Examinations

Vedic Education & Examinations: An outlook

Examination system had been an inseparable part of Indian Education System, since time immemorial. Imparting of Education, especially Vedic texts was in oral form, with emphasis on Guru Upadesa and Sadhana. In the recitation of Vedic Texts, finer aspects of 1) Diction 2) Pronunciation 3) Swara (Accent) 4) Style of Recitation are very essential. It is amazing that this excellent oral tradition is intact (in spite of minor variations) for millennia, causing modern social scientists, anthropologists, linguists, litterateurs to wonder the efficacy of the ancient and immaculate traditions of Vedic Studies. UNESCO has also recognised the Oral Tradition of India as one of the greatest heritages of the Globe.

Methodology of Oral Tradition

Memory skills along with analytical prowess coupled with dedication and devotion to the Supreme Preceptor in the form of Teacher form the basis of the Oral Tradition. Traditionally, the teacher teaches new chapters/ lessons to a batch of students for 10 days continuously, which is called Santhaa/ Paatha. The first lesson is called the Upadesha. (Repetition of the teaching/ lesson is based on the intellectual quotient, memory skill and depth of the subject among other factors).

Subsequently, the pupils practise the same chapter by repeating the text 10 times for 10 days. This is called Valli, compared to a vine creeping and securing itself with the trunk of the tree. During this process a student gradually recites larger portions by heart and chants before the teacher, making the second occasion of correction. On the 20th day, every student is required to recite the Chapter (learnt in the previous 10 day period) by heart in the presence of the teacher individually. This is the most important occasion for fine tuning the chanting process.

Final phase of the learning process is Aavrutti, repetition of the same text in the dawn by the students for the last 10 days. Effectively, this process ensures that every student is dealing with a subject/ chapter, for nearly month to complete the learning process.

This was how the time tested oral tradition retains its originality since time immemorial.

Necessity of Examination

Human species is endowed with great intellect, memory and mental ability. However, by the passage of time, one tends forget many aspects of knowledge. Therefore it is imperative to rejuvenate and revive the erudition with reminder, revision of the learnt lessons/ practices. To fine tune this process, it is also in the interest of students to their knowledge and erudition validated and certified by Eminent Scholars. This is the gist of examination system. However, compared to modern system of examination, Vedic Examination system would be essentially of Oral nature, due to the importance of Oral Tradition; requiring the examinee to be ready to answer any question from any chapter studied from the first day of his study. In the course of time, written system of examination was added to enhance the writing, documenting, presenting skills of the students. However, this is limited to courses of erudition in Vedangas, Sastras and allied texts.

Examination System

The Examination System in Datta Peetham commenced in the year 1994, with examination in Krishna Yajurveda. In due course, the examination facility was extended to all the major branches of Studies in Rigveda, Yajurveda, Sama Veda and Atharvana Veda.

The examination system is devised in such as manner to blend the Oriental method of Oral Examination and modern fashion of documenting the examination systems. In order to avert the notion and perception of bias, eminent scholars from different regions are appointed to the Board of Examiners.

Categories of Examination

Duration of Vedic Study extends from a minimum of 3 years to 12 years, depending on the category and intellect of the student. Certificate Examinations are conducted for students, after the completion of each course and subsequent preparation.

However, to fine tune the skill and scholarship of students at various stages, annual examinations are conducted. In this category, examinees are tested in the chapters studied in the preceding year.

In earlier centuries, annual examination system was not prevalent. However, this was compensated by frequent visits to schools by eminent Pundits and incidence of a large Guru Kula, where hundreds of students used to study together under the supervision of Scholars at different hierarchy. In the contemporary periods, absence of this annual examination, could lead to the absence of checks and verification of the students’ abilities and reduced scope of midcourse corrections, resulting in discrepancies in Chanting.

Hence, Avadhoota Datta Peetham has started certificate examinations for students all over India and annual examinations for examinees in Karnataka, where this facility is not in vogue.

Cash Prizes & Categories of Examinations

In order to enthuse Students and to reward their scholarship, Datta Peetham has categorised examinations into the following categories, based on the level of effort required to complete the study of each Veda Sakha. All the examinees are paid travel fare, irrespective of the result.

