Etymologically guru refers to teacher and kulis derived from kula, which denotes an extended family. Guru-kul thus denotes an integrated environment where knowledge seekers from all walks of life learn the value, mission and the ultimate purpose of basic human existence in a systematic and structured manner under the direct tutelage of a knowledge provider. The word Gurukulam is used frequently in southern part of India owing to the influence of Tamil, where the Sanskrit root work kula and the Tamil word kulam refer to heritage, or domain or extended family or in some aspects, demography. Gurukulams have existed since the Vedic age and it was the dominant model of education for several thousand years at a stretch in India until the arrival British colonialists, where the Gurukulam system started to gradually decline.
The ultimate quest for human knowledge in the Dharmic Indic traditions were derived from mainly 4 sources:
Shrutis : that which is heard or revealed, the four Vedas
Smritis : that which is recollected and retold by rishis which are deeply rooted in the Shrutis, the Manu Smriti for example
Itihasas : historical events like Ramayana and Mahabaratha
Puranas : texts that primarily eulogize the divine, Srimad Bhagavatham for example.
Originally there were many variants of orthodox schools of thoughts or philosophies in ancient Hindu philosophy which are based on the interpretations, understanding and the epistemological acceptance of the four sources.
The Gurukula system was designed in such a manner that before embarking on any personalized stream of study, core subjects such as Siskha(Phonetics), Vyakarana (Grammmar), Jyotisha (Astronomy), Arthasashtra (Politics and Economics), Dharmashastra (Social code of conduct), Sastravidya (Art of welfare) and Kala (fine arts) were taught.
The students spent a minimum of 9-12 years in an academic setting that fostered complete harmony of the individual with the nature and the environment. The overall purpose of such an extended stay completely residential style of schooling in ashram (spiritual hermitage in a monastic setting) is to develop the human being inside out and in all-around development, namely physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and social wellbeing, ultimately leading to the path of moksha or liberation from the vicious circle of birth and death.
The meaning of the word ashramatranslates to labor and austerity. Because of this emphasis, virtually the common ills of modern westernized societies such as class warfare, gender inequality, economic disparity, financial accessibility, and discrimination based on factors other than ones’ innate virtue, austerity, mental grit, and ethics were nonexistent. The Mahabharata tells of numerous hermitages where pupils from distant parts gathered for instruction round some far-famed teachers. A full-fledged Ashrama is described as consisting of several Departments which are enumerated as following:
Agnisthana : the place for fire-worship and prayers
Brahma-sthana : the Department of Veda
Vishnusthana : the Department for teaching Raja-Niti ETC
Mahendrasthana : Military Section
Vivasvata-sthana : Department of Astronomy
Somasthana : Department of Botany
Garuda-sthana : Section dealing with Transport and Conveyances
Kartikeya-sthana : Section teaching military organization, how to form patrols, battalions, and army.
The ancient view in India was that a student was a seeker of Vidya, the special holistic learning with the sole aim of seeking and realizing the ultimate truth. The deep thirst for knowledge was satisfied through the relationship between the preceptor (guru) and the disciple (sishya). A preceptor accepted a disciple only after testing and determining his or her worthiness, but after which the relationship was established on a firm basis.
In a gurukulam, sishyas live together as equals, irrespective of their social standing, learn from the guru and help the guru in his day-to-day life, including the carrying out of mundane chores such as washing clothes, cooking, etc. Typically, a guru does not receive any fees or remuneration from the sishya studying with him. At the end of his studies, a sishya offers the guru dakshina (offering) before leaving the gurukula.
The gurudakshina is a traditional gesture of acknowledgment, respect and thanks to the guru, which may be monetary, but may also be a special task the teacher wants the student to accomplish. While living in a gurukula the students had to be away from his house and family completely. The guru does not take any fees and so they had to serve the guru. Students, therefore, had to convince their Guru that they had the desire, the determination and the required intelligence to pursue the studies. Regardless of their social or financial status, the Guru accepts the student, if compatibility was discerned and if it was perceived that the student was prepared to learn whole-heartedly the entire course with the observance of the rules of the Gurukula.
Students, therefore, had to convince their Guru that they had the desire, the determination and the required intelligence to pursue the studies. Regardless of their social or financial status, the Guru accepts the student, if compatibility was discerned and if it was perceived that the student was prepared to learn whole-heartedly the entire course with the observance of the rules of the Gurukula.
Education at that time was free. It was free because no student was required to pay any fees. It was free also because no outside agency could interfere in the matters of education. There was perfect autonomy. No external authority no external beneficiary, no politics was permitted to enter the school or college system. A student had to pay nothing in return for education he received in a Gurukul or Ashram. Access to good education depended not on wealth but on talent. The student was expected, if desired but never compelled to offer a field, cow, horse or the elements of the daily needs to his teacher according to his financial position in the society.
The Gurukulam’s overriding focus on spiritually transformative education process via contemplation on life-cherishing and truth-revealing disciplines contained in the Vedas makes it a unique learning platform, which takes learning beyond the conventional classroom into real life. Comprehensive study in a gentle, mindful, and unhurried environment provides the most conducive setting for assimilation of spiritual truth.
The profoundly personal and deeply enriching style of Vedic education immediately and irrefutably deepens self-awareness, with automatic and positive repercussions on mental and physical health. The beautiful and balanced Gurukulam education builds profound confidence, transforming motivated students into full spectrum healers, teachers, and ambassadors of Vedic spirituality. The gurukulam were supported by public donation. This was followed by the many following Vedic thoughts making gurukulam one of the earliest forms of public school offices. As the guru-sishya relationship is based on the spirit of the ‘kula’ (family) and the teacher and student come closer to each other as parent and child, and as the guru possesses gravity and magnanimity, the students are prepared for hard work and austerity, which makes character formation become part of our educational programs by default. From this viewpoint, the Gurukula System of Education has its own significance. If this system, in a refined form, were re-established, it would mark a turning point in modern history.
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Vision & Mission
- Our vision is to prepare the younger generations as global citizens fully equipped to face the current dynamic world with confidence and pride.
- Motivate, Educate, Preserve and Disseminate the Vedic Wisdom and Spiritual heritage
- Build motivated younger generations through Gurukulam for integrating vEdic studies and modern education
- Conduct Classes and Camps for Children and Adults to educate them in Samaskritham, Yoga, Meditation, Stress relaxation & other ancient arts, Spiritual development Camps, Sanatana Dharma
- Conduct Classes and Camps for Children and Adults to educate them traditionally in vEdas & vEdAntAs, SAsthrAs, SthOthras, Prabandhams, SamskArams, Give it back to the Society and the community