Gurukula literally means a place where shishyas (aspirants of knowledge) associate with the Guru to get enlightened.

Here µKula¶ means domain or extended family. A gurukula was an important place in ancient Indian society. The gurukula system was the basic concept of education at that time. In this article, we shall have a glance on the system of gurukula. Who is Guru: The word ³Guru´ has several meanings. In sanskrit µgu¶ means darkness and µru¶ means light. A person who rescues his depended by bringing him out of darkness and guides him to light is regarded as µGuru¶. ³Guru´ also means µHeavy¶. One who is heavy with knowledge is called a guru. Guru is one who dispels the darkness of ignorance in his disciple with the torchlight of knowledge. The Principle and the Environment The basic principle of gurukula system is learning by serving. Shisyas learn lessons by first serving the guru. Gurukula system is completely residential in nature. Shisyas live in proximity of the guru, almost in the same house. As they live near their guru, they associate with him very intimately. They serve their guru in his day-to-day life, even in his mundane chores such as cooking, washing clothes, fetching water etc. The set up of the system is usually in remote areas where there is no disturbance. This environment is very conducive for learning. Guru observes character and temperament of each student and imparts knowledge accordingly. He considers all students as equal. One student may be a King¶s son and one may be a cobbler¶s son, but for guru what matters is the character of the student. In this way, there is no discrimination against caste, creed and family status of the student. What Guru Teaches his Students? The students make their guru as their role model. Guru becomes the second father for the students. He guides them how to lead a successful life. He teaches subject matter of Vedas, art of using weaponry, music and self defense. He teaches the students what is the aim of human life. What are the moral values that one has to imbibe to be a successful person in the human society. He teaches how can one disentangle himself from the complexities of material existence and how can one achieve the ultimate success. The guru gives this knowledge to his disciples through his own example. Thus, guru is one who has a flawless character and he imparts the same flawless character to his students through his constant association.

A Rationale for the Gurukula System of Education
Posted on November 30, 2010 by Mahat-tattva Dasa Filed under: Reader A gurukula is a traditional school that is run by an acharya, a brahmana who teaches young boys both primary educational topics and moral behavior. Gurukula literally means the ³house of the guru.´ From the age of five, boys who have been accepted as students by the acharya go away from their own families to live in his ashram as members of his own family until they have

The three modes are goodness. one of the modes of nature is dominant.completed their studies. Classroom instruction in ethics alone cannot help them. Greedy business leaders in America have been responsible for much of the current American recession. however. The rationale for this system of education is to produce men who are thoroughly pure and moral in thought and behavior. Those who are predisposed to act immorally will probably act immorally. The gurukula system takes advantage of this principle by making mandatory the residence of students at the acharya¶s ashram. Usually. the gurukula system of education is necessary for establishing a high degree of moral behavior throughout all classes of society. Despite psychological predisposition. that knowledge alone is not enough to produce moral behavior. or good association. The important words here are k ra am gu a-sa ga . Because the acharya is a brahmana and therefore in the mode of goodness. a producer. however good their education has been otherwise. Yet like the petty thief. sa g t sañj yate k ma ²from association develops desire (2. Thus he meets with good and evil among various species´ (Bhagavad-g t 13. Earlier in the Gita. passion. They already had more money than most people could ever dream of. his close . This is where the concept of satsang comes from. k ra a gu asa go µsya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu. A primary education should thus also strive to improve the nature of its students. and ignorance (sattva. Immoral behavior. or a worker (bramhana. Asat-sa ga. an administrator.62). vaishya. ³The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life. bad association.22). According to the s khya model. All societies everywhere have these classes. Even though he knows that stealing is wrong. kshatriya. and since the gurukula system utilizes this principle to a superlative degree. or sattva-gu a. he cannot help himself. Although most people who walk into a store feel no urge to steal. and all three are always present in various proportions in all embodied living beings. The remedy for asat-sa ga is sat-sa ga. As explained by Lord Krishna in the Gita. Lord Krishna introduces this truth by saying. is not limited to petty theft. This shows that although one should know the difference between right and wrong. rajas. enjoying the three modes of nature. tamas). To understand how the gurukula system changes and improves the nature of its students. they also could not check their urges. predisposes them to immoral habits of thought and action. This conception is found in the s khya system of philosophy. And this psychological predisposition will usually determine one¶s place in society as an intellectual. This explains why our petty shoplifters and greedy business leaders simply cannot help themselves. Since moral behavior is best changed through close association with those who have the the highest nature. a particular combination of the three modes of material nature (the gu as) determines one¶s psychological nature. a shoplifter for some reason has an irresistible urge. the modes of nature one possesses change through association: puru a prak ti-stho hi bhu kte prak ti-j n gu n. the modes of nature in any one person are subject to change. We can understand this from our experience with petty theft. This is due to his association with that material nature. This goal is the fundamental rationale for the gurukula system. that association with the modes of nature causes one¶s psychological predisposition. it is necessary to understand the conception of human nature the gurukula system is based on. The authority of the gurukula system rests on the idea that human nature is the primary basis of moral behavior. or shudra). and they took ethics courses from all the best business schools. and the dominant mode will significantly color one¶s psychological predisposition.

