A Project Profile

 Sri Sathya Sai Veda Pratishtan
    Virtual Veda University

Internet (Distance) Education

Learning of Veda in India         

The Sanskrit word Veda is derived from the root vid,meaning to know without end. Veda literally means knowledge without beginning and end. It may be of interest to note that the Vedic Texts are believed to have been revealed to great Seers. The seers are not their authors. They are only receptors of what has only existed in the universe, but in the shape of sounds. Inspired by the Divine will, different seers are believed to have comprehended the sounds into structured hymns and the texts of the Veda, through their inner sense. All of them have been realized in their own way, in the absence of which it would not have been possible for them to comprehend the Vedic texts. It may be for this reason that the philosophies in India, which are the Brahman-centered, are considered Darsanas or perceptions of Truth or God. The names of the seers are associated with what has been comprehended by them.  

In fact, the Sanskrit language is stated to have been structured out of the Vedic texts to convey the meanings comprehended by the seers. The structure of this language is subsequent to the coming of the Veda into the experience of the seers.

The Veda is called 'Sruti' or that which is heard. Without being recorded in writing, the Veda-sakhas have been passed from generation to generation, in the ancient method of learning, by word of mouth to listening and repeating, in the Guru-Sishya (master-disciple) tradition. One main reason for not learning from the written text is that several sounds do not lend themselves to be accurately reproduced phonetically. They fall in between two syllables and can be transmitted only orally.

By the time of Patanjali, about twenty-five centuries ago, one thousand one hundred and thirty one Samhitas, which constitute the core text of the Veda, were stated to be in the knowledge of the Vedic seers. But the number of the Samhitas presently in the knowledge of the Vedic scholars is only ten.

Without resort to writing, our seers have devised many ways to prevent even a very small error to creep into the Veda-sakhas. The fullest benefit from the Veda mantras can result only if no word is changed; and no unauthorized upward or downward drift in the note occurs in the recitation. Hence numerous safeguards have been built into the system. How much time it should take to utter each word is indicated by resort to the notation by 'maatras' - the time it takes to pronounce a short vowel. How to regulate breathing so that the vibrations can occur at what part of the body to give birth to the pure word-sound is laid down in the Vedanga 'Siksha'.

A foolproof method of Veda recitation is to chant each mantra in various patterns and combinations known as Samhita (Vaakya), Pada, Krama, Jata, Maala, Sikha, Rekha, Dhwaja, Danda, Ratha and Ghana. The main object of reciting in so many modes is to make no mistake in the original meaning and sound pattern of the words.

Just, as in a laboratory, a life giving elixir is preserved with the utmost care, the Veda mantras, which are for universal benefit, have been preserved by the ancient seers, without resort to writing, by very exacting methods of recitation.

The system of complicated recitation has been devised in very early times in order to preserve the purity of the word, sound, intonation, pronunciation, accent and sound combination of the mantras. By repeating the words in manifold ways, the correct tally of the words is always kept which alone naturally ensures the purity of the texts. To enable the scholars to take up the difficult methods of recitation, it has been laid down that the more difficult the methods of chanting are, the more merit the chanter earns.

While the learner of a Veda-sakha is initiated by the preceptor beginning with Samhita, he is taught the method of chanting in Pada and later in Krama. For Rigveda, Yajurveda, etc, it takes about 10 years for a learner of Veda to arrive at the level of Krama-pati, the one that has learnt the way of chanting the Veda-sakha in the way of Krama or Krama-patha. Past the stage of Krama-patha, the learner is, if he so desires, to take the ways of Jata and Ghana to arrive at the level of Ghana-pati, the one that has learnt the way of chanting the Veda-sakha in the way of Ghana or Ghana-patha. This normally takes between three to five years for a brilliant learner who has very high level of memory.

Most learners of Veda-sakhas drop at the level of Krama-patha, as the upward march is quite arduous and difficult of achievement. Very, very few take to learning the modes of chanting such as Maala, Sikha, Rekha, Dhwaja, Danda and Ratha because of the very difficult nature of pronunciation in those modes. It is, therefore, no surprise that there may be only one or two living Vedic scholars that can recite all the eleven modes of chanting of Rigveda for which sakha these modes of chanting are prescribed.

Though the Veda is the most ancient, organized, spiritualized and intellectual literature of the human race, its very nature and content, both in word and in sound, has not allowed any systemized social recognition of scholarship or accomplishment, except in personal contact, in any of its sakhas. Vedic seers have sought to transmit the Veda-sakhas in word and in sound, by word of mouth, to their disciples who are mostly their sons or that have approached them. As there has been no other organization for systematic transmission of Vedic texts, it is no surprise that only a handful of Veda-sakhas have survived to date.

