The first anniversary of Sydney Veda Pathshala was celebrated at Scout Hall, North Carlingford, Sydney. More than 150 people attended the unique Veda chanting programme.
Sydney Veda Pathshala, an initiative of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Australia, was started in 2008 under the guidance of Swami Vigyananand, joint general secretary of VHP. It was incorporated in New South Wales, Australia on July 2, 2008 under the Associations Incorporation Act, 1984. The first Veda Pathshala was started at Baulkham Hills with 10 students.
The first anniversary programme began with a traditional welcome of Swami Vigyananand. Shri Jonathan Nanlohy, Cultural Development Co-ordinator from Baulkham Hills Shire Council, was the guest speaker. Smt Akila Ramarathinam, joint general secretary of VHP Australia, welcomed the guests and enlightened the audience about the achievements of Sydney Veda Pathshala students in the past one year. She also mentioned that Sydney Veda Pathshala was unique in many ways: (a) first of this kind in any country outside Indian subcontinent; (b) it is for whole family rather than small children?chanting in a family atmosphere; and (c) Veda chanting is for all age groups, and study is open to everyone free from caste, creed, race and gender.
Sydney Veda Pathshala has taken Sydney by storm since its launch last year by Swami Vigyananand as more than 100 students regularly attend the Pathshala (school) to memorise and practise the hymns for wisdom and knowledge. Now, there are four such schools in the suburbs of Sydney. A fifth school was opened at Dural (Shiv Sharada Temple) on April 9. At the anniversary celebrations, children from four Pathshalas in Sydney? Baulkham Hills, Carlingford, Homebush and Liverpool branches participated in chanting hymns from the Vedas, their rhythmic recitation an experience to behold.
Speaking on the importance of studying Vedas, Swami Vigyananand said, ?Without expecting anything Vedas must be studied, and practised.? He mentioned briefly the history and benefits of Veda chanting. Encouraged by seeing so many girl students at the Veda chanting, and also to challenge the popular perception, he mentioned that there were 29 women rishis (latter known as Brahmavadinis) among the 407 Sages associated with the revelation of the Rig Veda.
He said, ?Australian Federal and State Governments, and local government bodies should be proud that Australia has taken the step to protect, preserve and promote Veda chanting that is world intangible cultural heritage?.
Shri Jonathan Nanlohy, Cultural Development Co-ordinator from Baulkham Hills Shire Council, said he was very happy to be part of this history being created. ?I am impressed by the Hindu society initiative and community participation and support to this revival of UNESCO declared world heritage,? said Shri Nanlohy. He also said it was an amazing experience for him to see whole family from grandparents to grandchildren learning together, and where good initiatives are taken without any government financial support. We like to support such good initiatives for the cultural understanding and strengthening of family and community.?
Students participated in Veda chanting in a number of programmes including ?Darshan in Suburb? organised by SVT Temple, Sani Pradosham Programme at SVT Temple, Deepawali programme in Olympic Park organised by Hindu Council of Australia and VHP Deepawali Cultural Programme.