Srimad Andavan Veda pāṭaśāḷā
The first Veda Patashāla run by the Andavan Ashramam was started by Srimad Tirukkudanthai Andavan in Srirangam in 1969. Later, Srimad Srimushnam Peria Andavan started several other Veda Patasalas in places such as Vaduvur, Kanchipuram, Thiruchanoor, Thiruvahindrapuram, Thirupullani and Maheshmal near Aurangabad.
The Veda Patashālas are residential in nature. The students are provided free boarding, lodging, clothes and medical help. The children are enrolled when they are 7-8 years old and study for 9-10 years.
The study is in the following sequential order: samhita, shakha, padam, kramam, ganam and bhashyam. After kramam, students pursue ganam, alternatively, the best qualified students pursue bhashyam.
In ganam, the emphasis is on ways of recitation and chanting – after passing this stage, the students are referred to as Ganapadigal. Yagnas conducted with Ganapadigals are supposed to be special. An alternative to ganam after kramam is bhashyam. This is a higher level of study that is equivalent to a PhD and only the top students in a class pursue it. There are very few bhashya-adhikaris and ganapadigals in India.
Siromani is an alternative course of study – this is essentially the study of Sanskrit in a more formal school setting, which is recognized by the state.
For instance, Bharathidasan university specifies a syllabus for this level. The prerequisite for enrolling in Siromani is that the student should have completed 8th grade in a regular state-recognized school.
Here students start at 15-16 years of age and study for 5 years. They study the sutras at this stage. Siromani is offered in 3 categories: nyaya, mimamsa and vyakarana. Mimamsa refers to rituals, nyaya refers to logic and vyakarana refers to grammar.
The sutras studied in this stage are Taraka Sutra, Mimamsa Paribhasha, Krishna Yajur Veda, Nirmita, Gautama Sutra, Jaimini Sutra and Vedanta Siromani. Siromani is equivalent to a B.A. in Sanskrit, and typically students complete an M. A. in Sanskrit within a year of completing Siromani.
His Holiness Srimad Andavan is very serious about the Veda Patasala projects due to the shortage of qualified adhikaris.