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26/11 Unforgiven

26/11 Unforgiven: A Dedication to the Heroes of 26/11

Indic Academy’s Center for Indic Writers announces its first author showcase with the release of 26/11 Unforgiven by Lt. Col. Manish Jaitly. The book is a fictional story of an ordinary citizen who takes on the task to extract revenge from terrorist. The backdrop of the story is based on the 26/11 attack on innocent citizens of Mumbai which was a watershed event in the history of independent India. Indic Academy through its various City Chapters announces the launch of the book. The first launch will be held in the city of Mumbai on December 16th 2018. Other city launches will be announced later through its social media coverage.

About the Book: Ten terrorists from Pakistan managed to enter the city and opened fire on unsuspecting citizens indiscriminately killing more than 150 people and injuring hundreds of others. Vikrant Maheshwari, the main protagonist of the book, lost his wife and daughter while they were at the Taj Mahal Hotel that night along with him celebrating his wedding anniversary. While recuperating he learns the deep genesis of the Indo-Pak problem and the history behind it.

Vikrant awaits the government to give a befitting reply to the terror feeding nation. Sadly, the government decides against any military action and adopts the diplomacy route. The calls for revenge slowly turn into calls for justice. But with passage of time and National and International Geo-Politics at play justice too seemed to be elusive.

Vikrant was thankful that Ajmal Kasab had been caught alive and was sentenced to death. But Kasab was just a foot soldier. The planners of the attack were safe, to plan and execute another attack. To Vikrant’s horror, even as Kasab in India and David Headley, the Pakistani terrorist caught by the US, had admitted that Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba had carried out these attacks, some politicians from the ruling dispensation were trying to give a new twist wherein they tried to implicate RSS for the attacks. He had no idea why but it was clear to him that the government is unlikely to do anything to bring the real perpetrators to book. He also had no idea why they wanted to exonerate Pakistan. Vikrant had to extract his own revenge, somehow.

But it’s not going to be easy. He’s going to need help. Who helps him in this attempt? Will he survive this phase of his life? Will he be able to dodge the police who have come to know of his plans? And what happens to his company which he founded along with Asif? Read the book to find the answers.

Author Bio: RetdLt. Col. Manish Jaitly retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Indian Army after serving for more than 20 years in uniform. Most of his military service was in Jammu & Kashmir. During his service he saw action against Pakistan in Uri, Akhnoor and Gurez sectors, and in Kargil was he was deployed in Baramulla.  He retired from the army in Jan 2012. An alumuni of IIM Ahemdabad,  he worked in the corporate sector for a few years but then quit his job to pursue his passion for writing. His first book ‘OH MY GODS!’ was based on the famous JNU episode of 2016.  An avid reader and a fitness enthusiast, he currently lives in Gurgaon with his wife and two daughters.

 

Ramanujan Yatra Diaries

Day 1

Our Ramanujan Yatra group of 24 Yatris headed straight for the Ramanujan Museum in Chennai after a sumptuous lunch at Ananda Bhavanam in Adayar. The participants from Mumbai and Pune were shocked to see the quantity of boiled rice and the absence of chapati for lunch but enjoyed their full course Tamilian lunch. Our two traveler buses entered the teeny weeny lanes inside which the museum was located and we got down in front of the museum. The place where the museum is located doesn’t look very amazing, but do bees ever find honey outside the flower? The Director of the Ramanujan Museum, Mrs. Meena Suresh, started off the first session with the inspiring story of P.K.Srinivasan (fondly known as PKS), a very inspiring Math teacher who dedicated a major part of his life towards popularising the life and works of the great Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. It was PKS’ dream to start a museum with the same name. So with the available resources that he had at his disposal, which included his own house, he converted it into a museum. The ground floor is an auditorium where we had our session and upstairs was the museum.

PKS was immensely passionate about Ramanujan and he went around talking and writing to people right from the top officials to ordinary people. In his own words, ‘I got 99% appreciation and 1% action’. In short, no one offered any help for his idea of starting a Ramanujan museum. In the end, he along with some of his students went to Kumbakonam where Ramanujan was born and the students asked every person they met on the road if they knew anything about Ramanujan. After a lot of search, somebody told them that the address of the house where Ramanujan lived. Remember, this was the time before SASTRA University took took up the task of preserving Ramanujan’s house as a monument. It was PKS who found out the house (which now belonged to someone else) and finally the house is now preserved in the honour of Ramanujan.

