Gurukul System: Gurukul is a type of school in India, residential in nature, with Shishyas living in proximity to the guru, often within the same house. In a gurukul, Shishyas reside together as equals, irrespective of their social standing, learn from the guru and help the guru in his day-to-day life, including the carrying out of mundane chores such as washing clothes, cooking, etc.
Gurukul System In Ancient India
The guru-Shishya tradition (Parampara) is a hallowed tradition in Hinduism and appears in other religious groups in India, such as Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.
Typically, a guru does not receive fees from a Shishyas studying with him. At the end of his studies, a Shishya offers the guru Dakshina before leaving the ashram. The Gurudakshina is a traditional gesture of acknowledgment, respect, and thanks, which may be monetary, but may also be a special task the teacher wants the student to accomplish.
Examples of these new schools are the Ananda Marga Gurukula. It is not a religious school in the Hindu tradition but rather a secular academic institution based on universal spiritual principles. Vivekananda College near Madurai is a NAAC accredited `A’ grade autonomous college that is run under a Gurukula system.
In India and elsewhere, the Swaminarayan Gurukul of the Swaminarayan Sampraday has been established. In Andhra Pradesh, an attempt of expanding the Gurukul tradition was made at Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul Hyderabad by Sadguru Shri Devprasaddasji Swami.
For a number of years, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness established Gurukulas for children, providing academic as well as Gaudiya Vaishnava spiritual instruction in a boarding-school environment.
The movement for the building and supporting of Gurukulas was started by the organization’s founder and leader of the Hare Krishna movement, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. A number of these Gurukulas, in India and also in various other parts of the world, still exist today.
Vedic Gurukul in India
The Bhaktivedanta Gurukula and Internation School, founded in 1977, is a gurukul located in Vrindavan, India. The school cultivates a cultural and Vedic lifestyle while providing a high school degree from the ICSE board. In Mayapur (West Bengal, India) an ISKCON gurukul project, which has been in operation since the 70’s, is rejuvenating the ancient gurukul system and providing students with a system of traditional education and values.