15 students from TN and Andhra were being initiated into Krishna Yajur Vedas, a eight-year-long course, when the second pandemic wave forced the temporary shutting down of classes at the nine-decades-old Veda Adyayana Sabha located on a small lane off Pichupillai Street in Mylapore.
This is said to be the oldest patshala in the city having been launched in 1932 with the blessings of Kanchi Periyava.
In Karthigai and during the 10-day Sankara Jayanthi every year, the patshala organises Veda Parayanam with Vedic vidwans chanting in chorus for the larger good of the world.
Over 500 students have graduated from the patshala in the past.
40-year-old Nandakumar Ganapadigal who himself had been initiated into the Vedas at this very same patshala in the late 1980s and early 90s, has been the acharya for the last two decades.
He told Mylapore Times that the sudden lockdown in April and May last year prevented the students from leaving the city and meant there was no vacation for the students in 2020. While they stayed at the patshala through the whole of last year, this year has been different.
“There has been a general scare around the second wave and hence they went back home at the end of March, ” said Nandakumar Ganapadigal. “While a few students are from Chennai, the rest of them have gone back to Coimbatore, Vijayawada and Hyderabad.”
Online classes for these students?
Nandakumar Ganapadigal says that the online model will not work well in terms of intonation and explaining the corrective steps and hence the patshala has resisted from taking the Vedic classes online to the existing students.
“We have been in touch with all the students asking them to refresh the subjects learnt by them already,” he adds.
As part of the patshala education, the students are also taught English and math.
With the lifting of the lockdown, he was hopeful of restarting the classes in August.
The patshala is administered by a team of some 20 committee members and run with the support of donors. The students stay fulltime at the patshala through the eight years of the course except for the annual and festival vacations.
Mylapore Times had in May 2021 featured a story on the other Vedic patshala in Mylapore ( https://www.mylaporetimes.com/2021/05/yajur-veda-parayanam-at-gurukulam-prayers-for-covid-relief/)
- Report by S. Prabhu