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ceitful, jealous, ungrateful, avaricious, and full of flattery. They are divided into four principal classes or castes: The Brahmans, or holy teachers; the Kshatriyas, or soldiers and kings of the nation; the Vaisyas, or farmers and traders; and the Sudras, or servants of the three other classes. The three higher castes all enjoy peculiar rights and privileges, though the Brahmans possess the greatest influence, and are the repositories of learning for the whole people. Of the relative position of the several castes, Manu, the reputed author of the most celebrated law-book of the ancient Hindoos, says: “Whatever exists in the universe
“ is all in effect, though not in form, the wealth of the Brahman; since the Brahman is entitled to it all by his primogeniture and eminence of birth. The first part of a Brahman's compound name should indicate holiness; of a Kshatriya's, power; of a Vaisya’s, wealth; and of a Sudra's, contempt.” Of the caste system as a whole, a writer, who had ample opportunities of knowing, has said: “It has made the Hindoos contented with their lot—whether good or bad, high or low—and in doing so has provided a kind of universal happiness, which, if not of the highest kind, was better than none. Even now as it is passing away, and justly so, we have firm faith that the God of all mankind, who permitted this wondrous institution to grow up and flourish for thousands of years, will overrule it for good.”
The çaste system of India is the controlling influence in education. Each individual is born into one of the four principal castes, whose usages he is compelled to learn and observe. As these are very numerous,
descending into insignificant details in daily life, such in
struction forms the principal part of the child's education. The Sudras and females are excluded from all other kinds of instruction. At the usual
age of six or seven years the child il sent to school. This is presided over by a Brahman, who regards it a disgrace to receive a stipulated salary, and who is remunerated by voluntary gifts from his patrons. These gifts range from mere trifles to considerable estates; but, upon the whole, leave the teacher poorly paid. He is held in high honor, and pupils render him greater reverence than they show to their parents. School is usually kept in the open air, under the shadow of a friendly tree; but, in case of bad weather, it is transferred to a thatched shed, or other covered building. Along with ceremonial usages and moral instruction, reading, writing, and arithmetic are taught. The first exercises in writing are in the sand. The teachers are aided not only by regular assistants, but also by the more mature pupils of the school. The lessons are learned aloud by the whole body of pupils at
The discipline, in the main, may be regarded as mild. It is only after admonition has failed that bodily pain is inflicted by the rod, by placing the pupil in an uncomfortable position, or by pouring cold water upon him—a mode of punishment peculiar to India.
The following extracts from a description written by a Hindoo, present some interesting details of the oldstyle school:
An hour before closing the school the pupils are all made to stand up in a line, and, with their hands applied to their hearts, they repeat the multiplication-table, the alphabet, and the sacred hymns or slokas; at the end of
each one of the last their hands are raised to their foreheads, and their bodies bowed in reverence to the god in whose honor it was said. The master then instructs them in a long and tedious catalogue of frivolous duties to be discharged in their houses; to which they all assent with a loud “Yes, yes !” After this they prostrate themselves before the teacher, and are dismissed to their respective homes. The teacher must be a Brahman.
a . The wealthy and respectable will never condescend to have their children educated by one of a lower caste.
The system of education practiced in these schools is very defective, and the children make but little progress; they take a month or more to learn the alphabet, a year or two to learn to read, and still longer to write. Much time is wasted also in learning useless arithmetical tables. The master is slothful, and, like all Brahmans, fond of sleeping by day. In the afternoon, after the boys have collected for work, he considers his duties over till five, and so indulges in a sound sleep. Meanwhile the pupils must get along as best they can; but the teacher must not be disturbed.
The teacher, however, is great on the subject of caste—on what should be eaten, what abstained from; on idolizing the Brahmans and avoiding the pariahs; on his genealogy, his rights, his privileges, and on the mean origin and low position of other castes. He is ever eloquent on the necessity of feeding, clothing, and sheltering Brahmans, and of subscribing to the marriage of their sons and daughters; and is ever mourning, in melancholy terms, that the native rule has departed, and with it the rajahs, who, supplying all the wants of the Brahmans, left them nothing to do but to eat, drink, and sleep.*
Higher education in India has received, from ancient
*“Every-day Life in India,” by Rev. A. D. Rowe. In other particulars the description from which these extracts are taken seems to be overdrawn.
times, careful attention. Although the higher institutions were destined chiefly for the Brahmans, they were open also to students from the second and third castes. The subjects pursued constituted an extensive curricu lum, and included grammar, mathematics, history, poetry, philosophy, astronomy, medicine, and law. This course, which required twelve years for its completion, was pursued in its whole extent only by the Brahmans. The students of the warrior caste, from which the civil officers were chosen, and of the trading or agricultural caste, pursued only partial courses, with immediate reference to the wants of practical life. In the science of mathematics, the Hindoos have made noteworthy progress, and have placed the rest of mankind under obligation for their development of this branch of knowledge.
In the system of India no provision is made for physical education. The Hindoo is naturally averse to physical exertion. A life made up of eating, drinking, and sleeping is his ideal of happiness. He does not feel that exuberant vitality which makes mere existence a conscious enjoyment, and wrestling with difficulties a positive pleasure. This is a blessing reserved for the hardier children of the West. The religious education lacks the conception of a conscious, personal God; and, in practice, religion has degenerated into a set of puerile observances. The highest religious aspiration is to be absorbed into the great, unconscious world-spirit. This ideal leads to an intensely selfish subjectivity, which violates, by its idle dreaminess, our fundamental duties to God and man. The intellectual education of the Hindoos is not wholly undeserving of commendation. By nature they are a contemplative people, and this natural tendency is constantly fostered by their religion. But, however subtile their intellectual operations may be, the Hindoos are wanting in that strong projective force that is necessary to subdue Nature and lift the masses to a high degree of civilization. The name given to the system of India is caste education.
Persia occupies an important place in history. It attained its highest point of greatness under Cyrus, who freed it from the dominion of the Medes, and elevated it into a mighty empire. At this period, Persia was the foremost nation of the world, not only in power, but also in civilization. In education it surpassed both in theory and practice the other Asiatic nations.
The religion of Persia, founded by Zoroaster in the sixth century before Christ, is interesting in itself, and also in its relation to education. Nowhere, if we except the Jews, was this relation closer than among the ancient Persians. Zoroaster discovered a dualism running through all nature. The contrast between light and darkness, fruitfulness and barrenness, useful and hurtful animals, fortune and misfortune, life and death, led him to conceive of two spiritual beings, the one good and the other bad, who divide the world into hostile kingdoms. At the head of the kingdom of light is Ormuzd, whose symbol is light; at the head of the other is Ahriman, whose symbol is darkness. In the end, the kingdom of good will prevail; and it is the
every man to contribute to this triumph. He aids in this work by cultivating the soil, caring for