Mrs. Meena Suresh, continued with a lot of stories about Ramanujan and PKS, and it was thrilling to listen to her because she had been associated with PKS herself (no wonder how she had the zeal in her). We continued our session on a brief sketch on the life of Ramanujan and ended with birthday magic squares. The participants then went to see the Math manipulatives that the Museum had (which also has a Math education centre in it) had and played with a lot of tools for working out algebraic identities (much more than what’s usually done in schools). The last part was the visit to the museum.

How do you express your feelings and emotions into a bunch of words? It was an inexpressible feeling for all of us to be in the room which displayed copies of the letters that Ramanujan wrote to Hardy and how Hardy responded with his nudging remarks (for the initial letters). Several Mathematical discoveries of Ramanujan were put on display. What was fascinating was that some of them were so simple and easy to understand even by a 10 year old. All of us were intrigued by the same question that baffles everyone when they think of Ramanujan – Where did all this come from? The more one reads about Ramanujan, the more is one left clueless and the feeling of being gazing into infinity creeps in.

Day 2

After an overnight journey from Chennai to Thanjavur, all of us settled down at the TTDC hotel. After a couple of hours of rest, we were all set to start our day in Thanjavur. A filling breakfast of Idli, Vada, Upma and Dosa, followed by a tasty filter coffee pumped all the energy into us and we left for Marabu Foundation run by Dr. Rama Kausalya in Thilaisthanam.

Marabu is an initiative to promotive and preserve old Carnatic musical compositions which are not very well known today. It is run by Dr. Kausalya, a 70-year old musicologist . She was kind enough to let us have our sessions in her 150 year old house in an ‘Agraharam’ (chain of housing by Tamil Brahmins in the past). All of us also had a great opportunity to meet her 94-year old very healthy and active mother, and her 99-year old teacher (who still does Yoga for 1.5 hours everyday).

Our sessions started with the first letter Ramanujan sent to Hardy where he starts with the famous words – I beg to introduce myself as a clerk from the Accounts department…., and then moves on to give his theorems. We started off with the famous claim made by Ramanujan that sum of all natural numbers is -1/12 and saw a couple of proofs why it can be true. The focus was also to read carefully the words that Ramanujan chooses in his letter where he writes – ‘…under my theory, this is true’ which prompts us to question whether what we have understood is the same thing that he refers to as ‘theory’. After some questioning and analysing, we moved on to the topic that might look scary – Nested Radicals. The participants loved the topic and ways to approach solving the nested radicals using simple identities like (a+b)^2. The last part of the session was to look at another research area of Ramanujan – Continued Fractions. It was also very interesting for students as it didn’t require any knowledge of higher level Mathematics.

After a sumptuous meal offered by Dr. Kausalya and some great interactions with her on the architectural aspects of these houses, we moved on for some sightseeing. Our travel partner, Rajith Nair from the Traveling Gecko, took us to what is believed to be a 2000-year old dam Kallanai or the Grand Anicut and explained the amazing history of the place. We then moved on to the palace in Thanjavur where we had the opportunity to meet one of the present members of the Thanjavur Maratha Royal family, who descend from a half-brother of Shivaji. At his palace, we saw how the artisans paint the beautiful Thanjavur paintings using real ‘Gold’ and how meticulous their work is. Our local guide Anirudh explained to us in great detail about the history of the place and how the king promoted art in those days. He apparently had an army of artists who always traveled with him.

The final halt was the famous Brihadeeshwara temple (also known as the Big temple) which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Anirudh took us around for more than an hour explaining about the history of various sculptures that walled the huge structure and also different theories of how the temple could have been possibly built 1000 years ago. The engineering feat of the gracious structure which has stood up against time left the pilgrims with awe and wonder.

All the 24 pilgrims of Ramanujan Yatra retired to the rooms with the beautiful images of the sculptures of the Big Temple and the amazing equations given by Ramanujan.

Day 3

For Muslims, it is the Mecca. For Christians, the Vatican. For us, today it was Kumbakonam. The 24 pilgrims of Ramanujan Yatra, today is a day that all of us will remember for the rest of our lifetime. We had the great fortune to be at the Town High School in Kumbakonam where the great Srinivasa Ramanujan studied. We got goosebumps as we set our foot on the holy ground. We were received with a lot of love by the Headmistress and the Mathematics teachers. Being Nov 14th, they had a cultural show by 6th and 7th graders which we were going to witness. But before that, they just announced that I will be hoisting the National Flag and inaugurating today’s event. I was stunned for a moment but then overjoyed with the thought that I would get the opportunity to hoist the flag in none other than the hero’s school! Following the flag hoisting they honoured my colleague Yogesh and me with a shawl and a photo of Ramanujan. It was a very humbling experience. Then we placed a garland around the bust of Srinivasa Ramanujan. We were overcome with the feeling of that ‘nothing more remained to be achieved in life’. We then sat for the Children’s Day celebrations that lasted for 20 minutes or so.

