Monday, August 13, 2018

Arya Chanakya - Takshashila University

Disclaimer: This series of blog posts are a free translation of Arya Chanakya novel written by Sri Vedula Suryanarayana Sharma garu. If anyone has any Copy Right objections, please email to RamaY.BRF@gmail.com.

Part 1: Arya Chanakya - Authoring Arthashastra, A Revolutionary insight


The city of Takshashila was so called as it was built with cut stones. The university was established between the Sindhu and Vitasta rivers by SriRama’s brother Bharata, according to the Mahabharata. It rose to fame as the central university to supervise over all the other ancient universities in the Hindu country. This university was renowned many centuries prior to Christ’s birth. Students from many foreign lands studied here as well.

Students learnt the VedaShastras under the guidance of expert Maharshi Pandits. This was a university that was revered by people from all religions. There were also teachers belonging to other religions. Subjects like Vedas, Vendangas (auxiliary Vedic sciences), Darshanas (philosophical guides), Ayurveda, Ganita Shastra (Mathematics), ArthaShashtra, RajyangaShastra (constitutional science), AyudhaShastra (weapons science), Geography, Astronomy, MantraShastra (science of Mantras), Gandharvam etc. were comprehensively taught with a practical approach.

The sixty four arts were all taught with perfection. The methods and approaches were such that the students believed that all sciences and arts they studied were aligned with the Arya Sanatana Dharma. Nothing that doesn’t abide by Dharma was taught. Knowledge that would make living in a society comfortable was imparted. Only because the correlation between society and knowledge was distinctly stated, the university gained such respect and renown. Rather than working towards financial ascent or towards attaining fame, it adhered to its quest for truth.

Jeevaka and Buddha also studied here. Atreya Rishi was Jeevaka’s guru. One of Atreya’s disciples, Charaka was a Physician who taught the Ashtanga medicinal science here. The first of the five hundred students In Varanasi, SwetaKetu entered Takshashila for advanced education in the field. Panini Acharya authored the Ashtadhyayi, Dhaatupatha, and Unadi Sutra in the Vyakarana Shastra while in this University.

Each sect is taught their respective Veda entirely as it should be. Every subject has seven levels within it. Only the worthy students for advanced education are admitted into the university. Primary and secondary level education isn’t available here. This is an esteemed education center. Students from all over the world who have familiarized themselves with the subjects up to the age of sixteen come here for the next level education. When a student completes his seven years of education in a Shastra here, there is hardly anything left for him to learn in it. Not only does every student gain immense knowledge in the subject he has taken up, but also considerable knowledge in three other related subjects.

All Gurus were unbiased Maharshis. Some were wandering ascetics. Dharmics who lived solely to spread knowledge. Students were those who set out for to protect Dharma and those who solely lived to attain knowledge. It is not an exaggeration to say that the students would have exceeded their Gurus at the end of the seven years.

As the protection of Dharma is the foremost priority of every Guru in Takshashila, certain appointed wanderers introduced Anga Samudrika scholars to foreign lands to inspire and send any child that had the characteristics of a future king, an emperor, a religious leader, or a great scholar to the Gurukula. To put in huge efforts into nurturing these promising students through education and making them brilliant protectors of Dharma is Takshashila’s primary endeavor. The university’s plenipotentiary takes special interest in these students as well.

When the education is complete, the students are provided with an ace level examination to test their expertise. In certain Shastras, not only is the knowledge/conceptual understanding tested, but also their ability for practical application. These examinations were conducted using the best methods. Without letting the students realize that they were being tested, the Guru’s observed their students learning and declared whether they passed. For a test on medicine, students were required to list the properties of the leaves, herbs, creepers, climbers, roots, and grass in area surrounding the university. When the students passed the practical tests, they would be blessed to travel around the world and win royal accolades, also be reminded to never forget the protection of Dharma, and then be graduated. Some would remain and research their subjects, discover great things and give them to the world in the form of Granthas. For their contributions to their subject, they would be given the title of ‘Maha Parangata’. Some others would teach within institution.

Even though the university taught the Chaturvedas, Shadangas, Shatshastras, Chatushashtikalas as well, it gave the foremost priority to strategically producing efficient leaders, kings, and ministers who would protect Dharma. For this reason, they picked well-gifted students to make them efficient. They were taught the entire DhanurVeda, and made successful in Shastra Vidyas. As it majorly relied on kings and ministers to protect VaidikaDharma, it took their oaths to do so. Kings and emperors of different regions sent their princes to be educated here. A hundred and three such princes studied and learnt various administrative strategies here and ruled their kingdoms.

Of all its important repositories, Takshashila’s treasury of the palm leaf manuscript Granthas is its most prized. This is the residence of the students who have attained the title of ‘Parangata’ and continue to carry on research in their fields. This repository stands in a cave carved to be around a half-mile wide on the hillside. Here and there were ruby columns that were like lamps that didn’t need oil, shining light untouched by shadows. Vents were made for fresh air circulation. Inside racks made of polished marble slates were the Granthas neatly and orderly arranged in rows in different sections according to the respective Shastras. Each section’s title was mentioned above it in Devnagari script. Ladders and ropes appeared intermittently to be used to place and retrieve Granthas from the higher shelves.

The granthas belonging to a particular Shastra were all under the supervision of the assigned master of the Shastra. This person sat across the section of his Shastra, facing it on a tiger skin Asana. He would have studied all the Granthas, passed a special examination, and knew what information was available where. Researching students just needed to tell him their topic of research for him to be able to point them to Granthas which they needed to study for that sake. He was also able to tell them which parts of these Granthas they were likely to find the necessary information in. He would get someone to retrieve necessary Granthas and give them to the students. Apart from this person, in between sections of Shastras were emerald elevations, on them were deer skins spread, and on which sat the advanced researchers, facing North. He would suggest possible paths of research, explain the intentions and perspectives of the authors of the Granthas, clear doubts, and guide of the researching students. This Acharya argued with the students and encouraged their radical thoughts despite them being against the religion he practiced for the sake of progress and prosperity. He also cautioned them on their efforts. He would have done his own research on the Shastra, authored Granthas with new theories, and be titled as a ‘Maha Parangata’. Mostly such Acharyas were wanderers who relinquished all comforts and pleasures, or devout life-long bachelors.


2 comments:

  1. Have you translated all chapters? Links?
    .
    Also, many say that Alexander was defeated by Porus, and he had to return back and never came to India. But the book you are translating says otherwise. Any more info on his?
    .
    -Rahul Chimanbhai Mehta (from BRF)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have you translated all chapters? Links?
    .
    Also, many say that Alexander was defeated by Porus, and he had to return back and never came to India. But the book you are translating says otherwise. Any more info on his?
    .
    -Rahul Chimanbhai Mehta (from BRF)

    ReplyDelete