Well, in the context of talking about Sanskrit Language Initiative, I would like you to know me as an amygdala whisperer. Shloka chanting is a technique to train the mind. Halter-breaking a horse would be a good analogy with respect to what chanting does for the mind. I am also a practitioner (and instructor) of tai chi. My parallel life in the corporate sector has me working in a communications role.
I grew up in an orthodox Tamil family and as an Air Force officer’s daughter, I led a gypsy lifestyle traveling and living in various cities across India. I must say that my interest in Indian scriptures was arrived at in a circuitous manner after learning about Darwinism and neuroscience and through practicing the arts.
Tell us about the Sanskrit Language Initiative
I teach Shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita and the Vishnusahasranama (to children above seven years of age) with accurate pronunciation. The purpose of the initiative is to link this spiritual practice to neuroscience and to create awareness that incantation of shlokas is about rewiring the brain. It is also about demonstrating that it is possible to have no belief in shlokas or even know the meaning of the shlokas to derive the enormous benefit from chanting it.
When was the organisation established?
Which cities are you operating from?
Why was the organisation set up?
This initiative was set up and it grew organically. A friend who happened to know that I know Sanskrit shlokas asked if I would teach her children. I acquiesced and then a few others contacted me and so on…
What is your mission?
SLI is an experiment in organic learning and the teaching process. It is about the process and the journey and not about the destination at all. I am quoting an author, Kurt Vonnegut who wrote this letter to students who requested him to address them on creative writing.
“Practice any art; music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow. Here’s an assignment for tonight. Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. Make it as good as you possibly can. Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.”
How can others help?
By learning how to chant!