Following that we went into the oldest block – Ramanujan block, in the school which has been there since the time of Ramanujan. All our Yatris were thrilled to enter into hall and as they entered, they were welcomed with a loud applause by the students of 9th grade who were waiting for all of us for an interactive session. The session started with some display and explanation of traditional games that areplayed in rural areas in Tamil Nadu. Girls showed some games with pebbles that they play which requires a lot of skill and hand-eye coordination. That was followed by some board games (like Pallankuzhi, Tiger-sheep game, etc.) which requires strategy. The game of tigers and sheep was a favourite game of Ramanujan which he used to play with his mother when he was a boy. After the wonderful demonstration and explanation of traditional games by the students of Town High school students, one of our participants (Hetvi, 9th grade student from Mumbai) did a session for the young Ramanujans of Town High. The session was on the Theory of Partitions in Numbers, an area in which Ramanujan had made a phenomenal contribution and one of the reasons why he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society. Her presentation was simple and easy to understand and the audience enjoyed working out the questions that she posed them.

After Hetvi’s presentation, there was an interactive session between the students of the school and our Yatris. They asked each other several questions like – how does it feel to be studying in the school where Ramanujan studied…what aspect of Ramanujan has inspired you….how did Ramanujan arrive at the property of 1729…and so on. All this while, more than 25 teachers and more than 100 students from the school had participated in the session. All of them were being attentive and it was a sight to watch them.

We were served a delicious Sapadu (meal) following which we took a round of the school. It was very hard for us to leave the school. In a short span of time, all of us were connected so strongly to the placeby the love showered by all of them. But for what? The people over there were just lovely and they just loved the fact that we were on this Yatra to study the life and works of Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Something else that I shouldn’t fail to mention was that the school has 3000 students from grade 6 to 12 in both English and Tamil medium. Many students come from humble backgrounds and many ex-students of the school support the education of present day students who cannot afford the same. What a way to give back something to yor alma mater! And of course, it would be because they would have felt how influential their school was to them when they studied there.

With a heavy heart, we bid good bye to the place and left for the Ramanujan Museum at SASTRA University, Kumbakonam. The museum is very well maintained and has a good number of letters, notes, findings of Ramanujan. The Yatris couldn’t just finish going through all of them. If one has to read everything in detail, a couple of hours wouldn’t be sufficient. With great detail many of them penned down the notes (as photography wasn’t allowed). After a hour, we were about to leave for the great man’s home at Sarangapani Street. We reached there in less than 5 minutes. How would an Ayyappa Bhakta feel when he arrives at the 18 steps of Sabarimala? How would someone who has waited all their life to visit the religious place closest to their heart and now has arrived at that place? Nothing less was our feeling. All of us went inside the typical Brahmin home which is preserved by SASTRA University today. The first room in the left has a window that faces the road. It was written there that Ramanujan used to look out of the window, lost in thought, for long hours when he was a child. I tried looking outside just to see if I can get the feel and if in the least probability could see something Ramanujan saw while he gazed outside. All the Yatris came inside to check out the small house. I could see some of them walking inside quietly with an indescribable feeling sinking into their hearts.

We spent ample amount of time wondering where Ramanujan would have sat to have food…how he would have worked on Mathematics while his mother would have fed into his mouth the rice balls she would make for him…and how he would have worked on Mathematics as he grew up in that house. We stepped out after our hearts overflowed with contentment.

We wanted to go to the Sarangapani temple where Ramanujan was known to spend a lot of time discovering Mathematical formulae. But unfortunately, the temple was closed as a matter of practice that they follow whenever there’s any death in the locality. It was a bit of a disappointment, but that could not overshadow our contentment.

We left Kumbakonam after having some Pakodas and filter coffee and reached Thanjavur to board the bus to Chennai. The face of all the Yatris were lit throughout the day, for, they had visited their Kasi and Ganga! And as they bring Ganga water with them, some of us took a handful of sand from the ground in the Town High School where Ramanujan’s footsteps would have fallen some time. All that we can say, is that we felt blessed!

