Method of Teaching During the Vedic Period

Two methods of teaching were being practiced during the Vedic period. The first method was Muakhik (Oral) and the second was based on Chintan (Thinking or reflection). In the oral method the students were to memories the Mantras (Vedic hymns) and Richayas (Verses of Rig-Veda) in order that they might not be changed wrongly and they might not be changed wrongly and they might remain preserved in their original forms.

Under the oral methods those prosodies were thoroughly taught on which Richayas happened to be based. Special emphasis was laid on the various lines of a particular verse, their pronunciations and meanings. In the methodcorrect pronunciation was specially emphasized.

For this instruction in grammar and pronunciation was compulsory for all. The success of the oral method of the Vedic age lies in the fact that it could preserve the Richayas (Vedic verses) in their original forms down the ages.

Thinking method was another part of the teaching method. Through this an attempt was made to preserve the Veda Mantras (Vedic hymns) and Richayas (Vedic verses).

Manan was a higher method of teaching than thinking. Through Manan the meanings of Vedic Mantras were developed and preserved in one's own mind. This method was used to encourage the highly intelligent students. Just as in modern days teachers encourage intelligent students by guiding them to make research, similarly in ancient days 'Manan' (Reflection) was a method especially for highly intelligent students.

During the Vedic age the oral education was started in the family. The Rishis (Sage or ascetic) used to educate their children in the family through the oral method. They used to emphasise the learning of correct pronunciation.

No new word was taught unless it was ascertained that the previously taught word was correctly learnt with correct pronunciation. The teachers were very particular about the correct learning of all vowels, consonants, rules of Sandhis (i.e., joining of words) and compound word (Samasas).

Through the oral method one had to learn through hearing and the Veda Mantras (hymns) were learnt through hearing. Therefore, the Vedas were also called Shruti (that which is heard). It was after learning the correct pronunciation through hearing that the student was advised to follow the method (Chintan-Manan).

From the above it is clear that there were two methods of teaching. The oral method meant for students of average intelligence and the thinking (Chintan-Manan) method was to those who were highly endowed.