Hindu Dharma Vidya Peetam

Kanyakumari district had been remaining vulnerable to religious conversion and the number of Hindus had been dwindling rapidly. Swami Madhuranandaji found that the cause was more of the ignorance of Hindus about their own religion than anything external. He thought that enlightening the Hindus about their rich spiritual wealth and glorious heritage and thus connecting them to their life-giving, life-saving, life-transforming roots of the Eternal religion would anchor their rootless survival. So he started Sunday classes for Hindus, especially for children, in as early as 1951.

He started Sunday classes in many temples in Kanyakumari district where he taught children, as also others, Gita, Upanishads, moral stories from the Puranas, hymns on Gods and Goddesses and such topics. Slowly and steadily the number of classes increased. In 1981, he consolidated these classes along with various other similar activities and brought them under a separate trust by name Hindu Dharma Vidya Peetam

Activities through Hindu Dharma Vidya Peetam

1. Sunday Classes

The Sunday classes are aimed at imparting working knowledge of Hindu religion and heritage to Hindus. Hindu scriptures, culture, hymns on different deities and such related subjects are taught in these classes.

The classes are classified into five grades with prescribed text books (available in Tamil and Malayalam). Annual exams are conducted and those that are eligible are promoted to the next grade. Grades 4 & 5 have to write two exams in order to pass. Those who pass exam are issued certificates and awarded.

Annually a grand Convocation Ceremony is organized and those who pass the last grade are conferred with the title 'Vidya Jyoti'. They are presented a shield as also a citation. As a consummation of this convocation ceremony, Bhagavad Gita-homa is performed and the Vidyajyoti title holders take an oath in the presence of the holy fire to the effect that they would remain loyal Hindus and serve Hinduism in all possible ways.

In response to the enthusiasm of students, in 1998, a 6th grade was introduced for deep study on specialized subjects and those who pass were conferred with a title 'Vidya Bhushan'.

Sunday Class Sunday Class

The following tables show the glowing response to the Sunday classes:

Table 1 : Sunday Classes in Kanyakumari District


Year

Number of
Sunday Class-Centres

Number of
Students

Number of
Teachers

1981

93

5000

250

1990

150

8000

400

2000

450

30000

1300

2010

867

50000

2000

Each centre will have up to five classes depending upon the number of grades that are dealt with there. Teachers volunteer for these classes.

Table 2 : Sunday Classes in Other Places


District

Number of
Sunday Class-Centres

Number of
Students

Number of
Teachers

Chennai

16

400

20

Coimbatore

20

650

25

Erode

22

550

25

Tuticorin

1

30

1

Kerala

42

1600

70

Sri Lanka

1

25

2

2. Deepa Puja (Thiruvilakku Pujai)

'Thiru-vilakku' or 'Kuthu-vilakku' is an artistically crafted lamp (Deepa, in Sanskrit), which invariably finds a place in the shrines, especially, in South Indian Hindu homes. It is the symbol of Mahalakshmi, the deity of Fortune and Prosperity. Thiruvilakku Pujai aims at collectively worshipping Mahalakshmi, mostly in temples, by a large number of women at a time.

Thiruvilakku Pujai is organized and performed by womenfolk alone. Each woman brings a Thiruvilakku, invokes the presence of Mahalakshmi in it, and worships Her. Started with 108 Thiruvilakkus, this puja has gradually gained momentum, and presently performed with 1008, 2007, 5004, and sometimes up to 10008 Thiruvilakkus at a time.

Specially designated organizers take care of this puja. In Kanyakumari district this puja is organized at 700 places every month and about 35,000 women take part in different places. In other districts also this puja is spreading fast. The fact that the book Deepa Puja, which is published for the purpose, is selling in lakhs is a standing testimony to the growing popularity of the puja. 

This puja is a sight for gods. Apart from its religious value, it achieves twofold purpose; one, it unites Hindu women and, second, it offers a unique dignity to them as they are able to worship directly, which is generally denied for women.

3. Raahu-Kaala Durga Puja

This is a puja similar to Deepa puja organized and performed by women. In this puja, Durga Devi is worshipped during raahu-Kaala with a prescribed set of mantras. The procedure of this puja ia also published as a booklet (Raahu-Kaala Durga Pujai). All over Kanyakumari district, in more than 100 temples this puja is performed by more than 2500 women.

4. Training Courses

5. Congregational Prayers

Prayer was the Vedic way of communing with God. Our ancestors achieved everything through prayer. Continuing this great tradition, set prayers are organized in Hindu homes on specific occasions. These congregational gatherings make a Hindu feel for another by taking part in each other's weal and woe.

Prayers are selected from the Vedas, Upanishads and other Scriptures and separate books are designed for the purpose. One prayer session generally lasts for a maximum of one hour.

  1. Auspiciousness-Prayer (Mangala Prarthanai): These prayers are chanted during birthday celebration, marriage and such occasions for auspiciousness, fortune, and prosperity.
  2. Peace-Prayer (Atmasanti Prarthanai): After someone passes away, these prayers are chanted for the eternal peace of his or her soul in God.

6. Celebrations

7. Encouraging Education

8. Publications

Quote of the day

One may gain political and social independence, but if one is a slave to his passions and desires,...

- Swami Vivekananda

Activities

Weekend Class Locator