Pathway to Excellence: The High Mission of Amrita University
September 17, 2009
Br. Abhyamrita Chaitanya addressed Amritapuri faculty and staff this past Tuesday. “Our Pro-Chancellor has kindly agreed to spend some time and share with us his vision about our university and the task ahead for all of us together, as stakeholders, who are destined to shape it,” stated Br. Sudeep, Director of Amritapuri campus, in the invitation email that went out to all.
Swamiji began his talk by recalling that a prominent academician, after visiting the campus had remarked that Amrita University’s mission was very lofty, but he doubted whether it was possible to attain to that high ideal. As Swamiji proceeded to explain various facets, he clearly outlined his belief that not only was it possible to attain to the university’s high mission, but that faculty and staff should all aspire to fulfill that vision.
“Is the university religious?” he asked a rhetorical question to the audience. “Must the faculty and staff be close devotees of Chancellor Amma? Must they be spiritually oriented?” Swamiji encouraged everyone to make an effort to understand Amma and the activities of the M.A. Math (Amrita University is managed by the Math) through direct interaction with Amma. “By observing Amma and interacting with her personally, it is possible to develop one’s own unique relationship with Amma,” he told the gathered audience.
Swamiji spoke about his own experiences of observing how, as one comes for darshan to Amma, her demeanor changes to reflect the state of that person, sad or joyous. “While some people feel Amma has worked miracles in their lives, restoring health or a business, for example, the most important thing to notice is the transformation that takes place inside,” he said. “It is not necessary to view Amma as a guru — one could see her as the Chancellor or as a world-renowned humanitarian leader — but it is essential to understand that Amma is the driving force behind Amrita University, and that is what makes it so unique.”
To provide value-based education and mould the character of the younger generation
through a system of wholesome learning, so that their earnest endeavor to achieve progress and prosperity in life is matched by an ardent desire to extend selfless service to society,
one complementing the other.
Swamiji emphasized that Amrita University was not a teaching shop. “Real teaching requires open minds and a commitment to making a positive contribution to society’s future,” he said. Referring to the issue of global warming, he noted that over the past two hundred years, developed countries had used up the world’s resources, inflicting major damage, but were now more willing to curb their habits in the face of impending disaster. “It is clear that western models are not solving the great problems now facing the world and universities in countries like India must help bring forth the needed solutions,” he reiterated.
“Value systems generate cultures and it is necessary for faculty and staff to avoid negativity, cynicism and lethargy and become committed to hard work and punctuality, vigorous research, clarity of thought, cultural rejuvenation and excellence,” he noted finally. “To address existing problems in our culture such as corruption, it is essential to instill firm values and foster inner strength in society’s stakeholders, especially those who will be making the decisions in the future. These are the values that are so essential to the vision and mission of Amrita University.”