A Letter From Grandpa
Niranjan Shah, a civil engineer, who pioneered famous high-rise buildings in Baroda, is a broadcaster in India and the USA and a prolific writer. Under “A Letter from Grandpa.” he has been writing since 2002 on India’s historical, philosophical, and literary heritage. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Niranjan Shah
My dear Snehi and Sohan:
Tejasvi navadhitamastu means May learning illuminate us (both teacher and the taught)! This is the motto of Andhra University. This mantra is part of the verse from Katha-Upanishad. The full verse read like this: Om Saha navavatu; Saha nau Bhunaktu; Saha viryam karavavahai; tejasvi navadhitamastu; Ma vidvishavahai; Om Shantih; Shantih; Shantih: The meaning of this verse is: May God protects us. May we both enjoy the results. May we attain strength together. Let learning illuminate us! Let us not show contempt for each other. Let there be peace, and peace, and peace to all. This Upanishad is also called Kaathakopanishad and belongs to the Taittairiya School of the Yajurveda. A poor and pious Brahmin, Vajasravasa, performs a Yagnya and gives as presents to the priests a few old and feeble cows. His son, Nachiketa, feeling disturbed by the unreality of his father’s observance of the Yagnya, proposes that he himself may be offered as offering to a priest. When he persisted in his request, his father in rage said, Unto Yama, I give thee. Nachiketa goes to the abode of Yama and finding him absent, waits there for three days and nights unfed. Yama, on his return, offers three gifts in recompense for the delay and discomfort caused to Nachiketa. For the first, Nachiketa asked, “Let me return alive to my father.” For the second, “Tell me how my good works may not be exhausted,” and for the third, “Tell me the way to conquer death.” In the Upanishad, the third request is one for enlightenment on the great transition called “death.” The Upanishad consists of two chapters, each of which has three Vallis or sections.
The word Upanishad is derived from Upa (near). Ni (down) and sad (to sit), i.e. sitting down near. Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to learn from him the secret doctrine. In the quietude of forest hermitages the Upanishad thinkers pondered on the problems of the deepest concern and communicated their knowledge to fit pupils near them. The seers adopt a certain reticence in communicating the truth. They wish to be satisfied that their pupils are spiritually minded.
Andhra University or Andhra Viswa Kala Parishad, located in Visakhapatnam in coastal Andhra Pradesh, is one of the older premier universities in India with a broad focus. It was established in 1925 and shared affiliating responsibilities with Madras University in the initial years. The university contains two sections, the south campus and north campus. The south campus houses the Arts, Humanities and Sciences departments along with the administrative block. The north campus (established in 1962), comprises the engineering College. The university has four constituent colleges. The college of arts and commerce is the biggest constituent college in the university with 28 departments offering 55 courses. The college of science and technology has 19 departments, which offers 44 courses. The college of engineering has 16 departments involving in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The college of law has been identified as an advanced center in law by University Grants Commission.
The university has a School of Distance Education, started in 1972. The school has 32 study centers across the state and a study center at New Delhi. The university campus has 19 hostels for men and four hostels exclusively for women that accommodate more than 4,300 students. Residential accommodation of 340 units of staff quarters is available on the university campus. The university also has three Health Centers, a homeopathy dispensary, three guest houses, a faculty club, an open air theatre and a campus school for the children of university staff. The mission of the Andhra University is to leverage global knowledge networks to help India and International Community in developing human resources capable of leading creative developments by upholding intellectual traditions and human values.
— Grandpa’s blessing