A Brief Analysis of Vedic Education

An analysis of the achievements of education in this ancient period indicates that the aim of education was to make the individual a useful and productive member of society. The educational achievements of this age were as follows:

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1. Education emphasized the development of spirituality. The ashram system was adopted for paying of the individual’s debts towards the gods, his forefathers, his teacher and society

2. The minds of the parents were first prepared to instill in them a desire for the education of their children. It has been said that those parents are the enemy of the child who do not teach their children.


3. Great attention was paid to the development of the child’s character. Teachers laid stress on the integral development of the individual’s personality.

4. Social skill was evolved through training in the fulfillment of duties.

5. Efforts were made for the preservation and propagation of the national culture.

6. While living in the Gurukul, the child imbibed education in a favorable environment.


7. A student was compelled to obey the ideals of the Gurukul. He had to shoulder the burden of existence through begging for alms. This practice developed humility and tolerance in the student.

8. Education was free. Its expenses were borne by the society and the king.

9. In developing the student’s character, attention was paid to his nature, early experiences and impression, upbringing and circumstances.

10. Self-study (swaadhyaya) was considered more important.


11. The examination was oral one. The student was required to give oral answers in a congregation of scholars. If he satisfied them, he was given a degree or title. The consensus of the scholars’ opinions was essential for obtaining such a title.

12. The medium of education was divine pronouncement, and the period of education, according to caste, was 48, 36, 24 and 12 years.

13. During this period, vocational education was also in vogue. Military science, agriculture, animal husbandry, veterinary

Science, medicine, etc., were among the subjects taught. Chemistry was also taught. Arts and handicrafts were highly respected. Education in commerce was very popular.

Dr. A.S. Altekar says: Infusion of piety and religiousness, formation of character, development of personality, and inculcation of civic and social duties, promotion of social efficiency and preservation and spread of national culture may be described as the main aims and ideals of ancient Indian education.

The basic tenet of the ancient educational tradition was the paying of the social debt. Teachers took up this profession to pay off their debt to society. They enjoyed the highest social status.

Teachers should imitate their ancient forerunners, the gurus of old. They should treat their students as their own children and pay attention to their development.

They should also maintain the highest standards in their own conduct because students are profoundly influenced by their teacher’s conduct. Undoubtedly, education has undergone various changes because of changed priorities and beliefs.

Now, we have the university system of education in which the hours of teaching are fixed and students are required to pay fees. But students’ hostels remind us of the Gurukuls of ancient days.

However, it is not these differences but the fact that the teacher of today is no longer respected, which catches our attention. In the past, the teacher was placed on a pedestal and revered.

Hence, now just as the teachers should mould their own conduct, the students, too, should respect their teachers as they respect their own parents.

Thus, the propagation and spread of education should be in accordance with the individual’s abilities. It is only then that the real form of education will actually blossom forth and demonstrate its real potential.

Dr. Altekar has argued that from the Vedic period to the present age, the basic tenet of Indian education has been the view at education is Light. It is that source which gives us the truest guidance in the various spheres of life.

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