KOZHIKODE: Every Sunday Kashi Mutt at Kasyapa Veda Research Foundation (KVRF) near West Hill wakes up to the chanting of vedas. Around 300 women from faraway places come here on weekends to learn the scriptures. Once they arrive at the centre, they divide themselves into small batches each of 13-14 members.
The teacher Sujesh Arya, a disciple of KVRF founder Acharya M R Rajesh, imparts them practical lessons on Vedic Sandyavandanam and related rituals from 8am to 12pm.
The KVRF started teaching vedas to women irrespective of their caste or age nine years ago in a bid to break the age-old tradition of restricting the learning of scriptures to Brahmin males. The institute has so far taught vedas to more than 10,000 women from Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, and Thrissur.
They are well-versed in the art of performing agnihotram, nitya yajna, and numerous other Smartha and Sroutha yajnas, Shodassakriya (the 16 Samskara Kriyas from birth to death), and Bali Vaishya Veda Yajnam.
The classes also help women face life with a positive attitude and inculcate a healthy lifestyle based on the principle of universal brotherhood, love, and compassion. Rajesh’s effort to keep away the middlemen between God and devotees and help all to learn vedas was met with stiff resistance from his own Brahmin community. But fuelled by his vision to conserve the rituals in its pure form, he persisted.
At the institute women also impart vedic lessons. M Sayaja, teacher of Nadakkavu Vocational Higher Secondary School, said she has been teaching for the last five years. “Being a teacher the veda classes has helped me impart moral classes at schools as part of School Jagratha Samithis,” said Sayaja.
T Nimisha, a software engineer at Kinfra, said the vedic practices have helped her think positively and understand the rich tradition our India. “The learning of vedas and chanting mantras have helped me to remain calm even during tough situations,” she said.
Considering the growing demand to learn vedas, the KVRF is now constructing a Gurukulam near Sree Kanteswaram Temple with an estimated cost of Rs 4 crore. A hall having the capacity to accommodate 500 people at a time and an ashram will come up on 15 cents of land.
KVRF has also started digitalizing rare Sanskrit books in Tamil, Hindi collected from across the country.
The institute is also conducting camps in Chennai, Bangalore, and Mumbai.