For some decades now, with a view to protecting the purity and chastity of the available Vedic texts, both in word and in sound, to the extent they are taught by Vedic scholars to their disciples, some organizations have sprung-up in different parts of India to grant recognition to the Vedic learners at the level of Krama-patha, Ghana-patha, Veda-bhashya, etc. The organizations hold some kind of tests to the learners and qualify them to be Krama-pati, Ghana-pati, Bhashya-ratna, etc. The organizations have no locus-standi except that they are run by scholars in the Veda-sakhas, recognized as such or self-recognized. Such recognition by these organizations for different Veda-sakhas is something that sustains some kind of recognition to the new learners in the society. This recognition does not give any legal validity to the Pattas (Degrees) granted to the learners, as the organizations are not affiliated to any legally or validly constituted University.

For the same reason, there are no serious takers for the study of Veda bhashya including Vedangas, Upavedas and Upangas, or research into them as there is no academic recognition for their study and research, even though such study spans over several years.

This system needs to be re-oriented and re-organized in an orderly and legally valid manner conforming to the exacting standards of Vedic learning at different levels that have been handed down to date since times immemorial.

Virtual Veda University

In the background of the learning of Veda in India, the constitution of a Virtual Veda University may meet the needs of systematizing and regularizing the study of Veda including Sanskrit and grant of Degrees for different facets.

The functions of a Virtual University as stated by the Commonwealth of Learning are

1. To provide a vehicle for collaboration in the development and use of emerging technologies that are needed to develop virtual education models such as subject matter databases and learning management systems;

2. To provide leadership in the planning, design and delivery to learners of programs, curricula and courses that are pertinent to the human resource development needs; and

3. To provide support services to students, which would include assessment of current skills and knowledge, advice regarding academic plans, quality-assured access to courses, record of learning and the provision of awards where these are not available from other organizations. 

The core activities of such a University are

1. Program development and delivery;

2. Development and maintenance of 
         virtual systems;

3. Provision of learner support systems;

4. Development of quality assurance

5. Leadership on policy development and
         strategic planning;

6. Research on virtual education; and

7. Internal staff development and 
         training for staff in participating

Sri Sathya Sai Veda 
Pratishtan as Virtual
Veda University 


Based on the concept of a Virtual University and the need for award of diplomas,graduate,post-graduate and doctoral degrees to the learners of and researchers in Veda including its subsidiaries,and also in Sanskrit,Sri Sathya Sai Veda Pratishtan is conceptualized to be a Virtual Veda University

1. To complement and supplement Vedic learning in the Guru-sishya    (preceptor-disciple) tradition at their own places of living;

2. To institutionalize teaching of Veda in different modes for different    Veda-sakhas fixing parameters of standards for word and sound, and in bhashya including Vedangas, Upavedas and Upa-angas;

3. To secure uniformity in the levels of learning of chanting as well as bhashya;

4.To award diplomas, degrees at the graduate, post-graduate and doctoral levels for Vedic learning including Vedic studies, and also Sanskrit, by being a consortium of institutions that are presently engaged in the provision of awards to the Vedic learners, and through the Internet (Distance) Education mode; and 

5.To do all other acts consistent to achievement of the objectives stated above

Structure of the
Virtual Veda 

                The Chancellor          

1 a) There shall be the Chancellor for the Virtual Veda University who may be requested to hold the office, on the resolution of the Board of Trustees of Sri Sathya Sai Veda Pratishtan (Trust), hereinafter called SSSVP.

b) The Chancellor may preside at convocations called for conferring Degrees. He may guide the functioning of the Virtual University whose guidance and advice shall be binding on its management for utmost consideration

                The Vice-chancellor   

a) There shall be the Vice-chancellor of the Virtual University. The Chancellor of the SSSVP is to nominate the Vice-chancellor of the University according to the procedure formulated by the University Grants Commission. 

b) The Vice-chancellor shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Virtual University and shall exercise general control over its affairs. 

c) By virtue of his office, the Vice-chancellor shall preside over the meetings of the Academic Council. He shall be entitled to preside over any meeting of any Authority of the University created for any general or specific purpose, anytime in the future. 

d) The Vice-chancellor shall be mainly responsible for the administrative and financial functioning of the University and shall be entitled to exercise all powers as may be necessary for or incidental to the carrying of the administration of the University and its affairs. 

e) The Vice-chancellor shall be the custodian of the records, the common seal and the properties of the Virtual University. He shall represent the University in suits or legal proceedings by or against the University, sign powers of attorney and conduct all official correspondence of the University and its authorities. 

