Melmangalam: JUNE 2, 2012

A Village Attempting its Vedic Revival

The Vedas are the supreme authority in revealing aspects of Dharma just as the Sun is the primary revea­ler of color. Sri Adi Shankaracharya

Arriving at the Agrahara of Melmangalam on June 2nd evening, Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji was reverentially welcomed by the residents. The Jagadguru then proceeded to the Sringeri Shankara Math in the Agrahara, had Darshan of Sri Adi Shankaracharya and spent a few quite moments inside. Afterwards, the Jagadguru inaugurated the new Pathashala complex of the Veda Pathashala run by Vidya Bharati Saanga Veda Paripalana Sabha, Melmangalam.

After the performance of Dhuli Pada Puja to the Jagadguru’s Padukas and the reading out of the Swagata Patrikas to the Jagadguru, the Jagadguru blessed the gathering with an Anugraha Bhashanam. In His Bhashanam, the Jagadguru said that adherence to Dharma is a pre-requisite for peace and prosperity in this world. Dharma alone ensures our welfare. Hence Dharma is the essential component of human life.

Who is a Mahan (great personage)? Not the rich, not the educated, not the powerful; but the one who practices Dharma. Sri Adi Shankaracharya writes in His Bhashya – Only a person who adheres to Dharma laid down in the Shastras can be termed a Mahatma – यो हि इष्टादिलक्षणं कर्म आचरति तमाचक्षते लोकाः धर्मं चरत्ययं महात्मा इति । This Dharma can be known only from the Vedas – वेदोऽखिलो धर्ममूलम् । The same thought has also been echoed by Bhoja Maharaja – उच्चैर्गति जगति सिध्यति धर्मतश्चेत् तस्य प्रमा च वचनैः कृतकेतरैश्चेत् Dharma brings about the supreme welfare in the world and the means to knowing the Dharma are the divine Vedic verses.

Sri Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya has said वेदस्य हि निरपेक्षं प्रामाण्यं रवेरिव रूपविषये । The Vedas are the supreme authority in revealing aspects of Dharma just as the Sun is the primary revea­ler of colour. That which has been ordained by the Vedas constitute Dharma and that which has been prohibited by the Vedas constitutes Adharma. Be it an individual, a group or be it the entire nation, welfare will result only if Dharma is practiced. We should preserve and nurture the Vedas that instruct us on Dharma.

It is only to protect the Vedas that God incarnated Himself as Sri Kumarila Bhatta (the Avatara preceding that of Sri Adi Shankara). During that era, Buddhists attempted to drive a wedge between the people and Vedic practices. They caused people to abandon Vedic studies and cast away Vedic practices. It was then that Sri Kumarila Bhatta incarnated and waged a fierce logical crusade against the Buddhists to restore the supremacy of the Vedas. The King who mediated in the debate put up a final challenge to both the Buddhists and Sri Kumarila Bhatta. The King proclaimed that whoever climbs up a hill, jump downs from the top and comes out unscathed would be declared the winner of the debate.

The Buddhists withdrew from the arena. But Sri Kumarila Bhatta, girded up his loins, climbed the hill, jumped down from there saying thus – यदि वेदाः प्रमाणं स्युः भूयात् काचिन्न मे क्षतिः – “If the Vedas are the authority, let no harm befall me”. He emerged and fell down like a ball of cotton – तूलपिण्डमिवापतत् – and emerged unscathed thereby proving the supremacy of Vedic Dharma.

How is it that Sri Kumarila Bhatta emerged unscathed? Who saved him? Saint Vidyaranya (12th Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetham) explains that it was indeed Veda Mata who had saved Sri Kumarila Bhatta. It was She who had protected him like a mother would hold her child in her arms. One who surrenders to Veda Mata reposing complete faith in Her, would be assured with Her bountiful protection – श्रुतिरात्मशरण्यानां व्यसनं नोच्छिनत्ति किम् ?

