Gurukula literally means a place where shishyas (aspirants of knowledge) associate with the Guru to get enlightened. Here ‘Kula’ means domain or extended family. A gurukula was an important place in ancient Indian society. The gurukula system was the basic concept of education at that time. In this article, we shall have a glance on the system of gurukula.
Who is Guru: The word “Guru” has several meanings. In sanskrit ‘gu’ means darkness and ‘ru’ means light. A person who rescues his depended by bringing him out of darkness and guides him to light is regarded as ‘Guru’. “Guru” also means ‘Heavy’. One who is heavy with knowledge is called a guru. Guru is one who dispels the     darkness of ignorance in his disciple with the torchlight of knowledge. 

The Principle and the Environment
The basic principle of gurukula system is learning by serving. Shisyas learn lessons by first serving the guru. Gurukula system is completely residential in nature. Shisyas live in proximity of the guru, almost in the same house. As they live near their guru, they associate with him very intimately. They serve their guru in his day-to-day life, even in his mundane chores such as cooking, washing clothes, fetching water etc. The set up of the system is usually in remote areas where there is no disturbance. This environment is very conducive for learning.
Guru observes character and temperament of each student and imparts knowledge accordingly. He considers all students as equal. One student may be a King’s son and one may be a cobbler’s son, but for guru what matters is the character of the student. In this way, there is no discrimination against caste, creed and family status of the student.
What Guru Teaches his Students?
The students make their guru as their role model. Guru becomes the second father for the students. He guides them how to lead a successful life. He teaches subject matter of Vedas, art of using weaponry, music and self defense. He teaches the students what is the aim of human life. What are the moral values that one has to imbibe to be a successful person in the human society. He teaches how can one disentangle himself from the complexities of material existence and how can one achieve the ultimate success. The guru gives this knowledge to his disciples through his own example. Thus, guru is one who has a flawless character and he imparts the same flawless character to his students through his constant association.