70. World's First Universities

Ancient India was the world's teacher - JagatGuru or World's Guru. World looked at India for seeking knowledge. In India, we had world's first universities. Indian universities were replete with students, teachers and scholars. They came to India all the way from far off countries in search of learning.

Takshila :
The oldest university known to the world is Takshila. It flourished around seventh century B.C. Today the ruins of Takshila speak volumes about its past glory. The remnants of this once glorious university are situated in today's Rawalpindi district of Pakistan.

It was famed to lodge ten thousand students from all over the world in its campus. Every student used to spend eight years in this university. Education was imparted in sixty-eight faculties like Vedas, World Languages, Sanskrit, Fine Arts and Professional Skills, Grammar, Logic, Medicine, Mathematics, Astronomy, Warfare, Commerce, Politics and Governance etc.

Kautilaya (Chanakya), Panini, Jivaka, Vishnusarma and many others were the celebrated Gurus of this University. Greek philosopher Pythagoras and other had been the pupils of this university.

Nalanda :
Nalanda was the crown jewel of universities. It had a long and checkered history of fame and riot. It existed from 5th century AD to 12th century AD. It was patronized by the Hindu kings and Buddhistic kings.

Towards the Southeast of Patna, the Capital City of Bihar State in India, is a village called the 'Bada Gaon', in the vicinity of which, are the world famous ruins of Nalanda University.

A walk in the ruins of the university, takes you to an era that saw India leading in imparting knowledge, to the world - the era when India was coveted place for studies.

More than two thousand gurus and 10,000 students were stationed in Nalanda.

The famous Chinese traveler and scholar, Hieun-Tsang stayed here and has given a detailed description of the situations prevailing at that time. Careful excavation of the place has revealed many stupas, monasteries, hostels, staircases, meditation halls, lecture halls and many other structures, which speak of the splendour ad grandeur this place, enjoyed, when the place was a centre of serious study.

King Kumaragupta, Harshvardhan and Ashoka had patronized this centre of learning immensely. Nagarjuna - a Mahayana philosopher, Dinnaga - founder of the school of Logic and Dharmpala - the Brahmin scholar, taught here. Historians estimate that around 20 lakh manuscripts existed in the libraries of Nalanda.

Kasi and Kanchi were also regarded as highly revered centres of learning.

In the year 1194 AD, a Muslim invader Bhakitar Khilji, had invaded this university and had burnt its books of learning. India's glorious knowledge vanished into the flames of fires with this satanic event. Thousands of students, teachers and monks ran away to save themselves, as the grandeur of this university crippled.


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