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Veda Pathshala: Continuing the Golden Heritage

The Veda Center of Trivandrum

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Students at the Vedic School, Trivandrum

Guru & Students at the Vedic School, Trivandrum

The Sree Seetharam Anjeneya Kendra (SSAK) Vedic Center in the southern Indian city of Trivandrum is a recherché “Pathshala” (Sanskrit for “school”) where Vedas are taught systematically under the pedagogic principles of the age-old “gurukul” system of education.

The Veda “Kendra” (Sanskrit for “center”) was established in 1982 by the Sree Ramasarma Charitable Trust, and is lodged in an archetype building which resonates with Vedic chants and “sutras”. The main purpose of the Center is to preserve and propagate the value of Vedas to the present and coming generation.

Admission to the Pathshala is based on a basic aptitude test conducted by the scholars of the Kendra as elementary knowledge of Vedas is imperative. Currently, there are 30 students, including part-timers, from different parts of India studying the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda under the tutelage of four Vedic scholars.

The minimum period of study for the comprehensive completion of Rig Veda and Atharva Veda is eight years, and there are periodic exams to gauge the progress of the pupils. The language of instruction is Sanskrit and the students' converse in both Hindi and Sanskrit. English and Math are taught optionally and the students are given lessons in yoga to enhance concentration and attain equanimity of mind.

Everyday classes start at 5 o'clock in the morning and students go through a rigorous and punctilious training in Vedas imbibing the moral philosophy and etiquette embedded in the holy scriptures. The Pathshala has a strict code of conduct for food and dress. Only “satvic” food as prescribed in scriptures is served and modern entertainment is forbidden. The students are given a religious tonsure and sport a “kudumbhi” (holy pony-tail) and are adorned in yellow dhoti. Apart from studies, students are given time for sports and recreation, and the bed time is 9.30 pm. Tuition, food, clothing and medical care are given free of charge by the Pathshala.

Apart from teaching the Vedas, the Pathshala engages in numerous activities to spread the message of the Vedas in the modern world. The center grants bursaries to upcoming Vedic scholars and has a constant co-ordination with like-minded organizations in India. The kendra conducts seminars and symposiums regularly to impart Vedic knowledge to common man. The centre is also involved in humanitarian work to uphold the interests of the impoverished and the diseased.

In future, the authorities of the kendra like to see the Pathshala upgraded to a unique Vedic University.

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