1. National Seminar on ‘Concept of ‘Shakti’ according to the different systems of Indian philosophy’

The above mentioned seminar was held at the seminar hall of the Vivekananda Institute for leadership development (VILD), Hebbal, Ring Road, Mysore on 31-12-2011 and 1-1-2012. The Inaugural programme was held at 10.30 AM on 31-12-2011. Prof ES Dwarakadasa, Retd Prof of Metallurgy inaugurated the Seminar by lighting the ceremonial lamp even as Vedic hymns were chanted. He then gave his inaugural address wherein he gave the scientific exposition of the concept of ‘shakti’ and also explained how the concept was useful in technological applications across various spheres. Prof M A Laskhmithathachar, President, Samskriti Foundation who presided over the Inaugural function, spoke about the need for such meetings to improve the standard of knowledge of the different systems of Indian Philosophy and urged the assembled scholars to spread the knowledge of these philosophical systems and also help in grooming scholars of the future generations to preserve the Indian knowledge systems.

Later, as part of the deliberations of the Seminar, Academic sessions were held wherein stalwart scholars in the respective systems of Indian Philosophy and modern science presented papers, which was followed by lively discussions.

The Valedictory session was held in the afternoon of the second day of the seminar. Vid. Umakanth Bhat gave the valedictory address and stressed upon the need for having such seminars very frequently where the nuances of the different philosophical concepts are discussed threadbare. He also called for the revival of the ancient system of debate as mentioned in the Nyaya Sutras of Maharishi Gautama. Prof M A Lakshmithathachar who chaired the Valedictory session gave a very emotional discourse remembering the scholarship of the days of yore and also the teaching methodologies employed by different traditional scholars while teaching the philosophical texts. He lamented that though India itself had a treasure of knowledge about the philosophy of education, the same was almost unknown to scholars and laymen alike and rued that the persons studying about the philosophy of education today were studying only the views of western scholars.

Many scholars from Mysore, different parts of Karnataka and India attended the seminar. Pure and tasty food arrangements were made apart from providing very neat and decent accommodation for the participants. Positive feedback was received from all the participants. Overall, it was acknowledged as a successful programme in achieving the desired results. Active cooperation was provided by Vivekananda Institute of Leadership Development (VILD), Mysore in organizing the same.

2. NMM Seminar

Samskriti Foundation organized a National Seminar on “Application of Information Technology for conservation, editing and publication of Manuscripts” on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of January 2013, at Multivision Theatre, ISKCON, Harekrishna Hill, Rajajinagar, Bangalore, with support from the National Mission for Manuscripts, IGNCA, Govt. of India,

The current seminar was aimed at developing a comprehensive plan for the application of Information Technology for the preservation, propagation, deciphering and ultimately publication of all the manuscripts available in the country and successful in assembling experts in information technology and manuscriptology. After due deliberations, it evolved a comprehensive strategy for the application of Information Technology for each of the aspects concerning preservation, propagation, deciphering and ultimately publication of manuscripts.

Thus, it was most useful to students, scholars, researchers and all other persons working in the field of manuscripts.

The Inaugural function of the seminar was held at 10.30 AM on Sunday, the 20th of January 2013. Dr. V Prakash, former Director and distinguished Scientist of CSIR-India inaugurated the seminar. Sri Stoka Krishna Dasa of ISKCON, Bangalore was the Chief Guest. Dr. S Sadagopan, Director, Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore delivered the key-note address. Prof ES Dwarakadasa, former Professor of Indian Institute of Science and Trustee of the Samskriti Foundation  presided over the inaugural function.

His Excellency Dr H R Bharadwaj, Honorable Governor of Karnataka will delivered the Valedictory address at the Valedictory function that was held at 5.30 PM on Tuesday, 22nd  January.

Over 50 Delegates comprising noted Sanskrit Scholars and IT Experts attended the three day Seminar, presented papers on various aspects associated with the main topic of the Seminar, and deliberated on issues of concern. At least a hundred visitors attended the Seminar. The Papers are listed in the attached Annexure.

