I started reading the scriptures when I was 13 years old.
My interest was kindled by my father Prof. Kandula V. N. Sarma, who told me the stories of Sri Rama and Sri Krishna when I was a child in my 2nd grade, in Australia. He wanted me to know my cultural roots.
My grandfather, Prof. Kandula Nagabhusham, used to send Chandamama magazines with great effort and cost to Australia from India. My grandmother Kandula Bhaskaramma and my great – grandmotherKandula Venkata Subbamma (Somayajula), used to tell me wonderful stories that captured my imagination.
Any gaps were happily filled by Amar Chitra Katha and Chandamama even after we returned to India. I still have those books, thanks to my mother, Kandula Vijayalakshmi, who had them bound and preserved so that my son would be able to read them, after I grew up.
I had actually selected Kannada as my first language in 8th standard, but my school (M.L.A. girls’ high school, Bangalore) ruled that English Medium students had to study Sanskrit. This was a great boon and blessing to me.
I was taught Sanskrit, at school, by Kunda Miss. I don’t know her initials or surname, but the lady was a brilliant and dedicated teacher and I was an enraptured student. She taught me for 3 blessed and wonderful years. In 10th Standard, I topped the state board in Sanskrit. She actually wrote me a letter to Trinidad, telling me this.
Our sanskrit syllabus had selections from the scriptures and I used to learn the beautiful words and their meanings by heart. My uncles (Suryanarayana Kandula and Purnachandra Rao Kandula) encouraged me in my pursuit of Sanskrit by offering me rewards for writing letters in Sanskrit and reciting what I had learned at school. (To this day they challenge and guide me in Sanskrit.)
Smt. Vemuri Seetha Mahalakshmi taught me the beautiful Thyagaraja Kirthanas, which in simple Telugu, showed me the beauty of his devotion to Sri Rama. It must be a heart of stone that would not melt before such melodious devotion to such perfection, and mine was but that of young high school girl.
Our school (S.A.G.H.S) library, in Trinidad had an illustrated copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which I read for the first time when I was 16 years old. Little did I know then, that when I was about 40 years old, I would write a course on The Bhagavad Gita, for Virtual University and write a ‘Satya Bhashyam’ on it.
I did one more year of Science and Sanskrit at M.E.S. college and went on to study Engineering at S.J.C.E., Mysore. There was a Ramakrishna Mission, right behind our Vontikoppal Girl’s hostel. I acquired here, the 8 upanishads, with English translation.
My father autographed them for me with a “Tvameham”. (You verily, are I).
I first taught the Isa Vasya Upanishad, as I learnt it from these books, to my uncle Mukkavilli Venkateswarulu and aunt Sodemma.
While working as a software engineer at Tata Unisys Ltd, I translated and explained Sankaracharya‘s Bhaja Govindam, online, to interested colleagues.
My most recent passion has been the Valmiki Ramayanam. I am reading and cross referencing all the ideas and words and places and people. I started reading on Sri Rama Navami and have finished it a few days before Sivarathri. It has been a most exciting time that I have been having. (As per the benefits (phalashruthi), I have accumulated enough punyam now to reach Vishnu padam at the end of my life. I feel delighted).
Indra told Bharadwaja, my great ancestor, that there is no end to learning and that he should start sharing it. So also, my father said that I should write and publish all that I am learning. He says that it will get better and better with time as I learn more and more.
This blog-web-site is a result of that of that injunction. It takes all my time, not spent on daily activities and housework. The reviews I get from my family and friends are very good.
I sincerely hope, that this effort of mine, will help interest, inspire and satisfy the curiosity of others as the work of others has helped me.
I dedicate this effort to my dear children, my son and my niece.
…I just remembered today… When I was working at Sonata Software 91-93, I used to visit the Basavanagudi Bull temple. There is a Valmiki place there. I prayed Valmiki to make me a writer. Little did I know that I would retell his work in English.. like a kind of Tulsidas… 4/4/2009.
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