Posts tagged ‘Guru’

Fostering the Vedic lineage

Sri Seetharama Ganapadigal

The hazy sounds of the chorus Vedic chants heard from a good twenty meter distance turns electrifying as one steps into the sacred precinct of the Sri Bharathi Theertha Veda Patasala, situated in Mattancherry, Kochi. The rhythmic intonations of complex Vedic mantras by a group of dhoti clad boys sitting cross-legged in two inner-facing rows transports the listener to a rarefied field of divine exuberance. The benign glance of Seetharama Ganapadigal, sitting imposingly at the centre with hands gesturing the ebb and flow of the verses, ensures a strict discipline to the oral academic tradition and brings to life the extolled Guru-Shishya Parampara. And as the students effortlessly chant pristine sanskrit verses in precious meter and with clear diction, one is overwhelmed at the expanse of the Vedic knowledge and the grandeur of its expression! 

Sri Sri Sri Bharathi Tirtha Swamigal: Epitome of Vedic wisdom

The Patasala stands as a powerful beacon of light in the dissemination and in the re-establishment of the glorious Vedic wisdom and the students graduating from its portal spread far and wide to foster further this ancient tradition of learning. The pupils go through an exacting daily routine to grasp the essence of the vedas and to master the technique of its correct rendition for a period of ten long years. The daily schedule of a Shishya starts at the wee hours of the morning and the entire day is strictly regimented into vigorous periods for learning, practice, meditation and reflection. In the course of the curriculum, a student is expected to master 3500 Vedic verses called the ‘Suktas’, understand and grasp its philosophical underpinnings and chant them in different formats, each style more complex than the preceding one. The student once well versed in ‘Moolam’, the basic format of chanting is led to the advanced ‘Padam’ rendition and further progresses to more complicated and nuanced styles of ‘Kramam’, ‘Jadai’ and ‘Ganam’. And the mastering of such a vast body of knowledge and the formats demand an intellect of a superior order, a razor sharp memory and a voice quality that booms and reverberates. The student passing out is also a well disciplined individual with deeply engrained high moral and ethical values… a harmonious synthesis of the qualities of the head and the heart. 

With the preceptor

Vedas are the divine revelations, the Shruthi, and are the life breath of the Bharatiya culture. Sages of the yore to whom these sacred knowledge were revealed, codified and broadly classified them into four distinct branches – The Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas with each of these further sub-divided into Samhitas ( hymns), Brahmanas (rituals), Aranyakas (theologies) and the Upanishads, the philosophical thought pertaining to the branch. The Upanishads, also called the Vedanta, seeks to explore the nature of the Brahman, the Supreme, and establishes the truth, through dialectical reasoning, the oneness of all creations. Orally passed on from generation to generation, these vast compilation of texts covers all aspects of human knowledge and addresses myriad human needs, progressively leading the learner to the ultimate truth. Thus the Vedas can be unequivocally proclaimed as the texts of the supreme truth on which the entire edifice of the Sanathana Dharma, the eternal religion, stands erected and is the bedrock of the Bharatiya Sanskriti, the Indian culture, thought and civilisation.

The Patasala

And the torchbearers of this ancient wisdom has been the Brahmins, the priestly class, who, through their dedicated and selfless commitments, have successfully preserved these priceless heritage over millenniums. Undertaking many a personal sacrifice, withstanding immense challenges over centuries and many living in abject penury, Brahmins have gloriously upheld the sacred task of protecting and fostering the Vedas and securing them for the future generations. Harnessing modern communication tools, select members of the community are still immersed in the propagation of the Vedas and personages like Seetharama Ganapadigal are an integral part of that unbroken lineage established by the sage Vyasa Krishna Dwaipayana. 

Bhartiya culture will be preserved, protected and fostered only if the Vedic traditions are propagated and nourished and the true identity of the nation rests in the internalising the universal ideals as declared in the Vedas.

 “ Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”, meaning, ‘May the entire world be happy’!.

