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Ancient Education System in India: Part-3 (Institute of higher learning)

अपडेट करने की तारीख: 16 अग॰ 2023

3. Valabhi University

The Valabhi Vidyapith, which is thought to have been in operation from AD 600 to AD 1200, became well-known far beyond the borders of Gujarat.

During the Maitraka dynasty, Valabhi in Gujarat's Saurashtra (near Bhavnagar) area served as the state's capital. The Valabhi Vidyapith, a school of Hinayana Buddhism, had academic standards that were comparable to those of the renowned Nalanda University.

A curious aspect of the Valabhi Vidyapith, which served as a centre for the Hinayana school of Buddhism, was that it also provided instruction in Brahmanism and Vedic ceremonies. According to legend, young Brahmin scholars would travel to Valabhi to study the Vedic rituals and practises from the North Indian Ganges River banks.

Other subjects taught at the Valabhi Vidyapith were political science, farming and trade, public administration, religion and law, architectural sciences, metaphysics, medicine, logic and reasoning, economics, and accounting, among others.

Most courses or subjects had a length of about ten years, and there was one pandit or teacher for every five students. The belief that everyone should be treated equally was another distinctive quality of this university; the sons of a king and a poor man studied together, in the same class, sitting alongside without offering any form of fees.

The Valabhi Vidyapith was a centre for the Hinayana school of Buddhism, but an intriguing feature of it was that it also taught about Brahmanism and Vedic rituals. It is said that young Brahmin scholars would journey to Valabhi to study Vedic practises and ceremonies from the banks of the Ganga in North India.

The famous poet Somdev's poem Kathasaritsagar describes the name and fame of Valabhi Vidyapith. It goes on to claim that when it was time for their offspring to assimilate learning and knowledge, Brahmins frequently opted for the Valabhi Vidyapith over Nalanda or Banaras.

At the Valabhi Vidyapith, well-known pandits like Gunmatti and Stirmatti taught. Vasubandhu, the guru of both of these pandits, attended Nalanda University.

Valabhi Vidyapith was overthrown in AD 775 after Arabs assaulted the Maitraka Dynasty. Despite the looting, Valabhi Vidyapith persisted until the 12th century, losing its lustre and importance as the sands of time ran out.

4. Vikramshila University

It is situated in Bihar's Bhagalpur district. Since the beginning of time, it has been regarded as one of the top universities. The university used to impart both the perfection of spiritual and worldly skills.

Vikramashila was founded by Pāla king Dharmapala in the late 8th or early 9th century. It prospered for about four centuries before it was destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khilji along with the other major centres of Buddhism in India around 1193.

Our knowledge of Vikramashila comes primarily from Tibetan sources, particularly the writings of the 16th–17th-century Tibetan monk historian Taranatha.

With more than a hundred teachers and over a thousand students, Vikramashila was one of the largest Buddhist universities. It produced great academics who were frequently invited by other nations to spread Buddhist knowledge, culture, and religion.

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