means by which the earth of human beings is to be 
acquired and maintained. Thus it comes to mean the science and art of govern- 
ment [p. 426 of Dr. Shama Sastri's edition of the Kautilfya]. 

It may also be pointed out that though the evidence of the Kautillya has 
been considered here in connection with the Sutra period, that work is not a 
t 3 q)ical Sfltra work, made up as it is of both sutras and bhdshyas or commentaries, 
as Kautilya himself reminds us at the end of the book. 

Chapter VIII 


Legal Evidence.^ ^ We may conveniently deal here with the 
very interesting educational evidence furnished in the Smritis 
or the Hindu legal literature proper. The evidence is very fully 
presented in the Digest of Hindu Law prepared by Colebrooke, 
upon which the following account is based. 

Litigation between Teacher and Pupil. The law-books 
have to discuss the relations between the teacher and the taught 
in connection with the question, To what extent, or under what 
circumstances, those relations can become the subject-matter 
of suits or legal proceedings ? 

According to Narada, When a man yields not the obedience 
he has promised, it is called a breach of promised obedience, 
which is a title of law.'' '' Persons bound to obedience are in law 
declared by the learned to be properly of four kinds, viz. those 
fcr science, human knowledge, love, or pay " (Brihaspati). 
Of these, the first class is comprised by the pupils proper who 
seek the acquisition of the knowledge of “ science ", i.e. of the 
Vedas and the like, while the second class by the apprentices 
or technical students who seek the acquisition of skill in arts or 
" human sciences " (Narada). 

" The wise have declared their general dependence " (ib.), 
which means that they are not their own masters but are them- 
selves subject to masters. This may further mean that they 
are incapable of acquiring wealth for themselves as pupils, or 
are liable to punishment for violation of their master's commands. 

Brihaspati describes the subjects of study of the pupil 
proper to be the triple science, Rik, Yajus, and Sama- Vedas. 
" For these let him pay obedience to a spiritual teacher, as 
directed by the law." This means that, as the commentator 
points out, he who yields it not may be reproved or chastised 
by the teacher, and the preceptor offends not." 

The infliction of punishment as a disciplinary measure on 
the pupil by his teacher is held to be perfectly legal. " In case of 
strife between teacher and pupil . . . their mutual litigation is not 




legal ” {Smfiti). The teacher’s right to punish is also emphasized 
by Manu who also gives directions for its exercise by way of 
indicating its limiting conditions which it would be illegal for 
the teacher to transgress. “ A pupil may be corrected when he 
commits faults with a rope or the small shoot of a cane but on 
the back part only of his body, and not on any noble part by 
any means.” Says Gautama : “ The correction of a pupil for 
ignorance or incapacity should be given with a small rope or 
shoot of a cane ; the teacher shall be punished by the king, 
if he strike with any other instrument.” 

The law-books contemplate the contrary possibility of the 
case of a pupil striking his preceptor. Such an offending pupil 
will, according to Yajnavalkya, have his punishment equal to 
that of the highest scale of crime. 

The meaning of these regulations is very well explained by 
Vijnane^vara. According to one regulation cited above, all 
litigation between teacher and pupil is illegal. The fact of the 
matter is “ that a suit preferred before the king is irregular, 
and, preferred by the teacher against his pupil, is forbidden. 
But if the pupil violate his duty, and the teacher being weak is 
not able to correct him, it is consistent with common sense 
that he should then apply to the king ; for, by violating his duty, 
the pupil absolutely becomes pashanda or irreligious ”. “ The 

litigation of teachers and the rest is not laudable, either in a 
moral or civil law ; therefore pupils and others should, in the 
first instance, be discouraged by the king or the court. But in 
very important cases, the suits of pupils may be entertained in 
the form mentioned.” Thus, in regard to punishment, ” if a 
teacher, from an impulse of wrath, strike his pupil with a great 
staff on a noble part (of his body), then should the pupil, hurt 
in a mode contrary to law, complain to the king, there exists a 
subjecf of litigation.” 

The duties of studentship are thus stated. “ Until he 
acquires the science, let the pupil diligently obey his preceptor ; 
his conduct should be the same towards the preceptor’s wife 
and his son : Afterwards, performing the stated ceremonies on 
his return home, and giving to his instructor the gratuity of a 
teacher, let him return to his own house. This conduct is prescribed 
to the pupil ” (Narada). Violation of duties under these injunc- 
tions cannot be subject-matter of litigation. The commentator 
has the following explanation : “ The suit of a teacher, if his 
gratuity be not paid, is not mentioned by any other author : 



but hell is the pupil’s fate, if he pay not a gratuity to his 
instructor.” Obedience to the teacher implies the pupil’s depend- 
ence on him, so that “ he should not go anjwhere, nor consume 
anything, without his preceptor’s orders ; and what he acquires 
by labour should be delivered to the teacher ”, As Yajnavalkya 
puts the matter : “ When called, let him study ; and deliver what 
is gained to his teacher.” The commentator takes this to be a 
moral ordinance. The pupil has the legal right to give away 
to anyone he pleases either his paternal property or property 
acquired by him during his minority, though if it is given away 
without the knowledge or the consent of his teacher there will 
be a violation of his moral duties. “ The pupil must also perform 
other labour in his preceptor’s house.” As Yajnavalkya puts it, 
" Let him constantly promote his teacher’s benefit, by every 
exertion of mind, speech, body, and action.” 

Bights of Property in respect of Gains of Learning. We 
have in the legal literature another kind of interesting educational 
evidence in connection with the discussion of property which is 
not subject to partition. An example of such property is ” wealth 
acquired by learning ” as stated by Manu. Other law-givers 
describe the various means by which wealth can be acquired by 
learning and the description thus necesstftily acquaints us with 
some typical facts and features in the intellectual life of the times 
and some characteristic educational institutions. 

The following texts of Katyayana will speak for themselves : 

What has been acquired by learning, after instruction 
received from a stranger and a maintenance provided by one of a 
different family, is called wealth gained by learning (i). 

What is gained by proving superior learning, after a prize 
has been offered by some third person, must be considered as the 
acquisition of a scholar, and ought not in general to be divided 
among co-heirs {2). 

So what has been received as a gift from a pupil, as a gratuity 
for the performance of a sacrifice, as a fee for answering a question 
in casuistry, or for ascertaining a doubtful point of law ; or what 
has been gained as a reward for displaying knowledge, or for 
victory in a learned contest, or for reading the Veda with trans- 
cendent ability (3). 

Such wealth have the sages declared to be the acquisition of 
science, and not subject to distribution ; and the law is the same 
in regard to liberal or elegant arts, and to increase of price from 
superior skill in them (4). 



A prize which has been offered for the display of superior 
learning and a gift received from a votary for whom a sacrifice 
was formerly performed, or a present from a pupil formerly 
instructed, sages have declared to be the acquisition of science : 
what is otherwise acquired is the joint property of the co-heirs (5). 

Even what is won by surpassing another in learning, after 
a stake has been deposited, Brihaspati pronounces the acquisition 
of knowledge and impartible (6). 

What is obtained by the b6ast of learning, what is received 
from a pupil, or for the performance of a sacrifice, Bhrigu calls 
the acquisition of science (7). 

Yet Brihaspati has ordained that wealth shall be partible 
if it was gained by learned brothers who were instructed in the 
family by their father, or by their paternal grandfather or 
uncles (8). 

In case of increment to paternal wealth, the acquirer gets 
a double share according to the following text of Vasishtha : 

He among the brothers who singly acquires wealth shall take 
a double share of it (9). 

Narada mentions a distinction in the case of Vidyddhana 
(gains qf learning) of a certain kind : 

He who, be he eVer so ignorant, maintains the family of 
a brother while engaged in study will share the wealth which that 
brother may gain by his learning (10). 

Variety ol Educational Institutions. Thus these texts point 
to a variety of institutions through which the spread of learning 
and culture was promoted. 

In (i) we have a reference to the normal method of imparting 
instruction to a pupil who has to leave his parental home and 
maintenance and live with his chosen preceptor who gives him 
free board, lodging, and tuition. But though usual and ordinary, 
this particular mode of acquisition of learning in which 
the pupil is not supported during the period of his tuition by 
his paternal property has, as shown in the text, important legal 
consequences to the material gains which he may subsequently 
realize from his learning. 

In (8) is indicated the parallel practice of giving to boys 
education in their own homes, the preceptor being their father, 
grandfather, or uncle. The special proficiency shown by a par- 
ticular son with the necessarily superior earning power it gives 
him is duly recognized by law, as shown in (9). 

In (10) we have a reference to the third variety in the methods 



of educational organization. Where a preceptor would not 
admit a pupil for his inability to maintain him and yet is regarded 
as indispensable for his education, the pupil was allowed to bring 
his own means of maintenance with him and become a paying 
member of his preceptor's family. The text pictures to us a 
dutiful brother, himself devoid of learning, being anxious for the 
learning of a more promising brother whom he supports at school 
by his own self-sacrifice which is duly recognized and rewarded 
in law. 

Presents to Teacher. In (3) and (5) is indicated the time- 
honoured Hindu institution of paying voluntary fees to the 
preceptor for all the pains and expenses he undergoes in educating 
his pupil. In fact the usual source of the preceptor's property 
and maintenance is the presents of his pupils whether just dis- 
charged from their studentship or formerly instructed. In the case 
of the latter we have another proof of the abiding cordiality of 
the relations between the teacher and the taught which are 
cultivated with so much care under so many regulations during 
the period of the tuition and are expected to continue beyond 
it and indeed lasted through life. 

Higher Academic Activities. Besides the school for the 
young or the pupils proper, we have in the other texts references 
to institutions of a higher type meant for the advancement of 
learning of and by the elderly and mature scholars through the 
opportunities they afford of varied and vital academical inter- 
course. The friction of minds is necessary for sharpening their 
powers and strengthening their grasp of truth which must not 
remain only as a matter of one's subjective realization. The 
mastery of truth has to be proved by objective standards and 
established against external criticism. It is this sound principle 
of pedagogics on the basis of which the Nyaya philosophy has 
laid down Suhritprdpti as one of the aids to the acquisition of 
knowledge. Truth must triumph over all attacks. Hence the 
remarkable development in all ages of Indian culture-history of 
these characteristically Hindu institutions of academic gatherings 
for the purpose of holding intellectual tournaments, those 
Philosophical Conferences and Science Congresses which were 
known to India as early as 1000 B.c., as shown by the evidence 
of the Brdhmanas and Upanishads already dealt with. 

In the texts (2)-(6) are indicated various types of learned 
debates and dialectical contests with the different forms of 
recognition given to intellectual primacy. 



Upany&sa. According to (2), the intellectual contest or 
examination is held, and the superiority of learning is proved, 
in the field of Upanydsa which is “ explained in the Madanaratna 
to be the recitation of the Vedas in the several modes of stringing 
together the different padas or words such as Krama, Jatd, etc. 
Others say it means the exposition of abstruse topics in an 
assembly [Vydvahdra-Mayukha ^]. The prize of victory offered 
is in accordance with established tradition and approved precedent 
and practice as shown in the Satapatha Brdhmana already 
referred to. 

Praina ; V&da. In (3), there is a reference to various kinds 
of intellectual competition and competence. The principal 
sources of the preceptor's property are indicated. They are the 
presents of pupils and the fees for performing sacrifices paid 
by a votary. Thus the two normal occupations of a learned 
Brahmin were teaching and priestcraft. Next, there is a reference 
to controversial social questions {praina) in the solution of which 
learned men found opportunities of proving their merit and 
honourably earning money. According to the Smriti-Chrandikd, 
the Praina as a source of the gain of learning is that relating to 
the determination of the suitable atonement or prdyaichitta 
for the minor sins (upapdtaka). This indicates the specialization of 
some learned men in social legislation. Thirdly, there is a reference 
to the settlement of doubts of a person regarding the meaning 
of a particular ordinance or deciding a question of law between 
two contending parties who apply for an award {Mitdkshard), 
Thus some learned men would specialize in law and serve on 
the Parishads and find ample means of livelihood from a legal 
career, either from arbitration or giving consultations " and 
opinions (somewhat like the Chamber practice " of lawyers 
in modern times). Sometimes again a young scholar would have 
his learning and ability recognized by others and so would be 
selected for gifts by the wealthy acting on the public opinion 
about him. Sometimes victory in a Vdda explained as a ** contest 
relative to sacred literature or any other learned controversy " 
would be amply rewarded. 

Pr&dhyayanam. There is again a reference to cases where 
something is proposed to be given away for which there are many 
deserving competitors. In such cases Prddhyayanam, i.e. abihty 

' Kramajatadlnam samkalitanam p§Ltha iti Madanaratne \ Sabhayam 
gCidhaprameyavivjriti iti kechit | The Smfiti-Chandrikd explsLins it as * Vargatya- 
gadivaichitryeija upanyaste *. 



in reciting the Veda would be adopted as the standard for 
determinitig superiority of learning. Some take Prddhyayanam 
to be not superior recitation of the Veda but '' the excellent 
lecture of it such as the recital of one Sakha of the Veda 
in one day It may also mean recital of the Puranas and the 
like. As regards intellectual contests, the commentators draw 
attention to the fact that sometimes a prize may be previously 
announced for victory or display of superior learning or 
sometimes though no such prize may be offered the victor may 
win his due reward from a rich man in the assembly moved to 
make a gift by the satisfaction afforded to him by overcoming 
an adversary in disputation Such kinds of spontaneous 
literary patronage must have been of very usual occurrence in 
the academic life of the country when they have been noticed 
in the law-books as constituting a source of income to the learned 
men. Wealth could always be depended upon to come forward 
in support of learning. Again, ‘'a fee for answering a question 
in casuistry {praina) is sometimes explained as ''a reward 
received on account of the gratification afforded by the solution of 
a question. For instance, a man possessing immense knowledge 
attends a universal monarch and discusses a question proposed 
by him ; though he do not gain the victory (for even in con- 
troversy a conqueror of worlds is invincible) yet, spreading lustre 
over the assembly, he receives a reward from the monarch 
Regarding Prddhyayanam y some commentators take objection 
to its meaning as merely reading the Veda with transcendent 
ability ”. Their view is that “ the wages of mere transcribers, 
and generally the fee received from the audience for reading 
the Veda, Puranas, and the like, without transcendent skill in 
poetry, and in explaining the sense of poems : this, and other 
similar gains, according to Chande^vara and the rest, are not 
the acquisition of science. In fact in all cases whatsoever 
wherein superior skill is required the wealth gained is technically 
denominated the acquisition of science. Otherwise it is simply 
wealth acquired by the man himself The fees from 
Prddhyayanam (whatever may be the right meaning of the term) 
regarded as a source of income to the learned point without 
doubt to that remarkable agency of popular education under 
which readings in the Vedas, Puranas, and other sacred literature 
were organized by means of circles of competent scholars who 
specialized in such readings before the larger assemblies of the 
common people. 



Appliances ot Learning Impartible. In (4) we see how 

property in the special gains derived from superior technical 
skill (‘ such as that of painters, goldsmiths, and the like, and even 
of gaming ') is governed by the same laws as those applying in 
the sphere of liberal learning. 

Along with the Vidyddhana or gains of learning as acquired 
in the various ways explained above, the necessary implements 
or appliances of learning or of arts are also to be deemed impartible, 
e.g. books and the like in the study of the Vedas, etc. ", or 
" pencils and tools " for the study of the fine arts. Books are 
" not to be shared by ignorant brethren. So what is adapted to the 
arts belongs to artists, not to persons ignorant of the particular 
art ". 

Teacher as Heir ol Pupil. The relationship of a teacher, 
a pupil, or a priest has been given a distinct legal value in Hindu 
Law. According to Baudhayana, on failure of all heirs claiming 
any sort of blood-relationship, "the spiritual preceptor, the pupil, 
or the priest engaged to perform sacrifices, shall take the 
inheritance." The Achdrya, spiritual preceptor, is defined by 
Baudhayana as "he who girds the pupil with the sacrificial 
cord and instructs him in the Vedas ". On failure of these heirs 
the succession passes on to the fellow-student " who studies 
the Veda under the same teacher ". According- to the law as 
laid down by Gautama, the legal heirs may also include " persons 
allied by funeral oblations, family name, and by patriarchal 
descent ", but commentators differ as to whether this remote 
relationship in blood has precedence over the relationship in 
learning. At any rate it must be observed that the law accords 
a lower status to the spirituil relationship through learning than 
that given to it by the rules relating to Brahmacharya under 
which the preceptor is to be regarded as the equal of the pupil's 
parents as regards the reverence and obedience due from him. 
This equality, as has been already pointed out, was emphasized 
in a much earlier age when we find its recognition in a Sutra 
of Panini relating to the relationship of blood and learning — 
vidydyonisambandha — to which is to be applied the same gram- 
matical suffix. 

Property accruing to a person in pupilage. The institution 
of the young pupil leaving his home and parents to live with 
his preceptor for education had its own legal consequences which 
are duly provided for. For it may so often happen that during 
this period of the pupil's tuition, " wealth may descend to him 



by inheritance and become his property/' In such a case Manu 
thus lays down the law : The king should guard the property 
which descends to an infant by inheritance until he returns 
from the house of his preceptor." 

Property of Ascetics. Lastly, the law relating to the inheri- 
tance of anchorites and devotees gives some interesting evidence. 
According to Yajnavalkya [ii, 137] the heirs who take the wealth 
of a V dnaprastha (a hermit), of a Yati (an ascetic), and a Brah~ 
machdrl are in their order the preceptor, the virtuous pupil 
{Satiishya), and one who is a supposed brother and belongs 
to the same order {dharmabhrdtd and ekatlrthl). Here we have a 
reference to some typical Hindu institutions. The term 
Brdhmachdrl points to the institution of perpetual studentship. 
The pupil who adopts this vow (of continuing as a student 
through life without marrying and entering upon the house- 
holder's state) is technically known as Naishthika, the temporary 
student being called an Updkurvdna, Next we have the term 
Dharmabhrdta, the spiritual brother, the brother by religious 
duties. The term Ekatlrthi means one resident in the same holy 
place, i.e. the same hermitage, and hence pupil of the same 
preceptor [Viramitrodaya], The Satiishya, the virtuous pupil, 
is he who is " versed in the study of revelation concerning the 
supreme soul and in preserving that sacred science ". Such a 
man is the most suitable for inheriting the effects of one whose 
teachings and practices and way of life would have a chance 
of surviving him through his successor. The wealth of the deceased 
is best utilized when it is consecrated to the ideals and purposes 
for which he lived and worked. 

Chapter IX 


The Sfitras of Six Systems of Philosophy : their Origins. The 

account of Education in the Sutra period will not be complete 
without a consideration of what may be gathered about it from 
a special type and class of Sutras or aphorisms presenting \;^at 
are known as the six systems of philosophy. In the history 
of Hindu thought, and also from the educational point of view, 
these philosophical Sutras are possessed of a singular significance 
and value. 

It is, however, to be noted that these do not represent the 
very first fruits of Indian philosophical speculation which had 
been in progress from time immemorial. This is seen in the large 
stock of ideas and technical terms upon which, as the common 
inheritance from a bygone age, the different Schools of Philosophy 
have freely drawn in constructing their own systems. The 
philosophical Sutras systematize and codify the speculation which 
is exhibited in an exuberant growth in the Brdhmanas and older 
Upanishads, while that growth itself has sprung out of germs 
contained in a still earlier literature. Indian Philosophy has had, 
indeed, a very old and continuous history. The early streaks, 
the dawn of philosophy, are to be discovered in the Vedic Mantras, 
while the Upanishads show the meridian. The Upanishads 
contain many technical terms like Brahman, Atman, Dharma, 
Vrata, Yoga, Mimamsa, and the like, which point to the activity 
of speculation in the previous ages, a vast accumulation of religious 
and philosophical thought upon which they are able to draw. 
The Upanishads themselves picture the stirring intellectual 
activity of which they are the products, an activity which, 
as we have already seen, passed from the solitary hermitages in 
forests of isolated Brahmana ascetics to the busy haunts of men, 
the courts of kings, where it became almost a national concern, 
a fairly popular pursuit, and not the monopoly of a special caste. 
The Upanishads, indeed, as Max Muller remarked, represent 
India as a nation of philosophers with innumerable centres of 
intellectual activity scattered throughout the country, so that 



we find men of practically all castes and classes — men and women, 
Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and even Sudras — sharing in that 
activity, as is seen, for instance, in the anecdotes already related 
of Satyakama Jabala of unknown parentage and of Raikva 
called a Sudra, both of whom made their mark in philosophical 
studies. But the starting-point of all this activity is to be found 
in the Rigveda itself where we already see speculation earnest on 
solving the riddle of creation by grasping the Unity behind its 
diversity. A sense of diversity in the world of appearances 
expresses itself in the creation of a richly varied Vedic 
pantheon, of gods like Agni, Indra, Vanina, and Vayu, 
but behind this variety is the underlying conception of the 
One extending as a god to the gods from afar and embracing 
this universe \Rv., ii, 24, ii], who is called in His different 
aspects as Hiranyagarbha, Prajapati, Vi^vakarma [viii, 89, 3], 
Brihaspati, or Brahmanaspati, the god of all gods, culminating 
in Brahman and Atman. Lastly, it may be noted that this 
nascent philosophic thought handed down by oral tradition 
or embodied in what Max Muller has well called Mnemonic 
literature produced an extraordinary volume and variety of 
opinions long before the rise of the philosophical Sutras or systems. 
Some evidence of this luxuriant growth of speculation is furnished 
by one of the Suttas or Sermons supposed to have been preached 
by the Buddha himself, viz. the Brahma-jdla-sutta (literally, 
the net of Brahma in which all philosophical theories are caught 
up like fishes in a net). In that work, the Buddha mentions as 
many as sixty-two different schools of philosophy prevailing in the 
country even in that early age, together with many subdivisions 
of such schools which he criticizes and condemns in his pursuit 
of Truth. 

Their Ages. In the midst of this multiplicity of schools of 
thought, the six systems of philosophy have stood out and held 
their own as the most typical and representative of them all. 
The six systems have come to be distinguished as orthodox 
systems from the heterodox systems of the Buddhists, Jains, 
and Charvakas, because they are all somehow reconcilable 
with the Vedic system, though they mutually differ in their 
relations to the same. The six systems are known as (i) the 
Sdfhkhya of Kapila, (2) Yoga of Patanjali, (3) Nydya of Gautama, 
(4) Vaiieshika of Kanada, (5) Karma of "^Purva Mzmdmsd of 
Jaimini, and (6) Sdrtraka or Uttara Mzmdmsd ot Veddnta of 
Badarayana. It is to be noted that the philosophers to whom 

26 o 


these systems are ascribed were not necessarily their originators. 
They gave the final form to the Sutras which themselves refer to 
older philosophers. Some of the Sutras, again, refer to the opinions 
of other Sutras, which shows that the different philosophical 
Schools were already in existence before the final redaction of the 
Sutras took place. It may further be noted that the extant literary 
works in which the doctrines of the six systems are embodied are 
themselves much later in date than their original founders. Thus 
the Sdfhkhya’Kdrikd of I ^ vara Krishna, giving the best exposition 
of the Saihkhya system, which was taken by Paramartha to 
China in a.d. 546, is generally considered to be not older than 
the fourth century a.d., the period of Indian literary revival 
under the Gupta emperors. Similarly, Badarayana, Jaimini, 
Kanada, or Patanjali are to be regarded as mere eponymous 
founders of their respective philosophical schools, so that what- 
ever might be the date of the actual composition of the Sutras 
embodying their systems, they were ascribed to them in accord- 
ance with the characteristic and time-honoured Hindu literary 
practice of fathering the subsequent works of disciples upon 
their gurus (though there might be occasionally exceptions to 
this practice, as in the case of Saunaka suppressing his own 
work in favour of his disciples). Thus though, on grounds of rigid 
chronological standard, the philosophical Sutras do not come 
within the Sutra period proper, they may be justifiably con- 
sidered as belonging to that period on the basis of what Max 
Muller aptly calls ** the chronology of thought ” by which we 
are able to distinguish between the three phases of Vedic thought 
represented by Mantras, Brahmanas, and Upanishads, followed 
by the period of the Sutra literature, during which even the 
Buddhists were composing their Suttas after the literary fashion 
of the times. 

Systems of Philosophy as Systems 0! Discipline and Educa- 
tion. These systems of philosophy insist on their own ideas and 
systems of discipline by which the pupil has to acquire and fulfil 
those qualifications and conditions that are required of him 
by way of adhikdra or eligibility for his chosen philosophical 
studies. This course of arduous preparatory discipline is dictated 
by the typical Hindu point of view which treats philosophy not 
as a mere subject of study through books but as something 
to be lived, like religion, as truth to be realized. It was studied 
as a means for the attainment of the highest truth or mukti, 
emancipation which one is to attain by stages of experience. 


each representing a specific degree of conquest achieved over the 
body and the material world. A system of philosophy is a system 
of Release. Thus philosophical study is bound up with a system 
of discipline. 

At the outset it is to be noted that the different Schools 
of Philosophy rest on a common system of discipline as their 
foundation. This system is known as Varndiramadharma, the 
regulations belonging to the different castes and diramas of life. 
These comprise the various samskdras or sacraments prescribed 
for the different stages of life : Upanayana, Brahmacharya, and 
Samdvartana (graduation) for its first stage, that of Studentship ; 
the various sacrifices prescribed for the householder's life (already 
described) ; the rules for the gradual detachment from the world 
in the third stage of the forest-dwelling hermit ; followed by the 
last stage of a wandering mendicant to be devoted wholly to 
meditation [for details see my Hindu Civilization, London, 1936, 
pp. 128-133]. 

All these sacraments are intended to equip the finite self 
with a suitable physical body which might sustain the burden 
of the arduous pursuit of knowledge through life. The Chhdndogya 
Upanishad [viii, 15] thus describes the life of the ideal house- 
holder brought up under this system. He who returns home 
from the family of his teacher, after the prescribed study of the 
Veda carried on in the time remaining over from his work for 
the teacher, and continues the private study of the Veda in his 
own household in a pure neighbourhood, trains up pious sons 
and pupils, subdues all his organs in the soul, and injures no 
living beings except for a sacred purpose — he, in truth, if he 
maintains this manner of life all his days, enters into the world of 
Brahman and does not return." Even such a householder by 
way of further purification and progress has to retire from his 
household, renounce the world, and take to the forest to live 
the life of an anchorite in meditation, penances, fasts, living on 
food that is not the outcome of cultivation, and offering a few 
select sacrifices, then, in the last stage, performing the prdjdpatya 
sacrifice at which he gives away all his meagre belongings as the 
sacrificial fee, he wanders about as a mendicant, conquering 
Desire and attaining Brahman. 

On the basis of this common foundation of a disciplined hfe, 
each of these systems of philosophy has built up its own methods 
of education, training, and discipline. This is indicated by 
the use of the word atha with which the different philosophical 


Sutras begin. The word is used in two senses, the first by way 
of auspicious beginning and a literary formality and the second 
to indicate the continuity of the exposition, presupposing a 
course of preparatory training. This sense is called dnantarydrtha. 
This course of preparatory training is different in different 
schools of philosophy. 

The Discipline of Vedftnta. As the best example of these 
special systems of discipline, we shall begin with that of the 
Vedanta which describes it more fully than the other schools of 
philosophy, while it is also described by no less an authority 
and philosopher than Sankara in his Bhdshya on the Vedanta- 
Sutras, and also in his Upadeiasdhasn, The following account 
is based on these works. 

Views of iSahkara. Sankara begins by defining the subject- 
matter of Vedanta. It is Brahma-jijnasdy '' an inquiry into 
Brahman,** and not Dharma-jijndsdy the inquiry into Dharma,** 
which is the subject of Purva-Mtmdmsd, 

Study of Texts. The student of Vedanta will thus study 
those Vedic texts which deal with Brahman, excluding those 
which deal with Dharma and the acts or rituals which are 
prescribed for purposes of Dharma. These are not his concern, 
because they lead only to transitory felicity, and not to eternal 
bliss which is his objective. Of the Vedic texts, Sankara says that 
the teacher should first tCach those bearing upon the unity of 
Self and then those containing definitions of Brahman, the 
Supreme Self, 

The study of these select Vedic texts is to be carried out in 
the prescribed manner under the discipline of brahmacharya. 
Mere desire for philosophical study is not enough qualification 
for it. One must acquire an inner capacity for it, and this can be 
acquired only by a preliminary study of the Veda as a 

Discipline of Ailramas. The discipline of the other diramas 
of life is also necessary for the purpose. It is necessary for purifying 
and preparing the mind so that it can grasp Brahman as the 
only and ultimate Reahty. This means that the mind must be 
able to discriminate between the eternal and the non-eternal 
{nitydnitya-viveka) y to perceive the ephemeral character of the 
world so as to detach itself from it and ultimately to renounce it 
in an utter indifference to all enjoyment both here and hereafter 
{ihdmutrabhoga-virdga) . Then alone will be awakened in the disciple 
the desire to know the Brahman {brahma-jijfidsd). One must be 


fired with the desire for self-realization as the only way to 
salvation Ijnumukshutva). 

Steps 0! Self-realization. For this self-realization the follow- 
ing steps are thus prescribed : — 

(1) Sravana, ** hearing of Vedanta texts as expounded by 
the teacher ** ; 

(2) Manana, ** reflection on their meaning ; 

(3) Nididhydsana, constant meditation on the Self described 
in those texts/' 

This process is to be continued until the immediate appre- 
hension of Reality is achieved. 

Meditation and its Stages. Constant practice of meditation 
is required to develop the faculty whereby the Self can be realized, 
just as constant practice alone can awaken the musical faculty 
which enables a perception of the niceties of sound and tone. 

But it is not easy to meditate on and realize the Self at once. 
A start may be made by taking Him as the Sun (as his most 
conspicuous manifestation) and then as Akdia, 

These minor Meditations will lead up to the final Meditation 
on the true Self. 

Meditation is always to be practised in a sitting posture or 
one conducive to its uninterrupted continuance, for which the 
best time and place should be selected. 

This Meditation as a means and process of self-realization 
presupposes much preparation. First, the body as the vehicle 
of mind is to be purified by penances. Then, the mind has to 
be cleansed by Restraints {yama), Observances [niyama], and 
Austerities (tapas). For the Mind, the most important discipline 
is its one-pointedness {ekdgratd) or concentration, the best of 
virtues, to be achieved by overcoming its usual states defined 
as (i) Kshipta, '' distraction " ; (2) Vikshipta, ** lack of con- 

tinuous concentration " ; (3) Mudha, ** sluggishness." Ekdgratd 
then leads to the final stage of mental discipline, the stage of 
Nirodha or total suspension of mental activity {vritti). The 
Mind is also to be further purged of its notions of " I " and 
" Mine " as impurities so as to enable it to receive the knowledge 
of the Self. 

Sankara marks out three stages in this Meditation leading 
up to a knowledge of the Self, viz. (i) the seeker after Truth 
is to start by meditating anything he chooses either within his 
own " heart " (as representing a specific centre of experience in 
spiritual discipline), or outside his body as apart from its name 



and form ; (2) the second stage is that of uninterrupted medita- 
tion upon the One Entity, Absolute, Impartite, of tht nature of 
Sat-Chit-Ananda, ” the Supreme and only Reality, Self-luminous 
Consciousness, and Bliss ” ; (3) in the third stage the sddhaka 
remains completely immobile in rapturous self-realization, in 
which all notion of “ mine ” with reference to the body {dehdtma- 
bodha) has melted away and the Higher Self is realized. He 
henceforth passes all his time in meditation. 

It will thus be apparent that such supreme knowledge can 
come only to one who has conquered desire for son, wealth, and 
fame, has renounced the world, and is in the fourth dsrama 
of life, as a wandering mendicant marked by the virtues known 
as Sama, “ control of the overt behaviour.” Dama, “ regulation 
of the inner impulses,” Samddhdna, “ attention and con- 
centration of mind,” Sraddhd, ” faith,” Titikshd, ‘‘ ability to 
bear with equanimity the tensions caused by the operation of 
stimuli coming froni antagonistic qualities, and by the appetites 
of the body,” and, lastly, Uparati, “ ability to withdraw one’s 
mind completely from the external stimuli.” 

In fine, Sankara’s scheme of Vedantic discipline is that 
thought and feelings, attitudes and dispositions, impulses and 
behaviour, are all to be shaped into new configurations. Conscious 
reflection on the background of these mental patterns brings 
home to the disciple a new order of values, other than those of 
ordinary life. Thus the study of the Vedanta is to proceed on 
the basis of such a re-oriented personality. 

Views of other Philosophers : Suresvara. Sure^vara presents 
his scheme as follows. To achieve liberation {naishkarmasiddhi) , 
one must destroy his ignorance which is non-realizat’ion of the 
unity of Self. This cannot be done by performance of religious 
rites which can, however, help it indirectly by purifying- the 
mind by detaching it from all pleasures of this world or the 
next, as they are found to be ephemeral. Thence arises vairdgya, 
renunciation, followed by meditation on Vedic texts like " Tat 
Tvam asi ”. Another help towards this consummation is stated 
to be ashtdnga-yoga by which consciousness of external objects is 
lost. These eight aitgas orfactorsof Yoga are (i) Yama, “ restraints 
in the form of virtues like ahithsd, non-violence, and santosha 
or aparigraha, continence ” ; (2) Niyama, “ observances like 

cleanliness, saucha, sacrifices, repeating of Mantras, pouring of 
libations into fire, offerings to forefathers, charity, fasts, etc.” ; 


(3) Asana, postures for meditation ; (4) Prdndydma, '' regulation 
of breath by its inhalation, inhibition, and exhalation ; literally, 
“ control of prdna, the vital plane, i.e. control of springs of 
impulses " ; (5) Pratydhdra, “ detachment '' ; (6) Dhdrand, 

retention and elaboration ; (7) Dhydna, ** contemplation 

of divinities like Siva, Vishnu, and the like ; and (8) Samddhi, 
** absorption in meditation/* 

^Vidy&ra^ya. In his Anubhutiprakdia, Vidyaranya repeats 
the three means of attaining knowledge, viz. Sravana, Manana, 
which he defines as reflection on what has been heard to remove 
doubts, and Nididhydsana, defined as constant meditation to 
check tendency to error. He further points out that renunciation 
is indispensable to such meditation, because property entails 
activity. Therefore, property, i.e. all longing for progeny, wealth, 
fame, has to be given up for attaining knowledge. This implies 
the life of a householder which alone can make such renunciation 
possible. Meditation is possible only where there is no thought 
except thought of Self. 

