Formal Education System in Ancient India

by Sushmita Nath | 2016 | 63,563 words

This page relates ‘Jagaddala university’ of the study on the (formal) education system in Ancient India with reference to Vedic and Buddhist period, investiging educational institutions and universities which existed during this time. Professional educational methods were found in ancient Sanskrit literature (Brahamanas, Dharma-Shastras, Puranas, Jatakas, etc.), including rules, ceremonies and duties of pupils in ancient India.

Jagaddala Mahāvihāra was the last glory of Buddhism in ancient Bengal. It was founded in the city of Rāmāvati on the banks of Gaṅgās and the Karatoyā in the country of Varendrī[1]. The historical work Rāmacarita also gives us description of Varendra and its capital Rāmāvati and mentions its great Jagaddala Monastery[2]. But different authorities express different opinion regarding the location of Jagddala Mahāvihāra. The Tibetan sources clearly point out that the Jagddala University was actually situated in Orissa, which became a resort of scholars of Tantric Buddhism[3]. At the time of Rāmapāla it became a great Centre of learning. And for a period of hundred years this University remained famous Centre of Buddhist education. It has a very good library. Students from distant parts of the country regularly visit Jagddala University for education. Many students from Tibet come to Jagddala to translate Sanskrit works. It was noted for its teachers as Mahāpaṇḍitas, Upādhyāyas and Ācāryas. Of all the scholars Vibhūticandra, Dānśīla, Subhakara and Mokṣākaragupta were the famous and outstanding to be named.

Vibhūticandra won the title of Mahāpaṇḍita. He was a great Tibetan scholar. He translates six Sanskrit texts in Tibetan. He also translated about eighteen Sanskrit books written by others in to Tibetan. The other renowned scholar Ācārya Dānśīla or Dānaśrīla also belonged to this University. He won several titles like Paṇḍita, Mahāpaṇḍita, Upādhyāya and Ācārya. He composed four books in Sanskrit, one of which was in Logic and translated fifty four Tantric books in to Tibetan. Śubhakara or Śumbhakara was the renowned scholar of Jagaddala University. He was a great saint. Śākya Śrī probably Śākya Śrī Bhadra was the disciple of Śubhakara. He composed Ādikaramaracanā which was recognished as Buddhist Law-Book. Another scholar of Jagaddala was Mokṣākaragupta. He was the last monk belonging to the great Jagaddala university. He was a master of Mahayanist learning. He composed Sanskrit work in Hetuvidyā (Science of Logic) called Tarka-bhāṣā which was translated in Tibetan[4]. But like the other Buddhist Centre of education Jagaddala too was destroyed by Turuskas in 1203 A.D[5].

Besides these above mentioned famous educational Centres, there were other small Centres of learning also flourishing during the Buddhist period. Chinese travelers like Hiuen Tsang and I Tsing made wide tours in Northern India and discovered small Monasteries and Vihāras established at different places. These Monasteries and Vihāras were historically not so famous. But as a Centre of education they also contribute much more than any other famous Centre of learning. These small monasteries were situated throughout the country, Bihar and Bengal being the main regions thereof[6].

Footnotes and references:


Das.S.K, The Educational System of the Ancient Hindus,Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi.1996P.354;Majumdar, R.C. Ancient India, Motilal Banarasi Dass Publishers, Delhi,2007, P.318.


Rāmcarita, III.5.7.


Barua, Dipak Kumar. Viharas in Ancient India, Indian Publications, Calcutta, 1969, P.174.


Bose, Phanindranath. Indian Teachers of Buddhist Universities, Theosophical Pub. House, Madras, 1923, P.145.


Barua, Dipak Kumar. Viharas in Ancient India, Indian Publications, Calcutta, 1969, P.176.


Altekar, A.S. Education in Ancient India, Vishal Kaushik Printer, Delhi, 2009, P.121.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: