It is well known fact that there were 1131 Shakhas or recensions, namely 21 in Rigveda, 101in Yajurveda, 1000 in Samaveda and 9 in Atharva Veda. In course of time, a large number of these shakhas became extinct and presently only 10 Shakhas, namely, one in Rig, 4 in Yajus, 3 in Sama and 2 in Atharva are existing in recitation. Even in regard to these 10 Shakhas, there are very few representatives who are continuing the oral tradition/ recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition in its pristine and complete form. Unless there is a focus for Vedic learning as per oral tradition, the system will collapse.
These aspects of Oral Vedic studies are neither taught nor included in the syllabus of any of the School Education, nor do the Schools/Boards have the expertise to incorporate and conduct them in the conventional modern school syllabus.
The Vedic students who learn oral tradition/ recitation of Veda are there in many homes in remote villages, in Veda Gurukulas, in Veda Pathashala-s, in Vedic Ashrams etc and their sacrifice for Veda study stretches to around 1900 – 2100 hours per year; which is double the time of modern school learning system and Vedic students have to have the complete Veda by-heart and recite verbatim without looking at any book, on the strength of memorization. Learning of the Bhashya will be added advantage to them.
It may be noted that only because of this kind of Vedic studies, ways of chanting the Veda mantras, unbroken oral tradition and practices in existence today, oral transmission of Vedas has received the recognition in the UNESCO-World Oral Heritage in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Therefore, due emphasis be given to maintain the pristine and complete integrity of the centuries old Vedic Education (oral tradition/ recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition).”
The Vedic students who learn oral tradition/ recitation of Veda are there in many Guru ji’s Homes, remote village houses, Veda Gurukulas, Veda Pathashala-s, Vedic Ashrams etc do huge sacrifices in childhood pleasures for Veda study. Their study time stretches to around 1,900-2100 hours per year as per the commitment of the Guru-Shishya. This is double the proportion of modern school learning system. The Vedic students have to memorize the complete Veda and recite the full Veda verbatim with intonation (udatta, anudatta, swarita etc);
Bharat Ratna Hon’ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar ji’s view
The Constituent Assembly debates also prove that Bharat Ratna Hon’ble Dr. B. R. Ambedkar ji, Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, viewed teaching of the Vedas as an academic study.
Therefore, creating a separate MSRVSS Board is not only a necessity; it is an imperative for sustaining Vedic Education (oral tradition/ recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition) in its pristine and complete form, as per the decision of the GC.
Teaching of Veda; Not religious education
The teaching of Veda (Vedic oral tradition/ Veda recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition) is neither religious education nor religious instruction. It will be unreasonable to say that studies in Veda are religious instructions. Veda-s are not religious texts and do not contain religious tenets, but are the corpus of pure knowledge. Hence, instruction or education in Veda-s cannot be construed as “religious education/religious instruction.”
Neither the Pratishthan, nor any School of the Board, directly or indirectly, teaches any dogma/religion to any student at all.
Terming “teaching of Veda as a religious education” is not in consonance with the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court (AIR 2013: 15 SCC 677), in Civil Appeal NO.6736 OF 2004; (Date of judgment-3rd July 2013), as it is clear in the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment that Vedas are not religious texts.
In DAV College v. State of Punjab [(1971) 2 SCC 269] the Hon’ble Supreme Court has defined what constitutes religious education and upon detailed examination the Court rejected the contention. “Religious instruction is that which is imparted for inculcating the tenets, the rituals, the observances, ceremonies and modes of worship of a particular sect or denomination.
Religious instructions are prohibited under Art. 28(1) in state funded educational institutions. Vedic education is not Religious instructions/ nor religious study. Reference is invited to BHU Act wherein Clause 4A (1) and Statutes under Chapter II ii Schedule made under section 17 (2) of the BHU Act, for the faculty of Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan Sankaya, prescribe a separate Department for Veda. The Statutes are approved by Visitor, the President of India through Ministry of Education (MoE). Hence, Veda education has been accepted by the Govt of India.
