Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), the largest temple body in Kerala, is mulling to set up an exclusive college and study centre to teach ancient knowledge streams of ‘Veda, Vedanta and Tantra. An autonomous body, TDB manages at least 1,248 shrines including the famed Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala in the southern state.
The proposed Veda-Vedanta-Tantric centre in Shangumugham here and Veda-Vendanta college in Sasthamkotta would be unique platforms to learn the ancient traditions of spirituality, TDB sources said. The ‘gurukula’ tradition, a form of residential schooling system that prevailed in ancient India, is proposed to be followed in both institutions.
They would be modelled on the ancient centres of higher learning like ‘Nalanda’ and ‘Takshashila’ in terms of academic and extra-curricular activities with a touch of modernity, TDB President Prayar Gopalakrishnan said. Both the projects are in draft stage and the TDB is yet to take a final call on the one to be launched first, he said adding if everything goes according to plan, the institutions would play a pivotal role in teaching of traditional knowledge and spirituality of the nation.
“The Veda-Vedanta-Tantric centre is planned to be set up in association with the Vivekananda University, Kolkata.. It will be a unique learning platform with a national outlook.. Our present plan is to start the centre as an off campus unit or sub-centre of that university,” Gopalakrishnan told PTI. Discussions are underway and the TDB is actively considering beginning it next year, he said.
“Kerala is one of the very few places where poojas are performed as per the tantric satadhar agama sastra.. The curriculum of tantric studies in these institutions will be designed with an objective to give more strength to the philosophic stream,” he added. It is interesting to note that Tranvancore Devaswom Board had initiated a path-breaking step to appoint non-Brahmin priests including dalits in the temples managed by it recently.
On the project of Veda Vedanta College, he said the temple body is considering a plan to set up a deemed varsity called ‘Travancore Devaswom Board University’ based in Sasthamkotta in Kollam district and the proposed college is envisaged as a part of that.
Besides the Veda College, the TDB wants to have various other study branches and a super speciality hospital and medical college under the proposed university, he said. “We have to finalise the design and other aspects of both institutions.. Only then can we step into the next phase.. We hope to start one of the projects at the earliest,” he added.