Day 4

‘What do Mathematicians do for a living?’ This a question that many people ask (or atleast wonder). To get convincing answers , we went to one of the premium institutes for research – Institute ofMathematical Sciences (IMSc). The campus was very quiet and green. We met Prof. Ramanujam from the Mathematics department (a rockstar in Mathematics education) who came down to give us a warm welcome and took us to the library. Another faculty explained how the automated systems in the library work and how students have access to thousands of books and journals 24 x 7. It was a two-storied building. We went to the first floor where the books on Math were kept. It was a sight to watch how all the participants entered the library. Almost all of them entered with their jaws dropped. For most of them, they had never see so many Mathematics books at one place. In no time, they picked up some books that caught their attention and sat down on the floor wherever they were. There were couches available at one place, but who would want to waste time walking till there? Some of them were
running from one shelf to the other wondering which book to take and which one to reject (I was one of them). It was sheer joy to see them engrossed in the books for the next few minutes. But we had to move on for an interactive session with some Mathematicians – a profession that some of them might choose later on in their lives.

Prof Ramanujam had arranged an interaction with some faculty members and a couple of research scholars from the Mathematics department. The session got extended to almost two hours from what was planned earlier (for 75 minutes). The faculty gave a brief overview of the areas of Mathematics in which they work and students asked their questions to them. They also shared how ‘cool’ their life is. They get to wear whatever they want…there’s no one to boss them like the corporate…they get to do Math the whole day…and they get paid for all this! I think that’s an amazing life to aspire for for those who are passionate about Mathematics.

After some great discussions, we moved on for lunch. IMSc was kind enough to treat us with a delicious lunch and special ice-cream (because there were kids for lunch), a yummy evening snack and also dinner. From IMSc, we moved to Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), one of the best institutes for pursuing Mathematics and Computer Science for the under-grad. CMI was almost an hour’s drive from IMSc. In the bus, as in the previous days, some of them enjoyed playing chess with each other, some were busy working on Math and some enjoyed a small nap.

At IMSc, the participants got an idea of PhD programs. At CMI, they would be introduced to under-grad programs and how ‘cool’ life at CMI is for a student. What I loved the most about CMI is that, they don’t care about your IIT-JEE scores as it does in many other institutes. You get in by qualifying their entrance test or by getting selected for the training camp for International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) which is almost the final level after they clear Regional Mathematics Olympiad (don’t mistake it for all so-called Olympiads that have come up in recent times). CMI also takes in students those who qualify in similar Informatics and Physics Olympiads.

We had three Profs who teach at CMI who interacted with us and shared about life at CMI and how the faculties pursue research. During some interaction, a participant asked – how different are courses at CMI from other under-grad courses. A professor replied that he doesn’t know how courses are offered in other colleges, but in CMI, they don’t spoon feed things to students. If they feel that students can work on some areas and learn on their own, they will just leave it there and expect the students to take it ahead. Of course, the students being the cream, they enjoy this process of learning. The faculties have less teaching burden and they focus a lot of on their personal research work. Students in CMI are also allowed to attend courses at IMSc for free. Students have a lot of bonuses – the entire under-grad is almost free of cost! Like IMSc, CMI also has an excellent library which the students can use 24×7. Once the interactions with the faculties were done, the participants got a chance to talk to one of our students, Sundarraman, who got admitted in CMI this year. He shared his experiences so far and how his peers and seniors are very kind and supportive in teaching/learning/doubts.

Once again, like IMSc, it was difficult to bring the kids out of the library after the interactions with the Profs. Finally, I had to promise them that we will come here some other time. We left CMI for IMSc. Since the past few days we were discussing about some subtle aspects of Ramanujan’s life, about the people who played a vital role in his life, about his story in depth and about his works. It was time to connect the dots. And what better way than to screen the Hollywood biopic on him @The Man who Knew Infinity. We screened the movie in the Ramanujan hall IMSc. There were all sounds of sobs and one could see the neighbor wiping his/her own tears. Some found it very difficult to control their emotions after the movie. It was very touching to see these young minds feel about Ramanujan. All of us moved out of the hall in silence with Ramanujan in our minds.

