Division * Section

LAI 151


MAY 9 1919




Rev. F. E. KEAY, M.A.

[Thesis approved for the Degree of M.A. in the University of London , and published with the permission of the Senate .]









Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2016


The history of the ancient education of India is to a large extent an unexplored tract. Except for a short sketch in Laurie’s Historical Survey of Pre-Christian Education, and outlines of the subject in cyclopaedias, or references scattered in various books, hardly anything has been written on the subject. With regard to Muhammadan Education in India, however, Mr. Narendra Nath Law’s recently published book on the Promotion of Lear/ting by Mu ham madans has brought together some most useful evidence.

In attempting to write about the ancient education of India, one of the greatest difficulties has been to ascertain all the available material. The literature of India is very bulky, and only a small portion of it has been translated into English. References in it to education are not always numerous, and are scattered here and there amongst a vast amount of other material. I am well aware, therefore, that there may be more material available than I have yet been able to discover. The present attempt must be looked upon largely as a pioneer effort, but I hope that it may stimulate others also who are interested in Indian education to take up the work of research.

Throughout the long centuries of India’s history educational development was taking place. It began away back in the times when the hymns of the Vedas were being composed, and has gone on until the present time. The first beginnings were in connection with the sacrificial ritual, and this system



of Brahmanic education has had a continuous history from that time till now. It is to this that our attention will first be given. The introduction of Buddhism and its growth into a widespread religion under the patronage and favour of powerful monarchs brought a new influence into Indian education ; for although Buddhism was closely connected in its origin with the more ancient forms of religion, it was not under Brahman control. The Muhammadan conquest brought a foreign influence into Indian social life, and the establish- ment of a form of education which had no connection with that of the Brahmans. The education of the young nobles, corresponding to the knightly education of the Middle Ages of Europe, and the education of the craftsmen and of women also deserve our attention, as well as the system of popular education which grew up at some time in India and was in full swing when education came under the influence and control of the British Government.

In 1835 a momentous decision was made by the Govern- ment of Lord William Bentinck, acting on the advice of Macaulay’s famous minute, to make English the medium of instruction in higher education in India. This largely accelerated the permeation of Indian life and ideas by Western thought, and has been one of the most powerful factors in producing that intellectual, social, political, and religious ferment which is going on in India to-day. Educa- tion in India has come under Western control and is being influenced by Western ideas. The spread of education in India is one of the most striking features of its present development, and already some of its most noble sons have believed that the time has come when it should be extended to all. Grave responsibilities rest upon those who have the control of Indian education to see that its development shall be on such lines as may be most suitable to the country, and likely to bring out the very best that is in the various races



that inhabit the Indian Empire. Any attempt to foist even the most satisfactory of European systems of education upon India would be doomed to failure, and even if successful would be a great disaster. India may learn and is learning from the West many useful lessons in all subjects, and in educational thought and practice no less than in others ; but if a system is to be evolved for India which shall be truly Indian, it must, while assimilating much that is Western, also gather up what is best and most useful from its own ancient systems and weave them into the complex whole that is being built up. For this reason the study of ancient Indian education is most important, and deserving of far more attention than it has hitherto received. And it may be that in the investigation certain points will be brought out that may not be without interest even for Western educators.

Amongst those who have given advice or suggestions I have specially to thank the Rev. Dr. H. U. Weitbrecht- Stanton, who read through the first draft of the chapter on Muhammadan Education, and made some valuable criticisms ; and also Dr. J. N. Farquhar, to whom I am most deeply indebted for his interest and readiness to give counsel with regard to many points about which I have consulted him throughout. I am specially indebted to him for many suggestions with regard to the chapter on Brahmanic educa- tion, and for reading the whole work in manuscript with great care, and suggesting many improvements.





