Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

by A. Yamuna Devi | 2012 | 77,297 words | ISBN-13: 9788193658048

This page relates ‘Education (2): Students’ of the study on the Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (in English) which represents a commentary on the Amarakosha of Amarasimha. These ancient texts belong the Kosha or “lexicography” category of Sanskrit literature which deals with the analysis and meaning of technical words from a variety of subjects, such as cosmology, anatomy, medicine, hygiene. The Amarakosa itself is one of the earliest of such text, dating from the 6th century A.D., while the Amarakoshodghatana is the earliest known commentary on that work.

Education (2): Students

(a) Chātraḥ (II. 7. 11; p. 165)–

Amarakośa mentions chātraḥ, antevāsin, śiṣyaḥ, śaikṣaḥ and prāthamakalpika as synonyms. Kṣīrasvāmin 's etymological explanations help in understanding the subtle differences amongst them.

Chātraḥ is that kind of student who serves his preceptor untiringly without caring about his own comfort, like an umbrella protecting one from the hot sun and the downpour–

chatrameva śīlamasya chātraḥ chatreṇa gurusevā lakṣyate |

Antevāsin is a student having residential schooling b y staying with the teacher–

gurorante vasatyantevāsī |

Śiṣyaḥ is one who is to be trained or instructed–

śāsanīyaḥ śiṣyaḥ |

Śaikṣaḥ is one who is under training

śikṣāyāṃ bhavāḥ |

Prāthamakalpika are beginners undergoing elementary education

prathamakalpa ādyāraṃbhaḥ prayojanameṣāṃ tamadhīyate vā prāthamakalpikāḥ |

(b) Samayāḥ (III. 3. 149; p. 305)[1]


Explaining the homonymous term in the sense of an oath or custom, Kṣīrasvāmin mentions that the students were instructed in the codes of conduct or the customs to be followed by them during their course of study

ācāre yathā—samayāṃśrāvayecchiṣyam |

(c) Samāvṛttaḥ (II. 7. 10; p. 165)–

[One who returns home after completing his education:]

Amarakośa defines a student who returns home after completing his education as samāvṛttaḥ.

Kṣīrasvāmin compliments the idea stating that such a student who has completed his education and has returned to his family with the approval of the teacher is also designated as snātaka

ādhīyate gurvājñayā gurugṛhādyaḥ samāvartate sa samāvṛttaḥ—snātakākhyaḥ gurugehādanā—vṛttasnātako hi na kathyate |

(d) Snātaka (II. 7. 43; p. 172)–

[One who has taken his ceremonial bath:]

Amarakośa defines a snātaka as one who has taken his ceremonial bath.

Kṣīrasvāmin taking the view of Yājñavalkya (I. 51) explains snātaka as–a student after completing his Vedic studies or austerities or both, pays a fee as chosen by the teacher to him, and takes the ceremonial bath permitted by him –

yo vratavāṃstīrtheṣvāplavate snātītyaplutaḥ sa snātakaḥ |
yatsmṛtiḥ—gurave tu dhanaṃ
dattvā snāyādvā tadanujñayā |
vedavratāni vā pāraṃ nītvā hyubhayameva ca ||

From the Baudhāyana Gṛhyasūtra paribhāṣā (I. 15.10)[2] it is seen that a person who has completed his education yet to be married is designated as snātaka and once married, he becomes a gṛhastha.

From the explanations of Kṣīrasvāmin given above it is inferred that the education was imparted through gurukula system, where the students stayed with the teacher, away from their family.

Footnotes and references:


samayāḥ śapathā''cāra kāla siddhānta saṃvidaḥ |


ā jāyā saṅgamātsnātakā bhavantyata ūrdhvaṃ gṛhasthaḥ |

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