Day 5 (final day)

How do you explain someone what was Ramanujan’s work all about? This is one of the reasons why it becomes difficult to compare his work with others like Chandrashekhar or CV Raman whose works were more tangible. In the case of Ramanujan, it was very difficult to trace his line of thinking because he seldom gave proofs on how he derived the formulae he came up with. It is really intriguing to think and try to trace back the line of thought that Ramanujan would have had. In an attempt to do that, andalso to critically examine the people who influenced Ramanujan, all the participants engaged into an hour-long discussion on some questions:
– Draw parallels (similarities and dissimilarities) between Hardy and Ramanujan.
– What positives and negatives do you see in the personality of Hardy, Ramanujan and Komalatammal (Ramanujan’s mother)?
– Suppose Ramanujan would have lived longer…i.e., after his return from Cambridge, let’s say that his health would have recovered and he would have lived a longer life….what do you think might have happened? Hypothesize three stories that would have happened in Ramanujan’s life if he would have lived longer.
– The great Mathematician, P.K.Srinivasan, who started the Ramanujan Museum in Chennai and tried popularising Ramanujan and his work, had a dream that every city in India would have a museum on Ramanujan. If we were to start one in our city, how would we go about it? Can we create a sustainable model where the museum can keep running?

The participants had a great brain-storming and came up with very interesting answers. It was interesting to see the stand by the participants on Komalatammal’s life and how they saw she brought up Ramanujan. Hardy was appreciated by the participants as much as (if not more) Ramanujan. The drawing parallels was an interesting thing and also the stories that they hypothesized on the life of Ramanujan if he would have lived longer was worth a script for another Hollywood or Indian movie. The inputs on creating a museum on Ramanujan was excellent and we at VicharVatika have got inspired to start one in Mumbai (those interested in the project can contact us).

It was difficult to accept that the Yatra had come to an end. All of us had become one family of Math-lovers. With a lot of hope that we all would catch up soon, we bid each other good-bye.

The idea of Ramanujan Yatra had popped up while Rajith and I were discussing (about an year ago) about the excellent work he does at @The Traveling Gecko on culture and heritage tourism in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. We thought, why not do a Yatra on the life of Ramanujan? Thus the idea emerged as a bud and finally attained full bloom in this week. The credit for the feel of the entire Yatra goes to Rajith who is a personification of meticulous work and precision. He was there throughout our Yatra making all of us feel comfortable even though we tortured him by making him sit through all the Math sessions. Our sincere thanks to Rajith Nair and his wife who helped us throughout the Yatra. Our friend Sriram Naganathan had been with us all the way long giving us a lot of support with logistics, connections and encouragement throughout the way. Indic Academy was kind enough to support and sponsor some participants who came from humble backgrounds. My brother Veeraj Nair captured all the emotions by standing behind the lens of his camera. Nandakumar and Mali from Chennai helped us take the message of the Yatra to different schools across Tamil Nadu. Rajesh Marathe and Vaishvik sponsored our t-shirts of Ramanujan Yatra. All the participants, their parents believed that this Yatra can be a very unique experience for all of them. Our sincere thanks to all of the above and many more in family and friends who were with us throughout this period. We couldn’t have done it without you. Last but not the least, we believe that it was Ramanujan who worked through us and the blessings of people like PKS who had a great dream, a great vision, that continues to be fulfilled even after he is gone.

Indic Academy is proud to have been associated with the Ramanujan Yatra program by providing a grant for it’s promotion and registration fees for deserving participants. IndicToday had previously made an announcement regarding the Yatra.

Travel Grants For Seminar On Purva Mimamsa

Pūrva Mīmāṃsā is one of the oldest School of thought, probably dating back to the 3 rd century BCE, that engages deeply in the interpretation of Vedic texts for a pragmatic application of prescribed rituals in the daily life of a Vedic adherent. In the early phase of philosophical development in the Indian sub-continent, the Pūrva Mīmāṃsā or simply the Mīmāṃsā school reigned supremacy over other schools owing to its popularity of practical ritualistic application.

The Mīmāṃsā, emphasizing on the karmakāṇḍa portion of the Vedas, found its systematic presentation in the aphoristic work of Maharṣi Jaimini (300 – 200 BCE) which emphasized the philosophy of life, viz., karma in the form of dharma in the very opening aphorism – athāto dharma jijñāsā. The pre-Jaimini preceptors who are identified as authoritative sources referenced by Jaimini are Bādarāyaṇa, Bādarī, Ātreya, and Kṛṣṇājini, thus claiming the presence of Mīmāṃsā thought at least two centuries before Jaimini. Not withstanding the overpowering of the Vedāntic philosophical thought, the Mīmāṃsā school re-emerged as a darśana bifurcating into two main schools viz., the Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsā (660 CE) and the Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā (700 CE) and much later, a third school as of Murāri Miśra (1300 CE). Like any other philosophical system, the Mīmāṃsā school too is rich with a gamut of commentarial literature and independent prakaraṇas delineating the essence and fundamentals of Mīmāṃsā philosophy. The celebrated commentary to the Jaiminisūtras is of Śabarasvāmin and some prominent Mīmāṃsā prakaraṇas of recent study is the Arthasaṃgraha of Laugākṣi Bhāskara and Mīmāṃsā Paribhāṣā of Kṛṣṇa Yajvan.

