India had a well developed education system centuries before the westerners arrived and called us uncivilized. Education was always given a great importance in Indian civilisation since times immemorial.

Ancient India had the Gurukulas and Ashramas as the epicentres of the knowledge and enlightenment. Bigger Gurukulas served as the centres of higher education called universities. Besides these universities, temples also emerged as the major learning centres.
Studying the Holy Scriptures, character building, personality development, responsibilities towards self,family and society,discipline and preservation of the ancient culture and heritage were the key embodiments of education.
This kind of education system made ancient India, a centre of knowledge all over the world. Many foreign students came to India for education and India was called the 'Vishwaguru'.
Takshshila and Nalanda were the two prominent universities of ancient India.
But were these only Universities of ancient India?The answer is 'No'.Let's learn about these gems of our education system that flourished across ancient India & be proud.

This was the oldest university of ancient India.Situated in Nalanda distt. of Bihar...
...this University was founded by King Kumaragupta I of Gupta dynasty in the 5th century &it flourished for 600yrs till 12th century.Students from India, China,Korea&Central Asia came to university for studies. Astrology,Astronomy,Medicine, Mathematics,Literature etc. was taught.
It had the largest library in ancient world.Most sacred manuscripts were kept safe there.Muslim invader Bakhtyar Khilji annihilated the University in 1200CE. He set the library on fire and killed many Acharyas and students. Huen Tsang & Itsing were the famous Chinese travellers..
..who visited the Nalanda University and were greatly impressed by it. It was the first of its kind University that provided hostel accommodation for students and teachers. There were approx. 10000 students and 3000 teachers. It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Founded by the Pala King, Dharamapala(780-820CE), Vikramshila University was located in Antichak village of Bhagalpur Distt. Bihar. Ancient university was a centre of Buddhist learning, a large Buddhist Monastery and a Mahavihara.
Flourished from 8-12th century, university was famous for learnin Tantra Vidya.Philosophy, metaphysics,logic&grammar were other subjects.Also was taught the subject of Blackmagic.

This ancient university was located at Vallabhipur,Bhavnagar distt of Gujarat
It was founded by Bhattarka,King of Maitraka Empire. It flourished from 6-12th century.Due to lack of interest by succesor of Maitraka Empire&continued invasions by Arabs,university lost its significance.
Religious studies,Arthshastra, Nithyashastra&Medicine were subjects taught
Takshashila was a world famous university of the ancient India. It was the first ancient Indian International University(400-550BCE). It was located in the Gandhar region of ancient India( Present day in Rawalpindi, Pakistan).
There r many sources dat have the mention of Takshashila such as Jatakas,Mahabharata&Ramayana etc.Flourished under the Maurya &Kushana empire periods,Takshashila was founded in 1000BCE &destroyed by the Huns of Central Asia in 5thcentury & later by Muslim invaders in 12thcentury.
Mahayana sect of Buddhism formed in Takshashila. The Vedas alongwith art forms like archery,music,dance,hunting were taught. Besides, the subjects of Philosophy, Ayurveda, Grammar & Astronomy were also taught. Takshashila was declared a UNESCO World heritage site in 1980.
10500 students approx. studied in Takshashila and 2000 teachers taught them. Students came from all over India, Egypt, Iraq, Greece, Syria, Turkey & China. Kautilya, Charaka & Panini were the students of Takshashila.
Located in ancient Kalinga(Cuttack & Jaipur distt of Odisha),this ancient university(3-12th century) was discovered in 1995 &the evidence showed that it may be founded by Ashoka himself.The university campus was spread across 3 adjoining hills-Lalitgiri...
...Ratnagiri and Udayagiri. This was one of the most prominent centres of higher education in ancient India alongwith Takshashila, Nalanda and Vikramshila. Chinese traveller Huen Tsang visited it in 639CE and was spellbound by the way it functioned.

