(April 10, 2022) A 31-year-old former techie, Mohit Bharadvaja, left the plush confines of corporate life at Wipro and HCL. All this in the pursuit of a calling that has fast depleted in the humdrum of a fast-paced life. His calling took him towards the traditional way of learning. Mohit established a gurukul (ancient Indian education where pupils stay with a guru) to impart knowledge of millennia-old Rigveda and Yajurveda.
He himself sought the solace of olden day norms. He self-learnt sanskrit, Rigveda (vedic sanskrit hymns), and Yajurveda (mantras for worship) after college all the while studying engineering at Amity University, Noida, and later after office hours from traditional vaidika masters. Today, 16 pupils between nine to 19 years learn the vedas along with CBSE English-medium education at his gurukul – Aangirasa Antarvediya Gurukulam in Baghpat (near Meerut).
Not just studying but living the vedas…
The idea of opening a gurukul had consumed Mohit since 2014. He finally took a plunge to revive traditions that were extinct in 2017. His mother Usha Sharma, a homemaker, and father, Devendra Kumar Sharma, a senior HCL employee were not very keen on letting their son pursue a less stable path unlike his cushy corporate job. “They however gave in to my determination and argument that vedas need to be lived, and not merely studied, upon the condition that I would only be allowed to pursue my chosen path after I marry,” reveals techie-turned-gurukul founder Mohit in a conversation with Global Indian. Soon, he married (2017), and without further ado, quit his job and established the gurukul with the full support of his wife, Nidhi. To him reviving the ancient tradition mattered more than being attached to a stable livelihood.
Aangirasa Antarvediya Gurukulam, in Kaamla village in Baghpat district (between Delhi and Meerut), saw Mohit, the techie-turned-gurukul founder, re-establish the ancient system of education and knowledge which is reflected in the studies of arshagrantha (ancient scripts) so that pupils of his gurukul become experts in vedangas (auxiliary disciplines of Hinduism that developed in ancient times and is with the study of the Vedas). The techie-turned-gurukul founder feels deeply about the need to promote Sanskrit, vaidika principles, education, and lifestyle.
A gurukul is incomplete without gaushala (shelter for cattle)
“A gurukul steeped in tradition is incomplete without serving cows,” says Mohit. Aangirasa Antarvediya Gurukulam has a thriving gaushala of 25 cows. The land on which the gurukul is situated belongs to a relative who migrated to Delhi in the 1950s, and always wanted to farm cattle but had a full-time job. He offered unused land which now has 2,000 square feet of a building that houses Mohit, his wife and 16 pupils on the ground floor while the first floor is under construction.
Another gentleman in the same locality helped with 5.5 acres of land to expand the gurukul. “It will take time due to lack of resources for constructing the larger structure. However, the cattle have been moved to the larger piece of land,” says the techie-turned-gurukul founder.
Usual childhood, unusual inclination
The techie-turned-gurukul founder was born in Mathura but spent his childhood in NCR as a student of DAV Noida. “Religious practices at home were normal without ideas being thrust upon my younger sister and me, yet I had always been interested in religious practices from childhood, and later got in touch with sadhus and sants (sages and saints) which augmented my desire to explore the Vedas. When I studied it in depth, I was worried that though Yajurveda was still being taught by many, no one was doing anything to revive the Rigveda, thus I made up my mind to do something,” says Mohit.
found this old video right when we started around two years back (notice the old room with earthen floor and unplastered walls cemented by mud) @TiwariNivedita see how much madhava has grown 🙂 @BangadVedant https://t.co/EfbCLodhAx pic.twitter.com/aXsUtLma7o
— மோஹித பாரதஂவாஜ (@vvaayu) May 22, 2021
Free education and lodging for disciples
The pupils at the gurukul are all from lower economic families, and apart from free education, free lodging and food is provided as well. “To charge money for imparting knowledge of the Vedas, is something I cannot fathom,” he adds. Support for education and food comes from donations made by people who feel deeply about Mohit’s mission of reviving the tradition. “Conscious decision has been taken to not take any government aid,” says Mohit.
“A disciple got severely affected by TB, and had to be hospitalised. His parents did not have money for the expenses so we took care of that too,” shares the techie-turned-gurukul founder.
All the disciples visit their families once a year during Diwali. The day begins at 10 am to 5 pm – immersed in education. While Mohit teaches them Rigveda, science, and maths, an acquaintance teaches Yajurveda. English, Hindi, physical, and mental well-being is Nidhi’s domain, and so is the administration.
Hopeful about building a larger gurukul with better infrastructure, the techie-turned-gurukul founder loves reading and traveling, both as a tourist and a pilgrim.
“I am confident that my pupils would fulfill my purpose of reviving and spreading the knowledge of the extinct Rigveda far and wide,” Mohit signs off.
- Follow Mohit Bharadvaja on Twitter