Shlokapreneur: The woman who embraced the past to empower the present

Shlokapreneur: The woman who embraced the past to empower the present

Sometimes, when it feels like everything is moving too fast for you, taking a pause and stepping back into the past can make a huge difference.

Early in 2004, Divyaa Doraiswamy was stuck in one of the worst times of her life. Rather than trying to catch up with the world, Divyaa looked back and found her solace in the mesmerising shlokas of ancient scriptures. Chanting them made her feel at peace. She would often call her mom to help her with finding new shlokas from ancient texts. Over the years, she has had a compendium of shlokas stored in her memory.  Soon, they became a part of her everyday life. Whenever she came across setbacks, she disengaged with them by chanting shlokas that were the closest to her heart. Like a mystic portal, they took her back in time to give her a sense of identity among the large scheme of things. Where she knew she fit in and could derive her purpose in life. 

Shlokas have played a key role in molding the bold and beautiful Divyaa she is today. 

Despite having therapy centers in every nook and cranny, why do we still struggle to handle difficult situations in life? This got Divyaa thinking. The more we lose touch with our past and try to find solutions in the future, the more we detach from ourselves. Having seen for herself how shlokas can turn around one’s life, Divyaa wanted to share the ancient mode of therapy with others.

That was the vision that laid the foundation stone of Gurukulam.

The journey

Divyaa started by teaching shloka to 6 little kids in her apartment in Bangalore city. Why kids? Being around them was therapeutic in itself. Also, Divyaa believes that childhood is the best time to learn the basics of Shlokas. As Shlokas are in Sanskrit, this gives parents the opportunity to teach Sanskrit to children at a very young age too. Grasping language is a very innate ability that we are all born with. How effortlessly children learn to understand and speak their native language in the first few years! For this reason, childhood is a great time to learn the fundamentals of Sanskrit and Shlokas. However, it is important to note that each child progresses at his own pace. 

Divyaa was natural at teaching. She got along with the kids and taught them shlokas in a fun and engaging way she had devised in a few days. Rather than explaining the shlokas word by word to them and putting them to sleep, she conveys the essence of the shlokas and encourages them to repeat the shlokas after her. This way, learning becomes a fun activity rather than a chore. Through their own unique rhythms, shlokas bind to the mind with no extra effort.

The rave review from parents and the amazing learning curve in students instilled confidence in Divyaa. Parents vouched for the behavioral and cognitive changes in children. They were well-mannered, courteous, and interestingly, more enthusiastic about studies than ever. As Divyaa had rightly predicted, Shlokas worked wonders. It brought down anxiety, recklessness, and worries in children so that they could focus on things that mattered. We often overlook the depression and anxiety in children. In the fast-moving world where kids spend a major chunk of their productive time in front of digital screens, their options to connect with the real world are very limited. Divyaa knew children were not the only benefactors of shlokas. Shlokas will immensely help adults and elderly people too. Shlokas will be a great aid to fight anxiety and depression, now found common among adults, especially in the urban population. 

So, in 2014, Divyaa embarked on her journey as a ‘Shlokaprenuer’.

She put up posters in local shops, boutiques, pre-schools, fitness centers, and on social media pages. Soon the word got around and before she knew it, students were flocking in from across the town. Parents who have for long been worried about not having the means or time to inculcate ancient wisdom in their children were super thrilled to learn about Gurukulam. In no time, Gurukulam grew from having just 6 students to 120.

The road ahead

Today, Divyaa has students from around the world learning Shlokas. Although they belong to different age groups and social backgrounds, their relentless commitment to mastering shlokas is still a surprise for Divyaa. Gurukulam has online and offline classes at different times of the day that students can opt for according to their convenience. 

Apart from that, Divyaa conducts free classes at government schools and schools for the visually impaired. This stems from Divyaa’s mission to share the benefits of Shlokas with everyone. If students who belong to unprivileged sections of the society can’t afford it, she is willing to go the extra mile.

I want to teach there as a service activity and not as something that gives me income. Currently, we are doing this as an after-school activity for children, but some schools have approached me asking to teach this in school. I haven’t given it a thought yet.

Shlokas, if introduced into the curriculum as another subject, would ensure that the upcoming generation stays in touch with our rich culture, heritage, and wisdom. However, that idea is still in its infancy owing to the many challenges ahead. Divyaa, despite being excited about the idea, has put a pin on it for now. Her current goal is to expand Gurukulam’s student base by breaking all geographical and social barriers. 

When the sky is the limit

Divyaa boldly broke into a start-up space that had been long forgotten and reached for her dreams with gumption and perseverance. Her positivity towards life and benevolence took Gurukulam to new heights. Divyaa’s story is a source of inspiration to all women who are fearlessly chartering unexplored territories. 

No matter where you are in your life, if you succeed in finding your inner peace, the sky is the limit. So, reach for the stars.


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