Michika Inuzuka transformed herself from being a student of Environmental Science at California State University into a life long student of Vedanta. She is a former software engineer at Bandai America and Panasonic USA.
Michika left everything in pursuit of the study of Vedanta scriptures such as Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Brahma Sutras under Pujya Shri. Swami Dayananda Saraswatiji, a world renowned and revered traditional teacher of Advaita Vedanta. She started studying under Pujya Swamiji from 2007.
Now Medha Michika is a Sanskrit teacher and author of books on Sanskrit Alpabhets, Sanskrit Grammar, book of verbal roots based on dhaatupaaTha of paaNini and many more! Her books are available at www.arshaavinash.in under "Books on Sanskrit Grammar”for free download. Printed version of her books are available at amazon.com and createspace.com. All profit from the sales of her books go towards charitable works, mainly for printing books in India to be donated to Arsha Vidya Gurukulams in Anaikatti, Rishikesh, and Saylorsburg, or as direct donation to these ashrams.
Here is CSP’s interview with Medha Michika:
According to you , what is the significance of Samskritam ?
Samskritam is a language of the Veda.The Vedas teach Dharma ( righteous deeds) and Moksha (ultimate freedom), the goals only human beings can achieve due to their faculty of thinking and ability to make choices. Samskritam is a unique language which helps you understand the language of the Veda, that fulfills you and makes you a complete human being.
How did you get adept in speaking the English language?
Besides reading and talking with college students in USA, our family used to host people that really helped me in speaking good English.
When did you begin teaching Samskritam, what methodology have you developed in writing your books?
When I was in Rishikesh studying under Pujya Swamiji, I started helping other students of Vedanta in learning Samskritam, from Devanagari script to Panini sutras.
I just follow the methodology of traditional learning and teaching method of Panini-sutras while writing. In my books,I have presented this traditional method in visual forms so that students with modern educational background can easily learn and grasp.
Let me explain a few terms. To understand these terms, one should have studied Panini to some extent. This discussion is meant only for those :-
As a prakriya , the methodology of leaning Panini-sutras, Kaumudi is the best. Not many people know that this book is for studying Ashtaadhyaayii.When you study a sutra in Kaumudi, you must look up Ashtaadhyaayii sutra-paatha and pick up anuvrttis, then bring necessary words by referring to appropriate Paribhaashaas,and finally make a complete vrttiby rearranging the entire words. One can also refer to commentaries of Kaumudi and Kashika.
How has teaching Samskritam changed your life?
It has made me more patient, relaxed and accepting of myself and others.Of course Samskritam is essential for studying theShaastra! Teaching has given me the depth of understanding the language and has got me involved in the parampara of teaching too!
How is Hindu tradition different form Japanese tradition, what are their similarities?
Most of the things are diagonally opposite in the two traditions. For example, in Hindu tradition, people have trust in Bhagavan, the cosmic order, while Japanese people trust in the orders made by human beings and follow them rigidly.
In India, Vedic values such as study of Shaastra, being a Sanyaasi, giving, selfless service, knowledge of Samskritam, etc. are highly regarded, while in Japan, these principles are not even known.
While listening to the teacher, interrupting the flow of teacher's words by asking question is not considered to be proper in both traditions in India and Japan.Though we don't have the idea of the Lord, the creator, the omniscient and omnipotent, we are in general quite open to see divinity in everything and in worship.Another similarity is we also keep quiet while listening to the teaching !
What motivated you to study scriptures/Vedanta? How did you join Arsha Vidya Gurukulam?
When I was a little child around 5/6 years old, my mother told me that my existence cannot be defined by "girl" or "Japanese".That really gave me a solid trust in myself, and easily paved the way for the study of Vedanta.
Years later, during my stay in Rishikesh,I was learning Hindustani music and fond of witnessing Hindu rituals, chanting and reciting prayers.The interest to know the meaning of the prayers made me study Samskritam by myself, which of course did not work!
Some people suggested I go to Shri.Dayananda Ashram. I went to the Ashram in Rishikesh to learn Samskritam, not knowing what exactly to expect.There were no Samskritam classes when I visited the Ashram. Instead, there was a class on Mundaka Upanishad. I heard the class, and immediately understood that everything that happened in my life was meant to pursue the study of Vedanta. From that day onwards, there has been no turning back in my life. Now, my whole life is centered on the study of Vedanta.
What does your name mean then and now ?
Michika means "auspicious and gorgeous”. The name Medha is given by Pujya Swamiji which means “intellect “. This is a great blessing to me!
What do you find about India that you don't find anywhere else?
I am inspired by the value systems in India in keeping with higher human goals like - Dharma, Moksha, study of Shaastra, life style and attitude of a Sanyaasi, values of giving, selfless service, and knowledge of Samaskritam.P
Is there any other way to find peace besides studying Shaastras?
Shaastra is meant for finding ultimate peace, which cannot be found in any life experience or philosophy!
What has been you most gratifying experience so far?
That I was lucky enough to study under Pujya Swamiji.
How do you wish to carry on the legacy of your revered Guru?
By continuing the study and teaching the Shaastra, as guided by Pujya Swamiji.
What keeps your life busy?
Studying and teaching, and moving around the world for that purpose.
Where do you teach Samskritam?
I teach at Rishikesh Ashram,Anaikatti Gurukulam,Japan,Bali and Singapore on a regular basis. In Japan many Yoga students also attend my classes.
If you wish to change something in your life, what would it be?
Nothing. Meeting Pujya Swamiji and studying the Shaastras has made my life complete and perfect!