Friday, June 17, 2016

Vidhyarambham Samskar

Vidhyarambha Samskar

June is a month of enrolment of the Children of age 3-5 years in JKG, SKG, 1st Std, in the schools in India. The old tradition of celebration of the day as an important event by different castes and communities is still prevalent in many parts of the country.

Traditionally, Vidhyarambham is the beginning of knowledge for children, held through a ceremony. It is one of the 16 Samskars of Hinduism. Children write first letter of mantra under the supervision of the master. Thousands of people go to temple before sending their children to the school. People worship Goddess Sarasvati. Gurukul system of India has been replaced by the modern school system but the faith in the eternal forces still exists. However, the purity of Gurukul system of Vedic time disappeared.

But yesterday, I have witnessed a Gurukul Vidhyarambham Ceremony in Sabarmati, Ahmedabad.  A procession of 81 children of 3-10 Years age group (with their parents)were mounted on Elephant Ambaris (9), horse chariots and bullock carts, and with the sound of mangal vadhyas of Ransinga, bheri, mridanga, kartal, etc, was moving in the areas of Jain Colonies and finally reached to the Gutukulam in the morning. The campus of the Gurukul was decorated with natural colours and flowers. All the children were welcomed with traditional ponkhana at the gate. Thereafter, they assembled and occupied their seats on the Darbhasana to start the ritual in front of the statue of the Goddess Sarasvati. After the welcome rituals the admission procedure started with chanting Sarasvati mantra into their right ears by the masters and then they wrote the first letter of their life, aum, the symbol of the God.

You may be thinking, this is a normal tradition of India. What is new in it? It is not only new but also unique.

The children come here not for their regular study of Std 1-12. They neither have class 1,2,3.. system nor they receive any certificate of their passing of any standard of 1-12. It is not a regular schooling. And it is not recognised or equalised with our system. Like Diksha selected as the path of salvation, the Gurukul Siksha has been selected as the path of acquiring knowledge by the parents of the Jain children. The parents decide the Gurukul Siksha life for their children. The experts of ancient subjects of vaidik mathematics, science, Sanskrit, yoga, philosophy, astrology, astronomy, etc, teach them directly from the Granthas. Sanskrit is the main medium of their teaching. The students can stay here for many years, acquire knowledge of various subjects and return to samsara and live a life of their choice. They live an ancient life style in the Gurukul. They wake up at 4am, do yogabhyas, drink dharosna milk (to drink within 48 minutes of milking) with sarasvat churna, study different subjects; eat Satvik food three times in a day, cooked in brass utensils with cow dung cakes, the real taste of India. They learn horse riding and perform akhada teachings too.

What is required in HRD? Not only the reading and writing skill but the 'kelavani' of the new generation. They are our future citizens and the identity of India. If they are cultured, the nation will shine automatically. After all what is the difference between the devas and the danavas? Between the Suras and Asuras? Between the organised and the unorganised? Between the cultured and the uncultured? The difference is of Samskars, and that comes through right education, right siksha, the kelavani. 

My Sanskrit teacher late Shri Sri Raman Sharma taught us a Sanskrit Sloka in 8th: 
न चौर हार्यम न च राज हार्यम | न भ्रात्रभाज्यम न च भारकारी ||
व्यये कृते वर्धते नित्यं | विद्या धनं सर्वे धनं प्रधानम्  ||
(The wealth that can't be stolen, neither abducted by the State, nor can be divided amongst brothers; it is not burdensome to carry, the wealth that increases by giving, that wealth is knowledge and is supreme of all possessions) 

Another Sloka was:

विद्या ददाति विनयं विनयाद्याति पात्रताम् ।
पात्रत्वाद्धनमाप्नोति धनाद्धर्मं ततः सुखम् ॥ 
(Education gives humility, humility gives character, from character one gets the wealth, from wealth one gets the righteousness, in righteousness there is happiness)

Jains are known for their risk taking ability in trades and industries. But applying this bravery in education is a new story for me. They take bold decisions of Diksha leaving the wealth in minutes. And their bravery in Shiksa, giving education to their children through Gurukul. They have understood the value of Vidhya, the kelavani, to build the future of their community.

Do you have courage to put your children in Gurukul? Are you ready to leave the world of jobs? I don't have that courage. One of my Batchmate Shri Mahendra Jain studied his primary education at home through the similar system of Gurukul. And at present, he is the Yogiraj of our batch.

Jai Jinendra.

17 June 2016


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