Ancient Education – How it holds good even today!

Vedas are synonymous with education of any nature. In olden days when a child reaches 7 years of age, he/she would be admitted into a “Patashala” or school. There they would learn basic etiquette and sciences. They would specialize in the domain they like. For instance, a student interested in medicine would follow Charaka’s lineage and so on.
But, some basic things are taught to a child. Those are under what is known today as “Taitriya Upanishad”.

The two chapters which speak on higher spirituality are – Brighuvalli and Anandavalli. There is another chapter which is taught to the student ab initio – Sikshavalli. It lays down what a student shall and shall not do.

Speaking of higher spirituality, most of us acknowledge the “Higher Power”. As Sanathana Dharma calls it, “Parabrahmam”. This is defined in the said chapters – Anandavalli and Brighuvalli.

Delving deeper into those chapters – Anandavalli describes the soul itself and the five sheaths above it. Just like an onion. It describes each sheath by establishing human form to it. That is, giving it right hand, left hand, the ‘essence’ and the tail (we all knew tail is a vestigial organ that humans have in their skeletal form, the ‘tail’ is the invisible, yet verily present).

Those five sheaths are – The physical body, The vital energy, The psyche or Mental, Wisdom and ultimately bliss. It describes the contents of each sheath in much detail. It continues to define what is happiness and how to measure the same!

Coming over to the next chapter – Brighuvalli, this is a conversation between Rishi Brighu and his father Varuna. As a 7-year-old boy, he asks his father what is “Brahman” and Varuna promptly replies the elements of “Brahman” – Food, Force of life, Mind, Intellect and Bliss. The boy elaborates on each element by meditating on the same. The final stanzas give the importance of food and lays down rules for humanity that – One shall make food plentiful, one shall never refuse food, one shall feed others and be fed.
It also establishes the truth about humans and humanity. It says that we are those who consume food and eventually how we all will become food eventually.

So rich is our philosophy and so deep is our understanding! Please make use of the below links for understanding these wonderful Upanishads line by line.

Link 1:- Taittiriya Upanishad 
Link 2:- Veda Rahasya