The gurukul system, prevalent in ancient India, which taught students discipline along with academic study in Vedas, still exists, nourishing young talents in Sanskrit. One such school is Magadi Karanik Vaidika Dharma Pathashala located in Basavanagudi.
The Pathashala, which is also the shrine of Lord Badrinath, was established in 1930 by Karanik Krishnamurthy Rao. This Pathashala provides free accommodation, food and support to students in attaining academic excellence in Veda and Pourohitya.
The peculiarity of this school lies in not just training students in the Vedas but also providing them a platform to apply their knowledge practically while performing rituals like marriage, naming ceremonies, house warming ceremonies etc, which is also known as ‘prayoga’.
Students between age group 8 and 14 years are selected in the Pathashala for five years of rigorous learning. These young enthusiasts mostly come from the outskirts of Bangalore like Chinatamani, Kolar, Haragadde (near Bannergatta), and also from the neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
In an interaction with City Express, E C V Sagar, secretary of the Pathashala said: “Over 10 students are selected every year. But some students fail to grasp the in-depth knowledge of the subjects taught. At the end of five years, over three to five students emerge as professionals in the field.”
The Pathashala offers a set syllabus for students. Students can take up their learning either in Rig Veda or Yajur Veda. When asked about the career opportunities, M V Narayana Rao, the president of the organisation said: “There are over 75 temples in the USA and there is a great demand for priests. Every year, one or two students from here go to the USA to pursue their career.”
The Pathashala was also recognised by the Mantralayam temple for its contribution to the society. It rewarded them Sushmendra Theertha award and a cash prize of Rs 25,000. Many students who have passed out from this school have come back to the Pathashala to train juniors. Many even have pursued MA in Sanskrit.
Speaking about his passion for the Sanskrit hymns, H V Sai Sumanth, a 17-yearold student said: “My uncle and brothers studied in this school and I also aimed to study here. Interest and the desire to explore more about the subject drove me here.”
“Initially, in the first and second year, I missed home. But the constant cooperation, support and encouragement from our teachers and friends made me feel comfortable,” said A Raghavendra, another student.