Q : In view of the arduous religious practices traditionally prescribed, our common mass of people are unable to adopt them in their daily life. Are there any simple practices and 'samskaars' which can be prescribed for them?
A : I would say that for them initiation into any one of our simple devotional practices, even Raama-naam or any of the names of God, will be potent enough. To say that merely because there is no formal initiation into any particular Mantra or sect they are devoid of devotion, is not correct. The common mass of our society have produced some of the greatest spiritual stalwarts who have commanded spontaneous homage from even the so-called higher castes. Over centuries, they have cultivated, through simple methods, pure devotion. It is up to our Dharmagurus to go to them now and invoke the latent devotion and virtues in them.
Q: The Mathaadhipatis are attached exclusively to their own 'sampradaayas'. How can they be expected to teach universal precepts of brotherhood?
A : Of course, they will have to guard themselves against the prevalent practice. Doubtless it is their duty to uphold certain traditional methods of worships so far as their respective Mutts are concerned. But when they come in contact with the general mass of people, they will have to emphasise only such points as will be applicable to one and all. Preaching or arguing in favor of a particular system of philosophy and particular form or name of God and criticizing all others will not be conducive to the mission of consolidating the entire Hindu people.
Q : There is a plan to start a Vidya-Peetha (in Kerala) to train 'Archakas' in temples. What should be the guidelines for admission of students and the course of study?
A : The course should be decided by some learned men. The students can be taken at the age of 8 or 9 years and their upanayana done by expert priests, preferably after their coming to the Vidya-Peetha. Admission at an early age is necessary because the complete study will take 7 or 8 years.
The atmosphere in the Vidya-Peetha should remind one of the ancient Gurukula. A vast plot of ground could be acquired and young boys in their leisure time can tend the gardens and do some farming. In our ancient Gurukulas even the so-called menial jobs were done by the disciples. That was part of the training which moulded great personalities. If sufficient farming could be done the Vidya-Peetha may well become self-sufficient in the matter of articles of food etc.
Q : Should they be given modern education also and made to sit for some Government examinations?
A : Let them have some modern education, but they need not go for the examinations because their life is to be dedicated to serve as priests. They should not hanker after any other job. They should have the certificate of the Vidya-Peetha and that should be the qualification on which they should be appointed as priests. The Pooja-Padhati and Veda-Pathas could be taught in the morning, in the afternoon some general education could be given, and during the evening hours some practical training in the Poojas could be given. Thus the scheme should be made all-comprehensive.
(With Some Women Social Workers)
Q : We have a plan to undertake a literacy campaign among women. Your suggestions?
A : First, and foremost, inculcate noble samskaars in them. Then only think of literacy.