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Education Structure During Brahmanic Age – Essay

The educational structure in the Brahmanic Age was, to a very great extent, only a refined and developed form of Vedic education. However, during this age, various forms began to emerge in the institutions of education.

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Various institutions, such as shakha, charana, parishad, kul and gotra, began to emerge at the various levels of education.

Besides the Upnishads, Aaranyaka, Brahman and other classical texts were created in this period. Famous ashramas or monasteries came to be established in the forests.

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It was in this period that the sutra literature was created, along with the development of the six systems of Indian philosophical thought-Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Karma of Purva Mimansa, and Vedanta or Uttara Mimansa.

A significant characteristic of this period is the determination of the syllabus according to the Caste and Ashrama system. However, the education of the Shudras and women suffered a decline.

The best mirror of any country or society is the literature, it produces. From the Vedic to the Brahman period, literature and additional literature continued to be created. Even in the Brahman period, education continued to be looked upon as the means to knowledge.

It has the same objectives that Vedic education had. However, with the passage of time and a change in the needs of society, the importance attached to them underwent a change. In this period, the following objectives were ascribed to education:

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1. Self-control

2. Development of character

3. Generation of sociability or social awareness

4. Integral development of personality

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5. Propagation of purity

6. Preservation of knowledge and culture.

Education in this age continued to proceed on the foundations given to it during the Vedic period, but a certain rigidity and narrowness now marked its implementation. Education now aimed at equipping the student for the struggle for existence.

After the upanayana or introduction ceremony, teachers imparted education to their students according to the latter’s interests, tendencies and nature. Celibacy was rigidly observed. Teachers paid full attention to the psychological make-up of their students while teaching.

Students lived in close contact with their teacher or guru in the Gurukul. But, restrictions had now been placed upon the receiving of education by Shudras. For social reasons, they were not considered fit to receive education. After Vedic education, there was a gradual increase in ritualism.

The result was that shudras and women began to lose their place in the educational sphere. But, on the other hand, education became more comprehensive in this period, as it was closely associated with every aspect of life. Some of its general characteristics are:

1. Dominance of Religion

As in the Vedic period, education in the Brahman period also was dominated by religion. Students were given knowledge of religious activities. Numerous religious and cultural activities were organised so as to acquaint students with them

2. Worldly and Other-worldly or Spiritual and Materialistic education

During this period, education paid equal attention to

Spiritual as well as materialistic or worldly matters education comprehended the materialism of life.

3. Celibacy (Brahmcharya)

Like the education in the Vedic Study education in this period also laid great emphasis upon celibacy. Students were expected to obey their teachers and indulge only in moral conduct.

4. Individualism

Because of the absence of collective education, the emphasis was upon the individual. Teachers paid attention to the personal development of individual students.

5. Physical Punishment

In the Brahman age, the practice of giving physical punishment to students was not prevalent. Such famous acharyas as Manu, Gautam, and Vishnu opposed physical punishment because they considered it inhuman.

In the Vedic period, education was primarily oral. Students were made to memorise aphorisms and then elaborate them.

But, by the advent of the Brahman age, the art of writing had developed, and so both oral and written education came into practice, though the emphasis was upon oral education. Bhojpatra, the bark of a tree, was used for writing. Teachers gave importance to purity in pronunciation.

Education was conducted through discussion, answering of questions, removal of doubts, etc. Students were given continuous practice in the art of writing and for this they were required to copy manuscripts.

Practical work was emphasized in such subjects as grammar, astrology, Nyaya, medicine, etc. The students as well as the teachers themselves obtained informal education through the concourse of famed scholars.

7. Curriculum

In this age, too, primacy was given to the study of the Vedas. Among the subjects taught were grammar, arithmetic, geometry, astrology, economics, history, politics, agriculture, military science, Nyaya philosophy, etc.

A special feature of this period is that, as time progressed; two kinds of syllabi came to be prepared, one for the short-term and another for the long-term. In addition, clear and correct pronunciation of consonants and vowels was stressed.

Students were also given knowledge of metrics and figures of speech. It was on this basis that learned commentaries on the Vedas came to be composed. The Pingal Shastra was composed for the teaching of matrices. Surgery had also developed by this time.

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