GURUKUL SYSTEM OF LEARNING: “Guru” refers to one who dispels the darkness of ignorance or the teacher.

“Kula” refers to family and clan. “Gurukul” is an ancient Indian concept of education wherein the pupil learnt by residing with the teacher as a [part of his family. In ancient India, after the thread ceremony was performed, at the age of eight male children used to leave their homes and their loved ones and live at the GURUKUL for TWELVE years to learn at the feet of their GURUS. Life at the GURUKUL was tough, full of discipline, hard work and concentration, but at the end of their training, the students emerged as responsibility individuals that were well learned and capable of facing the toughest challenges of life. In those times, GURU did not admit anybody and everybody as their ‘disciples’ or “SHISYAS”. The GURU first took test, identified the capacity of shishya and only then imparted them the relevant knowledge. The shishyas were in close contact with nature. Apart for learning the shishya also had to contribute in the household chores and give all the kind of assistance to “GURUMATA” who took care of them as their mother. At the end of their training, the shishya thanked the GURU by them give a “GURU-DAKSHINA” or a offering to the Revered GURU. There is a story of the illustrious Son, Eklavya, born to Hiranya Dhanu, who was the king of “Bhilla” a nomadic tribe.One day, the young

Eklavya saw some of the shisyas practicing Archery and enquired who their GURU was. They said, It was the Great GURU, DRONACHARYA, who was expert in Archery. However, Eklavya could not become his shishya as he was NOT a Kshatriya (WARRIOR) Hence Eklavya decided to learn the art of archery from GURU Dronacharya by OBSERVATION as he taught to young. Prince Arjuna. After mastering the art of Archery, he also gave his right hand thumb as an offering ti his Guru- DRONACHARYA and become SHISYOTAMA or the best student. Even though, GURU Dronacharya never taught Eklavya in person, his learning was complete, only after giving the GURU-DAKSHINA or offering to his GURU. The GURU had an excalted position and the necessary of hiscontinued supervision in rendering guidance through the learning process, best brought out by examples like in Ramayana, king Dasharatha had entrusted Ram and Lakshman to the care of Rishi Vishvamitra. In Mahabharat, Lord Krishna too studied at the GURUKUL of sandipani Rishi. The Kaurawas and Pandav prince went to the GURUKUL of Guru Dronacharya. From then on, there is a GURU- SHISHYA Parampara found in India. Whether it is learning of scripture, different art forms, like dance, music etc. even today it is the GURU-SHISHYA Parampara or tradition that keeps it vibrant and prosperous. Even today we have the likes of Ustad Allahrah Khan legendary father and GURU of Ustad Zakhir Hussain who have the GURU- SHISHYA way of learning. In dance form we have Padmavibhushan Dilu Maharaj, the Kathak GURU and his shishya Shaswati sen who are both followers of this tradition. Similarly the sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan and his two talented sons and shishyas Amaan and Ayam belive tha it is this Tehzeeb (way of llife) which will sustsin for time immemorial

This exalted position of a GURU is brought out by Verse, “GURU BRAHMA, GURU VISHNU, GURU DEVO MAHESHWARA, GURU SHAKSHAT PARA BRAHMA TASMAYE SHREE GURUVE NAMAHA”

ADVANTAGES OF GURUKUL SYSTEM:1. Shishyas received knowledge in all subjects and hence had an all round personality. At the end of the 12 year training. 2. They got practical knowledge. 3. Children were taught to live in the Gurukul with meager things and thus. “SIMPLE LIVING and HIGH THINKING” was practiced. 4. They were close to nature- classes were held below trees, in the jungle where the children felt more comfortable. 5. They were imparted various skills like singing, dancing, archery etc. 6. It was a complete and comprehensive Learning Center. 7. They were taught important values and ideas, manners and sanskars which would help them in their future life. DISADVANTAGES OF GURUKUL SYSTEM: 1. Children left their homes and near and dear ones at the tender age of eight and stayed away from their parents for over 12 years. This was a great penance. 2. There used to be discrimination at the entry level about the admission in GURUKUL. As we have seen that EKLAVYA was not given admission by GURU DRONACHARYA as he was not Kshatriya (WARRIOR CASTE). 3. Females were not admitted to the GURUKUL.

4. The Guru’s words were final and the shishya could not argue or put across his point to the GURU. 5. There was no standard syllabus and conventional evaluation and examination system. 6. They led a sheltered life at Gurukul and could not know much about the outside world.

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