The question what contains Veda has been dealt in detail by the Division Bench of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh (AIR 2002, MP 196, 2002 (2) MPHT 353) and the Supreme Court of India (AIR 2013: 15 SCC 677) thus – “ Vedas viz., Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda, along with the four Upvedas viz., Ayurveda, Gandharvaveda, Dhanurveda and Sthapatyaveda. If all these Vedas are understood in their proper perspective, we can find that they deal with various aspects of life, the way of living, the culture, sculpture, medicines and quintessence of civilization and so on and so forth.
We have ventured to make a detailed reference to the above facets highlighted in the judgment in order to state and understand that by making reference to Vedas and its other allied subjects, one cannot arrive at a conclusion that it only deals with rituals and some religious tenets and that it has nothing to do with other aspects of life. On the other hand, a detailed reference was made by the Division Bench by making an in depth study disclosing that the study of Vedas should enlighten a person in all aspects of life not necessarily restricted to religion or rituals simpliciter.”
Therefore, Vedas cannot be misunderstood as only the texts of religious intonation. Vedas are universal knowledge texts. Therefore, teaching of Veda (Vedic oral tradition/ Veda recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition) is neither religious education nor religious instruction.
The issue of prohibition of Religious Instruction as per Article 28 (1) of the Constitution with regard to Vedic study has been settled in the Aruna Roy Vs Union of India case [2002(7) SCC 368]. Article 28 (1) of the Constitution cannot be applied, as teaching of Veda (Vedic oral tradition/ Veda recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition) is neither religious education nor religious instruction. It will be unreasonable to say that studies in Veda are religious instructions. Veda-s are not religious texts or do not contain religious dogma/superstition, but are the corpus of knowledge. The word “Veda” derived from Sanskrit verb “Vid” which denotes- knowledge. Hence instruction or education in Veda-s cannot be construed as “religious education/religious instruction.”
Idea of Bharat, India could properly be understood only through Vedic knowledge
The idea of India like वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् quoted at the entrance of the Parliament of India and many Veda Mantra-s quoted on various occasions are knowable only on the study of Vedas and drawing true inspiration from those. The inherent equality of all has been emphasized in Vedas and throughout the Vedic literature. On various occasions by quoting various lines from Vedas, many Indian and foreign dignitaries said that Veda-s are a source of scientific knowledge and we have to look into Vedas and Indian Scriptural sources for the solution of modern problems.
Unless students are taught the recitation of Veda, Vedic knowledge content and Vedic philosophy as a source of spiritual knowledge, it is not possible to spread the message of Vedas to the world. It is evident through those quotes that Veda-s are pure corpus of knowledge- not only embodiments of spiritual knowledge but also of scientific knowledge.
Therefore, in view of factual position explained, highest judicial pronouncements and considered view, Veda Education (Vedic oral tradition/ Veda recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition) is not religious education/religious instruction.
Why an Examination Board for Veda and Sanskrit?
Study of Veda-s in its all aspects such as oral tradition of Vedic Studies, learning of recitation of Veda-s, study of the meaning of Vedas, all knowledge content in Vedas, all moral, spiritual, scientific knowledge content available in Vedas etc is very important and a huge number of students are in the system of traditional education without any recognized certificate so far.
The promotion of Vedic education was envisaged and mandated at paragraph 18.7.3 in Programme of Action (PoA) -1992 by M/o HRD and was shouldered upon MSRVVP through MoA and Rules notified. The PoA was an outcome of deliberations of various committees and consensus through CABE, conferences of Education Ministers of States, Secretaries and Directors of Education, as noted in the Introduction to PoA-1992. It was also noted in the Introduction to PoA that “The POA, 1992 has to be perceived as charter for action of the nation as a whole”. The report of CABE along with other documents was laid on the Table of the both Houses of Parliament in May, 1992.
Further, it is noted in the Introduction to PoA that “Many actions, envisaged in PoA 1992 span not only in the 8th Five Year plan but also in the 9th and even beyond. Phasing has, therefore, to be left somewhat flexible so that the pace of implementation can match the mobilization of resources”.
It has been a considered thought that if the issues, objectives, implementation strategies and remedies are different, then the action plan should also be different. Unless a focused Board is established as per mandate, the problems of Veda education, Sanskrit education Secondary and Senior Secondary elevel and its examination system cannot be properly addressed. Even after 33 years of establishment of MSRVVP and 28 years after PoA mandate, certificate on Veda is not recognized for employment and for higher education across the country uniformly. Around 40,000 pass-out students of Veda Examination of MSRVVP are virtually without any recognized certificate so far.
The Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratishthan has been conducting six yers’ Veda Vibhushan Examinations from 1997 onwards and seven years’ scheme of Veda Bhushan (5 years) and Veda Vibhushan(Two years) Examinations from 2013 onwards. Till date around 40, 000 students have passed these both examinations are various GSP/Pathashalas. Multi-farious attempts were made for getting recognition and setting up of Board for Veda.
Why and How MSRVSSB is different from other Boards? How it is related to present day system of education?
The Vedic education is distinctly different from the conventional education system or open education system. Modern process starts at 9th Standard only; whereas in this Vedic education system the process has to be started at the age of 8 itself. In modern system, the emphasis is on conceptual clarity and understanding and memorization is viewed negatively; whereas in Vedic education, complete memorization and knowing the meaning is celebrated with excellence in merit.
Vedic education primarily involves memorization of the entire Samhita of a particular Veda Shakha, its recitation and perfect intonation of each Swara. Its called Vedic oral tradition, Veda recitation, wherein direct face-to-face learning is emphasized, with hours of continuous practice.
The establishment of the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrit Shiksha Board is for the furtherance of Vedic education (Vedic oral tradition/ Veda recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition) which is a desideratum for giving legally valid and recognizable certificate.
The relation of Veda to India, Indian culture, tradition, Indian way of life, ultimately to all languages is not that of a past historical antecedent to the present times or to the currently spoken languages or system of life or tradition. Vedic study, Vedic recitation and Vedic knowledge have been a continuing perennial source to its tributary streams with deep rooted silent influence even in current times. The Vedic thought being the store-house of all knowledge, has been supplying the literary and cultural norms, flow of spoken words, down the ages till times to come.
A complete knowledge of Vedas, its content and knowledge process are inevitable for understanding the systems of Indian philosophy, morals, societal traditions, culture of India and broadly world culture through the Indo-European language family and thought enshrined by Rishis. The Vedas are the Pride of India and Indian Govt, as the constant efforts of the Ministry of Education has sustained the Vedic Education and kept the shakhas alive through various visionary policy initiatives.
Without a huge magnitude of specialized experts in Veda recitation, Veda interpretation, scholars of different dimensions of Vedic vista of knowledge like Veda and science, Veda and world view, Veda, World peace and prosperity etc specially devoted to study of varied shakhas of Veda and Vedic philosophy with global outlook, the most of Veda works in which soul-stirring and exalted thoughts of spirituality, science, arts are revealed, would become only sealed books for humanity.
It may be noted here that there are huge number of Persons of Indian Origin and NRIs whose ways of life are connected with Vedas and Veda recitation. The sound of Vedas unites all people, calms the tide minds for peace, right from the sub-conscious to Global level.
Earlier Efforts for establishment of Sanskrit/Veda Board
- During the conference (on 30 September 1 st October 1955) of Education Ministers of India organized by the Union Education Ministry of Govt of India, an All India Board for Sanskrit Studies was recommended.
- The National Sanskrit Board was recommended in 2012 by M/o HRD Working Group on Language Development and Book Promotion, which was then set up by the Planning Commission under the Chairmanship of Secretary (HE) and other experts.
- The Working Group document published by the MHRD recommended thus “The Working Group also recommended the formation of a National Board for Sanskrit School Education in order to bring uniformity and standardization of curriculum, examination system etc of over 5000 Sanskrit pathshalas in the country. The proposed Board will also give affiliation to Sanskrit pathashalas. Proposed outlay: Rs.5 crores.” (4. Other areas, paragraph 2, Page no.5.)
- On page no. 66 of the document, it is noted that “Setting up of National Board of Sanskrit Education is considered necessary in order to bring over 5,000 Sanskrit Pathashalas providing Sanskrit education on traditional lines under one banner and standardizing their curriculum, monitoring quality of Sanskit education and standardizing the examination system”.