In recent times, the treatment and study of Mīmāṃsā darśana in academic institutions – both the modern as well as the traditional style of learning – has been relegated behind in comparison to the study of Vedānta and other darśanas. The Mīmāṃsā principles and maxims finds prominent place in the metaphysical and epistemological discussion in the philosophical literature of other darśanas, whereas the position of Mīmāṃsā rightfully as an independent darśana is almost out of the circuit of academic discussion.

The Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, situated in the birthplace of Ādi Śaṅkara, proposes to conduct a seminar exclusively devoted to the current studies and development of Pūrva Mīmāṃsā darśana primarily encompassing epistemology (pramāṇavicāra), linguistics (vṛttivicāra) and hermeneutics (adhikaraṇavicāra) by bringing together eminent traditional scholars from various parts of the country.

The seminar is proposed under the expertise and guidance of Shri R. Mani Dravid Sastrigal, one of the foremost, prominent and leading traditional scholars specializing in the field of Vyākaraṇa, Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā and Vedānta.

This seminar focusses on bringing together the traditional Mīmāṃsā scholars who have been working on the Mīmāṃsā exegetical works, with years of experience in dissemination of terse Mīmāṃsā concepts within classrooms and in major symposiums and conferences conducted in the traditional manner known as the Vākyārthasadas. The main objective of this maiden seminar in the traditional style, rendered in Sanskrit, is to record, transcribe and publish the research outcomes of the traditional scholars in English with a hope to draw the attention of Mīmāṃsā and other interested scholars from around the globe. This seminar also aims to gradually create an atmosphere for academic exchange and discussion between the traditional and modern scholars exclusively pertaining to Mīmāṃsā darśana. The Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth shall also serve as the hub to document and preserve the academic achievements and contribution of traditional scholars in various fields of knowledge thus maintaining a record of growth of scholars in modern India for posterity.

Indic Academy is providing a travel grant of upto Rs. 15,000 each to two scholars or students engaged in the study of Mīmāṃsā. If you are interested in obtaining this grant, please apply for the same here by filling the form.

Indic Academy is also supporting the seminar by providing an event grant to the organizers.

Details

Seminar: Pūrva Mīmāṃsā Philosophy – Current Studies and Research in the field of Epistemology, Linguistics and Hermeneutics

Location: Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, Deemed to be University, Adi Sankara Nilayam, Veliyanad, Kerala

Date: December 23rd and 24th, 2018

More details can be found in this document.

Book Review: 26/11 Unforgiven

जैसा कि पुस्तक का शीर्षक अपने आप मेँ अभिव्यक्त करता है कि 26/11 का बर्बरिक आतँकवादी हमला अक्षम्य है| लेखन की विधा एक कहानी की तरह है| कहानी का मुख्य पात्र एक भारतीय है जो सँवेदनशील,घोर पारिवारीक और कोमल हृदय का है| नायक के पिता की सैन्य पृष्ठभूमि उसे सेना के उस स्वरुप की अनुभूति करवाती है जो एक सामान्य नागरिक की कल्पना से परे है कि सेना के अधिकारियोँ और सैनिकोँ के बीच किस तरह का पारिवारीक सूत्र बँधा होता है|

कहानी का नायक विक्रम अपने परिवार अपनी पत्नी कीर्ति और बेटी मेघा को 26/11 ताज पर हुए हमले मेँ खो देता है| विक्रम 26/11 का प्रत्यक्षदर्शी है| यह कहानी नायक के जीवन मेँ घटित इस घटना के बाद उसके भीतर चलने वाले कोहराम और उसके जीवन मे घटित घटनाओँ के बारे मेँ विस्तार से समझाती है|

