In olden days, there were no schools as we find today. Every temple or mosque was a school. The Priest or the Maulvi was the only teacher. There were very few books or no books at all. The Guru taught by word of mouth.
The boys sat round him in a circle. They sat on the bare ground. There were no tables and chairs, the boys listened to the Guru with rapt attention. They learnt their lesson by rote. They had to memorize the scriptures. A student who could learn by heart the largest number of scriptures in the shortest possible time was considered to be the ablest. There were practically no games and sports. The students crammed and chanted the scriptures day and night.
There was no fuss in any shape or form. They resided with their Guru. Boarding and lodging were free. These temples and mosques got handsome grants from kings and princes. Sometimes the students had to go to the neighbouring villages and towns to beg for alms.
The householders considered it a duty to give them alms. The students led a hard, simple and virtuous life. ‘Plain living and high’ thinking was their motto. The Guru looked upon them as his own sons. He took the fullest interest in them.
There was a close and intimate contact between the teacher and the taught. The students obeyed the Guru implicitly. They were ready to make any sacrifice at his bidding.
There was no indiscipline, no misbehaviour, no strikes and no ugly demonstrations. The students had the greatest regard for their Guru. His word was law for them. They worshipped him. They were always at his beck and call.
They did everything with their own hands. They led a life of penance. Their life was well regulated. The contact between the teacher and the taught was life- long. It was most sacred. The Guru’s status was the highest.