Concept and Characteristics of Vedic Education
1) During the Vedic period it was believed that knowledge is the real power in the world.
2) Vedic education catered to both the worldly as well as the afterworld (after life). Hence it is often termed as the “Third Eye of Man”.
3) It was believed that Education or “Vidya” led to salvation and helped to remove difficulties in day to day life.
4) It aimed an educating men according to the 4 aims of life – Dharma or Duty, Artha or Finance, Kama or Yearning, Moksha or Liberation and as per the 4 stages of life – Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, and Sanyasa.
5) It was for the preservation and promotion of culture.
6) It was develop harmonious and balanced personalities who were true to life and action.
7) It promoted social efficiency and welfare.
8) It aimed to make each individual self-sufficient through vocational training.
9) It infused piety, spiritualism and religious spirit.
10) It followed strict discipline.
11) In the beginning, education was for free and accessible to all but later it got restricted to higher castes such as Brahmins and that too only to men and not women..
12) Rigid caste system based on vocation developed in due time as Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishnavas, and shudras.
Aims of Vedic Education
1) Self-realization aim – Ultimate aim of education was not knowledge as preparation for life in this world or for life beyond but for complete realization of self and for liberation of the soul i.e. Mukti or Moksha. And that education would lead to emancipation – 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 modes of living and earning a livelihood..
3) Moral, Religious and Spiritual Development Aim – Education was for education’s sake and not for some public exam or service. It was not merely intellectual. But moral, spiritual and Religious too.
4) Self-control and Self-Discipline – The best discipline was self-discipline. There was no corporal punishment.
Curriculum of Vedic Education
1) Curriculum was very intensive.
2) Several subjects were taught that covered Spiritual as well as material knowledge. Eg. Arithmetic, Geometry, Science and other vocational subjects as per the mode of living were taught.
Eg. Brahmins – Vedangas and Vedas, Kshatriyas – Warfare, Vaishnaves – agriculture, trade, commerce, arts and craft.
3) Geometry evolved and the oldest mathematical work was done in 400 BC. Zero was discovered by Aryabhatta.