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Revision as of 06:42, 20 January 2018

Travels

Travelling was considered an essential part of education and occasions there were in plenty when travelling became an absolute necessity They were:

1.    For joining the universities.

2.    Accompanying the teacher on his travels during the period of training.

3.    For acquiring post-graduate learning or special knowledge.

4.    For attending the medical conferences.

5.    In the course ofpractice and missionary tours.

6.    When called for consultations.

 

Considering the scanty means of communications of those days, when travelling to a distant place took months and it was tedious on account of the length of the period taken, when it was risky in the absence of adequate protection during the journey, and when it was full of inconveniences and lack of modern amenities, it was really creditable for those parents and royal and wealthy families who sent their children at the tender age of 16 or there�abouts for the prosecution of higher studies at places hundreds of miles away. Taxila and Benares were the two main centres of learning in those days and students from all parts of India went there to acquire higher qualifications just as the students of today go to Europe and America. It was difficult for the boys to return only at the end of the examination which took never less than 5 to 7 years. As narrated in Jatakas, parents considered themselves lucky if they could live to see their sons back home after "finishing their studies. There is a vivid description of how the parents were transported with joy when their son returned home from Taxila after graduation.

The text of Caraka Samhita begins with the description of Bharadwaja volunteering to travel to the abode of Indra for the acquisition of the science of life.

 

�Bharadwaja, the mighty ascetic, in search of (the science of) longevity approached Indra, having deemed him, the lord of the immortals, worthy of suit.�

 

This ,showsthat the student was willing to undertake the hazard of adventurous travel for the sake of knowledge.

 

From the Caraka Samhita it is evident that the great teacher Punarvasu Atreya was in the habit of touring in the company of his disciples, through the neighbouring regions of Pancala, the woodlands of Caitraratha, Pancaganga, the environs of the home of Dhanesa, Kailasa, the northern slopes of the Himalayas, Trivistapa etc, for the sake of healing the sick and the dissemination of the science of Ayurveda, as also for the sake of enlarging his own knowledge of the medicinal herbs and plants.

 

This shows that during the course of studies, the whole class Guru and pupils, travelled in the land of the basins of the Indus and the Ganges and the area round about the Himalayan mountains.

 

Learned scholars attended these classes, scholars from distant places, Kankayana from Bahlika, the modern Balkh in the north-west, Nimi Videha from the east and Vamaka from Kasi.

 

These tours greatly enhanced the practical knowledge in botany, climatology, constitutional studies of the peoples of the various countries and of clinical discussions.

 

After the completion of the studies, the student was enjoined to travel to give a finishing touch to his training at the university, as theoretical as well as practical knowledge was essential in the medical science

 

The spirit of education has always been universal. It has never known the barriers of caste, creed or country. There is no word like � foreign � in the realm of knowledge.

 

This is the spirit of universality that is imbibed by the students in the university education. Aryan civilization has emphasized the importance of this spirit m clear terms. Caraka says:

�The entire world is the teacher to the intelligent and the foe to the unintelligent. Hence, knowing this well thou shouldst listen and act according to the words of instruction of even an unfriendly person, when they are worthy and such as bring fame to you and long life, and are capable of giving you strength and prosperity."

 

CarakaSamhita begins with Bharadwaja going to a distant country to attain the desired knowledge. Though the Aryans may have differentiated themselves from others in other respects and in the general routine of life, as regards the domain of knowledge they honoured equally the Aryan as well as the non-Aryan, provided he possessed knowledge.

 

Historical records show that a number of students from middle Asia, Persia, Assyria, Greece, China, Tibet, Ceylon etc. visited India either for study or to take part in the assemblies or conferences of learned people. Similarly records are found from which we learn that Indian scholars visited Persia, Greece, Alexandria, Tibet, Burma, Siam, Java, East Indian Archipelago, Ceylon, China etc, mostly to disseminate the knowledge they had obtained or to act as missionaries of the science of physical and spiritual health. The spread of Buddhism played a great part in giving the stimulus to the learned scholars to visit various countries as missionaries. From the available Chinese records we find that more than 100 Indian scholars of medicine and philosophy visited China beginning from the 1st to the 5th century A. D. In the 5th to the 8th century A. D, Vaidyas were called to Jundishapur and Baghdad for consultations as well as for service.