Brahmanic Education . . . . ti


The Education of some Special Classes . 58


Buddhist Education 87


Muhammadan Education . . . . .114


Popular Elementary Education . . -144


Some General Conclusions . . . 169





Within the boundaries of the modern Indian Empire there dwells a population of over three hundred millions, derived from different sources and speaking many different languages. Among the races four main types have been distinguished, namely, Dravidian, Aryan, Scythian, and Mongolian, and besides these, other races, in smaller numbers, have been introduced into India at different periods of the history, such as Parsees, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Moguls, and, at a later date, some of the European races like the Portuguese and the English. The main types have not been kept distinct, but there has been a fusion of races on a large scale. The Dra- vidians represent the earliest known inhabitants of India ; but it is the Aryan race that has had the greatest influence in controlling its destiny.

The Aryans entered India by the defiles of the north-west at some unknown date before 1000 b.c. There were probably several waves of invasion, and each tribe pushed its pre- decessor farther east or south. The influence of this race is not, however, to be judged by its numbers, or the extent of territory which was occupied. Not only did Aryan princes establish dynasties in many parts of India, but it was the Aryans, and especially the priestly class, the Brahmans, who moulded the religion, philosophy, science, and art, as well as the social organization which is spread all over India. At the time when they entered the Panjab they were divided into



many tribes or clans governed by chieftains. The father had great power as head of the family. There were different classes amongst the Aryans, but these had not yet hardened into castes. These classes were the nobles or chieftains and their families, the priestly families, and the mass of the people who were chiefly employed in agriculture and cattle-rearing. The Dravidians were their common foes, but those captured in war became domestic slaves. The religion of the Aryans was a form of nature worship. The vault of heaven, the dawn, the winds, the lightning are considered the activities of personal gods to whom sacrifice and praise are offered. Worship is carried on in the open without temples or idols. Indra, Agni, and Soma are the deities to whom hymns are most often addressed.

Our knowledge of this period is derived from the Samhitas (collections of verses) of the Vedas, which form the oldest strata of Indian literature. The Rigveda was the earliest of these collections. It contains 1017 hymns divided into ten different books or mandalas. The composition of these hymns took place at some time previous to 1000 b.c., while the Aryan race still occupied territories on both sides of the Indus.1 Of the collection of ten books, it is considered by scholars that Books ii. to vii. formed the original nucleus.'2 Each of these seven is ascribed to a different seer (rishi), and was probably the work of himself and his descendants. They were thus family collections handed down from generation to generation, and no doubt guarded jealously as a family in- heritance. It had become the custom for chieftains or nobles to appoint purohitas, or domestic priests, to bring them pros- perity by sacrifice, and it was probably in such priestly families of high standing that the collections of hymns were formed and preserved, and the competition among these families to

' Macdonell, Sans. Lit., p. 40.

- Ibid., p. 43.



possess the best hymns led to the formation of a dignified and expressive literary dialect. As the influence of the priests increased, the ritual of the sacrifice became more complex. The technical lore of language and of hymns was handed down from father to son, and this was no doubt the beginning of Brahmanic education. In a hymn 1 belonging to one of these early books there is a reference to what was probably the earliest form of the Brahmanic school in India. It is a poem which compares the meeting together of the Brahmans with the gathering of frogs in the rainy season :

* Each of these twain receives the other kindly, while they are revelling in the flow of waters.

When the frog moistened by the rain springs forward, and Green and Spotty both combine their voices.

When one of these repeats the other’s language, as he who learns the lesson of the teacher,

Your every limb seems to be growing larger, as ye converse with eloquence on the waters.’

Each experienced priest probably taught his sons or nephews the ritual lore and hymns which were traditional in the family, by letting them repeat them over and over again after him until all had been committed to memory, and probably each family guarded the secrecy of its own sacred tradition.

At some time and in some way unknown these family collections came to be amalgamated and taught together. This may have been due to the action of some powerful chieftain who wished to gather for his own benefit all the sacrificial literature. The first and eighth books were then added at some time, and also the ninth, which consists of hymns used for the Soma sacrifice. The tenth book was added last of all, and although it contains some old material, some of it was written later. One hymn 2 in it refers to

1 Rigveda, vii. 1 03, Griffith’s trans.

3 Ibid. , x. 90.



caste, and it is evident that by this time social distinctions had increased and society become more complex. In a hymn1 of this last book there is reference to the learned Brahmans meeting together for debate :

All friends are joyful in the friend who cometh in triumph, having con- quered in assembly.