Today, we are able to study the Vedas only because of Sri Kumarila Bhatta. Had he not taken efforts then, what would be the plight of the Vedas today? Would there by any teacher or student of the Vedas? What would be the state of Vaidika Dharma today? We have to realize that such great personages (as Kumarila Bhatta) protected the Vedas by pledging their lives. It is only because of them we are able to study the Vedas. We must realize the greatness of the Vedas and it is our duty to protect the Vedas today. This should make us assimilate the importance of the Vedas. We must realize it is our duty to engage in Veda Samrakshanam.

The Jagadguru then said, “In these days, Veda samrakshanam is of paramount importance. How painful it is to note that 60 years back, this Village had 120 Vedic Pandits but now, the number has dwindled to just three. What a shocking situation had befallen this great village – that too within a span of 60 years? I am pained to see this appalling situation. This should not be allowed to continue any longer and the village should be taken back to its hoary past. We should get back the Vedic Sampradaya in this village to an extent that even if we wish to perform an Atirudra Mahayaga, we should have 120 Vaidikas from this very village, without having to go out to secure them.”

The Jagadguru then expressed great happiness that the people of the village had taken the step of establishing the Veda Pathashala with this desire and determination. The Jagadguru noted through a Shloka – कारूणां चैव दारूणां शिलानां शिल्पिनां तथा धनिनां धनिसंपदः that the money of the wealthy is often spent in mundane pursuits – such as towards carpenters and wood for carpentry, sculptures and sculptors in the process of building and furnishing mansions. While wealth often does not get channelized towards proper causes, the mind to spend wealth on Veda Samrakshanam occurs only in a few out of millions of people.

The Jagadguru expressed joy that the villagers of Melmangalam were bestowed with such a bent of mind. When a Sankalpa is a Satsankalpa, help and contributions will pour in from the most unexpected quarters. When the villagers of Melmangalam embarked on this endeavor, it has started materializing in its own way.

The Jagadguru noted the role played by Sri Manoj Modi of Reliance Industries in supporting the endeavor in Melmangalam. The Jagadguru stated that it was God who had brought about the connection between such a man and such a village that were so disconnected from each other. The Jagadguru then said that God does not come in front of us and take care of us like a cattle-tender would graze his cows. God bestows upon us the right bent of mind –

न देवा दण्डमादाय रक्षन्ति पशुपालवत् ।
यं हि रक्षितुमिच्छन्ति बुद्ध्या संयोजयन्ति तम् ॥

The Jagadguru further reasoned that for man to act, he must first mentally have the intent to act. The Shruti (Veda) declares so – तस्मात् यत्पुरुषो मनसाभिगच्छति तद्वाचा वदति, तत्कर्मणा करोति. Thus by the Grace of God, Sri Manoj Modi has felt that he must take part in this endeavor in Melmangalam.

The Jagadguru blessed that the Pathashala develop into an ideal setting for nurturing the Vedas and Shastras. The Jagadguru spoke about the generation-old Guru-Shishya relation between the Acharyas of the Peetham and the residents of Melmangalam. The Jagadguru also remembered the Anugraha bestowed by His Guru upon the residents of the village and His establishing the Shankara Math and performing the installation of the Murti of Sri Bhagavatpada 17 years back. Having praised the residents for devotionally maintaining the sanctity of the Math in the village, the Jagadguru blessed that the students of the Pathashala become scholars. The Jagadguru commended Sri Venkataraman who had first developed the inclination to revive the Vedic Sampradaya in the village and was functioning as the backbone behind every activity. The Jagadguru ended His Anugraha Bhashanam blessing one and all and performed the Sri Sharada Chandramoulishwara Puja in the Agrahara.

The following day, the Jagadguru gave Darshan; devotees offered Bhiksha Vandanam and performed Pada Puja. The Jagadguru then blessed everyone and graced the Poornahuti of the Maharudra Yaga conducted on the occasion of His Vijayam to Melmangalam. Prior to departing the village, at 5:30 in the evening, the Jagadguru specially blessed the Vidyarthis (students) of the Pathashala as well as devotees who had contributed in many ways in the running of the Pathashala.


Anugraha Bhashanam at Melmangalam