Talk:/Medical Institutions in ancient india/institutions and universities/Its Library

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Its Library


Library was considered to be the most essential constituent of such a university. It was proverbial to say that a monastery without a library was like a castle without armoury. This Nalanda university had three buildings reserved for library. They were nine-storeyed buddings containing rare and sacred books. The library quarter was- known as Dharmaganja, the mart of religion.


Munificent donations, not only from the local Gupta kings, but from Bengal rulers and rulers of Java and Sumatra made it possible for the Kulapatis to supply all the requisite clothes, food, bedding and medicine absolutely free. The requisites obtained, the students could concentrate on study with nothing to worry about. It thus became an institute for higher or specialized learning. Its scholars after finishing their education travelled to China, Arabia, Tibet and Other places and organised medical work - a subject which was an important item m the curricula. These sacrificing scholars made it their mission to carry the banner of Indian learning and culture to foreign countries so as to build up a greater India far beyond the geographical boundaries of India proper. This peaceful cultural conquest, the greatest achievement of the Indian system of education as practised in the past, helped in creating a holy halo round this great temple of learning, and attracted students from all parts of the world to beg at India�s doors for the alms of knowledge that provided lasting satisfaction to the greater glory of the donors as well as the recipients. It thus justified its name of the University by attracting students from the whole world. It was in fact an international university, like the modern Oxford and Cambridge universities Chinese travellers have left valuable accounts of their travels from which we can get a glimpse of the glory of India that was greater than we are wont to believe.


Nalanda was particularly a research institute for advanced students and was so to say the supreme court of judges of intellectual worth. Any new theorjr or hypothesis had to obtain its stamp to become current coin. The highest distinction bestowed by the university was the Fellowship or brotherhood of Nalanda. The students of Nalanda were looked upon as models by all India and were respected everywhere.


All subjects were taught in this university Medicine was one of the subjects. Logic was compulsory for all and was given great importance. There was an astronomical observatory and a water- clock which gave correct time to the whole of Magadha Nalanda's alumni are names to conjure with. Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dinnaga, Sthiramati, Dharmapala, Silabhadra are but a few of the prodigies of which Nalanda can well be proud.


In contrast to all this glory, or rather we should say in perfect harmony with the ideals, mission and practice of this noble work of imparting education and infusing cultures, the dress of the students was the same as that of a Bhiksu. There was no caste distinction and a simple robe comprised the dress of all the students without any distinction as regards caste or social status. They were all Bhiksus, for the greatest gifts a human being can obtain knowledge, culture, living.


This university flourished from 450 A. D. to 12th century A. D.