Two outstanding scholar-manuscriptologists, Dr. SY Wakankar and Dr P.Ramanujan were felicitated by the Governor on behalf of Samskriti Foundation, on this memorable occasion.

 3. Book release of Kannada version of the Valmiki Ramayana

SF has undertaken a project to bring out a series of publications of the Kannada version of the Valmiki Ramayana (authored by the great scholar-poet Sri Devashikhamani Alasingaracharya), with financial support from ESP Das Foundation, USA. Under this project, 5 volumes of the above book were published. A grand function was organized to release the books at the majestic auditorium of the Jagan Mohan Palace in Mysore. The function was presided over by HH Sri Sri Vishvesha Teertha Sreepada Swamiji, the pontiff of the Pejawar Adhiokshaja Mutt, Udupi, who is also an outstanding scholar in Sanskrit and the Sastras. Dr. Pradhan Gurudutt, Director of Kuvempu Bhasha Bharati was the chief speaker on the occasion. Dr. E S Dwarakadasa, Trustee of the Foundation presided over the function. Prof M.A.Lakshmitha-thachar, President of the Foundation spoke on the occasion and explained the salient features of the Publication and also about the SF. Prof M N Venkatachalaiah, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India was the Chief Guest of the function. All the dignitaries lauded the efforts of the SF in bringing out such a series of publications.

The crowning glory of the programme was a dance drama on the Ramayana by the world famous Drama troupe called ‘Prabhat Kalavidaru’ of Bangalore.

More than a thousand people attended the function which was very well covered in various newspapers and TV channels. Food in the form of ‘prasadam’ was offered to all the members of the audience by the Visvakshema Trust, Srirangapatna, Mysore.

4. National Sanskrit Festival

A Three-Day National Sanskrit Festival  to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya was held at Bangalore from 18 to 20 Oct 13 at the Mutli-Media Theatre of ISKCON.  Sponsored by the Dept of Culture, Govt of India, this event was organized by Samskriti Foundation of Mysore and co-hosted by ISKCON, Bangalore.  The well-attended Festival was a rare treat for lovers of Sanskrit as the proceedings were almost entirely conducted in conducted in Sanskrit in relatively simple, intelligible, conversational, as well as literary language levels according to the programmes on hand.  All programmes were telecast live on the Web at www.intlarts.com.and would  be available for viewing again for some time.

The Festival began on 18th Oct 2013 with the Inaugural Ceremony.  The distinguished persons present on the dais  were: Dr V.V. Bhat IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary to GOI, Member (Finance) Atomic Energy & Earth Commissions who did the Inauguration;  Dr G.G. Gangadharan, Medical Director, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Bangalore, who was the Chief Guest;   Sri Amitsana Dasa, Vice President, ISKCON, Bangalore who was the Guest of Honour;  Mallepuram G. Venkatesh Vice Chancellor, Karnataka Sanskrit University who was the President; and Prof. M.A. Lakshmithathacarya, President Samskriti Foundation Mysore.

All the dignitaries who participated in the festival advised an action plan for Sanskrit as follows:-

  • Use of the electronic media without hesitation for search and research, dissemination, networking of scholars, technocrats, lovers of Sanskrit, and other interested people.
  • Setting up of a Virtual University with unrestricted admission and participation.
  • Compilation of major Sanskrit works with bh¡va anuv¡da. He gave the example of the Vedas published by the Rajasthan Patrik¡.  He stressed that individuals can often do what institutions cannot.
  • Publishing the proceedings of all Seminars, Discussions, Lectures, Conferences, Goshtis and the like on the Web for the widest possible dissemination, feedback, and follow-up discussions.
  • The compilation of index of the titles of all Sanskrit based Indian Knowledge Systems.
  • Investigation into Indian achievements based on Indian Knowledge Systems.
  • The facilitation of collaboration and cooperation between individuals, private organizations, and governmental agencies.

The consensus was that the vast potential had been barely tapped and that Sanskrit had so much more to offer in terms of technological applications in our times.