He is their blame averter, food provider ; prepared is he and fit for deed of vigour.

One plies his constant task reciting verses ; one sings the holy psalm in Sakvari measures.

One more, the Brahman, tells the lore of being, and one lays down the rules of sacrificing.’

It is possible that the success in debate may refer to the passing of some test required before a young Brahman was considered eligible to take part in the sacrificial ritual.2

The gathering together of all the hymns into one collection took place probably before 1000 b.c. When this was done it is likely that the schools where the priestly lore was learnt were no longer always family schools, though in many cases no doubt the boy was pupil to his own father. This indeed was often so in much later times.3

The word Veda really means * knowledge from the root vid, to know ’, and so was used to designate the sacred lore or collection of sacred literature. The Rigveda means the ‘Veda of hymns’, from rich, ‘a laudatory stanza’. This collection of sacred poems was probably made not so much to preserve them as literature, but because they were needed for sacrificial use.

There were three functions which the priest might perform in the ritual, and to those who performed them different names were given. The hotri was the leading priest, and while the sacrifice was being made he recited poems or hymns of praise

1 Rigveda , x. 71.

2 Compare the Responsio of the Middle Ages in Europe.

3 Cf. eg. Chhand. Up., v. 3, 5 ; Brih. Ar. Up., vi. 2, 4.



in honour of the particular god he was worshipping (Indra, Agni, etc.). Another part of the ritual was concerned with the soma sacrifice. Soma 1 was really a juice pressed out from a certain plant, which on account of its exhilarating and in- vigorating action came to be regarded as a divine drink which bestowed everlasting life. It was afterwards hypostatized and regarded as a god, and a special ritual grew up in connec- tion with which hymns were sung. The priest who sang these satnans was called an udgdtri. Another priest was concerned with the manual acts of sacrificing, and he was called an adhvaryu. There was at first, however, no distinct order, and each priest might perform any of these functions. There was but one education for all, and each priestly student received a triple training so that he might perform any one of these three duties. Gradually, however, the ritual of the sacrifices became elaborated, and with its growing complexity some division of priestly labour became unavoidable. No one priest could become an expert in the three branches of ritual, and specialist training became necessary. Probably at first it consisted in a priestly student first learning the ritual of all three branches and then specializing in one of them. The collection of Soma hymns into the ninth book of the Rigveda seems to show traces of this. But eventually something more than this was needed, and there came to be three orders of priests, each possessing its own particular Veda, and having its own training schools. This probably took place at some time between 1000 and 800 B.C.

The udgdtri had to learn to sing all the tunes required for the Soma ritual, and to know which particular strophe was required for each sacrifice. All the stanzas to be chanted at the Soma sacrifice were gathered into a separate collection called the Samaveda. All its verses except seventy-five were taken from the Rigveda , and form a special musical collection, 1 Macdonell, Satis, Lit,, pp. 98 ft.



or sacrificial liturgy, for the Soma ritual.1 It consists of two parts called drchikas. The first drchika consists of stanzas, each of which was associated with a separate tune, of which there were no less than 585. The second part, or uttararehika , contains the strophes which were required for use in the ritual. The complicated work of the udgatri priest thus led to the creation of a special school for young Brahmans who wished to specialize m this branch of study. At a later date, when writing began to be used, tune books called ganas were prepared.

