Amrita SeRVe Gurukulam: Presenting the Gurukuliya Tradition of the Great Rishi Culture
Friday, May 31, 2019
“Education should be that which imparts the light of culture through word, thought, action and perspective.”
A brand-new initiative has sparked a pilot project in some of the Amrita SeRVe villages. The Amrita SeRVe Gurukulam has been running for almost two months under the leadership of the village coordinators. Eight to fifteen-year-old students are taught in small groups.
The framework for the curriculum includes aspects relating to the individual, family, community and societal units. Currently, the Gurukulam is running two hours a day during school vacations. The sessions include Indian authentic history, yoga, meditation, and values training such as patience and good behavior. The goal of the program is overall development so students can build character and attain success in their lives.
Amma emphasizes that “There are two kinds of education: education for living and education for life. While education for a living is essential for success in the academic and material sense, education for life equips young people with the knowledge, skills and values needed to lead an ethical, empowering and socially beneficial life.” Although modern academic education teaches education for living, values, discipline and character development are completely missing.
In Ancient India, students were taught not only the academic curriculum, but also essential aspects necessary for a cultured and disciplined life. The Shisyas (students) lived under the ‘Gurukul’ roof where the students were taught good habits of respecting the elders and teachers, brotherhood, and to develop an atmosphere of humanity, love and discipline.
With this tradition in mind, the sessions start with a prayer, marking attendance, and checking the cleanliness of the students. The children have been taught regular hand washing practices over the past year, which has already become a habit. Cultural stories such as the Ramayan stories for children are read and discussed. Along with general knowledge such as geography and history, Mantras are taught. Devotional singing, or Bhajans, along with yoga and meditation, are practiced daily. Games are played together, too. The session ends with a closing prayer.