How should the lifestyle of a scholar be? But before that what is the aim of the scholar? No doubt, to attain knowledge as much as possible with as little efforts. Now to fulfill this aim, there are few things that can help us achieve it. A lazy, sloppy child cannot succeed as easily as an active and intelligent child can.
Student must utilize all his time and energy judiciously as to be able to produce best results possible. All this actually boils down to physical, mental and emotional well being of the child.
No matter how marvelous and lofty your ideas are, if you are without power, than they are all worthless. You need strength and power to confront the great troubles and impediments that you may come across.
Bapuji mentions a quote from scriptures about ideal life style of a student
काक चेष्टा बको ध्यानं, श्वान निद्रा तथैव च ।
अल्पहारी गृह त्यागी, विद्यार्थी पंच लक्षणं ॥
(kāka ceṣṭā bako dhyānaṁ, śvāna nidrā tathaiva ca | alpahārī gr̥ha tyāgī, vidyārthī paṁca lakṣaṇaṁ ||)
Meaning a student should be alert like a crow, have concentration like that of a Crane and sleep like that of a dog that wakes up even at slightest of the noise. The student should eat scantily to suffice his energy needs and neither less not more. Also he should stay away from chores of daily house hold stuff and emotional attachment.
Taking these as guiding rules we have selected some techniques and practices that student can take benefit from. These are tried and tested techniques practiced by students of Gurukuls.
In a Gurukul everyday is filled with love to god, the god present with in hearts of all beings, living or non living. The one who makes us feel our very existence.
Prayer being an integral part of the Gurukul system, the day starts with waking up in Bhramhmurta (the time 2.30 hours prior to sunrise to sunrise). Before starting the routine, students sit silently contemplating over the self. The reason for rising early is the positive vibrations present in environment. At this time, all saints and holy people are in meditation while others are still asleep. This makes for surroundings conducive for meditation.
After meditation for few minutes, students perform “KAR DARSHAN”, i.e. looking at their hands and remembering the presence of Maa Lakshmi at the tip of the palms, Maa Saraswati in the middle of the palm and Lord Vishnu at the bottom of the palm. This is done with the soft recitation of the shlok-
“कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मी: करमध्ये सरस्वती | करमूले तू गोविन्द: प्रभाते करदर्शनम् ||”
(karāgre vasate lakṣmī: karamadhye sarasvatī | karamūle tū govinda: prabhāte karadarśanam ||)
After the shlok, all students do ‘Hasya Prayog’. This is a beneficial technique of laughing while chanting the name of lord. If the day starts with a laugh it is bound to be filled with joy and happiness.
The principal of respecting others start even before students place their feet on ground. Students pray to mother Earth and beg her pardon for putting their feet on her. This too is done with vedic mantra as written in shastras. It goes like this:
समुद्रवसने देवी पर्वतस्तनमंडीते !
विष्णुपत्नि नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्वमे !!
(samudravasane devī parvatastanamaṁḍīte |
viṣṇupatni namastubhyaṁ pādasparśaṁ kṣamasvame ||)
After this the daily routine starts with bath in vedic style while chanting Mantra. This being done in bhrammurhata is called Rishi Snan. Before pouring water, the seven holy rivers of India are prayed to provide their blessings in the water.
गंगा च यमुने चैव गोदावरी सरस्वती |
नर्मदे सिंधु कावेरी जलेस्मिन संनिधिम कुरु ||
(gaṁgā ca yamune caiva godāvarī sarasvatī |
narmade siṁdhu kāverī jalesmina saṁnidhima kuru ||)
Students then assemble for the prayer in a hall asking god to gift them with noble virtues. With the chanting of holy name of God, students concentrate themselves and go into deep silence, i.e. Dhyan.
When students get up from meditation they feel lot more calm and peaceful. Then all students move to the lawn for physical activities. They start with pranayams to improve their brain and intellect. Also all students do ‘Bhramri pranayam’ to increase their memory power.
After pranayams, students perform Yogasan under the supervision of a guide followed by Surya namaskar, a special sequence of 13 asanas performed one after another. This helps in improving the blood flow in the body while providing sufficient physical exercise for all body parts. Doing these helps in increasing the ‘Sattva gun’ in the body and eliminate ‘Rajas gun and Tamas gun’.
