Gokarna Partagali Jeevottam Mathadhish Vidyadhiraj Teerth Shripad Vader Swamiji is in the city to attend the Kalabhivruddhi Mahotsav 2015 being held at the Mahalaxmi temple. In an exclusive interview to ‘The Navhind Times’, he speaks with Ramnath N Pai Raikar covering an array of topics like social responsibility of the temples, importance of Sanskrit language, and the Vedic education imparted at the Partagali Mutt
Q: Swamiji, can you share your thoughts about the healthcare facility recently inaugurated by you at the city Mahalaxmi temple?
Health has become an important aspect of our social life. I recently inaugurated a primary health facility at the Mahalaxmi temple. The devotees visiting this temple can find mental solace, as also avail of health counselling, if need be. The pathology section of this facility, I understand, will make pathological services available to visiting patients at a subsidised rate. Another important aspect of this facility is that the visitors can learn to take precautionary measures against many illnesses, in turn avoiding their dependence on medicines. In short, it will allow them to have a control over their health. I would say that good health is the greatest fortune a person can have.
Q: Goa is known as ‘Devbhumi’ or ‘Land of the Gods’ due to its large number of temples. Do you feel these temples should take up social welfare activities?
There are many temples, which have undertaken such socially beneficial projects. Ramnathi temple is one such example I can immediately recall, which is running a similar project since the last 10 years. The temple committee has also made provision for two-three doctors. As for the contribution of temples towards education, such a provision exists right from the time Portuguese ruled this region. The then Portuguese government had even mentioned in the rules and regulations under the ‘Regulamento das Mazanias’ vide Article 406 that two per cent of the receipts of the temples should be paid to the government for the fund of beneficence and educational activities for poor students by way of scholarships, etc. Some of the temples are already following this provision as per their capacity.
Q: Shri Jeevottam Vaidik Sanskrit Pathshala of Partagali Mutt imparts education in religious matters. Has the number of students in the Pathshala increased over the years, especially those coming from Goa?
Altogether 350 students undergo this training for a period of five years. Ten per cent of such students, who have studied at the Mutt, are Goans. The studies include Vedic rituals like puja-archa, and yadnya-aradhana, in turn making these students full-fledged Bramhanas. Some knowledge of jyotish, the Vedic astrology is also imparted. The studies at the Mutt finally develop Bhikshuki Vrutti or ascetic way of life in them. However, many of them are neither capable of attaining higher knowledge, nor have a liking for it. If pressurised into higher learning, such students refuse to stay at the Mutt. They happily undergo the five-year studies, which I can call cultured education. These students need to attend 200 days of studies, per year, with the presence for five periods per day being applicable to them. We have five teachers for the purpose. The education at the Mutt, I would say, is definitely knowledgeable.
Q: Many foreigners display keen interest in Hindu scriptures like Vedas. Do you feel the world is finally recognising importance of Indian culture and traditions?
The foreigners showing interest in Indian scriptures should first understand that their interest moves along a difficult path. Acquiring the Vedic knowledge is a hard task. This is because the Vedas exist in Sanskrit language and even after learning Sanskrit for ten years, there is a room for doubt as to whether the learner has fully grasped its essence or not. Max Müller, the German orientalist understood the importance of Sanskrit language, propagated it around the world, and made the global citizens understand that India guides the world in the real sense.
Q: Do you feel that the government should support Sanskrit language?
The support already exists. The Karnataka government does it. Back in the 1940s, when I was studying as a child in the school established by the Gowd Saraswat Brahmins, we did not have Sanskrit subject. Now, however, the school has started teaching Sanskrit. In the absence of Sanskrit, we were told to opt for Hindi, so that our vocabulary would expand and knowledge of the language would blossom profusely. The more languages a person studies, the more graceful his personality becomes.
Q: Tell us something about Vidyadhiraj Puraskar, the annual award given by Gokarna Partagali Jeevottam Mutt.
We honour those individuals with the award, who have contributed substantially towards the nation. We have been giving this award since the last 33 years. The IAS officers, diplomats, financial experts, performers in the field of art and culture, etc have been bestowed upon with this award. The award winners include T M A Pai, Suresh Prabhu, Vasantrao Dempo, Shyam Benegal, M V Kamath, K V Kamath, Nandan Nilekani and a host of others.
Q: Today the people have turned materialistic, and are moving away from spirituality, in turn breeding hatred and jealousy in society…
Spirituality provides comfort to human mind, though not every one may find it easy to tread the path of spirituality. However, the fruit which the path provides at the end is that of happiness. In the modern high-fidelity world governed by competition, everyone is vulnerable to making money and becoming rich. It is important for a person to carry on with good deeds, even if it makes him face hard times, because finally good deeds will bear him the fruit of ultimate happiness. The journey towards spirituality is definitely difficult, but is worth taking up as its end is always pleasant.