- The Pathashala System of Education consists of Veda and Sanskrit as two dimensions of traditional system education. But the general nomenclature was kept as “Sanskrit”. The Sanskrit Patahshaala used to provide Vedic Education along with Sanskrit education also. The word Sanskrit has two aspects in it. The first one is Sanskrit as Language, the second is Sanskrit as subject having a vast literature like Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Ramayana Mahabharata etc. All these are included in the Word Sanskrit. Herein Vedas are not excluded.
- First Sanskrit Commission 1956-57 report was approved by the Union Cabinetin 1959-60. The Commission recommended for recognition of Prathama as equivalent to 8th Std, Madhyama as equivalent to 10th Std, Uttara-madhyama as 12th Std equivalent course in Traditional system of Pathashala education. The equivalency for Veda Education and setting up of a separate Board for Traditional Veda and Sanskrit education is pending for 75 years. This has been fulfilled in the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav time.
“Vision and Roadmap for the Development of Sanskrit: Ten year perspective Plan” committee-2015
The Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India, vide their orders No. 27-1/2015-Skt-II dated 18-11-2015 constituted “Vision and Roadmap for the Development of Sanskrit: Ten year perspective Plan” committee under the Chairmanship of Shri N. Gopalaswamy, IAS Rtd, Former Election Commissioner of India and Chancellor, Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha and twelve other eminent members, to suggest a long-term vision and road map for the development of Sanskrit for the next ten years. One of terms of reference of the committee was –“to assess and review the present schemes for the development of Sanskrit and Veda vidya”. Major recommendations of the Committee on the issue of Veda vidya are asunder:
“Recommendation-5. Since Veda and Sanskrit are inseparable and complementary to each other and since the recognition and affiliation problems are same for all the Veda Pathashalas and Sanskrit Pathashalas throughout the country, a Board may be constituted for both together. The Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan may be given the status of of Board of Examinations with the following name Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrita Vidya Parishat” (MSRVSVP) with headquarters in Ujjain which will continue all programs and activities which were being conducted hitherto in addition to being a Board of Examinations.
Recommendation –8. The proposed Board is recommended to have number of faculties for each one of the above said different forms of traditional knowledge systems, namely 1) Shabda Parampara Veda Pathashalas, 2) Artha Parampara Veda Pathashalas, 3) Sanskrit Pathashalas, 4) Shramana Parampara Pathashalas, 5) Gurukulas.
Recommendation- 9. In addition to supporting and developing the existing type of of Pathashalas, the proposed Board is recommended to evolve a few new types of Pathashalas such as 1) Pathashalas with Veda and Sanskrit as major subjects and modern subjects as minor, 2) Modern subjects as major and Veda/Sanskrit as minor, 3) Schools of general education courses through Sanskrit medium, 4) Evening schools of Veda/Sanskrit which are the compelling and sustaining needs of Veda Sanskrit education. It is strongly felt that these steps would herald a new era in Veda Sanskrit Education”. The proposed Vedic Education Board will give legally valid recognition for Veda Sanskrit Education till the pre-degree level.
MSRVVP empowered to constitute Board under rule 14 (iv) (f) of the Rules of the Pratishthan
The Government of India established an apex autonomous organization under the Ministry of Education (Department of Higher Education), namely Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (XXI of 1860) with Regd No. S-17451 of 1987 with MoA and Rules on 20th January, 1987. The resolution for the establishment of the Pratishthan for preservation, conservation, propagation and development of Oral tradition of Vedic studies, and other twelve objectives, was notified in the Gazette of India vide no 6-3/85- SKT-IV dated 30-3-1987.
Campus of MSRVVP : In May, 1993, the office of the Pratishthan was shifted to Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh from New Delhi and it was renamed as Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan. The State Government of Madhya Pradesh allotted a chunk of land measuring 23.6 acres to MSRVVP at Chintaman Jawasia Ujjain.
Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan is empowered vide rule 14 (iv) (f) of the Rules of the Pratishthan “to constitute Boards, Committees or other bodies as may be deemed necessary and to prescribe their functions, tenure, etc, and also to dissolve the Boards/Committees or other bodies set up by it” and prepare bye-laws on them for implementation.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India have accepted the recommendations of Vision and Roadmap Committee and in effect MSRVVP has prepared the bylaws of the Board. The Governing Council and General Body of the MSRVVP, approved the policy for setting up Vedic Education Board and decided about the name of the Board and authorized for approval of the draft Bye-laws of the Board and empower the Board through bye-laws to carry out the functions like standardization, management, affiliation, authentication, preparation of Syllabi of Veda and Sanskrit education till the pre-degree level.
