ISKCON Bangalore hosted a unique eigth day national conference on Vedic literature organized by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan from July 21 to 28, 2013. This conference, entitled Veda Samvada, was held at the ISKCON Multi-Vision Theatre on the Hare Krishna Hill.
The purpose of this event was to propagate and popularize the message of the Vedas. The programme was intended to enlighten the younger generation about the relevance of Vedas and give them more insight about the Vedic literature so that they could make use of the ancient wisdom in Vedic texts in everyday life.
Significance of Vedas
The word Veda means knowledge. The Vedas are the storehouse of knowledge covering various disciplines such as socialogy, politics, religion, economy, astronomy, physics, chemistry, metaphysics and so on. Above and beyond all this, they contain specific directions for spiritual realization.
The Vedic knowledge is received directly from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and hence it is the original, most authoritative and perfect knowledge.
It is stated in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (4.5.11):
asya mahato bhutasya nisvasitam etad yad rg-vedo yajur-vedah samavedo ‘tharvangirasah:
The four Vedas – namely the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda – are all emanations from the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Originally there was only one Veda. Five thousand years ago, Srila Vyasadeva divided it into four and put in writing so that we can take advantage of this knowledge to lead a happy, peaceful and prosperous life, and also make progress in our journey towards ultimate spiritual perfection.
Vedas are the fountainhead of our culture. It is the most ancient and cherished heritage of the world, a treasure trove that transcends the barriers of gender, class, race, community, and nationality. It is our duty to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of our country as described in the Vedic literature.
Veda Samvada Inauguration
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, founded in 1938 by Dr. K M Munshi, seeks to pursue and perpetuate the tradition of Vedic knowledge by various means. As part of the platinum jubilee celebrations (1938 – 2013) the Bengaluru Kendra of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan had organized this conference, in association with ISKCON, to provide a platform for scholars and enthusiasts of the Vedas to share their thoughts and enrich themselves.
His Excellency Dr. H.R.Bhardwaj, Governor of Karnataka, inaugurated the program. In his Inaugural Address, he described the supremacy of India in terms of its Vedic tradition and culture and said, “This is the great fortune of our country that we are a country of rishis, munis, saints and philosophers.”
Prof. Kannan gave an illuminating Keynote Address on the glories of the Vedas and quoted statements of several renowned Western scholars and researchers who were influenced by them.
Acknowledging the fact that the Vedas originated from the God, he said “Vedic passages have neither a beginning time nor an ending time. They emerge from the God of creation. The Vedas are the oldest available books in the history of mankind. Vedas are probably the only ancient books that have remained intact, untampered, in the purely original form.”
Speaking on this occasion, Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa described the spiritual contributions of Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, to the entire world, in the form of books and the propagation of Hare Krishna sankirtan. He gave a detailed explanation of how Srila Prabhupada presented Lord Krishna as the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, quoting texts from several Vedic literatures such as Shvetasvatara Upanishad, Katha Upanishad, Rig Veda, Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Describing the personal aspect of the Absolute Truth, he said, “It is for the first time that a presentation of Vedic knowledge with emphasis on the personal aspect of Para-brahman or Bhagavan was being made all over the world through the empowered works of Srila Prabhupada.”
He concluded his speech with the glories of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of Vedic knowledge, and gave many examples of wonderful knowledge contained therein which even the modern scientists are not able to comprehend by experimentation.
Over 90 scholars from across the country participated in this event and presented their papers.
The conference covered a wide range of topics listed below, which highlighted the contribution of Vedic literature in every aspect of our life and its relevance in the modern age.
Topics on Relevance of Vedas for Modern Age
- Concept of Religious Tolerance in the Vedas (Prof. Nabanarayan Bandyopadhyay, Director, School of Vedic Studies, Rabindra Bharathi University, Kolkata)
- Environmental Focus of the Vedas (Prof. S. Kannan , Chennai)
- Vedas for All (Sri. Sudhakara Sharma,Vedadhyayi, Bengaluru)
- Utility of Vedas for Today’s Life (Prof. Krishnamurthy Sastri, Kanchi Kamakoti Matham, Chennai)
