Vedas for the common man is A.K.Ramamurthi’s dream, to realise which he has created the Vedic Sangeeta Foundation.
“The Vedas belong to everyone, and are not the exclusive preserve of any community, says A.K.Ramamurthi (Ph: 24997422), founder and managing trustee, Vedic Sangeeta Foundation ( www.vedicsangeet.in) “I wanted the Vedas to reach the common man. That’s why the Vedic Sangeeta Foundation came into existence.” With the blessings of the Sringeri Acharya, he organised a seminar in 2002, to which he invited Vedic scholars and musicologists. Ramamurthi then asked the scholars who had come to the seminar, if his idea of a Vedic foundation appealed to them. They unanimously felt that he should go ahead with his plan and the Vedic Sangeeta Foundation was born in 2003. Mohan Parasaran, Additional Solicitor General of India, is its president. What is the purpose of the foundation? “There are 1,131 sakas in the Vedas. Today, only 10 (by some accounts13) are extant and even these are in danger of being lost,” says Ramamurthi. But Veda patasalas preserve the Vedas, don’t they? “No,” says Ramamurthi emphatically. “A person has to study a Veda for 13 years to become a vidwan. Most people who enrol for these courses just learn mantras associated with marriage and funeral rites, and then quit the patasala. The Kramam, Ghanam portions of the Vedas will be lost if this trend continues.”
The foundation plans to record all the Vedas and make them available online. It also plans to take them to schools and colleges.
Since Sama Veda is believed to be the origin of music, the foundation plans to explore the connection. Music is one of the four Upa Vedas.
Ramamurthi speaks of practical difficulties involved in his project. Apart from the cost, which works out to a total of Rs.2.25 crores, there are other unexpected hitches. Once he hired a studio for a recording, but the pandit who was to recite the Veda, couldn’t make it. The same went on for the next 10 days and although no recording was done Ramamurthi had to pay the rent of Rs.60,000.
The foundation had been bringing out a newsletter detailing its activities, but they have stopped it now. “Musicologist T.S. Parthasarathy’s death has been a great blow. It was he who suggested that we come out with a newsletter, helped us plan the layout and edited it for us. Now we have no one to help us with it,” explains Ramamurthi.
At the foundation
The foundation periodically organises Vedic workshops, Harikathas, music concerts and seminars. The latest was that of Visakha Hari, who presented “Venkatadri Mahatmyam” to a packed house at the Asthika Samajam. One of the most interesting lectures organised by the foundation was by Dr. Krishnamoorthy Srinivas, neurologist and honorary member, American Neurological Association.
Dr.Srinivas recalled an instance of a lady with Parkinsonism, who was depressed because she didn’t like being dependent on others. She discovered that whenever music was played she could walk! So she now has some music playing all the time.
In Harvard, neurologists have found that children who learn music develop better language skills and are more disciplined.
Other interesting lectures organised by the foundation include the one on Vedas and Nada (Krishnapremi Swami), rich heritage of the Vedas and music (C.L.Ramakrishnan) and the glory of the Vedas (Dr.Veezhinathan).