Sri Sankara Mattham completes 75 years of Vedic and Sanskrit education

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Sri Sankara Mattham completes 75 years of Vedic and Sanskrit education
Adi Sankara temple in Matunga completes 75 years

The only temple in India dedicated solely to saint Sri Adi Sankara completes its platinum jubilee this year at Matunga.

Popularly called Sri Shankar Mattham, it completes 75 years of existence ever since the vedic pundit from Chennai, Subramania Sastrigal, settled in Mumbai and began educating people about the four Vedas in his one-room apartment in 1939.

With its basic philosophy being education of Vedas through the Advaita philosophy, the Mattham was built on a dream. Sastrigal repeatedly dreamed of Adi Sankara urging him to start a centre to help people learn, understand and practise the teachings enshrined in the Vedas, Upanishads and Shastras.

Under the presidentship of B Narayanaswamy, the present temple was consecrated in May 1978, by the Sankaracharya of Dwaraka Peetham Sri Abhinava Sachchidananda Teertha Swamijiand and the first Kumbhabhishekam was performed. The Mattham opened its own Vedic learning centre in Pandharpur, Maharasthra, 20 years ago when the Vedic Shakas were on the verge of extinction. More than 5,000 students have learned the Vedas to date and every year 60 students graduate from here.

The course is spread over seven years and students come from various backgrounds.

Arun Venkateswaran, 35, is a business development manager at a recruitment firm and began the Vedic education when he was in the seventh standard. "We are a class of 20 students and even though we learn to recite the Vedas in Sanksrit, the teachers translate it in the language we are comfortable in. I don't know Sanskrit but I have learned through English translations and audios. I have learned how to live happily in the long term and lead a better fulfilling life," he said. Currently, 40 students attend these classes at Matunga daily in separate batches and the education is free of cost.

The Mattham also gives a monthly pension of Rs5,000 each to 31 Vedic Pundits and Agnihotris who are too old to earn a livelihood through conducting Havans. It also gives Adi Sankara Award every year to a learned scholar in Sanskrit. It carries a cash prize of Rs1 lakh and a citation.

The president, 82-year-old AN Seshan, is a retired professor who has been associated with this since 1943, from the time his father took him for Surya Namaskars at the Mattham every Sunday. "We only pray for peace and happiness of the whole world and through the Vedic education we wish to continue doing so. Apart from religious activities, we provide medical aid to the poor, food and nourishment to many cancer patients in the city and books and stationery to the underprivileged children," he said.

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