Throwing light on the intellectual legacy of ancient India, a three-day national seminar on “Texts and Manuscripts of Vedic Corpus: Sources of Indian Knowledge Traditions” was conducted at the Mysuru campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham by Amrita Darshanam – International Centre for Spiritual Studies between 9th and 11th February, 2019. More than twenty scholars of national and international repute took part in this seminar held in association with South Zone Cultural Centre (SZCC) Thanjavur, Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
The academic sessions were inaugurated in the graceful presence of Brahmachari Sunil Dharmapal, Director, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Mysuru campus; Brahmachari Venugopal, Correspondent and Prof. Vidya Pai C., Principal of School of Arts and Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Mysuru campus. During the inauguration, Prof. Vidya underlined the unique role played by Amrita institutions in propagating Vedic knowledge and values through its cultural education courses, which are meant for students of all disciplines in the university. Prof. Vidya also highlighted the need for inculcating Vedic teachings in daily life and lauded the event as a thought-provoking, awareness-building programme in this direction.
Prof. Vidya’s speech was followed by a keynote address by Dr. Krishna Murthy Shastri. In the next session, Dr. Vigneshwar Bhat, Assistant Professor, Amrita Darshanam, Mysuru Campus, demonstrated the concept of Vedic karmakanda through a full-fledged Navagraha Yajna. Explanations for each of the rituals being practiced were also simultaneously provided through Vedic chanting by Dr. Vishwanath M. V., Dr. Shrikrishna Bhat and Vidvan Sharath Bhat. During the paper presentation sessions in the afternoon, Dr. T. Ganesan talked about the relationship of Agama and Tantra vis-à-vis the Vedas, and Dr. Krishna Murthy Shastri spoke eloquently on the Vedas and the Purva Mimamsa school of Indian philosophy.
On the second day, the academic sessions began with a paper presentation on Nirukta, which is one of the six Vedanga-s by Dr. K. P. Sreedevi. After this enlightening talk, Dr. C. M. Neelakandhan spoke in depth about the possibilities of conducting research into Vedic texts with a modern interdisciplinary approach. This insightful pedagogical session was followed by a paper presentation by Dr. Nirmala Kulkarni on ‘Shiksha Texts of the Vedanga Corpus’. The second day of the academic sessions was concluded with a presentation by Dr. Shilpa Sumant on the wedding rituals according to the ‘Paippalada’ tradition, which is followed in India’s Eastern states, predominantly in Orissa and Jharkhand. After the sessions were over, there was a host of rich, colourful cultural performances by the artists of SZCC, Thanjavur.
Featuring folk dance performances representing the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu (Karagam and Kavadi), Kerala (Chendamelam), Telengana (Mathuri Dance), Puducherry (Thappattam) and Andhra Pradesh (Dhimsa and Garagalu), the performers kept the audience awestruck for two hours by their mesmerising beats and acrobatic moves at the Amriteshwari Auditorium, Mysuru campus.
The final day of the seminar began with an academic session where Mr. Kanippayyur Krishnan Namboothiripad offered his insights into Sthapatya Veda, the architectural knowledge tradition of the Vedic corpus. A session on Gandharva Veda, which deals with music, dance and drama by Dr. Vinaya Kshirsagar followed this. Two enlightening sessions in the third day caught the attention of everyone in the audience- they were by eminent scholars Dr. M.A. Alwar and Dr. P. Ramanujan. While Dr. M.A. Alwar spoke eloquently on the ‘Samkhya and Yoga paths’ and how they are rooted in the Vedas, Dr. P. Ramanujan enlivened the audience with his wonderfully articulated exposition of ‘Svaravichara in the Vedas’. The post lunch session began with Dr. Nabanarayan Bandyopadhyay’s paper on ‘Veda Lakshana Texts and Their Importance in Vedic Studies with Authority’. Three academic papers followed and the afternoon session was concluded with a paper on ‘Humanistic Approach to the Vedas for Sustainable Development’ by Dr. R. Suresh. This brought an end to the academic sessions and the seminar was brought to a solemn conclusion through a valedictory session, felicitation of the scholars and a Vedic prayer.