Friday, October 29, 2010

The Acharya School – A field trip to Madhurakavi Nandhavanam

It was on the sunny Wednesday, 27th October, Acharyah children were given an opportunity to learn Botany through natural exploration. That was a field trip to Madhurakavi Nandhavanam at Srirangam. This Nandhavanam is an extremely privileged flower garden. The flowers blooming here are exclusively for Namperumal. The herbs, leaves and fibre also trace their path to Namperumal’s Thirumeni. No flower under the sky other than those from this garden can adorn him!

This is a unique and apt place for us to induct Science and spirituality to our children. They went and felt all the plants they were allowed to. They had wide categories of herbs, shrubs, trees and climbers to watch, feel and learn. This concept oriented natural learning induces them towards scientific thinking. This real time model provides a concrete idea about natural science in the young minds.

Children also collected various herbs such as Tulsi, Thumbai, Keezhanalli, Kuppaimeni etc. Their collection included leaves, flowers and buds too. Once back to school,they  pressed the leaves in their record books for further study.

Children were taken also to the river bed  to have a view of thula Cauvery’s full fledged flow. Children had a look at the herbs and shrubs on the river bed too.The glitter in the eyes of the young ones seemed to encompass the whole area and furthered the beauty of shining pebbles on the river bed.

There was a cow its calf  in the garden. Our children fed them with bananas. That was a happy and healthy learning in the open area for our tine tots. The joy was evident not only in the children but also among the trees,flowers , the cow and the calf

Do check out a few photos out of this divine occasion.

You can also check out a video of this trip over here:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nutrition in every Gulp ! - Key to healthy living


‘Nutrition’ is a word that has been lapped up by the present society with utmost fervor and inexplicable zeal. This nutrition concept which had been an integrated part of living in the days of our Acharyas and even our grandparents, has now assumed a very revered and ‘distinct’ position amongst us.

But we should remember that this new found infatuation with nutrition has not helped bridge the rift between diseased/ailment prone living and healthy / salubrious living. The primary reason for this is again our new found attraction towards the latest pseudo-healthy products inundating every visible shop in our vicinity. The plethora of advertisements in every possible media is culpable in this regard. A health specialist made a very thought-provoking comment in a famous daily .Here’s the exact wordings ‘ Eat anything that is made from a plant . Refrain from eathing anything made in a plant’ implying natural products are safe and products manufactured in Factories( Plant) are in some or the other way harmful. The amusing irony here is that we carefully choose the factory made eatables presuming they would nourish us !

To attain the ‘pink of the health’ status and built – to –last shareeram , the most important aspect is in seeking the remedy from amidst the innumerable products Namperumal has lovingly and aptly manufactured for us! When our birth followed the Rules laid by Him, when our body’s functioning follows the Blueprint designed by Him, when our growth pattern religiously adhered to his decree , then why ransack our Health by plunging into the quagmire of ‘artificial / away from Actual’ products ? Staying in absolute communion with the Namperumal developed world is the only elixir for the Nutrition seeker. And that’s what Srimaan Trust is precisely doing for the Gurukulam students.

The Gurukulam Students are a lucky lot. Well it is wrong to boast of the Trust being its volunteers but then this envy is quite irresistible for us ! Everyday, when we see the care and micro level attention tended to every thread of the children’s existence , thoughts of unfulfilled past clogs our hearts ( all written in utmost good spirit !) . The villainy of time has resulted in our being only volunteers of the Trust and the coveted status of ‘pupil’ has forever eluded us!

A day( we restrict this mail to the nutritional intake part alone) in the life of ‘Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam’ child begins in salubrious style. Waking up to 3 glasses of power –packed 18 daanya (cereal,lentils,nuts) porridge(Kanji) at 6 :30 am, the child breezes through the early full meal at 9 :30 am. The 18 daanya kanji is one of the best breakfast option. Nutritionists are insisting on a very healthy breakfast to enhance the well – being of the body. Some of them go to the extent of placing the breakfast very close to waking up. This would provide the much starved ( 8 hrs of sleep!) body a real boost. And when the breakfast is brimming with nutrients like the 18 daanyams, what more to ask for ?

The full meal at 9 :30am is a more racy and action packed prequel to the routine afternoon sleep inducing lunch. An aromatic variety of vegetables often mixed together in unique manner acts as an appetizer to the child. After the Shastric prayer (Pariseshanam) and savoring the vegetable salad, the child is fed with vegetable filled kozhambu. What all vegetables missed the opportunity of gracing the salad cup earlier, find their venerable slot here. Isn’t it a baghyam to be swallowed by the mouth that unrelentingly utters the sacred Vedas, Stotras and Divya – Prabandham ?! Satramudhu is special in gurukulam. Each day the improvising Srivaishnava cook tries enriching it with fruits like pineapple, grapes and others. The fruits join the bandwagon in style.

Come the sultry noon, respite is offered through curd rice accompanied by vegetable stew ( koottu) and pickles made from fresh vegetables sans preservatives and spices. (Gurukulam offers only Sathvika aaharam. The Founder Acharya is very stringent in this regard).

At around 5pm ,with the sun setting and cool Cauvery breeze engulfing the Srirangam dwellers, the gurukulam child is handed a cup full of dry fruits comprising Almonds ( Badam), Raisins ( Dry draksha ), Walnuts (acroot), Cashews ( mundiri) and soaked Groundnuts. Soaked Groundnuts are very healthy and provide excellent stamina. Another cup of a different variety of porridge also features in the 5pm session.

The dinner is very simple following the sastric saying ‘Breakfast like a kind, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’. This is another key to healthy living. The dinner, though simple ,is again nutrient centric. If dosai is made , it won’t be like the ones made routinely by us. Children love seeing and handling colours and we fulfill their wish with our culinary art. Variety of vegetables are added to the night meal be it dosai or idli or adai. When adais are prepared , a mixture of danyams are also added to provide the child with utmost nourishment. The 18 daanya adai is our speciality!

