The subjects that were taught at the Gurukuls were very specialized but unfortunately the subject names have been misrepresented or wrongly translated. Here I have made a sincere attempt to bring the correct meaning of the subjects and some terminologies too.
59. Vyakarana: Vyakarana is usually referred to as Grammar but Vyakarana is much more than that. Vyakarana or “explanation, analysis” refers to one of the six ancient Vedangas, ancillary science connected with the four Vedas, which are main scriptures in Bharat. Vyakarana is the study of grammar, linguistic analysis, phonetics, etymology etc. in Sanskrit and many Bharathiya languages. It is appropriate to mention about Paṇini’s Ashtadhyayi which is the most important surviving text of the Vyakaraṇa traditions. This text consists of eight chapters, each divided into four Padas, cumulatively containing 4000 sutras. These contain the Sutras on grammar, linguistic analysis, linguistic explanations, phonetics and etymology.
60. Ganitha: Ganitha is usually translated as Arithmetic or Mathematics but it is much more than that. Ganitha includes Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Applied Maths like Trigonometry, Integration, Differentiation, Calculus etc. and all this for understanding Jyothish which is Cosmology. It is most appropriate to mention that the decimal number system in use today was first recorded in Bharathiya Ganitha. Ganithagjnas of Bharat made the earliest contributions to the study and usage of the concept of zero as a number. When the whole world was counting only from 1 to 9, Bharathiya Ganithagjnas were counting 0 to 9 and up to infinity in the +ve numbers side and 0 downwards to negative Infinity in the –ve numbers side.
61. Jyothisha: The general understanding of this Shastra especially amongst the so-called “Liberals” and “Scientific Thinkers” is that Jyothisha is superstition. Contrary to this, Jyothisha Shastra deals with the apparent movement of the 9 Grahas (not planets), through the 12 Rashis (not just zodiac constellations) and the 27 Nakshatras (asterisms and not stars). Bharathiya Jyothishya (Indian astronomy) has a long history stretching from pre-historic to modern times. Some of the earliest roots of Bharathiya Jyothishya (Indian astronomy) can be dated to the period of Indus Valley Civilization or earlier. Jyothishya later developed as a discipline of Vedanga or one of the “auxiliary disciplines” associated with the study of the Vedas, dating 1500 BC or even before that. The oldest known text is the Vedanga Jyotisha, dated to 1500–1300 BC.
Jyothisha Shastra deals with the positions of Grahas through Rashis and Nakshatras and their effects on our life. It also suggests that if these can affect your life, you too can counter-affect them through your Sadhana. Jyothisha Shastra is Astronomy rather than Astrology. Jyothisha deals with celestial events that repeat only once in a few thousand years. These events are represented by Jataka (Birth chart) of a person which depends on the Date of Birth, Time of Birth and the Place of Birth.
62. Rasayana Shastra: Rasayana Shastra is usually translated or referred to as Chemistry. Chemistry is the science of study of chemicals. Whereas “Rasayana” means to transform from one state to the other or it is simply Alchemy. This word Rasayana has evolved out of Rasam which means Mercury and the method of converting the highly poisonous Mercury to medicine was originally called Rasayana Tantra. From this, this science and fine art of Rasayana Shastra evolved and hence it should be called as Alchemy. The usage of Mercury in medicine is known to the Siddhas of Bharat as recorded by Rishi Agasthya and his wife Lopamudra in various texts which are dated probably to 1600 – 1500 BC.
63. Bhoutha Shastra: Bhoutha Shastra actually is the study of everything that is made up of the “Pancha Bhuthas” or the five elements, whereas Modern Science doesn’t accept the Bharathiya concept of Pancha Bhutas. Bhoutha Shastra is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world which is made up of the Pancha Bhuthas through Aalochana (Observation), Prayoga (experimentation), Upadhi (postulation) and Parinama (conclusive proof), but usually Bhoutha Shastra is translated or referred to as Physics.
64. Akshara: The word Akshara is usually translated as Alphabet, but let us see the difference. ‘Ra’ in Sanskrit means Radiance or Light and it refers to Knowledge, ‘A’ is the first sound or the first of the Vowels and ‘Ksha’ is the last of the special consonants. Hence ‘Akshara’ means the Radiance or Knowledge which falls in between the first vowel and the last special consonant which is the whole of the Aksharamala. Now let me tell you that the word Alphabet it has its roots in only the first two sounds of the Greek alphabets of Alpha and Beta.
65. Akshaya: Like Akshara, the word Akshaya also has A and Ksha, but here the word has to be seen in a different context. “Kshaya” means to get destroyed. Peculiarly this word is formed by the last of the Special Consonants Ksha and first of the Special Consonants Ya.
In this context we need to understand the order of the Aksharamala of Bharathiya Bhasha. The Aksharas “A” to “Aha” are the vowels as well as the sounds that a child makes even before he learns to speak and these sounds arise in the throat without or with the least involvement of the tongue. The consonants क to ङ and च to ञ are the sounds made by the birds, similarly ट to ण and त to न are sounds usually made by the amphibians, प to म are sounds made by Mammals and the special consonants य to क्ष are sounds which only Humans can make. Hence destruction is represented by reverse order of this Kshaya; and Akshya is that which cannot be destroyed.
66. Anantha: Anantha is usually translated as Infinity, but it actually means ‘Endless’. Anantha Padmanabha or Lord Vishnu who is sleeping on the Shesha Naga coiled is actually almost in the shape of ∞.If one observes this symbol and the Ananta Padmanabha Swamy, they almost resemble each other. This symbol doesn’t have a beginning or an end, so this word can be equated to Infinity. Anantha also has another connotation “Aadhyantarahita” which means that without a beginning and end. If we actually see there is no equivalent word for this term in English.