[Advaita-l] Sanskrit Learning

Bhadraiah Mallampalli vaidix at hotmail.com
Sat Jul 18 07:31:02 CDT 2009

Shri Jaldhar, 
Recently we have played with this sort of idea, and ten of us from these message boards got together and provided a desktop to a yajurvedic pandit at a cost of $400 (which comes to about $20/person). He can teach yajurveda, aranyakam, brahmanam, ashvamedham etc. We also thought of giving a gurudakshina around $10 a month to sponsor scholarships to his students in India in terms of food and residence so that they stay close to him and learn veda. In return we would get about four classes a month for ourselves or our children. 
If groups of ten candidates from these adhyatmic discussion groups can come together and repeat what we did, in a short period of time we will have a vast inter-connected network of acharyas in India using which a 70 year old sama vedic pandit living in Kerala can handover his knowledge to a 30 year old sama vedic student living in Chennai. We can loosely call it an Acharya-net. We thought the veda pandits (and others too. such as sanksrit pandits, tamil scholars etc) should be able to get some basic livelihood from the acharya-net so they don't have to run around for pourohityam works in old age. Ideally we thought every acharya should spend 1/4th of time searning from a senior acharya, 1/4 of time teaching NRI students (where they make some gurudakshina), 1/4 of time doing yajnas and higher research in their own subject and 1/4 of time for teaching in their own school.
With the cost of PCs having gone down in the last 2 years this project is now feasible. This gives people like us who left our traditions for so-called lucrative jobs, a chance to pay back to our forefathers what is due and do some repair. 
Somehow the arrangement is not working out because only two of us had taken just one class in the last 4 months. The acharya is also extremely busy running around with his pourohityam works. In addition, the acharya and his wife are so helpful they go to any relatives and friends who are in need and help them out selflessly. It is possible to set up pre-paid classes with fixed schedules and force people to use the arrangement we have setup, but somehow I do not believe in regimentation. People have to take self interest and learn. The arrangement suits best for highschool students because they will be able to catch acharya's prime time in the early hours. By the time we come home from work, acharya is gone for pourohityam and he will return only late night and timings are unpredictable. The best time to catch him may be ashtami and navami when not many good activities happen. We are now looking for a senior acharya who doesn't do pourohityam due to old age.  
Yes, students' qualifications are checked, including their lineage and sacred thread as per the rules set by individual acharyas, even though some acharyas may be more flexible. Acharyas can be interviewed by acharyas themselves. Our idea is to open the network only for acharyas who know at least one vedam or any other subject completely, not just for pandits who can know pourohityam works only without knowing original vedam. 
We are currently using a yahoogroup - vedicchanting to discuss the logistics and other operational tips and tricks Those who are interested in building this network can join us. The group has no single owner. Any one who promises to bring in an acharya into the network will be made a moderator or owner. The messages is not open to public because we share names, addresses and phone numbers and even bank account numbers for money transfers at near-zero transaction fees. We are hoping that when our group grows to 1000, we would be able to bring in a new acharya into the network for just 40 cents a person. At no time we handle more than $400, and every thing is informal. I do agree many organizations and trusts are doing a great job, but we are not planning to organize because it brings in law-suits, corruption, government takeovers and other evils. We thought of keeping it as close to original practice as possible where in the ancient times the scholars used meet other scholars by going to another village, we just want to make it easier. If you want to bring an acharya into the network, don't look for the perfect acharya who suits your sakha. Just sponsor any acharya who knows the stuff and join the network, and we figure out if an acharya from your sakha was sponsored by someone else. Keeps the gurudakshina miserably low and pay the acharya directly, to avoid middlemen smelling an opportunity.  
Please do not post replies to this mail. If you are interested in similar activity, please join vedicchanting yahoogroup or setup your own group that suits your convenience and send a mail to vedicchanting group later when you make some progress, so we can connect to your network. 

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