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Disappearance Day of Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana
Baladeva Vidyabhusana, The Gaudiya Vedantist
Their voices rose with the sun. It was early morning in an Indian village school.
The boys sat in neat rows behind palm-leaf manuscripts, committing their lessons to memory.
As they chanted their grammar rules, their rhetoric lessons, and their logic aphorisms, each boy chanted loud enough to hear himself over his neighbour, resulting in a blend of high-pitched voices.
This school, attended by Baladeva early in the eighteenth century, closely resembled village schools that existed in India for thousands of years.
The system had endured because it was effective, producing brilliant and disciplined scholars, and Baladeva was among the best of them.
Before coming to school, Baladeva, the son of a merchant, had lived for several years near the Orissan town of Remuna.
From there he had gone to study with the group of panditas at this school, situated idyllically on the bank of the Cilkahrada River.
The lush Orissan forests and fertile fields provided ample fruits, vegetables, and grains for a wholesome, varied diet.
The boys studied hard, played hard, and grew lean, healthy, and discerning.