               The Dean                  

a) There shall be the Dean of the University. Initially, the Chancellor appoints the Dean of the University. For further appointment of the Dean(s), the procedure approved by the University Grants Commission of India will be followed. 

b) The Dean is the convener of the Academic Council and is to implement the decisions of the Council as the most important academic executive arm of the University. In the absence of the Vice-chancellor, he presides over the meetings of the Academic Council and shall be responsible for maintenance of the highest standards of the University.

                The Academic Council

a) There shall be the Academic Council consisting of eminent scholars representing the Veda-sakhas at the rate of at least one for each of the Veda-sakhas for which Diplomas or Degrees at different levels are to be awarded. It shall also have an eminent scholar in Sanskrit. The Dean of the Virtual University will be the convener-member of the Council.

b) The strength of the Academic Council shall be not less than seven members including the Dean. The appointment of members to the Council is generally according to the scheme of the University Grants Commission of India. The non-availability of any member on the Academic Council representing any particular Veda-sakha does not vitiate the proceedings of the Council in respect of the academic decisions relating to that Veda-sakha. 

c) The Academic Council shall be the principal Academic Authority of the Virtual Veda University. It shall be responsible for prescribing standards for teaching of different Veda-sakhas as to chanting in different modes, Veda-bhashya including Vedangas, Upavedas, Upa-angas, and Sanskrit, and also of holding examinations for them either directly by the Virtual University or through the Institutions affiliated to the University. It shall have the authority to determine the award of Diplomas and Degrees at different levels. 

d) The Academic Council shall have power to make regulations relating to all academic matters and, in particular, shall perform the following, among other, functions.

i) To grant recognition to the Institutions presently holding examinations for   award of Pattas (Degrees) at different levels for different Veda-sakhas         including Veda-bhashya;

ii) To prescribe course content for award of Degrees at different levels for     different Veda-sakhas including Veda-bhashya; 

iii) To prescribe standards of evaluation for award of Degrees at different      levels for different Veda-sakhas including Veda-bhashya; 

iv) To nominate an eminent scholar from among the members of the Council    or from outside to associate with the Institution(s) recognized by the           University, at the time of evaluation for award of a post-graduate or           doctoral Degree (such as Salakshana Ghanapathi); 

v) To determine the course content and the standards of evaluation, and      hold the examinations for the award of Diploma, Graduate, Post-graduate          and Doctoral Degrees to the candidates taking examinations in Vedic          studies of different branches, Sanskrit, etc through the Internet                (Distance) Education mode on the portal www.vedamu.org

vi) To constitute a committee or committees of Vedic and / or Sanskrit scholars and experts for specific or general purposes with a view to implementing the policies and programmes of the University. Such committees may generally be associated with one or more members of the Academic Council; 

vii) To determine finally the award of Degrees to Vedic and Sanskrit scholars at the Diploma, Graduate, Post-graduate and Doctoral levels, and to recommend award of Special Honors to very eminent men / women of learning and accomplishment in the Ancient Indian Heritage and Spirituality; and 

viii) To make byelaws for any or all of the following among others.

a) Admission of candidates for the conduct of examinations either through Institutions affiliated to the University or directly, as the case may be;

b) The actual conduct of examinations including the terms and conditions of appointment of examiners;

c) Conduct of Convocation and conferment of degrees; and

d) Any other matter which the Virtual University requires to be dealt with in byelaws.  

                Internet (Distance) Education 

The Virtual Veda University will function essentially through the medium of the Internet. The Internet (Distance) Education mode is an important arm of the University. There will be a Department of Internet Education headed by Director who functions subject to the superintendence and guidance of the Academic Council. The syllabus prescribed for different courses in languages such as Sanskrit, different areas of Vedic studies including Sastras such as Jyotisa is to be according to the guidelines prescribed by the University Grants Commission of India. 

Immediately on accreditation of the University, the Department of Internet (Distance) Education will offer the B.A. (Hons) UG course in Sanskrit and the B.A. (Hons) UG course in Jyotisa (Vedic Astrology) to start with. Different other courses will be offered soon. The syllabus and the structure of examinations for the BA (Hons) UG courses in Sanskrit and in Jyotisa, according to the guidelines of the UGC presently in force, are appended. Several other Universities recognized by the Government of India offer such courses. 