Although the recitation of the appropriate hymns of praise at the ordinary sacrifices was the special duty of the hotri priest, the adhvaryu, who performed the manual acts of the sacrifice, was required to utter certain ritual formulas ( yajumshi ), and at different points of the ritual had also to utter certain prayers and praises. For the training of the adhvaryu priests also, special schools arose, and their particular Veda was the Yajurveda .2 This collection consists of prose formulas or mantras , among which many verses, mostly taken from the Rigveda, are also interpolated. When these special schools were formed for the udgatri and adhvaryu priests, the older schools connected with the Rigveda came to be regarded as special schools for the hotri priests. Up to this time it would seem that only young Brahmans were admitted to these schools, but there seems to have been no hard-and-fast distinction between the three orders of priests, and a priest might exercise any or all of the three functions if only he had received the necessary training. These three Vedas alone were originally recognized as canonical collections. But somewhat later there came to be recognized a fourth Veda known as the Atharva- vedaA It took a long time to establish its position, and even to this day in certain parts of South India it is almost unknown.

1 Macdonell, Sans. Lit ., pp. 17 1 ff.

3 Ibid., pp. 185 fT.

Ibid ., pp. 174 ff.



It is a book of magic and sorcery, and consists of spells, which were used by the incantation priest. Most of these spells are to be used against hostile agencies such as diseases, animals, demons, wizards, and foes ; but some are of an auspicious nature and intended to bring prosperity and good luck. In connection with this Veda another kind of specialist school arose.

By the time these various types of priestly schools had been formed the centre of the Aryan civilization had shifted eastwards and lay somewhere between the Sutlej and the Jumna rivers. There came to be slight differences in the Vedic texts, and each recension was called a sakka. Those who followed a particular sakha of a Veda were said to form a charana , or schopl, of that Veda. At some time, however, precautions were taken for the preservation of the sacred text, and this led to the constitution of the padapafha 1 and other forms of the sacred texts.

The different kinds of priestly schools had now become well developed, and were learned associations with a growing reputation, and a priest was proud of the school in which he had received his training, and he could not perform his duties as priest without having passed through one of these schools. The first duty of the student was to learn by heart the particular Yeda of his school. This he did by repeating it after his teacher until perfect accuracy was secured. The method was entirely oral, and it was not till much later times that writing was introduced. He would also receive a great deal of instruc- tion on his duties as a priest of the particular school in which he was studying, and also explanations of the meaning of the hymns and ritual acts. The instruction was called vidhi, the explanation arthavada. For a long time these lectures were given by the teacher as he willed in his own language, but in each school this didactic material tended to become more and 1 See below, pp. 38 f., and Macdonell, Sans. Lit., p. 51.



more in accordance with precedent, and finally became stereo- typed in the B/ahtnanas.x These works are in prose, and were composed somewhere between 800 and 500 b.c. The Brdhmanas are connected with the different Vedic schools, and contain such material as the students of each Veda required, but their general characteristics are the same. Besides instruction and explanation relating to the sacrificial ritual, they contain mythological stories and legends, specula- tion, and argument, and we can find in them the first beginnings of grammar, astronomy, etymology, philosophy, and law. Their intellectual activity was centred, however, on the sacrifice, and much of the matter contained in them seems meaningless and puerile to the modern mind. They exhibit an arrogant sacerdotalism, but at the same time signs of considerable intellectual vigour. The language of the old hymns had now become archaic, and unintelligible to the multitude. This is referred to in the Satapatha Brahmana ,2 and was no doubt one of the reasons why the power of the priesthood increased.

The Aryans had now advanced further into India, and it is perhaps to this period that we are to ascribe the events which form the historical basis of the two great epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. During this period there was a growth of luxury. The power of the king has become greater, and he employs an army of hired soldiers. The supremacy of the priesthood is being established, and the priest is coming to be regarded no longer as a servant or companion of the king, but as his superior. The' classes were becoming hardened into caste divisions, and besides the Brahmans (priests), Kshatriyas (nobles and warriors), and Vaifiyas (agriculturists and traders), who were of Aryan descent, though probably by this time mixed with non-Aryans, the great mass of non-Aryan peoples were classed as ^udras. In course

1 Macdonell, Sans. Lit., p. 202.

Satap. Br., iii. 2, 1, 24. ,



of time these castes became divided into many more, and every social distinction created by occupation, or race, or language tended to produce a separate caste.

