Talk:Admission to studies

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In ancient times, there was a long list of qualifications required in a student to get admission in a university for the study of medicine. Moral, physical and intellectual fitness were given consideration. Of the three, moral fitness was most important because the majority of the pre-requisite qualifications were concerned with ethics.

The aim of education in ancient times, including medical education, was to inculcate in the student a love for life and not just enable them to earn a livelihood. This aim could not be achieved if students did not have good ethics as a base upon which the rest of education was built upon.

Ancient Synopsis

I don't understand how the first line connects to the Gurukula system described in this paragraph Regarding the practical difficulties in ascertaining whether a student was morally acceptable or not had the necessary moral equipment, as under the ancient system of Gurukula education, the relation between the teacher and the pupil was as intimate as that between the father and the son. In fact, during the entire period of education the teacher was actually in the place of the father, the pupil being fed, clothed and housed by him. Thus two of the most common names for a "Sisyā"; or a student are "Antevāsin" and 'Chātra' and both denote this intimate association, while the word "Ācārya" signifies that his primary business was in helping his pupils to develop a sound character.

Entrance Procedures

Great care was taken to see that no undesirable candidate got admission to studies. The universities of Vikramaditya, in the words of the Chinese traveler is his name mentioned?,

I can't understand the following paragraph was having the most erudite scholars who held the examination for admission which was difficult to pass.

The members of this admission committee were aptly called Dwāra Panditas whose business was to see that the standard of the University's scholarship was not lowered by any influences. That such strict selection was most important is seen from Caraka's statement:

"Knowledge like a sword or water requires a clean repository. Weapons, learning and water are wholly dependent for their merits or demerits on their holder."

Probation Period

As a result only two or three of them could have admission for studies. If the person possessing knowledge is unworthy of it, it is worse than useless and it is dangerous too. It was accordingly prescribed that before a prospective student was admitted to studies, he had to undergo a period of probation which extended from six months to one year. Thus we find

Vagbhata? Vagbhata saying in the Astanga Sangraha, that it is only after the teacher has been fully satisfied of the character and worth of the candidates that the actual schooling should begin and that this schooling should continue till the student had mastered the subject in theory and in practice.

Qualities Required in a Discipline

A disciple who is capable and possessed of modesty, purity and arts and who has served a probationary period of six months, should be taught as long as he gains perfection in the theory and practice of the science. Thus the possibility of any morally unworthy persons or any incompetent practitioners acquiring the knowledge of medicine is avoided. The system of probationary studentship is not altogether absent in modern education; it exists in certain western universities though the rules governing such probation period are neither so stringent nor so complete compared to those in the medical institutions of ancient India.

Jati and lineage were used as an underlying factor to evaluate a prospective student's moral worth. For example, in the well-known story of Satyakama, the son of a serving woman, the teacher, Uddalaka Aruni, is confused as to the eligibility of Satyakama to study under his tutelage because Satyakama is unable to provide any information on his Gotra or paternal lineage but otherwise seems eminently eligible to study under him. Despite this, Uddalaka decides to admin Satyakama because Satyakama was upfront and honest about his questionable paternal lineage. Uddalaka felt that no one would tell the truth as boldly as Satyakama and hence commanded him to fetch wood for the sacrificial fire, a token signifying that he has accepted him as his student.

Criteria for study of Ayurveda

By whom should Ayurveda be studied?

Ayurveda could be studied by members of any varna: Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas or Sudras. Preferential treatment was given, however, to the students belonging to a family of medical practitioners as it was understood that such association from childhood would lead to a better aptitude for medical learning and practice than one who is from non-medical family[1][2]

Two of the requirements, both connected with the morality of the student, may however be noticed in passing. These are:

  1. Brahmacarya
  2. Jitendriyatwa

Both are important qualities in the life of a student. A student is expected to be dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and should therefore be able to turn his or her back on all sense-pleasures in the manner of the boy Naciketas, who when tempted by king Yama to give up his pursuit of the Truth said:

Keep thou thy chariots, thy dancing girls and singing; I will have none of them.

It is only then that the great king Yama considered him worthy of being taught, saying:

I know that you Naciketas, are a true seeker of knowledge, for you resisted all the temptations I put before you.


It is clear from the story in the Chandogya Upanisad that Brahmanas were given preferential treatment when it came to medical education. But in the course of time, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras were admitted in increasing numbers[3]


  1. In support of this statement, Dr R. K Mookerjee says in his "Ancient Indian education" that Social psychology has proved that every individual has his own set of emotions, action attitudes and ways of thinking, which is the gift of the traditions and social environment in which he is brought up. Each segment of training must therefore take into account the concrete individuals, a product of biological gifts and social heritage. A neglect of this basic situation renders the process of education less fruitful and sometimes even more risky to the personality.
  2. The investigation of Haggerty, Nash and Goodenough show further that the educational status and vocation of the parents have a significant correlation with the level of capacity of the children as indicated by the intelligence quotient. For instance, the children of professional parents of those of a higher academic standing possess a higher value of I. Q on a whole.
  3. Susruta and Kashyapa Samhita denote that later on even the worthy and eligible Sudras were given admissions in the schools. where is this quote from?
    Some say that one should coach up even a Sudra possessed of good lineage and qualities withholding the instruction of Mantras and also the sacred thread.
  • The Caraka Samhita published by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society, Jamnagar, India