Sadananda. To Sadananda we owe the interesting addition 
in his Veddntasdra that students of Vedanta must guard against 
four obstacles to meditation, viz. (i) Laya, mental inertia or 
laziness of mind, (2) Vikshepa, distraction, turning of mind on 
things other than Truth, (3) Kashdya, passion which impedes 
the proper functioning of mind by kindling lust or other desires, 
and (4) Rasdsvdda, tendency towards emotive enjoyments.** 

Bdmfinuja. While Sankara eschews the study of Vedic 
texts relating to Dharma and concentrates on those relating 
only to Brahma, Ramanuja does not believe in such restriction. 
His scheme includes a course of study of the whole Veda with its 
Karma-Kanda, because he believes that such a study will lead 
to the knowledge that the results of rituals are uncertain and 
transient. This disillusionment will be followed naturally by 
the desire for that which can secure permanent results. Thence 
arises brahmajijhdsd, the earnest quest of Brahman. Thus, in 
the opinion of Ramanuja, the inquiry into the nature of 
Brahman ** may be preceded by a study of Dharma and practice 
of Vedic rituals so as to rate them at their proper worth and 
produce a sense of the eternal. 

Nimb&rka. Nimbarka follows the line of thought indicated 
by Ramanuja. He interprets the term atha to include a study of 
Dharma and performance of its rituals and argues thus : (i) A 
study of the Veda with all its six limbs (Vedangas) leads to 


(2) reflection on the true nature of Karma and its results which 
are perceived to be ephemeral and not as aids to salvation. 

(3) The result of this reflection kindles a desire for a truer under- 
standing of the Veda by (4) a study of Purva-Mlmarhsd. This 
study gives an insight into Dharma in all its phases and conse- 
quences as a system of ultimate laws. Then comes (5) a lively 
realization of the futility of Karma, of the method of rituals in 
the rehgious sphere, and of a life of objective activity and energy 
in the secular sphere. When the life of Karma is thus valued 
and exposed, (6) the problem of salvation reappears as the 
problem of problems, and (7) rouses fully " the inquiry into 

♦ The scheme of Nimbarka is ultimately an interpretation 
of the Vedanta Sutras from the standpoint of devotional love. 
First, the resources of ritualistic religion must be fully exploited, 
their elements of devotion, and incentives to energy and activity, 
by means of a thorough Vedic study and intellectual culture. 
It is then only that one can take advantage pf the higher spiritual 
discipline which takes possession of the total trends of the 
personality. Hindu thought takes philosophy in the sense of a 
totalitarian discipline and education. 

It is to be noted that in all these authoritative expositions 
of the system of training and education suitable for the study of 
Vedanta, a very minor part is assigned to study proper, i.e. study 
of the prescribed texts or literature to which so much importance 
is attached in modern and secular education. The pivot of this 
ancient system is not study of literature but an arduous struggle 
for realization of truth, a process of the gradual transformation 
of the mental plane through a progressive purification of the 
springs of action or action-tendencies {chittaiuddhi) as a means 
of meditation on the heights of which settle the eternal sunshine 
of the verities of Being. Education here is a living process of 
growth and not an ‘ additive ’ process. 

Social Implications of Vedantic Education. The dependence 
of Vedantic education on a study of the Veda raises some social 
issues which are indicated in the Sutras and fully commented 
upon by Sankara. The question is, since the study of Veda 
must await upanayana and other purificatory ceremonies from 
which the Sudras are excluded, whether the Sudras could be 
eligible for study of the Vedanta. Upanayana as a pre-requisite 
of Vedic study is recognized in Vedic literature [e.g. Sata. Br., xi, 
5. 3. 13 ; Chhdn. Upa., v, ii, 7 ; vii, i, i ; Prai. Upa., i, i]. 


while the Smritis do not consider Sudras eligible for it [e.g. Manu, 
X, 4, and 126], prohibit their hearing and studying the Veda, 
and understanding and performing Vedic ceremonies. What 
they are entitled to is a knowledge of the Puranas and Itihasas, 
which is open to all the castes. 

The Purvapakshin (critic), however, would maintain the 
eligibility of the Sudras for the study of the Vedanta on the 
grounds that (a) they desire that knowledge, (b) they are capable 
of it, (c) there is no scriptural prohibition analogous to the text, 
'' Therefore the 5 udra is unfit for performing sacrifices '' [Taitti. 
Sam., vii, i, i, 6, 7]. Badarayana's reply to these arguments as 
interpreted by Sankara is that mere desire for knowledge does 
not mean capacity for it ; mere temporal capacity is nothing ; 
spiritual capability is required in spiritual matters ; and spiritual 
capability is absent in the Sudras for their exclusion from study 
of Veda ; while the Vedic prohibition of the performance of 
sacrifices by the Sudras is due to their exclusion from the 
legitimate study of the Veda under a guru, through which alone 
a knowledge of the Veda can be acquired. 

Next, the Purvapakshin cites certain cases found in the 
Veda itself which seem to point to the imparting of Vedantic 
doctrines to a Sudra or a man of doubtful caste, e.g. Jana^ruti 
and Jabala. Appropriate answers are indicated in the Sutras 
and explained by Sankara. 

In the Chhdndogya Upanishad, iv, 1-3, Raikva first calls 
Janasruti a Sudra, and then imparts to him the Sarhvarga- 
Vidya (''a theory of Vayu and Prana as samvargdh, absorbers 
of the elements and life-organs The reply is that a single 
case does not make a rule ; that the claim to one particular Vidya 
does not mean claim to all Vidyas ; and that the epithet Sudra 
was applied by the Rishi in its etymological sense (viz. one 
who rushes into grief suchdm ahhidudrdva) to the sorrowful 
Janasruti by virtue of his supernatural insight into the king's 
mental state. Besides, in the story, Janasruti, being praised for 
the same Vidya with the Kshatriya Abhipratarin, shows that 
the former was really a Kshatriya and not a Sudra. To this 
Sankara adds the further proof of his Kshatriyahood from the 
fact that he had a steward and other similar signs of power. 
This, as aptly pointed out by Deussen, itself shows that “ for 
the time of Sankara and also for that of Badarayana it was by 
no means self-evident that a man of princely pomp and wealth 
like Janaf5ruti could not have been a Sudra ", which is 


interesting from the point of view of both political and cultural 

As regards the story of Jabala Satyakama [Chhd,, iv, 4], 
it points to the other conclusion : ‘'on account of Gautama 
proceeding to initiate Jabala on the ascertainment of his not 
being a Sudra [i, 3, 37] [' from his speaking the truth ' (Sankara)].'" 
Sankara quotes the following passage [Chhd., iv, 4, 5], on the 
point : ' None who is not a Brahmana would thus speak out. 

Go and fetch fuel, friend, I shall initiate you. You have not 
swerved from the truth." 

This way of taking the passage points to another significant 
fact that in those days " there was a disposition to let alone 
the question of Brahmanhood by birth where a Brahmanhood 
of heart and mind existed "" [Deussen, Philosophy of Veddnta]^ 
a breadth of view and cathohcity which recognized character 
as much as caste, and took liberties, when needed, with the 
social distinctions based on birth. 

Thus the Vedanta-Sutras exclude the Sudra from the 
study of the Veda to which they admit only the three twice- 
born classes. Brahmavidya is for these fit persons, and the 
Rishis and gods themselves. 

The last point of educational and social interest discussed 
in the Vedanta-Sutras is the question, How far the seeker after 
the highest Truth, the Knowledge of Brahman, is bound by the 
regulations of social life. We have already seen how the Vedanta, 
while mentioning the antecedent conditions of its study, has 
excluded the inquiry into Dharma or ceremonial religion as 
being unnecessary. The question is. Whether this exclusion 
means that the Vedantin is not to continue even as a member 
of society, subject to the laws of caste and Asramas and the 
obligations they prescribe. The conclusion of the matter is that 
he who has attained to the knowledge of the Brahman may at 
his option concern himself with such duties, but on him who 
has not yet attained it, such duties, the obligations of the four 
Airamas, are ordinarily binding. This is clear from certain 
scriptural texts cited in the Sutras, e.g. " The Brahmanas seek 
to know this (the supreme soul) by reading the Veda, by sacrifice, 
by gifts, by penance, by fasts [Bfi^ Upa,, iv, 4, 22]."" These 
conditions apply only to those who are striving after knowledge 
and are called Vdhya, external, conditions, to be distinguished 
from the other more immediate, praiydsanna, means of acquiring 
Vedantic knowledge (such as iama, dama, etc., already described). 


which should not be given up by those who have even acquired 
that knowledge. Thus there are interesting instances quoted of 
men performing sacrifices even after their attainment of the 
knowledge of Brahman, and of others abstaining from them. 
Among the former are mentioned A^vapati Kaikeya who, when 
approached for instruction by three Rishis, told them : *'1 am 
about to perform a sacrifice. Sirs ” [Chhd. Upa., v, ii] ; also 
Janaka and other princes regarding whom it is said : ''By 
Dharma only Janaka and others attained to perfection '' [Sankara 
on Sutra, iii, 4, 3]. As regards men who, knowing Brahman, 
abandoned all work, Sankara [on iii, 4, 4], cites texts such as: 
** The Rishis, descended from Kavasha, said : ‘ For what purpose 
should we study the Veda ? For what purpose should we 
sacrifice ? * 

Other Features. From the evidence adduced above we 
may gather the following facts and features regarding the educa- 
tion of the times : (i) The intellectual life of the country did not 
always centre round rituals but grew up independently in the 
atmosphere of free and pure thought. The Vedantin has nothing 
to do with Karma-Kanda or Purva-Mtmdmsd, 

(2) The condition precedent of all higher studies was the 

study of the Veda, the mastery of its words. Then follows 
bifurcation of or specialization in studies. To use the words of 
Sankara [on iii, 4, 12] : ‘‘ A man who has thus mastered the 

words of the Veda apprehends therefrom that it makes statements 
as to rituals producing certain results, and then on his own 
account applies himself to the inquiry into the meaning of those 
declarations ; he who desires to follow the path of action appUes 
himself to the knowledge of Dharma ; he who is desirous of 
Release applies himself to the knowledge of Brahman. This 
knowledge is something different from mere cognition of sense.'' 

(3) The study of the Vedanta or the inquiry into 
Brahman is necessarily for the few and spiritually advanced 
who can devote themselves to it in complete detachment from 
the world or the objects of sense. This detachment can only be 
the outcome of the process of discipline pertaining to the four 
Airamas of life or stages of its growth. This shows that the Vedanta 
was not for the novitiate ; it was rather a part of the post-graduate 
course taken up either by the Naishthika or perpetual brah- 
macharin who would renounce the world for the sake of that 
knowledge or by the man of the world fitted for it by the purifying 
discipline and experience through which he has passed. Thus 



there were various grades of culture in the country suited to its 
different classes and ranks. The progress of a country depends 
largely upon the endowment of research maintaining a group of 
thinkers who would extend the bounds of knowledge. Such a 
class of seekers after truth, scientists, or philosophers did exist 
in ancient India, where students alone were not trusted to take 
care of the culture of the country. There was a vigorous in- 
tellectual life, apart from students and schools, which invaded 
the courts of kings (as evidenced in the Upanishads) and claimed 
even the aged householders as its votaries. 

(4) As to the education of the Sudra, the Vedanta Sutras 
imply a distinction between the Vedic texts and the wisdom or 
knowledge which they are meant to convey. The ^udra is 
excluded from the former but not from the latter. The “ saving ” 
knowledge is not denied to him. It is, on the contrary, made 
accessible to him in easier works specially composed for him 
in a popular style and manner, such as the Mahdbharata and 
the Purdri,as sometimes called the fifth Veda. There are also on 
record examples of Sudras attaining to the highest knowledge 
such as Vidura and Dharma-Vyadha [Mbh., iii, 206 f.] [Sankara 
on i, 3, 38]. The eligibility of the woman for the highest knowledge 
[and therefore of the Sudra too (?), for the Sudra and the woman 
are given practically equal status by the Smritis] is again 
emphasized in a later Siitra [iii, 4„ 36], where Sankara cites the 
example of Vachaknavi. But the example would seem to prove 
more than is perhaps intended in this particular Sutra. For it 
might be recalled that Vachaknavi was as competent a Vedic 
scholar as anybody else. She put herself forward as an opponent 
of the sage Yajnavalkya, and by virtue of her erudition and 
wisdom, dared challenge his assertion of pre-eminence in the 
great philosophical Congress which assembled at the court of 
King Janaka. Vachaknavi was thus as much a student of the 
Veda as anybody else, and if the woman and the Sudra are 
equal in status, privileges, and disabilities, it may be legitimately 
inferred that the study of the Veda itself (and not merely the 
acquisition through other works of the knowledge conveyed by 
the Veda) was open to the Sudra too. The position is made still 
clearer by Sankara in his comment on iii, 4, 38, where he quotes 
Manu [ii, 87], to show that the highest knowledge is even 
attainable through such special acts as praying, fasting, 
worshipping, and the like, which have nothing to do with Varna 
or Airama duties. Sankara concludes with the statements: 


" Knowledge is open to anyone who is desirous of it," and 
" prayer alone qualifies for knowledge Ramanuja [on i, 3, 39] 
also seems to hold Sankara responsible for the view that the 
Sudra is not excluded from the highest knowledge (" cognition 
of Brahman ") and tries to prove the error of the view. But 
Sankara's real position (which he seems to misunderstand) is 
that it is the qualification which matters, and not the accident 
of birth and that the qualification once acquired (as the result 
of Vedic study) can never be lost in any subsequent birth. No 
kind of obstacle (e.g. Sudrahood) can prevent Vedic study 
(made in a previous life) from producing its own fruits [Sankara 
on i, 3. 38]. 

It is to be noted in conclusion that the V eddnta-Sutras were 
preceded by considerable speculation on similar lines, the results 
of which are referred to in the Sutras themselves. Badarayana 
refers to the opinions associated with the following earlier masters, 
viz. Atreya, A^marathya, Audalomi, Karshnajini, Ka^akritsna, 
Jaimini, and Badari. It would appear, too, that these Doctors 
of the Vedanta differ among themselves considerably not merely 
upon minor points, but also upon essential doctrines of the 
system. This shows only the vitality and vigour of Vedantic 
thought which has a history of its own. The work of Badarayana 
occupies a central place in that history. While it summarizes 
the results of antecedent speculation, it has become also the 
source of much subsequent speculation flowing in an ever- 
broadening stream down to this day, with yet a future before it. 

Purva-MImftihs& and its System of Discipline. The subject 
of Purva-Mtmdmsd is the Karma-Kdnda or Dharma of Veda, 
as that of Uttar a-Mlmdmsd is Jndna-Kdnda or Brahma, The 
Uttar a-Mlmdfhsd seeks to evolve a system out of the Upanishads. 
The Purva-Mtmdmsd seeks to reconcile the divergent ceremonials 
and customs as preserved in the Brdhmanas by evolving a general 
and rational scheme, a philosophy of ritualism showing the 
place and justification for each particular rite by the method of 
mlmarhsd, " investigation, examination, consideration." 

The very first sentence of the Purva-Mimaihsa is " Athdto 
Dharma-jijMsd " Now therefore the desire of knowing Dharma 
or duty." Dharma here refers to prescriptive observances com- 
prising sacrifices in the main as enjoined in the Brdhmanas. 
The Sarva-Dariana Samgraha finds in this first sentence the 
suggestion of several complicated issues which are pertinent to 
the present inquiry for their educational interest. They may be 


2 ^^ 


presented as follows after Madhava : The main issue is, whether 
the study of Dharma as proposed by Jaimini's Mtmdmsd is to 
be undertaken or not. To settle it, we must answer the possible 
objections to it. Study of Mtmdmsd is not implied by the 
command that the Veda is to be read {Vedodhyetavyah). 

The meaning of this injunction may be twofold. The Veda 
is to be studied and understood as well, like any other book we 
read. This can, however, be done by studying the Veda under 
a qualified teacher. But there is no injunction to study the Purva- 
Mtmdmsd as a means of knowing the sense of the Veda. The 
second meaning of the Vedic injunction is that the Veda is 
merely to be learnt by heart, which '' merely enjoins the making 
oneself master of the literal words of the Vedic text without 
any care to understand the meaning which they may convey 
regarding the Veda simply as a work good in itself with its 
reward in heaven. 

We have already seen how popular was this view of the 
methods of Vedic study in earlier times according to which the 
mastery of the mere sound of the Vedic words was meritorious 
acquisition or accomplishment and the Veda committed to 
memory would be more efficacious than if it is rationally read 
and understood. This view of the injunction enjoining the study 
of the Veda thus leaves no room for the study of Mtmdmsd at 
all, which concerns itself with the meaning of the Vedic texts. 
There is, however, a third objection taken to the study of 
Mtmdmsd and that is based on the Smriti rule that having 
read the Veda, let him bathe For this rule clearly implies 
that no long interval must elapse between reading the Veda 
and the student's return to his home. This rule, however, would 
be violated if after completing the study of the Veda in either 
of the senses aforesaid, the student would still have to continue 
in his preceptor’s place for the intervening study of the Mtmdmsd, 
Thus it is argued that for these three reasons, viz. {a) that the 
study of Mtmdmsd is not enjoined, {b) that heaven can be obtained 
by the simple memorizing of the Vedic text, and (c) that the rule 
for the student’s return to home is thus fulfilled, it is to be 
maintained that the study of the Mimaihsa discussions on Dharma 
is not to be undertaken. 

This position is now met by the Siddhantin. The study of 
Mimaihsa is no doubt not enjoined as a Vidhi but necessary as 
a Niyama. The injunction tiie Veda is to be read ” shows that 
it is regarded as a means to some end and that end is the knowledge 


of the meaning as obtained by carrying out the sense of the words 
of the injunction. Now the knowledge of the meaning cannot 
be obtained by reading the simple text of the Veda even under 
an authorized teacher. It may, however, be said that he who 
reads the Veda along with its Angus, grammar, etc., may attain 
to this knowledge and that the study of Mtmdmsd is uncalled for. 
The reply is that he may thus attain to a mere simple knowledge 
of the literal meaning, while for all deeper investigation he 
must depend upon the Mimamsa discussions, which thus con- 
stitute a means towards the highest end of Vedic study, viz. the 
proper performance of its commands. As regards the violation 
of the Smriti rule that having read the Veda, let him bathe 
the words do not necessarily imply that the return to the paternal 
roof is to follow immediately on his having read the Veda ; but 
only that it is to follow it at some time, and that both actions 
are to be done by the same person. Hence the Smriti injunction 
does not rule out the study of the Mimamsa. 

When the necessity of a study of Piirva- Mtmdmsd as a 
part of ** the inquiry into Dharma '' is thus established, the next 
point to be considered is, what is the kind of preliminary and 
preparatory training contemplated by the Purva-Mimamsa ? 
According to Prabhakara (in his Brihatl commentary on Purva- 
Mtmdmsd Sutras), such preparation means the study of the 
Veda. Kumarila in his Tantravdrttika goes a little farther and 
holds that for a study of Dharma or acquisition of knowledge 
of Self, the performance of Vedic rituals is a necessity, and such 
performance depends on a study of the Veda, and that under 
the prescribed system of Brahmacharya, Thus the point of view 
advanced here is (i) that for the knowledge of Self the proper 
performance of sacrificial ceremonies is essential and is thus a 
means to that end ; and (2) that this knowledge of Self is achieved 
by a process of worship led up to by inquiry and understanding 
undertaken by the Purva-Mtmdmsd. 

Savara SvamI, however, holds a completely contrary view. 
He does not admit that a study of the Veda is at all a preparatory 
requisite for the study of Mtmdmsa, In his view the Mtmdmsd 
by itself is a self-sufficient system like Yoga and itself leads to 
a proper understanding of the Veda (Vedavakyanam anekavidho 
vichara iha vartishyate). 

It is to be noted that the importance of Mimamsa is due 
more to its method than to the matter to which the method 
is applied. The Mimamsa method of intellectual discipline is 


possessed of a larger appeal than its subject of inquiry which is. 
of more limited interest. Its logical apparatus, its methods and 
canons of criticism and interpretation have received a wider 
application and especially in the sphere of Law where they are 
utilized to settle disputed points. The old Hindu Courts of Justice 
always included as Judges what are called Mtmathsakas. 

Eligibility of Women and iSddras for Education. The 
Mtmdmsa throws some light on the status of women and Sudras 
and their place in the intellectual and religious life of the country. 
In discussing the adhikdra vidhis or the eligibility for the 
performance of sacrifices, Jaimini is led on to discuss whether 
women are to be considered to have that eligibility. The objections 
to it (the Purvapaksha) are thus stated : " Women have no 

property. What they have rests in the husband. They are 
bought and sold like goods.” To this the answer of the Siddhantin 
is to the following effect : Women are as good as men in point 
of the desire and capacity for performing sacrifices. They may 
not own property but have control over it. For their consent 
is obtained to the men’s gifts. As regards the payment of dowry 
by the bride’s father, it is made in accordance with the rule of 
Smriti and not as a commercial transaction. For otherwise the 
amount of the dowry would vary with the merits of the bride. 
Besides, it is expressly laid down that the husband and wife 
must jointly perform the Ydgas or sacrifices. Similarly, as regards 
the status of the Sudras, Jaimini shows a very liberal spirit. 
He begins by postulating that sacrifices must not be mechanically 
but intelligently performed to be efficacious. Thus emphasis 
is laid upon a man’s merit rather than his caste. The disability 
of the ^udras is limited only to the Agneya Yagas and due to 
some express texts (viz. that of the IRishi Atreya) [Jaimini, vi, 
i. i“7]- Jaimini takes his stand upon the opinion of Badari 
that all without any distinction desiring heaven can perform 
sacrifice. Thus the religious life was open both to women and 
Sudras according to the Mitndthsd which means that they 
could acquire the necessary intellectual equipment for it. 

The Ny&ya System of Discipline. Although the Nyaya 
Philosophy does not encourage mysticism and the consequent 
moral disciplines, yet it does not dispense with these altogether. 

The structure of its reasoning may be briefly presented thus. 
A true knowledge of the Self is necessary to achieve the highest 
good or mukti, but this knowledge does not come at once. It 
has to be acquired by stages. First, it comes from the Scriptures, 


that is, what the Ved^ta calls Sravana. Next, it is confirmed 
by reasoning, what Vedanta calls reflection or Manana. Then 
follows direct cognition of Self, or self-realization through con- 
centrated contemplation and meditation. When all these stages 
are gone through, then alone is Ignorance, the root of all defects, 
removed [Nydya Sutra, i, i, 1-2 ; Nydya-Vdrttika, Translation, 
p. 93, note]. 

It is to be noted, however, that concentrated contemplation 
and meditation as a step towards true knowledge is not at all 
possible for a man until he has shed his defects. 

These Defects have been thus classified : — 

A. Rdga, Desire, as expressed in the forms of Kdma (lust), 
Matsara (selfishness), Sprihd (greed), or Trishnd (wish to possess 
others' property lawfully or unlawfully). 

B. Dvesha, Hatred,^ expressed as Krodha (anger), Irshd 
(jealousy), Asuyd (envy), Droha (malice), and Amarsha 

C. Moha, defective outlook in its different forms like 
Mithydjndnam (error), Vichikitsd (doubt), Mdna (egotism), or 
Pramdda (inattentiveness) [Nydya Sutra, iv, i, 2]. 

These various basic Defects are rooted in Ignorance, i.e. a 
wrong conception of the objects of cognition [ib., iv, i, 68]. 
This Ignorance is to be dispelled or destroyed by true Knowledge. 
And true Knowledge can only come from Meditation [iv, 2, 35 ; 
3, 38]. Meditation means (i) that the mind is withdrawn from 
the sense-organs, and (2) is kept steady by effort towards con- 
centration, and then (3) it comes into contact with the Self, 
and (4) is filled with an eagerness to get at the Truth. Such 
Meditation will not allow any cognitions with reference to the 
objects of the external world. 

Such Meditation is, however, always hindered by physical 
as well as moral obstacles. The practice of Yoga is necessary 
to overcome such obstacles. Thus to achieve success in Medita- 
tion, one should equip himself by Yoga, i.e. Yama (restraints), 
Niyama (observances), and other prescribed methods of internal 
discipline such as penance, breath-regulation [prdndydma), 
abstraction {pratydhdra), contemplation [dhydna), and con- 
centration of mind {dhdrand). 

The Nydya Sutras further recommend as aids to learning 
(i) continuous study of philosophy, (2) discussion with persons 
learned in philosophy, especially with the teacher, the pupil, 
and one's feUow-pupil, and (3) even disputations and controversies 


which have their uses in thrashing out the Truth [iv, 2, 


Lastly, the Nydya position is that knowledge comes when 
Defects are rooted out and all Activity ceases, both righteous 
and unrighteous. Activity, righteous or unrighteous, is described 
as being of three kinds, viz. Verbal, Mental, and Bodily. 

Unrighteous Verbal activity is of four kinds : (i) Anrita 

(lying), (2) Parusha (harsh speech), (3) Asuyana (back-biting), 
and (4) Asambaddha (irrelevant talk). 

Righteous Verbal activity will be of four kinds, Satya- 
Priya-Hita-Vachana, truthful, agreeable, and wholesome 
speech,'* and Svddhydya-Pdtha (reciting the Veda). 

Unrighteous Mental activity is of three kinds : (i) Thought 
of injuring others [paradroha), (2) Longing for others' belongings 
(paradravydbhildsha), and (3) Irreverent attitude [ndstikd- 

Mental activity of the right kind will have three forms : 
(i) Asprihd (freedom from desire), (2) Anukampd (compassion), 
(3) Paralokairaddhd (belief in the other world). 

Unrighteous Bodily activity is of three kinds : (i) Himsd 

(killing), (2) Steya (stealing), and (3) Pratishiddhdcharana (doing 
what is forbidden). 

Righteous Bodily activity is of three kinds : (i) Ddna 

(Charity), (2) Paritrdna (Protection), and (3) Parichdrana (Service) 
[Nydya-Manjart, p. 499, ed. Gahgadhara Sastri in Vizianagram 
Sanskrit Series]. 

Besides the general scheme of discipline and training implied 
by Nyaya Philosophy, we shall now consider other special points 
of education brought out in its Sutras. 

Elements of Knowledge. According to Gautama, Knowledge 
is made up of a comprehension of sixteen paddrthas or topics, 
the discussions of some of which have a bearing upon education. 

Pramfi^a. The first topic is Pramdna or means of knowledge 
which are described as fourfold, viz. (i) Pratyaksha, sensuous 
perception, (2) Anumdna, inference, (3) Upamdna, comparison, 
and (4) $abda or the Word, particularly that of the Veda. This 
shows that Nydya, far from repudiating the Veda, acknowledges 
it as a source of knowledge itself. 

iSabda including non-Vedic Revelation. Sabda is explained 
as Aptopadeia [i, i, 7], i.e. as a precept of one worthy to be 
trusted, or a right precept. It refers to both visible and invisible 
objects. It is noteworthy that the commentator holds that it 


is possible even for the Mlechchhas or barbarians as well as for 
Rishis and Aryas to be regarded as dpta or those whose authority 
is to be followed. This shows the broad catholicity and toleration 
of the philosophers who, on grounds of dry and dispassionate 
reason, could not but accord the same place to non-Vedic as to 
Vedic revelation, the growth and importance of which are also 
clearly indicated by the Sutra and its commentary in question. 
There were other worlds and systems of thought than the Vedic 
in ancient India, claiming numerous followers of their own. 

As regards the merits of this analysis of the sources of 
valid knowledge, the following remarks of Max Muller are very 
appropriate [Six Systems y p. 374] '"It seems to me highly 
creditable to Indian Philosophers that they should have under- 
stood the necessity of such an analysis on the very threshold 
of any system of philosophy. How many misunderstandings 
might have been avoided if all philosophers had recognized 
the necessity of such an introductory chapter ? If we must 
depend for all our knowledge, first on our senses, then on our 
combinatory and reasoning faculties, the question whether 
Revelation falls under the one or the other, or whether it can 
claim an independent authority can far more easily be settled 
than if such questions are not asked in liminCy but turn up 
casually whenever transcendental problems come to be treated.” 

AnumSna. Secondly, it may also be noted that, while 
accredited authority is regarded as a source of knowledge whose 
findings have to be taken for granted, a due emphasis is also 
laid upon the positive methods and objective standards for the 
investigation of truth. 

The first source of knowledge is PramanUy observation or per- 
ception, direct, personal, and independent. As pointed out by Dr. 
B. N. Seal [Positive Sciences of the Ancient Hindus, ch. vii], ” the 
entire apparatus of scientific method proceeded on the basis of 
observed instances carefully analysed and sifted.” The second 
means of knowledge is Anumdna (Inference), which is the process 
of ascertaining, not by perception or direct observation, but 
through the instrumentality or medium of a mark that a thing 
possesses a certain character. 

Inference is, therefore, based on the establishment of an 
invariable concomitance [Vydpti) between the mark and the 
character inferred. The Hindu inference is, therefore, neither 
merely formal nor merely material, but a combined Formal- 
Material Deductive-Inductive process. It is neither the 



Aristotelian syllogism (Formal Deductive process) nor Mill’s 
Induction (Material-Inductive process) but the real Inference 
which must combine formal validity with material truth, inductive 
generalization with deductive particularization. 

Thus it is clear that the achievements of the Hindu mind 
in the domain of positive science to which history so amply 
testifies were ultimately due to the development of a 
rigorous scientific method [see Dr. Seal’s book for fuller 

Objects of Knowledge. The next topic of educational 
interest discussed is that on the objects of knowledge which are 
limited to twelve, viz. (i) soul or self, (2) body, (3) senses, (4) objects 
of sense, (5) intellect, (6) mind, (7) activity (Will), (8) fault, 
(9) transmigration, (10) fruits of actions, (ii) suffering, (12) final 
beatitude. It is clear from this list how frankly spiritual were 
the aims of education or the ideals dominating the pursuit of 

Need of Discussion in Learning. The Nyaya Sutras also 
indicate their own appropriate pedagogic methods. The know- 
ledge that is derived from the four aforesaid sources of Observa- 
tion, Inference, Comparison, and Trustworthy Testimony is 
further put to the test of objective standards in the shape of 
discussion of various forms such as (i) Vdda, i.e. ‘ Argumentation, 
consisting of objections and answers, both disputants, however, 
caring only for truth.’ (2) Jalpa, ‘ Sophistry or attacking what 
has been estabhshed, by any means.’ (3) Vitandd, ‘ Cavilling.’ 
The importance of Discussion to the investigation of truth led 
to a definition of the errors to be avoided. Thus we find an 
elaborate study of the fallacies of reasoning, such as Hetvdbhdsah 
and Chhalam ‘ quibbles ’. 

Hetvabhdsa means " specious arguments, paralogisms, and 
sophisms. These are Savyabhichdra, arguments that prove too 
much ; Viruddha, arguments which prove the reverse ; 
Prakaranasama, that tell equally on both sides ; Sddhyasama, 
that stand themselves in need of proof, and KdldtUa, mistimed ” 
[Max Muller]. 

There is also referred to a kind of argument characterized 
as jdti, which means futility arising from false analogies (‘ change 
of class ’), as well as another, which renders a disputant unfit 
for discussion and deserving of rebuke [nigrahasthdnam) when, 
by misunderstanding, or not understanding, he still continues 
to talk. 


The methods of discussion are disapproved only when the 
disputants seem to care more for victory than truth. 

It is also laid down that discussion for the sake of reaching 
truth should be carried on only with those who do seek the truth 
and not victory (i.e. anasuya, ' unenvious '), viz. disciples, 
preceptors, fellow-students, and seekers after emancipation. 
When the investigation of truth requires it, discussion may be 
held even without an opposing side. Even Jalpa (' disputation 
characterized by overbearing reply, and disputed rejoinder ') 
and Vitandd (' idly carping at the arguments or assertions 
of another without attempting to prove the opposite side of the 
question ') are regarded as necessary to keep alive the zeal for 
truth, just as thorny boughs are useful for safeguarding the growth 
of seeds [iv, 2, 98-50]. The circles of disputants are called 
Parishads [v, 2, 17]. 

Spheres of Faith and Reason. As has been already pointed 
out, the Nyaya Sutras at the outset clearly distinguish between 
the spheres of reasoning and faith. The sphere of faith lies 
beyond the ken of the senses and the knowledge derived there- 
from is not to be tested by the application of those logical methods 
which appertain to that derived from ordinary observation or 
perception by the senses. The Nyaya Sutras instance the Veda as 
a source of such revealed or valid knowledge and are at pains 
to defend it against the attacks of the sceptics who 4oubt the 
authority of the Vedas. Both the attack and the defence are 
interesting as showing the place occupied by Vedic studies 
and religion in the intellectual life of the times and also the 
growth of schools of thought (headed by the Buddhists) which 
stood up for other sources and systems of revelation than the 
traditional and time-worn Vedic. These dissenters hold the 
Veda as unreliable because they find in it the three defects of 
untruth, contradiction, and tautology. As an instance of untruth, 
the commentator points to the statement of the Veda that a son 
is produced when a particular sacrifice for that purpose is per- 
formed, whereas it often happens that the performance of that 
sacrifice is not followed by the promised result. To this objection 
the reply of the Nyaya is that the so-called untruth of the Veda 
is due to some defect in the act (e.g. sacrificing not according to 
rules), operator (e.g. the priest not being a learned man), and 
materials of sacrifice (e.g. fuel being wet, butter being not fresh, 
remuneration to the officiating priest being small, etc.). 

As regards contradiction, such statements are instanced 

28 o ancient INDIAN EDUCATION 

as ‘‘ let one sacrifice when the sun has risen and “ let one 
sacrifice when the sun has not risen The reply is that here the 
Veda only prescribes alternative courses for the convenience of 
the sacrificer. 

As regards tautology, the reply is that the re-inculcation is of 
advantage and is done either for completing a certain number of 
syllables or explaining a matter briefly expressed. The entire 
Vedic literature is classified according to its several purposes, 
such as those of Vidhi (injunctions pointing to certain courses of 
action), Arthavdda [persuasion through stuti (extolling the 
consequences of a certain course of action), nindd (pointing out 
the consequences of neglecting it), parakriti (precedent), 
purdkalpa (prescription)], and Anuvdda (repetition of what has 
been enjoined by injunction). Lastly, it is stated that the Veda 
is reliable like the Mantra and Ayurveda, because of the reliability 
of their authors. The commentator explains that the authors 
are reliable because they were Rishis who had (i) an intuitive 
perception of truth, (2) love of living beings, and (3) the desire 
to communicate their knowledge of the truths for the common 
good [ii, I, 57-68]. 

