Talk:Admission to studies

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
Revision as of 10:58, 21 March 2018 by Deval Sancheti (Talk | contribs) (Criteria for study of Ayurveda)

Introduction

To take the admission to studies there is a long list of the qualifications required in a student of medicine and it is clear from its perusal that an equal importance was given to moral, physical as well as intellectual fitness. In fact the insistence on moral fitness was the greatest as the facts say that majority of the qualifications required were concerned on the ethical side of the student's personality. The elaborateness with which it was set out in ancient days was due to the consideration regarding the moral excellence because it is the base of true education. Hence the aim of ancient education, including medical education, was not to enable the student to earn a livelihood so much as to inculcate in him a love for the good life.

Ancient Synopsis

Regarding the practical difficulties in ascertaining whether a student was morally acceptable or not had the necessary moral equipment, as under the ancient system of Gurukula education, the relation between the teacher and the pupil was as intimate as that between the father and the son. In fact, during the entire period of education the teacher was actually in the place of the father, the pupil being fed, clothed and housed by him. Thus two of the most common names for a "Sisyā"; or a student are "Antevāsin" and 'Chātra' and both denote this intimate association, while the word "Ācārya" signifies that his primary business was in helping his pupils to develop a sound character.

Entrance Procedures

Great care was taken to see that no undesirable candidate got admission to studies. The universities of Vikramaditya, in the words of the Chinese traveler, was having the most erudite scholars who held the examination for admission which was difficult to pass The members of this admission committee were aptly called Dwāra Panditas whose business was to see that the standard of the University's scholarship was not lowered by any influences. That such strict selection was most important is seen from Caraka's statement:

"Knowledge like a sword or water requires a clean repository. Weapons, learning and water are wholly dependent for their merits or demerits on their holder."

Probation Period

As a result only two of three of them could have admission for studies. If the person possessing knowledge is unworthy of it, it is worse than useless and it is dangerous too. It was accordingly prescribed that before a prospective student was admitted to studies, he had to undergo a period of probation which extended from six months to one year. Thus we find Vagbhata saying in the Astanga Sangraha that it is only after the teacher has been fully satisfied of the character and worth of the candidates that the actual schooling should begin and this schooling once begun should continue till the student had mastered the subject both in theory and practice.

Qualities Required in a Discipline

A disciple who is capable and possessed of modesty, purity and arts and who has served a probationary period of six months, should be taught as long as he gains perfection in the theory and practice of the science. Thus the possibility of any morally unworthy persons or any incompetent practitioners acquiring the knowledge of medicine is avoided. The system of probationary studentship is not altogether absent in modern education; it exists in certain western universities though the rules governing such probation period are neither so stringent nor so complete compared to those in the medical institutions of ancient India.

It is true that considerations of the caste and lineage of the candidate played an important role in the determination of his admission for the studies contemplated, but even here the underlying factor was purely based on moral worth. In the famous story of Satyakama, the son of a serving woman, the teacher is confused regarding the eligibility of the boy who is unable to provide him with a Gotra or paternal lineage but otherwise he is eminently fitted for the life of a student. Yet the teacher concerned, Uddalaka Aruni decides that no one could tell the truth as boldly as Satyakama and commanded him to fetch wood for the sacrificial fire, a token signifying that he has been given admission.

Criteria for study of Ayurveda

By whom should Aurveda be studied? It should be studied by Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras. This gradual enlargement of the educational franchise was keeping with the progress of the times. Giving admissions to the students having ancestral lineage consideration was the practice in ancient India. It was believed that one belonging to a medical family would have a better aptitude for medical learning and practice than one who is from non-medical family.

In support of this statement, Dr R. K Mookerjee says in his "Ancient Indian education" that Social psychology has proved that every individual has his own set of emotions, action attitudes and ways of thinking, which is the gift of the traditions and social environment in which he is brought up. Each segment of training must therefore take into account the concrete individuals, a product of biological gifts and social heritage. A neglect of this basic situation renders the process of education less fruitful and sometimes even more risky to the personality.

The investigation of Haggerty, Nash and Goodenough show further that the educational status and vocation of the parents have a significant correlation with the level of capacity of the children as indicated by the intelligence quotient. For instance, the children of professional parents of those of a higher academic standing possess a higher value of I. Q on a whole. The implication of such facts cannot be ignored in the national education.

It is neither necessary nor indeed possible here to comment on all desiderata, item by item. Two of the requirements, both connected with the morality of the student, may however be noticed in passing. These are:

  1. Brahmacarya
  2. Jitendriyatwa

Both are the qualities whose importance in the life of a student cannot be over-emphasized. The life of the one who is following the pursuit of learning is a dedicated one and the votary of knowledge should therefore be able to turn its back on all the sense-pleasures in the manner of the boy Naciketas, who when tempted by king Yama to give up his determination to seek the truth said:

Keep thou thy chariots, thy dancing girls and singing; I will have none of them.

It is then only that the great king of the the Dead considered him worthy of being taught, saying:

I know that you Naciketas, are a true seeker after knowledge, for you resisted all the temptations I put before you.

Conclusion

It is clear from the story in the Chandogya Upanisad that only Brahmanas were normally allowed and accepted as students by the teachers. This privileged position of the Brahmana in this orbit continued for long, but in the course of time even Ksatriyas and Vaisyas were admitted in increasing numbers. Susruta and Kashyapa samhita denotes that later on even the worthy and eligible Sudras were given admissions in the schools.

Some say that one should coach up even a Sudra possessed of good lineage and qualities withholding the instruction of Mantras and also the sacred thread.

References

  • The Caraka Samhita published by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society, Jamnagar, India