I am thrilled with the level of the dialogue between the scholars at this conference. Each presentation is enhanced by the penetrating questions that they elicit. This is what makes these conferences so valuable… when there is a real and profound exchange.
Fairfield, IA (PRWEB) August 05, 2014
The World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) held their Eleventh Bi-Annual International Conference at the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa. This conference, held from July 31 to August 3, was co-sponsored and hosted by MUM and was co-chaired by Dr. Shashi Tiwari, Former Professor at the University of Delhi India, and Dr. Peter Scharf, President of The Sanskrit Library and visiting professor at the University of Hyderabad. The theme of this year’s conference was “Vedic Living in a Modern World.”
Since holding its first international conference in Atlanta in 1996, WAVES has attracted scholars from all regions of the world to its many conferences which have become renowned for featuring open discussions and scholarly presentations on topics pertaining to Vedas and Indology. Traditionally, scholars have presented talks on many topics, analyzing them from historical, linguistic, anthropological, gender, archeological, astronomical, philosophical, and other perspectives. Scholars traveled from many parts of the world, including Canada, India, and Holland, to participate and present at this conference.
Dr. Peter Scharf praised the conference’s mission, remarking that WAVES was able to bring “together a diverse group of people who share a profound respect for and love of the holistic knowledge and life-supporting culture of ancient India.”
The conference started with an invocation and Vedic chanting. Over a period of four days, WAVES and MUM hosted over a hundred scholarly presentations, covering research presentations, panel discussions, plenary talks, and performances of Vedic arts.
Renowned independent scholar and author, Rajiv Malhotra, delivered a stirring keynote address on the non-negotiable requirements for the practice of Dharma and the dangers of taking shortcuts or making substitutions of sacred concepts in the quest to adapt Dharma to different cultures and ages. This address resonated deeply with the audience as he urged the followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to preserve the integrity of Maharishi’s teachings and practices.
Dr. Shashi Tiwari discussed ‘synthesis’ as the governing principle of the Vedic living, and highlighted the Vedic ideal that knowledge and action be coordinated, because neither alone is sufficient for attainment of the ultimate goal, moksha.
Dr. John Hagelin, a physicist at MUM and the President of Global Union of Scientists for Peace, presented a paper on relations of human brain physiology to the unified field theory of physics, drawing heavily from the Vedic concept of Samadhi.
In his plenary talk on “Re-orienting Orientalism,” Dr. Scharf explored new forms of insidious orientalism in subaltern studies and other forms of recent scholarship.
Dr. P.C. Muraleemadhavan, from the University of Sanskrit in Kerala, India, posited that a well-known saying from the Upanishads (tattvamasi, or you are that) plays an ethical role in promoting harmony in society.
One panel discussion in particular regarding Vedic perspectives on the societal impact of changing attitudes towards women’s issues drew significant excitement, as well as a spirited discussion and debate.
Overall, scholars raised broad concerns about unsettling issues of climate, health, and social harmony in an increasingly interconnected world. There was a general optimism that Vedic values offer practical long-term solutions to these global issues.
In the conference, there was also significant youth participation. College students Eshan and Arnav Kejriwal delivered a presentation analyzing and comparing the atman of Hinduism to the soul and spirit of the Abrahamic religions. The audience was deeply impressed by the depth of their research, and many expressed their excitement in learning from young presenters. In addition, middle school students Sai Keerthana and Sai Saketh Cherukuri delivered a presentation on the relationship between E=MC2 and the Ganapati Atharvasirsa.
Dr. Candace Badgett, Chairman of the Global Mother Divine Organization and owner of The Raj AyurVeda Resort, commented, “I am thrilled with the level of the dialogue between the scholars at this conference. Each presentation is enhanced by the penetrating questions that they elicit. This is what makes these conferences so valuable … when there is a real and profound exchange of insights."
Dr. Tiwari thought that this year’s theme was well-received, commenting that the “conference was well-arranged with great scholars of different disciplines centering their thoughts on Vedic learning, living, and philosophy. They were discussing modern concepts in the light of ancient Vedic wisdom.”
Dr. Girish Nath Jha, from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, and Dr. Vamshi Krishna Ghanapathi of SGS Ashrama in Mysore, India, provided an encouraging review of the increasing access to digitized manuscripts and Sanskrit texts both online and through smart phone applications, allowing scholars and the public to access the ancient Vedic knowledge directly through modern technology.
Overall, the success of the Eleventh Bi-Annual WAVES Conference highlights the growing recognition of Vedic knowledge in the Western world, as well as its broad contributions to modern living.