VaiSeshika Discipline. The Vai^eshika view of discipline 
may be gathered from the Nydya Kandall. A man's experience 
will bring home to him the truth that his Self is quite distinct 
from external objects or internal processes which are sources of 
pain and suffering. Then he develops an attitude of detachment 
from life, and even its pleasures. His sole aim in life is now to 
know the means of removing pain. He approaches a teacher to 
learn the means. '' He hears the knowledge from the lips of his 
teacher, but it is pointed out that he must carry out Manana 
and Nididhydsana for a direct perception of Truth." 

The direct educational evidence of the VaiSeshika Sutras 
of Kanada is meagre. There are several Sutras giving arguments 
to establish the authority of the Veda as source of valid knowledge 
[i, I, 3 ; vi, I, 1-4 ; x, 2, 8-9]. The contents of those arguments 
need not concern us. Secondly, there is an interesting reference to 
brahmacharya (in the sense of observance of dharma in general 
according to the commentator) and gurukulavdsa (residence in 
the home of the teacher of a student for the purpose of studying 
the Veda, the twelve-year vow called Mahdvrata as explained 
by the commentator) as productive of invisible fruits [vi, 2, 2]. 
Thirdly, the distinction is explained between Avidyd and Vidyd. 
The former is defined as dushtajndnam or vitiated knowledge due 


to the imperfection of the senses as a venue of knowledge and 
the imperfection of impressions received by them. The latter 
is defined as adushtajMnam or perfect knowledge. The term 
Vidyd also applies to the cognition of the Rishis and the vision 
of the perfected (siddhadarianam) [ix, 2, 10-13]. 

Sftifakhya Discipline. The Samkhya discipline aims at the 
realization of The self-conscious Principle [Purusha) as distinct 
from the mental states, the bodily functions, and the events of the 
external world, subsumed under the term Prakriti or Nature. 
This can be achieved by Virtue and Wisdom, by dispassion and 
clarity of consciousness. Passionate attachment leads to trans- 
migration. Samkhya also recognizes that Error has to be removed 
before supreme wisdom or mukti can be attained. Error [viparyaya) 
is of five forms, viz. Ignorance, Egotism, Passion, Hatred, and 
Attachment to the body as also to the objects of sense [Kdrikd, 
44 - 7 ]- 

Some Special Features. We have seen that all the Darianas 
start from a common assumption that it is ignorance of one 
kind or another which is the root cause of all misery in life. 
Hence the need of discovering the true knowledge as the only 
’way of escape from the ills which flesh is heir to. 

As aids to the acquisition of this knowledge, the Darianas 
lay stress upon moral purity, unswerving faith in guru, and 
spiritual truths and an overmastering passion for knowledge. 
The different Darianas pursue Truth by different ways and 
methods and arrive at different views of Reality. Each system 
then represents a bold spirit of inquiry, a freedom from bias 
and '' idols and stands for its own scheme of ideals 
and values. 

The Sfiihkhya Method of Study. The new intellectual 
note of the age is struck by the Sdrhkhya-Kdrikd at its very 
beginning. The efficacy of Vedic religion as a means of escape 
from the misery inherent in human life is questioned. It is 
found to have three defects, viz. (i) it is impure {a-vHuddhi), 
because, as the commentator explains, of its connection with 
sacrifice and slaughter of animals ; (2) it is terminable {kshaya) 
because the practice of Vedic religion can secure only transitory 
results and not a final release ; (3) it admits of gradation of 
happiness [atiiaya), for all men are not wealthy enough to 
offer costly sacrifices to the gods and thus the rich man may 
have more and the poor less " (Davies). Hence final emancipation 
is to be attained not by Vedic ceremonies but by knowledge as 


explained by Kapila. We may also refer in this connection to the 
expression ddkshinaka-bandha which, according to the Tattva- 
Kaumudl, is one of the three classes of the bandha or bondage 
mentioned in the Kdrikd, 44. The expression condemns worship 
for personal ends, for which fees to priests are paid, as a kind 
of impediment to emancipation. 

Some of the features of the prevailing system of instruction 
are also referred to in Kdrikd, 51, in which $abda, Adhyayana, 
and Suhrit-prdpti are mentioned among the eight means of 
attaining perfection. Adhyayana, or study, as explained in the 
Tattva-Kaumudl, means receiving the syllables (and the words) 
of the spiritual sciences as they fall from the lips of the Guru 
according to prescribed regulations. The effect of Adhyayana 
is Sabda, i.e. comprehension of the meanings of the words learnt 
and hence oral instruction. Next to the ^abda comes Vha or 
reasoning which consists in the examination of the meaning of 
Sruti or scripture by a process of dialectics not opposed to the 
scriptures themselves, and hence it means supporting the scriptures 
by solving all doubts and objections regarding them. Vha is 
also called Manana by Vedic writers. Next comes Suhrit-prdpti, 
literally, acquisition of friends. Its real meaning is that though 
one may arrive at truth by his individual process of right 
reasoning, yet he has no faith in his conclusions until he has 
discussed them with his '' friends i.e. his guru, his pupils, and 
his own fellow-disciples. Nyayena svayarh parikshitamapy- 
artharh na ^raddadhate na yavad-guru-^ishya-sabrahmachari- 
bhissaha saihvadyate '' [T attva-Kaumudl], Thus discussion 
or debate was rightly recognized as the concluding stage in 
the process of the study and investigation of philosophical 

There is another work on the Sdmkhya which, though of a 
comparatively modern date and inferior in some ways to the 
Kdrikd as an exposition of the system, is worthy of consideration 
for considerable old matter which it may contain. The Sutra 
is at pains to prove the harniony of its views with scriptures and 
emphasizes conformity to Vedic practices as a means of securing 
emancipation. The Sutra also emphasizes the need of the really 
competent teacher possessed of supreme enlightenment securing 
him final release in death and of the practice of V air dgy a. The 
value it attaches to asceticism is derived from the Yoga, and there 
is a view that both Saihkhya and Yoga are fundamentally parts 
of a common system. It also points out the insufficiency of the 


mere listening to the teaching of truth which must be supple- 
mented by reflection and meditation to which the Yogic practices 
are recommended as being contributory. 

Caste and Education. On the general question as to how 
far education in Ancient India was available for all castes, 
we have important evidence furnished by the works on the 
Sarhkhya which may be best set forth in the words of Dr. A. B. 
Keith [Sdmkhya System, p. 100] : ‘‘It is characteristic of the 
Sarhkhya that it does not restrict, like the Vedanta,^ the saving 
knowledge to the three upper classes of the Aryan community 
to the exclusion of the Sudras. This generosity of outlook is seen 
already in the great Epic [xiv, 19, 61], where the result of Yoga 
is distinctly declared to be open even to women and to Sudras, 
and the same sentiment can doubtless legitimately be recognized 
in the fact that the system, despite its fondness for subdivisions, 
actually classes, in its theory of the kinds of living creatures, 
men in one division only, while divine beings fall under no less 
than eight. The motive for the difference of treatment doubtless 
lies in the fact that the Sarhkhya, like the Yoga, does not build 
on the Veda as an exclusive foundation, and, therefore, unlike the 
Vedanta, they do not fall under the rhle which excludes Sudras 
from even hearing the Veda recited. The fact that the Veda formed 
one of the sources of proof of the system was not any more 
inconsistent with the system being made available to all, than the 
fact that the Epic which contains Vedic quotations was equally 
open to Sudras to hear.'' 

In conclusion, it may be noted that the Sdmkhya Kdrikd 
gives the parampard or the list of teachers and disciples through 
whom the doctrines were handed down. The founder of the system 
was that Muni Kapila who, out of compassion, imparted this 
supremely purifying science to Asuri, and Asuri imparted it to 
Paficha Sikha from whom it spread in many directions. Handed 
down by the tradition of pupils it has been compendiously written 
in Arya metre by the pure-souled I^varakrishna who has 
thoroughly mastered the truth. 

Non-Vedic Agamas. Besides this Agama of the Sdmkhya, 
the Kdrika hints at systems of Agama unconnected with the Vedic 
Agama, The latter is described as Aptairuti and Aptavachana 
in Kdrikd, 5, and in the next Kdrikd as Aptdgama, i.e. as true, 

^ Even the Vedanta, as already shown, does not prescribe the restriction 
referred to here. In considering these questions, the sacred Vedic texts are to be 
regarded as distinct from the ** saving knowledge they are meant to convey. 


trustworthy, or approved revelation, to be distinguished, as 
explained by Vachaspati Misra, from the systems of Agama 
followed by the Sakyas, Bhikshus, Nirgranthakas, and other 
classes of ascetics, which are branded as spurious revelations. 
Their existence, however, proves that the prolific power of 
Hindu thought has produced not merely a single Vedic world or 
system of culture but also other worlds and systems round other 
centres than the time-honoured Veda. And these had their own 
outlook upon life and corresponding systems of training. 

Yoga System : its Self-sufficiency. The Yoga system 
is more self-contained and self-sufficient than the other systems 
and does not prescribe or depend yery much on any elaborate 
preparatory training. Its own measures of self-discipline are 
calculated to develop the outlook that is necessary for the com- 
prehension of its philosophical theory and for the application 
of that theory to life. The system by itself prescribes the means 
and methods by which is to be achieved its aim and object, viz. 
the orientation of the whole life with reference to one idea and 
the emotional transformation corresponding to this focussed state. 

Yoga implied in other systems. As we have seen, the Yoga 
discipline is implicated in all other systems and methods of 
training. As stated in an old text: As the Ganga and other 

rivers are merged in the ocean as its parts, the Saihkhya and 
other systems are involved in Yoga.'* 

We have already seen how Yoga is implied in the Vedic 
system in spite of its ritualism. The Rigveda is full of references 
to tapas and to its culmination in a state of ecstasy and trance. 
The Atharvaveda refers to supernatural powers one can obtain 
by austerities. The Upanishads take the Yoga practice as the 
way of achieving the knowledge of Atman or Reality [Bn., iv, 
14 ; iii, 5 ; iv, 4 ; Taitti,, i ; Katha, iii, 12 ; Fraina, v, 5]. 
The Katha more explicitly assumes the Yoga discipline in the 
following passage [ii, 2] : The Being, who has emerged out of 
Himself, has created the senses (Khani), focussing them on the ex- 
ternal objects {par dm). Therefore, they see (know) only the things 
outside, and not the Self within. One who attains peace and 
quiet {dhlrah) sees the individual self within himself [pratyagdtmd ; 
cf. Yoga-Sutra, i, 29], when he seeks the life immortal and turns 
his gaze inwards {dvritta-chakshuh)/' The Svetdivatara not only 
mentions the term Yoga, but explicitly refers to its practices 
and the experiences arising therefrom as preliminary to the revela- 
tion of Brahman {Brahmanydbhivyakti-kardni Yoge). 


Coming now to the later philosophical systems, we find 
they all imply the Yoga system. The Nydya-Dariana, for instance, 
mentions Samddhi as the means of attaining tattvajndna, true 
knowledge [iv, 3, 36]. It also mentions the obstacles to Samddhi, 
such as hunger, thirst, and disease [iv, 3, 40], and the Bhdshya 
on iv, 2, 38 mentions pratydhdra and abhydsa as aids to Samddhi, 
as also Yama and Niyama as means of self-purification [dtma- 
samskdra). Again, iv, 2, 42 refers to a forest, cave, or river- 
bank, as helpful for the practice of Yoga. Vaiieshika also refers 
to Yama, Niyama, Suchi, and the like as aids to Yoga, which 
it thus defines [v, 2, 16] : Tadanaraihbha atmasthe manasi 
^arirasya duhkhabhavah samyogah"' ; '' Yoga consists in cessation 
from action, rest in self, and freedom from feeling of pain of 
body and mind.'" 

It is, however, to be noticed that Yoga itself depends to some 
extent on Nydya, and, particularly, on Sdmkhya. Indeed, Nyaya 
gives to all the Schools of Philosophy its logical technique, while 
Yoga gives them its technique of spiritual discipline. Each 
System of Philosophy has its own views in regard to the sources 
of valid knowledge (Pramdnas) and Yoga, too, pursues its own 
theories concerning the Pramdnas but, like other systems, it 
grounds itself on Nydya in regard to the methods and terminology 
of Logic. 

Sftihkhya and Yoga. But the relations between Saihkhya 
and Yoga are much closer and deeper. There is a tradition 
ascribing them both to a common originator, Rishi Kapila. The 
Bhagavat-Gitd states that it is the ignorant who take Saihkhya 
and Yoga as separate systems " ; that ** the end which Saihkhya 
seeks is also pursued by Yoga, and those who perceive them to be 
one are possessed of the true insight 

While Sdmkhya treats of Jndna-Yoga, the path of knowledge. 
Yoga concerns itself with the ways and means of achieving 
such knowledge and presents a scheme of life, Kriyd-yoga, Its 
interest is not metaphysical but practical. Its theoretical back- 
ground is furnished by Saihkhya whose philosophy, categories, 
and concepts it accepts, without developing its own theory of 
knowledge like other systems. 

But though Yoga follows the Saihkhya in its ideology, theory 
of knowledge, and its metaphysics, there is an important difference 
between the two. While the Yoga scheme has a place for the con- 
ception of God and of Divine Grace [i, 23, 24], the Saihkhya 
has no place for these. Saihkhya is accordingly described as 


Niriivara-Yoga, ngn-theistic Yoga, while Yoga is Scivara- 
Samkhya, theistic Samkhya. Yoga, as a consequence, gives great 
value to the doctrine of self-surrender to the Divine, which 
is inculcated in the spiritual discipline of many schools of religious 
thought. It is the acceptance by Yoga of these principles and 
methods which has made it possible for all theistic schools of 
thought to adopt Yoga as the universal method of discipline 
common to all. Yet it must be noted that since the God-concept 
and the doctrines it implicates count as optional categories in 
Yoga, the Yoga is capable of assimilation even in the absolutistic 
and atheistic schools of thought. This flexibility of Yoga thought 
further expresses itself in its treatment of the doctrine of aihikara 
or gradations of capacity. This doctrine which is accepted in all 
schools of orthodox religious thought implies that each individual 
should pursue a course of discipline suitable to his nature. This 
gives ample scope to variations of practices to suit individual 
needs. Accordingly, different aspects of spiritual culture are 
differently stressed by different Schools in the context of their 
special theories. The Yoga-Sutras have gathered together these 
various practical measures and built them into a system. 

Yoga-Sutras. In course of time the Science of Yoga, 
presented differently by different teachers through the ages, 
became complicated and difficult of comprehension, until it 
was given to Patanjali to present it in the simple and com- 
prehensible form of Sutras. The Sutra is “ that literary form 
which is known by the following marks, viz. (i) economy of 
words, (2) absence of ambiguity, (3) use of words that are 
absolutely necessary, strictly relevant, and full of meaning, 
(4) what may be understood from all points of view, (5) absence 
of superfluous or unnecessary words, and (6) absence of any 
flaws ” (Svalpaksharam asamdigdham saravat vi 4 vatomukham( 
astobharh anavadyaih cha sutraih sutravido viduh). 

Patanjali also begins his Yoga-Sutras with the Sutra ; “ Atha 
Y ogdnuidsanam.” Here the prefix anu before the word Sdsana 
or “ instruction in Yoga ” indicates that it is not the first, or 
original instruction in that subject but only its ‘ repetition ’, 
i.e. handed down from earlier times. 

Yoga aims at treatment of Mind. The Yoga scheme of 
education has for its object “ the purification of Mind, just as the 
A37urvedic science of Charaka treats of the Body, and the 
grammatical science presented in the Mahdbhdshya treats of 
Sahda or speech.” There is even a tradition that all these 


three Sciences were the work of a single author, Rishi Patahjali. 
The Science of Yoga prescribes the course of this treatment of 

The Terms Toga and Sam&dhi. The word Y oga and its mean- 
ing have a history behind them. It is from the root yuj '' to 
join together ", yoking, and is applied in the Rigveda to indicate 
the yoking of steeds. The term was soon applied from the control 
of steeds to the control of senses, as in the Katha-Upanishad 
[hi, 4] (indriyani hayanahuh vishayamsteshu gocharan) or Maitr., 
2, 6 (Karmendriyanyasya hayah, " the organs of actions are 
the horses "). In the time of Panini, the spiritual sense of the 
word was established to indicate samddhi, as seen in his 
Sutra, ** yuj samddhau** while its physical sense of "joining 
together" is separately explained in the Sutra yujir yoge** 
(root yujih = connecting). The sense of " joining together " 
lent itself also to spiritual application. The whole philosophy of 
the Upanishads, for instance, traces the root of sin, sorrow, and 
suffering, the ills to which flesh is heir, to the separation of the 
individual from the supreme soul. Accordingly, Yajnavalkya 
defines yoga to be " the bringing together of the individual 
and supreme souls " [Saihyogo Yoga iti ukto jivatmaparamat- 
manor iti {Sarvadariana Samgraha, xv)]. Even Patanjali himself 
seems to take yoga in the sense of union and is concerned 
more with the fact of viyoga (as explained by the commentator, 
Bhoja) or separation between Purusha and Prakriti and the 
sustained effort necessary to get over that separation, so that 
yoga practically means this effort, a course of strenuous and 
sustained endeavour after the restraint of the senses and control 
of mind whereby Samddhi or the union above referred to may be 

It may thus be noted that the term yoga from its root meaning 
" to join " has developed three connotations : (i) It signifies 
a process by which the individual self is brought into contact 
with the Brahman, the Absolute, the realm of the spirit ; (2) 
it stands for Samddhi which is a condition of integration, of 
" joining together " all the mental functions ; (3) it stands for a 
primary stage of disjunction {viyoga) of desires from their objects. 
The inner impulses, disoriented from the external world, amalga- 
mate into a single stream of psycho-vital impulse that seeks its 
kinship with the higher spiritual life. The first of these meanings 
implicates a metaphysical doctrine ; the second is based upon 
the facts of transformation that the mind undergoes ; and the 



third is formulated on the ground of the practices of the Yoga 

The term Samddhi also, like Yoga, has both a general and 
technical sense. Its general meaning is collectedness and calm 
of mind '' {Sarny akddhdna). Such Samddhi or Chitta-samadhana 
is described as Sdrvahhauma, i.e. as being implicit in all states 
{bhumi) of mind as its innate characteristic. Its more specific 
meaning as used in Yoga will be explained later. 

Assumptions. Thus the Science of Yoga seeks so to treat 
the Mind as to render it the vehicle and instrument of supreme 
knowledge by relieving it of the tension and depression, both 
physical and mental, arising from the continuous process of 
sensory and motor adjustments to stimuli, to which it is normally 
exposed. The Mind is thus led to a state of equipoise and placidity 
which belong to its true nature and is restored to its innate 
strength and clarity of vision. Thus the scheme is to effect 
a complete change in the trends and activities of the mind, a 
transformation of the psychic organism, so as to raise the level 
of consciousness. Thus the fundamental assumption of Yoga 
is that mental life is not entirely bound up with or completely 
dependent upon the realm of objects, and that our faculties of 
perception are not necessarily confined to the five senses. It thus 
seeks to open up other avenues of knowledge than the mere 
brain, or the outer senses, through sustained concentration 
and meditation, in silence and solitude, in the life of the spirit, 
which is dead to the external world of objective realities. In 
a word, Yoga believes that the universe is not what is revealed 
by our bodily senses which we share with the lower animals, 
and that man is capable of infinite development by tapping the 
limitless resources of the soul. 

Thus the Yoga discipline seeks to release the Mind from 
its connections with objects {vishaya) and to make the psychic 
life self-sufficient, so that objects cease to convey any meaning. 

It may be noted that the Doctrine of Dialectic of Devotion 
known as Bhakti-yoga holds that there can be no form of con- 
sciousness which is objectless. As Ramanuja says : Na hi 
nirvishayd kdchit samvit asti. For the devotional feeling must be 
always directed to the Divine. On the other hand, the Yoga 
proper points to a consummation in which the sense of object 
and individuality entirely disappear (Asaihprajfiata-Samadhi). 

Theory ol Knowledge. Yoga formulates its system of 
practical discipline and training in accordance with a definite 


theory of knowledge or a scheme of interpretation of life and 
experience. It has, therefore, to be studied in this philosophical 
setting for which it has depended upon Sarhkhya, as has been 
already stated. 

Sarhkhya analyses experience into different planes or stages 
which it arranges in the following descending order in which 
each arises froi^i the other, giving to each such stage a specific 
name in a well-defined scheme of categories or concepts : — 

1. Punisha 

2. Prakfiti or Pradhana 

3. Mahat = Buddhi 

4. Ahamkara 

5. Manas 6. Tanmatras 

J (five) 

I ^ I I 

7. Jndnendriyas 8. Karmendriyas 9. BhQtas 

(five sensory (five motor (five) 

organs) organs) 

Purusha. The first stage in the above scheme is that of Pure 
Consciousness called Purusha which is described as content-less 
{amuYia)y conscious [chetana)^ the principal enjoyer of the whole 
range of experiences {bhogt-sukhyaharh duhkhyaham ityupacharyate ) , 
eternal {nityah)^ present everywhere (sarvagatah) , devoid of any 
impulse to action {akriyah), incapable of being the subject of 
knowledge (akartd), incapable, either, of being the object of 
experience {sukshma)^ unitary and individual [ShaddarianU’ 

The Purusha, then, is the primal consciousness, the 
Bewusstsein uberhaupt, which is reflected in every type of conscious 
experience that we observe in daily life. 

Pralqriti. To such a Consciousness is set a Reality which is 
external to It, as a sense of pure objectivity. It is called Prakriti, 
the source from which all objects of knowledge arise {mula- 
rupd), the source of the stages of experience that gradually 

According to Sarhkhya authorities, the two Principles, 
Purusha and Prakriti, stand together like a lame and a blind 
person. Purusha as an inactive principle is lame. Prakriti, as 
devoid of consciousness, is blind [Prakriti-Purushayor- 
v^ittirvartanam pahgvandhayoriva ) . 

The relation between the two, Purusha and Prakfiti, is 



analogous to that between Form and Matter as conceived by 
Aristotle. Purusha, like God in Aristotle’s system, is the “ unmoved 
mover Modem thought, too, has derived its theory of Vitalism 
from Aristotle’s concept of EnMechy. The conception in all these 
systems is that the living organism is guided and co-ordinated 
by a principle which is not itself a part of the physical processes ; 
it is the latent purpose that shapes the form and growth of the 
organism. The concept of Pumsha is in a similar sense “ the goal 
and destiny ” of the world of nature that evolves and proliferates 
into manifoldness. 

Mahat-Buddhi. The pure consciousness is reflected in the 
object-world which it lights up with consciousness. This inflow 
of Psyche results in the rise of experience in which things are 
discriminated. This stage presents itself as a conscious effort to 
discriminate the various objects and to reach a state of decision 
and certainty (Ni^chayatvena padarthapratipatti heturyo- 
dhyavasayah sa Buddhih). In so far as we view an individual 
case, it is called Buddhi. When we view it in its general aspect, it 
is called Mahat. 

The Samkhya authorities compare this consciousness to 
a two-faced mirror, of which one face is turned towards and 
reflects pure consciousness (Purusha), and the other towards 
Prakriti or objects (Buddhi-darpanasaihkrantamarthavi- 
prativimbakam Dvitiyadarpanakalpe purushe hi adhirohati). 

Ahaihkfira and Manas. These two aspects in Samkhya 
Phenomenology, the subject-ward and the object- ward forms of 
consciousness, develop into two strands of experience. The 
subject-ward pole, the pole of pure consciousness, develops into 

(1) Ahathkdra or Self-consciousness. From this again develops 

(2) Manas or Mind. The function of Mind is to connect the senses 
with the sense-impressions which the senses convey. The other 
aspect of consciousness directed towards objects develops into 
the experience of the external world, in the form of what are 
called the Tanmdtras and the Bhutas, the subtle and gross 

That Ahathkdra is the product of Buddhi is evident from 
the fact that discriminative experience which Buddhi represents 
must needs implicate a self-conscious and individual subject. 
At every moment of comparing things, there arises the conscious- 
ness oil. This stage is called that of Ahathkdra (Sachdbhimdnd- 
tmakah | Yathd ahath rase raktah ahath iabde saktah ahath 
Iharah asau maydhatah). 


From this stage of self-consciousness (Ahamkdra), says 
the Sdmkhya-Kdrikd, there emerge two orders of phenomena 
[tasmdt dvividhah pravartate sargah). 

One of these leads to the apprehension of the world as a 
subjective experience. The other concerns itself with its objective 
aspects in which things appear to be independent of the self. 

Under Ahamkdra, the individual subject in fact stands 
in twofold relationship to the world of objects. In the first 
case, the self ceases to be centred in itself, as it is set against and 
affected by a world of objects, something which is other than 
itself. The object-world first appears as an assemblage of qualities 
comprising vision, sound, taste, smell, and touch. These qualities 
or sense-data appear blended with one another and convey 
the first impressions of the objective world. 

Thus the consciousness involved at this stage (Ahamkdra) 
tends to lose its ego-centric character and becomes transformed 
into a fusion of sensory experiences. The consciousness I feel 
this taste '' changes into an indeterminate manifold of vision, 
taste, smell, touch, and sound, which cannot at the outset be 
discriminated or described. It is a stage of ineffable sensory 
experience, in which substantives and adjectives, similar feelings 
and opposites, are all in an inchoate mass (asti hi dlochanam 
jndnam prathamam nirvikalpakam). Thus, as the self-conscious 
ego senses a reality other than itself, it is overwhelmed by an inflow 
of sensory intimations, a mass-attack, as it were, of the other 
upon the self. 

Sensory and Motor Organs. Manas (Mind) now emerges 
and analyses this manifold into classes and in accordance with 
their resemblances [V iieshana-viieshya hhdvena vivechayati | 
samdnd samdna-jdtlydhhydm vyavachchhindan mano Idkshayaii 
(Commentary to Kdrikd, 27)]. The Manas resolves into order 
what James calls ** the blooming, buzzing confusion In it 
enter not only the sensory experiences but also the impulses 
that activate the organs of action. It is also possible that the 
organic sensations which arise from activities have a place in 
this blend. 

It is, however, conceivable to picture a stage of experience in 
which simple sensory qualities appear as solitary moments of 
awareness. As James says : '' Only new-born babes or men in 
semi-coma may experience such sensations.*' One of the com- 
mentators on the Kdrikd points out that though the breeze 
X^arries fine particles of water and odorous particles, the sense 



of contact brings home to man only the sensation of cold. The 
stage of sensory experience, then, presents its several qualities, 
one at a time, each in isolation from the rest. Each of these, again, 
is limited only to the moment at which it appears in consciousness 
[vartamdnakdlam vdhyamindriyam (Vachaspati Misra on Kdrikd, 
33 )]. 

In a similar manner, the impulses that work through the 
organs of action, and the sensations that arise from the operation 
of each of the organs, may be separately experienced. As 
the text states : “ Karmendriyani yathayatharh vachanadln 

padarthan utpadayanti tata^cha teshu padartheshu tesharh 
alochanatmakaih jhanam jayate."' This is probably what the 
Sarhkhya authorities describe as the emergence of the organs of 
action [Karmendriyas) from the plane of Manas, 

Tanmfitras. We shall now turn to the second order and 
series of experiences that emerge from the plane of the ego 
(Ahamkdra). Here the apprehension of the object ultimately 
resolves itself into a series of irreducible units. The concrete 
initial experience of colour or sound, for instance, no longer 
persists. This passes into a generalized awareness of each sense 
department, visual or auditory, gustatory, olfactory, or tactual. 
These are residua of sense-experiences which the Mind cannot 
completely assimilate by conscious manipulation. The world, 
therefore, appears to the self, on the one hand, as a system of 
mental objects, and, on the other hand, as a system of physical 

At this stage, then, the self feels itself limited by generalized 
sensory data external to itself. This is probably analogous to 
Fichte's conception of the opposition between the Ego and the 
Non-Ego. In Fichte's philosophy, the Non-Ego is given in one 
block, as it were ; in the Saihkhya, the Non-Ego is given divided 
into generalized sensory qualities, vision, sound, smell, taste, 
and touch {tanmdtrdni aviieshdh, Kdrikd, 38). The sense of the 
external has divided itself as it were into these five basic qualities. 

Bhfitas. In what way do these five sensory qualities differ 
from what are conceived in Saihkhya as the five great elements 
{Bhutas), viz. Kshiti (Earth), Ap (Water), Teja (Fire), Marut 
(Wind), and Vyoma (Ether), the constituents of the external 
world ? In the first place, the generalized qualities {Tanmdtras) 
are said to be subtle ", that is, difficult of perception (sukshmam 
= durlakshyam, as Vachaspati says). In the second place, 
these " elements " are said to be specified {viieshdh). Such 


specification consists in that they are capable of being 
'' experienced '' and '' enjoyed '' [Upabhogayogyah viieshah 
(Vachaspati Misra on Kdrikd, 38)]. 

Thus, according to Samkhya scheme, consciousness traverses 
the diverse realm of experience, from the level of pure con- 
sciousness {Purusha} to the concrete material entities {Bhutas). 

It will, therefore, be observed that the Samkhya educes the 
course of phenomenal consciousness from the basic reality of Pure 
Consciousness [Purusha) and of the Principle of Objectivity 
[Praknti). As has been already explained, the course of this 
consciousness leads from the subtle to the grosser forms of 
experience by an order of descent. 

The problem of Yoga is to ascend from the plane of daily 
life to that of pure consciousness. 

We may now sum up the workings of the process of perception 
as follows : — 

(1) Perception is related to a real object and is thus dis- 
tinguished from Viparyaya (illusion). 

(2) The real object is immediately apprehended by its corre- 
sponding sense-organ. 

(3) The Mind [Manas) seizes this immediate apprehension of 
the sense-organ, reflects upon it, and makes it definite by 
assimilation and discrimination. 

(4) The Ahamkdra (empirical ego) appropriates to itself 
this determinate apprehension of the mind, and assimilates it 
as a part of the empirical unity of apperception, that is to say, a 
part of its own history. 

(5) The Buddhi (intellect) decides what is to be done towards 
the object perceived ; it is the will to react to the object perceived. 

(6) The Purusha (Self) '' enjoys '' the perception of the 
object. It is the transcendent principle of Intelligence [Chili- 
Sakti) which intelligizes the unconscious buddhi and makes per- 
ceptive consciousness possible. 

These processes are well illustrated by Vachaspati-Misra as 
follows : The village headman collects taxes from the villagers, 
and delivers them over to the next higher authority, the Governor 
of the province, who hands them over to the Minister, and the 
Minister to the King. In a similar manner, the sense-organs, 
obtaining an immediate apprehension of external objects, passes 
the immediate impressions on to the Mind [Manas), and the Mind 
in its turn, reflecting on them, transmits them to Ahamkdra which 
appropriates them to itself by its unity of apperception and hands 


over these self-appropriated apperceived impressions of external 
objects to Buddhi which resolves what action is to be taken 
on them. 

It is only when the Mind renders, by its powers of assimilation 
and discrimination, definite and determinate the immediate 
and indeterminate apprehension of the sense-organs, that 
Ahamkara can appropriate such apprehension to itself and 
transform the impersonal apprehension of the object into a 
personal experience suffused with egoism. 

This self-appropriation {dbhimdna) is the function of 
A hamkdra. Vachaspatimi^ra illustrates it as follows, putting the 
following words into the mouth of Ahamkara : “ It is I alone 
who presides over the object that is intuited by the sense-organ 
and is then definitely perceived by the mind. I wield power 
over all that is perceived and known, and all objects thus per- 
ceived are for my use. There is no other superior except ‘ / 

I am.’’ 

He also describes the function of Buddhi thus : " The 
sense intuits an object ; ilfawas reflects on it ; appropri- 

ates it to itself ; Buddhi resolves, ‘ this I should do by it,’ and 
then one proceeds to action.” And again : " In dark a person at 
first apprehends an object as something undifferentiated, then 
reflects upon it, and determines it to be a dangerous robber by 
his bow and arrow, then thinks of him in relation to himself, 
e.g. ‘ he is rushing to attack me ’, and then resolves or determines, 

‘ I must run away from this place.’ ” 

Thus Manas, Ahamkara, and Buddhi are parts of one, viz. 
Antahkarana or Chitta [Chittalabdena antahkaranam buddhim 
upalakshyayati (Vachaspati)], though performing different func- 
tions. Manas achieves niichaya-jhana (definite knowledge of an 
object) yAachAhathkara appropriates to itself and produces what is 
called dbhimdna. Then Buddhi steps over to determine what 
action to take on it and how to react to this knowledge. 

Further, the external organs are called the gateways of 
knowledge, while the internal organs the gate-keepers [Sdrhkhya- 
kdrikd, 35 ]. The external organs receive immediate impressions 
from external objects and communicate these to the antahkarana 
which by reflection {manana), ego-consciousness (dbhimdna), and 
determination (adhyavasdya) makes them definite and determinate 
and receives them for the enjo 3 Tiient of the Purusha (Self). 

It is also held that both the external and internal organs thus 
operating in perception are themselves insentient principles. 


and, as such, are incapable of conscious apprehension of objects. 
It is the Purusha that makes them apprehend objects. Thus, 
according to Sariikhya-Yoga, perception implicates two epistemic 
factors, (i) the existence of an extra-mental object, and (2) 
the existence of the Purusha (Self). 

Like these external and internal organs, the Chitta, too, 
being itself an object of consciousness, is not self-luminous 
(natat svabhasaih dri^yatvat). The Mind is not self-conscious 
(svabhasa), as it is the outcome of the unconscious Prakriti, 
as explained above. In this sense, the Mind is itself a form, 
the highest form, of Matter. It is the Purusha which is the 
cognizer and enjoyer of the Mind. The essence of the Purusha is 
consciousness. The self-luminous Purusha is reflected upon the 
unconscious Mind and mistakes the state of the Mind for its own 
state. Thus in the Sarhkhya dualism of conscious Purusha 
and unconscious Prakriti or primal nature, there is a place for an 
intermediate reality, the Buddhi, as the highest form of evolution 
from Matter or Prakriti in the infinite series of its modifications 
of different grades and as approximating most to Purusha at the 
other end. Buddhi is thus the missing link between Spirit and 
Matter, the conscious Purusha and unconscious Prakriti.^ 

Yoga Scheme 0! Discipline. Yoga describes the measures 
by which the ascent of man can be achieved. It retraces in the 
reverse order the stages of experience as described, in the Sarhkhya 
system. It starts from the lowest level where the Mind is held 
in the grip of Matter by the operations of the senses. Yoga, 
therefore, begins with making the organs of knowledge and 
action abandon their operations so as to free the Mind from the 
clutches of Matter {Yoga-schitta-vritti-nirodhah), The idea is 
that such inhibition closes the avenue of the senses and, therefore, 
empties the mind of its content of all sensory experience. 