As the accreditation of the Virtual Veda University is yet to take place and the timeline when it happens is not known, the students intending to take the Degree courses in Sanskrit and Vedic Astrology are advised to approach the Distance Education Departments of the following Universities to get Degrees in the respective subjects. 

Degree in Sanskrit

Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan
Samskrita Bharati
Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupathi
Sree Sankaracharya University
Rashtreeya Sanskrit Sansthan
Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan
Chinmaya internatial Foundation
Banaras Hindu University
OU Sanskrit Academy

Degree in Jyotisha (Vedic Astrology)

Banaras Hindu University
OU Sanskrit Academy

The Virtual Veda University will initially institute award of the following Diplomas / Degrees to the learners of Veda and Sanskrit. 

a) Chanting of the full text of each Veda-sakha in Samhita-patha - Diploma

b) Chanting of the full text of each Veda-sakha in Krama-patha - Graduate Degree.

c) Chanting of the full text of each Veda-sakha in Ghana-patha - Post-graduate Degree. 

d) Veda-bhashya with chanting of the concerned Veda-sakha in Samhita-patha or any other patha - Post-graduate Degree.

e) Development of any patha for any sakha for which chanting in that patha is not available in the country at present, or out-standing contribution by way of bhashya to any sakha, different from the existing accepted bhashyas of the same sakha - Doctoral Degree.

f) On qualifying at the examinations in Sanskrit or in Jyotisa held through the Internet (Distance) Educaton mode based on the syllabus appended - Graduate Degree.

In due course, the Virtual University will consider awarding Diplomas, Graduate, Post-graduate and Doctoral Degrees to the candidates taking examinations in varied Vedic studies including languages and related areas. 

               Finance Committee

There shall be the Finance Committee following the pattern approved by the University Grants Commission of India. The Finance Committee may prepare the annual budget of the University and seek to raise sources to meet the expenditure on maintenance. The Finance Committee shall be responsible to prepare the annual accounts of the Virtual University for every financial year and get them audited by a qualified firm of Chartered Accountants, as required under the law providing for registration of Trusts in Andhra Pradesh. 

               Academic Infrastructure

The website www.vedamu.org provides the academic infrastructure for validation of standards for chanting of each Veda-sakha in different modes to the extent available in the country, and the correct text in word of each Veda-sakha with bhashya by the authoritative seers of the past, to constitute the basis for award of Degrees to the successful learners of Veda-sakhas. 

The portal has, and we continue to bring to it, considerable literature in Sanskrit, in English and in Telugu to help researchers in Veda and related subjects for their deep and detailed study. Such research will help enable the learners of Veda earn Doctoral Degrees.

As for Sanskrit, SSSVP progressively brings on to the portal texts and lessons in Sanskrit and Vedic studies corresponding to the syllabus for award of Diploma, Graduate and Post-graduate Degrees. The University will hold examinations at different levels in Sanskrit and different Vedic studies through the Internet (Distance) Education mode. 

          Administrative Infrastructure

The Virtual Veda University shall have the ICT applications related services for its administration and functioning provided initially by the Virinchi Consultants Limited, Hyderabad, a leading IT enabled services provider. In due course, the Virtual Veda University will develop the needed technical and administrative infrastructure on its own.

               MOU with the Hindu University of America, Orlando, Florida, USA.

Sri Sathya Sai Veda Pratishtan, which is seeking Accreditation as Virutual Veda University, has entered into the Memorandum of Understanding appended, with the Hindu University of America, Orlando, Florida, USA.

The two Institutions agree,through this MOU, to collaborate as follows:

a. The SSSVP offers to HU its portal at www.vedamu.org to run some of its Distance Education programs, either in full or in part, as the HU determines;

b. The two Institutions agree to exchange of Faculty and personnel for mutual benefit, and for proper conduct of programs;

c. The two Institutions agree to placement of students admitted to either, to the other, for part or for the whole of the program that is available with the two Institutions in the Distance Education mode;

d. The two Institutions agree to sponsor research projects including publication of books by way of translation, to one another, and in such cases, the outcome of research / publications would be the joint property of the two Institutions;

e. The two Institutions agree to share the course material for studies of different programs undertaken by either or both; and 

f. The two Institutions agree to recognize the degrees awarded by either that constitute the support qualification for award of higher degrees in the programs (disciplines) available in either Institution.

Internet (Distance) Education Course Details

MOU with the Hindu University of America