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Myths about Gurukul Education System

Most Indians aren’t much aware of the ins and outs of the Gurukul education system. Whether they know much about it or not, most feel that the Gurukul system is backward and can’t cope with the modern requirements of society. Through this blog post, we’ll dispel that myth as well as many more that Indians knowingly unknowingly associate with anything Indian.

Though there has been a resurgence in the gurukul system of education in the past decade or so. Still, the awareness about it is not there. A small section of the society is interested in the gurukul system but a majority of the people see it as backward, rooted in Brahminical supremacy, for Brahmins only, etc. Most of this criticism is nothing more than myths perpetrated by the western narrative.

Myth #1: Gurukuls are only for Brahmins

Nothing can be farther from the truth. According to surveys conducted by the governor of Madras presidency Thomas Munro in 1820s, W. Adams in Bengal and Bihar in 1830s, and Dr. G.W. Leitner in 1882 but collected data about 1850s. The data collected by these high-ranking British officials showed that parts of India that the British controlled in the early 19th century (1800s – 1850s) had a well-developed education system known as the Gurukul education system.

Thomas Munro had also collected the caste data of the students that studied in these gurukuls and the majority of them were non-Brahmins. In some places, Brahmins made up as low as 8% and the maximum percentage of Brahmins was somewhere around 37%. All of this data is shared in Dharampal’s Book “The Beautiful Tree”.

Myth #2: Gurukuls only prepare pandits who can help in Karma-Kanda (rituals)

This is one of the most prevalent myths of Gurukul education. The Gurukul system is a holistic system that doesn’t just prepare one for only a job. The gurukul system helps to develop the physical, mental, and spiritual development of the students. In addition, behavior skills, social skills, and vocational or job skills are developed. They learn the basic rules of humanity and equality.

Gurukul system takes care of the all-rounded development of the child which the current (factory schooling) system can only dream of. The Gurukul system commands many more advantages over traditional school education. Read this post to know in detail.

Myth #3: Gurukuls don’t prepare one for the outside world

LOL! The reason I am laughing is that people just make up their minds without looking for any supportive evidence. The Gurukul system provides the most rigorous learning one can humanly possibly get.

The Gurukul system teaches one to how to live in society, perseverance, integrity, etc. traits just to name a few. Yes, it removes a lot of distractions like Television, Mobile, etc. At the same time, it doesn’t drive one away from technology i.e. Computer Programming, Robotics, etc are taught practically not theoretically.

Myth #4: Gurukul students don’t get job

Preparing one for the job is one of many many objectives of Gurukuls but not the sole objective like in the case of traditional schools. Though the entire focus of current schools is preparing one for the job they fail at it miserably. If you don’t agree with me on this, just ask yourself a simple question how many students get jobs after completing college? If the answer is only a few, then the current system is not fulfilling its ONLY objective.

The current system though provides you with a degree in a particular profession but NO SKILLs are taught so that you cay do the job. That’s why every company has to train their new hires which was, supposed, to be the JOB of schools or colleges.

Gurukul’s approach is very different. They take a practical approach rather than a theoretical approach which is nothing but a burden for teachers as well as students while not serving its purpose.

Unemployment figures can also give you an idea, of how bad a job the current education system is doing. In contrast, compare current India to the one in the 4th century CE when India was at the forefront of education, science, technology, etc. That system generated huge wealth which is why India used to be called golden geese back then.

Myth #5: Gurukuls doesn’t have a standard syllabus

Indeed, Gurukul doesn’t have a day-to-day schedule as is the case with most schools nowadays. But that doesn’t mean that Gurukuls or the Acharya teaches whatever he likes. The Acharya does enjoy a lot of autonomy when it comes to teaching but gurukuls also have a fixed syllabus but not in the sense that schools take it.

Gurukuls syllabus includes an understanding of the human mind, the building of character, and skills training, among others. If you’d like to know what is taught in a gurukul, please refer to our post on Subjects taught in gurukuls.

Myth #6: Gurukuls are only situated in forests or rural area

Though most of the ancient Gurukuls used to be situated on the periphery of the township or inside the forest. That is not the case anymore. Nowadays they can easily be found running inside the interiors of the town like Delhi albeit only a few.

If you’d like to find a gurukul near you, check out the most comprehensive list of gurukuls in India on the internet.

Myth #7: Gurukuls are backward

After going through all the above-mentioned myths, if you still feel the same. I am sorry! Nobody can help you. The opposite of backwardness means modernity. Alas! people have come to attach modernity with everything West i.e. everything that the West does, is modern.

There is a big difference between being modern and being Western. Modernity means adapting one’s thinking according to the situation and proposing innovative solutions to current problems. Or it can be understood as thinking out of the box.

So yes! Gurukul’s system is radically different than what the West does. The current Indian education system is nearly the xerox copy of what Western countries (US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc) follow. Still, why is it that there are so many problems in India as well as in the so-called first-world countries? They are developed despite their education system not because of it. The colonial loot is responsible for their development, not their education. Although, the USA has some elements of innovation that are promoted by the silicon valley ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why India is not adapting the ancient gurukul system for education?

Indians look down upon their heritage. In addition, people, in general, have many myths about the gurukul education system. They do not consider the gurukul system to be at par with the current education system. They think it lacks innovation, is backward-looking, and lacks modernity all of which are nothing but myths.