^ It may be noted that the theory of perception in Western Psychology is 
based on the assumption that the sense-experiences are entirely different in 
their nature from the objects which they represent. This has given rise to a 
number of problems in the Western theory of knowledge, which are yet to be 
solved. The doctrines of Representationism and of Relations are some of the 
outstanding issues even in contemporary thought. The philosophical solution 
offered to these questions to-day mainly follow two leading ideas : (1) That 

the interests, attention, and apperception-mass lead the mind to the object, 
so that its external character becomes entirely hypothetical. We do not know 
how much of matter or external reality enters into knowledge. (2) That there 
is no duality between the sense-experience and the sense-object. There is merely 
the world of sense-data which through analytical reasoning is divided into two 
spheres of sense-experience and sensory objects. Some of the Indian theories 
offer a solution in which the first of these views is anticipated. This is, however, 
systematized in terms of certain metaphysical assumptions. 


‘ Chitta-bhumi/ Yoga elaborates this process of the dis- 
cipline and purification of Chitta or Mind. Chitta is recognized 
as exhibiting five patterns or bhumis. A Chitta-hhumi is defined 
as the condition in which the Mind has a natural tendency to 
rest, and to which it habitually reverts by the momentum of its 
dispositions and aptitudes established by accumulated experience 
{samskdra-v^.i^i yasyam avasthayarh chittarh prayasah samtish- 
thate sa eva chitta-bhumih). The Mind moves in its accustomed 
grooves co-related to corresponding configurations. 

Its Five Phases. The five patterns or states of Chitta are 
described as follows : (i) Kshipta, restless, distracted, wandering 
{bhramati) from one object to another ; (2) Mudha, absorbed 
in vishaya or pleasures, blinded by passion like anger ; (3) 
Vikshipta, a state of distraction occasionally broken by lucid 
intervals of concentration, a state in which the mind generally 
cultivates the pleasant ai^d avoids what is unpleasant ; 
(4) Ekdgra, ' one-pointed thinking,' focussed state where the 
mind concentrates on the thought of one object ; (5) Niruddha, 
concentration, and inhibition of conflicting functions, so that 
the mind is left with the substratum of its innate dispositions 
as its only content (niruddhasakalavrittikam samskarava^esham). 

‘ Yoga-bhumi.’ The aim of Yoga is to lead the mind away 
from the first three conditions which are not congenial to con- 
centration and fix it on the last two states which constitute the 
Yoga-bhumi, the plane favourable to the practice of Yoga or 
concentration. Concentration or samddhdna of Chitta is possible 
in all states [sdrva-bhauma) ^ including the first three. For instahce, 
a Jayadratha blinded by hostility to the Pandavas was yet 
able to concentrate on worship of Siva. One may also concentrate 
on pleasures, on wealth or women." But such samddhi is short- 
lived, not stabilized, liable to be disturbed by distractions and 
gusts of passion. It is the ekdgra state in which the mind is 
intent on an object which leads to samprajndta samddhi. It is 
so called because in that state " the object of concentrated 
contemplation is directly apprehended " (sarhprajnayate sakshat 
kriyate dheyasvarupamatra). The object of such contemplation 
can only be an object to which the mind will cling with a longing, 
as the bee seeks honey. Such object is supreme truth or knowledge. 
The mind that has once tasted Truth will not have any liking 
for untruth. Therefore, " concentrated contemplation brings 
to light the ultimate meanings and values [sadbhutam artham 
pradyoiayaii), causes sorrows to dwindle, loosens the bonds of 


action, cuts at its springs or roots, and leads to the next stage of 
supra-conscious contemplation (nirodha-samadhi = asamprajnata 

The Five AfBUctions. The ‘ sorrows ' {kleias) that dwindle 
are described to be the five following, viz. (i) Avidyd, ignorance ; 
(2) Asmitd, sense of individuality ; (3) Rdga, passion ; (4) Dvesha, 
hatred ; and (5) Abhiniveia, instinctive clinging to life, instinct 
of self-preservation. 

Stages of ‘ Sam&dhi \ The Samddhi that is attained in the 
ekdgra condition of Chitta is attained by a series of graduated 
stages marked out as follows : (i) VitarkUy where contemplation 
has for its object a form “ like the four-handed deity ; (2) 
Vichdra, where the subtle as the cause of the gross is contem- 
plated ; (3) Ananda, where there is a sense of joy ; and (4) 
Asmitd, where there remains a feeling of self-hood. 

Progress from Concrete to Abstract. The principle involved 
in the differentiation of these stages is that the progress 
of psychic life is from the more concrete modes of experience 
to its subtle forms and ways.^ In Vitarka and Vichdra, for 
instance, the Mind is concerned with objects and actions, their 
causes, properties, and implications. In the third stage of Ananda, 
there remains simply a feeling of bliss, an objectless emotion, 
while, in the last stage called Asmitd, only the sense of selfhood 
persists. When this sense also ceases, the Samadhi is called 
Asamprajndta as distinguished from its previous state called 
Samprajndta Samadhi. 

The Three ‘ Gunas \ A deeper analysis explains the different 
states of Chitta as being influenced by one or other of the three 
Gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, the elemental laws governing 
all existence and activity. The three Gunas mark out the corre- 
sponding conditions of Chitta to be those of (i) Prakhyd, (2) 
Pravritti, and (3) Sthiti, Prakhyd is characterized by prakdsa 

^ These Yoga stages of Samddhi may be compared with the Koshas of the 
Upanishads. The doctrine of Koshas is mentioned in the Taittirlya Upanishad 
[ii, 1-5], according to which there are five Koshas or “ sheaths " enfolding the 
soul. The outermost Kosha is called Annamaya signifying the body or physical 
covering of the Jlva and the natural aspect of individual existence. Next comes 
the Prdi!iamaya Kosha representing the vital or organic side of an individual’s 
existence. Then come the higher levels of life, the conscious (Manomaya), and 
the self-consciousness (Vijhdnamaya), crowned by the Anandamaya Kosha 
marked by bliss, and peace, and rasa, Brahma Itself is described as “ Raso vai 
sa}j^ ” [ib., ii, 7]. The body, prana, and Manas may be thus taken to constitute 
a sort of ‘ empirical home ’ for the soul. Only conscious activity is taken over 
by Manas, It may also be noted that the Upanishads anticipate the Saihkhya- 
yogic terms vijUdna or ahamkdra [cf. Bri, Upa., i, 5, 3]. 


and prasdda, Prakdsa indicates that, being itself luminous, 
it lights up objects by its own light. Prasddu is the dnanda 
or bliss of equipoise. This mental stage is further marked by 
prlti, fellow-feeling, and khydti, discrimination. 

The second state of Pravritti is marked by activity stimulated 
by desire which is the cause of suffering. 

The third state of Sthiti is marked by inertia and darkness 
eclipsing knowledge and obstructing manifestation {prakdia). 

It will be seen that of the five aforesaid conditions of mind, 
the Kshipta is the outcome of Raja, the Mudha of Tama, and the 
Vikshipta, the result of a mixture of both Sattva and Raja, 
When Sattva is mixed up with Raja and Tama, the character 
of the mind degenerates and, instead of Prakhyd, the mind runs 
after Aiivarya and Vishaya, after power and pleasures of the 
,senses (Rupa, Rasa, Gandha, Sparta, and Sabda). There is a 
further deterioration of the mind under Tamas when it is immersed 
in the darkness of sins. 

‘ Chitta-vpitti * : Its Five Ways. But the Mind or Chitta 
is to be studied not merely in its various possible patterns or 
conditions [hhumi) but also in its processes and ways of working. 
All possible mental processes are grouped into the following five 
classes : — 

I. ^ PramSna.’ Pramd means ' true knowledge ' and 
Pramdna, ' what produces such knowledge, the means of achiev- 
ing such knowledge.' Pramdna therefore stands for the usual 
ways of knowing through {a) Pratyaksha (direct perception), 
{b) Anumdna (Inference), and (c) Agama (Authority). Pratyaksha 
is defined as indriyajanyd (outcome of the senses), Anumdna 
vydptijhdna-janyd (outcome of a knowledge of generic qualities), 
and Agama as iabdajhdna-janyd (caused by knowledge of what 
is heard) chitta-vritti. 

Its Three Forms : (a) ‘ Pratyaksha \ The Mind is driven 
to seek the first method of knowledge by the senses conveying to 
it a taste of objects {vishaya). It is a direct contact between 
Mind and Matter. The characteristic of pratyaksha-jhdna is 
that it comprehends an object by its tangible qualities. It also 
comprehends objects as individuals by their specific {viiesha) 
qualities and not by their generic [sdmdnya) ones by which 
individual objects are seen to belong to classes or groups. 

(b) Anum&na. Anumdna is the method whereby the 
knowledge of one object is derived from the knowledge of another, 
as fire is known from smoke ; where the object of knowledge 


cannot be directly perceived but may be understood as the 
effect of a cause {hetugamya). Anumdna reveals the generic 
attributes of an object rather than its specific ones, ' as in the 
case of the inference that Moon and Stars have motions because 
they change places, or that the Vindhya hills are devoid of 
motion because they are unable to change places/ 

(c) Agama. Agama is what proceeds from the lips of 
a person considered as an dpta or unimpeachable authority 
by the person listening to it and accepting it with impKcit faith 
without arguing or doubting it. Such a person imparts 
to the other what he has himself seen or inferred by uttering 
words with the intention that such words may produce a like 
sense in him." Such verbal instruction is Agama. The value 
of dgama as a source of knowledge depends on the character of 
the person imparting such knowledge. Such a person should 
be absolutely above board, ' free from foibles like unsound views, 
erroneous perception, deceit, defective organs of sense, and should 
be possessed of insight, charity, and soundness of perception.' 
That Agama, however, cannot rank as Pramdna or a source of 
valid knowledge which is expounded by a person whose words 
cannot be taken for granted {airaddheydrtha) and who has not 
even directly obtained the knowledge he expounds by his own 
perception or inference. The objection may be taken that Sastras 
like Manu, Smriti, and the Puranas, which only recall and repeat 
the words of the Veda, should not count as Agama. The reply 
is that the Veda is revealed by an unimpeachable authority, 
viz. I^vara Himself Who is perfect, and so the Sastras, like Manu, 
based on Veda, are Agama. The texts of systems which do not 
believe in God cannot count as Agama or Pramdna. 

Its Two Features. It is to be noted that Agama is marked 
by two features : (i) that it comprises words which are actually 
uttered, and (2) that the words should be those of an admitted 
authority [dpta-vdkya). The knowledge that is derived from a 
study of books {pdthaja-niichaya) is not Agama. 

Its Attributes. The sound or Word that counts as Agama 
cannot be understood without a knowledge of its four attributes, 
viz. (i) Sakti (implication), (2) Lakshand (what it symbolizes), 
(3) Vyanjand (allusion), and (4) Inner Sense or gist [T dtpary a). 
Sound will convey its sense only to one who has desire for learning 
{dkdnkshd), fitness (yogyatd), devotion (dsakti), and insight 
(tdtparya-jndna ) . 

2. ‘ Viparyaya Viparyaya is illusory perception, " like 



the mistaking of a rope for a serpent or shell for silver/' The 
mind is prone to both viparyaya and samiaya, misconception and 
misgivings. The difference between the two is that while the former 
starts with a sense of certainty of knowledge which is later 
corrected, the latter starts with a doubt about its position. The 
causes of such misconception are stated to be five : avidya 
(undifferentiated consciousness), asmita (sense of self-hood), 
raga (passion), dvesha (hatred), and abhinive^a (attachment to 
life, the will to live). 

3. Vikalpa. Vikalpa is ' use of words not corresponding 
to reality ', where knowledge of an object is imagined [vikalpita). 

* A sound or word has the power of calling up a sense of some- 
thing which may not exist ' (atyantamapi asati arthe ^abdo 
jnanaih karoti hi), as the Mimarhsakas say. A reality may be 
defined by the following three marks, viz. §abda (name or word 
indicating it), Artha (actual existence), and Jndna (meaning, 
what it indicates or stands for). In the case of Vikalpa method of 
knowing, only the ^abda or Sound and the Jnana or the sense it 
conveys, remain, without any Artha or correspondence to reality. 

4. Nidr&. Nidrd is ' lapse of consciousness, sleep Nidrd 
or sleep is also a form of mental activity, because its results 
or effects can be recalled after sleep. Otherwise, how can one 
reflect thus in the waking state ? I have slept well, my mind is at 
ease, it makes my understanding clear. Or, I have slept in deep 
stupor, I feel my limbs to be heavy, my mind is fatigued, not 
refreshed, it is languid, as if it does not exist." Therefore, Sleep 
is a kind of presented idea (pratyaya) or experience (anubhava) 
and is to be considered as a Chitta-vritti and, as such, is to be 
resisted in Samddhi. 

5. Smpiti. Smriti means ' recalling the past, memories '. 
Smriti works on the basis of previous experience which it recalls, 
" just as a son may possess himself of the property of his father 
wholly or in part by virtue of his right to it, and is not accused 
of theft for it." Similarly, Smriti works within the limits of 
experience or anubhava and does not go beyond them. It works 
on the basis of the known, while anubhava is experience of what was 
unknown. Anubhava or experience makes and leaves an impres- 
sion (samskdra) on the mind and Smriti takes its rise from such 

Two Classes 0! ‘ Chiita-vfitti The above five Vrittis 
of Chitta are brought by Vyasa under two classes with reference 
to their effects. These are called (i) Klishfa-VTitti, ' out-going 


activities or movements of the mind resulting in Kleia or 
suffering/ and (2) AkUshta-vritti, * which leads to bliss/ 
These correspond respectively to what are known as Pravritti- 
mdrga, ' way of action/ and Nivritti-mdrga, * way of cessation 
of activities/ 

Process of Toga in Ontline : Meaning of Chitta, V|itti, 
and Samsk&ra. As already stated, Yoga means the ntrodha 
or inhibition of the vrittis of Chitta, The Vritti is the reaction 
of Mind to Matter, of Subject to Object. This reaction is effected 
through the senses, the five senses of cognition and the five of 
action ; those of Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue, and Skin enabling 
vision, audition, smell, taste, and touch ; and the organs of 
speech, hands, feet, evacuation, and generation. Through the 
operation of these two classes of organs, the Mind comes into 
contact with Matter and is transformed by it. This transformation 
of the Mind by which the Mind takes on the form of a material 
object in apprehending it is called Vritti (vishayakarena chittasya 
parinamah = Vrittih). 

Vachaspati Misra takes the Chitta of Yoga to be the same as 
the Buddhi of Samkhya (Chitta-^abdena Antahkaranarh Buddhiih 
upalakshayati). Buddhi or Chitta signifies an act, the mental 
act of apprehension (Buddhih grahana-rupd). According to the 
Bhdsvatl, this act of apprehension or knowing is blended with 
the content apprehended, the object known, of which it is a 
constituent. But the act of apprehension can be by itself, 
separately, grasped. It further points out that such apprehension 
or knowing leaves behind it its traces called samskdra (grahanaih 
cha pradhanyat agrihitasya upadanarh | tasya upadanasya api 
asti anubhavah saihskarah). These traces or impressions of 
previous experience, these samskdras, constitute an element in 
the consciousness of objects, in being indirectly in the objects 
that are remembered ; they also colour the ways of knowing 
or sources of cognition ; and they thus influence the operation 
of the Buddhi (Chitta) (tadrisa samskaranarh smritih gauna- 
bhavena upadanarupe anadhigata-vishaye pramane buddhau 
va tishthati). Samskdras, therefore, complete knowledge and give 
it a form. 

‘ All these acts of knowing, Pramana, Anumana, and the 
like, on the part of the chitta are called its Vrittis, because by 
these the Chitta lives, just as the twice-bom classes live by per- 
forming sacrifices ' (yaih pramanadi-lakshana-vyaparaih chittaih 
jivati te tad-vrittaya uchyante dvijadinaih yajanadivat). 


Process of ^ Chitta-viitti^nirodha ’ : its different Stages. It 

is to be noted that the process of Yoga which is defined to be 
Chitta-vritti-nirodha does not mean the annihilation of Chitta. 
For Chitta cannot be annihilated according to Saihkhya-Yoga 
logic, the doctrine of Satkdrya-vdda which holds that the effect 
is latent in the cause, ' like oil in the seeds/ Besides, Chitta = 
Buddhi is, as we have seen, an evolute of Prakriti which is 
eternal. The Yoga process of Chitta-vritti-nirvodha, therefore, 
signifies (i) the process by which the cognitive operations of the 
mind by which it is brought into touch with matter or objects, 
physical and mental, past and present, cease, and the mind is 
emptied of its contents of sensory experience. Only the innate 
qualities of psychic life, its awareness [prakhyd), its impulses 
(pravritti), and the impressions of past experience {sthiti = 
samskdra) remain as grist for the mill of the mind. (2) These 
subjective processes are, however, readily projected to the external 
world. When the sense-organs reveal the realm of independent 
reahties, impulses {pravritti) seize upon them ; the vestiges of 
past experience {samskdra) impart to them familiar forms ; 
and awareness (prakhyd) pervades the object in such a manner 
that no line can be drawn between that which comes from without 
and its conscious apprehension. If the world of objects can be 
rendered into nothingness, if the sense that there are external 
and independent objects ceases altogether, the emanations of 
consciousness recoil on the self. The vestigial dispositions are no 
longer felt as qualities of the object ; the impulses turn on the 
self and blend with the self-feeling ; the quality of awareness 
itself becomes an attribute of the self. This is the condition 
described as that of oneness of the mind with self [sdrupya). 
(3) The mind is now left alone with its own innate tendencies 
which now require to be regulated in their turn. This end can be 
achieved by steady and strenuous cultivation of the placid states 
of mind and inhibition of those that promote inertia or action 
(avrittikasya = rajasa-tamasa-vrittirahitasya pra^antavahita = 
vimalata sattvika-vritti-vahita ekagrata = sthiti). This placid 
state is the state of what is called Sthiti which leads (4) to that of 
Vairdgya in which the mind has acquired control over the impulses 
that are directed to objects of enjoyment (drishtanu^ravika- 
vishayavitrishnasya va^ikarasaihjna vairagyam). 

But the state of Vairdgya is, after all, a negative phase which 
only prepares the way for a positive phase, a higher plane of 
consciousness (5) where it is now devoid of all states and trends. 


and persists only as a placid expanse of the Psyche (vyaktavya- 
ktebhya dharmakebhya sarvatha viraktah sattva-purushanyata- 
khyatau api gunatmikayarh yavat viraktah). At this stage, 
the mind, however, still owns to some intellectual functions called 
Vitarka and Vichdra, a sense of joy (ananda), and a sense of the self 
(asmitd = jnatahaih iti asmitamatrasaihvit), as already explained. 
The mind is still troubled by its innate dispositions, and inherited 
tendencies. Mental life still pursues a latent course. A state of 
samddhiy of continuous absorption in the object of contemplation, 
now sets in. But the factors that may lead the mind back to the 
world of things are not yet eliminated. This can be achieved only 
by a persistent process of self-regulation and control, continuous 
contemplation, and practice of recital of the mystic syllable 
Only the verbal translation of Brahma (tajjapah tadartha- 
bhavanam) whereby (6) the mental plane can be transcended. 
These will end the career of Manas (or Chitta) and bring into 
play (7) the principle of Ego or self-consciousness {ahamkdra- 
tatah pratyakchetanadhigamah). 

But like Manas, the Self, too, must cease to operate as a 
centre of experience. This end is to be pursued by several 
processes : (i) Elimination of all negative feelings (antardya), 
of sorrow (duhkha) and melancholy (daurmanasya) that usually 
cling to the ego-feeling [i, 31] ; (ii) cultivation of a sense of 
universal sympathy (maitn), a feeling of kindliness for all (karund), 
and an attitude of indifference to joys and sorrows {upekshd) 

[i, 32, 33]. 

(8) In this way, says the Yoga-Sutra [i, 36], there grows 
up in the mind ' a placid, griefless, and radiant consciousness ' 
[Viiokd vd jyotishmatt). 

Further, the world of objects may be viewed in two ways, (a) 
We may think of it as a complex of sense-qualities, as a system built 
out of the combination of vision, sound, touch, smell, and taste, (b) 
We may think of it as a manifestation of independent realities. We 
have so far traced the course of the Psyche from the plane of sense- 
qualities to the inwardness of self-conscious life. We may also lead 
back from the realm of gross material realities {mahdbhuta) , through 
the subtler forms of material entities [tanmdtra) to the self. (9) The 
latter appear as shadows of the material world in the form of 
generalized sensory phenomena (vishayavati va pravrittirutpanna) 

[i, 35]. 

Finally, another level of contemplative life becomes necessary. 
Consciousness must be trained to contemplate objects both 


gross and subtle. This process develops (lo) a plasticity of con- 
sciousness which routined rites so far followed have tended to 
circumscribe. This is called Vaiikdra, a state of psychic self- 
sufficiency and freedom [avyahata prasara [Bhdsvatl) ; sthula- 
sukshma-rupam paksha dvayaih charatah asya chittasya yah 
apratighatah kenapi aprativaddhata {V drUika)], The psyche thus 
achieves a freedom to reflect in itself with equal success the 
nature of pure consciousness, of the act of knowing, as also of 
the object known (grahitii-grahana-grahyeshu tadanjanata). It 
is the plane of pure cognition {Samdpatti) [i, 41]. 

The Yoga-sutras describe two principal stages of such 
cognition. In the first of these, the sense of interval between 
the word, its meaning, and its general significance disappears 
{samklrnd). It may be called discursive apprehension {savitarkd 
samdpatti). When the meaning is apprehended [artharndtra- 
nirbhdsd) without the aid of words (vak-viyukto jnayate), it is 
called non-discursive cognition (nirvitarka samapatti) [i, 43I. 

The latter mode of insight, again, has its own dialectic, 
(i) When the meaning thus grasped leads to concrete phases of 
experience that distribute themselves in time and space (de§a- 
k^a-nimitta-anubhava-avachchhinna) [i, 44 {Bhdsvati)], it is 
called discriminative insight (savichdra). (ii) Where the meanings 
are apprehended without any reference to the space-time and the 
cause-effect schema, in the manner of Platonic ideas, it is called 
non-discursive insight (nirvichara-samapatti). 

(11) As consciousness progresses into subtler ways, meanings 
appear merely as qualifying a subject, without words, without 
objects (asmitimatra-prabodhasvarupam). This is called savlja- 
samddhi, the stage of contemplation that carries a sense of 
reference. For, all meanings lead to objects other than the self. 
A reference, then, conveys a sense of things other than pure 
consciousness, of the object-world (dhyeyarupena prithak 
jfiayamanam-vastu) [Bhdsvatt, i, 44]. 

(12) This residuum of the external passes away in the trans- 
lation of consciousness into pure inwardness. Then there emerges 
a clear uninterrupted flow of pure consciousness {svachchhah 
sthiti-pravdhah) which rejects all references to the sense of the 
object-world (bhutartha-vishaya-kramanurodhi). It represents 
a clarity of insight and placidity of inward life (sphutaprajn^okah 
adhyatma-prasadah). This is called the stage of spiritual mastery 
{vaiidrada) [Yoga-Sutra, i, 47]. (13) There is an inflow, into this 
plane of life, of the eternal verities that reject all knowledge 

[Facing p. 305 


alloyed with the secular. The insights of this plane supersede 
the total range of experience (anyasaihskara-pratibandhi) and 
estabhsh themselves. This is called Ritambhard Prajnd, the 
stage of Insight of Verity [ib., i, 50]. 

(14) This plane of the spirit, too, like the preceding planes, 
gives rise to a new cycle of insights, each of which may leave its 
traces on the life-history of consciousness (tatah navo navah 
saihskara^ayo jayate). When the progress of the spirit stops, 
the sprouting of consciousness even in this form ceases, and the 
final stage, that of * seedless contemplation ' {nirvija-samddhi), 

Moral Practices and Technique ol Yoga. From the outline 
of the process of Yoga and its general view, we shall now pass 
on to a consideration of the practices aiding in the accomplish- 
ment of that process and of its success in self-fulfilment. 

Yoga or Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha depends on two fundamental 
factors : (i) Abhydsa (Practice) and (2) Vairdgya (Freedom 

from passion or objectivity). 

Abhy&sa. The aim is to inhibit those activities [Vrittis) 
of the mind (Chitta) which are dictated by Raja or Tama. When 
the Chitta is thus rendered free of its vrittis {avrittika), it attains 
a state of equipoise {sthiti), flowing on in undisturbed calm 
(pra^anta-vahita) under the influence of Sattva-guna. To achieve 
this mental sthiti, effort {prayatna) is needed. Prayatna implies 
{a) Vtrya (energy) and (b) Utsdha, enthusiasm, persevering 
struggle. This prayatna or effort is to be directed towards the 
strenuous pursuit of the external and internal practices 

laid down in Yoga, to be explained below. An old text states : 

Ichchhd (desire) is created by knowledge (dtmajanyd) ; Kriti 
(prayatna == effort) by Ichchhd ; Cheshtd (bodily exertion) by 
Kriti ; and Kriyd by Cheshtd Thus Abhdydsa means the 
energetic and enthusiastic pursuit of the practices enjoined by 

This Abhydsa must not be spasmodic, but must be '' con- 
firmed and established on a stable basis [dridha-bhumih) by its 
prolonged and continuous cultivation {dirghakdla-nirantard 
sevitah) with satkdra, i.e. with tapasyd (penance), brahma-chary a 
(continence), vidyd (knowledge of ultimate truth), and iraddhd 

Vair&gya. Vairdgya (passionlessness) is defined as the 
consciousness (sarhjhd) of mastery of thirst (trishnd) for seen 
[dfishta) and unseen, revealed [dnuiravika) objects [vishaya). 


The things of this world are stated to be Woman, Food, Drink, 
and Power, comprising both animate and inanimate objects. 
The things of the other world of which one ‘ hears ’ from the 
Vedas comprise attainment of svarga (heaven), vaidehya (freedom 
from birth), and prakriti-laya (resolution into primary matter). 
Svarga is defined as ‘ pure happiness unalloyed by any touch 
of sorrow '. Thus in Vairdgya the Chitta will be unmoved 
(andbhogdtmikd) by contact with objects seen and unseen, 
considering their inadequacy (vishaya-dosha-dardt). The mind 
will be devoid of any desire either to reject, or accept {heyopddeya- 
iunya) objects. It perceives their deficiencies such as ‘ the 
trouble to acquire them, to preserve them, and their inevitable 
decline ’ [arjana-rakshana-kshaya, etc.). This indifference to 
objects results from prasamkhydna, the constant contemplation 
of the inadequacy of all objects followed by a lively sense of their 
innate worthlessness. 

Pour Stages ol Vair&gya. Vairdgya is to be achieved 
in four stages of consciousness : (a) Y atamdna-samjnd. This 
stage is marked by the effort {yatna) to purge the mind of its 
impulses or impurities {mala) like attachment or hatred which 
stimulate the senses and drive them towards objects, {b) Vyatireka- 
samjfid. In this stage is to be examined to what extent the senses 
are withdrawn from objects so as to find out by elimination the 
remaining objects to which the senses are still drawn, (c) 
Ekendriya-samjnd. This refers to the stage where, even when the 
senses are all withdrawn from objects, the Chitta, as the sole sense 
left operative, still thinks of objects with zest, which thus still 
persist and find a habitation there, (d) Vaiikdra-samjhd. The 
last and highest stage of Vairdgya is marked by a complete 
conquest {vailkdra) of all faint or latent desire. 

Apara- and Para-VairSgya. This fourth stage of Vairdgya 
is not the final stage. Vairdgya in its four stages as described 
above is A^ara-Vairagya, which ripens into the final stage 
called Pam-Vairagya. Apara-Yaira-gya. is negative. Here the 
mind turns away from {virakta) objects, those of daily life 
(drishta) and those prescribed as ultimate ends {dnuiravika). 
This detachment from objects is due to perception of their 
inherent imperfections {vishaya-dosha-darii) which are three- 
fold, comprising the three afflictions {tritdpa) of spiritual baffle- 
ment {ddhydtmika), sorrows arising from the material world 
(ddhibhautika), and those that are inflicted by chance and super- 
natural agencies {ddhidaivika) [Bhdsvati]. On the mind thus 


detached from the realm of desired ends dawns the ‘ awareness 
of Purusha ' (purusha-khydti). In this state of detachment which 
is also one of purity (iuddhi), the Buddhi (intellect) achieves 
equipoise and placidity (tatsuddhiviveka-dpyaita-buddhi). Out 
of this state of apara-vairdgya arises that of para-vairagya 
marked by a serene insight, self-fulfilling, and self-fulfilled 
(jndna-prasdda). In it, '' all that is worthy of attainment has been 
attained ; all that has to be given up has been rejected ; the 
links in the chain of births and deaths have been broken. This 
Vairdgya marks the highest point of knowledge (jndnasya 
pardkdshthd) , and holds within it Kaivalya (mukti, salvation).’* 

When the mind is thus brought under control by the 
inhibition of its objective tendencies [Chitta^vritti-nirodha) 
through the two processes (updyadvayena) of Abhydsa (exertion) 
and Vairdgya (detachment), Samddhi is attained. We have already 
seen how Samddhi comprises two stages called Samprajhdta and 
Asamprajhdta and how they are distinguished. 

Rve Means ol Samadhi. The following five means [updya) 
are enumerated for the attainment of Asaihprajnata-Samadhi 
(literally, '' concentration not conscious of objects ”) by Yogins. 
These are (i) Sraddhd defined as the contentment (samprasdda) 
of mind with truth which it seeks with the greatest zeal. This 
spirit of devotion to truth keeps up the Yogi in his quest thereof, 
like the well-wishing mother {jananiva kalydni). It is to be 
observed that the mind cannot remain contented with anything 
except the ultimate Truth (Atman). (2) Virya, strenuous exertion ; 
(3) Smriti, mindfulness ; (4) Samddhi, collectedness and con- 
centration ; and (5) Prajhd, discriminating insight whereby 
things are perceived as they truly are. By practice (abhydsa) 
of these means coupled with vairdgya or detachment from objects, 
Samddhi of the highest stage is attained. 

The speed of attainment of this Samddhi depends upon the 
degree of devotion or zeal (samvega) with which the above five 
measures are pursued. Such zeal may be mild (mridu), moderate 
(madhya), or intense (adhimdtra). 

The Sixth Means : Devotion to God, or ‘ Isvara ’ (livara- 
pranidhdnam). '' Isvara blesses with success (anugrihndti) 
the Yogi when confronted (dvarjjita) by his profound devotion 

Who is Kvara ? Isvara is defined as a particular Purusha 
(distinct from the Purusha and Pradhana or Prakriti of Sariikhya) 
who is not subject to (i) the five afflictions (Kleias, such as 


Avidyd, Asmitd, Rdga, Dvesha, and Ahhiniveia), (2) to Karina, 
(3) to the fruits of Karma (vipdka) such as birth [jdti), length of 
life [dyu), and experience {bhoga), and (4) to the springs of 
desires corresponding to these fruits (diaya). He is also to be 
distinguished from the many Mukta-Purushas or Kevalins who 
have achieved their salvation by breaking the bonds of three- 
fold existence, of the phenomenal world, material and mental 
(prdkritik) ; of the realm of concrete realities so as to dwell 
in the region of generalized matter gross and subtle (vaikdrika, 
cf. bhuta-tanmdtrddi-dhydyindm) ; of attachment to heavenly 
and other objects [ddkshinikah bandho divyddivyavishaya- 
bhdjdm). Further, God or ISvara is not subject to history like 
these other emancipated purushas who are bound to their past 
and dragged to their future fate, however high their spiritual 
attainment may be. Lastly, Isvara represents eternal perfection 
[idivata utkarsha) and the absolute wealth of attributes {aiivarya). 
He represents the limit of knowledge, omniscience {sarvajna). 
But he is marked by one desire, ' to lift up living beings who are 
whirled in the vortex of existence ' and assumes attributes and 
forms for the purpose, as the prime Teacher of Truth which must 
survive dissolution [Tasya atmanugrahabhave api bhutanugrahah 
prayoj anarh j fianadharmopade^ena Kalpa-pralayamahaprala- 
yeshu saihsarinah purushan uddharishyamiti | Tathachoktaih — 
‘ Adi Vidvan nirmanachittamadhishthaya karunyat Bhagavan 
paramarshih Asuraye jijnasamahaya Tantram provacha iti ' 
Vydsa-Bhdshya ] . 

Method 0! approaching God. God or Isvara is indicated by 
the Mystic Syllable known as Pranava or Omkdra which is to be 
taken as His symbol. The Yogi should repeat the syllable and 
reflect upon its meaning (Tajjapastadarthabhavanam), i.e. 
should practise svddhydya or study of Veda (of which the Pranava 
is the root) and yoga or concentration on its import which is God 
Himself. As the Chhdndogya Upanishad states : '' Om iti 

aksharam udglthamupdsUi — the letter Om is to be uttered and 

By this method of worshipping God {I ivara-pranidhdndt) , 
the Yogi gets over all obstacles in his way and attains to a sight 
of his own real self [svarupa-darianam), He has the right 
knowledge which sees that as the Isvara is a Purusha who is 
undefiled {iuddha, not subject to growth and decay), unafilicted 
{prasanna), devoid of attributes (kevalah anupasargah), so also 
is he a ^elf, conscious by reflection of its thinking-substance.'" 


Bhagiratha in MeditationJ[Pallava relief of 7th-8th century a.d.]. The 
Yogi (who was a King) appears petrified by his prolonged penance and has 
become a part of the rocks round him. His penance moves Goddess Ganga 
who melts and descends from Heaven to Earth, pouring out Her bounty in 
streams of plenty [See Plate 61 of Cooraaraswamy’s Viivakarmd]. 

