Early March witnessed a unique event at Veliyanad from 26th February to 6th March 2007 —a week long programme, 'The Sankarabhashya Parayananjali', conducted by CIF. On February 25, Pujya Swami Brahmananda, Trustee of the Central Chinmaya Mission Trust and Regional Head of Chinmaya Mission Karnataka inaugurated the august event. Participating in this glorious event were Pujya Swami Medhanandapuri, Acharya and Treasurer of Kailasa Ashram, Rishikesh and Swami Pujya Vishnuthirtha, Acharya of Uttarakashi, who led the delegation of sadhus. Pujya Swami Brahmananda blessed the enthusiastic and learned sadhus in their efforts to perpetuate the hallowed memory of the great Adi Sankaracharya by making his works known and read, by more and more people all over the country. Swami Advayananda extended a warm and respectful welcome to the sadhus.
The next nine days, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. the holy vibrations of the bhashyaparayana resounded all over the neighborhood, purifying the whole place. The very presence of the Mahatmas created an aura of sanctity and divinity that defies description. In the evenings, scholars from among the sadhus as well as from the various Mathas in Kerala explained briefly portions of the Upanishhads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahmasatra that were chanted in each day's parayana. The lectures were in Sanskrit, Hindi, Malayalam and English. Pujya Swami Viviktananda, Regional Head of Chinmaya Mission Kerala presided over the valedictory function. CIF honoured all the Sadhus, Sannyasins and Mahatmas with vastra, dakshina and obeisance in the traditional manner.
The distinguished delegates reiterated that the joy experienced that week in the campus should be repeated by conducting such programmes often and in various parts of the country. Dr. K. H. Subramanian proposed the vote of thanks.
Sri Sankara Jayanti
Sri Sankaracharya Jayanti is special for CIF housed as it is within the portals of the very birth home of Adi Sankara. In the sacred room where Sri Sankara was born, pujas were offered in the morning. Later there were recitations of Totakashatakam and the compositions of Adi Sankara like Kanakadhara-stotra and Minakshi-pancharatna by the residents of CIF. A small lecture on the contemporary relevance of Sri Sankara was offered by Dr. K.H. Subramanian. During the afternoon a cultural get together was arranged at Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Tripunithura, in collaboration with the local wing of Chinmaya Mission. Smt. Shantha Balakrishnan, Chief Sevak, CIF, inaugurated the function by lighting the lamp. Dr. P.V. Ramankutty, Chief Editor of Panchangam publications, Kanippayur, Thrissur (Dist.), gave a talk on the Philosophy of Sri Sankara.
Sanskrit Day Celebrations
In the spirit of Sanskrit Day Celebrations 2007, various competitions were held at CIF on 22nd and 23rd September, 2007. Around 130 school and college students from South India participated in the Elocution, Recitation, Quiz and Essay Writing competitions.
Dr. K. G. Paulose, Honorable Vice-Chancellor of Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University inaugurated the two day celebrations. Sri. P. A. Pasupathynathan, a traditional Sanskrit scholar and teacher from Palakkad was honored at the valedictory function. The winners of the various competitions received cash awards, mementos, books and certificates from Sri. P. A. Pasupathynathan. Dr. K. H. Subramanian coordinated the entire event.
Inauguration of Project Anusaaraka
On 28th September 2007, Pujya Swami Tejomayananda, Head of the Chinmaya Mission, inaugurated the research project 'Anusaaraka' in the Saraswati Nilayam, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Hyderabad. Anusaaraka, a Natural Language Processing (NLP) project, is a collaborative effort of Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF), Veliyanad, along with International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H), Hyderabad, and Central University of Hyderabad(UoH), Duly facilitated by Chinmaya Seva Trust, Hyderabad. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Dr. Srinivas, on behalf of IIIT-H and Dr. Narasimhulu, Registrar, UoH and Dr. K. H. Subramanian, Director, CIF, in the presence of Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda. Also gracing the occasion were Swami Chidatmananda, Acharya, Chinmaya Mission, Hyderabad, and Swami Advayananda, Acharya, CIF.
