Arsha Vidya Gurukulam

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Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Coimbatore, India

Arsha Vidya Gurukulam is a set of Vedic teaching institutions founded by Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1930 – 2015). A gurukulam is a center for residential learning that evolved from the Vedic tradition. Arsha Vidya translates to knowledge of rishis (sages).[1]

Its current president is Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati (born 1940).[2][3] Its three main centers in India are the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh, the Adhyatma Vidya Mandir in Ahmedabad, and the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Coimbatore.[4][5][6] In the United States, its main center is the Arsha Vidya Pitham in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, about ninety miles west of New York City.[2] As of 2008, it had approximately sixty other centers worldwide.[7]


Since its formation, the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam provides an academic-like environment to focus on study of Advaita Vedanta, Sanskrit, the Vedas and ancient Sanskrit texts. Over time[when?], the institutes have broadened the scope of their libraries and curriculum to also include a number of traditional Indian disciplines. Some of the added disciplines include hatha yoga and meditation, as well as ayurveda and astrology.[8][9]

Courses range in duration from a single-weekend to three years, and instruction is in English, though advanced students study the original texts in Sanskrit.[9]


Arsha Vidya Gurukulam has two main teaching centers: The Saylorsburg campus was established in 1986, and the Coimbatore center was founded in 1990.

The traditional teaching centers carry the banner Arsha Vidya or Arsha Vijnana (i.e., Knowledge of the Rishis). There is one more gurukulam in Maharashtra, located on the western half of India:

The word Arsha has also been used by many of Swami Dayananda's students in naming their facilities to mark their lineage. A 2012 estimate found there were at least sixty centers[13][14][15] in India and abroad that carry on the tradition of Vedantic teaching under the banner of Arsha Vidya.

In 2017, the lineage of teachers convened at their annual Rishikesh meetup and discussed the need to create a hub to organize the sampradaya (i.e., tradition). To that end, they have created the Arsha Vidya Sampradaya, which provides access to information maintains a directory of Arsha Vidya teachers.[16]


Arsha Vidya Pitham, also known as the Swami Dayananda Ashram is situated in Rishikesh across multiple acres of land. The ashram facilities include a bookstore, modern facilities for dining, as well as a 250 person lecture hall. It also maintains a library with over 5,000 titles on grammar and philosophy and the personal collections of Swami Dayananda Saraswati himself.[17]

The ashram exists on the grounds that have been around since as early as 1967. It was in 1982 that the ashram was expanded and officially named the Arsha Vidya Pitham.[18]

It also runs a publication house, Sri Gangadhareswar Trust that produces books on Vedanta, Hinduism, Hindu philosophy and literature, Paninian grammar, Indian history and related subjects.

It houses the temple of Gangadhareswar, a shrine situated close to the Ganges dedicated to Lord Shiva.[19]

After the Swami's mahāsamādhi (i.e., death) in 2015, a shrine was built at the ashram, containing Dayanandesvara, a consecrated lingam for devotees, as well as the form of the Swami rendered into a statue.[18]

Several students and sanyassis (renunciates) who have studied at the centres, have gone on to spread Dayananda's teachings elsewhere and some have established ashrams of their own.[8][20]


These residential centers conduct long-term courses, 1–2-week camps, weekend study programs and family camps throughout the year. Subjects covered include the major Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, several secondary texts of Vedanta and the Brahma Sutras. The study includes also the Sanskrit commentary of Sankara on these texts. Along with these studies, the Sanskrit language is also taught with Paninian grammar. The Gurukulas also conduct sessions of daily meditation and satsangas.[21] Additionally camps are conducted for teaching Yoga, Indian Classical Music, Ayurveda, Jyotisha and allied disciplines.

The teaching centers conduct outreach programs to reach out to the public at large.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jones, Constance; Ryan, James D., eds. (2006). "Arsha Vidya Gurukulam". Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5.
  2. ^ a b "Arsha Vidya Gurukulam".
  3. ^ "Swami Viditatmananda - Arsha Vidya Center".
  4. ^ "Rishikesh Ashram - Arsha Vidya Gurukulam".
  5. ^ "Ahmedabad Ashram – Arsha Vidya Gurukulam".
  6. ^ "Coimbatore Ashram – Arsha Vidya Gurukulam".
  7. ^ Arvind Sharma (2008). "About the editor and contributors". Part of the Problem, Part of the Solution: Religion Today and Tomorrow. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 211–. ISBN 978-0-313-35899-9.
  8. ^ a b Melton, J. Gordon (21 September 2010). "Arsha Vidya Gurukulam". In Melton, J Gordon; Baumann, Martin (eds.). Religions of the World, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. ABC-CLIO. pp. 196–197. ISBN 978-1-59884-204-3.
  9. ^ a b More, Blake (March–April 1996). "Vedanta in the Poconos". Yoga Journal: 30.
  10. ^ "". Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  12. ^ "". Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Disciples Website". Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  14. ^ "Swamini Vilasananda, Argentina".
  15. ^ "Br.Chetana, Tokyo, Japan".
  16. ^ "About Arsha Sampradaya". Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  17. ^ "". Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  18. ^ a b Avinashilingam, N. (Jan 2020). "Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati - A brief biography". Arsha Avinash Foundation. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  19. ^ "Kumbhabhishekam of Sri Gangadhareshwara Temple at Rishikesh" (PDF). Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Tamil Nadu. April 2014. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  20. ^ Fuller, C. J.; Harriss, John (2005). "Globalizing Hinduism: A 'Traditional' Guru and Modern Businessmen in Chennai". In Assayag, Jackie; Fuller, Christopher John (eds.). Globalizing India: Perspectives from Below. Anthem Press. pp. 213–. ISBN 978-1-84331-195-9.
  21. ^ "Friends of AVG at Saylorsburg".

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