[Facing p. 308 


Obstacles to Sam&dhi. These are the nine distractions 
of mind {chitta-vikshepdh) which are hindrances {antardydh) to 
concentration. They are (i) Vyddhi, Sickness. It is defined as a 
disorder in the humours of the body {dhdtu = vdyu, wind ; pitta, 
and ileshmd, bile and phlegm), or in the secretions [rasa), or in 
the organs [karana = indriya). Dhdtu is so called because 
it sustains [dhdrana) the body. A rasa is a special kind of mutation 
[parindma) undergone by nourishment eaten or drunk. A disorder 
is a state of defect or excess in these. 

Sickness is cited as the first of these obstacles to meditation. 
An old text states : Dharmdrtha-kdma-mokshdndm drogyam 

mulam uttamam ; Health is the prime root of Dharma, Artha, 
Kama, Moksha, the four ends of life."' 

(2) Stydna, languor, lack of activity, incapacity for action 
in the mind [Chittasya akarmanyatd). 

(3) Sarhiaya, doubt, which is a kind of thinking which touches 
both alternatives of a dilemma, so that one thinks, ' This might 
be so ; might not be so.* 

(4) Pramdda, heedlessness, which is a lack of reflection upon 
the means of attaining concentration. 

(5) Alasya, listlessness, a lack of effort due to excess of 
fama guna in the mind and of humours like phlegm in the body 
so as to produce its heaviness. 

(6) Avirati, thirst after the objects of sense. 

(7) Bhrdnti-dariana, erroneous perception, thinking of mis- 
conceptions, taking one thing for another. 

(8) Aldbdha-hhumikatva, failure to attain any stage of 
concentration (such as the stage of Madhumati and the other 

(9) Anavasthitatva, instability in the state of concentration 
attained, failure of Chitta to remain in the stage attained. If, 
after attaining a given stage, the Yogi should remain content 
with only so much progress, there would be a break in the con- 
centration and a resulting retrogression, or fall from even that 
stage. Therefore, the Yogi must stabilize his mind in the stage of 
concentration. When concentration is completely achieved 
(samddhi-pratilafhbha) , it means the direct perception of the 
object contemplated, so that the mind gets fixed on it and has no 
tendency to withdraw from it. 

Further Distractions. The above nine hindrances have their 
other accompaniments or consequences. These are stated to be 
(i) Duhkha, or Pain. Pain is that by which living beings are 


stricken down {ahhihata) and to avert {upaghdta) which they 
strive (prayatante). This pain comes from three sources : [a) 
From self [ddhydtmika) , such as bodily pain due to sickness, or 
mental pain by virtue of such things as passion [kdma) ; (6) From 
living creatures {ddhibhautika) , such as the pain inflicted by a 
tiger for instance ; (c) From chance or accident, acts of God or 
Nature {ddhidaivika) , the baleful influence of planets. 

(2) Daurmanasya, or Despondency, due to inhibition of 
desire through impediment to its fulfilment {ichchhdvighdtdt 
Chittasya kshohhah). 

(3) Angamejayatva, unsteadiness of the body and its 

(4) Svdia-praivdia, inspiration and expiration. This refers 
to the practice of prdndyama or regulation of breath as an aid to 
concentration. Drawing in the breath is pur aka ; holding it 
within is kumbhaka ; and expelling it is rechaka. The natural 
respiration disturbs this process of regulation of breathing. 

All these distractions, which are hindrances to concentration 
{samddhi-pratipakshdh), are to be conquered by the aforesaid 
two fundamental accomplishments of Yoga, viz. Abhydsa and 
Vairdgya. Abhydsa should be the practice of concentration on 
one entity such as I^vara aforesaid (ekatatvabhyasah = ekasmin 
tattve I^vare abhyasah chittasya punah punah nivesanam). 

Moral Means ol Yoga. The pre-requisite of Concentration 
of Mind is its purification (parikarma = chittapariiuddhi), 

' One whose antahkarana or heart is unpurified and full of such 
feelings as jealousy cannot successfully (sampatti) effect concentra- 
tion and the means of concentration aforesaid. Therefore, the 
Sutra-kara now proceeds to set forth the means by which the 
placidity, undisturbed calm of the mind {chitta-prasddanam) 
may be secured.' These consist of the cultivation of the following 
moral attitudes or virtues : (i) Maitrl, desire for and enjoyment 
of the happiness of others so as to shut out the taint of envy 
{irshd or paraMkdtaratd) ; (2) Karund, or Sympathy for the 
suffering. One must treat another's suffering as his own and exert 
himself to remove it as if it is own suffering. This is called Karund 
or compassion. This virtue is an antidote to the taint of a desire 
to injure others. (3) Muditd, happiness at seeing the virtues of 
others. This wards off the taint of asilyd which finds fault in 
virtue. (4) Upekshd, indifference towards the sinful by shunning 
their company. This will overcome the taint of krodha or wrath 
at the sight of sin. 


Resnlation ol Breath. The steadiness of mind (manasah 
sthitih) is to be achieved by the process called Prdndydma, 
consisting of the two functions called (i) Prachchhardanam, the 
gradual ejection (vamanam) of the abdominal wind {koshthasya 
vdyuh) through the apertures of the nose by a special kind of 
effort as described in books of Yoga ; (2) Vidhdranam, retention 
or restraint of breath. By this process the body becomes light 
and antahkarana, stable. 

The word or {vd) as used here in the Sutra [i, 34] signifies 
that there is a choice with regard to other means now to be stated 
but there is no such choice as regards the cultivation of aforesaid 
virtues which are indispensable to Yoga.*' Thus Yoga is primarily 
a matter of moral discipline. 

Contact with steady Minds. An aid to concentration is 
stated [i, 37] to be the companionship of those ' who are freed 
from passion, such as Krishnadvaipayana, Sanaka, and others \ 
The Yogi, by bringing his own mind into contact with the steadied 
minds of these, moulds it into the shape of these minds (Vitaraga- 
chitta-^valambana-uparaktarh va yoginah chittam sthitipadaiii 
labhate) . 

Measures for achieving ‘Abhyfisa’ and ‘Vairagya’. Practice 
of concentration and an attitude of detachment from the world 
are the two principal means by which the Yogi is to achieve his 
progress towards Samddhi, But for those who are not yet yogis 
but are mere novices and beginners, these two means have to be 
acquired by much preliminary discipline. The measures of this 
discipline are elaborated in the Sadhana-Pada of the Y oga-Sutra. 

Kriy&-Yoga. Beginners in Yoga are to pursue what is called 
Kriyd-yoga, comprising the three requisites of {a) Tapah, (b) 
Svddhydya, (c) I ivara-pranidhdna, 

(a) Tapas. Tapasyd is needed to purge the mind of the 
impurities accumulated in it from the beginning of time by the 
effects of karma, kleia, vdsand, covering the mind by a net-work 
of objectivity (vtshayajala). But this process of purification of 
mind {chitt i-prasddanam) must be so practised that it is not 
interrupted by illness (ahddham), 

(b) Svddhydya, This is repetition of purifying formulae 
such as the Pranava (Pranavadi-pavitranaih japah), or study of 
the literature on liberation (Moksha- ^astradhyayanam). As 
samples of this literature, Vachaspati Misra cites the Purusha- 
Sukta [Rv., X, 90], the Rudra-man^ala [Taittirlya Samhitd, iv, 5], 
or the Brahma-pdrdyana of Vishnu Purdna, i, 15* 


(c) Ihara-pra^idhdna. This is devotion to the I^vara 
to whom, as the supreme Teacher, are offered up all actions and 
dedicated the fruits thereof (sarva-kriyanaih paramagurau 
arpanam tatphala-saihnyaso va). 

The Five Afflictions (Elenas). The aforesaid Kriyd-yoga 
is the means of annihilating the five primary impurities of human 
nature. They are called Kleias because they stimulate action 
(Karma) and produce its fruits of happiness and sorrow to be 
experienced. These are : — 

1. Avidy&. There are four forms in which Avidyd or 
Ignorance manifests itself, viz. : 

(a) " Recognition of the permanent in a transitory effect,” 
for example, that the earth is eternal {dhruvd), as also the sky 
with the moon and stars, etc.” Under this Ignorance, “ some 
deeming the elements permanent and longing to attain to their 
form, pay devotion to them, to the Paths, the Way of the Fathers, 
and the Way of the gods ” [Vachaspati]. 

(J) Recognition of purity in the impure (asuchau) and highly 
repulsive (parama bhlbhatse) body. The body is impure at its 
origin, at its first abode in the mother’s womb, in its food converted 
into blood, in its exudation or sweat, and, lastly, at its death as 
an untouchable corpse. And yet such an impure body is loved, the 
body of a girl described as “ beautiful like the sickle of the new 
moon {naveva iaidnkalekhd) , whose limbs are fashioned of honey 
and nectar, eyes large as the petals of the blue lotus {nilotpala- 
patrdyatdkshl), who has burst forth from the moon {chandrant 
bhitvd nihsritd) to bless the living world by the significant message 
of her eyes (hdvagarbhdbhydth lochandbhydm jivalokamdivd- 
sayanti). This is the result of avidyd, of a misconceived idea of the 
pure in the impure {Evam aiuchau iuchirviparydsa pratyayah). 
Similarly, there is a wrong ascription of merit to demerit, of the 
useful to the useless.” 

(c) Recognition of pleasure in pain. 

[d) Recognition of the self in the not-self. The ignorant 
person identifies his self with external objects, animate, such 
as son, wife, or cattle, and inanimate, such as bed, seat, or food, 
and is affected by these. 

Thus Avidyd is not a pramdna, a source of valid knowledge, 
nor its negation, but is a different kind of thinking, the reverse 
of knowledge {vidyd-vipantam jndndntaram), 

2. Asmitft. It is the consciousness of identity between 
Purusha and Prakriti (or Buddhi), Self and Not-self. Purusha 


animates and enjoys ; Buddhi is inanimate {achetana) and enjoyed 
[hhogya). To distinguish between the two is mukti, Purusha is 
marked out by its dkdra which is pure white, its Ma, its detach- 
ment, and its vidyd which is chaitanya or consciousness. Buddhi 
or Prakriti stands for impurity, attachment, inertia, and bondage. 

3. BSga. It is passion, greed {garddha), thirst (trishnd), 
or lust {lobha), for pleasure or the means of attaining pleasure 
on the part of one already acquainted with it. The passion 
for pleasure is roused in such a person by his recollection of 
pleasure previously experienced. 

4. Dvesha. It is aversion, repulsion [pratigha), wrath 
[manyu), anger {krodha), vengeance (jighdmsd), kindled in a 
person who has experienced pain and resists it and its cause. 

5. AbhiniveSa. It is the instinctive love of life or fear of 
death present in both the worm and the wise man. It is due to 
the previous experience of death. All living beings are affected 
by this vision of extermination {uchchheda-drishti) and alike 
wish that they may not cease to live. 

The Eight Aids to Yoga. These are stated to be (i) Yama, 
(2) Niyama, (3) Asana, (4) Pranayama, (5) Pratyahara, (6) 
Dharana, (7) Dhyana, and (8) Samadhi. The Yogdhgas are 
helpful in dissociating the mind from its impurities {viyoga- 
kdrana) and leading it on to the highest knowledge {dptikdrana), 

I. Tama, Abstention. This comprises the following five 
abstinences, viz. (a) Ahifksd, which means abstinence from 
malice towards all living creatures in every way and at all times '' 
(sarvatha sarvada sarvabhutanaih anavidrohah). This is the 
root of all other virtues [yama niyamdh stanmuldh). The Yogi- 
ydjhavalkyam makes it abstinence from causing pain [kleia- 
jananam) by body, mind, or speech, (b) Satya, ‘‘ truth of 
speech and thought (yathartha-vanmanah) corresponding to 
what is seen, inferred, or heard.'' Truth of speech means 
that the person hearing it is not deceived by it, does not 
mistake its meaning and implications, and that it is not 
purposeless (wa vahchitd bhrdntd vd pratipatti-bandhyd vdguktd 
sd). Truthfulness is also to be limited by a higher consideration 
for the good of all beings and should not be to their ruin (sarva- 
bhutopakarartham na bhutopaghataya). Truth is limited by 
Non-violence (ahimsd). From violence springs wrong, not right 
or truth (bhutopaghatah syat na satyarh bhavet papameva- 
bhavet). Therefore, one should speak the truth which is 
consistent with universal good [Tasmdt parikshya sarvabhutahitam 


satyam bruydt). The Y ogi-Y djflavalkyam states : Satyarii bhuta- 
hitaih proktam na yathaxthabhibhashanam '' ; Truth is what 
is good for all living beings and not merely a statement of fact/' 

(c) Asteya, abstention from theft. Theft is defined as 
unauthorized appropriation of things of value from another. 
It should also mean that one must be even free in thought from 
a desire for another man's property. The Y ogi-Y djnavalkyam 
defines it as indifference shown by body, mind, and speech towards 
another's property (Kayena manasa vacha paradravyeshu 

(d) Brahma-chary a, or continence. 

(e) Aparigraha abstinence from acceptance of gifts, and also 
from appropriating objects. One can cultivate this virtue, when 
he sees the disadvantages in the trouble to acquire objects, to 
keep them, the chance of losing them, or of getting attached to 
them, or as a source of envy to others. 

When all these five Abstentions are practised, irrespective 
of the limits of caste (Jati), region (Deia), time or even vows, 
and in every way and always, they rank as Mahdvratas, The 
Bhdsvatl cites instances where these abstentions are limited. 
A fisherman injures only fishes and none else. A butcher may say, 
‘ I will not slay in a holy place.' Or one may say, ' I will not 
slay on the fourteenth day nor on an auspicious day.' Or another 
may say, ' For the sake of gods and Brahmanas, and not 
otherwise, I will slay.' The Kshatriyas will also say that they 
will practise violence only in battle. But the Yogi is not bound 
by these social conventions and considerations. His practice 
of virtue is unqualified and absolute. 

2. Niyama. The Niyamas, or observances, are five in 
number, namely : — 

(a) Saucha, purity, external, with reference to body and food, 
and internal, i.e. purging the mind of its impurities such as 
arrogance, pride, and jealousy. 

{b) Santosha, contentment, which means the desire to take 
no more than is necessary for the bare maintenance of life (cf. 
aparigraha, abstention from acceptance of gifts). 

(c) Tapas, penance, which means the capacity for enduring 
extremes, hunger and thirst, cold and heat, standing and sitting, 
stock-stillness (where no intention is expressed even by a sign) 
and silence (without speech). Certain Vratas or vows are enjoined 
for cultivation of these, viz. Krichchhra, Chandrayana, and 
other mortifications of flesh (santapana). 


Hermitages in Bharhut Sculptures {c. second century b.c.). 

No. 4. — A five-booded snake paying homage to an ascetic. 


(d) Svadhyaya, study of Moksha literature, and repetition 
of the mystic syllable, as already explained. 

(c) Isvara-prai^idhdna, consecration of the fruits of all 
action to God, the prime Guru, i.e. living absolutely as the merest 
instrument of God with no sense of any independent and 
individualist activity. 

If the suggestions of passion supervene and hinder the 
pursuit or practice of the various prohibitions or Yatnas afore- 
said, they are to be subdued by reflection on their consequences, 
viz. misery and ignorance with their endless train of evils. The 
glories of success in the Yamas are described to perfection. Like 
the sun illumining his system, the Yogi’s purity purifies his 
surroundings. Malice (himsd) is shamed in his presence, and is 
converted into its opposite, Vairdgya. Horse and buffalo, mouse 
and cat, snake and mongoose, lose their eternal enmity before 
that All-mighty Presence of Peace and Universal Forbearance. 
The leopard changes its spots under that supreme influence. 
Through his always telling the truth, whatever he tells turns 
out to be truth. Through not hankering after others’ wealth, 
he becomes master of all wealth. Through his confirmed con- 
tinence, he grows in power and competence to instruct pupils 
in the eight practices of Yoga. Lastly, through non-acceptance 
of gifts, he attains complete enlightenment regarding the 
mysteries or problems of existence. • 

Similarly, the perfection of the practice of observances or 
Niyamas is also described. Bodily purity makes him abhor his 
own body with its inherent offensiveness and abhor still more the 
bodies of others. The purging the mind of its impurities restores 
the inherent strength of thj mind, softens it, and from that 
results singleness of intent whence mastery of passion and capacity 
for self-realization. Contentment results in supreme happiness. 
Penance destroying impurities makes the body and its organs 
perfect. Svadhyaya or study as defined above is followed by a 
communion with the chosen deity. And, lastly, the devotion 
to God produces a perfection of Samadhi which enables the 
Yogin to know correctly whatever he wishes to know in other 
times, other places, and other beings. 

8. Aumiii or prescribed postures which prevents the Yogin 
from being affected by the extremes of temperature and the 

4. Prft^&yftma or regulations of the breath. 

5. Pratyfthftra or withdrawal of the senses from their object. 



6. Dhftra9& (fixation of attention). 

7. Dhy&^a (contemplation). 

8. Samftdhi (absorption). 

Without going any further into the details or doctrines 
of the Yoga system, the bare outline of it as given above shows 
the distinctive system of training which it introduces with its 
corresponding aims, ideals, and methods in education.^ 

A General View. We shall now sum up the general features 
of the educational system adumbrated in these six Systems of 
Philosophy, having now given an account of the educational 
bearings of each system separately. 

Different Philosophical Systems have a Common Scheme of 
Discipline. It will be seen that while each System presents its 
own view of the Universe, this is to be realized by a common 
scheme of discipline implied in all the Systems. That scheme 
involves, as we have seen, {a) a course of study of select texts and 
the intellectual discipline that such a study involves ; (6) reflec- 
tion on the inner meaning of the texts studied, coupled with the 
achievement of a moral discipline resulting in (c) a re-orientation 
of the desires and impulses and {d) a transformation in the char- 
acter of behaviour. As has been already pointed out, each System 
of Philosophy prescribes its own course of preliminary and 
preparatory training which is differently emphasized in the 
different Systems. For instance, the Yoga and the Purva 
Mimamsa present themselves as more self-contained systems 
which do not depend upon much of preliminary training. On 
the contrary, they proceed directly from the third and fourth 
stages of the above scheme to an enunciation of their special 
philosophical outlook. 

Its Common Aim. It may also be noted that the different 
Systems agree as to the end of all education and knowledge, 
the attainment of mukti or final release from the bonds of existence. 
They insist in common on this, the only, aim of learning. Each 
System is at pains to discover its own way and approach to that 
common goal and presents its own view and definition of that 
goal. Thus there is a choice of roads opened up by several inde- 
pendent lines of investigation, but all roads lead to one goal 
about which there is no choice. The very growth of such a varied 

^ References . — Ganganath Jha's Philosophical Discipline (Calcutta University 
Kamala Lectures) ; philosophical works of Professors S. N. Das Gupta and 
Sir S. Radhakrishnan ; Dr. J, N. Sinha's work on Hindu Psychology (from 
which I derived special help in both thought and expression) ; Professor N. N. 
Sengupta's MSS. and Notes specially prepared for my needs. 


and valuable crop of philosophical speculation points to the 
intellectual tendencies of the times, to the existence of any 
number of circles or schools of thinkers who concerned themselves 
with the Quest of the Atman, to the exclusion of the pursuit 
of other interests or secondary and intermediary truths. 

Differences of Pedagogic Method : the Method of Faith 
and that of Reason. We may also note that the philosophical 
Systems, from the pedagogic standpoint, exhibit, broadly speaking, 
a twofold method, though the two methods are not mutually 
exclusive in all stages of education. Firstly, there are some 
Dar^anas which stand for the principle that the disciple should 
receive on trust what is taught. Thus the Yoga begins with the 
following distinctive dictum : Atha Yogdnuidsanam, “Now 
follows the injunction of Yoga.“ Secondly, there are other 
Dar^anas which take their stand upon the contrary principle. 
They expect the disciple to raise all possible objections, the 
answers to which build up the systems. Except the Yoga, all 
the Dar^anas are of the latter type. This, therefore, shows that the 
method of education which was generally followed was not at 
all mechanical and dogmatic, but absolutely rational and critical. 
It gave scope to doubt, debate, and discussion. Although, 
according to the orthodox view, the originators of the Systems 
obtained a darsana, a “ vision “ of Truth, through their Yogic 
powers, they would not promulgate their teachings on mere 
authority, but depended upon and appealed to the ordinary 
reasoning powers of their disciples to grasp the truths they pro- 
claimed. They refused to build upon blind faith and suspend 
the critical faculty. 

Debate the traditional Method of Indian Education. Indeed, 
the outstanding tradition of Indian Education is to give the 
fullest scope to differences of opinion and to debate and discussion 
at which such differences were freely fought out, thrashed out, 
and solved. It is never to take anything on trust, but each 
must test and discover for himself afresh, and in his own way, 
the truth he is taught. The “ direct perception of truth “ was 
both the means and end of education. This has been the time- 
honoured traditional method of Indian Education through the 
ages since the days of the Vedas and Upanishads, as we have 
amply seen. 

This method of interrogation, cross-examination, debate, 
and discussion among fellow-seekers of Truth (whom the Rigveda 
describes as Sakhds meeting for the purpose in Samghas) was later 


elaborated into a Science, and exalted into an Art, to teach 
the principles and practices of debate or argument as a means of 
knowledge or education. It reached its culmination in the age 
of the Philosophical Systems, and in one of the Systems, Nydya 
or Logic. It will, therefore, be useftd to bring together some of the 
typical texts and data showing how Debate was practised as a 
Fine Art in the sphere of learning and education.^ 

Treatises on Debate : Tantca-ynkti {c. 600 b.c.). We 
find that as early as about 600 B.c., a special treatise called 
Tantra-yukti, a manual of debate, was in existence for its use in 
conducting debates and arguments at Parishads and learned 
Assemblies. In the Suiruta-Samhitd [Uttaratantra, ch. Ixv], 
it is stated that by the aid of Tantra-yukti a person can establish 
his own -position and overthrow that of his opponents who are 
unfair in debate. Tantra-yukti is the oldest work in the history 
of Logic {Hetuvidyd) and is referred to in the Samhitas of both 
Sulruta and Charaka, in Kautilya's Arthaidstra, and in the com- 
mentaries of Vatsyayana and others on the Nyaya-Sutra. 

Terms of Sdentilic Argument. Tantra-yukti presents the 
forms of scientific argument under thirty-two topics as mentioned 
below : — , 

(1) Aihikararia, subject. 

(2) Vidhdna, arrangement. 

(3) yoga, union of words. 

(4) Paddrtha, category. 

(5) Hetvdrtha, implication. 

(6) Uddeia, emmciation. 

(7) Nirdeia, declaration. 

(8) Upadeia, instruction. 

(9) Apadeia, specification. 

(10) Atideia, extended application. 

(11) Pradeia, determination from a statement to be made. 

(12) Upamdna, analogy. 

(13) Arthdpatti, presumption. 

(14) Samiaya, doubt. 

(15) Prasanga, a connected argument. 

(16) Viparyaya, reversion. 

(17) Vdkya-iesha, context. 

(18) Anumata, assent. 

(19) Vydkhydna, description. 

^ References. — Dr. S. C. VidySbhushana's erudite works, Mediaeval Indian 
Logic and History of Indian Logic. 


(20) Nirvachana, etymological explanation. 

(21) Nidariana, example. 

(22) Apavarga, exception. 

(23) Sva-sarhjHd, a special term. 

(24) Purva-paksha, question. 

(25) Uttara-paksha, reply. 

(26) Ekdnta, certain. 

(27) Andgatavekshai),a, anticipation. 

(28) Atikrdntdvekshana, retrospection. 

(29) Niyoga, injunction. 

(30) Vikalpa, alternative. 

(31) ^muchchaya, aggregation. 

(32) Uhya, ellipsis. 

The Tantra-yukti of Charaka-Saihhita comprises thirty- 
four terms which include the following new ones, viz. : 

(1) Prayojana, purpose. 

(2) Nirnaya, ascertainment. 

(3) Anekdnta, uncertain. 

(4) Pratyuchchdra, repetition. 

(5) Uddhdra, citation. 

(6) Samhhava, probability. 

The Work of Medhfitithi Oaotama. Besides Tantra-yukti, 
there is another early work on Anvikshikt attributed to Medhatithi 
Gautama of about the sixth century B.c., whose doctrines are 
embodied in the Charaka-Saihhita of Charaka, as also in the 
Nyaya-Sutra of Akshapada. According to tradition, it was 
Punarvasu Atreya (c. 550 b.c.) who was the original author of 
the so-called Charaka-Saihhita or Ayurveda-Saihhita, and the 
name Charaka might be that of a sect [Chdrakdh, according to 
Panini, iv, 3, 107] or a physician who was the redactor of the 
A3mrveda Saihhita, as stated in the Nydya-manjari [iv, 249], 
or the court-physician of Kanishka, as stated in the Chinese 
Tripi^aka [Jolly, Medicine (Biihler’s Grundriss, iii, 10), p. ii]. 
While Charaka-Saihhita utilized the doctrines of Medhatithi 
Gautama in their crude forms, Akshapada pruned them fully 
before incorporating them into the Nyaya-Sutra. 

These doctrines as preserved in the Charaka-Saihhita deal 
with three themes, viz. (i) Kdrydbhinirvritti, “ the aggregate of 
resources for the accomplishment of an action,” such resources 
beiqg numbered ten, including De^a, Kala, Pravritti, Upaya, 
and the like ; (2) Parlkshd, or ” the standard of examination ”, 


such as dptopadeia, '' reliable assertion or testimony/' prataksha, 
“ perception ", anumdna, " inference and yukti, " con- 
tinuous reasoning " ; and (3) Sambhdshd or Vddavidhi, " the 
method of debate." 

Its Chapter on Method of Debate. We are concerned here 
more with this third theme of Medhatithi Gautama, giving the 
rules of debate. 

First, the utility of this practice of debate in learning is 
explained. " It increases the knowledge and happiness of those 
carrying on a debate, produces dexterity, bestows eloquence, 
brightens reputation, removes misapprehension, kindles zeal 
for further study. Therefore sages applaud debate with fellow- 

Secondly, a Debate may be of two kinds, friendly and con- 
genial {sandhdya) or hostile {vigrihya). 

There is mentioned an Assembly or Council (Parishad) of 
Debate where Debate is to be held. This Assembly may be a 
learned body or ignorant, and may also be friendly, strictly 
impartial, or hostile, being committed to one side. 

Then there are mentioned what may be called the Expedients 
of Debate {vddopdya), explaining the ways and means of {a) 
vanquishing a person of blazing reputation, (6) arguing with an 
opponent who is superior, or inferior, or equal in merit, and (c) 
influencing the Parishad hearing the Debate. 

Next is explained the Vdda-mdrga, the Course of Debate 
comprising several categories which must be studied as prepara- 
tion for debate. 

A debate may degenerate into mere (a) Wrangling (Jalpa) 
for the purpose of defence or attack, or (b) Vitandd, Cavil, for 
the purpose of attack for its own sake. 

Then one must understand the other important elements of 
Debate, such as (i) the Issue or Proposition called Pratijnd, 
the definition of the subject to be debated upon ; (2) Sthdpand, 

* the establishment of a Proposition through the process 6f a 
reason, example, application, and conclusion ' ; (3) Pratishthdpana, 

* establishment of counter-proposition ' ; (4) Hetu, Reason, the 

source of knowledge such as pratyaksha, perception ; anumdna, 
inference ; aitihya, scripture ; and aupamya, comparison ; 
(5) Upanaya, application ; (6) Nigamana, conclusion ; (7) 

Uttar a, rejoinder ; (8) Drishtdnta, example ; (9) Siddhdnta, 

' the truth or tenet established on examination by experts 
or on proof by reasoning ' ; (10) Samiaya, doubt or uncertainty ; 


(ii) Prayojana, purpose for the accomplishment of which an 
action is undertaken ; (12) JijMsd, inquiry or investigation ; 
(13) Vyavasdya, ‘ determination, e.g., that disease is due to the 
disturbance of wind in the stomach, and this is the medicine * ; 
{14) Artha-prdpti, 'presumption, the knowledge of a thing 
implied by the declaration of another thing ' ; (15) Vdkyadosha, 
' defects of speech such as inadequacy, redundancy (in the form 
of irrelevancy or repetition), meaninglessness, incoherence 
(combination of words which do not convey a connected meaning), 
and contradiction (opposition to the tenet, example, or occasion 
or a statement inconsistent with the occasion) ’ ; (16) Chhala, 
quibble (in respect of a word or a generality) ; (17) Ahetu, fallacy 
such as (a) Begging the question (prakarana-sama) , when what 
is to be proved is taken as the reason, {b) Assumption based 
on doubt (samiaya-sama) , [c) Balancing the subject (varnya- 
sama)y where the example is not different from the subject in 
respect of its questionable character ; (18) AtJta-kdla, inopportune, 
' when that which should be stated first is stated later ' ; 

(19) Updlambha, imputation of defect to the reason adduced ; 

(20) Hetvantara, shifting the reason ; (21) Arthdntara, shifting the 
topic ; and (22) Pratijndhdni, abandonment of a proposition. 

A person who is acquainted with all these points or turns that 
may crop up in argument will be strongly fortified for purposes 
of both offence and attack in the course of a debate. 

Most of these terms of Medhatithi Gautama were later 
incorporated into the Nyaya-Sutra of Gautama (Akshapada ?) 
and its commentaries which deal with Vdda or Discussion as one 
of its five main subjects. The Nyaya-Sutra treats of sixteen 
Categories which comprise all the topics of V dda-mdrga (course 
of debate) as enumerated in the Charaka-Sarhhita. Only it 
arranges these topics in a more systematic and scientific manner. 
It arranges them under stages marked out in th^ development 
of a debate. Thus the first stage of a debate, its starting-point 
or basis, is the thesis to be proved, which is brought under the two 
Categories, (i) Pramdna, means of knowledge, and (2) Prameya, 
implying objects of knowledge. These two Categories constitute 
the basis of Debate. After this, the Debate opens and enters 
upon its third stage called Sarhiaya, The disputant in pursuit 
of his prayojana (purpose) first tries to answer the doubt of his 
opponent by citing a drishtdnta or a parallel case which is not so 
open to doubt. Then the next stage in the Debate is reached 
when the case, free of doubt, is shown to rest on siddhdntas 


(conclusions or tenets) accepted by both parties. The validity 
of the case is then further proved by analysing it into its five 
constituent parts called avayava. Thus another stage, that 
of nirvMya (certainty), is reached when the disputant has success- 
fully carried on the tarka (confutation) against all contrary 
arguments. But the Debate may take a different turn,^ in case 
the respondent, not satisfied with the process of argument, 
presents an antithesis. This will lead to another stage of the 
Debate, that of Vada proper, which may degenerate into Jalpa 
or Vitandd and even to the use of shady casuistry in the forms of 
hetvabhasa (fallacious reasons), chhala,jati (analogues, far-fetched 
analogies). The exposure of these falsehoods will bring about 
his defeat (nigraha) and terminate the debate. 

Condusion. We conclude this account of the philosophical 
Sutras by the following vivid presentation of some of the charac- 
teristic aspects of this ancient Indian education by Max Muller 
[Royal Institution Lectures on Vedanta Philosophy] : “ The 

study of philosophy in India was not only an integral part of 
the religion of the BraJimanas but it was based from the very 
beginning on a moral foundation. We saw already that no 
one was admitted to the study of the Upanishads who had 
not been properly initiated and introduced by a qualified teacher, 
and who had not fulfilled the duties, both civil and religious, 
incumbent on a householder. But even that was not enough. 
No one was supposed to be fit for true philosophical speculation 
who had not completely subdued his passions. The sea must 
no longer be swept by storms, if it is to reflect the light of the 
sun in all its divine calmness and purity. Hence even the hermit 
in the forest was expected to be an ascetic, and to endure severe 
penances as a help for extinguishing all the passions that might 
disturb his peace. And it was not only the body that had to 
be subdued and hardened against all external disturbances such 
as heat and cold, hunger and thirst. Six things had to be acquired 
by the mind, namely, tranquillity, restraint, self-denial, long- 
suffering, collectedness, and faith [$ama, Dama, Uparati (often 
explained as relinquishment of all sacrificial duties), Titiksha, 
Samadhi, and Sraddha]. It has been thought [Deussen, System, 
p. 85], that this quietness is hardly the best oqtfit for a philosopher 
who, according to our views of philosophy, is to pile Ossa on 
Pelion in order to storm the fortress of Truth and conquer new 
realms in earth and heaven. But we must remember that the 
object of the Vedanta was to show that we have really nothing 


to conquer but ourselves, that we possess everything within us, 
and that nothing is required but' to shut our eyes and hearts 
against the illusion of the world in order to find ourselves richer 
than heaven and earth. Even faith, Sraddha, which has given 
special offence as a requisite for philosophy, because philosophy, 
according to Descartes, ought to begin with de omnitus duhitare, 
has its legitimate place in the Vedanta philosophy, for, like Kant’s 
philosophy, it leads us on to see that many things are beyond 
the limits of human understanding, and must be accepted or 
believed, without being understood. 

