Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Dr. Vinayachandra B.K.

Karnataka Knowledge Commission, Room No. 219,
II Floor, Vidhana Soudha, Dr. Ambedkar Veedhi,
Bangalore - 560 233

Reviving Gurukulam System of Education: Understanding
its Relevance through a Decadal Experience

Veda Vijnana Gurukulam was started in Bangalore, India in the year 1997 as a unique educational experiment to bring forth the relevance of the insights and approaches of traditional knowledge and knowledge systems in the modern world. Preserving traditional knowledge and exploring applications of it in the present day has been the chief objective of Gurukulam in addition to providing a noteworthy alternative to the existing educational system where ‘information gathering’ is valued over ‘knowledge’ and ‘intellect’ is nurtured at the cost of ‘emotional and spiritual well-being’.The Gurukulam has evolved for itself a new approach called ‘panchamukhi shikshana’ (five faceted education) based on its understandings of the ancient practices and systems. The five faceted education involves ‘Veda’, ‘Vijnana’, ‘Yoga’, ‘Krishi’ and ‘Kaushala’. The Gurukulam has also developed a unique evaluation system to asses the overall development of the students. This paper shares the principles and practices of such alternative model based on the experience of nearly fifteen years. It will attempt to communicate the appropriateness of the ‘five-faceted’ approach and innovative evaluation methods. The critical element, the paper intends to bring to light is the harmonious blend of ancient and modern systems in the Gurukualm. The paper also discusses the need and relevance of such alternative models in furthering the cause of education and knowledge building.

There are, at present, three Gurukulams in Karnataka viz. Veda Vijnana Gurukulam for boys of age 16-22 years in Bangalore, Prabodhini Gurukulam and Maitreyee Gurukulam for boys and girls at Shringeri and Puttur respectively for children of age 10-16 years, providing education on the above discussed lines. The paper also attempts to share the experiences of these Gurukulams in carving a niche for themselves in the ‘market-oriented’ educational canvas of the country.

Bio

Dr. Vinayachandra B.K. is currently working as a Research Associate in-charge of Higher Education at Karnataka Knowledge Commission, a high powered Commission to advise the Government of Karnataka on educational policies. He holds a doctoral degree for his research on ‘Psychological Insights in Rigveda’ from Pondicherry University, besides post-graduate degrees in the streams of Sanskrit, English, Yogic Science and Applied Psychology from various Universities. He was the 2nd rank holder in his master’s programme in Sanskrit and is also the recipient of the Vasishta Award for best M.Sc. (Yogic Science) Dissertation. He has graduated in the streams of Veda, Vedanta and Yoga from Veda Vijnana Gurukulam, Bangalore

Dr. Vinayachandra has worked as a faculty at SVYASA University, Sri Bhagavan Mahavir Jain College, Bangalore and IVHU, Orlando, Florida. He has been a resource person at The School of Philosophy and Economic Science, Dublin, and has also toured Europe conducting classes and giving lectures on Sanskrit, Indian philosophy and culture.

Dr. Vinayachandra has published many monographs on yoga, spirituality and psychology. Besides, he has conducted several courses, workshops and made presentations on Indian spirituality at national and international forums. Besides his academic interests, working with children and youth has been his passion and he is involved with several cultural and service organizations as advisor, secretary and member.