By Hari Prasad Koirala,Urlabari, Mar. 19: Villages and cities alike have started facing a shortage of priests and Purohits, prompting many to enrol their wards in Hindu Gurukul schools. However, because of the Vedic belief that the Gurukul education must be imparted for free, these schools are having trouble sustaining.
The Baijanath Adhikari Primary Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Jante, Letang Municipality–9, Morang alone teaches the Gurukul curriculum to 26 Brahmin pupils (Batuks). The curriculum includes Chandi, Rudri, Veda, Gita, Amar Kosh, Principles of Nyaya as well as Sanskrit language and grammar along with regular school subjects.
According to the headmaster Ekraj Bhattarai, the Vidyapeeth, which is permitted to operate classes for up to the fourth grade, was established on 10 Katthas of land on the initiative
of the locals.
In 2009, the residents of Jante held a Mahapurana recitation ceremony to mark a century of human habitation in their village. Recited by late Khemraj Keshav Sharan, a scholar of Eastern Philosophy and a Jante native, the ceremony helped raise Rs. 1.3 million and obtain 1.5 Bighas of land. According to local Ambaka Prasad Adhikari, this land and money was used to build a temple and establish the Vidyapeeth.
The Vidyapeeth is a residential school meaning it has the added responsibility of not only teaching its students but also taking care of their food and accommodation. Adhikari, who is a member of its board, shared the food donated by locals and other virtuous individuals was enough to feed all 26 students. "In fact, we can accommodate more. But we have had to stop enrolment because do not have sufficient resources to pay the regular salaries of our three Gurus," he explained.
The Letang Municipality and Maharshi Foundation extend some support but it is not enough. Headmaster Bhattarai urged the government to understand that Sanskrit education too could produce skilled manpower. "Yet, it is not prioritised by the authorities," he lamented.
As proof, Bhattarai points to the students themselves who become professional priests and reputed Gurus even before the completion of school.