How seriously and religiously philosophy was taken up 
by the Vedantists we see from what are considered the essential 
requisites of a true philosopher. He ought to have surrendered 
all desire for rewards in this life or in the life to come. He ought, 
therefore, never to dream of acquiring wealth, of founding a 
school, of gaining a name in history ; he ought not even to 
think of any recompense in better life. . . And so we have 
the extraordinary fact that, after 2,000 years, their works are 
still able to rivet our attention, while with us, in spite of advertise- 
ments, of friendly and unfriendly reviews, the philosophical 
book of the season is often the book of one season only. . . 
I believe much of the excellency of the ancient Sanskrit 
philosophers is due to their having been undisturbed by the 
thought of there being a public to please or critics to appear. 
They thought of nothing but the work they had determined 
to do : their one idea was to make it as perfect as it could be 
made. . . The ancient Upanishads describe the properly 
qualified student of philosophy in the following words [Brihad. 
Upa,, iv, 4, 23] : ‘ He, therefore, who knows the Self, after 

having become quiet, subdued, satisfied, patient, and collected 
sees Self in Self, sees all as Self. Evil does not overcome him, he 
overcomes all evil. Evil does not burn him, he burns all evil. 
Free from evil, free from spots, free from doubt, he becomes 
a true Brahmana ' " (ib., pp. 36-4^]- 

To sum up : the study of philosophy is by itself a complete 
and self-sufficient scheme of education and discipline. Philosophy 
with Hindus is not what William James called Logic-chopping 
It was severely practical in its aim, which was no less than to 
mould life, its outlook and activities, in accordance with its 
scheme of values and view of the Universe, its theory of Reality. 
Its study, therefore, dep>ends, firstly, on some amount of in- 
tellectual training and reading of texts by which its particular 


outlook, aim, technique, and system can be understood. But it 
depends also on an amount of moral preparation by which is 
to be created the atmosphere conducive and congenial to the 
cultivation of a new way of life with its new pattern of conduct 
and view of values. It must be an atmosphere of peace and quiet, 
where the mind can remain unperturbed, and is not distracted 
by unwholesome stimuli, or the crises and turmoils to which 
life is exposed in its ordinary environment. Such an environment 
the student of philosophy, the seeker after truth, must create 
for himself. He must create this heaven on earth by the power 
of a newly oriented mind, a new world of thoughts, feelings, 
and attitudes, where he remains unmoved by the facts and events, 
men and things, of ordinary daily life. He remains oriented to 
other realities. As De Caussade puts it : The divine action 

can only take possession of a soul in so far as that soul is empty 
of all confidence in her own action.'" This is an echo of some 
of the prayers of pupils contained in the Upanishads : “ Let my 
ears listen only to what is noble, and let my eyes see only what 
is good and pure. Let my body be controlled and my mind be 
in perpetual prayer, so that I may serve the gods, who represent 
the glory of the life of the spirit, throughout my earthly career." 
Again : " May Mitra, Varuna, Aryama, Indra, Brihaspati, and 
Vishnu give me their blessings that I may fare well on my way 
to this knowledge. I shall utter only what is in accordance with 
cosmic law (Rita). I shall only state the Truth. Protect me, 
O God, protect this speaker." 

Chapter X 


The Epics as Sources of History. We shall now discuss the 
evidence of the Epics, the Rdmdyana and the Mahdbhdrata, 

The value of the Epics as sources of history is somewhat 
affected by the uncertainty of the dates of the works in their 
present forms and the difficulty of distinguishing the various 
strata contributed in different periods to these composite literary 
structures. According to Hopkins, upon the original story, 
the Bhdrata, have been grafted many ‘ secondary tales ' {upd- 
khydna), and upon these, and apart from these, have been inserted 
whole poems of romantic, ethical, and theological character, 
having nothing to do with the course of the Epic itself. We 
must, however, remember that our Epic has been enlarged in 
two ways : first, by a natural expansion of matter already extant ; 
secondly, by unnatural addition of new material. The twelfth 
book may serve as a type of the latter ; the eighth, of the former 
Hopkins's conclusion is that “ even the modern Epic, the full 
completed work, is not as a whole unimportant in the elucidation 
of the customs of India in the Middle Ages, reaching back more 
than 2,000 years 

We may recall in this connection the references to the 
story of the two Epics in our earlier literature. Panini, as has 
been already indicated, mentions the word Mahabharata [vi, 2, 
38] and the formation Yudhishthira [viii, 3, 95]. He also 
mentions Vasudeva and Arjuna as heads of sects [iv, 3, 98]. 
But, as Hopkins points out, Panini s evidence is negative, 
mentioning characters but not the poeni by name." By the 
time of Patanjali, however, the Mahabharata, as a poem, must 
have existed, considering his references to some of its typical 
characters like Vasudeva and Valadeva, Nakula, Sahadeva, and 
Bhaimasenya who are mentioned as descendants of Vrishni 
and Kuru families [see the references given before]. Another 
early reference to the story of the two Epics is in the KauUliya 
which mentions how the two kings, Havana and Duryodhana, 
came to grief for their sins, the former in not restoring another 



man’s wife (paraddranaprayachchhan) out of conceit and the 
latter another man’s legal share of the kingdom [i, 6]. 

Their interest mainly military. The purely educational 
evidence of the Epics is, however, very meagre in comparison 
with the sizes of the works or the vast quantity of sociological 
data they furnish. This is of course due to the interest of the two 
Epics lying mainly in the realm of action and not in that of 
thought. The military interest of the Epics predominates over 
the intellectual. The predominant part in their history is also 
taken by the military and ruling caste. The bulk of the in- 
tellectual life of the country centred in the hermitages and 
homes of Rishis and Brahmins, which do not receive notice 
in the Epics except when they are connected with the course 
of their story. 

Meagre educational material. Nevertheless, we can wring 
out of such unpromising sources some quantity of interesting 
information bearing upon matters educational. There are some 
general discourses bearing on the duties of the first Asrama of 
life, the life of studentship. Secondly, there are accounts of some 
ideal students and schools or hermitages, the centres of learning 
in those days. Thirdly, there are accounts given of the education 
that was imparted to the princes or the children of the Kshatriya 
caste who were meant for the military and political career. 

Principles underlying Castes and Adramas. If we may use 
a metaphor, the different A^ramas or stages of life are mutually 
related in the same way as the bud, the flower, and the fruit. 
The tender youth is first subjected to a process of rigorous 
discipline and training the aim of which is to purge him of all 
the impurities and imperfections, physical and moreil, which 
obstruct the free operation of the vital principles of growth of 
the individual. Thus endowed with a sound mind in a sound 
body, the budding youth blossoms into a noble manhood which 
then reproduces itself in the householder’s state and through the 
experience of an active life ripens into the fruit of mature wisdom 
and moral steadfastness which are dedicated in the third Asrama 
of life to the advancement not of the individual but the collective 
life. The Vdnaprastha must detach himseU from personal interests 
centring in his individual home and family. He must wander 
from home into homelessness, cut himself off from his old moorings 
of self-interest to sail on the open main towards the Universal 
and the Absolute, and feel that “ one touch of Nature which 
makes the whole world kin ”. 


Thus the first period of life is that of preparation through 
education. But this means that we must know what it is a 
preparation for. The preparatory processes, the contents and 
methods of education, will thus vary with the ultimate ends in 
view. The education of the Brahmin is to be such as can prepare 
him for the duties and vocations laid down as legitimate for him. 
Similarly, the education of the Kshatriya, the Vai^ya, and the 
Sudra, too, will have to be such as can fit each for his respective 
career in life. All education thus becomes in a sense vocational 
or practical. 

Duties of different Castes according to Mah&bharata. The 

duties of the several castes which thus determine the kind of 
training suitable for them are laid down in some passages of the 
Mahabharata. One such passage has them as follows [xvi, 60] : — 
Self-control is the first duty of the Brahmanas. Study of 
the Vedas and patient practice of austerities are also their other 
duties. By practising these two, all their acts are done. 

** If, while engaged in the observance of his own duties, 
without doing any unlawful act, riches come to a peaceful 
Brahmana endued with knowledge, he should then marry and 
beget offspring and should also practise charity and perform 
sacrifices. He should also share the enjoyment of this wealth 
with the worthy. 

'' But by Vedic study alone will a Brahmana's duties be done. 
Whether he does anything else or not, he will be regarded as a 
true Brahmana, the friend of the universe.'' 

Thus practically the life of a Brahmin is the life of study 
whereby he becomes the custodian of the nation s culture to the 
promotion of which he has to consecrate his whole life. 

Regarding the duties of the Kshatriya, it is laid down that 
he should give but not beg ; should himself celebrate sacrifices 
but not officiate as a priest in the sacrifices of others , should 
never teach the Veda but study the same with a Brahmana 
teacher {dadydt na ydcheta ; yajeta na ydjayet ; nddhydpayeda- 
dhlylta) ; should protect his people, being always ready to kill 
robbers and show his mettle in battle ; for there is no higher 
duty of a Kshatriya than checking the wicked. While gifts, 
study, and sacrifices bring him prosperity, the Kshatriya^ who 
wishes for spiritual merit can realize it only by doing his duties 
as a warrior (rajna vi^eshena yoddhavyaih dharmamipsata). 
No true Kshatriya should leave a battle unscathed. The proper 
duty of a king is to defend his people and keep them to their 


duties and when that is done, it does not matter if he does any- 
thing else or not. The best of kings is distinguished by three 
attributes, viz. performance of sacrifices, knowledge of the 
Vedas, and victory in wars. 

Regarding the Vaiiya, he should make gifts ; study the 
Vedas, perform sacrifices, and acquire wealth by fair means. 

It is thus evident that while study is binding upon all 
belonging to the three twice-born castes (making up the majority 
of the entire Indian population), a life of learning or an intellectual 
career is not prescribed for all. The Kshatriya is destined for the 
political, and the Vai^ya for the economic career. In Adam 
Smith's phraseology, the former is for defence " and the latter 
for opulence 

The status of the Sudra in this ancient society has been 
much misunderstood. It would be irrelevant to our present pur- 
pose to go into the question thoroughly. We are only concerned 
with its educational or cultural aspects which are very well 
indicated in some passages of the Mahabharata [ib.]. It may 
be recalled that much of the intellectual life and culture of the 
community centred round sacrifice which had thus a very great 
educative influence. From such influence the ^udra was not 
excluded. The privilege of performing or participating in sacrifices 
was not denied to him. Of course, these sacrifices were of a kind, 
other than the strictly Vedic sacrifices for which the higher 
castes alone were eligible. The sacrifices for which the Sudra 
is eligible are called Pdkayajnas. But the Mahabharata is very 
particular in pointing out that the highest of all sacrifices is 
open to all including the Sudra. That sacrifice is devotion, 
what is called Sraddhd-yajna, performed by the mind {mamshayd). 
“ Even gods do not disdain to share the offerings of sacrifices 
of ^udras when performed in such spirit." " Therefore all the 
four castes are equal." " That person who desires to worship 
God through sacrifice is considered virtuous, even though he 
happens to be a thief or the worst of sinners." 

We have now roughly indicated the legitimate careers 
marked out for the four castes for which they must prepare in the 
period of their education. It is, however, to be noted that though 
the lines of differentiation of occupations normally followed those 
of caste, the lines were not at all rigid and inelastic. They were 
departed from under difficulties, distress, or emergencies. Under 
the pressure of necessity which has no law, the promiscuous 
pursuit of occupations is permitted, thus exposing the real 


character and significance of caste as determining the destiny 
of labour. As a matter of fact, the social and economic divisions 
were not always coinciding. On this point, ^ " the text of 
Yajnavalkya is pertinent : ‘ a Sudra should serve twice-born 
men , but if he cannot thus subsist, he may become a trader ’ ; 
and the profession of a husbandman is allowed to the Sudra 
by the Narasithha Purdna, ‘ let him rely on agriculture for his 
subsistence.’ On this ground, the practice of money-lending 
by a Sudra has been mentioned ” [Colebrooke’s Digest of Hindu 
Law, vol. ii, p. 356]. 

Education of Brahmins. We now proceed to discuss the 
Epic evidence regarding the kind and methods of education 
prescribed for the members of the different castes to qualify 
them for their respective careers or callings in life. 

As has been already indicated, the evidence regarding the 
education of Brahmins and the centres of Brahminical learning 
is comparatively very meagre in the Epics and is forthcoming 
only in an indirect fashion in connection with episodes or stories 
or dialogues, and not with the general course of their narrative. 

Regarding the education of Brahmins, it is indicated in 
several passages which summarize the duties and rules relating 
to the first A^rama or stage of life and applicable to the three twice- 
born classes on the lines laid down in the Dharma-Sutras dealt 
with above. In xii, 191 we have the following ; 

“ Of the four modes of life, to live in the house of the preceptor 
is the first. In this mode of life one should have his soul cleansed 

^ Cf. Mhh., xii, 78, 2, which permits a Brahmin in distress to take to 
agriculture and tending cattle like a Vai^ya, if unable to perform the duties of 
a Kshatriya, and also to trade (4-6), but not in certain prohibited articles. In 
xii, 76, a Brahmin is described as degraded by the pursuit of the following 
occupations, viz. accepting office in law-courts for summoning people (the 
office meant for a Sodra), performing worship for others for money, officiating 
in sacrifices for a village, making sea-voyages, foretelling from the stars, acting 
as Ritvijas, Purohitas, counsellors, envoys, and messengers, or engaging in 
the army as a horseman, or a fighter on elephant or chariot, or as a foot-soldier. 
In another peissage, there is the interesting injunction that the Brahmins should 
take up arms to protect the people when they are left unprotected. Even a 
^tldra who affords such protection to helpless people deserves to be adored by 
all [xii, 78, 29-40]. It is thus quite apparent that the division of occupations or 
the distribution of careers in life was not at all rigid and immutable like that 
of castes. We should note in this connection the remarkable passage [xii, 85, 
7-11] which lays down that the king's Ministry should be constituted by four 
Brahmins, eight Kshatriyas, twenty-one Vai^yas, three 6udras, and one Sdta, 
and all of fifty years of age. Thus the highest post in the administration was 
thrown open to all the castes, and the ^tlidra did not labour under any dis- 
qualification. We may also recall the passage of Manu [ii, 241 ; Ap., ii, 4, 25 ; 
dauf., vii, 1-3 ; Baudh., i, 3, 41-3], which permits a Brahmin student, “ in 
times' of distress,” to ” learn the Veda ” from a non-Brahmin teacher whom he 
must duly respect — ” walk behind and serve ” — ” as long as the instruction 
lasts ” 



{mniyatatma) by purity of conduct, by Vedic rites, by restraints, 
vows, and humility. He should ad(Sre the morning and evening 
twilights, the sun, his own consecrated hearth, and the gods. 
He should shake off procrastination and idleness. He should 
purify his soul by saluting his preceptor, by studying the Vedas, 
and by attending to his preceptor’s instructions. He should 
perform his ablutions thrice. He should lead a life of celibacy ; 
attend to his consecrated hearth ; serve his preceptor dutifully ; 
daily go out for alms, and give ungrudgingly to his preceptor the 
whole of what is got in alms. Carr3dng out willingly the behests 
of his preceptor, he should be ready to receive such Vedic instruc- 
tion as his preceptor may give him as a favour.” 

The following passage [xii, 242] still further elaborates the 
rules of studentship : 

" While hving in the preceptor’s house, the Brahmacharin 
should seek bed after the preceptor has gone to his, and rise 
therefrom before the preceptor rises from his. He should do all 
such acts again as a disciple or a menial servant should do. 
Doing these, he should humbly stand by his preceptor. 

“ Having performed all acts, he should study, sitting at the 
feet of his preceptor, with anxious desire to learn. He should 
always behave with simplicity, avoid evil speech, and take lessons 
only when his preceptor asks him for it. 

” He should never eat before his preceptor has eaten ; never 
drink before his preceptor has done so ; never sit down before his 
preceptor has sat down ; and never go to bed before his 
preceptor has gone. 

" Having thus spent a fourth part of his life in the study of 
the Vedas and observance of vows and fasts, and having given 
the preceptor his fee, the disciple should, according to the 
ordinance, bid adieu and return home for becoming a house- 

Another passage [xii, 66] points out " study of the Vedas 
every day, forgiveness, worship of preceptors, and services 
rendered to one’s own teacher as securing the attainment of the 
object of brahmacharya ”. 

Pour Duties 0! Studentship. The following passage [v, 44] 
throws further light on the system of studentship and the sacred 
relations obtaining between the teacher and the taught : — 

" The father and the mother only create the body ; but the 
condition derived from the instructions of the preceptor is sacred, 
undecajdng, and immortal. 



The preceptor is to be regarded as father and mother^ 
and must not be sinned against/' 

A disciple should every day pay respect to his preceptor and 
engage in study with a pure mind and concentrated attention. 
He should never feel annoyed or angry (at the humble or hard 
services he is called upon to perform at his preceptor's house). 
This is the first step of studentship. 

He who acquires learning and maintains himself by the 
proceeds of his begging in the morning and evening and not by 
depending upon the preceptor's means — such a dutiful student 
completes the first step of studentship. 

The second step of studentship is the performance of acts 
desired by the preceptor at all costs and by all means — at the 
cost of life or the last penny, by body, mind, and speech. 

This devotion should be observed even towards the 
preceptor's wife or his son. 

•The third step towards the fulfilment of studentship consists 
in the proper realization by the pupil of the benefits his preceptor 
confers on him by imparting to him the knowledge which 
annihilates pain and brings on bliss, the peace that passeth all 
understanding, so that in exaltation of heart he may thus think 
always of his preceptor, '' By him have I been so developed." 

The fourth and last step of studentship consists in the pupil 
not leaving the preceptor's home without first paying off the debt 
he owes to his preceptor for his gift of knowledge by suitable 
presents. The pupil must make the presents also in due humility 
and a spirit of self-effacement, not thinking at all that he is making 
a gift to his teacher, much less speaking about it. 

In trying to make presents, whatever wealth the pupil 
acquires must be given to his teacher. 

These four steps of studentship are acquired {a) in course of 
time, i.e. by the natural growth of one's mental powers, {b) 
by contact with the preceptor, (c) by the pupil's own endeavours 
or mental capacity, and [d) by discussion with fellow-pupils. 
Thus the four factors of education are a suitable period of time, 
individual earnestness, and capacity, the aid of the teacher 
and the aid of associates in study. 

Eligibility ' for education. The eligibility for studentship 
is strictly laid down. The teaching of the Vedas must not be 
imparted to one who has not formally become a disciple, who 
has not observed vows or who is of impure soul. No knowledge 
should be imparted to one whose character is not previously 



known. As pure gold is tested by heating, cutting, and rubbing, 
so should disciples be examined with reference to their birth and 
qualities. There is, in addition, the very remarkable injunction 
’ that persons of all the four castes are competent to listen to 
discourses on Vedas or Vedic recitations [irdvayechchaturo 
varndn) [xii, 327]. 

Lastly, the pedagogic principle is laid down that the'studies 
prescribed should be according to capacity, for one's knowledge 
is always proportionate to his understanding and diligence in 
study " [xii, 327]. 

Examples of Ideal Students. Both the general course of 
the narrative and the episodes or stories of the Mahabharata 
introduce us to ideal students, teachers, schools, and hermitages 
and other centres of learning. 

Arupi. Taksha^ila was a noted centre of learning. The 
story is told of one of its teachers named Dhaumya who had 
three disciples named Upamanyu, Aruni, and Veda. Aruni 
hailed from Panchala and was an ideal student in respect of 
devotion to his teacher, under whose orders to stop a breach 
in the watercourse in his field, Aruni, finding every other means 
unavailing, threw his own body into the breach. His devotion 
was recognized by his teacher by giving him the appellation 
of Udddlaka ^ (from udddraka), 

Utanka. The traditions and ideals of Dhaumya were 
continued'by his pupils. His other pupil, Veda, became a success- 
ful teacher noted for the devotion displayed by one of his pupils, 
Utanka, who in the story encounters every variety of experience 
and danger to procure for his preceptor the presents of his choice 
before he was free to leave his preceptor's home on completion 
of studentship. 

Upamanyu. This story confirms the traditions of the 
Upanishads and other literature regarding the regulations 
of the system of studentship, such as the duty of the student 
to tend the preceptor's cattle (Upamanyu in the story being 
entrusted with this work), take care of his fields, serve him at 
the cost of his life, if necessary, and give him pleasing presents 
at the end of the pupilage [i, 3]. 

Eacha. Another picture of ideal studentship is called up 
by the story of Kacha and Devayani. Kacha himself gives 
the following description of the life he lived in that sylvan retreat 

^ Uddalaka and his son Svetaketu of the Upanishadic fame arc also referred to 
in the Mah&bh^ata [i, 122j. 


Hermitages in Bharhut Sculptures (c. second century b.c.). 

No. 5. — Supposed by Cunningham to be the hermitage of Kapila who gives it away to four exiled Ikshv£ 



of learning : “ Carr5nng the burden of sacrificial wood, Ku^a 
grass, and fuel, I was coming towards the hermitage and, feeling 
tired, sat for rest under the shade of the banyan tree, along with 
my companions, the kine, under my charge ” [i, 76, 35, 36]. 
One of the traditional duties of the student was to tend his 
preceptor’s cattle, and collect wood for fire and sacrifice, and 
this brought him into intimate touch with Nature and sub- 
jected him to Nature’s influence and educational processes 
working through "silent sympathy’’, as Wordsworth puts it. The 
outdoor life and fellowship with the lower animals had also their 
own advantages to the student. 

Failures of Scholarship : Yavakrita. The story of Yavakrita 
[iii, 135] emphasizes the indispensable need of a teacher in the 
acquisition of knowledge which the Upanishads also insist upon. 
In the story, Yavakrita engaged in the severest asceticism for 
obtaining the knowledge of the Vedas, because he thought 
that study under a teacher would require a long time for the 
purpose. Indra admonished him by sapng ; " The way you 
have adopted is not the proper way. Go and learn the Vedas 
from a preceptor.” Finding his advice still going unheeded, he 
conveyed to Yavakrita a sensible image of his folly by attempting 
the impossible feat of bridging the river Ganga by means of 

Arsh^isena. The story of Arshtisena illustrates the 
limitations of the doctrine aforesaid. It shows how in spite 
of his long continued residence at his preceptor’s house, and 
regular instruction day by day, he could not master any branch 
of learning or the Vedas. It was only after his practice of austere 
penances that he achieved success [ix, 40]. 

Hermitages. The Mahabharata tells of numerous hermitages 
where pupils from distant parts gathered for instruction round 
some far-famed teacher. A full-fledged A^rama is described as 
consisting of several Departments which are enumerated as 
follows ; (i) Agnisthdna, the place for fire-worship and prayers ; 
(2) Brahma-sthdna, the Department of Veda ; (3) Vishnusthdna, 
the Department for teaching Raja-Niti, Arthaniti, and Vartta ; 
(4) Mahendrasthdna, Military Section ; (5) Vivasvata-sthdna, 

Department of Astronomy ; (6) Somasthdna, Department of 
Botany ; (7) Garu^a-sthdna, Section dealing with Transport and 
Conveyances ; ‘ (8) Kdrtikeya-sthdna, Section teaching military 
organization, how to form patrols, battalions, and army. 

Naimisha. The most important of such hermitages was 


that of the Naimisha, a forest whicli was like a university. The 
presiding personality of the place was Saunaka, to whom was 
applied the designation of Kulapati, sometimes defined as the 
preceptor of 10,000 disciples. Saunaka attracted to Naimisha 
a vast concourse of learned men by his performance of a twelve 
years’ sacrifice, of which the most essential anga or accompani- 
ment was the discourses and disputations of learned men on 
religious, philosophical, and scientific topics. In one place [ix, 37] 
we read of '' ascetics living at Naimisharanya being engaged in a 
sacrifice lasting for twelve years ”, on completion of which they set 
out in large numbers for visiting the various sacred shrines of the 
country. In another place [ib., 41] we have the same reference 
with the interesting additional information that in the course of 
that twelve years* sacrifice, when a particular one called Viivajit 
had been completed, the Rishis started for the country of the 
Panchalas, and reaching there, requested the king to give them 
twenty-one strong and healthy calves to be given away as dakshind 
for the sacrifice they had finished. 

Hermitage ol Ea^va. The hermitage of Kanva was another 
famous centre of learning, of which a full description is given 
[i, 70]. It is situated on the banks of the MalinI, a tributary 
of the Sarayu River. It was not a solitary hermitage, but an 
assemblage of numerous hermitages round the central hermitage 
of Rishi Kanva, the presiding spirit of the settlement. The entire 
forest was full of hearths where sacred fire was burning, and 
resounding with the chanting or recitation of sacred texts by 
learned Brahmins. The wide range and variety of their studies 
is also indicated. There were specialists in every branch of 
learning cultivated in that age ; specialists in each of the four 
Vedas ; in sacrificial literature and art ; Kalpa-Sutras ; in the 
art of reciting the Samhitas according to the Pada and Krama- 
pdtha, and in Orthoepy generally, and in Siksha (Phonetics), 
Chhanda (Metrics), Sabda (Vyakarana), and Nirukta.^ There 
were also the philosophers well versed in Atma-Vijnana (Science 
of the Absolute), in Brahmopasana (Worship of Brahma), in 
Mokshadharma (the way to salvation), and in Lokayata {Vaiie- 
shika). There were also Logicians knowing the principles of 
Nydya, and of Dialectics (the art of establishing propositions, 
solving doubts, and ascertaining conclusions). There were also 
specialists in the physical sciences and arts. There were, for 
example, experts in the art of constructing sacrificial altars of 
various dimensions and shapes (on the basis of a knowledge 



of Solid Geometry) ; those who had knowledge of the properties of 
matter {dravyaguna) ; of physical processes and their results, 
of causes and their effects ; and zoologists having a special 
knowledge of monkeys and birds. It was thus a forest University 
where the study of every available branch of learning was 

Other Hermitages. The hermitage of Vyasa was another 
seat of learning. There Vyasa '' taught the Vedas to his disciples. 
Those disciples were the highly blessed Sumanta, Vaisampayana, 
Jaimini of great wisdom, and Paila of great ascetic merit 
They were afterwards joined by Suka, the famous son of Vyasa 
[xii, 328]. 

Among other hermitages noticed by the Mahabharata may be 
mentioned those of Vasishtha and Vi^vamitra fix, 42], and that 
in the forest of Kamyaka on the banks of the Saras vat 1 [hi, 183]. 
But a hermitage near Kurukshetra [ix, 54] deserves special notice 
for the interesting fact recorded that it produced two noted 
women hermits. There '' leading from youth the. vow of brahma- 
charya, a Brahmin maiden was crowned with ascetic success 
and ultimately acquiring yogic powers, she became a tapas- 
siddhd while another lady, the daughter not of a Brahmin 
but a Kshatriya, a child not of poverty but affluence, the daughter 
of a king, Sandilya by name, came to live there the life of celibacy 
and attained spiritual pre-eminence. 

Learned gatherings at Sacrifices. Along with the hermitages 
in these sylvan retreats which were the stationary seats of learning, 
another great educative influence in the country was the occa- 
sional concourse of learned men gathered together at the courts 
and palaces of kings by the sessions of sacrifices they used to 
celebrate with due pomp and liberality. The Upanishads, as 
we have already seen, are full of pictures of such learned con- 
gregations which in ancient India played the principal part in 
the advancement and diffusion of knowledge. As may be expected, 
the Mahabharata does not fail to notice this important type of 
educational institutions which constitute such a characteristic 
feature in the history of Indian pedagogic theory and practice, 
organization and achievements. 

Mah&bhftrata recited at the Sacrifice ol Janamejaya. The 
Mahabharata itself composed by Krishna Dvaipayana was 
fully recited from day to day by Vaisampayana at the sacrifice 
of Janamejaya, son of Parikshit, which was attended by thousands 
of learned Brahmins. Again, it was at the sacrifice of ^aunaka 



at Naimisharanya that the -Mahabharata was repeated by 
Ugra^rava Sauti. Thus the celebration of these royal sacrifices 
was the principal agency for the promulgation and populariza- 
tion of original literary works of national interest and im- 

Sacrifice 0! Janaka. The Upanishads also emphasize the 
other feature of these learned gatherings, viz. that they provided 
the arena where scholars seeking to establish their intellectual 
position entered the lists in tournaments of debate. This feature 
is also noticed by the Mahabharata [iii, 132-4], where it is stated 
how learned Brahmins were flocking to the sacrifice of Janaka 
** for the purpose of listening to controversies (and also to 
Brahmaghosha, recitation of the Vedas). Thither came 
Ashtavakra, eager to assert and establish his intellectual primacy, 
but the entrance to the Congress was barred by the gate-keeper 
who, under orders of the learned chief Vandi, was to admit 
'' only old and learned Brahmins Ashtavakra had thus first 
to convince the gate-keeper of his eligibility for membership 
of that learned Assembly, and addressed him as follows ; O 
Gate-keeper, you will to-day see me engaged in a controversial 
fight with all the learned men and get the better of Vandi himself 
in arguments.'' In the end Ashtavakra came out victorious with 
his supremacy acknowledged by the entire Assembly. Lastly, 
in this connection we may also note the different classes of learned 
men distinguished [xii, 236, 18-20]. Those who are acquainted 
with the Vedas are of two sorts, viz. those who lecture on the 
Vedas (Pravaktri) and those who are otherwise (i.e. mere 
preceptors). . . The preceptors of the Vedas are of two sorts, 
viz. those who are conversant with the Self and those that are 

Education ol the Eshatriya with reference to his occupations. 

We shall now discuss the Epic evidence regarding the education 
of the Kshatriya. Both law and legend are at one in making 
studentship the first stage in the life of every member of the 
three twice-born classes. But, as has been already stated, the 
course of studies may be naturally assumed not to have been 
uniform for all the classes, but determined by the ultimate 
ends and careers prescribed for each class. This a priori assump- 
tion seems to be borne out by the evidence of the Epics as a 
whole, though there are some passages in that evidence liable to 
give a contrary impression. 

It is necessary at the outset to recall how the position is 



defined in law. The three occupations common to all the twice- 
born classes as stated therein are "studying, sacrificing, and 
giving To these three occupations are added as special 
to the Brahmin " teaching, performing sacrifices for others, and 
receiving gifts ", and as special to the Kshatriya, " defence or 
protection of his people." It is also to be noted that such study 
as was enjoined for the Kshatriya might make him sufficiently 
proficient in the Veda to be able to teach, and teach a Brahmin 
student who should not go without education for failure of a 
Brahmin teacher. Thus normally the Kshatriya was only to 
study, and the Brahmin to study as also to teach and perform 
sacrifices for others. It is thus evident that the study as a qualifica- 
tion for the high, responsible, and practical function of teaching 
and direction of religious practices will be different in scope and 
method from that which is followed by occupations not directly 
depending on or connected with it. Some law-givers expressly 
point out that it is the king alone who is expected to commit 
to memory the Vedas, like the Brahmin, and not the ordinary 
members of his caste [Gaut,, xi, 3 ; Manu, vii, 43]. 

Bhishma as Teacher of Kuru and Pandu Princes. Let us 
now examine the Epic evidence on the education of the princes. 
The Pandus are described as " having studied all the Vedas 
and the various Sastras or treatises on duty, etc. " [i, i, 122]. 
Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura " brought up from their 
very birth by Bhishma as if they were his own sons " are described 
as " being purified by the ceremonies of their order, disciplined 
by study and the vows and practices of studentship, and emerging 
into manhood skilled in ‘ studies ' ($rama, as explained by 
Nilakantha) and * hand to hand fights ' {Vydydma), They 
are proficient in Dhanurveda (archery) and Veda, in club-fights, 
in the wielding of swords and shields, in the driving of elephants, 
in Niti^astra (Polity), Itihasa, and Purana, and other subjects, 
in the truths of the Veda and Vedangas, and of fixed determina- 
tion in all their undertakings " [i, 109, 17-20]. Pandu excelled in 
archery and Dhritarashtra in personal strength [ib., 21]. 

He appoints Drona as their Teacher. Bhishma, as the 
guardian of the Pandu and Kuru princes committed to his care, 
appoints as their preceptor Drona, " learned in all the Vedas." 
Drona specially taught his students Dhanurveda in all its branches. 
They became before long perfect experts in the use of all kinds 
of weapons [i, 131]. There is, it may be noted, no mention 
here of the study of the sacred texts by the princes. In another 


place [i, 134], the following injunction is expressly laid upon 
Drona by Bhishma in giving him charge of the education of the 
princes : “ Unstring your bow and teach these princes the science 
of arms.” Drona was selected as a teacher because he was a 
specialist in that subject which was taught him by the great 
Rishi Agniveia. “ I was engaged there,” says Drona, " in 
serving my preceptor, and lived with him for a long time as an 
humble-minded Brahmacharin with matted locks on my head.” 
Drona was given for his residence by Bhishma “ a neat and tjdy 
house, well-filled with paddy and every kind of goods ”, and 
commenced his instruction of the princes. He " gave instructions 
to all the princes in the science of arms ”. 

Arjuna the best Pupil. ” Though he gave equal instructions 
to all, yet Arjuna became the foremost of all in agility and skill.” 
“ Arjuna took a great deal of care in worshipping the preceptor ; 
had great devotion to his study of the science of arms. There- 
fore he became a great favourite of Drona.” " He practised 
with his bow even in the night.” Pleased with him, Drona then 
taught him “ the art of fighting on horseback, on the elephant, 
on the car, and on foot ”. He taught him ” how to fight with clubs; 
the sword, the lance, the spear, and the dart. He taught him 
the use of many other weapons, and how to fight with superior 
numbers ”. As regards his other pupils, Duryodhana and Bhima 
specialized in the art of fighting with clubs, Nakula and Sahadeva 
in handling the sword, Yudhishthira as a “ car-warrior ”, while 
Asvathama excelled in the use of all arms. 

Arjuna as Teacher of his son Abhimanyn and other Princes. 
The same kind of military training was also the portion of the 
next generation of princes. “ That powerful boy (Abhiman3m, 
son of Arjuna) became equal to his father in counteracting 
the weapons hurled on him in great lightness of hand, in fleetness 
of motion forward and backward, and in traversing and wheeling.” 
He “ learnt from Arjuna the science of arms with its four branches 
and ten divisions . . . and he also became learned in the Vedas.” 
Again : “ All their rites of infancy and childhood, according to 
the ordinances, such as Chu^akarana and Upanayana were 
duly performed by Dhaumya. After having studied the Vedas 
those princes (sons of Draupadi) of excellent behaviour and vows 
learnt from Arjuna the use of all the weapons ” [i, 223]. 

Contents 0! Eshatriya’s Education. The education prescribed 
elsewhere for the sons of kings included the following ; "Know- 
ledge, the family-laws, the Veda-of-the-bow, the Veda, elephant 



riding, horseback-riding, chariot-driving, rules of propriety, 
word-science, music and the fine arts, legends, and tales [xiii, 
104 ; cf. V, 189]. % 

The kind of religious or Vedic knowledge which these princes 
were expected to acquire will be further evident from the fact 
that in the great war we find among the active combatants a 
good many very young knights. One of the foremost of these 
was Abhimanyu who is represented as only sixteen years old, 
already married and regarded as a full-fledged knight [i, 67]. 
Old Drona [vii, 192, 65 ; 193, 43] at eighty-five is spoken of 

as acting in battle as if he were a vigorous youth of sixteen 
The same kind of evidence is also given in the Ramayana where, 
when Rama is about to be taken away from home on his military 
mission, his father exclaims : “ He is as yet but a boy {hdla) ; 
he is not yet sixteen and has not acquired the art of using arms.” 
This passage thus further shows that the age of sixteen marked 
the end of boyhood before which the prince was normally expected 
to have acquired the military arts and qualified for the vocation 
or mission of his life [Rdmd,, i, 23, 2 ; iii, 42, 23]. 

