Arsha Vidya Gurukulam is an institute for the traditional study of Advaita Vedanta and Sanskrit located about 25 Km from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, in the picturesque Nilgiri Mountains.
The word Arsha means that which is from the Rishis – the great sages of ancient India. The word Vidya means knowledge. Gurukulam refers to a residential center for learning with the teacher. Arsha Vidya Gurukulam is a place where one learns the knowledge imparted by the Rishis.
Established in 1990 by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, an eminent teacher of Vedanta and an erudite scholar in Sanskrit, the Gurukulam is patterned after the ancient gurukulams of India. The Gurukulam offers Indians and Westerners alike an opportunity to study the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Brahmasutras and other related classic texts. Here Vedanta is taught true to the sampradaya, the traditional way of teaching, in a setup which is as modern as it is traditional. The students come here and live with the teacher, learning as much from living in the Gurukulam as from the teaching. The students are selected from all over the world, based on their interest and commitment to learn.
Long Term Courses
Three fully residential 3 to 3½ year programmes have been conducted at the Gurukulam so far. The first one was between 1990 and 1994, the second one between 1995 and 98 and the third between 2002 and 2005. The long-term study program has a syllabus that includes study of
- Bhagavad Gita
- Vedanta prakaranas like Tattvabodha, Atmabodha, Panchadashi etc
- Sanskrit with Paninian system of Grammar
All these imply the study of Sankara Bhashya in the original. Besides all this, there are daily meditation and satsangas (which are often question and answer sessions). The graduates from these courses, many of them renunciates and numbering about 150, are now acharyas teaching around the world.
Short term courses
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam conducts regular spiritual retreats, meditation camps, courses of various durations like 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months in Vedanta and Sanskrit.
Bhagavad Gita Home Study Program
The Gurukulam has a Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course, a very effective way of imbibing the teaching. Bhagavad Gita is a complete teaching including yoga (the preparation) and the Gita Home Study material is a great help towards that end. The course material, comprising of a set of 4 volumes, is based on actual classroom teaching of the complete Bhagavad Gita to students of a three-year program in Vedanta. You can also supplement this study material with the Bhagavad Gita home study MP3 CD set made up of seven CDs which cover all the 360 plus classes forming the basis for the home study material. There is also a searchable version of the course material for those who prefer an online resource rather than books. You can get these from our bookstore at the Gurukulam.
Small groups of 8 to 10 people, which we call a Gita Vicara Group, come together with a commitment to meet at a regular interval, like once in a week, and study together. One person plays the role of a facilitator and the group members can choose to take turns playing this role. Each member in the group reads a couple of pages loudly and then it is discussed. The group becomes a support group and helps one stay with the satsanga through thick and thin. The group is helped by one of the Gurukulam’s teachers in that area.
Maharshi Vyasa is credited with classifying the four Vedas into various Shakhas. It is believed that when Sri Vyasa first classified the Vedas there were about 1180 shakhas or branches. Due to reasons known and unknown to us only about 13 shakhas survive today. The Gurukulam runs a Veda Pathashala inside the premises. Students aged between 12 and 18, learn the Raanaayani shakha of Samaveda from Sri Sridhar.
This Pathashala is in addition to the Veda Pathashalas Pujya Swamiji is supporting in other places like Nagpur, Manjakkudi, Palghat, Trivandrum etc among other places.