In the Atharvaveda 1 there is a mystic hymn which de- scribes the sun, or the primeval principle, under the figure of a Brahman student {brahmachari), who brings firewood and alms for his teacher. This offering of firewood to a teacher became the regular way by which a youth sought to be recog- nized as his pupil, and implied a desire to partake in his domestic sacrifice and to accept the duty of helping to main- tain it. . It also came to be a duty for students to collect alms for their own support and that of their teacher. From the Brahmanas we can get some idea of the early development of the educational system of the Brahmans. In the &atapatha Brahmana , for instance, we are given a line of succession of teachers who have transmitted the sacrificial science.1 2 This line is traced back to Prajapati, and Brahman students are spoken of as guarding their teacher, his house and cattle, lest he should be taken from them.3 There are references also to a lad going to a teacher with firewood in his hand and asking to become his pupil,4 and to students collecting alms and fuel for their teacher.5 This Brahmana also contains an account of the Upanayana, or initiation, of the Brahmanical student.6 1 He says, I have come for brahmacharya (studentship) ; he thereby reports himself to the Brahman. He says, Let me be a brahmachari (student) ; he thereby makes himself over to the Brahman. He (the teacher) then says, What is thy name ?

. . . He then takes his (right) hand with, Indra’s disciple thou art ; Agni is thy teacher ; I am thy teacher, O N. N. ! He then commits him to the beings : “To Prajapati I commit

1 Atharvaveda , xi. 5.

Satap. Br., x. 6, 5, 9. 3 Ibid., iii. 2, 6, 15.

4 Ibid., xi. 4, 1, 9. 5 Ibid., xi. 3, 3.

8 Ibid., xi. 5, 4.



thee ; to the god Savitri I commit thee. ... To the waters, to the plants I commit thee. ... To Heaven and Earth I commit thee. ... To all beings I commit thee for security from injury. Thou art a brahmachdrl ... sip water ... do thy work . . . put on fuel ... do not sleep ... sip water.” Sip water is explained as meaning sip ambrosia ’. He

thus encloses him on both sides with ambrosia.’ He then recites to him (teaches him) the savitri .’

It was already becoming recognized that for the study of the Vedic learning a long period of studentship was necessary. In the Taittirlya Brahmana we read 1

Bharadvaja lived through three lives in the state of a religious student. India approached him when he was lying old and decrepit, and said to him, Bharadvaja, if I give thee a fourth life, how wilt thou employ it ? “I will lead the life of a religious student,” he replied. He (Indra) showed him three mountain-like objects, as it were unknown. From each of them he took a handful, and, calling to him, Bharadvaja ”, said, These are the three Vedas. The Vedas are infinite. This is what thou hast studied during these three lives. Now there is another thing which thou hast not studied ; come and learn it. This is the universal science. . . . He who knows this ( ya evarn veda ) conquers a world as great as he would gain by the triple Vedic science.”’

We have already seen how the influence of the priesthood had been growing and the ritual of the sacrifice enormously developed. But there must always have been some earnest seekers after truth who were not satisfied with sacrificial ritual. Already in some of the latest hymns of the Rigveda there are traces of philosophical speculation. Men were asking what the universe is and how it came into being, what the soul of man is, and what law governs birth and death. These and other great questions were troubling the minds of thoughtful 1 Taitt. Br. , iii. io, II, 3.


persons, and those who sought an answer to them often for- sook home and family and worldly duties and retired to the forests, where they spent their time in asceticism and medita- tion. This religious ferment was contributed to not only by Brahmans, but by many religious laymen. At the end of the Brdhmanas are certain treatises known as Aranyakas,1 or ‘forest-books’. They are allegorical expositions of the sacri- ficial ritual, and are considered to be the Brdhmanas of the Vdnaprasthas , an order of forest hermits that appeared about this time, who no longer performed the actual sacrifices, but only meditated on them. Some, however, have considered them to be treatises which, on account of their mystic sanctity, were only to be communicated in the solitude of the forest. They form a transition to the Upanishads , which are often embedded in them. These are treatises wholly given up to philosophical speculation, and represent the last stage of the Brahmana literature. The higher philosophical knowledge which they set forth came to be recognized as the Vedanta (end of the Veda) the completion and crown of Vedic learning. These treatises were composed some time between 800 and 500 b.c. The leading ideas of this philosophical speculation are that the world has been evolved from the Atman, or Universal Soul, and that this is also the Self within us. The inequalities of human life are explained by the doctrines of karma and transmigration.