The conclusion to which all this evidence points is very 
well put by Hopkins : ” How are we to interpret this ? The 

Science of Arms required years of patient study. Is it conceivable 
that a boy otherwise occupied in physical training should by 
the age of sixteen be master of the special skill that gave him 
power on the battlefield and at the same time have found time 
to commit to memory even one Vedic collection ? It is clear 
that the Law is later than the Epic on this point ; and even 
there such knowledge is only to be assumed as desirable for the 
warrior in general. The active young knight and busy trader 
must have performed their duties toward the Veda in a very 
perfunctory way, if at all. The more reasonable supposition 
seems to me to be that, while in the early age there was no let 
to the desire of a young warrior if he wished to be Veda-learned, 
the conventional practices of his caste nevertheless constrained 
most of his attention to arms, and in his eight months of schooling 
(if even this, the later term of yearly study, be allowed for so 
early a time) he probably did nothing more than ‘ go over ' 
the text of the Veda. It is absurd to believe that the memorizing 
of even one Vedic collection could have been attempted by such 
young warriors as those the Epic depicts. The practice must have 
* been peculiar to the man of leisure, the priest. Indeed, it is not 
to this caste as a whole that the Epic ascribes such knowledge ; 



but the king alone is, theoretically, acquainted with the three- 
fold Veda. A sort of commutation of learning seems to be implied 
in the Sutra period ; for we read that the student, instead of 
learning all, may even as an alternative to the anuvdka (itself 
a concession) recite only * as much as the Guru thinks best * ; 
or ‘ only the first and last hymn of each seer ' ; or ' at the 
beginning of each hymn just one verse * '' [Sdmkh,, ii, 7, 22 

We may add to this the significant query of Narada who, 
wishing to know what King Yudhishthira has studied, only 
asks him whether he has learnt the Sutras on horses, elephants, 
and chariots together with the Veda-of-the-bow (being the only 
Veda mentioned in this connection). Among other assumed 
subjects of royal study are mentioned Sutras on other subjects 
such as those treating of poison, city-life, and military machines 
which together with the knowledge of magical weapons and 
sorcery make up the contents of the royal learning [ii, 5, no, 
120 ff.]. 

In the Rdmdyana [i, 80, 27 ff.], the list of subjects the king 
is expected to study includes Dhanurveda, Veda, Niti^astra 
and the art (siksha) of elephants and cars, besides the arts of 
painting (Alekhya), writing (Lekhya), jumping (langhana), and 
swimming (plavana). In another passage we have mention of 
Writing and Numbers [{lekhya-samkhyd) , ib., 80, 4 (cf. ii, 2, 6)], 
of fine arts (Gandharvavidya) , logic (Nyaya) , polity (Niti^astra) , etc. 

There are several similar lists in the Mahabharata. Reference 
has already been made to two such lists [xiii, 104, 125 ; v, 189, 
I ff.], where we have mention of Sahdaidstrafmxidtlie sixty-four 
Raids together with Yuktiidstram (i.e. “ grammar, fine arts, 
and etiquette ”). Another list enumerates the following [ii, ii, 
25] : Ashtanga-a5rurveda (Medicine with its eight branches), 
Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, Sarva^astrani, 
Itihasas, Upavedas, Ved^gas, Vani of seven kinds, Samas, 
Stuti^astras (treatises of hymns), various kinds of Gatha literature, 
Bhashyas {bhdshydni tarkayuktdni) , Natakas, Kavyas, Kathakhya- 
yikas (Karikah). Hopkins holds the view that probably this list 

^ The twenty-second verse alone would give any liberty of shortening 
(ydvad vd gurur many eta). Oldenberg, translating this, notes the consequence, 
and calls the plan an * abridged method, by which students who had not the 
intention of becoming Vedic scholars and probably chiefly students of the 
Kshatriya and Vaitya caste, could fulfll their duty of learning the Veda’. In 
xii, 132, 20, 21 (==: Manu, viii, 44) we are told that the dharmavid, or king erudite 
in rules of duty, must know the ‘ four-fold system of right '. This is best explained 
by another verse in the same book (xii, 59, 33), where the three-fold (Veda) 
is one ; logic, two ; agricultural occupations (including trading, etc.), three ; 
and the system of punishment, four. The age of manhood is reach^ at sixteen.” 



is earlier than the previous one, but both show that “ the line 
of education was away from the Veda and that what time the 
princes had was given to culture, not to religion He further 
holds that " as the old royal personal fighting, days ended — 
that is, as the princes were more and more expected to be figure- 
heads in war, and drove into battle to watch it on an elephant’s 
back rather than to lead it in a war-car — their older bow- and 
^sword-training was given up ; but the time so gained was spent 
in more effeminate, certainly not more dryly intellectual occupa- 
tions. Perhaps the rather late Virata, with the cowardly little 
crown-prince, shows us the step between 

Contents ol Blilitary Training. We may also give in this 
connection some details of the military training which the 
Kshatriya princes receive in the Epic. The art of warfare was 
made up of several arts connected with the traditional divisions 
of the ancient Hindu army, viz. the horse, the foot, the elephant, 
and the chariot. The entire military science and art of the age 
seem to have been comprehended by the generic term Dhanurveda, 
the dhanu or bow being regarded as the type or symbol of all 
weapons or methods of warfare. Thus the Dhanurveda or the 
general science of weapons and warfare is mentioned in different 
references as conveying different kinds of military knowledge 
or accomplishments. In one [vii, 45, 17] the heroes are “ equipped 
with the strength born of the skill acquired ” {iikshdhalopetdh). 
In another [vi, 74, 10 ; also 82, 37 ; 90, 42, etc.], " lightness of 
hand ” (pdnildghava) is acquired. Other references [ix, 22, 16 ; 
vii, 142, 38 ; 169, 3] mention “ lightness and cleverness ” 

(Idghava and saushthava). The Dhanurveda also imparts the 
“ knowledge of seizing weapons ” {Sastragrahanavidyd, vi, 76, 7 
and vii, 114, 4). It also teaches the arts of mounting a car 
(aroha), leaping down (paryavaskanda), running (sarana), 
leaping easily (santarapluta), discharging weapons simultaneously 
(samyakpraharana), and of advancing and retreating (yana 
vyapayana) [vi, 76, 8 ; cf. Rdmdy., vi, 69, 30 ff.]. All this shows 
that the Dhanurveda is the same as Astra^iksha or art of handling 
missiles [vi, 118, 21]. Another passage [vii, 23, 39] even speaks 
of a man as being a paragon (paraga) of proficiency “ in the 
Dhanurveda of missiles and Brahmaveda ". The Rathaiikshd 
or skill with the car became also a part of the Dhanurveda, 
wherefrom the knight learnt the art of " circling " with his 
war-car, of “ doubling and returning ”, and the negative skill 
of avoiding being made a viratha (deprived of one’s war-car), 


and preventing it from being splintered into fragments by the 
enemy*s blows. There was also taught the skill in the use of 
armour so as to make it invulnerable. The skill seems to have 
been imparted by oral instruction. Drona knew how to instruct 
one to wear the breastplate so that it should be invulnerable 
[vii, 48, 27 ; 103, 17 (varma bhasvaram)]. One passage [i, 139, 
6, 17] extends the scope of Dhanurveda so as to include the 
knowledge of fighting with all weapons of which the bow is a 
mere type, viz. fighting with club, sword, car, bow, arrow, and 
missiles. This extended scope leads to its four divisions [i, 130, 
21 ; iii, 37, 4 ; v, 158, 3 ; ix, 44, 22], according to the weapons 
taught or methods of using them [iii, 115, 45]. Though it is 
called a Veda (or more properly Upaveda) to denote its literary 
existence it was not studied naturally in the manner of the study 
of the other Vedas, of memorizing the texts. The learner must 
study it in isolation and by practice with his arms ; if necessary, 
he must seek the aid of a teacher to show him their use ; and, 
in one case, he makes an earthen idol of the ideal teacher and 
worships him, so that he may imbibe his excellence by his self- 
absorption. Ekalavya left home for the sake of his practice, 
which thus included both physical exercise and spiritual, for the 
perfect marksman must not see anything but the target [i, 132, 
33 ; I33> 5 ; I3I» 42 ; 132, I3» I4> 34-5]* That the study of 
the Dhanurveda is to be principally by practice is also shown 
from the case of Arjuna who goes out and practises even at 
night and thus becomes an expert in the various military arts 
such as those connected with the management of horses, elephants, 
and the like [i, 132, 28]. 

According to Hopkins, the ultimate expansion of the 
theory of weapons resulted in the theory of war, and this was 
expanded again into a theory of polity ; and we thus have on 
the one side our modern Niti^astra or system of royal polity, 
and on the other the practical instruction in the use of arms or 
the science of weapons. Thus in a late book we read : * he will 
comprehend the science of weapons, and the different weapons, 
and the system of polity.' ^ A system of war is implied when 
we read, for example, of the system of U^anas, the system of 
Angiras' son, etc." ^ 

^ " xiv, 66, 24. In the later books the system of polity was so familiar as 
to be used in proverbs, e.g. xiii, 164, 7 — * not everyone that has perused the 
works of polity is wise in polity.* *' 

* i, 100, 36. The best treatment of Epic material is given by Professor E. W. 
Hopkins in JAOS., Vol. 13, to which this chapter is indebted. 



Women and Education. The Rdmdyana contemplates 
women who were Bhikshums, The best example of these is 
' Sramani ' Sabari who is described as Chira-Krishndjindmhard, 
Jatild, Siddhd, Tdpasl, with her A^rama on the Pampa, and 
Guru named Matahga. Sabari was not a Sahara by caste. It 
was only a name {Aranyakdnda, 74, 9-33]. In the Mahdhhdrata, 
Ashtavakra converses with an old woman who describes herself 
as a Brahmacharinl. The daughter of San^ilya was also a 
Brahmacharini, as also that of Rishi Gargya. Janaka has a 
philosophical discussion with Bhikshuni Sulobha. 

Ayodhyd as a Centre of Culture. The educational and 
cultural conditions of the country in that age are seen at their 
best at Ayodhya, the capital of Kings Da^aratha and Rama. 
The city was noted for its Vedic Schools of Taittirlyas, Kathakas, 
and Manavas. It is stated that among the Brahmanas of the 
city there was neither illiteracy nor inadequacy of knowledge 
[R., i, 5-7]. There were the Associations of Brahmacharis 
called “ Mekhalmam Maha-Sarhgha This Students* Federation 
is mentioned as approaching the King with statements of their 
views on public questions and grievances. Students are also 
mentioned as residents of Asramas as well as of Avasathas which 
were like the licensed lodging-houses of modern times. The 
Asramas were suburban retreats whither flocked the citizens 
to listen to learned discourses and discussions held there. These 
were like modern University Extension Lectures [R., ii, 67J. 
These debates were generally carried on by Lokayatas notorious 
for their casuistry. Ayodhya was also the seat of the Puranic 
Schools of Sutas and Magadhas and was crowded by these 
bards and chroniclers [R., ii, 100 ; 38-9 ; i, 5], of whom the Chief 
in those days was Arya (Reverend) Chitraratha [R., ii, 32]. 
There were also at Ayodhya Ladies* Clubs called Vadhu-Samghas, 
Dramatic Societies called Ndtaka-Samghas , which organized 
festivities called Utsavas and Samdjas at the suburban parks, 
of which the main programme was acting and dancing [R., i, 5-7 ; 
ii, 67]. Lastly, we have a reference to educational institutions 
conducted by private citizens in the city {paurdn) which offered 
Lectures and Lessons attended by various bodies of students 
[Sishya-Ganas), These citizens included the Sutas and Magadhas, 
king*s officers, artists and craftsmen of all kinds, and merchants 
who had travelled widely [R., ii, 1-2 ; i, 5-7 ; ii, 67]. 

Asrama ol Bharadvaja at Pray&ga. Lastly, we may mention 
one of the biggest Asramas of the times, that of Rishi 


Bharadvaja at Prayaga, which accommodated Bharata and his 
royal retinue, including the ladies of the Palace. The A^rama 
was equipped with “ white ChatuhricUas ” ; stalls which 
accommodated the royal elephants and horses ; harmyas 
or mansions ; prasddas or palaces, and their toranas or gate- 
ways ; a separate rdja-veima or royal guest-house fitted with 
several torarias, and furnished with beds, seats, and vehicles, 
coverlets and carpets, stores of food. The Alrama also entertained 
its royal guests with the performances of musicians and dancing 
girls. All this lavish hospitality was extemporized for the occasion, 
showing the resources which Rishi Bharadvaja could command 
in the locality by his personality [if., vi, 126 ; ii, 90-2].^ 

^ A highly intensive study of the educational material of Ramdyapa is 
contained in Dr. S. C. Sarkar’s Patna University Readership Lectures to which 
I am indebted. 


Chapter XI * ** 


Evidence. Ancient Indian Literature, whether Sanskrit, 
Pali, or the Prakrits, being mainly religious in character, it 
does not furnish much evidence on the subject of industrial and 
technical education, though it is upon the basis of such education 
that ancient India was able to build up her own economic life 
and prosperity and figured in the ancient world as the chief 
exporting country, supplying foreign countries from time im- 
memorial and through the ages with luxuries and other articles 
turned out by her cottage industries and handicrafts. Bits of 
evidence on this important and interesting subject are found 
scattered throughout this literature, and these may be pieced 
together to produce a picture of ancient Indian Industrial 
Education as a whole, though it is not possible to trace its history 
and development by different periods and stages, as in the case 
of general education and culture. 

Ceremony of Admission. The ideas and rituals which 
prevailed in the sphere of general education influenced that of 
practical education in arts, crafts, and the professions. The 
most important of these were the Medical and the Military. 

Upanayana Ceremony for study of Ayurveda. According to 
Suiruta-Samhitd [ch. ii], the study of Medical Science or 
Ayurveda requires the separate performance by its student of 
a special Upanayana ceremony, although such a student, as a 
dvija, as a Brahmana, Kshatriya, or Vai^ya, should have already 
performed such a ceremony according to the rules of his order. 
The Ayurvedic Upanayana lays stress on physical and moral 
qualifications, on properly formed bodily organs such as tongue, 
lips, and teeth, eyes, nose and mouth ; and on cleanliness, good 
manners and morals, courage, humility, capacity, intelligence, 
patience, retentiveness, and zeal, purity of body, mind, and 
speech and capacity for taking pains. A student lacking these 
qualifications will not be eligible for Upanayana and admission. 

The ceremony, as usual, was to be performed on an auspicious 
day. An altar i8 inches square was prepared, on which worship 
was offered to the Deity, to Brahmana, and to the Physicians. 
Next, Samidh or wood from four trees, Khadira, Palana, Devadaru, 



and Bilva, was soaked in curd, honey, and ghee and offered as 
homa to Fire, by utterance of the Mahavyahriti Mantra — Om 
Bhuh svaha Om Bhuvah svaha Om Svah svaha Om Bhurbhuvah 
Svah svaha. Then the following Deities were invoked : Brahman, 
Prajapati, the two Alvins, and Indra ; as also the following 
Rishis, as being associated with the development of Ayurvedic 
science : Dhanvantari, Bharadvaja, Atreya, and the like. 

A Brahmana could perform the Upanayana ceremony for 
a Brahmana, Kshatriya, and Vai^ya student ; a Kshatriya for 
a Kshatriya and Vai^ya student ; and a Vai^ya for a Vai^ya 
student. But, according to some authorities, a $udra also may 
be initiated and admitted to a study of Ayurveda, if he was 
qualified by purity of his lineage and possession of virtues. 
Thus the study of Ayurveda was open to all the castes. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the preceptor, in the 
presence of Agni as witness, will ask the pupil to take an oath 
that he will follow the injunctions stated. * The pupil must 
abjure lust, anger, greed, inertia, vanity, conceit, envy, harshness, 
lying, laziness, and disreputable deeds. He must duly cut off 
his nails and hairs ; wear pure silken clothes (as preventing 
infection) ; and practise hrahmacharya and truthfulness. He 
must perform his prescribed duties, as the preceptor must perform 
his. He was also asked to treat, without charging fee and cost 
of medicines, the following persons : the dvija, guru, pauper, 
friend, ascetic, protege, saint, orphan, and guest. He must 
avoid treating as his patients the hunter, fowler, the degraded 
and sinful.' The principle of these rules is that the physician 
must himself be possessed of a sound healthy body, observe 
rules of hygiene and avoid all kinds of defilement, infection, and 
contamination, and be a man of strict morals as having to deal 
with patients of both sexes and of all sorts and conditions. 

The medical authorities contemplate a period of probation 
for testing the fitness of a pupil for the study to which he is 
formally admitted by Upanayana. This period is fixed by 
SuSruta at six months [Ashtanga Hfidaya, Sutrasthana, ch. 2]. 

Medical Holidays, Holidays were prescribed. These were 
the eighth, fourteenth, and new- and full-moon days ; morning 
and evening twilights ; when there were thunder, rain, and 
roar of clouds out of season ; time of danger to the country 
and its king. Study was not also permitted at a crematorium, 
on an elephant, in a place for execution of convicts, in a field of 
battle, at a national festival, or in sight of inauspicious omens. 


Upanayana for Kilitary Education. Military science was 
called Dhanurveda. According to a work called Dhanurveda- 
Samhitd attributed to Vasishtha, an Upanayana ceremony had 
to be performed by a military student who was given a weapon, 
while a Vedic Mantra was uttered by the preceptor. In the 
case of a Brabmana student it was a bow, for a Kshatriya a 
sword, for a Vai^ya a lance, and for a Sudra, a mace. The preceptor, 
the military master, was to have been accomplished in the use 
of seven weapons, viz. the bow, the disc, the sword, the spear, 
the mace, the arms, and the Khdrikdrd. 

Graduation. There was also a ceremony to mark the 
completion of this military training. It was called Chhurikd- 
bandhananty because it meant the tying up of a dagger to the 
dress of the pupil as a token of his graduation. It is mentioned 
by Narada as cited in Vlramitrodaya [see Altekar*s Education 
in Ancient India, pp. 44-6]. 

Rules 0! Mescal Study. After admission, the student 
commences the study of medical texts. These are imparted to 
him by his teacher slowly and in parts, in padas (syllables), 
pddas (one-fourth of a ^loka or verse), and ilokas. When the 
texts are thus learnt and committed to memory, their meanings 
must next be thoroughly grasped. The student who has mastered 
the mere words of the texts but not their import which they 
cannot expound {prabhdshana) is likened to a beast of burden 
which only undergoes the pain of carrying a load of sandal-wood 
without enjoying the pleasure of its smell. Such a student only 
undergoes the pain of study without being able to enjoy its 

It is also pointed out that Ayurveda has many branches of 
study which throw light on one another. A student of one subject 
should approach the master of another subject for interpretation 
of allied topics or points. In medical study, proficiency in one 
particular subject or branch is not sufficient. The complete 
knowledge of Medicine as a whole cannot be contained within 
only one subject or branch but is spread over many subjects 
and branches which thus help in the interpretation of each. 
The meaning of a particular science is not understood in its full 
implications like the contents of a seed [vlja-bhuta) and is rendered 
explicit by the light derived from allied subjects. Therefore, a 
medical man cannot achieve success unless he is a master of 
several sciences {Bahu-iruta) [Sutra-sthdna, chs. iii and iv]. 

It is again emphasized that a medical student must acquire 


a double proficiency in both Theory and Practice [^dstra and 
Karma) which are likened to the two wings on which a bird 
is borne in its upward flight. The bird of one wing cannot fly 
at all. They are also likened to the two wheels of a chariot which 
enable it to perform its functions in the field of battle. Similarly, 
a physician who is merely a pundit and grounded in the texts 
of his Sastras [Sdstrajna) and is totally unskilled in the practical 
application of his theoretical knowledge will break down and 
will be at his wits’ ends, unable to decide what he should do, 
puzzled by the actual sight of a patient, like a coward losing 
his sense in a field of battle {mugdha and kimkartavyavimudha). 
On the other hand, the mere empiric or quack who practises his pro- 
fession without a theoretical knowledge of the Science of Medicine 
deserves censure and is liable to extreme penalty at the hands of 
the State. The best of medicines, the elixir of life, will become 
a poison if wrongly applied by a physician through his ignorance, 
while a physician who, with all his theoretical knowledge, is 
ignorant of the art of surgical operation (chhedana) and applica- 
tion of' ointments and disinfectants [snehddi-kdrya)^ is equally 
unacceptable. Such undeserving medical men only murder 
people under the licence of the State [ib., hi, 16-21]. 

Qualifications of a Physician. He must be well-read in 
the texts of Medical Sastras or treatises {adhUa-idstra) ; well up 
in the import of the texts studied ; skilled in practical work or 
surgical operations (like Chheda and Sneha) ; full of resourcefulness 
and originality {svayamkriti) ; possessed of light touch and 
swift hand {laghu-hasta) ; clean ; of an optimistic temperament 
or cheerful spirits {sura = vishddarahiia) ; ready with all 
necessaries and materials for treatment {sajjopaskara-bheshaja) ; 
of a resourceful mind ; possessed of keen intellect ; possessed 
of professional experience {vyavasdyt) ; learned in theory ; and 
devoted to truth and morality. 

Factors of Success in Treatment. The success of medical 
treatment depends on other factors, though the most important 
factor is the physician, who is compared to the Adhvaryu without 
whom the other three priests, the Udgata, the Hota, or the 
Brahma cannot properly perform the sacrifice. He is also 
likened to the helmsman who can successfully handle a boat 
even if it lacks its rudders. But his work depends upon the 
efficiency of Nurses {parichdraka) and the quality of medicines 
together with the subject of treatment, viz. the patient. An 
•efficient Nurse should be possessed of many virtues ; he should 


be full of fellow-feeling {snehayukta) , should not be hostile to 
anyone, should be physically strong, skilled in keeping up the 
suffering patient {vyddhitarakshanam) , able to apply the prescrip- 
tions of the physician (Vaidyavakya-krit), and untiring in his 
work. As regards the quality of medicines to make them efficacious, 
their raw materials or sources (like the medicinal plants) should 
be grown properly, gathered in proper time, duly measured, 
should be palatable and mixed up with due degrees of smell, 
colour, and taste, capable of curing ailments, not repulsive, 
not producing any undesired effects, and should be given in 
proper condition. The patient also should be one who is patient 
under suffering, is suffering from a curable disease, possessed 
of materials for treatment, free from greed, full of faith in God 
and obedience to the directions of his Doctor [ib., ch. 34]. 

Admission to Industry : Rules of Apprenticeship. Admission 
to an industry or craft was also governed by regulations. These 
are best given in their standardized form in the law-book of 
Narada, and are stated as follows : — 

'' If a young man wishes to be initiated into the art of his 
own craft {svasilpam ichchhan dhartum), he must first obtain 
the sanction of his relations [bdndhdvandm anujnayd) and then 
proceed to live with his master {dchdryasya vaset ante), after 
previously fixing the period of his training or apprenticeship 
(kdlam kritvd sunischitam) , 

Then the master must impart to his pupil his training 
at his own house where he is to provide his board and lodging. 
He must not make the apprentice perform other work [na cha 
any at kdrayet karma) but must treat him like a son. 

If the apprentice deserts his master who duly instructs 
him and is not at fault in any way (adushtam), he should be 
compelled by forcible means to stay with his master and will 
be liable to corporal punishment and confinement. 

'' In case the training of an apprentice is completed before 
the stipulated time, he should not leave, but continue at his 
master^s place up to the limit of the stipulated time and all the 
fruits of his work done during this time will be his master's 
(Sikshitopi kritarh kalam antevasi samapayet | Tatra karma 
cha yat kuryat acharyasyaiva tat phalam ||). 

When the apprentice has mastered the art of his craft 
within the stipulated time [samdye), he should make gifts (kritva 
pradakshinam) to his teacher according to his means and then 
take leave of him {nivartate). 


'' An apprentice after graduation may have his services 
retained by his master who will then have the right to employ 
him after settling his remuneration with reference to his qualifica- 
tions (vetanaih va yadi kritaih jnatva ^ishyasya kau^alam). 
In such a case, the pupil should not seek service with others/' 

These rules show that industrial apprenticeship was treated 
as a contract based on several stipulations. First, there was the 
stipulation as to the limit of time within which the master must 
engage to complete the course of training for which he admits 
the apprentice. As stated in the Vlramitrodaya, the master 
craftsman is to make an agreement in this form : Let this 

apprentice stay with me so and so long." Secondly, the arrange- 
ment fixed the respective obligations of both the master and his 
pupil during the time of training. The obligations of the master 
were : (a) that he should treat his pupil as if he were his son, 
which meant (i) that he should give him free board and lodging 
in his house, (ii) that he should not treat him like a hired labourer, 
(iii) that he should teach him honestly and wholeheartedly 
without keeping back from him any secrets of his knowledge 
and craft, and (iv) that he should not exploit his pupil's skill 
and labour by employing him on work not related to his training 
but only for his own gain. Katyayana fixes a penalty for employ- 
ing an apprentice in work not connected with his training : 
" He who does not instruct his pupil in the art (to which he is 
admitted) and causes him to perform other work, shall incur 
the first amercement ; and the pupil may forsake him and go 
to another teacher, released from this indenture " {Colebrooke's 
Digest of Hindu Law, ii, 7]. The law-books also contemplate 
cases of undutiful teachers putting off instruction of their pupils 
even after their admission, and condemn them severely if such 
neglect continues for a year [Kurma Purdna cited in Vtrami- 
trodaya]. On the pupil's side, there were appropriate obligations, 
viz. (i) that he should not desert his teacher before time where 
there is no justifiable ground for such desertion, such as neglect 
of duty or any moral lapse on the part of the teacher. A run- 
away apprentice might be flogged and confined if it is of his own 
motion ; but if it is under instructions of his kinsmen who had 
been the consenting parties to his pupilage, the deserted master 
could sue these guardians of the pupil for a breach of contract 
[Colebrooke's Digest, p. 8 ; cf. Manu, iv, 164 ; viii, 299-300 ; 
Gautama, ii, 43-4] ; (2) that the pupil could not leave his teacher 
even if he had completed his training before time. For this 


unexpired period, the pupil should work for his teacher and 
yield to him the fruits of his work, serving out his full term. 
The theory was that it was by way of reward or compensation 
for the pupil's gain in time achieved by his master's superior 
methods of training. Yajhavalkya [ii, 187] also states the 
same position : Even if the apprentice has had his training 

completed before time, he must live on in his master's house up 
to the time fixed [krita-iilpopi nivasei krita-kdlam guror grihe), 
giving to him all that he earns by his work for the time as a 
return for what his master has spent on him by way of free 
board, lodging, and tuition (antevasi gurupraptabhojanastat 

On this point, the question is raised by the commentator. 
Whether the teacher has ownership even in what the pupil 
acquires by voluntary exertion in traffic and the like, independent 
of his craft, and by agriculture or similar means, and by treasure- 
trove or other accident. There are two opinions held on the 
point " [Colebrooke's Digest, ib.]. 

This rule also intimates that if the art could not be learned 
by the apprentice in the time first stipulated, there should 
be a formal extension of the apprenticeship with all its liabilities 
to the teacher and the apprentice [ib.]. 

Advantages of the System. The system of the apprentice 
and his master living together has many advantages. The 
apprentice always lives and works under his master’s eye and 
has opportunities of observing the special points of his skill, 
his trade secrets, and imbibing his true inward " method and 
genius, as the ultimate factor of success of his craftsmanship, 
when he lives in his home which is also his workshop, the home 
where in its freedom his whole personality always remains 
revealed, unobscured by the restrictions and formahties of a 
factory. It is the constant and intimate relationship of the 
home which, apart from actual and direct teaching, helps the 
disciple to master his teacher's method and skill in the shortest 
time. There is also another advantage of the home and the 
workshop being one. Here the teaching is learnt from the very 
beginning in relation to real things, difficulties, and problems, 
and primarily by service, by personal attendance on the master. 
And it is not only technique that is thus learnt here, but some- 
thing more valuable : in the home as workshop, there is some- 
thing else, besides mere plant and tools : there is life with its 
problems, its human relationships, culture, and religion, relieving 



the mechanical monotony of a mere workshop, a thing which is 
as necessary to art as technique itself. 

A School of Scolptore. Two old inscriptions mention interest- 
ing examples of these craftsmen and the schools they conducted 
in connection with their crafts which they plied and pursued as 
cottage industries in their own homes combined with their work- 
shops. One of these inscriptions was found on the famous Yaksha 
image discovered at Parkham and refers to the construction of 
the image {Kata = krita) by the sculptor Gomitaka described as 
the ante-vdsi, resident pupil, of the master Kunika. The second 
inscription found on the image of what was locally worshipped as 
" Mansa Devi ” states that “ the image of Yakshi Layava was 
constructed {kata) by the sculptor Naka, the ante-vdsi or pupil 
of the master Kunika ”. It will thus appear that the School of 
Sculpture established by the master-craftsman Kunika was very 
famous in its locality and produced accomplished sculptors like 
Naka and Gomitaka to whom India owes her earliest statues of 
colossal figures, male and female. 

Caste and Craft. The rules of industrial apprenticeship as 
given by Narada indicate that admission to a craft was free, 
provided the guardian’s consent was obtained. Normally, no 
doubt, the Hindu system did not favour the free choice of occupa- 
tions under its fundamental philosophical position that economic 
ends are not ends in themselves but must subserve the higher 
religious and spiritual ends of life. Therefore, as a social regula- 
tion, to promote the self-fulfilment of the individual, different 
castes were to pursue different crafts in consonance with the 
ideals and values for which each caste stood. But while this 
was the ideal, it did not mean that it did not permit of deviations 
from it in practice and in the actual circumstances of life. The 
Smritis agree that, under necessity which has no law {dpad- 
dharma), “ in times of distress or failure to obtain a living through 
lawful labour,” persons could take to any occupations. The 
economic life of the times is better revealed in the Buddhist 
texts with their touch of realism and references to its concrete 
facts and details. Some of the typical ones may be cited. In 
Vinaya, i, 77 and iv, 128, we find parents freely discussing the 
various professions and caUings of the day which their son might 
choose, such as Writing [Lekham] or occupation of the Scribe 
or Clerk, Accountancy [Gananam], and Money-changing [RUpam 
to be learnt from the treatises called Rupa-sutta]. In ChuUavagga, 


V, 28 even the Bhikshus or Monks, with all their preoccupations 
of religious life, are allowed the use of looms and of shuttles, 
strings, tickets, and all the apparatus belonging to a loom 
presumably because it was considered that a Monk should be 
able to produce the scanty clothing prescribed for him, the 
triple clothing comprising the upper and lower cloth and a 
towel, so as to make the whole brotherhood and Vihara self- 
contained in regard to a primary requisite of life. The Jatakas 
even tell of Brahmans as physicians [iv, 361], goat-herds [iii, 401], 
merchants, hunters, snake-charmers [iv, 457], archers, and even 
Cartwrights [iv, 207]. 

Guilds as Industrial Schools. While the home of the artisan 
functioned as the school for imparting instruction in the particular 
craft plied by him, the collective interests of the craft as a whole 
in a particular area or region were administered by an organization 
like a guild which was called $rent. Each guild laid down its 
own laws for the administration of the interests of the particular 
craft belonging to it. The guilds were of various kinds like the 
crafts and were like so many industrial schools. The Smritis 
[e.g. Gautama, xi, 21] mention the main guilds to be those of 
(i) Cultivators, (2) Herdsmen, (3) Traders, (4) Money-lenders, 
and (5) Artisans, to which Brihaspati [i, 26] adds (6) Artists 
(= chitra-kdras) , and (7) Dancers. There are also references to 
Guilds of Musicians, Priests, and Military adventurers. Thus all 
these may be taken to function like Schools of Fine Arts and 
Crafts in those days. Every industry or craft was self-governing 
by its $rem, while it was pursued by an individual craftsman as a 
home or cottage industry, throwing open his own home or cottage 
as a school for training of apprentices in his craft. 

The Sixty-four Arts and Crafts (Kal&s) in Literature.^ Many 
works of Sanskrit Literature, as well as Buddhist and Jain, 
contain references to the ancient Indian Arts and Crafts making 
up a traditional number of 64. These references, for instance, 
are found in the Ramayana [i, 9, 5], Bhagavata-Purana [x, 
45 , 36], Mahabhashya [i, i, 57], Da^akumaracharita [ii, 21], 
Kadambari, Vatsyayana's Kamasutra, and also in the works of 
Vamana, Magha, Bhavabhuti, and others. Among Buddhist and 
Jain works containing these references may be mentioned 
Lalitavistara, Jatakamala (p. 105), Kalpasutra, Aupapatika- 

1 In treating this topic, I am much indebted to the Dissertation on The 
Kalds presented by Dr. A. Venkatasubbiah to the University of Berne for the 
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 



Sutra, or Pra^navyakarana-Sutra. Some works mention more 
than 64 Kalas, Jain works mentioning 72, while Lalitavistara gives 
86. But the most ancient and established number is 64. 

While the mere mention of 64 Raids is contained in many 
works, some contain their actual lists. The principal works 
giving such lists are (i) Kamasutra, (2) Kadambarl, (3) Sukra- 
nitisara, (4) Kalpantaravachyani (a commentary on Kalpasutra), 

(5) Ramachandra's Commentary on the first verse of Lakshmana 
Kavi's continuation of the Champuramayana by Vidarbharaja, 

(6) Yashodhara's commentary called Jayamahgala on the 
Kamasutra, (7) the Jain work Samavayasutra, (8) the Buddhist 
work Lalitavistara, and (9) the Buddhist work SutraJaihkara by 
A^vaghosha. The list of Sukramtisdra as one of the latest of 
these works is given below and may be considered as the basis 
of a comparative study of the lists contained in other works. 
The list comprises the following items : — 

1. Nartanam, Dancing, accompanied by suitable and allied 
expressions through features of the face, movements of the arm 
and hand, and the like (hava-bhavadisamyukta). 

The Rdjatarangim mentions thirty-two mo'des of dancing. 

One text [Lalita,] calls it Vddya-nrityam, dancing to the 
accompaniment of instrumental music. 

Kddamban describes this item not as a practical art but 
theoretical knowledge of the literature on dancing compiled 
by Bharata and other writers (Bharatadipranitani Nritya- 

VMsyayana mentions forms of "^dramatic art such as 
(i) Nepathya-yoga, stage-play," and (2) Ndtakdkhydyikd- 
darsanam, " histrionic and scenic representation." 

2. Proficiency at playing on many instruments together 
in a concert, skill in pla)dng in an orchestra (Aneka-vadya- 
vikritau tadvadane jhanam). 

