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February 19, 2011
School of Engineering, Amritapuri
Vedic literature, said to be the oldest written body of knowledge known to man, was compiled by sages and seers; their epic tales meant to guide and regulate the populace in social, legal, domestic and religious customs.
Veda derives from the root word Vid, meaning knowledge, wisdom or vision.
Sharing their knowledge, wisdom and vision, Amritapuri faculty including Dr. Ramanathan, Sri. A. Sriram and Ms. Indu, recently spoke at a national seminar titled Glimpses of Vedic Vision in Indian Writing.
Distinguished research scholars and professors from Sanskrit universities and Vedic research centers, gathered in Perumbavoor, Cochin at Sree Sankara Vidyapeetham for the seminar.
All three Amrita participants teach in the School of Engineering. Two viz. Sri. Sriram and Ms. Indu are currently also registered as part-time Ph.D scholars in the Department of English. Their theses will elucidate several aspects of India’s rich spiritual heritage.
Drawing from her doctoral work, Ms. Indu discussed Sri Aurobindo’s book, Hymns to the Mystic Fire at the seminar.
“The central theme of Aurobindo’s poetic vision is the evolution of human life into divine life,” she observed. “According to him, poetry rises from the soul of the seer.”
Adding that a poet is described in the Vedas as kavayah satya srutah, or hearer of Truth, she quoted Sri Aurobindo.
“One must listen to one’s innermost voice, the voice of the soul. A new future for poetry is possible only when man is freed from the shackles of materialism and lives an inward life.”
In his session, Sri. Sriram presented the message of the Katha Upanishad, narrating the dramatic encounter between Nachiketas, a young seeker of Truth and Yama, the Lord of Death.
He also discussed the Katha Upanishad from the perspective of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi’s life and teachings.
Finally Dr. Ramanathan explored the Vedic concept of education. Emphasizing the need for proper education, he compared contemporary practices with the ancient Gurukula Vaasa system.
“Gurukula Vaasa conceived by our seers, helped devout students mature as duty-conscious adults capable of discriminative thinking,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of discrimination in the modern world, Dr. Ramananthan also examined the erosion of values in our present educational system and suggested solutions to this growing problem.
He quoted Swami Vivekananda and Mata Amritanandamayi to illustrate the necessity to emulate only the best characteristics from the western culture.
“One should not blindly imitate the West, but rather retain their good aspects without losing the cultural values one owns,” he emphasized.
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