मूल रुप से पुस्तक अँग्रेजी मे लिखी गयी है| पुस्तक की भाषा बहुत सहज, सरल और निर्बाध गति से बहने वाले गद्य की तरह है, लेखन की शैली पाठक को कहानी के पात्र से जोडे रखती है| कहानी का हर पात्र घटना के आस पास बडी सुँदरता के साथ गढा गया है| सारे पात्र कहानी के केँद्र से अँत तक बँधे हुए रहते है| पाठक स्वयँ को सभी से जुडा हुआ महसूस करता है| कहानी “सँवाद प्रधान” है| सारे पात्र एक दूसरे से सँवाद करते हुए कहानी की पृष्ठभूमि को आगे बढाते हुए प्रतीत होते है जिससे पाठक का मन कहानी के केँद्रिय विषय से जुडा हुआ रहता है|

कहानी का मुख्य पात्र विक्रम अन्य पात्रोँ से सँवाद शैली से जुडा है,मेजर जनरल अविनाश, जाकिर, फरजाना के मध्य के सँवाद बडे रोचक और प्रभावी है, कहानी मेँ लेखक कई बार स्वयँ से बात करते हुआ दिखाई देता है|

कहानी का मुख्य पात्र “विक्रम”, कहानी के दूसरे मुख्य पात्र मेजर जनरल अविनाश प्रभाकर के साथ भारतीय डिप्लोमेसी पर कडे प्रश्न पुछता हुआ दिखाई देता है, लेखक ने बडी सुँदरता के साथ एक सामान्य भारतीय नागरिक के मन की पीडा को इसमेँ अभिव्यकत किया है, लेखक सफल दिखाई देता है भारतीय जन मानस को प्रस्तुत करने मेँ|

“Vikram, for your information, we have not fought a single war with Pakistan for Kashmir.”

इस एक पँक्ति के साथ लेखक ने आतँकवाद की समस्या पर अपना गहरा मँथन प्रस्तुत किया है|

कहानी का एक रोचक पात्र जाकिर समय समय पर कहानी के नायक विक्रम को आतंकवादी हमले 26/11 से सँबँधित सूचनायेँ देता हुआ बताया गया है| जाकिर के माध्यम से लेखक ने एक एसे नौजवान को चित्रित किया है जो अपनी युवावस्था मेँ भ्रमित होकर गलत रास्ते पर चला जाता है और फिर उसके पास वापस जीवन की मूलधारा मेँ लौटने का कोई रास्ता शेष नही रह पाया है|

लेखक की कलम भारत और पाकिस्तान की राजनीतिक परिस्थितियोँ का बडी खूबसूरती से विश्लेषण करती है| भारत एक शुदध लोकताँत्रिक देश है जहाँ सेना का भारतीय राजनीति और विदेश नीति मे हस्तक्षेप नगण्य होता है| लेखक स्वयँ सैन्य सेवाओँ मे रह चुके है शायद इसीलिये ये टीस कि भारत की पराक्रमी सेना के सिपाही और अनुशासित सैन्य अधिकारी के जीवन का आर्थिक पहलु भारत के राजनीतिज्ञोँ की तुलना मे कितना ओछा है| और वहीँ दूसरी तरफ पाकिस्तान का सैन्य अधिकारी अपने देश के व्यवसाय मेँ प्रभूत्व रखता है मने रसूखदार है| पाकिस्तान की राजनीति सेना के हाथ मेँ है|

“In our case our country has an army. In their case, their army has country”, कहानी मे एक रिटायर्ड सैन्य अधिकारी का यह वाक्य बहुत प्रभावी है|

26/11 के बर्बरिक आतंकी हमले के पश्चात भारत की असँवेदनशील राजनीति पाकिस्तान को करारा जवाब देने की बजाय देश के भीतर ही “हिँदू आतँकवाद” शब्द को गढकर और देश के सबसे बडे साँस्कृतिक राष्ट्रीय सँगठन ‘राष्ट्रीय स्वयँसेवक सँघ” पर निराधार आरोप लगाने मेँ व्यस्त हो गयी, इस बात से आहत लेखक ने कहानी के नायक के व्यक्तित्व को एक अनपेक्षित स्वरुप मे परिवर्तित कर चोटिल आत्मसम्मान को पाठकोँ को समझाया है कि कैसे एक घोर पारिवारीक और भावुक व्यकित आतँकवादी हमलोँ मे अपने परिवार को खोकर आहत होता है|

“आहत हूँ,भीतर से क्रुद्ध

विवश बनकर बैठ गया हूँ

क्या कहुँ हे बुद्ध !”