Finally all students offer water to the Lord sun , the god of intellect while chanting the mantras. They pray Lord Sun to provide them health, intellect and will power. The mantras are:
ॐ मित्राय नमः Om Mitray Nmah
ॐ रवये नमः Om Ravye Nmah
ॐ सूर्याय नमः Om Suryay Nmah
ॐ भानवे नमः Om Bhanve Nmah
ॐ खगाय नमः Om Khagaay Nmah
ॐ पूष्णे नमः Om Pusne Nmah
ॐ हिरण्यगर्भाय नमः Om Hirnygarbhay Nmah
ॐ मरीचये नमः Om Marichye Nmah
ॐ आदित्याय नमः Om Aadityay Namah
ॐ सवित्रे नमः Om Savitre Nmah
ॐ अर्काय नमः Om Arkay Nmah
ॐ भास्कराय नमः Om Bhaskray Namah
ॐ श्रीसवीतृ-सूर्यनारायणाय नमः Om Shri Savitr Suryanarayanay Namah
ॐ आदित्याय विधमहे भास्कराय धीमहि , तन्नो भानु प्रचोदयात
Om Adityay Vidhmahe Bhaskaray Dhimahi, Tanu Bhanu Prachodaya
Just before the breakfast all students are given 5-7 Tusli (Basil) leaves with Neem leaves for eating along with a glass of water. It is known that simple eating of Tulsi leaves can cure upto 800 diseases including cancer. It is especially beneficial for students as it helps in boosting the memory power and improving the immunity system. All students are served a wholesome breakfast after which students disburse for their individual classes.
All classes start with the obeisance to the teacher. Then students chant ‘Hari Om’ three times before the beginning of every session. Gurukul follows a system of ‘Trikaal Sandhya’. The noon Sandhya is done from 11.50 am to 12.10 pm in all Gurukuls. Students stop all their activities and sit in meditation.
After Sandhya all students assemble for the lunch.
As it should be for the students of a Gurukul, this too is done in vedic manner. Students wash their hands and feet and sit orderly in a row. They recite the shloks from 15th chapter of Bhagwat Geeta. Then students offer thanks to Lord Vishnu for providing them with food chanting the shlok:
हर्रि दाता हर्रि भोक्ता हर्रि अन्नं प्रजापति |
हर्रि: सर्व शरीरस्थो भोक्ते भुज्यते हरी: ||
(harir dātā harir bhoktā harir annaṁ prajāpati | harir: sarva śarīrastho bhokte bhujyate hari: ||)
After this 5 oblations are made to the pranas.
ॐ प्रणाय स्वाह: Om Praanaaya Swaha
ॐ अपानाय स्वाह: Om Apaanaaya Swaha
ॐ व्यानाय स्वाह: Om Vyaanaaya Swaahaa
ॐ उदानाय स्वाह: Om Udaanaaya Swaha
ॐ समानाय स्वाह: Om Samaanaaya Swaha
All students then have their meals without talking, they are served all they need by the sevadharis (volunteers).
Finishing the lunch students take some rest and then start with their homework. As soon as the sunlight starts waning, students get ready for games and sports.
By the time sun sets, students retreat to the hostel. After taking bath, they assemble in the prayer hall for sandhya. Like in the morning, evening sandhya also comprises of Jap and dhyan. Then students listen carefully to the discourses of Pujya Bapuji and then read the pious books of Indian culture like Yog Vashisth, Ramayan and Bhagwat Geeta.
After sandhya, students leave for the dinner where they are served with light meals that include Cow’s milk and clarified butter.
Some time is spent in going through the lessons taught in the school. After finishing off with the leftover homework, students move to their rooms for sleeping.
But in Gurukul, students don’t sleep in ignorance but into Yognidra like Lord Narayan. They contemplate on the day’s activities. Obeisance is paid to God for all goods that happened and pardoning is asked for the wrongs with resolve not to repeat them again.
Students then slip themselves in their cozy beds chanting the name of lord with each breath. This method of sleeping refreshes their minds and they get up refreshed and energetic, the next morning.
Apart from this daily routine, Gurukuls celebrate several cultural activities around the year. This provides students a platform to showcase their talent and share it with colleagues. Sports activity, excursion trips and functions of national importance are celebrated as and when they come.
This is a short description of a student’s day in a Gurukul. But everything cannot be expressed in words :) !!