Published On: Tue, Feb 14th, 2017

Keeping the age-old tradition alive

HYDERABAD:  Dharmo Vishwasya Jagatah Pratishtha.…’ and many more lines from Shastras in synchronised and tender voices echo as we pass by the treacherous and rutted roads of Safilguda. The positive vibes intuitively make you manoeuvre your vehicle into those cluttered alleys.

Then you automatically spot a house that has lads of different age groups, wearing the time-honoured dhotis, sporting the scared vibuthi and marginally shaved head with a tied bun, intoning vedas in chorus. This out-of-the-box Gurukul is a marked departure from the techno schools, digi schools and international schools that have mushroomed in the city.

As you enter the premises, the chants and hymns from the Vedas rent the air. There is more than what meets the eye at the Veda patashala here. Perhaps the reason why R Venkatrama Ghanapadigal, the founder will receive the Certificate of Honour from none other than President Pranab Mukherjee himself in March.

As the kids dispersed for their Gayatri Japam, Venkatrama Ghanapadigal briefs more about the Gurukul,
that is one of its kind. “One Veda pundit or a member from a Veda Bhavan or one who has studied or mastered the vedas or shastras or one who has taught or advocated or supported or promoted vedas is selected for this certificate of honour. I may be called in arch to receive it,” he informs in the most
composed way, for his vision is to keep the legacy going than awards.

He first started this Gurukul in 1984 at his residence with just three students, today he has more than 125
students and many passed out of the veda school over the years.
“When the number of students increased, my house was not sufficient and I purchased a land and then constructed a building for housing more students. I named the building Veda Bhavan. More than 200 students have learnt Vedas and Shastras here and are employed at various places in Telangana, Rajmundry, Vijayawada, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. All this happened due to the blessings of Paramacharya of Kanchi,” says humbly.

“There are many young students waiting to come to this place to learn and study vedas,” he shares racing
our hopes to see more scope in the field of our age old Vedas,” he adds.In addition to Vedas, English, Math and computer skills are also taught for students to be on par with the rat race that happens in regular schools.

“They should not find it difficult when they grow up. We provide free boarding and lodging and students stay here and learn. They are given holidays in May every year, so that they can go and stay with their parents. On certain occasions, they are permitted to attend to visit for two days to attend the marriage of close relatives, which cannot be avoided.

Parents can come and visit the students on their birthdays,” Ghanapadigal enlightens us about the Gurukul, a concept that existed in our mythologies too. Students here wake up at 5 am without an alarm. Surprised? Yes, 5 am, the time when kids belonging to social media league go to sleep. They revise what was taught previously. From 6 am to 7 am, they do their morning ablutions and perform Sandhyavandanam. After breakfast, they study till 11.45 am. Thereafter they are provided lunch. Postlunch, they have classes again. At 4.30 pm, afte the snack break, from 5 pm to 6 pm, they are taught English and computers.

From 6 pm to 7 pm they learn Vishnu Sahasrnamam and perform Sandhyavandanam. After 7 pm, they revise what has been taught on that day and have supper.

“I started learnning Vedas from the age of eight at Kanchipuram. After 10 years, I came to Hyderabad for higher learning on Veda Bhashyam at Kowtha Swarajya press in Padmarao nagar from 1969 to 1979.

Thereaafter, I worked for three years in Tirupathi. I came to Hyderabad and started Veda Bhavan on the advice of paramacharya,” the certificate of honour awardee recalls. They started in the name of Sankara Gurukula Trust .

They opened a corpus fund and the interest earned funds the Veda Bhavan. “Due to decrease in the interest rate, we now accept general donations from well-wishers.

They donate `25,000 per student for one year and `25,0000 for his entire studies which is put in the corpus fund. Students who pass out successfully receive a gift of ` 25,000.” Asked on their chances of their going abroad, he says, “They have huge demand in India and a few do go abroad. I don’t encourage them going there th ough. India is best,” he concludes.

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