Fifteen children from the United States of America, most of them born to Indians, have come to Puducherry (Pondicherry) on a mission. They came to India last month to attend a 25-day camp that began on 28 July.
The unique camp, “Unmesa - Explore, Evolve, Rise”, is organised by Seattle-based Agastya Gurukulam and Puducherry’s Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC). (Unmesa in Sanskrit means ascent of consciousness.)
At the camp, the young ones are initiated into a lifelong study of Indian knowledge systems and provided a strong orientation through the study of a broad range of subjects that include Sanskrit, Mathematics, Science, Arts, Yoga, and Indian Cultural and Civilizational Studies.
The topics and sessions have been designed to help the children get an introduction to Indian knowledge systems through these subjects, besides learning visual and performing arts, and temple architecture.
The organisers have roped in many experts and scholars from various parts of the country to teach these various topics to the young learners from the US.
The experts and practitioners are trained in traditional systems, and many of them will continue to be engaged by the Agastya Gurukulam to facilitate deep learning in these areas through online education.
The scholars include Prof K Ramasubramanian from IIT, Bombay, and Yogacharya Dr Ananda Bhavanani from ICYER, Pondicherry.
Senior teachers from Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education, including renowned Sanskrit scholar and educator, Dr Sampadananda Mishra, as well as resident scholars at Agastya Gurukulam, including Priyamvada N, and Sree Balaji, are part of the programme faculty.
Several young teachers from different parts of the country have also been included. This diversity of exposure makes the learning experience richer for the young participants.
Lectures, discussions, demonstrations, project work, photography, creative documentation, yoga, chanting of mantras, learning traditional martial arts like Kalaripayattu, traditional arts, crafts, games and cultural programmes are ways through which knowledge is imparted at the Unmesa camp.
The children will visit several places of historical and cultural interests such as Chidambaram and Mahabalipuram besides places in and around Pondicherry, such as Auroville, Kalarigram, and Sharanam.
Unmesa has been designed jointly by the SAFIC and Agastya Gurukulam.
While Agastya Gurukulam’s mission is to make deep learning in traditional Indian knowledge systems accessible to all learners worldwide, SAFIC put together a programme implementing this mission for children.
Unmesa will help the children prepare for a deeper transformation and inner evolution, which requires that all parts of their being — mental, emotional and physical — are properly prepared and developed to their potential.
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