Downtown

Maintaining a connection with the past

From its inception, the school has been serving as a centre for religious activities. Photo: Vaishali R Venkat  

Tucked away inside a narrow street in Mylapore, this residential school echoes with Vedic chants. The voice of the Adhyapakar (head teacher) reading out the scriptures to the children can be heard clearly as one nears the school.

This has been going on for over eight decades.

Despite the changes in the way people are educated, this school sticks to the Guru-Sishya Prampara.

The Mylapore Veda Adhyayana Sabha was established by Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal — fondly known as Paramacharyal — of the Kanchi Mutt in 1932. The teachers started by imparting Vedic lessons to the children informally. The school was formally registered in 1939.

From its inception, the school has been serving as a centre for religious activities. The students are required to attend pradoshams at Kapaleeswarar temple.

The school also offered Sanskrit lessons for free to the general public in those days. In 1939, Dharmambal, a devotee of Paramacharyal, donated Rs. 3,000 to the school. With that, the committee members purchased a land at Pichupillai Street, Mylapore, where the school functions now.

The school follows a gurukulum method of teaching and classes go on from 5.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. On amavasya and pournami, students are given a break from their classes, even if they have homework to do.

Students are allowed to visit their homes once a year. During their stay, the school takes care of their accommodation and food. Of course, education, books and clothing are provided free of cost.

“In those days, every year, at least 20 to 25 students sought admission to the school. But, now, only five students study here,” says S. Sridharan, secretary. As a way of revival, the school plans to introduce Sanskrit, computer and English classes from this year. In due course, it plans to teach concepts based on the National Open School syllabus.

Apart from running a patashala, theschool conducts religious discourses for 45 days, offer bhikshavandanams to Acharyas of Kanchi and Sringeri mutt, conducts part-time Vedic classes for grahasthas (married people) , organises lectures on how to lead a disciplined life, and conducts monthly homams, yagams and other poojas.

It also plans to restart the chanting of Vedas at Kapaleeswarar temple during pradosham and revive its free Sanskrit classes.

For details, contact Nandakumar Ganapadigal, adhyapakar, at 9444466484.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 7:38:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/maintaining-a-connection-with-the-past-through-mylapore-veda-adhyayana-sabha/article7645668.ece

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