Saturday, September 17, 2011

Arsha Vidya Gurukulam nurturing ancient Vedic tradition

The ancient Vedic education is the identity of our nation. However with the course of time, this system of education started declining because of the Macaulay’s education system imposed by British. Arsha Vidya Gurukulam has made an effort to revive this tradition of Vedic education so as to preserve our rich and varied heritage of knowledge.

Located in a serene environment in the picturesque Nilgiri mountains at a distance of 25 km from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu state, the gurukulam mainly imparts knowledge of Advaita Vedanta and Sanskrit to the students. The word ‘Arsha’ means that which is from the Rishis - the great sages of ancient India. Arsha Vidya Gurukulam is a place where one learns the teachings imparted by the Rishis.
Established in 1990 by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, an eminent teacher of Vedanta and an erudite scholar in Sanskrit, the Gurukulam is patterned on the lines of the ancient gurukulams of India. The Gurukulam offers Indians and Westerners alike an opportunity to study the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Brahmasutras and other related classic texts. Here, Vedanta is taught true to the sampradaya, the traditional way of teaching, in a setup which is as modern as it is traditional. The students come here and live with the teacher, learning as much from living in the gurukulam as from the teaching. The students are selected from all over the world, based on their interest and commitment to learn.


The infrastructural facility includes computers, scanner, printer, digital camera, high definition video camera, facilities for researchers to stay comfortably and a good library. The gurukulam has a digital library. The library has digital images of palm leaf manuscripts and paper manuscripts running to around 5 to 6 lakh pages and video documentation of rituals running to more than 100 hours. As a part of the effort to bring into print some unpublished texts, a team of scholars has been constituted as a part of the Research Council.

Temples and cow protection:

There are two temples inside the gurukulam premises, one for Lord Dakshinamurti and the other for Lord Kalyana Subramanya (Murugan).

Mahabharata says “Cows are the mothers of both the Past and the Future. Every morning, people should bow with reverence unto cows. Cows are sacred. They are the foremost of all things in the world. They are verily the refuge of the universe. They are the mothers of the very deities. They are verily incomparable. Cows are the mothers of the universe. There is no gift more sacred than the gift of cows. There is no gift that produces more blessed merit.” The gurukulam is actively engaged in protecting cows.


The long-term study programme has a syllabus that includes study of Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Vedanta prakaranas like Tattvabodha, Atmabodha, Panchadashi etc, Brahmasutra and Sanskrit with Paninian system of Grammar. All these imply the study of Sankara Bhashya in the original. Besides all this, there is a daily meditation and satsangs (which are often question and answer sessions).

Bhagavad Gita Home Study Programme: The gurukulam has a Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course, a very effective way of imbibing the teaching. The course material, comprising of a set of four volumes, is based on actual classroom teaching of the complete Bhagavad Gita to students of a three-year programme in Vedanta. Bhagavad Gita home study MP3 CD set made up of seven CDs which cover all the 360 plus classes form the basis for home study material.

Veda Pathashala: Maharshi Vyasa is credited with classifying the four Vedas into various shakhas. It is believed that when Sri Vyasa first classified the Vedas there were about 1180 shakhas or branches. Due to reasons known and unknown to us, only about 13 shakhas survive today. The gurukulam runs a Veda Pathashala inside the premises where students aged between 12 and 18 learn Raanaayani shakha of Samaveda.


Arsha Vidya Gurukulam
Anaikatti P O, Coimbatore
Tamil Nadu 641 108, India.
Phone: 91-422-2657001, 91-9442646701

How to reach:

Gurukulam is situated to the North-West of Coimbatore at a distance of 45 km from airport and 30 km from the railway station or the central bus stand.

By air: Coimbatore Airport, known as Peelamedu Airport, is at a distance of 10 km from the city center. Coimbatore is connected by air to airports in South India, especially to Chennai.

By train: Coimbatore junction is a major railway station in Southern Railway.

By bus: State road transport corporations of Tamil Nadu and Kerala operate many bus services from Coimbatore connecting various cities in the state.
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