India is famous for the high ideals of life. Her students tried their best to achieve them in ancient times. In those days a man’s life was divided into four stages with special duties for each stage. The first and the foremost of these stages were called the period of ‘Brahmacharya’ or Student Life.
Student Life in Ancient Times:
The boys of the upper classes began their student life after a ceremony at the age of five. Almost all the villages and cities had in the neighborhood recognized teachers of great learning and character. The students at about the age of nine were sent to the houses of those teachers known as Guru accepted a number of students who were ever ready to the bidding of their Gurus even at the risk of their lives. It was a life of very strict discipline. All were equally treated. The Guru made no distinction between the sons of Kings and those of ordinary poor men. They had to give up all sorts of luxury and led the simplest life.
The Strict Discipline:
The students of ancient India practiced honesty and truth in their thoughts, words and deeds. In this way of learning and serving their Guru they passed 16 years and finished their studies at the age of twenty-five. After completing the student life, they got degrees from their Gurus and had to give a fee demanded by him. This fee was known as ‘Dakshina’. They were thus free either to enter the world and marry or to lead a life of ascetic.
Student Life in Modern Times:
The student life of the modern times has very little in common with ancient. Now education is given in schools and colleges. Teachers are paid by the Government or the manager who run the school or college. Students are sent when necessary to the boarding houses but no the house of Guru or teacher. They have lost their spirit of obedience and discipline which made India great in ancient times. Brahmacharya also is not preserved now-a-days. Practically no arrangement is made to give religious or moral education which only can form the character of the students. Consequently the character of modern students is week and unstable. But for this degeneration the system of education is more to be blamed than students and teachers. Proper education which suits to the needs and character of the students cannot be given under these circumstances.
Whatever may be the result of this system of education, the pleasure of the student life ever really very great and unique, we have never seen a man who does not yearn after those and pleasant days of student life. We, however, realize the value of these pleasures after we have left schools and colleges. The simple joys and unselfish friendship of our student life generally make a deep impression over our mind. The memory of the days of our student life is a joy for ever.