Yelamanchili – A Vedic Village

published on October 18, 2008

Promoting Vedic studies in the modern era

Author: VKL Gayatri

Source: The New Indian Express –

VISAKHAPATNAM: Every morning, the town of Yelamanchili in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh wakes up to the sublime strains of ‘Suprabhatam’ from the town’s unique Veda Vidyalayam.

No one bothers to look up the clock — they know it has to be 5:00 a.m., and the soothing wake-up call is followed by the chanting of Vedic hymns by the young choristers of the Vidyalaya.

Throughout the day, the sonorous mantras emanating from the Vedic school envelope the neighbourhood with a mystic aura. This school of Vedic learning is part of the efforts aimed at preserving the hoary tradition. Quietly lending a helping hand are some senior citizens whose endeavour goes by the name of Gayatri Seva Trust.

The Veda Pathasala began coaching its first batch of 16 students on January 1, 2008. Another batch of 15 would soon be initiated into Vedic education. ‘‘There is great demand for Vedic scholars. Many seem to think Vedic learning a waste of time and energy as the disciple’s life is far from comfortable during the years of initiation.

Yet, the satisfaction to be had from Vedic learning is unmatched,” says Peddinti Suryanarayana Murthy, secretary of the Trust.

“The Vedas, which prescribe many remedies for physical and mental problems, are replete with concepts like personality development, time and stress management,” adds Avadhani Sistla Brahmeswara Subrahmanya Satyanarayana Sarma, who teaches here.

Veda Vidya is a residential, eight-year course, and integrated post-graduation takes 12 years.

After the course, one has to take a test in yagna, yaga, aagama and mantra-related rituals.

Life at the Vedic school is spartan. Garlic, onion and spices are a strict no-no. Coffee and tea aren’t allowed either. Meals are simple — curry, sambar, curd and plain rice. Fruit, green salad or idlis make up breakfast.

“The dietary regimen is part of the discipline required for the rigorous course,” says residential avadhani Kalpnabhatly Venkateswara Sarma.

An interesting aspect is the effort to blend the modern with the ancient. IT mingles with Vedic learning here. Thanks to a donor from Chennai who gifted systems, printer, scanner and a copier, the students are learning to use computers for astrological computing.

Woman teachers lend another touch of modernity to this unique Vedic school. P Kameswari, a retired teacher with a great command of the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Bhagavatham, is guest faculty and lectures on the Puranas.

“Although the 12-year course is tough and quite long, it is nevertheless a big draw. Traditional pandits too are sending their children to the Vidyalaya,” says Trust president Acharyula Veerabhadra Rao.

“I like the course very much. I have been practising all the rituals unfailingly,” says 12- year-old Devulapalli Venkata Subbaraya Sarma, son of a purohit in Datti village in Vizianagaram district. And it was spiritual yearning that drew Vadlamani Mohan Sarma to Vedic education. An M Com and a computer expert, he wants to use Information Technology to further Vedic knowledge.

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