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Vedic Education b.ed notes | Education During Vedic Period in India

Education during Vedic Period in India


Education during Vedic period, was divided into two levels, namely-primary education and higher education.

1. Primary Education :

  • The primary education, during Vedic puriod, was arranged in the families.
  • The Vidyarambha Sanskara (commencement of education) of the child was initiated on some auspicious day at the age of about 5 years.
  • This ritual was managed by the family priest.
  • The child was bathed, put on new clothes and was presented before the priest.
  • The priest would spread the new cloth with grains above it.
  • The gods and goddesses were invoked and worshipped by Vedic mantras and the child's finger was made to run on the grains making letters of the alphabet.
  • The priest was then given food and paid dakshina.
  • He blessed the child and thus the regular education commenced.

2. Higher Education :

  • Higher education, during Vedic period, was organised in the gurukuls.
  • The children were admitted in gurukuls at the age of eight to twelve years.
  • Brahmin children were admitted at the age of 8 years,
  • kshatriya children at the age of 10 years and
  • vaishya children at the age of 12 years.
  • Upanayan Sanskar of the children were performed at the time of admission in gurukuls.
  • Thus, begins the higher education, after this ceremony.



1) Self-realization aim - Over all aim of education was for the complete realization of self and for freedom of the soul i.e. Mukti or Moksha. And that education would lead to liberation - from unreality to reality, darkness to light, death to immortality

2) Immediate Aim or Vocational Aim -This was to prepare the different castes for their different ways of living and earning for livelihood.

3) Moral, Religious and Spiritual Development Aim - The Education was for education's goal and not for some public exam or service. It was not merely intellectual. But moral, spiritual and Religious too. The life of the pupil was full of custom acts. Prayers were common each pupil was needed to perform spiritual ceremonies punctually. They had to involved in all the religious festivals.

4) Self-control and Self-Discipline - At that time, The best discipline was self-discipline. There was no corporal punishment.

5) Personality Development:

The Guru within the times of yore accomplished that the event of Personality is that the sole aim of education. Human personality was considered as the supreme work of God. The qualities of shallowness, self confidence, self restraint and self respect were the personality traits given. Primary motive was development of personality and character. Ethical strength and virtue were developed to the fullest extent, 

6) Stress on Social and Civic Duties:


To contribute to the society while not expecting any returns rather than living a self-centric life.

7) Preservation and Spreading of Culture:

It was thought of that education is that the primary suggests that of social and cultural continuity and its failure, in teaching following generation to simply accept and shift the traditions of thought and action and henceforward, transmit the cultural heritage, was extremely condemned.


  • During Vedic period primary education was imparted at homes whereas higher education was arranged in gurukuls.
  • These gurukuls, in the early Vedic period, were situated at undisturbed places in forests away from the hustle-bustle of the towns.
  • However, in the later Vedic period they were established in big towns or at famous centres of pilgrimage.
  • Besides being the centres of religious propagation, these pilgrimage centres also developed as famous centres of learning.

Some of the chief centres of education during Vedic period were - Taxila, Patliputra, Mithila, Dhar, Kannauj, Kaikay, Kalyani, Tanjaur and Kanchi (were big towns) and Prayag, Kashi, Ayodhya, Ujjaini, Nasik, Karnataka and Kanchi (were pilgrimage centres).

A briet description of some of these centres is as follows :


1. Taxila:

  • It was the capital of the then Gandhar State in northern India.
  • It is believed that this town was established by the then Gandhar King Bharat in the name of his Taksha.
  • Later on, Taksha made this city his capital and invited scholars from different places to settle there.
  • He donated them villages and entrusted them the responsibility of education.
  • Thus, this city developed as the centre of education besides being the capital city of the State.
  • It is mentioned that great scholars of Sanskrit language, literature and grammar for four Vedas, religion and philosophy lived there.
  • Mention is also found that some scholars were specialists in the field of medicine.
  • As a result, Taxila developed as the chief education centre of Vedic literature, religion, philosophy and medicine.
  • Good arrangement for the education of arts, crafts and vocations too was also made there.
  • This is the reason the Gandhar developed as the most prosperous State.
  • It remained a chief centre of Vedic and Brahamanic education till 7th Century B.C.

2. Kaikay :

  • It was the capital of the then Kaikay State in Central India.
  • It was the chief centre of education in the Upanishadic period.
  • It had good arrangement for the education of Sanskrit language, grammar, literature, Vedas, religion and philosophy.
  • The ancient scriptures State that the King of Kaikay, Ashvapati was himself a great scholar and he honoured other scholars too.
  • He had settled many scholars of repute in his capital.
  • He also organised scholars conferences at regular interval in his capital.
  • It is also mentioned that there was not single illiterate in this capital city.
  • It also had good arrangements for the education of arts, skills, vocations and military education.

3. Mithila : It was the capital of the then Mithila State in Central India.

Though it developed as an important educational centre much before in the Vedic period and conferences of scholars of religion and philosophy used to be held there but in the Upanishadic period it developed as the chief centre of Vedic education.



1. Aims of Education : Self-realization was the ultimate aim of education. However the immediate aim of education was to prepare the different varnas to meet their actual needs of daily life.

2. Free and Accessible : Education was free and accessible to those all who sought it.

3. No State Control on Education : Rulers of the country had nothing directly to do with education. It was a private affair of the people, managed entirely by Brahmans.

Rulers of the country could subsidize it, if they thought fit to do so, with grants of land or money, but could impose no conditions or control on teachers affecting their freedom of work.

4. Autonomy and status of academics : academics were a extremely honored class-honoured even by kings. Kings rose from their thrones to receive nice gurus like Narada, Vashishtha and Vishwamitra. A widely known Sanskrit verse goes to this point on say:


"The teacher is Brahma. The teacher is Vishnu. The teacher is that the ultimate God Shiva.

The teacher is that the nice Brahman (Supreme Divine Soul) incarnate. Bow to that teacher."

5. Gurukuls (Residential Schools): Teachers and pupils lived together and so identified themselves with one another as to able to pray as follows:

"May both of us be guarded ! May both of us be protected! May both of us work together! May the study of both of us be successful (vibrant with power, radiant with light)! May we not be rivals to each other! Om, Peace, Peace, Peace."

6. Curriculum : The subjects of instruction varied according to the vocational needs of the different castes from the Vedas and Vedangas in the case of Brahmans, to the art of warfare in the case of Kshatriyas, and to agriculture and trade, arts and crafts in the case of Vaishyas.


7. Methods of Instruction : The methods of instruction generally consisted of recitation by the teacher and repetition by the pupil, followed by explanation by the teacher, questioning by the pupil and discussion between the teacher and the pupil.

8. Individual Teaching : Pupils were taught, individually, not en masse by the class method where pupils were many, the monitorial plan was followed, the more advanced pupils being appointed to teach the less advanced

9. Forests as Centres of Education : The place of education was generally the forest "far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife'

10. Sanskrit as the Medium of Instruction : The medium of instruction in institutions conducted by Brahmans was Sanskrit.

11. Selt-Control and Self-Discipline : There was, generally, no corpora punishment. Self-control or self-discipline was considered to be the best discipline.

12. Wide-Spread Education of Women : In the earlier Vedic and Upanishad times girls were free to go through the Upanayan ceremony, live a life of celibacy, they studied Vedas, Vedangas and other subjects along with their brother pupils.

Muslim Education in Medieval India