From the Upanishads we get many more sidelights on the ancient Brahmanic education. The meaning of the word Upanishad has been the matter of discussion. Max Muller 2 says that Upanishad,’ besides being the recognized title of certain philosophical treatises, occurs also in the sense of doctrine and of secret doctrine, and that it seems to have assumed this meaning from having been used originally in the

1 Macdonell, Sans. Lit., p. 204.

S.B.E., vol. i. p. lxxx.



sense of session or assembly, in which one or more pupils receive instruction from a teacher. These treatises profess to give a kind of esoteric doctrine, or higher enlightenment, and refer to pupils as having studied all the Vedas and sacrificial ritual, and yet without the knowledge of the answers to the deeper philosophical speculations which troubled earnest seekers after truth. Svetaketu Aruneya was a Brahman youth who was sent to school by his father. Having 1 begun his apprenticeship (with a teacher) when he was twelve years of age, Svetaketu returned to his father when he was twenty-four, having then studied all the Vedas conceited, considering himself well-read, and stern.

His father said to him : Svetaketu, as you are so con- ceited, considering yourself well-read, and so stern, my dear, have you ever asked for that instruction by which we hear what cannot be perceived, by which we know what cannot be known ?

Svetaketu having expressed his ignorance of this deep teaching, his father proceeds to instruct him.

It would seem that at this period it was not the universal custom for a Brahman youth to enter upon a life of studentship. Thus Svetaketu’s father said to him," Svetaketu, go to school, for there is none belonging to our race, darling, who, not having studied (the Veda), is, as it were, a Brahman by birth only’. So also the entrance 3 of Satyakama, son of Jabala, upon studentship seems to be his own voluntary choice. It was still often the custom for a son to receive instruction at the hands of his father, as in the case of Svetaketu,4 but he often went to other teachers.5 When a student wished to

1 Chhand. Up., vi. i, 2, 3.

3 Ibid; vi. I, 1. For education as reflected in the Upatiishads , see art. on asrama by Deussen in E.R.E.

3 Chhand. Up; iv. 4, I.

4 Ibid. , v. 3, 1 ; Britt. Ar. Up., vi. 2, I ; Kausk. Up., i. I.

5 Chhand. Up., vi. I, I.



become a pupil of any teacher, the recognized way of making application to him was to approach him with fuel in the hands as a sign that the pupil wished to serve him and help to main- tain his sacred fire. Let 1 him, in order to understand this, take fuel in his hand and approach a guru who is learned and dwells entirely in Brahman.' It seems to have been usual for the teacher to make an inquiry into the birth and family of the applicant before receiving him as a pupil, as in the case of Satyakama.2 In this case the inquiry was made in a very indulgent manner, but it seems to show that it was still the rule only for Brahmans to be received as students. One in- stance is given where instruction was granted without any formal reception.3

As in the Brahmanas , the necessity for a long period of studentship is recognized. Thus Indra is said to have lived with Prajapati as a pupil no less than one hundred and five years.4 The actual duration of studentship was coming to be recognized as twelve years.5 During this period of twelve years we are told that Svetaketu studied all the Vedas, which differs from the later regulation of twelve years for each Veda. In the case of Svetaketu, however, it may have been only the hymns of the three Vedas that he learned, as this is what his father expected from him.6 In the same Upanishad , however, we have what seems to be an exhaustive list of all that was studied in those days, and which includes a good deal more than a knowledge of the hymns of the three Vedas.7

‘Narada approached Sanatkumara and said, “Teach me, Sir !” Sanatkumara said to him : Please to tell me what you know ; afterwards I shall tell you what is beyond.”

