For the last six weeks, an interesting weekend programme is underway for the students at Manjakkudi. Swamini Atmatattvananda Saraswati is conducting value classes and the lessons are interspersed with Bhakti stories and slokam chanting.
It started with Athichudi (single line quotations composed by Avvaiyar).“This is a very small effort. What we are trying is imbibing the right values in children from early on in life. We have received a positive response from students as well as the parents” says Swami Rameswarananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya.
These classes are currently being held at the Shiva temple at Manjakkudi, every Sunday from 10 to 11 am with participation ranging from 10 to 15 students. At the end of the class, students are given prasadam. The children are expected to recite the slokams at their homes. Once the students learn basic slokams, they will then progress to learning other works on Tamil hymns.
As part of a larger community outreach initiative, a Ramayana lecture series by Swamini Atmatattvananda Saraswati is also happening every Saturday (6 pm) at the Varadaraja Perumal temple, Kodavasal, Tiruvarur district, Tamil Nadu. The talk concludes with the main aarti at the temple. It has been very well received by audience across age groups with regular attendees.
The Varadaraja Perumal Temple is currently being managed and maintained by the Swami Dayananda Saraswati Trust (SDET) under its community service initiatives.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Sembangudi, Swamini Swaminathapriya Saraswati ji, (the coordinator of AIM for Seva’s Chatralayams in Sembangudi and Thippanampettai, Tamil Nadu), has started the second year of value-based education classes for children residing in the village.
The value-education programme that kicked off last year received a very good response from all concerned stakeholders, students and parents alike. This year, the classes are being conducted every Saturday (5 pm to 6 pm) at the Perumal temple in Sembangudi Agraharam. Students from classes 3 to 8 residing in and around the Agraharam are expected to benefit from these Saturday classes. The batch size varies 10 to 20 students. Course components include moral and value lessons from the epics and Puranas, slokams and bhajans.
“Students were constantly asking for the programme to be continued,” says Swamini Swaminathapriya Saraswati ji.
Sembangudi which is in close vicinity to Manjakkudi, the birthplace of Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, boasts of a rich cultural heritage. One of the doyens of Carnatic music, Semmangudi Srininvasa Iyer hailed from this village in Tiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu.