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Kaamakoti Yajurveda Paatthasaala, Irinjalakuda

The Beginning

Irinjalakuda Graamam used to be the custodians of Yajurvedam and preservers of its tenets, centuries ago. But the Vedic traditions and the Yaagam culture had declined. A visit to Kootalmaanickam temple in 1972 by the Sankaraachaarya of Kaanchi Kaamakoti Peettham, Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swaamikal, and a later conference of Vedic scholars organised by him at Tripunithura caused a spark of revival of the lost traditions. He suggested the setting up of a school (Paatthasaala) for the study of Yajurvedam at Irinjalakuda and even pledged a monthly grant for the same.

Thus was born the Paatthasaala. A Governing Body was constituted with the renowned Veda Saasthra scholar "Saasthrarathnam" Kirangat Narayanan Nambudiripad as president, Nedumpilly Tharananelloor Padmanabhan Nambudiripad as vice-president, Thekkedath Amalloor Thrivikraman Namboodiri as secretary, Nakaramannu Vallabhan Namboodiri as Treasurer, and with Panthal Vaidikan Ravi Namboodiri, Kaimukku Vaidikan Parameswaran Namboodiri and Vadakkedath Mallisseri Haridathan Namboodiri as members. On the teaching faculty were the famous scholars Panthal Vaidikan Damodaran Namboodiri and Thottathil Marathompilly Krishnan Namboodiri.

The Paatthasaala was started at a time when children had lost interest in Vedic studies, and even such learned ones had to look for other avenues and profession for their livelihood. But, with the dedicated efforts of the organisers, what started off with just five students, has twenty now, hailing from Kasargod to Thrissur. The present faculty and most of the present-day Yajurveda scholars were the old students of the Paatthasaala. The institution claims to have been instrumental in at least a partial revival of Irinjalakuda's earlier fame. In 1979, it was registered under the Thiruvithaamkoor-Kochi Dharmasthhaapanam Act.

Learning Method

The students are selected from those who have started the Braahmacharya Vratham after Upanayanam and the earlier Shodasakriyas (Click here) as prescribed, and between the ages of 8 and 12. The 44 Prasnams (Prapaatthams) with 27,000 Vaakyams of the Krishna Yajurveda Samhitha are taught in the six-year course. Two Prasnams are used during the first year in order to familiarise the students with producing "Swaram" through "Maathra" (a basic unit of time and rhythm).

Learning starts at 7 in the morning, after Sandhyaavandanam, prayers in temple, Namaskaaram (prostration) and Japam (chanting) and continues till 11 with a break at 8 for breakfast. The first session (7 - 8) is held in Kootalmaanickam temple. After an hour's break for lunch at 11, studies on Vedam continue from 12 to 3. They are taught Sanskrit for an hour from 3 to 4, general studies from 4 to 5, and again Vedam till 6. Then after bath, Sandhyaavandanam, temple visit, Namaskaaram and Japam, Vedam learning continues till 8 in the temple itself. Meals between 8 and 9 followed by reading till 9-30 completes the daily routine. The Paatthasaala is located in the north-east of temple. Most of the studies are conducted there, except the couple of hours in the temple, as mentioned above.

The traditional Gurukulam method of learning directly from the Guru (teacher) is used for committing the text to memory. Twenty Panchaathis (of 50 Padams - syllable - each) are taught every day, which the student repeats three times. During the next three days each Panchaathi is repeated 25, 20 and 15 times on the first, second and third day, respectively. During each of the next five days they are repeated 10 times, and for the subsequent fortnight they are chanted once.

Vaavu and Prathhama are holidays, while on Ashtami, Thrayodasi and Chathurdasi, whatever was learned till then is repeated once. Examinations are conducted by experts at the end of each year. The Paatthasaala offers also advanced courses in Padam and Kramam, while learning Braahmanam (Saakha) takes four years. Now it also offers courses on Kshethra Pooja and Thanthra Saasthram.

Yajurveda Lakshaarchana

It was this Paatthasaala which conceived the idea of Yajurveda Lakshaarchana, and conducted it in Kootalmaanickam temple in 1977, and every year thereafter. Later, it was performed also in several other temples. This school took the lead in conducting such Lakshaarchana in several temples outside the State such as Kaanchi Kaamaakshi temple, the Ayyappa temple in Jalahalli (Bangalore) and Kodambakkam (Chennai).


An annual Othoottu called Thrisandha based on Yajurvedam is being regularly conducted at Rapal Sreekrishnaswaamy temple near Irinjalakuda, with major participation by the Paatthasaala, which participated also in those in Taliparamba and Karikkad. Plans are afoot to conduct a Panchasandha in front of the renowned Sangamesan. The school has taken up the responsibility of the daily Yajurvedam reading in Guruvayur temple, and revived the Thrisandha at Kaithapram in Kannur district.

Conferences on Vedam

The Paatthasaala has actively participated in a number of conferences on Vedam and made a mark. Its faculty and students attended the Veda Mahaa Sammelanam at Delhi in 1973, and in the conferences at Kolkata, Tirupathi, Chennai, Ujjain, Kancheepuram, Prayaga, Mumbai, etc., and in the Somayaagam at Thiruvananthapuram and the Athiraathram at Kundur. They also participate regularly in the 6-yearly Murajapam (Click here) at Thiruvananthapuram Padmanabhaswamy temple. The Paatthasaala represented in the conference on Vedam organised by the Bharatheeya Vidya Bhavan in Mumbai. Its students regularly participate in the annual All India Veda Swaadhyaaya Sibirams organised by the Maharshi Veda Vyaasa Prathishtthaan of Maharashtra.

Funding Problems

The Paatthasaala is being run with the financial support of several generous individuals, institutions and governmental agencies by way of monthly, annual or one-time grants. However, it is found to be quite inadequate for paying salaries for the teaching and non-teaching staff, scholarships for students and other expenses. About 25 persons are to be taken care of. The salaries and scholarships need to be revised. The funding problem has been worrying the organisers, especially because of their strong belief that this humble and dedicated effort to continue to produce an army of young Vedam experts should not be hindered at any cost.


In the continuing study of Vedams which are believed to be more than 5,000 years old, three decades of the Paatthasaala's work may relatively appear to be an instant. Yet, in terms of the human lifespan, running the Paatthasaala has been a long, dedicated and arduous struggle with the singular aim to preserve the Sanaathana culture handed down through the Vedams. This firm belief has indeed been the motivating force behind the Paatthasaala activities.

| Article No:4.4.1 | Last update of this article:2nd November 2001 |
Article by : A T Narayanan Namboodiri, Secretary, Kaamakoti Yajurveda Paatthasaala, Irinjalakuda - 680 121, Thrissur Dist. Phone : 0488-826719

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