Teaching the Scriptures – The Vydican Way

The Hindu religion is based on a library of books. Philosophers, scholars, and leaders have produced remarkable interpretations over the centuries. These texts are very relevant even today. The best example in this regard is the continuity of tradition in our country. Globalisation of business and exchange of information has become the order of the day. This has led to a lot of confusion in the minds of people. Different languages, different cultures, different approaches have been suddenly exposed to each other. The internet is furthering these exchanges. Such exchanges are healthy. We should, however, remember that these exchanges cause changes in perception. These perceptions are ephemeral for truth stands out in the long run. The leaders who work in the interest of spreading the truth are emerging these days. Young teachers like Lakshminarayanan Raghavan stands out in this regard. 

This young teacher is just 28 years old and has founded, ‘Vydican’ for the purpose of imparting Vedic education. The Vydican, Lakshminarayanan had discontinued his sixth standard and joined the Sri Ahobilamatiya Veda Divya Prabandha Patashala at Selaiyur, Chennai. He has done a 8-year Yajur Vedam course under the guidance of U. Ve. Shathakruthu Vagvarshi Veda Divya Prabandha Agama Upanyasa Vidwan Oragadam Dr. Lakshmi Narasimhachariar Swamy. The Vydican was born to Raghavan Rajagopalan and Latha. He had lost his father early in life. His elder brother, Srinivasa Iyengar is a language specialist. He had mastered Russian, French, English, and is in the process of mastering a few more. His Holiness Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikan of Ahobila Mutt happens to be the Acharyan for the Vydican.

The Vydican founded the institution, ‘Vydican’ and has been imparting classes on Vedas, ‘Divya Prabandham’ (4000 verses on Lord Vishnu composed by 12 devotees known as Azhwars in Tamil) and Stotrams (Prayers). The school teaches stotras like ‘Vishnu Sahasranamam,’ ‘Lalitha Sahasranamam,’ ‘Desika Stotram,’ etc., to several students. Classes were being held physically but Covid has made the team teach online. The five teachers are like the Pandavas for they are devoted to the scriptures just as how the Princes were devoted to Krishna. They help us to train our five senses. The teachers are Venkatesan Rajagopalan; ‘Vedam,’ Balaji Sudarshan S. P; ‘Divya Prabandham,’ Sampath Kumar; ‘Divya Prabandham,’ the Vydican (Lakshminarayanan Rajagopalan); ‘Vedam,’ and Thirumalai Srinivasan; ‘Vedam.’

“We are offering one to one and group classes too. A little over 50 students are learning online now. The supporting teachers are putting in their best. All the students and their parents are extremely cooperative. In fact, the parents are quite appreciative and have expressed their joy to me. Our youngest student is 7 years old and the senior most is 65 years. Our team is also into human life rituals. We conduct Samprokshanam-s, Gruhapravesam-s, Punyajanam-s and Apara Karyam-s too. Venkatesan Rajagopalan conducts the Apara Karyam-s properly. Thirumalai Srinivasan does the Upanayanam-s and Vivaham-s. God has given us an opportunity to form a team and we feel that team work has given us the energy,” stated the Vydican.

The Vydican gets up by 4:30 am on days connected with outside activities. Otherwise, the day begins by 6 am. The online classes are held throughout the day. They hold one to one classes too. They charge Rs. 1500 for youngsters, and Rs. 2500 for elders per month. The one to one classes will come up to Rs. 5000 per month. Vydican is learning too. U. Ve. Sridharan Swamy of the Besant Nagar, Ashtalakshmi Temple (Chief Priest) is teaching him Pancharathra Agamam.

The young teacher spoke about his schedule as a student, “We would be up by 4:30 am and will clean ourselves up before we commence the classes. Our teachers would have had a bath. Classes will go on till 6 am. We will then have a bath and do Sandhya Vandhanam. This will be in between 6 and 7:30 am. Classes will continue between 8 and 9 am. Prayers and breakfast will take up the next one hour. Once again, we will begin to study from 10 am and it will go on for 2 hours. We will do the Madhyamikam and have lunch between 12 pm and 1 pm. A 15 minute rest will follow but no sleeping. Classes will continue between 1:15 pm and 3 pm. This will be followed by Sanskrit, Tamil and Computer Classes between 3 pm and 4:30 pm. We will play for about 90 minutes thereafter. The time between 6 pm and 7 pm was reserved for ‘Vishnu Sahasranamam.’ We would spare 30 minutes for dinner and this will be followed by a ‘Vedam’ class for 90 minutes. Thus, the day will get completed by 9 pm. It was a life which made me feel contended,” added Vydican.

The Vedapatashala had a dress code. The students had to wear a dhoti in the traditional style. However, the Vydican does not insist on all this with his students. The students are attired in clothes of their choice but have to sport a Namam or Thilakam on their forehead. “The kids are doing their school education and classes with us also. We have to encourage them by being a bit flexible. Somehow, the scriptures should reach the next generation. I have a number of women students. They learn, ‘Divya Prabandham’ and the Stotras. Brahmins should teach everyone all their life. We should create awareness and make people follow a calm lifestyle which is free from anger, lust, hatred, and jealousy. People should remember that Raja Rama did Veda Adhyayanam,” chuckled the Vydican.