purity. Due to close association with the acharya. day schools will always be the main kind of school. dilligent. Through the principle of satsang. gurukulas will have an advantage over day schools in their ability to produce men who are pure in thought and habit. Other members of society should adopt these qualities as far as possible. honesty. ( r mad-Bh gavatam 1.42). When they were living together during the four months of the rainy season. the qualities of a brahmana are peacefulness. And workers should be honest. in Houston. in the last millennium I was born as the son of a certain maidservant engaged in the service of br hma as who were following the principles of Ved nta. USA. wisdom and religiousness. I was self-controlled and had no attachment for sports. by their permission. self-control. I took the remnants of their food. O muni. austerity.org. The principle of satsang is valid in day schools. and I did not speak more than required. Politicians and military leaders should be wise and self-controlled. This is the rationale for establishing gurukulas. credited his spiritual advancement to close association with great saintly persons who he once served during the rainy season. . And according to this idea. 2010. the souvenir for the 5th Annual Hindu Mandir Executives Conference. According to the Gita (18. even though I was a boy. too. in narrating his life to Vy sadeva. the author of the text. In addition. I was not naughty. Although they were impartial by nature. But N rada. Business leaders should be fair and equitable in their business dealings. Temple leaders and other important people in society should thus bear in mind this purpose and function of the gurukula system. This is not to say that the gurukula system will completely eradicate vice. a public policy research center that focuses on areas where dharma and public policy meet. As far as I was concerned.) Krishna Kirti Dasa. N rada Muni himself in a former lifetime had attended a day-school run by a brahmana. and at that time the very nature of the transcendentalist became attractive to me. I became purified in heart. those followers of the Ved nta blessed me with their causeless mercy. knowledge. is President of the Samprajña Institute. I was engaged in their personal service.23 ± 25) N rada¶s example here nicely illustrates the efficacy of satsang. The difference between day schools and gurukulas would be something like the difference between public schools and college preparatory schools. As per the r mad-Bh gavatam. 22 ± 24th August. they should establish gurukulas for the sake of creating a future class of leaders who are thoroughly moral in thought and habit.5. the gurukula system systematically develops moral behavior to the highest degree possible throughout all sections of society. tolerance. but at the level of primary education and more for the sake of producing morally stalwart members of society. but as a social institution it will do much to help control it. and by so doing all my sins were at once eradicated. Texas. The Samprajña Institute¶s website can be found at http://samprajna. which the gurukula utilizes to the highest degree. Of course. Once only. Thus being engaged. ± END ± (First published in Mandir Vani.assocition will improve the student¶s own nature. and not given to stealing.

A Backdrop The ancient system of education consists of the following salient features: education was given free to all deserving persons. Maths (centres of religious heads) and Ghatakas (learning centres). Mention may be made of the famous universities of Kashi. Similarly in the South there were the Agrahars. included question answer method. Historical Universities The Buddhist monks established many universities. Travel was also included as a part of the curriculum. .Acharyas and students live here as members of one family.eat and play together. We can recall with pride the contributions of such eminent emperors like Sri Harsha. Pulakeshin II. Girls were given opportunity to learn the Vedas and acquire skills in different disciplines.The food here is Satwik and students wear traditional dress . especially the Gurukula system of education. The Guru acted both as acharya and father. schooling is residential in nature where children from different cross sections of society live. among other items. Nrupatunga and Krishnadevaraya for the cause of Gurukulas. They did not interfere with the functions of Gurukulas.About Gurukula The word Gurukula refers to as. observation.Home of an Acharya. meditation and generalization. Equal opportunities were available to learn this-worldly education and Brahma-Vidya (knowledge of the world beyond this manifest world). Type of living The Guru and his pupils used to live under a common roof as members of the same family. contemplation.study. Prayag and Kanyakubya. The methodology followed by the eminent teachers. Temples. Kings and emperors used to devote a part of their wealth to further the cause of education. Nalanda.

The guru-shishya tradition (parampara) is a hallowed one in Hinduism and appears in other religious groups in India. The real tragedy is that the external values embedded in our ancient vedas. it has been discarded as no longer a relevant concept. learn from the guru and help the guru in his day-to-day life. a guru does not receive fees from the shishyas studying with him. but may also be a special task the teacher wants the student to accomplish. shishyas reside together as equals. It has failed to light the lamp that throws light on the internal aspects of man and he continues this struggle to accomplish the highest in his life.Gurukul Activities Discourses. discussions. a shishya offers the guru dakshina before leaving the ashram. Typically. The gurudakshina is a traditional gesture of acknowledgment. . The loss is incalculable. The gurus didn't take any fees and so they had to serve the guru. comparative study and harmonising different aspects of branches of knowledge. etc. While living in a gurukul the students had to be away from his house and family.[1] In a gurukul. At the end of his studies. "extended family") is a type of school in India. Buddhism and Sikhism. including the carrying out of mundane chores such as washing clothes. upanishads. poetry and history have been deliberately relegated to the background and the concept of Universal Man has become a thing of the past. In other words. upavedas. A gurukul (Sanskrit guru "teacher" or "master". vedangas. along with the vedic way of life no longer exist in their prestine purity. often within the same house. the system of education that modern educationists have developed. kul domain. residential in nature. Despite considerable achievements in the fields of science and technology. irrespective of their social standing. It is this situation that motivated the trustees to establish Om Shantidhama. Unfortunately the ancient system of education. which may be monetary. has just enabled the present generation of students only to study and understand the physical aspects (external aspects) of the universe. yoga. such as Jainism. etc were the salient features of the Gurukula system of learning. respect and thanks. One may find their models here and there with great efforts. from kula. with shishyas living in proximity to the guru. cooking.