Highlighting the greatest Vedic ideal “Sevahi Paramo Dharmaha”, Prabodhini Trust ® was been established in 1979 in order to launch service activities in the social and educational fields. ‘Chitrakoota‘- the centre of these service activities is situated at Hariharapura, on the bank of river Tunga, near Sringeri, the sacred Tapobhoomi of Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
A number of social, cultural, religious and educational activities are conducted under the aegis ofPrabodhini Vishwasta Mandali at Chitrakoota and a few other places in the district.
Veda Shiksha Varga – Free education on Vedas, Sanskrit, Yogasana, Bhajan, Pooja methods, Bhagavadgitha, etc.is being provided for the last 16 years, for a period of 20 days to all the aspiring Hindu boys aged between 13 and 16 years.
Yoga Shikshana Kendra – More than 175 Yogasana training camps have been organised at Chikmagalur, Kadur and Koppa in which a large number of men and women have participated.
Shishu Mandir – Preliminary training is imparted at Sringeri for little children aged 3- 5 years about our cultural to facilitate their mental as well as moral development.
Balagokula – Through Balagokulas basic Indian values are taught to primary school children.
Matru Mandir – Through our Matru Mandiras high values of Indian tradition have been taught to women at different places in the district.
Apart from these, there are blood donation centres, Bhajana Mandirs, tailoring centres, which are organized to cater to the socio-economic needs of the people.
Main Features of the Gurukula System of Education
Our goal in providing education in Prabodhini Gurukula is creating a healthy and cultural society.
To provide education for the all-round development of the children’s personality- Physical, Mental, Intellectual and Spiritual.
To inculcate the spiritual idea that God is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient.
To evolve among the learners the belief that Society is the external realization of the Almighty.
To make the learner feel proud that he is an offspring of holy Bharath and to instill in him the sense of pride for the culture, heritage, great men, languages, achievements in science, literature and philosophy and study these with distinction. It is hoped that these would create international understanding in them. With the help of appropriate models, instill in them a desire for adventure, co-operation, love and respect for law, tradition and culture.
- Basic Principles
The Gurukula System is based on the great principles evolved out of the experiments conducted in the field in this holy land through the ages.
Spirituality is the foundation of education.
Education is for the manifestation of the inner strength of the personality.
Belief in the concept that all living beings are co-travelers in this great pilgrimage of life.
Man has to co-exist with nature.
Righteousness (Dharma), devotion, divine out-looks on life and love of one’s country should be the ideals to blossom in one’s personality.
Education is for the all-round development of the personality.
Self-study, Self-thinking, Self-discipline and Self-help are the four corner stones of Gurukula life.
In the Gurukula, education, boarding and lodging etc. is free.
The responsibility of running the Gurukula is the responsibility of the society.
A lot of importance is given to handicrafts and modern technology along with the acquisition of knowledge of science and other disciplines.
The Plan of Action
Boys aged 10+ but not completed eleven years, are admitted to Prabodhini Gurukula. Learning is not a one-way process here. Learning is given prime importance. It is for this reason that there are no timetables or text books or examinations here. The six years of education is divided into six classes namely Shraddha, Medha, Prajna, Prathibha, Dhrithi and Dheehi.
Children who come out of this Gurukula after completing six years of education are expected to be self-supporting and earn their livelihood honorably. They would not go on searching for jobs. The child will be helped to manifest his full potential. This would help him to be confident and with this confidence, we hope, parents will send their children to this Gurukula.
The ancient Indian Gurukulas were not evolved in the same pattern. Their structure and methods went on changing according to the needs of time. The subjects studied the extent of this subject, methods of study and the processes adopted for the total development of personality were cast in the mould of experience and they take a definite and desirable shape under the tutelage of the teacher. In this Gurukula, subjects of study and the methods of teaching evolve during the periodic meetings of the teachers and experts. A definite plan (curriculum) of study during the six years at the Gurukula is prepared. At the Gurukula, the meetings are held in the first half of each month. The teachers place before the experts the whole spectrum of subject areas covered, methods adopted, evaluation procedures employed and problems faced by them. Every aspect is discussed and solutions to problems are found. The meeting decides what to teach during the next four weeks.
This method has enslaved liveliness, interest and success in the teaching/learning activities, which has led to a belief in questioning, research and revision.
The mother tongue (Kannada) and Samskrita are being taught from the first year. Samskritha is the language of communication in the Gurukula. We aim at giving the learners proficiency in communication in these two languages in their purest form. The learners are executed to master Samskritha. They should be ale to read and understand basic books on science. English is introduced in the third year. The four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are taught. Hindi is taught during the last two years.
Mathematics is considered a life science and all the skills involved in its study are taught through application in real life situations. Efforts have been directed towards helping the learners to acquire the spirit of inquiry and reasoning. Science is taught by following an integrated approach. ‘See, do and experience’, are the catchwords. The learners are given project work, which help them relate science to life. They are encouraged to read reference books. The major objectives here are to integrate science with life. Attention has been paid towards developing amount learners; scientific temper by teaching value based scientific principles.
The teaching of history and geography begins in the background of the places of their birth. We follow the principal going from the known to the unknown, what is near at hand to the one, which is at a distance. They begin with the study of the history and geography of their districts. (In history they begin from the present time and go back in time and in geography they start from now and then go into the future). Children have collected them to develop the right sense and perspective of history. In geography they are expected to read maps, interpret and use the information thus gained to their advantage.
Services of experts in Yoga, Home-medicine, Agriculture, Gardening, etc are procured and learning in this direction has begun already. They are given education in classical music and Bharathanatya. Every month they visit factories which give them information about the modern technology.
The children learn to grow vegetables, medicinal plants, cattle rearing, protecting plant-life and preparing Ayurvedic medicines.
We firmly believe that at the end of six years, the children in Gurukula will be ready to pursue higher education.
Self – Supporting
During these six years, besides teaching Mathematics, Science, Social studies, Kannada, English and Hindi, provision has been made for the teaching of what we call the Panchamukhi education – the Vedas, Samskritha, Yoga, Agriculture and Home medicines. Depending on the child’s interests, they are taught a few vocations, handicrafts and the use of the computer. This would help them to become self-dependent.
Children learn to do everything with devotion by observing the models provided by the teachers. They learn the dignity of labour from their elders and become emulative models for their juniors.
The concept of Rinathrayas in an individual’s life is very significant and makes him realize the importance social service. He realizes that he is in indulging in luxuries without serving the society, which has brought him up. Our religious texts have called a Grahastha; ‘Upakurvana’ meaning one who helps others. Performing the three duties namely ‘Ishta, Poortha and Daththa’ is obligatory on the part of every one.
- Work Culture
Agnihothra, Tapas, Sathya, protecting the Vedas, Athithya and Vaishyadeva (feeding living beings)
Providing water, managing temples, providing food to the needy and laying gardens are Datta Karmas.
Helping those who are in need of it, protecting animals and creatures and giving gifts are Poortha Karmas.
An attempt is being made that the children are aware of these cherished values of life. Every week the children visit neighboring villages, mix with the people there, understand their problems and render help in whatever way they can.
When they go back home during summer, they engage themselves in Balagokula activities, Shramadana and educating others. They internalize all these values only when they see these in their elders. The teachers give great attention to this aspect of providing good ideals to their students. Even senior students have started providing good examples to their juniors.