School House

Arundhati | Bharti | Gargi | Maitrayee

SHPS is particularly proud of its Houses. To foster healthy competitive spirit amongst the students, all the students are divided into four houses named after four illustrious women of the Hindu mythology—Arundhati, Bharti, Gargi and Maitrayee. The names chosen would familiarize the students with the rich cultural heritage of the Hindu tradition and would encourage the students to imbibe the noble values these characters represent. These names were particularly chosen because a woman represents the energy aspect of supreme consciousness. She personifies wisdom, courage, compassion, purity and vital life force that is vital for the creation and sustenance of the universe. In order to encourage the students to imbibe the said virtues the houses are named after these seer women of the Hindu mythology.

Arundhati House: Maa Arundhati was the wife of the great sage Vasishta. She was an ideal wife and epitomised all the virtues that all (married) women must possess. Owing to these aspects of her personality; Sita, the female protagonist of the epic Ramayana, wore Arundhati’s clothes and jewellery during the period of her exile. Arundhati’s virtues were apparent in her clothes and jewellery as they always emanated divine fragrance, light and were pure and pristine.  Her virtuous character not only reflected in her clothes and ornaments but also her spirit. She had a diamond like spirit—indestructible and dazzling. The following incident succinctly illustrates it:  Arundhati’s hundred sons were killed by the famous sage Vishwamitra. However, rather than grieving over the death of her sons she accepted it as a divine will and forgave Vishwamitra.

Today when immorality has become one of the most celebrated fads, it is extremely vital to motivate the students to learn about and imbibe the virtuous self of Arundhati. Swami Hariharanandji Maharaja envisioned a society in which the children would have a firm virtuous character which would not be deterred by the changing materialist/ superficial/ unethical trends. To bridge the gap between his dream and reality one of the houses is named after Maa Arundhati.

Bharti House: Vidushi Bharati, wife of Mandan Mishra, is well-known for seeking spirit and knowledge. In a socio-cultural context, where women were deprived of knowledge, Bharati not only studied but attained such great heights so as to challenge Sri Shankaracharaya, the famous scholar of Vedanta philosophy, for a philosophical debate. It is also worth noting that Bharati is also one of the epithets of Saraswati, the goddess of learning and arts. As an academic institution, the school attempts to motivate students to enhance their seeking spirit and love for knowledge, and therefore, one of the houses is named after Bharati.

Significantly, the term Bharati also signifies “love for Bharat (India).” In the cotemporary context most of the children are completely enamoured by the western culture. The term Bharati therefore encourages the students to respect and value their own rich cultural heritage.

 

Gargi House: Gargi is one of the most illustrious women of the Hindu mythology. She is much celebrated because she was a celibate of the highest order. The following episode captures this aspect of her personality: Once she visited the court of Raja Janaka to debate on spiritual matters. There, all the courtiers only stared at her. Observing their behaviour, Gargi commented, ‘O Rajan (King), your court is full of cobblers because they have eyes only for the skin.’

Swami Hariharanandji Maharaja sought to inculcate the characteristics of Gargi in students positioned within the materialistic socio-cultural context of the contemporary society.  To encourage the students to privilege spirituality over ephemeral materialistic phenomenon one of the houses is named after Gargi.

 

Maitrayee House: Maitrayee was the wife of Yajnavalkya. She was an icon of chastity, wisdom and dispassion. These aspects of her character are palpable from the following episode: When sage Yajnavalkya made up his mind up to forsake the marital life in order to attain salvation, he decided to divide his material possessions between his wives. Maitrayee, however, refused to accept material things. She argued that these things won’t give her eternal joy, and therefore, she sought spiritual knowledge that would lead her to the path of divinity.

In the present scenario, most of the children are completely enchanted by the glittery objects showcased on television and other mediums. In order to draw the students’ attention towards the impermanence and superficiality of the said phenomenon one of the houses is named after Maitrayee. Moreover, the character of Maitrayee also discourages the students from running after transient phenomenon and to prompt them to seek, appreciate and value the life states of learning and realisation. It was one of the most cherished dreams of Swami Hariharanandji Maharaja, that the students will imbibe the dispassionate spirit of Maitrayee towards material objects and will be driven by a lifelong quest for wisdom.

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