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A gurukula or gurukulam (Sanskrit: गुरुकुल, romanized: gurukula) was a type of education system in ancient India with shishya ('students' or 'disciples') living near or with the guru, in the same house. The guru-shishya tradition is a sacred one in Hinduism and appears in other religious groups in India, such as Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. The word gurukula is a combination of the Sanskrit words guru ('teacher' or 'master') and kula ('family' or 'home'). Before the arrival of British rule, they served as South Asia's primary educational system. The term is also used today to refer to residential monasteries or schools operated by modern gurus.
- I am familiar with the traditions of this institution... If we examine the millennia-old gurukul tradition, we will find that most of those who became immortal [through their great actions] in history received their sanskars from the gurukul system. This tradition had so much samarthya (capability) because it did not just provide book knowledge, livelihood skills or merely train people to acquire degrees. This tradition taught human beings to become humane. This institution cultivates in men the capability to rise from being mere men to becoming divine (nar se narayan). This institution has cultivated an atmosphere that inculcates the sanskar of rising above aham (self-hood) towards vyam (ourness), whereby people are transformed from being self-centred to being inherently society oriented, and inclucate sanskars (values) of collectivity to widen people’s perspective towards life. This great tradition teaches students to honour their gurus; it cultivates shraddha towards sanskriti (culture) and the desire to dedicate one’s life to doing good, whereby there is constant inspiration to sacrifice all one has for achieving excellence. This institution carries out a nirantar (never ending) yagya for crafting such a lifestyle.
- Narendra Modi on January 1, 2002 quoted in Madhu Purnima Kishwar: Modi, Muslims and Media. Voices from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, Manushi Publications, Delhi 2014.