The school has both - Vaishnavaite and Shaivaite students. The reasonable teacher states that our life is for building positive karma for it will help drive away disease and destruction. He compared good acts to the planting of trees. The trees take time to grow but they give shade and fruits. He stated that according to scholars like U. Ve. Velukkudi Krishnan, ‘Vishnu Sahasranamam’ offered protection to the one who recited it. The great composition by Bheeshma had healing powers and the Beejaksharams in these were very powerful.

Veda Adhyayanam helps in pronunciation, helps in the attainment of knowledge, builds confidence backed by faith, helps in the attainment of wisdom. We can build dispassion, good habits, and discipline for there is nothing in the world which does not find a mention in the Vedas. Sanskrit is a good language and mastery over it helps in many ways. Good vibration arises out of the recitation of Stotras. The recitations promote a positive attitude and this in turn helps us promote good health by building on our immunity. For example, ‘Indrakshi Stotram’ is very relevant today. It talks about the kind of fevers and the relief it may give for the chanter. I am so happy to see the attitude of the kids. They are before time in all the online classes. These kids are mature and ask only necessary doubts. Of course, we as teachers should be flexible in order to inculcate Satvik habits. Parents are really happy and this builds contentment for everyone concerned,” added Lakshminarayanan Raghavan.

Vydican Lakshminarayanan has the right ingredients in him. He has learnt the scriptures and has the right attitude. “I personally want to develop good buddhi for myself, imbibe permanent bhakti, pursue this way of life, let everyone benefit, want to reward my teammates abundantly. Want to teach and learn everyday. You see, I left school at sixth standard and today my students are teaching me English. Hope my Kula Deivam, Thiruthuraipoondi Brihannnayaki Ambal and Malolan help me with wisdom in abundance. Teaching scriptures is all that I know and it is my life breath. A life of calmness and a Satvik approach as enshrined in our scriptures is my goal. Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is an eternal faith and it will help all of us cross the ocean of life successfully,” stated the committed and humble teacher.

The young Vydican, Lakshminarayanan is currently teaching Vedanta Desika's composition ‘Raghuveera Gadyam’ to one batch. He has taught Stotras like ‘Skanda Sashti Kavacham,’ ‘Subramanya Bhujangam,’ ‘Vishnu Sahasranamam,’ ‘Indrakshi Stotram,’ ‘Lalitha Sahasranamam,’ and ‘Hayagreeva Stotram,’ among other texts. Lord Rama is his favourite deity. The Vydican is adept and it was astonishing to see his display of knowledge. He spoke about the benefits of regular recitation. Initially, the students are made to recite the ‘Vishnu Sahasranamam,’ in one hour. Later, he trains them to do it in lesser time. He spoke about the presence and importance of Beejaksharams.

"Making a mistake gives us luck, because, once we realise our mistake, we will become better people. This is acceptable provided our mistake does not harm others. These commissions and omissions should not involve others in any way,” smiled the teacher who is on his way to create self-realisation through his institution – ‘Vydican.’

“Long ago, invaders under tyrants like Malik Kafur sacked Srirangam and killed thousands in each city. The icon of Lord Ranganatha had to be taken away for safekeeping. Swami Vedanta Desikan put in efforts in order to bring him back. It was at this time that he composed the ‘Abheeti Stavam’ while spending time at Satyakalam in Karnataka. The great Acharya prayed to Lord Narayana by asking the Lord to bless him with the required faith and energy to tide over the crisis. Today, we are facing the same situation which is similar to the invasion of the marauder, Ulugh Khan. We are now facing the invasion of diseases like the Corona. Let us pray to Lord Narayana, recite ‘Abheeti Stavam’ and gain his grace. Faith, prayers, universal compassion, abstinence, and discipline will help us tide over this crisis. We will come out successfully due to grace of Maryada Purushottam, Lord Rama. We at Vydican are ever ready to teach the immortal scriptures which will make each of us succeed in our endeavours,” added the Vydican.

 (Lakshminarayanan Raghavan - 95000 07841 - http//www.vydican.org).

Interestingly, this innovative teacher uses Apple products through and through.

The young teacher walks the talk. He lives all by himself. Vydican drinks about 7 litres of water per day in order to charge himself. He cooks his own food and leads a quiet life. His only goal is to teach, teach, and teach, the scriptures to everyone, everyday.

A conversation with this young teacher is sure to offer us a route to contentment. This is the need of the hour. Teachers like the Vydican, Lakshminarayanan Raghavan are the beacon lights of our society.

Mr. Rajesh Govindarajulu is one of the founding members of the Verandah Club Pvt. Ltd. He is a leading columnist, historian, jeweler, entrepreneur, and a heritage enthusiast who is earnestly working to revive the past in the light of the present. Experiential learning about the history of Coimbatore is his main course of interest and he is also a panel member of many colleges in the city.


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