Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

Taxila - A Study Centre and University

D. L. Narasimha Rao




Taxila University was one of the famous universities of the Ancient world. Taxila Takshasila) became famous by the age of Buddha. The University might have been established in that City before 5th century B.C. Buddhist Jataka stories have clearly mentioned about the place as an important educational centre.

There is a strong evidence to show that this University attained much fame during the reign of Ashoka. The writings of Western Historians and The enrolment of many foreign students in this University may be noted. This University was noted for its Vedic Studies.

Its Specialty and Importance

Taxila was a higher learning Study Centre. Scholars arrived there for completion of higher studies. At the age of 16, they joined this Study Centre and they returned to their homes by becoming bachelors or Degree Holders. First, they would pay the requisite fee and get the permission to study there. As per Historical recordings the fee was a thousand coins of that period.

It had a Residential School, a College and a University. Poor disciples served their Masters/teachers/lectures/professors during day time as they were unable to pay the fee. During the night time, they were taught by from their respective teachers, who were called “GURUS”. This indicates that they were permitted to study in the evenings. If some scholars wanted to study during their entire lives and if they did not want to serve their respective masters, they got an opportunity to pay the fee, only after the completion of their studies. During that period in Ancient India, the fees of the teacher or master could be paid by the students even in the shape of gold. There was a hostel in that Education Parishad also. The hostel provided accommodation to 5000 students. And there was also a mess, which would provide food to both the teachers and the disciples.

Sometimes, students went to school or Parishad by accompanying the Princes of their Countries. The respective States bore the expenditure of their students’ studies. Some students were sponsored by their Kings, for early completion of their studies. One Brahmin student of Kasi was sponsored by his King for his special higher studies in archery. The teacher of that school was not an officer of education Department to provide even financial help. To provide lodging and boarding facilities to the students only the concerned teacher acted as Warden and collected a nominal fee from them.

Curriculum and Syllabus

Students from all castes except from the fifth caste, were eligible to study there. They would study there, till they were able to earn their livelihood, and conformed to the norms and conventions. This indicates that they studied in the conventional education system.

Taxila University became World famous for its special attention to the higher studies in Law and Medicine. Scholars from far off places like Ujjain were attracted to study Logic there. The Taxila Logic Centre was extremely popular. Its study centre in Archery was also a well-known one. The Pandits in Archery Studies, trained with great concentration and special interest. Jyotipala, a Brahmin Student of Kasi was sponsored by his ruler and got admission there to study in that subject, and later became a teacher for 500 students on the basis of the Certificate and Instruction received there.

During that age subjects like Vedatraya and Dhanurveda attracted more students. As per the records, 103 Princes of various kingdoms of India received training in the Army Centre of Taxila.

Taxila Musicians visited Varanasi and brought much fame to the Art of Singing. Varanasi Scholars went to Taxila, embraced “SANYASAASHRAMA” there, built their Ashrams in the peaceful woods of Taxila and attained popularity. A Scholar named “Swetaketu”, who came first among the 500 students of Varanasi School, went to Taxila for his higher studies. It is said that “Swetaketu” visited many places around Taxila and ultimately built an “Ashram” there.

Studying Medicine at Taxila University, was a craze in those days, and there was a great demand. Herbal gardens were reared, around Taxila, up to 15 miles. “Jeevaka” a research scholar studied “Ayurveda” medicine there for 7 years. He did research in Ayurveda and brought many secrets to light. History records that he treated “Bimbisara”, king of Magadha and Goutama Buddha, himself “Atreya” was a Professor there during that time. “Charaka” succeeded him and brought popularity to Ayurveda system. “Kaya” a treatment from “ASHTANGA VAIDYA” was spread by him to the whole world.

“Jeevaka”, who treated Bimbisara, was also an eminent Surgeon in Ayurveda. He acquired much dexterity in it, as was mentioned in the Jataka Tales. Jeevaka was the physician to Buddha and his Monasteries, after Bimbisara adopted Buddism, Married people, who suffered from severe ill-health adopted Buddhism, got membership in the Buddhist Societies and got good treatment from Jeevaka. After they were restored to health, they left the Societies. To avoid this, Buddha ordered that they should not allow any married persons with ailment in their Societies. This indicates that Taxila became extremely popular, by the period of Lord Goutama, the Buddha.

According to Fahien, the Taxila University started teaching Buddhist Studies, after the incarnation and invaluable preachings of Buddha.

The Jataka Tales give us a glimpse of the esteem and importance with which Taxila was held with the “Bimba-Prati Bimba” ideas of Literature and Society. It is said that Scholars from Kasi, Rajagriha, Midhila, Ujjain, Kosala and Central Northern places joined in this University. The main reason for the importance of Taxila was, it had outstanding teachers on various subjects, who were popular for their teaching skills, efficiency, merit and talent. With these excellent qualities, it is not surprising that they became world famous. Taxila was a centre of knowledge in different disciplines. There were so many Study Centres and Colleges in the country which were affiliated to this University. It was a sort of Central University.

Well-known Persons of this University

Chanakya, “Guru” to Mourya Chandragupta was first a student of this University and he became a teacher in the University later on. Jeevaka, the Court Doctor to Bimbisara, king of Magadha, was a medical student and a later a professor of Ayurveda medicine, in this University. Panini, a Sanskrit Grammarian and writer of “Ashtadhyayi”, also studied in this University. Ashoka who was the Governor of this place, during the reign of King Bindusara crushed a revolt here.

Geographical importance of Taxila

Taxila is situated in ancient Gandhara kingdom in North-Western India. It became a “Centre” later on. It became a City and State afterwards and was spread in between the river Sindhu and its tributary Jhelum.

According to Ramayana, Bharata, brother of Lord Sri Rama, named his son as “Taksha” from whom the city took its name. Due to the frequent attacks by foreigners, its prosperity and glorious legacy declined. Persians, Greeks, Kushans and Huns raided this place and founded their kingdoms. Whenever there was a change in the ruler, the curriculum and syllabus of Taxila underwent a change. Taxila State came up on the foundations of Taxila City Centre in Ancient India. By the time of the arrival of Alexander, Taxila was already at its trinnacle of glory and by 3rd Century B.C., it became a Buddhist Cultural Centre.

Other Specialties

Students studied their subjects thoroughly and in depth under the able guidance of their Acharyas, who ran different residential schools in this University Teachers, Lecturers and Professors, were authorities in their respective fields were on the staff and it produced disciplined disciples, brought credit to the University. Due to their tireless endeavours, this became an excellent Study Centre in Ancient India.

Sculpture, Magic, Diplomacy, Political Science, History, Vedas, Philosophy, Grammer, 18 types of vocational courses, War, Ethics, Astrology, Geology, Agricultural Commerce, Snake-bite cure, etc., were same of the subjects taught there.

There was an interaction with Greek Culture and Civilisation and some scholars were proficient in Greek Language also. Special training camps in Grecian Artillery, were also conducted.


This University was nourished by the kings and rich citizens upto the 4th Century A.D. and later on was destroyed. In 1947 during partition, it became a part of Pakistan


SI.No.                          Name of the Book                                            Author

  1.                         History & Culture of the Indian People:

(volume I, The Vedic Age)                                R.C. Majumdar
2.                           Ancient Indian History & Culture                      C.M. Kulkarni
3.                           The Wonder that was India                               A. L. Basham
4.                           State & Government in Ancient India                A.S. Altekar
5.                           Lectures on the Ancient History of India            D.R. Bhandarkar

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