Built by King Dharamapala (780-820CE) of Pala Empire, it was located in Paharpur of Nagaon Distt in present Bangladesh. It's Terracotta wall paintings showed that it was a major centre for learning the Dharma traditions of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism.
Built in Buddhist architectural style of Cambodia, it was spread over 27 acres of land. Later, due to lack of maintenance and attacks by the Muslim plunderers led to the decline of this important learning centre.
The above mentioned were some of the major learning centres of ancient India but that's not the end of it. There is a very long list. Dharamapala of Pala dynasty is believed to have established 50 major educational centres across his Kingdom.
Most of the universities above were destroyed around 12th century, during the Muslim invasion of India by the fanatic Bakhtyar Khilji from Turkey in 1193CE. The great library of the Nalanda University was ransacked and burnt by Khilji's Army.
Its said that the library was so vast that the manuscripts kept burning for 3 months. Numerous ancient manuscripts preserved for 1000s of years were destroyed in this fire. 1000s of students were burnt alive and beheaded by Khilji's army.
One thing is true about the Muslim invaders,"What they couldn't have,they couldn't build,they destroyed".I can give full marks to them for spreading the death destruction&annihilation across the world.Lastly, I would like to quote a famous American writer and lecturer Mark Twain.
He said, "India is the cradle of the human race, birthplace of the human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only".


More from Vibhu Vashisth


The Swastik is a geometrical figure and an ancient religious icon. Swastik has been Sanatan Dharma’s symbol of auspiciousness – mangalya since time immemorial.

The name swastika comes from Sanskrit (Devanagari: स्वस्तिक, pronounced: swastik) &denotes “conducive to wellbeing or auspicious”.
The word Swastik has a definite etymological origin in Sanskrit. It is derived from the roots su – meaning “well or auspicious” & as meaning “being”.

"सु अस्ति येन तत स्वस्तिकं"
Swastik is de symbol through which everything auspicios occurs

Scholars believe word’s origin in Vedas,known as Swasti mantra;

"🕉स्वस्ति ना इन्द्रो वृधश्रवाहा
स्वस्ति ना पूषा विश्ववेदाहा
स्वस्तिनास्तरक्ष्यो अरिश्तनेमिही
स्वस्तिनो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु"

It translates to," O famed Indra, redeem us. O Pusha, the beholder of all knowledge, redeem us. Redeem us O Garudji, of limitless speed and O Bruhaspati, redeem us".


The Swastika represents the living creation in the whole Cosmos.

Hindu astronomers divide the ecliptic circle of cosmos in 27 divisions called this manner a cross forms in 4 directions in the celestial sky. At centre of this cross is Dhruva(Polestar). In a line from Dhruva, the stars known as Saptarishi can be observed.
शमशान में जब महर्षि दधीचि के मांसपिंड का दाह संस्कार हो रहा था तो उनकी पत्नी अपने पति का वियोग सहन नहीं कर पायी और पास में ही स्थित विशाल पीपल वृक्ष के कोटर में अपने तीन वर्ष के बालक को रख के स्वयं चिता पे बैठ कर सती हो गयी ।इस प्रकार ऋषी दधीचि और उनकी पत्नी की मुक्ति हो गयी।

परन्तु पीपल के कोटर में रखा बालक भूख प्यास से तड़पने लगा। जब कुछ नहीं मिला तो वो कोटर में पड़े पीपल के गोदों (फल) को खाकर बड़ा होने लगा। कालान्तर में पीपल के फलों और पत्तों को खाकर बालक का जीवन किसी प्रकार सुरक्षित रहा।

एक दिन देवर्षि नारद वहां से गुजर रहे थे ।नारद ने पीपल के कोटर में बालक को देख कर उसका परिचय मांगा -
नारद बोले - बालक तुम कौन हो?
बालक - यही तो मैं भी जानना चहता हूँ ।
नारद - तुम्हारे जनक कौन हैं?
बालक - यही तो मैं भी जानना चाहता हूँ ।

तब नारद ने आँखें बन्द कर ध्यान लगाया ।

तत्पश्चात आश्चर्यचकित हो कर बालक को बताया कि 'हे बालक! तुम महान दानी महर्षि दधीचि के पुत्र हो । तुम्हारे पिता की अस्थियों का वज्रास्त्र बनाकर ही देवताओं ने असुरों पर विजय पायी थी।तुम्हारे पिता की मृत्यु मात्र 31 वर्ष की वय में ही हो गयी थी'।

बालक - मेरे पिता की अकाल मृत्यु का क्या कारण था?
नारद - तुम्हारे पिता पर शनिदेव की महादशा थी।
बालक - मेरे उपर आयी विपत्ति का कारण क्या था?
नारद - शनिदेव की महादशा।
इतना बताकर देवर्षि नारद ने पीपल के पत्तों और गोदों को खाकर बड़े हुए उस बालक का नाम पिप्पलाद रखा और उसे दीक्षित किया।

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