‘Narada said: “I know the Rigveda, Sir, the Yajurveda,

1 Mund. Up., 1, 2, 12. There are several other references in the Upanishads.

Chhand. Up., iv. 4, 4.

4 Ibid., viii. ii. 3.

6 Ibid., vi. 7, 2.

3 Ibid., v. 11, 7.

3 Ibid., iv. 10, 1 ; vi. i, 2. 1 Ibid., vii. I, I, 2.



the Samaveda, as the fourth the Artharvana, as the fifth the Itihasa-purana (the Bharata) ; the Veda of the Vedas (grammar) ; the Pitrya (the rules for the sacrifices for the ancestors) ; the Ra6i (the science of numbers) ; the Daiva (the science of portents) ; the Nidhi (the science of time) ; the Vakovakya (logic) ; the Ekayana (ethics) ; the Devavidya (etymology) ; the Brahmavidya (pronunciation, sikshd , cere- monial, kalpa , prosody, chhandas) ; the Bhiitavidya (the science of demons) ; the Kshatravidya (the science of weapons) ; the Nakshatravidya (astronomy) ; the Sarpa- and Devajana- vidya (the science of serpents or poisons, and the sciences of the genii, such as the making of perfumes, dancing, singing, playing, and other fine arts). All this I know, Sir. . .

The Brihaddranyaka Upanishad gives a somewhat similar list,1 namely, Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvan- girasas,2 Itihasa (legends), Purana (cosmogonies), Vidya (knowledge), the Upanishads, Slokas (verses), Sutras (prose rules), Anuvyakhyanas (glosses), Vyakhyanas (commentaries)

These extracts show how the curriculum of the Brahmanic schools was developing.

The period of studentship was, however, looked upon not only as a time of learning, but as a time of vigorous discipline. There are some instances in the Upanishads where no teaching was given for several years after studentship had begun,3 but these seem to be exceptional cases. Pupils had to work for their teacher in house and field, attending to his sacred fires,4 looking after his cattle,5 and collecting alms for him.6 The pupil also accompanied his teacher and awaited his

1 Brih. Ar. Up., ii. 4, 10.

s I.e. the Athai-vaveda.

3 Upakosala in Ckkattd. Up., iv. 10, I, 2; Satyakama in C/ihand. Up., iv. 4, 5.

* Ckhdtid. Up., iv. 10, 1.

3 Ibid., iv. 4, 5.

6 Ibid., iv. 3, 5.



commands.1 * In the leisure time left from the duties to be performed for th eguru’2 the Veda was studied.

It seems to have been the custom in those days for students sometimes to travel far and wide 3 * in order to attach themselves to celebrated teachers. Renowned teachers also itinerated from place to place,1 and there were those to whom pupils came from all sides * as waters run downwards, as the months go to the year’.5 As a rule, however, a student remained in the house of his teacher till the conclusion of his studies, when he entered upon married life. On his dismissal the pupil received admonition from his teacher. After3 having taught the Veda, the teacher instructs the pupil : Say what is true ! Do thy duty ! Do not neglect the study of the Veda ! After having brought to thy teacher his proper reward, do not cut off the line of children ! Do not swerve from the truth ! Do not swerve from duty ! Do not neglect what is useful ! Do not neglect greatness ! Do not neglect the learning and teaching of the Veda ! etc.