- Contribution of Vedic Tradition to the Development of the Science of Language (Prof. V.N. Jha, Ex-Director, CASS, Pune)
- Origin of Stars & Planets in the Vedic Perspective (Dr. Shyam Dev Mishra, Asst. Prof. MSP, RSKS, New Delhi)
- Ethics and Values in the Vedas (Prof. V.Vasudevan, SSSU, Tiruvananthapuram)
- Astronomical Concepts in Vedic Practices (Dr. R. Narayana Iyengar, Jain University, Bengaluru)
- Crime and Punishment: The Vedic Background (Dr. Shanta Shaivalini, Jain College, Bengaluru)
Vedas and Other Disciplines
- Vedic Cosmology (Dr. Y.S. Gayathri, Bengaluru)
- Vedic Botany and Ecology (Dr. S. Sundararajan, Bengaluru)
- Navigational Science in the Vedas (Dr. M.K. Sridhar, Bengaluru)
- Vedic Commerce (Dr. G.N. Bhat, Mangalore)
- Vedic Economics (Dr. N.S. Viswanath, Dean, MPBIM, Bengaluru)
- Concept of Public Health in Atharva Veda (Dr. JSRA Prasad, Dept. of Sanskrit, Univ.of Hyderabad)
- Veda and Music (Vidushi Dr.V.B. Arathi, Bengaluru)
- Veda and Yoga (Dr. Ramachandra Bhat Kotemane, Bengaluru)
Veda and Samskaras
- Vaidika Yajnas (Sri Keshava Avadhani, Mathoor)
- Vaidika Shodasha Samskaras (Sri. S.N. Vijayaraghavachar, Bengaluru)
- Garbhadana Samskara (Vid. Shripad M.S., Kumta)
- Agnihotra Paricaya (Vid. Venkatesha Avadhani, Mattoor)
- Jātakarma in Modern Context (Dr. Srikant K.Y. and Dr. JSRA Prasad, Dept. of Sanskrit, Univ.of Hyderabad)
- Dharmashastra – A Vedic Upanga (Vid. Guruprasada, Mysore)
- Nirukta in Krishna Yajur Veda (Vid. N.S. Suresh, Mysore)
- Arsheya Method of Learning Vedas (Dr. P. Ramanujan, Associate Director (IHLC), C-DAC)
- Veda Vaibhava & Vedangas (Prof. V. Kannan, Ex Pro-VC, Univ. of Hyderabad, Hyderabad)
- Vedanga Siksha (Vid. Ghanapāṭhī Krishna Bhat, Haridwar)
- Vedanga Jyautisha (Dr. S. Balachandra Rao, Hon. Director, Gandhi Centre, BVB, Bengaluru)
- Vedic Grammatical Tradition (Prof. Korada Subrahmanyam, CALTS, Univ. of Hyderabad)
- Vedanga Vyakarana (Sri. Ghanapathi Vamshi Krishna, Mysore)
- Vedanga Kalpa (Sri. Ashwatthanarayana Avadhani, Mathoor)
- Vedanga Chandas (Prof. Sadasiva Murti Rani, Associate Professor, RSVP, Tirupati)
- Vedanga Nirukta (Prof. R. Devanathan, Vice-chancellor, JRRSU, Jaipur)
Interpretation of Vedas
- Vedartha Sangraha of Sri Ramanuja (Sri A.N. Narasimhan, Bengaluru)
- Advaita Darshana of Veda Pramanya (Dr. Ganesh Ishwar Bhat, Shringeri)
- Dvaita View of Vedas (Dr. A.V. Nagasampige, Bengaluru)
- Vedic Symbolism (Prof. K.S. Kannan, Director, Karnataka Samskrit University, Bengaluru)
- Symbolism of Yajna and Devata (Dr. Jayanthi Manohar, Bengaluru)
- Veda-Bhashya of Shāyana (Prof. S.T. Nagaraj , Somapura)
- Veda-Bhashya of Dayananda (Sri. V.V. Venkatesh, Bengaluru)
- Traditional Interpretation of Vedas (Dr. Sudip Haldar)
- Vedārtha- Nirnāyaka-Brahma-Sūtrāni (Vid. Vijayasimha, Bengaluru)
- Comparison of Veda Bhāshyas (Dr. Sowrirajan, Srirangam)
- Krishna Yajur Veda Bhashya (Sri Dayanathan, Tirupati)
- Vedas through the Creative Eyes of Poets (Dr. R. Shankar, Research Scholar, NIAS)
The event also included sessions for Vedic recitation, musical rendtions (bhajans) and dance performances based on Vedic texts, a lecture demonstration of Natya Veda by Smt. Padmaja Suresh, demonstration of mudras by the Vedic scholars of Kerala and film shows on the Vedas (Veda Nada of Avadhoota Datta Peetha, Oral Tradition of Vedas directed by Sri. R. Bharathadri and Hosa Belaku by Sri. Sudhakara Sharma)
Eminent personalities were invited as guests on each of these days to present their views on what Vedas means to them.
- Rev. Prof. J.Chellappa Packiaraj, Visiting Faculty, United Theological College, Bangalore
- Dr. R .L. K ashyap, Director, SAKSHI, Bengaluru
- Prof. Girish B. Jani, Additional Director, Bhavan’s Mungalal Goenka Institute of Post Graduate Studies & Research, Mumbai
- Justice M.N. Venkatachalaiah, Former Chief Justice of India
- Dr. Satyavrat Shastri, Scholar, Academician & Poet, New Delhi
- Justice Dr. M. Rama Jois, MP, Former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana, Former Governor of Bihar & Jharkhand
- Prof. Yejazuddin, Noted Scholar, Bengaluru
- Dr. Chiranjeev Singh, IAS (Retd.), Former Ambassador of India to UNESCO
In the Valedictory Programme conducted on July 28, 2013 the following Vedic scholars were honoured.
- Vedabrahma Sri Dhali Lakshminarasimha Bhatta
- Vedabrahma Sri Sheshanna Shrauti
- Vedabrahma Sri N.S.Janardanacharya
- Vedabrahma Dr. R.L.Kashyap
- Vedabrahma Sri Ashwatthanarayana Avadhani
- Vedabrahma Dr. P. Ramanujan
His Holiness Swami Harshanandaji Maharaj, President, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Bengaluru graced the occasion and praised the effort of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and ISKCON in preserving and spreading the the sanatana dharma and its culture all over the world.
Prof. Mallepuram G. Venkatesh, Vice Chancellor, Karnataka Sanskrit University, Bengaluru, delivered the Valedictory Address and called upon all the scholars and leaders assembled in the conference to establish a consortium center for Vedic studies which will act as a nodal agency for all Vedic institutions and research centers.