[콜로퀴엄] 제21회: Education in Ancient India: Aspects and Dimensions
N. C. Kar
2020년 5월 14일
Education in Ancient India: Aspects and Dimensions (고대 인도의 교육: 양상과 차원)
발표자: N. C. Kar (한국외대 인도학과 교수)
Abstract: The civilizational continuity, prosperity and geographical propensity condition the perception of internal and external world of any civilization. As a result, it wants to know more about these conditioning factors and eventually wants to conquer it. In the process it also transmits valuable experiences learned on that path to the next generation. The valuable experiences learned on that path is called knowledge or education and the process of transmission is called teaching. The methodology of teaching evolves in coordination with the objective of education, kind of subject matters, and keeping the psychology of learners in mind. Ancient Indian educational system shaped up on the basis of these series of psychological questions and answers. Repetitive method of teaching was always an integral and important part it. The primary texts were composed aphoristically with a view to disseminating, preserving and memorizing the subject conveniently. The scarcity of writing material in those days may have a role to play for writing such kinds of precise texts, but the novelty in which these texts were presented for the readers is definitely an art and science worth emulating. The tradition always had a strong penchant for presentable-knowledge. Therefore, it is said that: "knowledge that is in books, (neither understood nor remembered), and one's money in the hands of others, are both useless in the time of need". The educational philosophy of ancient India was to keep the text in muscle memory even if one does not understand the meaning of it properly. According to this view, realization may happen anytime, therefore one must have access to the text in mind to reflect upon it. Hence the text in mind is always a readymade solution. In case of religious texts, if one remembers without understanding the meaning of the text and perform the practical religious rites associated with it mechanically, even then also it serves the purpose of preservation of the contents. The question and answer method or exploratory method of teaching may be a slow process but very much effective for memorizing the concept with its wider context. Therefore, it is said: Every debate brings forth an understanding of the underlying principle of truth. The question-answer pattern of teaching encourages students to clarify their residual doubts and gives confidence in thinking themselves with reasons. The questions during the storytelling invite the students exercising judgment based on their own understanding and drawing their own moral conclusion on the basis of the circumstances.