In some cases, however, the student might choose to become a life-long pupil of his teacher,7 and in others to retire to the woods as a forest hermit, or vanaprastha ,8

The Upanishads show us the theory of the four dsramas , or stages of life, in process of formation. The word dsrama (from the root sram, to exert oneself, or to perform austerities) means first of all a place where austerities are performed, or a hermitage, and secondly, the action of performing austerities. So the period of studentship of the brahmachart was regarded as a time of discipline, or an asrama. But the Brahmanical system tended to extend the idea of asrama over the whole life. Thus after the period of studentship a young man might

1 Brill. Ar. Up., iii. 1, 2.

3 Brih. Ar. Up-, iii. 3, 1 ; iii. 7, 1.

5 Taitt. Up., 1, 4, 3.

7 Bph. Ar, Up., ii. 23, 2.

3 Chhand. Up., viii. 15, 1. ' Kaush. Up., iv. 1.

6 Ibid., I, II.

8 Chhand. Up., ii. 23, 1.



enter upon the second stage, that of a grihastha , or house- holder. Then after having brought up a family and done his duty in the world he could enter upon the life of a vatiaprastha, or forest hermit, and later became a sannyasi, or wandering ascetic, who had separated himself from all attachment to the world, and having attained the knowledge of the Atman , waited only for death ‘to bring about his final emancipation. But this complete theory of four dsramas was not worked out all at once. In the Upanishads we see only its beginnings. Thus in one passage in the Chhdndogya Upanishad there is mention of only the student and the householder, while in another2 passage the asceticism (papas ) of the hermit is mentioned along with these as a third branch of duty. They are not, however, regarded so much as a progressive series as alternatives.' These passages also refer only to three dsramas, and contrast with them the man who knows the Atman. The position of the latter came in course of time to be regarded as a fourth dsrama. It was not, however, till much later times that the third and fourth were clearly separated, and the complete theory of the four stages worked out. When this was done the whole of life was looked upon as an education for the life beyond with four distinct stages, of which the life of studentship was only the first, though we cannot tell to what extent the practice corresponded to the theory, and it would seem likely that the ideal was never fully attained except by the few.

In the early Vedic schools it seems that instruction was confined to young Brahmans, and was regarded mainly as a preparation for their future vocation as priests, but at some time before 500 b.c. the education of the young Kshatriyas and Vaisyas had also come under Brahman control, and in

1 C/ihand. Up viii. 15, I.

2 Ibid., ii. 23, 2.

3 See also passages in Brik. Ar. Up., iv. 4, 22 ; iii. 5, I ; iii. 8, 10.

brahm'anic education


their case was an opportunity of inculcating in their minds the necessary directions for all their future life. It became also the exclusive privilege of the Brahmans to give this instruction, and this marks the growing influence of the priesthood. The ceremony of initiation and investiture with the sacred thread came to be regarded for all the Aryan youth as the preliminary to school life. The three castes which had this privilege, namely, the Brahmans, Kshatriyas, and VaiSyas, were called dvija, or ‘twice-born’, because the ceremony of iniliation was looked upon as a second birth.

By the time, then, that the various portions of the Veda had been completed, Brahmanic education was not only of long standing, but was highly organized, and the literature of the next period shows elaborate rules formed for its regula- tion. This literature is known as the Sutras, and came into being from about 600 to 200 b.c. The sacred books which had to be mastered by the student had increased to a huge bulk, and it was necessary to condense their teaching into some convenient form. Sutras , or threads ’, consist of

aphorisms, or pithy phrases, in which condensation and brevity have been carried out to such an extent that the result is often an obscurity which can only be explained by a com- mentary. There was a saying that the saving of one syllable in a Sutra gave more pleasure than the birth of a son, the force of which can only be understood when we remember how important it was considered that every Hindu should have a son to succeed him and perform the sacrificial rites after his death. The rules which applied to education are contained in the Dharma 1 Sutras. Dharma is one 2 of the most comprehensive and important terms in the whole of Sanskrit literature ’. It includes the ideas of sacred law and duty, justice, religious merit, religion, and morality. It is applied to

1 Also in the Grihya Sutras.

2 See E.R.E., vol. iv., p. 702, article on Dharma’, by J. Jolly.



the established practice or custom of any caste or community. That which a man is expected to do because of his position in life or his caste is his dharma. During the early centuries of Brahmanic education the dharma relating to education as well as to other matters had been gradually formed, and we have already seen something of this process going on. The com- position of the Sutras helped to fix the