of learning and not about celibating"
Literally speaking, this phase of human life is usually the first 20 years when the young novice is set upon seeking ways to know his essential self. Though labeled as 'soul searching', the brahmacharya is about learning a lot of material sciences too. Young children who were initiated in to the studies of the self, had lot more to learn about their world, than just about one's Self.
Disciple : That's quite early to search for the soul ?
Master : Yes, but only when you start early, you
may end up finding it before you get too old !
Disciple : usually I have seen people planning their
bit of soul searching, at much later stages in life !
Master : True, it may happen any age or stage.
The learning indeed goes on all the time !
A brahmachari learns all that which may guide him to find out the nature his own self. Of the many sciences taught, there were prominent ones such as, Dharma Shastra - Moral science, Arta Shastras - Material sciences, Samkhya Shastra - Intellectualism, Shastra Shastra - Science of Weaponry, Neeti Shastra - Jurisprudence, Shilpa Shastra - Iconography, Vaastu Shastra - Science of Spaces, Nyaya Shastra - Science of Logic.
Disciple : That's awe inspiring list of wisdom for
the children to learn, so early in their lives !
Master : Quite rightly so. All the learning were
tailored to put the child on track of existential truth !
As part of their initiation in their studies, they are taught how to live a life of dedication and determination. Symbolically they tonsured the head of the child, who entered the school of wisdom, leaving just one portion of hair as tuft. Traditionally speaking that small tuft of hair indicates the singlepointedness of the child in learning. They may not focus on anything else but just the learning.
Disciple : I thought the tuft was meant for the guru to
catch the erring student, especially if he runs away ?
Master : Yes sometimes, it must have worked that way too !
Disciple : But why these days such disciplined phase of
life is not made available to children ?
Master : The format must have been changed, but even today
the child has all the facilities to learn everything under sun
within their stipulated 20 years or even more !
Even if the education is generally made available to the child in the modern days, still the dedication and determination of a student in schools of wisdom during the days of yore, has been always unmatchable even today. Mainly because of the spiritual intonations of the teachings imparted to the children.