Kddamban mentions these instruments as " Vtnd, Muraja, 
Kdmsyatdla, Darduraputa, and the like ". 

Vatsyayana mentions ‘‘ Vtnd, Damaru, and the like ". 

The Samavdyasutra mentions the following Arts of Music : 
(i) Svaragatam, knowledge of the seven svaras ; (2) Vddyam, 

playing on musical instruments ; (3) Pushkara-gatam, special 

skill at pla3dng on the particular instrument called pushkara, 
a kind of drum ; and (4) Samatdlam, knowledge of " beating 
time to music ". 

Ramachandra calls the Science of Music Svara^idstra, 


3. Skill at toilette, “ assisting men and women in decorating 
themselves with dress and ornaments ” (Stri-purhsoh vastralaih- 
karasandhanam) . 

The Samavdyasutra calls it Abharana-vihim, rules relating 
to ornaments,*' and Tarum-padikammat the art of decorating 
a maiden." 

Vatsyayana calls it N epathyaprayoga, and YaSodhara Sanra- 
samskdra, " decoration of body." 

4. Anekarupdvirhhdva-kriti-jndnam, the art of producing 
various forms or figures out of stone, wood, and other materials, 
the art of the Sculptor. 

The Samavdyasutra calls it Rupam, which is explained as 
" sculpture, painting, producing forms in cloth, gold, wood, etc." 

5. Sayydstarana-sarnyoga-pushpddigrathanam, " the art of 
making beds and garlands with flowers." 

The Samavdya, calls it " sayana-vihim ". The Lalita, 
mentions Mdlya-granthanam. 

Among these domestic Arts of menial service, Vatsyayana 
adds those of Utsddana (oiling and perfuming the body), Sarhvd- 
hana (Massage), and Keiamardana (dressing the hair). 

The Samavdyasutra mentions the chemical art of Perfumery 
called Gandha-yukti, 

6. Dyutddi-aneka-kriddhhiranjanam, " the art of entertaining 
by gambling and other pastimes." 

Ya^odhara enumerates fifteen kinds of gambling with dice, 
cowries, etc., and also with live creatures. 

The Samavdya, calls gambling Juyam and mentions a new 
game, Attdvayam, " a game played on a board of sixty-four 

7. Anekdsanasandhdnairraterjndnam. 

8. Makar anddsavddlndrh madyddlndm kritihy " the art of 
preparing flower- juices and other intoxicating liquors." 

9. Salyagudhdhritau iirdvranavyadhe jndnam, " the art of 
extracting buried arrows, spears, etc., and of incision of open 
wounds and blood-vessels." 

10. Hlnddirasasarhyogdnnddisampdchanam, " the art of cook- 
ing various dishes with the various rasas combined in different 

Vatsyayana calls it " Vichitra-idkayusha-bhakshya-vikdra- 
kriyd ", " preparation of various vegetables, soups, and condi- 
ments " ; and also " Pdnaka-rasa-rdga-dsava-yojanam ", "the 
art of preparing different kinds of drinks." 



Ya^odhara calls it Asvadya-vidhdnam, “ the art of preparing 
savoury foods/' 

The Samavdyasutra describes the culinary art as Anna- 
vidhi and Pdna-vidhi, the art of preparing foods and drinks. 
Ramachandra calls the culinary art Suda-Karma, 

11. V rikshddi-prasava-dropa-pdlanddi kritih, the art of 
grafting and planting and culture of plants." 

Vat sy ay ana calls it Vrikshdyurvedayogdh, " knowledge of 
the processes by which plants may be made to grow strong and 
healthy, abnormally small or big, etc." 

Ramachandra calls it Bhuruhdndm dohananiy " the art of 
grafting trees, making trees produce all sorts of abnormal fruits, 

12. Pdshdnadhdtvddidntibhashmakaranamy " the art of 
melting and reducing to ashes stones, minerals, and the like." 

The Samavdyasutra calls it " Dhaupagam " = Dhatupakam, 
" melting and combination of minerals." It also mentions the 
following metallurgical arts, viz. (i) Hiranya-pdkay (2) Suvarna- 
pdkay and (3) Mani-pdka, treating respectively of silver, gold, and 
precious stones. 

Vatsyayana calls it simply Dhdtu-vdda. 

13. Y dvadikshuvikdrdndm Kriti-jnanamy " knowledge of the 
preparation of all things that can be prepared from the juice of 

14. Dhdtvaushadhlndfk safhyoga-kriyd-jndnamy " knowledge 
of the combination of minerals and herbs." 

15. Dhdtu-sdnkarya-pdrthakya-karanamy " the art of com- 
bining and isolating minerals." 

16. Dhdtvddlndm samyoga-apurva-vijndnamy " the science of 
producing new compounds of minerals." 

17. Kshdranishkdsana-jndnamy " the art of extracting the 
Kshdrarasa out of minerals." 

18. Padddinydsatah iastrasandhdna nikshepah, " the art of 
adjusting the bow with the foot, fitting the arrow and then 
shooting it." 

19. Sandhydghdtd-krishtibhedaih mallayuddhamy " the art 
of wrestling in different ways, utilizing grips and falls of diverse 

The Lolita, mentions fights of four kinds, with Vdhu (arms), 
Danda (lathis), Mushti (fists), and Asthi (bones). 

The Kddambarl mentions physical science as Vydydma- 


20. Abhilakshite deie yantradi-astra-mpdianam, '' the art of 
hurling weapons and missiles at observed marks.*' 

The Lalita. mentions the three forms of marksmanship, 
viz. (i) Akkshunna-vedhitvam, the art of hitting the mark 
accurately " ; (2) Marma-vedhitvam, '' hitting the heart of the 

mark " ; (3) Sdbda-vedhitvam, “ hitting the mark or game by 

its sound." 

The Kddamhan mentions mihtary proficiency in the art of 
wielding the different weapons of those days such as Chapa 
(bow and arrow), Chakra (discus), Varma (armour), Kripdna 
(sword), Sakti (spear), Tomara (javelin), Paraiu (axe), Gadd 
(club), and the like. 

21. V ddyasanketato ijyuharachanddi, " the knowledge of 
forming an army into Vyuhas in accordance with the directions 
conveyed by instrumental music." 

22. Gajdharathagatyd tu yuddhasafhyojanam, " taking 
part in battle on elephant, horse, or chariot." 

23. Vividhdsana-mudrdbhih devatd-toshanam, " propitiating 
deities bjj^ worship in different postures and by different mudrds 
or dispositions of fingers." 

24. Sdrathyam, " the science of charioteering." 

Kddambarl calls it Rathacharyd, 

25. Gajdivddeh gatiiikshd, ** the art of training elephants 
and horses in movements." 

26. Mrittikd-kdshtha-pdshdna-dhdtu-bhdndddi-satkriyd, " the 
art of producing vessels and the like out of such materials as clay, 
wood, stone, or metals. 

Ramachandra uses the terms Vfitra-kriyd, " work in vritra, 
a kind of stone ; Loha-kriyd, work in metals ; Asma-kriyd, 
work in stones ; Mrit-kriyd, " work in clay " ; Ddru-kriyd, ” work in 
wood"; U^wi^-/?nya,''workin bamboos"; armour- 

making " ; Anjana-kriyd, ** manufacture of collyrium " ; Charma- 
kriyd, manufacture of leather-goods " ; and Ambara-kriyd, 
manufacture of textiles. 

Vat sy ay ana uses the following terms for some of these 
crafts : Pattikd-Vetra-vdna-vikalpah, ” making of different 

things like cots and seats from canes and reed *' ; Takshakarmdni, 
explained as " the manufacture of apadravyas out of materials 
like gold, steel, or wood ". 

27. Chitrddi-dlekhanam, " painting of pictures." 

Yasodhara calls it Chitravidhi. He also mentions the art 

of painting on cloth, which he calls Pustakarma. 

Vatsyayana calls it Alekhyam. 



28. Tatdka-Vapi-Prasdda-Samabhumi-Kriya, “ the art of 
excavating tanks and wells and levelling the ground.” 

29. Ghatlddi-anekayantrdndth Vddydndm kj'itih, " construc- 
tion of machines like the water-wheel and of musical 

Yaiodhara calls it Upakarana-kriyd, construction of 
machines, apparatus, engines, etc., as explained by Monier- 

Kddamhan calls it Yantraprayoga, “ use of machines.” 

Vatsyayana calls it yantramdtrikd which is explained as 
" construction of machines for purposes of locomotion, supply 
of water, and war ”. 

30. Hina-madhyddi-samyoga-varf^d^yai ranjanam, “ the art 
of painting with colours mixed in different proportions or 
quantities, large, moderate, and the like.” 

31. J ala~V dyu-Agni-samyoga-nirodhaih kriyd, “ working with 
water, lire, and air in two ways, by utilizing them' or by con- 
trolling them.” 

32. N aukd-rathddir ydndndm Kriti-jnanam, " th#.^. science 
and art of constructing ships, chariots, and other vehicles for 

33. Siitrddi-rajjukarana-vijndnam, “ the art of making 
yarns, ropes, etc.” 

34. Anekatantu-samyogaih Pafabandhah, “ weaving of cloth 
out of a variety of yarns.” 

35. Ratndndm Vedhddisadasat jndnam, “ the science of 
testing precious stones, and of the processes of cutting and boring 
them and similar processes.” 

Vatsyayana calls it Rupyaratna-parlkshd, “ testing of 
precious stones and coins.” 

Ramachandra calls it Ratnaidstram. 

36. Svarnddtndm ydthdrthya-vijndnam, “ the art of examining 
the properties of gold and testing its genuineness.” 

37. Kritrima-svarna-ratnddi-kriyd-jndnam, “ the science and 
art of manufacturing artificial gold and imitation precious 

38. Svarnddi-alamkdra-kritih, “ manufacture of ornaments 
from materials like gold.” 

Vatsyayana calls it Kari^a-patra-bhaiiga, which means “ the 
making of ear-omaments ”. 

39. Lepddi-satkritih, " the art of enamelling, polishing, 
varnishing, etc.” 


40. Charmdndm mdrdavddi-kriyd-jndnam, ** the science and 
art of tanning leather.” 

41. Paiucharma-anga-nirhdra-jndnam, ” the science of 
separating the hide and the various limbs from the bodies of 

42. Dugdhadohddi-ghritdntam vijndnam, ” knowledge of the 
processes of milking and of making ghee from milk as its ultimate 

43. Kanchukddlndm slvane Vijndnam, ” the art of sewing 

Vatsyayana uses the general term Suchivdnakarmdni, ” the 
art of sewing, weaving, knitting, and plaiting, by the use of needle.” 

44. Jale hdhvddihhih tarananiy ” the art of swimming in 
water with hands.” 

Ramachandra uses a more significant expression, Payasi 
plava-chdturyam, which means ” skill in diving in water ”. 

45. Griha-hhdndddeh mdrjane vijndnam, ” the art of cleansing 
houses and household utensils and furniture.” 

46. Vastra-sammdrjanam, ” the art of cleaning clothes, 

47. KshuYa-karmUy ” the art of shaving.” 

48. Tila-mdfhsddi-snehdndfh nishkdsane kritih, ” the art of 
extracting the essence out of sesamum, meats, and fats.” 

49. Slrddyd-karshane-jndnam, ” the art of ploughing, hoeing, 

50. V rikshddi-drohane jndnam, ” the art of climbing trees 
and the like.” 

51. Manonukulasevdydh kriti-jndnam, ” the art of serving 
another to his heart's content.” 

52. V enu 4 rinddi-pdtrdndm kriii-jndnam, ” the art of making 
vessels out of bamboo, reeds, etc.” 

53. Kdcha-pdtrddi-karana-vijndnam, ” the science of manu- 
facturing vessels and other articles out of glass.” 

54. Jaldndm sarnsechanam samharanam, ” the science of 
irrigation by which water is distributed and collected.” 

55. Lohddisdraidstra-astra-kritijndnam, ” the art of manu- 
facturing weapons out of metals.” 

56. Gaja-aiva-vrishava-ushtrdndm Palydnddi-kriyd, ” the art 
of manufacture of saddles, etc., to be used for riding elephants, 
horses, bullocks, and camels.” 

57. Siioh samrakshane dhdrane kndane jndnam, ” the art 
of bringing up, handling, and playing with children.” 

36 o ancient INDIAN EDUCATION 

58. Aparddhijaneshu yuktatadana-jUdnam, ** the art of 
handling offenders by suitable rebukes/' 

59. Ndnddeiiya-varndndm susamyak lekhane jMnam, pro- 
ficiency in writing the alphabets of various countries." 

The Samavdya Sutra calls it Leham = Lekham, i.e. writing 
of various scripts. Eighteen such scripts are mentioned, such 
as Brahml, Yavanalipi, KharoshthI, Pahari, Gandharvalipi, 
Mahe^varl, Dravidh 

Ya^odhara calls it Lipijndnam. 

Ramachandra uses the three terms Deiahhdshdh, Lipi- 
jndnam, and Lipikarma, which mean " knowledge of different 
languages and scripts ". 

60. Tdmhularakshddi kriii-vijndnam, "the art of preparing 
tambula, i.e. betel-nuts, areca nuts, slaked lime, etc." 

61. Addnam, " power of comprehension of these Raids.'* 

62. Aiukdritvam, " quickness of work." 

63. Pratiddnam, " imparting instruction in the Raids." 

64. Chirakriyd, " slow or gradual work." 

It will be seen that the lists of sixty-four Raids as given in 
different texts do not agree in all particulars and also in the 
terms used for the Raids. Some texts mention Raids which are 
not known to other texts and are, therefore, important as showing 
the additional number of Arts and Crafts making up the economic 
and cultural life of the times and the diversity of occupations 
available in the country. Some of these have been indicated 
above and a few more are mentioned below. 

The study of the Sciences and Humanities, the literary 
Art in general, are represented by the following subjects in the 
Lalitavistara : — 

1. Ganand. The Samdvdya. calls it Ganitam. It means 

2. Samkhyd, " the science of numbers." 

3. Veda. Rddambarl uses the general term Dharma-idstra 
for all these topics. 

4. Itihdsa. 

5. Purdna. 

6. Nirghantu, Lexicon. 

7. Nirukta, Et3miology. 

8. Nigama, Revealed Scripture. 

9. Sikshd, Phonetics. 

10. Chhanda, Metrics. 

11. Jyotisha, Astronomy. 


12. Vydkarana, Grammar. Kddamban calls it Padam. 

13. YajHa-Kalpa, the Kalpa-Sutras giving rules for conduct- 
ing sacrifices. 

14. Sdmkhya. 

15. Yoga. 

16. Vaiieshika. 

17. Veiika, a system of philosophy. 

18. Bdrhaspatya, the philosophical system of Brihaspati, 
the Charvaka or Lokayata philosophy. 

19. Hetuvidyd, Nyaya philosophy. Kddamban uses the 
terms Vdkyam, Logic, and Pramdnam, Purva-Mlmdmsd. 

20. Arthavidyd, Economics. Ya^odhara calls it Ajtva- 

21. Kdvya, Belles Lettres. 

22. Grantha-rachiiam, the art of the writer or authorship. 

23. Akhydtam, the art of story-telling. 

24. Hdsyam, the art of the Humorist. 

To these Vatsyayana adds the following subjects : — 

25. Abhidhdna-Koia-Chhando-Vi jndnam, knowledge of 

lexicons and metrics.” 

26. Deia-bhdshd-vijndnam, the science of language based 
on a study of the languages of different countries.” 

27. Vainayiklndm Vidydndm Jndnam, ” the science of 
Education, Pedagogics.” 

28. Mlechchhita-vikalpa, the knowledge of languages other 
than Sanskrit. The Samavdya-sutra uses the term Jana-vdcham 
for a knowledge of the vernaculars ; Mdgadhlyam, proficiency 
in Magadhi Prakrit ; and also Paure-vdcham, urban, refined 
speech. This is equivalent to the term Vachanam Uddram used 
by Ya^odhara, a sort of courtly speech. Kddamban has the 
term Sarva-deia-bhdshdh. All these terms show the specialized 
study in those days of Sanskrit and the Prakrits, the Hterary 
and spoken tongues, and also non-Aryan (Mlechchha) languages. 

29. Aryd-prahelikd, ” proficiency in composition of verses 
in dryd metre and in the science of riddles.” 

30. Sakunaruyam, i.e. Sakuna-vidyd, ” knowledge of the 
cries of birds.” The Lalitavistara uses the wider term Mfiga- 
paksht-rutam, knowledge of cries of both birds and beasts. 
Ramachandra uses the simple term Sdkunam for this subject, 
the science of omens and portents. 

Ramachandra mentions the following additional subjects : — 

31. Sarvdni Apaddndni, ” all ancient chronicles.” 



32. Samtcdrikam, palmistry/' 

33. Vdksiddhi, the science of Yoga by which whatever 
is said will actually happen." 

Kddamhan adds : — 

34. Graha-ganita, " the science of Astronomy, Mathematics 
applied to the study of planets." 

The Samavdya-sutra describes Astronomy by the four terms 
CAan^ira-Lakshmana, 5 wrya-Lakshmana, 2 ?iAw-Lakshmana, and 

Ya^odhara mentions the Veterinary Sciences under the 
term : — 

35. Tiryakyonih-chikiisd. 

Besides all these subjects representing the sciences and the 
literary art, culture, and religion, there are several additional 
technical arts and crafts mentioned in some of the texts. 

The Chemical and Pharmaceutical Arts are mentioned by 
Ramachandra as — 

36. Rasa-vdda, treatment of mercury. 

37. Gandha-vdda, treatment of sulphur. 

3^ Dhdtu-vdda, Metallurgy. 

The Lalitavistara mentions some arts of Architecture and 
Engineering such as — 

39. Nagara-niveia, Town-planning. 

40. V dstu-niveia, the art of the architect who plans a 

41. Nagara-mdnam, survey and measurement of cities. 

42. Skandhdvdra-mdnam, measurement of camps. 

Kddambart adds : — 

43. Surahga-upabheda, the construction of tunnels. 

The Lalita-vistara mentions the art of dyeing as — 

44. Vastra-rdga and 

45. Ma'^i-rdga, colouring of precious stones. 

It also mentions : — 

46. Madhuchchhishtakritam, the craft of wax-modelling. 

Vatsyayana mentions the general military science as — 

47. Vaijayiklndm vidydndm jhdnam, the knowledge of the 
military arts by which victory is achieved. 

It describes the athletic art as — 

48. Vydydmiklndfh vidydndm jhdnam. 

To all these Ramachandra adds some occult arts such as 
ilgm-stambha, iiCAarga-stambha, /a/a-stambha, FacAa-stambha, 
i 4 si-stambha, Fayw-stambha, by which the innate properties of 


these substances are controlled or suspended. To these is also 
added the interesting art of Vayastambha by which ageing is 
arrested. There are also mentioned certain other arts 
or siddhis such as Mantra-siddhi, Oushadha-siddhi, Mani- 
siddhi, Pddukd-siddhi, Mrit-siddhi, Ghatikd-siddhi, and Vdk- 

Arts and Crafts according to PSli Texts. While these Sanskrit 
texts thus know of sixty-four and some additional Kalds, early 
Pali texts, as will be seen below, mention the stock number of 
eighteen Sippas or Arts. But they do not state what the individual 
Arts were. The Majjhima Nikdya [i, p. 85 ; iv, pp. 281, 382] 
mentions some of these as Conveyancing or Law, Mathematics, 
Accountancy, Agriculture, Commerce, Cattle-breeding, and 
Administrative training. The Milinda Panha [i, 6], gives a 
different list as follows : Holy Tradition and Secular Law ; 
Saihkhya, Nyaya, Vai^eshika ; Arithmetic, Music, Medicine ; 
four Vedas, Puranas, Itihasas ; Astronomy, Spells, Hetuvidya, 
Magic ; Military Art ; Poetry ; and Conveyancing, making 
up in all nineteen Sippas. The Milinda list was perhaps inspired 
by the Brahmanical list of eighteen Sastras comprising four 
Vedas, six Veddngas, four Updhgas consisting of Purana, Nyaya,. 
Mimaihsa, and Dharma^astra, and four Upavedas consisting 
of Ayurveda, Dhanurveda, Gandharva-Veda, and Sthapatya 
(architecture) or, according to some, Artha^astra [see Vishnu 
Purdna, iii, 6, 28 ; and Bhdgavata Purana']. The Jdtakas 
differentiate, and that rightly, between religious and literary 
subjects like the Vedas or humanities, and the Silpas proper 
indicating a craft or vocation based on practical skill. One 
Jataka [vi, 427] mentions eighteen Crafts organized into guilds and 
mentions those of “ masons, blacksmiths, carpenters, painters, 
men skilled in all arts and crafts ”. 

Arts and Crafts in the time of Eantilya. In conclusion, it 
may be noted that considerable information regarding the arts 
and crafts of ancient India is furnished by a work of admitted 
antiquity, the Arthaiastra of Kautilya, which is undoubtedly 
based upon the material and data of the time of the Maurya 
emperor, Chandragupta (c. 323-299 b.c.). The Arthaidstra 
gives an account of the work of the Heads {Adhyakshas) of various 
Departments of Industry, each of which was in charge of a 
particular industry, craft, or trade. The organization of so many 
Departments of Administration proves the progress of the many 
Arts and Crafts calling for a centralized control. 



First, there was the Superintendent of Treasury (Koiddhya- 
ksha) who dealt with the Kola called Ratna^pankshd, He 
controlled the business in pearls of all kinds, derived from oyster- 
shells, conch-shells, and the like, and the different kinds of gems 
and diamonds whose sources in those days are also indicated. 

There are descriptions of trade in sandal-wood and other 
scented woods ; of business in hides, skins, and leather ; of 
woollen industry producing blankets of different kinds from the 
wool derived from different animals, sheep as well as wild animals ; 
of different kinds of manufacture of textiles and other fabrics 
such as dukula (fine) or kshauma (coarse), kauseya (silk), or 
Chlnapatta (Chinese). 

Weaving was a national industry controlled by the Officer 
called Sutrddhyaksha who employed qualified labourers to 
manufacture yarns {siitra), shirting (varma), clothing {yastra), 
and ropes. Women labour, the labour of widows, crippled women, 
ascetic women, and Devaddsts who were no longer employed in 
temples, was specially employed to cut wool, fibre, cotton, 
hemp, and flax. Wages were paid according to quantity and 
quality of output. 

Metallurgical industries were controlled by the Depart- 
ment of Mines under its Chief called Akarddhyaksha, He must 
be proficient in 3ulbadhdtuidstra, the science dealing with 
copper and other minerals ; in the art of distillation and condensa- 
tion of mercury and of testing gems [Rasapdka-manirdgajna) , 
He should be assisted by a staff of experts in mineralogy, mining 
labourers, and equipped with necessary apparatus {upakarana- 
sampanna). Mining operations are described, including chemical 
processes for extracting the metal out of ores by removing 
their impurities. Mining was a monopoly of the State, as also 
trade in metallic goods. No one could engage in Mining without 
a licence. Theft of mineral products was severely punished. 
Mines which produced minerals used in making utensils of 
general use, as also mines which required a large capital for 
their working were leased out to private parties who paid a 
fixed rent and a share in the profits {bhdgena prakrayena vd). But 
Government reserved to itself the working of Mines which 
did not require much outlay. 

There was also the Superintendent of Metals {Lohddhyaksha) 
who dealt with the manufacture of copper, lead, tin, mercury, 
brass, bronze or bell-metal, sulphurate of arsenic, and the like. 

There was the Superintendent of Ocean-mines whose duty 



was to collect revenue from pearls, corals, shells, diamonds, 
precious stones, and salts. 

A special Salt Department dealt with the lessees of Salt- 
fields who had to pay, besides ren^ a sixth of the salt manufac- 
tured by them. This portion was again sold to profit by the Salt 
Superintendent by realizing 8 per cent and 5 per cent as super- 
tax. Government, however, allowed students, ascetics, and 
labourers free salt for their food. 

The Arthaidstra also speaks of the Superintendent of Gold 
and Silver, the description of whose duties shows the extent to 
which the industries connected with the precious metals were 
developed in those days. 

There was also a Director of Agriculture {Sltddhyaksha) 
to deal with the different branches of that industry. 

Texts giving lists of Kolas make much of gambling. The 
practice of gambling called for State-control and, accordingly, 
we find Kautilya speaking of a Superintendent [Dyutadhya- 
ksha) who supervised the gambling-halls which had to be licensed 
and hired. 

There was a Director of Navigation (Ndvadhyaksha) whose 
Department controlled all traffic and transport by water, policed 
the rivers and sea-shore, supplied government boats, and collected 
all tolls levied at ferries, customs, and other charges at harbours, 
cess on river-side and sea-side villages, and one-sixth of the 
proceeds from all fisheries. 

Thus, on the whole, the picture of economic life and progress 
given in the lists of sixty-four and more Kolas is seen in its proper 
setting in the important early work of Kautilya, showing how 
the control of the State was called for and had to be exercised 
through so many Departments of Administration, each of which 
was to deal with the interests of a particular industry separately. 
Thus Kautilya figures as an early authority on the subject of 
Kolas, or Arts and Crafts. 

Chapter XII 



Ancient Indian Education Individual and not Collective. 

We have seen that the vital principle of Ancient Indian Education 
was that of individual and intimate relationship between pupils 
and their teachers as members of the same family, living in a 
common home, the home of the teacher functioning as the 
school in those days. Such a principle did not favour the growth 
of large educational institutions which, ignoring the vital 
differences between individuals, teach them collectively by 
‘‘ classes and aim at mass-production in education. But 
education is a delicate biological process, a process of mental 
and moral growth which cannot be achieved by mechanical pro- 
cesses, the external apparatus and machinery of an organization. 
As in education, so in a more marked degree in the sphere of 
religion and spiritual life, India did not believe in the external 
and mechanical methods of organization and did not develop 
any ecclesiastical institutions like the churches. The interests 
of religious life and spiritual growth were not handed over 
to any institutions and their regimented life of routine, but 
were left to be dealt with between the guru and his pupil in their 
personal relationship from which the whole world was excluded. 
A man's inner religious life was thus treated as his supremely 
individual concern in which the collective life of the community 
should have no part. Spiritual growth, as we have seen, depends 
on one fundamental factor described as Chitta-vritti-nirodha and, 
therefore, all avenues of influences from the external world which 
might disturb or distract the mind should be closed, so that 
spiritual life may grow freely in the atmosphere of inner peace 
and quiet. 

It was not Mechanized, as in large Educational Organizations. 

And yet Ancient India was not lacking in religious institutions 
like temples and Mathas and Tirthas, or places of pilgrimage 
where crowds gather in the interests of religious life. That is 
because the external aspect or element of these organizations 
does not supersede or interfere with the inner religious life of the 



individuals they bring together. Hinduism does not believe in 
congregational worship. There is solitude in a crowd. The press 
of pilgrims in a crowded temple on a sacred day of festival leaves 
every individual pilgrim to himself, to say his personal prayers 
by himself, in his own way, and in secret and private. There is 
an inspiring tradition that at the temple of Jagannath at Puri, 
which is notorious for its daily crowds of worshipping pilgrims, 
Lord Chaitanya was free to take to a solitary corner of the temple, 
at some distance from the image of the deity Jagannath, where 
he was always seen in the trance of meditation on the 

It will thus appear that the emergence of temples and Mathas 
in Ancient India was not inconsistent with its religious principles 
and ideas which banned organization, in the Western sense, 
in the sphere of learning and religion, for fear lest even they, 
too, be “ mechanized Mechanization is fatal to learning and 
spirituality where the mind and soul should be left free to grow 
in the natural way like living organisms. 

Examples of Organization in Education : Vedic Saihghas, 
Parishads, Charakas, Mashas. The beginnings of collectivism or of 
organization in education may be traced to the earliest Vedic 
times. As we have seen, even the Rigveda has several significant 
references to the Samgkas or Assemblies of learned men meeting 
for those fateful and formative discussions which hammered 
into shape both the language and philosophy of the Vedas. The 
Upanishads tell of regular learned Conferences meeting at the 
courts of Kings by royal invitation and companies of Charakas 
or wandering scholars touring the country in quest of higher 
knowledge, its centres and exponents. Then there were also 
stabilized institutions, the Academies of Science, like the Pafichala 
Parishat, which produced some of India's highest philosophy. 
Later came Jainism and Buddhism with their emphasis upon the 
system of organized brotherhoods accommodated in the rock- 
cut halls, vihdras and monasteries. The Brahminical system 
followed suit with similar institutions like Mathas and regular 
colleges, as we know them now. 

Colleges endowed by Temple Charities in the South. Of 
these latter-day institutions, we shall give an account on the 
basis of their most important and typical examples. The records 
of these are to be found more in the south and in inscriptions 
from the tenth century onwards. 

Salotgi. Narayana, a minister of the Rashtrakuta emperor 


Krishna III, founded a temple of the Trayi-Purusha, the hall of 
which accommodated a Sanskrit College. In course of time, the 
College had to build as many as twenty-seven Hostels for residence 
of its students who hailed from different provinces {ndndjanapa- 
dodbhavdh). The expense of lights for the hostels was met from 
a special endowment of twelve Nivartanas (probably = 6o acres 
of land), while another endowment of 500 Nivartanas paid for 
the expenses of boarding for at least 200 students. The Principal 
of the College was maintained by the income of another endow- 
ment of fifty Nivartanas. The village where the College was 
situated, Salotgi, in Bijapur District, also supported the College 
by an arrangement that each villager should contribute to its 
funds 5 coins at each marriage, aj coins at each Upanayana, 
and ij coin at each Chudakarana ceremony to be performed by 
him, while at every social feast he was to invite its students and 
teachers [Epi. Indica, iv, 60]. 

Enn&sriram : Its 340 Students, 10 Teachers, and 300 Acres 
of Land. An inscription of the time of emperor Rajendra Chola I 
(of c. 1023 A.D.) [No. 333 of 1917] records the endowment made 
by a village of certain charities which included the establishment 
of a Vedic College at Ennayiram in South Arcot District, providing 
for the free board and tuition of 340 students, distributed as 
follows among the different subjects of study : 75 for Rigveda, 
75 for Yajur-Veda, 20 for Chhandoga-Saman, 20 for Talavakara- 
saman, 20 for Vajasaneya, 10 for Atharva-Veda, 10 for the 
Baudhayanlya Grihya, Kalpa, and Gana, 40 for Rupavatara, 
25 for Vyakarana, 35 for Prabhakara Mimaihsa, and 10 for 
Vedanta. The College was manned by ten Teachers, three for each 
of the two Vedas taught, two for Mimaihsa, and one for each 
of the other subjects. 

Cost ol Student’s Boarding. The College was maintained 
by an endowment of 45 Velis {== about 300 acres) of land. Each 
student of Veda cost 6 Nalis (= | Karuni) of paddy per day 
and i kalanju of gold (= 25 grains = Rs. 2/-) per year, to meet 
probably the cost of his clothing. A student of the more advanced 
subjects like Mimaihsa, Vedanta, and Vyakarana, was given 
66 per cent additional allowance. 

Salaries ol Teachers. A teacher got the daily allowance 
of I kalam (= 12 karuni) of paddy, while the cost of a daily 
meal was J karuni. Thus he was given the cost of food for sixteen 
persons per day. He was also given a bonus of | kalanju of gold 
per year. 


The Vedanta teacher got an additional allowance of 25 per 

The teacher of Vydkaraii^ was paid at i kalanju of gold per 
adhydya of the Ashtddhydyi taught. 

Another College 0! 340 Students. Inscription No. 343 of 
1917 refers to the hostel attached to the temple where were daily 
fed 506 learned Brahmans, including the 340 College students, 
and also to provision made by the village for the daily supply 
of firewood for the hostel, whUe all surpluses of ghee, milk, and 
curds left after worship were made over to the hostel by the 
Temple authorities. 

A College owning three Villages. Five inscriptions on 
copper plates of the Pallava king, Vijayanripatunga-varman 
\Epi. Ind., iv] record the gift of three villages to support a 
College, “ like the Ganga, supported by Siva on his matted locks.” 
The College taught fourteen Ganas, comprising 4 Vedas, 6 
Vedafigas, i Mimamsa, i Nyaya, i Purana, and i Dharma^astra. 

A College with 190 Students and 12 Teachers for its Veda 
and 7 for iSSstra Departments. Inscription No. 176 of 1919 
(of c. 1048 A.D.) records the endowment of another residential 
Sanskrit College which had a staff of 12 Teachers, 3 for Rigveda, 
3 for Yajurveda, and i for other subjects each, suchasChhandogya- 
Saman, Talavakara-Saman, Apurva, Vajasaneya, Bodhayanlya, 
and Satyashta (adha)-Sutra. The College had a separate Depart- 
ment of Sastra with a staff of seven Teachers to teach the seven 
subjects, Vedanta, Vyakarana, Rupavatara, Sri-Bharata, 
Ramayana, Manu-Sastra, and Vaikhanasa-Sastra. 

As regards students, 60 studied Rigveda, 60 Yajurveda, 
20 Chhandogya-Saman, and 50 other Sastras together, totalling 
190 students. 

A School of Grammar at TiruvorraiySr. Inscription No. 202 
of 1912 records the endowment of 60 Velis of land (= about 
410 acres) for the construction of a separate Hall called Vydkarana- 
ddnavydkhydna-mandapa for the teaching of Panini’s grammar 
and worship of God Vyakaranadana-Perumal (Siva) in the 
Temple at Tiruvorraiyur. This School of Grammar was supported 
by further gifts recorded in Inscriptions Nos. no of 1912, 201 
of 1912, 120 of 1912. 

A College with a Hostel and Hospital. Inscription No. 182 
of 1915 of A.D. 1062 records the gift of a Vaiiya establishing 
(i) a college for teaching the Vedas, Sastras, Rupavatara (perhaps 
a grammatical work), (2) a Hostel for its students, and (3) a 


Hospital. The students were given free food and lights. The 
Hospital called Vtra-iolan ( = Vira-Chola) had fifteen beds and a 
staff of one physician, one surgeon, two servants for fetching drugs, 
fuel, and for other work for the Hospital, two maidservants to 
serve as nurses, and one general servant for the whole establish- 
ment. The Hospital was also equipped with a store of medicines, 
such as Hantaki of different Idnds, Bilvddighrita, Vajra-kalpa, 
Kalyanalavana, and varieties of taila or oils. 

A few other similar Institutions, and Teachers’ Salaries. 
Inscription No. 259 of 1905 (of c. a.d. 1122) records the mu