Gone are the days when Grandmothers used to tell moral stories to their grand children before they went to bed. Now that the elders are becoming addicts to TV serials that go upto 10.30 in the night, the children are deprived of knowing the basics of The Great Epics & Culture that were cleverly blended to suit the young minds in the form of simple stories.Some Primary schools continue to throw some light on Moral Instruction to the students even now.It just does not end with story telling. It includes small skits,group singing ,enacting a scene from the Epics and so on. However, most of the rural schools still confine themselves with the given curriculum.This practice is followed in few colleges as well. I was surprised when my friend Mr Lakshminarayanan of Nanmangalam,Chennai called me and invited me to join him for a talk to the students of Hindu College on the outskirts of Chennai.As I consider the Educational Institution as good as a temple, I readily accepted the invitation.
We reached the college by train and met the organisers of the event. We came to know that the college conducts Life- shaping speeches every month for the benefit of the students. We were briefed about many laurels won by the college in the past. The Principal showed lot of interest in rebuilding of temples and various activities undertaken by us and assured all possible assistance to "Lighting of Lamps" in financially backward temples, initiated by Mr Lakshminarayanan.
The guests were formally introduced to the audience by the organisers and momento and shawl were presented as a token of love and affection. Mr Lakshminarayanan underlined the importance of "Worship" as an important tool to build one's life. He explained how the small practices advocated by our ancestors were aimed to shape people.He said that the student has to pay back to the institution where he studied in some form similar to what the son owes to his mother during her old age.He further narrated the life and Bhakthi of Poosalar Nayanar to explain that it was important to think about the Creator who is so flexible and accepts all forms of Bhakthi.
I spoke to the audience recalling the matchless regime of Rajaraja Chola who considered Sembian Mahadevi,(the Great Queen of Kandarathitha Chola) in inspiring him to build the Big Temple at Thanjavur. It was Queen Mangayarkarasi's call through Kulachirai Nayanar that brought Thirugnanasambandar to Madurai and reestablished Saivism.Thilagavathi's prayer to Lord Veeratteswara had brought back Appar from the clutches of Jainism.The contribution of women in Religion-building was appreciated by Sekkizhar in his "Peria Puranam." I suggested the involvement of students during the vacation in cleaning the historic temples. Later I was told that the college has carried out this activity in about 23 temples. I was too pleased to hear that the college was providing scope to add value to every student. The students who come out of the college after this exposure should feel proud in attaining the most desirable Value Addition. As girls outnumbered boys in the audience , I had to remind them their role and responsibility to the society.
Moulding the children at their prime age is of Paramount importance. It is nice to see some colleges actively engaged in Career building without overstepping into their privacy. Their cultural activities can be demonstrated with the help of our great culture. I was immensely happy to see "Kolams" drawn on the floor by the girl students of Hindu College focussing on issues like Global Warming, Environment Care etc. The effort rendered by the Management and the faculty was commendable.