Yours 

Narayanan

April 15, 2022 at 1:22 pm 18 comments

Guru Dakshina

Ambuja Iyer, an octogenarian, logs to her computer every morning to conduct classes to hundreds of her students, online. She has mastered the technique to teach complex mathematical ideas on the digital medium so that her children do not miss out the lessons when the schools are closed during the lockdown and beyond. When many, half her age, are grappling to understand the fundamentals of various online platforms and to effectively transform them for the ‘Work From Home’ culture, here is a passionate teacher juggling the digital tools with such ease that her online classes are billed as vibrant, interactive and trend-setting. Her virtual classes today are a rage among the students and their numbers are only growing!

Moumita, a Pune-based Chemistry teacher, was at her innovative best when it came to creating a lively classroom environment for her online sessions. She used a cloth hanger tied with strings to an armchair and to the ceiling to keep the camera of her mobile phone focused on the board as she explained the complex chemical reactions and derived the equations on it. The students, sitting in the comforts of their homes, could easily understand the concepts explained as effectively as they would have in a physical classroom. And what’s more, many even recorded her sessions to recapitulate the lessons at their convenience.   

And in Kochi, Elizabeth Fernandez and her teacher colleagues of the St. John Bosco school tread miles every working day during lockdown to teach children of migrant workers living under a bridge in the city. The teachers download the content for the online classes to a laptop and play it to the children who mill around them as they explain the lesson, with masks on. The under-the-bridge classes can only be conducted after eleven, when the day has really turned hot, to facilitate children accompany their parents every morning to go for fishing, which is their livelihood. 

Ambuja Iyer, Moumita, Elizabeth and thousands of other teachers across the country struggle day in and day out to prepare lessons, conduct online classes and design offline activities so that our children remain focussed and engaged with their studies through out the pandemic period. They leave no stone unturned to understand the workings of online teaching methods, that were quite alien to them till the other day, and stretch themselves to gain expertise on various digital platforms so that student interest is sustained, classes remain effective and learning objectives, accomplished. These teachers spend hours on end recording video lessons and audio files, designing worksheets and assessment tools, and uploading feedbacks with comments…and all these are in addition to the regular job of conducting online classes. Webinars, teacher training programs and online parent meetings… and the job of a teacher during lockdown is nothing short than being herculean.

But sadly, as the physical schools are not functioning, many parents are not willing to pay up the regular school fees even when their incomes are not impacted and their children fully engaged with the online classes. As the revenue of the schools drop drastically, the schools, in turn, have resorted to cutting down the salaries of teachers and, in many cases, even stopped paying them completely resulting in desperation among the teaching fraternity. And to give vent to their anger and to bring their plight to the notice of the public, teachers, in many places, have taken to the streets, with slogans and placards.  And it was indeed a pathetic sight that, those who are entrusted with the task of shaping the destiny of our children are made to shout and plead for their basic rights, the salaries, in city squares!

The Indian ethos have always accorded a venerated position to the Guru, the Preceptor and it firmly proclaims that it is only with the blessings of the teacher, that one attains glory and fulfilment in life. And paying up for the knowledge received, the Guru Dakshina, is the binding duty so that the knowledge bears fruition.

An Ekalavya paid the Guru Dakshina by cutting his thumb for the imagined instruction received from his Guru… And we, belonging to that lineage, should show no reluctance to pay our teachers their due… without they asking for it.   

Yours

Narayanan

Post script: A Kochi teacher is using Augmented Reality (AR) to teach primary class children that gives a 3D effect.

https://m.timesofindia.com/videos/city/kochi/kochi-school-teacher-uses-augmented-reality-technology-for-conducting-lower-primary-online-classes/videoshow/76958894.cms

July 12, 2020 at 6:57 pm 18 comments


Recent Posts

Categories

Most popular

Chronology

August 2022
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Blog Stats

  • 27,086 hits

previous posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 462 other followers