7 Most Important Aims of Education for the Students in the Gurukul (Upanishadic Philosophy)
3. Character Building
4. Complete Development
5. Individual and Social Development
6. Spiritual Development
7. Education for Culture
We shall explain these, in brief, as below:
1. The aim of acquisition of the supreme knowledge:
This amounted to acquiring that knowledge which could help one to forget worldly pleasures and understand the Brahma (God), in other words, to attain immortality. This kind of knowledge was considered above everything else. It was to be different from virtue, vice, cause and effect and the past and present
2. The physical development aim:
For achieving this goal the student had to live in the Gurukul an austere life. This period was the first order (Prtitham Ashram) of life, that is, the Brahmacharya (the life of celibacy). A healthy student alone could lead this type of life.
Hence the emphasis on physical development the student had to observe strict disciplinary rules in the Gurukul. For developing a healthy body he was required to perform Pranayam in the morning, noon and evening.
Through recitation of the Vedic texts he used to take strenuous vocal exercises. Besides, he had to perform prayers for obtaining vigor and strength. He had to do many things in the Gurukul, such as to beg alms, to gather full-sticks and tend the sacred fire. All these required enough physical labour.
3. The character development aim:
Training of the will-power was considered necessary for character development. Towards this end the student was required to -think of only good things. He had to observe various rules of moralities. He had to study Vedas and the other supplementary texts daily. The Upanishad warns a student to shun bad conduct if he wants to develop his character.
4. The complete development aim:
The complete development aim amounted to controlling of senses and practicing introversion. This was considered as the ideal method for complete living which meant all-sided development. The various duties to be performed daily in the Gurukul had to lead to the realization of the goal of all-sided development
5. The individual and the social aim:
The daily disciplinary life in the Gurukul meant to develop in the students many individual and social virtues. A student was required to be truthful all his life.
With the development of the body, mind and heart the student was trained to develop some such virtues which could make him a socially efficient individual. He was required to be free from deceit, diplomacy, pride and falsehood. He had to believe in giving charities.
6. The spiritual development aim:
The performance of Yagyas (Yajnas) was considered above everything else. The various Upanishads have explained the qualifications that were considered necessary for spiritual development.
The Kathopanishad has introduced the term ‘introversion’ as the best method for spiritual development. This meant that a student had to shut himself up to the external world and was advised to look entirely within himself.
7. Education for culture:
During the Upanishadic day’s hospitality was considered as a compulsory social obligation, and it was raised to the position of a religious duty also. To offer food to a passerby or to a guest was regarded as equivalent to a sacrifice.
The principle of truth was honored as the highest virtue. The habit of cleanliness was considered as a trait worthy of cultivation by all. During the Upanishad age the preservation and development of culture of the race was given the highest importance in education.