Shlokas- is a category of verse line developed from the Vedic Anustubh poetic meter. It is the basis for Indian epic verse, and may be considered the Indian verse form par excellence.
Our Frontcover spoke to Divyaa the first Official Shlokapreneur, who is in a mission to teach the magic of shlokas vedic verses to the young.
Divyaa tell us something about yourself; What has life been like till date.
I am a Master in Economics; a Shlokapreneur; a theist in every right and an extremely confident young lady in my 30’s, living in one of the most beautiful cities of India – Bangalore. I love the temples I visit and absolutely long for the annadanams (charity service) I partake in every Thursday. My frequent visits to an old age home helping elderly parents who have been left to the mercy of the Lord to get free medical treatment and medicines is the best thing I’ve ever been a part of.
I come from an extremely close knit family with a very humble upbringing. My dad is a Retd Officer of RBI, Bangalore. My mother a homemaker and my elder sister is an Architect, married living in the United States. I am a true-blue Bangalorean, an absolute optimist these days and love to be surrounded by people. I am also a big foodie, a crazy shopaholic (I love my comfortable shoes), an avid blogger and I love to laugh – a laughter that is completely infectious.
I love teaching my little children and doing lots of research to help them be their best. My regular swim sessions keep me completely sane, And yes my Shloka School - GURUKULAM, isn’t a dream any longer.
How did the idea take birth? Your relation with shlokas.
A few years ago, when I was fighting a long drawn out personal battle, and found myself not being satisfied with my professional life, I found solace through reciting shlokas vedic verses. So I went back to my mother and started scouring the internet for ones I could learn. Chanting shlokas was my ultimate resort – it helped me get rid of my frustration, and got me out of difficult situations. It’s even changed the way I look at life. I feel so much more positive now. It was at that time that I felt I should put my learning into good use.
Also Bangalore is not short of music schools, dance schools, art schools or even yoga schools,but there is not a single Shloka school. The idea was to tap an area that had been left untapped, that being Shloka Education. The aim was to keep our traditional roots in place – The very reason why Gurukulam was born. We are the Official Shlokapreneurs at this point in time. Having said that we have nothing to do with religion or spiritualism.
When and how did you start? Your first sessions
In October 2014, as a pilot project, I started a “fast-track shloka programme for 6 kids” at home, during Dussera holidays. Parents and kids showed great interest in the class and decided to send their kids for regular sessions. Today GURUKULAM can boast of teaching close to 50 kids.
Any hurdles that you may have faced and how you were able to overcome the same.
Gurukulam is the first of its kind Shloka school in Bangalore. Reaching out (Advertising) to parents has been the biggest challenge since it’s a new concept and people need to believe in your work to get their kids coming for such classes.I started putting up small advertisements in locals shops, boutiques, pre schools, fitness centers and Facebook. Advertising was the best thing that happened. We grew from 6 kids to a whopping 50 kids. Also, the word of mouth worked wonders. Today, we don’t need advertisement. We have people waiting to join our classes.We are still small but we’ve grown well. We have enquiries from the USA and Indonesia and students are already in queue for Skype lessons.
What do the shlokas mean to you?
Chanting Shlokas during my very trying times have helped me heal and has made me a better stronger and positive person today.. My belief in God is immense and I personally feel shlokas can help us come out of any problem
What exactly are you trying to impart via these classes? Why only children?
I love the innocence in children and I bond greatly with them. The basic aim is to keep traditional roots in place and also make our future generation abreast of such knowledge.
The fact that many do not know Sanskrit isn’t that a hindrance? How easy is it to explain the meaning of shlokas?
These classes are for kids between 5-16 years. Shlokas are taught only in SANSKRIT (though Sanskrit is a language which children at that age i.e. 5-9 years is not something they have been exposed to earlier) but I read that when kids as little as 3 are exposed to a variety of information their grasping capacity is something spectacular. So push all that you can in their little brains and see them gain as much as knowledge as possible is what I believe in)
I explain the meaning of the couplet and not what every word means.. So that way the kids find it easy.
Do you have students from other faith? Have you tried to reach out to children of other faith?
NO. No but there have been a few people who have approached me , but I haven’t given it a thought yet.
Your plans going forward?
At this point in time, I take classes in apartments, Pre Schools, Dance Schools and Studios. I also do One-on-One classes for kids at their residence. These classes are actually called the Mother-Baby Duo class where kids as little as 2 and 3 are exposed to learning shlokas but here the mother does more learning than the kids actually do and during the week the mother does repetition of these shlokas with the kids.So here the mother is more the teacher – Mothers are the best teachers!
Gurukulam during 2017 is planning to expand its services to many more Pre-schools, Dance- Schools and Blind Schools (For Blind Schools and Govt. Schools, I plan to do this more as a Service activity than as something that gives me Income)
Your favourite shloka and your interpretation of the same
The Hare Krishna Mahamantra :
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
There is no particular reason or interpretation of the same. Its just that I am an ardent devotee of Lord KRSNA and saying this mahamantra helps me stay calm & makes me less anxious
Relevance of shlokas in today’s world
People have tried and tested so many things. My question to them is why not shlokas?
1) Shlokas Improve concentration: Regular chanting will cause profound changes in the mind-body physiology and psychology, thereby bringing out more focus on a particular task and increasing concentration.
2) Reduces violence and anger: Letting go is a very powerful technique, but it’s very difficult to expect kids to let go of anger and frustration, so there are a few shlokas that help children them.Regular practice of these shlokas will bring the desired change in kids. You’ll see the difference once they start.
3) Creates values in children: Prayer for peace and healing for all beings. Prayer time should be a period of joy, devotion and piety and never of boredom or force. This they will develop over time.
You may also like; Understanding 5 Kleshas
Written byShayonti Chatterji
Founder of Our Frontcover. With a career spanning over 25 years, in supply chain management and business development, believes in dreaming and living the dream. Believes in the power of stories.