Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Gurukul Mean?

A gurukul is a traditional school in India with students (shishya) living near their guru, often in the same dwelling, as a sort of family. Before British rule, the gurukuls were South Asia’s main form of education. This type of education is sacred in Hinduism as well as in other religious traditions such as Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

The name comes from the Sanskrit guru, meaning “teacher,” and kul, meaning “domain.” It translates as “domain or family of the guru.” An ashram, for example, is known as a gurukul.


Yogapedia Explains Gurukul

Gurukuls have existed since the Vedic age. They provided a comprehensive education in all areas of knowledge, including yogic practices that lead to enlightenment or unity with the divine. Students were expected to spend years in service to the guru, studying with him and helping him with daily tasks, including chores such as cooking and washing clothing. This tradition played a significant part in preserving Hindu religious and moral law (dharma) and in passing scriptural knowledge and traditions down through the generations.

Today, the gurukul system has experienced a resurgence. In a gurukul, the students live together as equals, regardless of their social standing at birth. It is, therefore, a place where, under the direction of the guru, the students create an environment and share a vision that helps them grow spiritually and mentally.

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