A cup of pure cow milk sums up the days nutrient intake. The protein rich milk is a must for growing children as protein is required for the body to repair tissues and preserve youth.

Apart from this dynamic routine, the Gurukulam has designed a chart to incorporate herbal medicines in the daily routine of students. Every Tuesday and Saturday the child  is given Kalisadhi Choornam. Thursdays are meant for Ashwagandhi Choornam . Everyday Nilavembu Kudineer is administered;Nilavembu builds up enormous resistance and guards the body from frequent fever & other infections.

How has this tailor-made nutrition  plan benefited the gurukulam children ? In a recent Dental Check up camp , the orthodontists were pleasantly surprised to find a negligible no. of students with dental problems. 95% of the children had a good dental health. The regular kashayam intake has proved a grand success in deterring foreign bodies from attacking the children. Frequent fever,cold,cough have become the rarest phenomenon in the Gurukulam children. Another splendid benefit of the nutrition plan is that the children readily eat and drink whatever is offered by the Trust ( unlike our protesting children back home). The children are seldom fatigued and are very active throughout the day.

A question may crop up in the minds of some /all of you. Being children of Gurukulam , will this cuisine not make them fall prey to the taste buds ? Well, do we think in this angle when it comes to our Children? Do we make bland food for them and cut down on tasty items? We cant imagine doing so. Its the same with these Gurukulam children. Their non-affluent background has resulted in their missing out the joy of childhood all these years. Now, they have become our Children and we shall leave no stone unturned in fulfilling the Parents role that we've assumed.

In this effort we also entreat you to play your role as a parent to these Children. The joy of assuming the role of guiding children other than ours is beyond the realm of words ! Do join us in this wonderful experience !

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Feed with Play

Feeding babies with play, teaching children with play is a very old Indian tradition adopted by western countries. In our old / Purana tradition, Srimaan Trust conducts a number of various ventures all towards imbibing the concepts and teachings of our Purvars / Purvacharyas to children.

Recently on 6th October 2010 such a venture a multifaceted competition was held for the students of Srimaan Bhattar Kuzham and Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam. Book of question bank was issued to each student of 7 teams (boys & girls aged 10 to 15). The groups of boys were named Azhwar Thirunagari, Thirukkudanthai, Thirukkurungudi, Thiruchitrakoodam and Thirukkurugur and that of girls named as Uraiyur and Thiruvarangam.

The competition was of 6 rounds. They were:

  1. Questions on vaibhavams of Mudhal Azhwars and Pillailokacharyar.
  2. Audio Identification – to identify the Upanyasaka from an audio clipping by the accent, voice, elocution etc. This also includedanswering questions based on the clipping.
  3. Visual Identification i.e to identify Azhwars and incidents on his life from visual clippings.
  4. Dumsarads – to enact the scene from a line of Thiruppavai which called for imagination, body language and extempore action.
  5. The rapid fire round in which the representative of each team should answer questions from Idhihasam, Azhwars, Acharyas Vaibavam etc. within 10 seconds, i.e to shoot at sound.
  6. The quiz competition was responsibly conducted by Revathi, who was also a student of our Srimaan Bhattar Kuzham.

All the teams tried to emulate each other in a very friendly manner and it was very tough for the judges to select the outstanding group. The Rapid Fire competition came as a tie-breaker and relieved the judges of selecting the exemplifying team. Thirukkudanthai Team was selected as the Topper by their skill of lightening action.

The competition is held in series to help the students to prepare and excel in the next chance.

Check out the photos of this divine function here:

Navarathri at Gurukulam

Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam students celebrate Navarathri Uthsav in the way of practical training. But none of their performances is amateurish. In a grand way, they celebrate as experts with easiness. It is very fascinating to watch the involvement and devotion of the Vidhyarthis to follow the uthsavas as followed in Temple.

Perumal was adorned in various kolams daily.( Andal, Rangamannar sayana thirukolam, Rajamannarkudi perumal, thiruppathi perumal, ramar thirukkolam, krishnar thirukkolam, Parthasarathy thirukkolam etc. )

On 15th October 2010, Thiruvadi seva of Thayar was performed with full d├ęcor. The teachers (Gurus) and other elders around had the Dharshan and appreciated the keen observance and adoption of Sampradhaya in pleasing manner.

Emberumanar Divyagna Vardhatham Abivardhatham!!

Kaliyum Kedum Kandu Konmin!!  A few photos from this divine occasion are shared below:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dental Camp in October 2010


Dental care forms an integral part of maintaining a healthy body. Keeping this in mind, the volunteers of SRIMAAN TRUST (SRIMAAN BHATTAR KUZHAM) organized a dental camp for the students of Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam, Sri Bhattarpiran Veda Patasala and Sri Ramanuja Siddhantha Vidya Peetam.

The camp was conducted on 10th October, 2010 at Srimaan Bhattar Gurukulam premises. We received a nice gesture from Punnagai Dental Clinic, Trichy who has performed this dental checkup fully free of cost. They have also agreed to offer free treatment for those with ailments.

The checkup was performed by Dr.L.Krishnapriya and Dr.James Rani with the support of chief doctor Dr. Mekala. The camp started at 10 a.m in the morning and concluded at 12 p.m. This was possible due to the efforts of the enthusiastic volunteers of Srimaan Trust. This was a nice opportunity for the students to take care of their dental health.

Finally the students of the Gurukulam chanted Nalayira Divya Prabandham, Stotrapadam and Vedam and prayed for the shreyas (welfare) of the doctors.

Check out the photos of this function here.