Advaita in the Classics
A ten-day residential workshop (in English) on 'Advaita in the Classics' was conducted at CIF with the financial support from Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), New Delhi. Forty-five participants from all over India attended the workshop.
The workshop was inaugurated by Sri. A. P. M. Muhammed Hanish (IAS) District Collector, Ernakulam, while the keynote address was given by Dr. K. Neelakantan Elayath, Honorary Professor, Adyar Library and Research Institute, Chennai. Key speakers on this occasion were Prof. R. Balasubramanian, formerly Chairman, ICPR, Dr. Godabarisha Mishra, Member Secretary, ICPR, and Dr. Goda Venkateswara Shastri, traditional Sanskrit scholar, Chennai.
The aim of the course was to acquaint the participants with the fundamentals of Advaita Vedanta thorough the study of Drg-drsya-viveka, Upadesa-sahasri and Sharirakasutrabhashya of Adi Sankara. The genesis for a course like this has been periodic requests from students and teachers for a structured induction into the tenets of Advaita as many had acquired a secondary knowledge of Vedanta through translated works and articles. CIF plans to conduct more of these in the coming years.
Westminster and Garrett Colleges come to Veliyanad
Forty students from Westminster College, Utah, U.S.A. visited CIF as part of an educational tour of India, in a bid to know Indian culture and philosophy. Swami Advayananda took them on a structured route through a variety of talks, starting with 'Fundamentals of Hinduism'.
Two key topics that are cause for great intrigue among western audiences are karma and reincarnation. Swami Advayananda's lecture dealt with the basic concepts of Hindu philosophy: (1) The law of karma as a natural consequence of the law of cause and effect (2) The approach of many means to the one Reality and (3) The concept of incarnation.
Later in the day Dr. K. H. Subramanian, gave a talk on 'natya-shastra' – again a topic of great interest. In another talk, which he gave the next day, Swami Advayananda built upon the Hinduism lecture with a talk on 'Symbolism in Hinduism'.
Another eminent speaker was Advocate Govind K. Bharatan who spoke on 'The Hindu Temple – its meaning, significance and rituals'. Bharatan showed the spellbound students how a temple is verily analogous to the individual's body both in structure and composition (the seated posture forming the base, the 'gopuram' being the head, the heart the sanctum sanctorum…) and how worship and meditation help establish one's identity with the Reality.
No workshop on Hinduism would be complete without a talk on 'Advaita Vedanta and Adi Sankara'. This rich treasure was unraveled to the Utah students by Swami Advayananda, followed by an intense question and answer session.
An eleven-member team of faculty and students took part in a three-day programme. The team was led by Dr. Stefen Herman, Professor of Philosophy, Garrett College, Maryland, USA. Discussions were held on topics such as Fundamentals of Indian Philosophy, Temple worship and Symbolism in Hinduism to name a few. It was indeed an eye-opener for the participants to be introduced to the vast and deep philosophical traditions of India.
Sulabha Sanskrutam - Advanced Level Residential Course
For the past two years Brahmachari Gagan Chaitanya, Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Nagapattinam, has been successfully conducting the seven-day Sulabha Sanskrutam Foundation Level residential course at CIF.
The Advanced Level of the Sulabha Sanskrutam Course, dealing with the topic of Sandhis based on Paninian grammar, was conducted by him in December 2007. Gagan Chaitanya as usual interspersed his classes with witty sayings and laughter. He had prepared the course material specially for this course based on Bhagavad Gita, Srimad-bhagavata and Ramayana. 10 participants attended the Advanced level course and certificates were issued to them.
New Publications launched
Holy Gita Ready Reference (New Edition)
Launched: 7th October, 2007
Sri Rama Jatakam - Work on Jyotisha
Released: 7th October, 2007
Sulabha Sanskrutam - Textbook and Workbook
Released: 24th November, 2007
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