A memorable feature of the closing ceremonies was the participation of  Dr Jayant Kumar Sharma, the Great Grandson of Pandit Madan Mohan Malvyiya, which provided a living emotional and historical link with the life and times of the great Educationist & Promoter of Sanskrit and Indian Culture.  Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sharma, and other eminent personalities such as Sri B.S. Rao Prasad, Sri R Subbakrishna, and Dr E.S. Dwarkadas praised the sustained efforts of Samskriti Foundation under the leadership of Prof. M.A Lakshmithathacarya Swami and Dr M.A. Alwar in the cause of Sanskrit and urged the networking of such institutions at the national and, if possible, global levels.  They urged the Samskriti Foundation to consider setting up a virtual University for Sanskrit with unrestricted admission to all lovers of this great and noble language of the Gods.

Throughout the proceedings, on all the three days, the air was surcharged with the power and charm of a living, vibrant Sanskrit.  In the end,   everyone who attended the Festival, ranging from scholars to technocrats, to administrators and men and women from other walks of life bound by a common love for Sanskrit, went home happy and motivated to do something for this ancient language.

5. Inauguration of Virtual Academy of Ancient Knowledge systems (VAAK)

As mentioned above, during the National Sanskrit Festival held at Bangalore, many eminent scholars and participants expressed the need to establish a ‘Virtual Academy’ having a global access that would promote building improved awareness about our ancient knowledge systems. Such an Academy would also undertake research and provide opportunity for studies on Ancient Indian Knowledge systems and would work towards bridging the ancient and modern knowledge systems, to provide best of both the worlds. Further,  they also felt that Samskriti Foundation should take the lead in creating such an academy, as it has been involved in similar activities for over a decade now.

Responding to this desire expressed by many, Samskriti Foundation has now embarked on an ambitious project of starting a Virtual Academy of Ancient Knowledge (VAAK) which will be devoted to promoting greater awareness about our ancient knowledge systems, involve itself in research in this area and will also offer opportunity for those interested to study about our ancient knowledge systems through academic courses conducted by it.

The Inaugural ceremony of the Virtual Academy of Ancient Knowledge systems (VAAK) was held in the morning of 2nd February 2014 at the auditorium of Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre (IVAC), Mysore.

On the dais (from right) are:  Swami Lakshmithathachar, Dr. M.A.R.Iyengar, Dr. Talavane Krishna and M.A.N.Prasad.

Dr. M.A.R.Iyengar, former senior scientist of the Bhabha Atomic Energy Commission, who is also well versed in traditional knowledge, formally inaugurated and launched the organization by lighting the lamp. Addressing the gathering after the inauguration, he exhorted the knowledge community to unearth the knowledge available in traditional texts and make them application oriented. Sri M.A.N. Prasad, Administrative Secretary of VAAK, addressed the gathering and explained about the activities VAAK was planning to embark upon and its current relevance.

Dr. M.A. Alwar made a presentation on the work done by Samskriti Foundation which covers soft wares for teaching ancient scripts & Vedic texts, designing soft wares for cataloguing and other functions in the field of preserving and interpreting ancient manuscripts on Science and Technology. He mentioned that with such a background, Samskriti Foundation was ideally suited for launching the VAAK.

Prof. M.A.Lakshmithathachar, President of Samskriti Foundation and founder of VAAK  spoke about the abundant amount of traditional knowledge in our ancient texts that awaited new interpretation and application in the current scientific scenario and explained how traditional knowledge could help in solving pressing problems in various spheres of human life, with vibrant examples.

Dr. T. Krishna – an eminent modern physician, an expert in Ayurveda, and is the chief of the IVAC, where the event was held – presided over the inaugural function. In his presidential address he appreciated the efforts that have gone into the visualizing of this ‘Virtual Academy’, which he felt was the need of the hour, as it transcended all boundaries.

A few learned members of the audience also spoke and pledged their whole-hearted support for such an endeavor.

The function concluded with a Vedic Benediction followed by lunch for all the participants.