Compiled by Purnachandra dasa
The levels or components of education are described in the Brhad Aranyaka Upanisada (2.4.5), Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (1.17) and a Sankrit Poem called the Naisadha Caritam (1.4). These three sastras list the basis components of learning in slightly different ways, but we shall see that they all agree on the first three major levels.
The Brhad Aranyaka Upanisada offers three broad categories of learning: sravana, manana and nidhidhyasana. Sravana means hearing from a teacher. Manana means gaining intellectual insight or understanding by reflecting upon the subject. Nidhidhyasana means realization and application in life.
The Yoga Sutras present four levels: vitarka, vicara, ananda and asmitarupa. Vitarka consists of strudy, analysis, conjecture and argument. Vicara includes reflection, meditation, insight and understanding. Ananda contains assimilation and application. Asmitarupa is equivalent to Svarupa-sidhhi, the perfection of the astanga-yoga practice.
The Naisadha Caritam also mentions four levels: adhiti, bodha, acarana, and pracarana. Adhiti means to learn the subject thoroughly. Bodha entails gaining insight and proficiency in one’s learning. Acarana involve realizing the purpose of our learning and living according to it. Pracarana comprises giving this knowledge to others.