It was in Pawapuri that Mahavir attained moksha. Approximately 25 kms from Rajgir, Pawapuri also witnesses a continuous flow of pilgrims. While devotees have paid their tributes by building many temples here including the famous Jal Mandir and Samosharan Mandir, no one had built a vidya mandir; a school for learning.
“In Pawapuri, I was surprised to see many children begging for alms. I asked them whether they went to school to which they replied in the negative. There were a few elders seated nearby who interjected sternly saying, ‘What are you asking them, Mataji? People like you visit this place and give these children clothes, money, and food. Why would they want to go to school when they get all basic necessities on a plate? They have gotten into the habit of begging. People like you have made this place a beggars’ paradise’.”
This encounter truly disturbed Acharya Shriji. Given the influx of pilgrims to the region, locals had habitually begun to live off the welfare and charity of visitors. This practice plagued Pawapuri with illiteracy and poverty. The lack of education had set a vicious circle of poverty into motion. To remedy this and give the younger generation a bright future, Veerayatan established the Tirthankar Mahaveer Vidya Mandir (TMVM)*, a modern primary and secondary education.
Started in May 2005, TMVM offers world-class education to 1,394 students with a yearly intake of 300 students. Sprawled across 5 acres, this school has successfully pulled hundreds of children off the streets irrespective of caste, creed, religion, and socio-economic status.
Veerayatan also foresaw the need for higher education here and established Veerayatan B Ed College** in 2007. 500 students have already graduated and 100 students are admitted every year. With the growing numbers, the college was shifted to a larger campus in 2014. The new infrastructure comprises fully equipped classrooms, a library, laboratory, Principal’s chamber, teachers’/staff room, canteen and a few residential facilities.
The college conforms to the National Council for Teachers’ Education with English as the primary medium of instruction. The college also provides basic personality development courses in order to lend these future teachers a balanced perspective of age-old Guru-Shishya Parampara and modern teaching techniques.
Lastly, Veerayatan also has a 100% free Health Center in Pawapuri given the need for a wider range of treatments for locals. Qualified doctors were unwilling to set up practices in this remote region and so, Veerayatan took the initiative and set up this free healthcare facility. The center primarily provides villagers care from eye diseases, blood pressure, diabetes, as well as a range of common medical conditions. A qualified gynecologist also visits the center regularly to examine and treat local women.
*TMVM, Pawapuri: Landmarks
**Veerayatan B Ed College: Landmarks
Tirthankar Mahaveer Vidya Mandir Pawapuri – http://tmvmpawapuri.com
Veerayatan B. Ed. College Pawapuri – http://www.veerayatanbedcollege.org