NALANDA – “Institute of National Importance”

 NALANDA – “Institute of National Importance”

Nalanda was a famous university in India, it is considered the first residential university in India. It was founded during the era of the Gupta Empire from 427 AD to 1197 AD. Along with Yoga, Sarvastivada, grammar, medicine, logic, and mathematics were taught here. Many texts composed here such as Mahavairochan Tantra and Shantideva Bodhisattvacharyavatara texts which played an important role in the development of Buddhism. 

 Nalanda was a Buddhist monastic university of ancient Magadha, which was built in 1000 AD and established in Rajagriha. It was the main center of knowledge in ancient times. Xuanzang, a pilgrim, was the source of 657 texts and 400 texts brought by Yijing in the 7th century. 

Nalanda University has a different status from the point of view of arts. Bright red bricks were used in the construction of Nalanda University. It has a huge door surrounded by walls including many stupas, temples, meditation halls, parks, lakes, etc. The specialty of this university is its library, Ratnasagar, Ratnaranjaka, and Ratnodadhi, which were furnished in three multi-story buildings. 

It is said that Nalanda belonged to the time of Mahavira and many scholars had gained knowledge from here.

  1. Nagarjuna
  2. Buddhapalita
  3. Shantrakshita
  4. Acharya Aryadeva
  5. Yijing 
  6. Xuanzang 

Nalanda University was destroyed in 1202 AD by a Turk invader, Mohammad Bakhtiyar Khilji. An old story tells that once Bakhtiyar Khilji became ill and could not recover even after getting a lot of treatment, then he called Acharya Rahul Sribhadra, Head of the Ayurveda Department of Nalanda University. Khilji told he would like to be cured but without taking medicines. So, Acharya gave him Quran to read, due to which he got cured. He was surprised by the fact that Indian scholars have more knowledge than their princes, because of this, he was angry that he set fire to the library of Nalanda and destroyed it, to end the knowledge the true power. The libraries kept burning for three months many manuscripts and scholars were beheaded.

In recent times, Nalanda University has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and today it is a center of major attraction. And it is our responsibility to it that we should try to keep its history alive because it gives India a prominent place in the world.

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