The Pratishthan runs 137 Veda Pathashalas and 342 Guru Shishya Parampara (GSP) Units affiliated to the Pratishthan who are engaged in Oral Studies of Vedas/Vedic studies. Studies in Veda in these Pathashalas and GSP Units are regulated by a syllabus developed and prescribed by the Pratishthan. It is a two stage course, namely Veda Bhushan (5 yrs’ study in Veda) and Veda Vibhushan (additional 2 yrs’ study). Admission to Veda Bhushan course is available to students who are 5th std pass or equivalent in formal education, thus making Veda Bhushan a course of ten-year system of education and Veda Vibhushan a course of twelve-year system of education.
Purpose of Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrit Shiksha Board
- Purpose of Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrit Shiksha Board is to mainstream Veda- Sanskrit Education and bring improvement in the educational profiles of these students, to give wide recognition to this system of education at national level. It is to facilitate the movement of these students across all disciplines gradually, not limited to teaching only, but for skill education, engineering, medical, law, pharmacy, architecture etc.
- to provide for the creation and empowerment of a Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrit Shiksha Board for standardization, examination, affiliation, recognition, certification, authentication, Syllabi & programs on Oral Tradition of Vedas, Pathashala System of Traditional Vedic or Sanskrit Education, Oriental education in the domain area in the country upto pre-degree level/senior Secondary level as comparable to & recognizable in modern education set up and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- The promotion of Vedic education is a comprehensive study of India’s glorious knowledge tradition and encompasses multi-layered oral tradition of Vedic Studies (Veda Samhita, Pada Patha up to Ghana, Phonetics etc), recitation and intonation and content. The scheme of study of Veda stretching up to seven years in Pratishthan also encompasses, in view of the policy of mainstreaming of traditional students, study of various other modern subjects such as English, Sanskrit, Mathematics, Social Science, Science, Philosophy, Yoga etc as per syllabus. This scheme of study is with appropriate inputs of Vedic knowledge drawn from texts with parallels of modern knowledge at various syllabus content level.
- It may be noted that day-by-day the number of parents willing to send their children to study Veda and also no of students coming for the study of Veda is sharply declining. Unless concerted mission mode efforts are made to pursue parents and search students willing to pursue the Veda Education (Vedic oral tradition/ Veda recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition), many of the branches will become extinct. Therefore, even with 8 to 20 or less numbers in a Veda Vidyalaya, the Veda Education (Vedic oral tradition/ Veda recitation/ Veda knowledge Tradition) has to continue at a place and Board has to conduct examinations.
Gazette Notification by the M/o Education, D/o School Education and Literacy for Recognition of Boards
The Ministry of Education, Department of School Education and Literacy, Govt of India, vide their Gazette Notification No. F 11-3/2016 Sch.3 dated 15 November 2021 empowered Association of Indian Universities (AIU) for recognition of School Boards and recognition to their certificates as equivalent to Grade 10 and Grade 12 Board examinations/certificates for higher studies and employment.
Recognition of the /MSRVSS Board at par with other School Boards of State/Central Govt by AIU
Giving these courses recognition as equivalent of 10th and 12th std of conventional education system, Association of Indian Universities (AIU), vide their letter No. AIU/EV/IN(I)/2022/MSRVSSB dated 3rd August, 2022, has accorded equivalence to the qualifications of Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrit Shiksha Board (MSRVSSB) as equivalent to the Grade 10 and Grade 12 Board examination and MSRVSSB shall function as regular school Board within India.
Recognition of the MSRVSS Board
The Ministry of Education, Government of India, also recognized the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Sanskrit Shiksha Board (MSRVSSB) as a Regular School Board. Accordingly, the Certificates awarded by the MSRVSSB are equivalent to certificates issued by other Central/State School Boards of India for the purpose of admission in higher education institutions and employment in Central/State Government organizations/bodies situated in the country as under:-
|Examination conducted by the MSRVSSB