Centuries before the founding of the world’s oldest surviving universities – the University of al-Qarawiyyin (founded in ~859 CE) and the University of Bologna (founded in~1088 CE) – it is recorded in Chinese sources that Bhārat’s Nālandā, situated in today’s India, in its heyday had ~10,000 students and ~1,500 teachers, with students visiting from Japan, Korea, China, Central & Southeast Asia!
The lyrics of this single श्रुति स्मृति चतुर्दश अष्टादशविद्याः (śruti smṛti caturdaśa aṣṭādaśavidyāḥ) contain lines from texts Yājñavalkya Smṛti and Viṣṇu Purāṇa which are historical/textual attestations of categories of learning and subjects — parts of systems of Indic knowledge — that were taught in universities like Nālandā.
In short, this is hence a tribute to Indic Knowledge Systems caturdaśa aṣṭādaśavidyāḥ (https://bit.ly/2DbnjS2) — which bring together categories/texts as diverse as āyurveda, arthaśāstra, nāṭyaśāstra, aṣṭādhyāyī — that had existed before the founding of today’s oldest surviving universities, until first, the grotesque physical destruction of these places of learning by invading forces and then systematic marginalisation of these systems of knowledge in the mainstream education system, first by colonising forces and then their Indian (ideological) successors.
This single, launched on May 13, 2019 at the Center for Soft Power, Chennai, was made more vivid by custom choreography by renowned Bharatanātyam performer and CSP Researcher Ms. Pavithra Srinivasan (https://www.pavithrasrinivasan.dance/).
Sung by: Shruti and Smruthi Kalyanasundharam
Melody: Megh Kalyanasundaram
LYRICS (Translation by Dr Korada Subrahmanyam)
सरस्वति नमस्तुभ्यं वरदे कामरूपिणि । विद्यारम्भं करिष्यामि सिद्धिर्भवतु मे सदा ॥
O! Sarasvati! you grant boons, you can have your desired form – I offer my namaskara (means: I am inferior to you and you are superior to me) to you. I am going to start my study: let there be success to me always.
श्रुतिस्मृतिपुराणानाम् आलयं करुणालयम् |नमामि भगवत्पादं शङ्करं लोकशङ्करम् ||
I offer namaskara to Bhagavan Sankara, who is an abode of Srutis, Smritis and Puranas, an abode of kindness and who provides comfort to people (thru Jnanam).
पुराणन्यायमीमांसाधर्मशास्त्राङ्गमिश्रिताः। वेदाः स्थानानि विद्यानां धर्मस्य च चतुर्दश ||
The Four Vedas viz. Rgveda, Yajurveda, Samveda, Atharvaveda, Puranas, Nyaya, Mimamsa, Dharmasastram along with the six Vedangas, viz Siksha, Vyakaranam, Chandas, Niruktam, Jyotisham, Kalpa: these fourteen are the abodes of Vidya (Jnanam) and Dharma.
आयुर्वेदो धनुर्वेदो गान्धर्व श्चेत्य नुक्रमात् । अर्थशास्त्रं परं तस्मात् विद्याह्यष्टादश स्मृताः ||
Ayurveda, Dhanurveda, Gandharvaveda and Arthasastram, the four Upavedas, coupled with the said fourteen are called eighteen Vidyas.
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Aum, Peace, Peace, Peace!