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Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, Saint Olaf College


Dr. Anantanand Rambachan Professor of Religion, Philosophy and Asian Studies at Saint Olaf College, Minnesota, USA, where he has been teaching since 1985.

He received his Ph.D and M.A. (Distinction) degrees from the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Leeds, in the United Kingdom. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine,Trinidad. Prof. Rambachan has been involved in the field of interreligious relations and dialogue for over twenty-five years, as a Hindu participant and analyst. He has contributed to numerous consultations and discussions convened by national and international organizations concerned with interreligious issues. He is very active in the dialogue programs of the World Council of Churches, and was a Hindu guest and participant in the last four General Assemblies of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver, Canada, Canberra, Australia, Harare, Zimbabwe and Puerto Alegre, Brazil He is also a regular participant in the consultations of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican and an educator on interfaith issues in Minnesota.


To demonstrate the commonalities of the Advaita Philosophy with the United Nations Development Goals, and give suggestions of how there can be mutual support.

Discussion Points of the Talk

Bhagavad Gita commends the idea of the universal common good. In Sanskrit ‘Lokah sangraha’ of all the actions that we undertake this must be at the center of our concerns. Lokaha means “all existence”, it is not anthropocentric. One who is concerned about the Universal common good values all life. So it includes all life, and all dimensions of life. They cannot compartmentalize life. (Dualists between public, private, religious and secular) SDG are our most recent consensus about what this common good means. It is the unpacking of the meaning of Lokaha Sangraha. Hinduism and Advaitist must assume responsibility and do joint partnerships to realize these goals. Shloka for world peace and universal well being was discussed.

ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः

सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।

सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु

मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

May all be happy

May all be free from disease

May all know that which is good

May no one suffer

Om peace peace peace

Rambachan ji mentioned this is not simply an oral recitation but is an obligation. We cannot stop at merely wishing that all beings be free from suffering, we have also to inquire into the sources of human suffering. And to think and to formulate policies that aim to overcome these basic causes. There is no long-term freedom from suffering without sustainable development, as is articulated in the SDGs. He felt the challenge is not that we do not have the resources for implementing the SDGs, they are there, natural and human, what is lacking is the will to do it. That is why he believes this topic is so important, what our religious traditions can bring in a very special way is the moral commitment, the moral resources that inspire us to work for achievement of these SDG goals. It is a religious obligation. The Advaita tradition provides deep moral resources and justification for SDG. Discussion also included four fundamental goals of Hindu life, challenges with Advaita, alternative ways of looking at all the issues. More details can be found in the recorded session present in this post.
No. of participants- 44

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