heritage History & Culture

Athur Patasala: a Vedic school for wholesome education

Young vidyartis  

It is a long drive from Chennai to Athur, six km from Chingleput, where Sri Chathurveda Vidhya Ganapathi Vedashram is situated. The Vedic school buzzes with cheerful children, has on its campus huge sheds of healthy cows, a playground, dormitory, etc. The rustic ambience is perfect for the quiet service being rendered on the sprawling grounds.

Gosala at the Athur Patasala campus

Gosala at the Athur Patasala campus   | Photo Credit: Geetha Venktaramanan

 

Founded in 2011 with the objective of preserving the Vedas and protecting cows, the Vedashram, run by SCVG Trust, completes seven years on April 7. The second largest of its kind in Tamil Nadu, it has the most number of students for Kanva Shaka. At present 118 vidyarthis, from several States, are pursuing Vedic studies at the Gurukulam. Pandits, well-versed in the subjects, are the teachers with Sri Kumaraguru Ghanapadigal as the principal. The children are also trained in regular curriculum so that they could qualify for the mainstream. Founder Kamakoti Ramamurthi, senior executive in an IT firm, is supervising the affairs, dedicating week-ends to the Patasala. Provisions and groceries, including vegetables and fruits, are transported from Chennai.

“My father Ramamurthi was a Vedic scholar, a purohit by profession. It was his desire that our family should do its bit for Veda Matha. A follower of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, Kamakoti started the school, which is flourishing. “There is no dearth of talent. Only we need support to sustain the initiative. Imparting quality education along with a robust lifestyle is the aim of the Patasala,” he explains with the atmosphere resonating with the chorus of vidyartis.

Entrance to Athur Patasala

Entrance to Athur Patasala  

 

“It is still a work in progress,” says Kamakoti, as we climb a flight of stairs, where classes are in progress. Two buildings of three floors each accommodate 100 students, a modern kitchen with hygiene as mantra, dining hall, staff quarters, a prayer hall, bhajan hall and so on. An additional building to create more space for the vidyartis is on the anvil.

Cow shelters

There are two spacious gosalas to house 45 cows, more than 30 being native breed. Some of them have gone for grazing. A day-old calf attracts attention. A resident veterinary doctor and caretakers keep vigil round-the-clock. “The cows yield enough milk to meet the requirements of the campus,” says the founder offering a hot delicious cup. The campus is powered by solar energy and has a back-up too.

At the end of school hours at 4.30, the students are served healthy snack. It is play time and they rush to the playground with typical enthusiasm. “Their routine, including anushtanam, take place under the watchful eyes of seniors. We need to remember that we are responsible for their welfare. It is our duty to make them feel happy in this adopted home,” says Kamakoti. There is a matron, who takes care of the children and updates parents. Regular health check-ups and medical insurance are in place.

“Eleven have emerged as qualified Ghanapatis from the Patasala and 18 as Kramapatis scoring high marks in the examination conducted by Sri Matam, Kanchipuram. The students have won prizes at competitions and can perform full-fledged Veda Parayanam at temples and houses on invitation,” adds Kamakoti.

Class in progress

Class in progress  

 

The sylvan surrounding includes shrines for Vinayaka, Sruti Kamakshi, Chandramouleeswara, Dakshinamurti, Subramanya, Mahaswami Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati and Parivara devathas. Mahaswami aradhana and jayanti are conducted with rituals and special pujas. Annual Day pujas include Chandi homam. “Several religious leaders apart from the Kanchi Acharyas have graced the campus,” says Kamakoti.

Twilight is setting as this writer reluctantly leaves the campus, energised in spite of the tour of the sprawling grounds. “It is the positive vibration of the place,” smiles Kamakoti. The Vidyartis give a send-off with a reverberating chant of the Math’s Swastivachakam. The cows are returning and gently guided into the sheds. “It is the blessing of my forefathers, which has opened this path to me. However, taking the institution to the next level depends on the goodwill of philanthropic persons, keen on the preservation of the Vedas and cows,” says Kamakoti, who has to meet a monthly expenditure of ₹6.5 lakhs.

There are so many ways, small and big, in which the cause can be helped. The Trust has a bank account in the name SCVG Trust with Indian Bank. The number: 6134392479, Saidapet Branch, Chennai. IFSC: IDIB000S004. R. Kamakoti can be contacted at Sri Chaturveda Vidhya Ganapathi Trust, Registered Office: No. 26/8, Ganapathi Villa, Ramachandra Iyer Street, T. Nagar. Phone: 9884402624. Email: SCVGTrust@gmail.com. Website: www.athurvedapatasala.com

Anniversary on Sunday

The Samvatsara function, anniversary, will be celebrated at the campus on Sunday, April 7, 8.30 a.m. onwards with abhishekam to all the deities and special homams. It will be a mixture of entertainment and education as Brahmasri Sengalipuram Sundararama Vajpayee will deliver the keynote address. The students will present skits in Sanskrit, English and Tamil. Prizes and certificates will be given away to meritorious candidates. The function will conclude with deeparadana and distribution of prasadam.


Our code of editorial values

Corrections & Clarifications: The article has been edited post publication for a factual error

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 12, 2021 7:47:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/education-wholesome-and-traditional/article26732008.ece

Next Story