Talk:/Medical Institutions in ancient india/institutions and universities/Fees

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Fees were levied. 1000 pieces of the then current coin was the fee for the course to be paid at the time of enrolment whereas the students who were not able to pay fees rendered personal service to the teacher in lieu of the fees. On completion of study, a lump sum or some other gift was given to the teacher as Guru Daksina according to the students� capacity.


The university was largely supported by public contributions. Handsome donations from princes to the university were always forthcoming. Besides the students and the staff were often invited and entertained to meals by the public. We find an instance where a school of 500 students was Invited for a dinner by a country family. Often a similar entertainment was given by the whole village.


Some students were married persons and maintained their own household and attended their studies. Those who could afford were allowed to stay in their owe homes. There is the instance of prince Junah of Kasi who was running an independent house for himself while he attended his college at Taxila.


The admission was strict but the strictness was with regards to the intellectual level of the students seeking admission. But the caste or poverty never formed a barrier, the only exception being that of the Candala. This will be evident when we find that there were youths from Ksatriyas, Brahmins, princes, noblemen, merchants, tailors, fishermen and others among the students. There is a story that a Candala of Ujjainai got admission to the university by resorting to disguise.


Caste not, only did not hamper admission into the university,but it also did not restrict the student in the choice of his subject. This freedom of choice of subjects is evident from instances where we find a Brahmin learning magic and charm, another Brahmin learning the art of hunting, still another studying archery and yet another pursuing practical science. Caste, thus had lost its sting if it ever then had, before the charms of this intellectual capital of Aryavarta.


Like caste, class distinctions also were a thing foreign to this university. A perfect democratic "spirit pervaded throughout, and princes, merchants and poor students, all lived as fellow-students under the same strict discipline.


The senior students were given the chance to work as assistant teachers to enhance their grasp of the subject Shift system was also adopted and day and night classes were held.


We have ample proofs to learn that the courses of study were not merely theoretical. The knowledge of both theory and pra�ctice was imparted. Many students gave a finishing touch to their practical work by travels in various countries. Taxila was especially noted for its medical school, law school and the school of military science. These schools were very famous and the last named school could boast of having all the princes of India of the time as already stated as its students. The arts of healing and war were the specialities of Taxila although it included all other branches of learning.


Taxila stood in so high an esteem that pupils from various universities also were drawn to it. There is a story of a student Seta Ketu, of Benares, who went to Taksasila for further studies. On his return, he went to a village where a group of 500 ascetics taught him the arts.


The university at Benares was a later development, moulded on the lines of Taxila by students from Taxila. It flourished from 7th B. C. to 12 A D. We find that the Benares boys were drawn to Taxila but we do not find any references of Taxila boys going to Benares. The most brilliant and outstanding feature of pride of the Benares university of those days was its school of surgery.


There were many minor but important centres of learning at the time. One such was the Himalayan school situated at Kanakhal near modern Haradwar where Kasyapa the author of Kasyapa Samhita was the great teacher. It was primarily famous as a school of Pediatrics. Similarly Videh was also noted as a seat of learning for diseases of the eye. Nalanda was the largest residential university that India has ever seen. The area covered by it was 1 mile long and 1/2 mile broad. This area had a high wall round the buildings. Well- planned large and small buildings with 8 big halls and 300 lecture rooms is but a modest description of the centre of learning, which was a monastery and university combined into one. The University building was six-storeyed. The population comprised of 10000 pupils and over 1500 lecturers and teachers. Over 1000 scholars of high repute were proud of having the honour to reside in the university. This, together with the executive and menial staff, reached a staggering figure. The university undertook a heavy burden of obligations towards the population. It undertook to give its students and teachers free lodging, free� food and clothing and free tuition and medicine. There was no idea of deriving part of its expenses from the income of fees levied on the students (as is done in modern times). Education was free. This was possible due to the liberal grants made for the purpose by royal and private philanthropy. The University of Nalanda was royally patronized by Gupta rulers. It is also stated that as many as 100 chairs or pulpits were arranged every day for the lecturers or discourses to be delivered by as many different teachers.


Admission was very strict. Only 2 out of every 10 applicants were admitted, thus preserving the very high intellectual standard for which the university was world-renowned. It could boast of students hailing from such far away countries like China, Korea, Tibet, Tokhara, Mongolia, Japan and the Indian Archipelago. Considering the scarce and difficult means of communications of this distant age, this cosmopolitan nature of the students is amazing.