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The Ashram Veda Patasala (1934)

Major Chadwick and the Veda Patasala students ca. 1953
Major Chadwick and the Veda Patasala students ca. 1953

The Ashram Vedic School was established in 1934 for the regular instruction in the Krishna Yajur Veda with students performing daily recitation of the Vedas in the hall. Prior to this, pundits from town had come each day for morning and evening recitations and would chant before Bhagavan who, it is said, would sit bolt upright each time they began. Among the group from the school in town was a senior student, Sri Krishna Ghanapatigal, who was selected in the presence of Sri Bhagavan as the first Ashram Veda Patasala teacher, and who in time proved instrumental for the steady growth of the newly formed Ashram school. After Bhagavan’s Mahanirvana, the school closed temporarily for lack of funds and it seemed that the chanting of the Vedas, which had become such a regular part of Ashram life, might come to an end simply because there was no one to carry it on. In 1953 the Ashram Managing Committee authorized Major Chadwick to solicit funds to revive the school and to initiate the Sri Chakra puja in the Mother’s Shrine. Under Chadwick’s stewardship, funds were raised and, five days after the Sri Chakra puja was inaugurated in March, 1953, the Ashram school was reopened.

In the 1970s the school again suffered from lack of funds and students, and appeals were made for support. Finally thanks to Sri Vaidyanatha Ganapatigal of Mysore, the school was revitalised. In 1980, after 40 years of service, Sri Krishna Ganapatigal retired and was succeeded by Sri T.S. Ramaswamy Ghanapatigal. Today, under the guidance of Sri Sentilnatha Ghanapatigal, the school enjoys a vitality, enthusiasm and regular influx of students unknown since the Patasala’s inception nearly 80 years ago.