Rigveda Sakala Sakha
Serial No.CategoryCash award
1) Samhita Rs. 1500/-
2) Kramantam Rs. 2300/-
3) Ghanantam Rs. 2300/-
4) Brahmana & Aranyakam Rs. 3000/-
Sukla Yajurveda Kanva Madhandina Sakhas
Serial No.CategoryCash award
1) Kramantam (Samhita, Pada, Krama & Bruhadaranyaka Upanishat) Rs. 2600/-
2) Ghanantam Rs. 1500/-
3) Satapatha Brahmanam Rs. 5000/-
Krishna Yajurveda Taittireeya Sakha
Serial No.CategoryCash award
1) Moolantam(84 Prapathakas including Ekagnikandam) Rs. 2000/-
2) Kramantam Rs. 1600/-
3) Ghanantam (Separate 2 tier examination) Rs. 1600/-
Samaveda Kouthuma & Ranayaneeya Sakhas
Serial No.CategoryCash award
1) Moolantam (Poorvarchikam, Gramegeya Ganam, Aranyegeya Ganam) Rs. 1500/-
2) Rahasyantam (Uttararchikam, Ooha, Rahasyam, Purvarchika Uttararchika Padapatha, Stobha Padapatha, Chandogyopanishat) Rs. 2000/-
3) Tandyayashta Brahmanam Rs. 5000/-
Atharvana Sounaka Sakha
Serial No.CategoryCash award
1) Samhita Rs. 2000/-
2) Gopatha Brahmanam & Upanishat Rs. 2000/-

Siksha Sastra, first of the 6 Vedaangas (scriptures inseparable with Vedic Studies) is the most important scripture for the perfect study of Vedas. This consists of Praatisakhya (a text detailing the typical features of each Veda Sakha) and Siksha Texts (enlisting common features of Vedic Characters and common traits of Vedic Texts), composed or proliferated by eminent sages such as Vyasa, Bharadwaja, Sounaka, Narada etc.

Salient features of this Sastra:

  1. Varnotpatti Vidhi (Analogy of the generation of sounds and process.)
  2. Swarochcharana(Method of Kantha Swara, Hasta Swara - Distinguishing Chatusswara/ Sapta Swara System)
  3. Linguistic Expression
  4. Methodology of Pronunciation

 

Masters in this subject, alone are qualified as True Veda Pundit, who can spell and pronounce Veda perfectly. This Sastra is also called Lakshana, as it details the trait of Vedic Characters, Characteristics, Anthology and Analogy in various Chapters, Texts. With an intention to encourage the study of Lakshanam, Avadhoota Datta Peetham has instituted examinations for this specialised branch of knowledge, which has deep rooted connection with Vyakarana (Grammar).

Lakshana Pareeksha

Students can appear for the two-tier exam. The first part consists of the following texts.
First Paper: Kumara Sambhavam 5th Sarga, Siddhanta Kaumudi (Samjna, Paribhasha, Achsandhi, Halsandhi, Prakrutibhava, Svadi Sandhi, Visarga Sandhi Prakaranas); 
Second Paper: Pratishakhyam (With Tribhashyaratna & Vaidikabharana Vyakhyas);
Third Paper: Vyasa Shiksha (With Veda Taijasam & Sarva Lakshana Manjari Vyakhyas); 
Fourth Paper: Varna Krama (5 Questions). 
Those who succeed in this exam will be awarded the title Salakshana Ghanapathi in addition to certificate and cash award of Rs.5,000/-. Those who are more interested and industrious can appear for the second part, which includes the following texts.
First paper: Bharadwaja Shiksha (Savyakhya), Aranyaka Shiksha and Panineeya Shiksha; 
Second Paper: Jata Darpanam, Ghana darpanam and Koundinya Shiksha; 
Third Paper: Salakshana Ghana Samanvaya. 
Successful Students in this exam will be honoured with the title Lakshana Shiromani and a medallion along with special cash award of Rs.10000/-.

Recognition of Merit:

In order to encourage meritorious students, special cash prizes are given in the name of donors annually. Certificate Recipients, securing more than 80% will receive an additional Honorarium of Rs.1,000/- in Under Graduate Examinations such as Kramaanta. Post Graduate Merit Students, achieving 80% or more will receive double the incentive.

 

Examination Period:

Normally examinations are conducted in the third week of May annually in the premises of Datta Peetham at Mysore. Applications shall be sent before the last of week of April. Upon scrutiny, each examinee will be sent a Hall Ticket in the first week of May.
Note:
1. The Decision of the Examination Board is final in the matters of admissibility.