26/11 पर देश केवल न्याय नही वरन “बदला” चाह रहा था,लेखक मनीष जैटली द्वारी लिखित इस कहानी का पात्र ये भाव बार बार अभिव्यक्त करता हुआ दिखाई देता है|

लोकतँत्र और डिप्लोमैसी के नाम पर आतँकवाद को मिलने वाला एक मौन प्रोत्साहन आतँकी हमलो की दूसरी साजिशोँ को कैसे सफल होने देता है,ये बात भी लेखक ने बडे सुँदर ढग से समझायी है|

शाँति औऱ अमन,ये शब्द कैसे खलते होँगे आतँकवाद के शिकार परिवारो और आतँकी हमनोँ मे शहीद होने वाले सैन्य परिवारोँ को| ये प्रश्न लेखक ने हम सभी के लिये इस विचार के साथ छोडा है कि क्या हर सामान्य भारतीय नागरिक को अपना प्रतिशोध स्वयँ लेना होगा?

आतँकवाद की जडे कितनी गहरी और कितने व्यापक स्तर पर भारत भर मेँ फैल गयी हैँ और हमारी सुरक्षा व्यवस्था कितनी मजबूत है, कहानी का नायक ये बार बार पाठक को बताता जा रहा है,सूचना तँत्र की विवशता और जानकारियोँ की उपलब्धता होने पर भी भारतीय सुरक्षा नीति लोकतँत्र औऱ डिप्लोमैसी के नाम पर कितनी विवश है,येलेखक बताने से कहीँ चूके नही है|

हालाँकि आतँकवाद से निपटने की लेखक की कहानी दुस्साहसी नायक की कहानी है परँतु एक सामान्य नागरिक कै हृदय की पीडा श्री मनीष जी जैटली ने बहुत सुँदर ढँग से अभिव्यक्त की है|

26/11 की उस दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण रात मेँ ताज और ओबेरोय के स्टाफ का साहस और अपने मेहमानोँ की सुरक्षा के प्रति सँवेदनशीलता के प्रति जहाँ लेखक कृतज्ञता व्यक्त करता हुए नजर आ रहे है वहीँ एक मुँबईकर की हमले के तुरँत बाद सामान्य जीवन जीने की विवशता पर भी क्षोभ प्रकट नजर करते आ रहे है|

लेखक की यह पँक्ति सभी को आतँकवाद पर आत्ममँथन पर प्रेरित करती है,

“We as a nation had somehow begun to romanticize being victims”.

मनीष जी जेटली की यह पुस्तक हम सभी को सोचने और विचार करने को विवश कर देती है कि भारत की राजनीति आतँकवाद के प्रति सँवेदनशील कब होगी? केवल श्रद्धाँजलि कार्यक्रमोँ की एक श्रृँखला और औपचारिक चर्चाओँ से ऊपर उठकर आतँकवाद विरोधी नीति बनाने की प्रबल आवश्यकता है|

एक सामान्य भारतीय नागरिक होने की वजह से मैँ शालिनी,लेखक को बहुत बहुत बधाई देती हँ कि आतँकवाद से पीडित भारतीय जन मानस की विकलता को अपनी लेखनी के माध्यम से बहुत भावपूर्ण ढँग से आपने उकेरा है|

पुस्तक को पढने के बाद एसा विश्वास बनता है कि ये पुस्तक सभी नीति निर्धारकों निश्चित रुप से प्रेरित करेगी|

एक सक्षम औऱ सशक्त आतंकवादी विरोधी नीति बनाने हेतु देश की सुरक्षा और विदेश नीति पर मनन कर देश की सँप्रभुता,अखँडता और गौरव का मान बनाये रखने हेतु दृढ सँकव्पित होँने को|

Registration Grants For Workshop On The Yogasutras

In the language of the Kathopanishad, most men look outward, but some turn away from the mundane and seek a higher law and life. They turn their gaze inward and behold the self face to face. They become aware of a larger, secret life buried within. They realize that through earnest endeavour and devout invocation, this life can be uncovered and made dynamic and manifest. For undertaking this inward journey, the soul has all the provisions in its possession. But different seekers are differently blessed and each has to make the best use of his own special blessing.

India has, through the vehicle of the various religions and philosophies that have taken birth from her, has provided many paths for undertaking this inward journey. Raja Yoga, Bhakti, Tantra, Jnana Yoga, and many more paths have been lit by various masters down the ages in order to take the seeker on the journey of self-realization.

The philosophy and pragmatics of yoga as given in the Yogasutras is a complete source of becoming aware of the workings of the mind and body and a guide for the seekers of the self.

Sri Raghu Ananthanaryanan will be conducting a workshop titled “Self Reflection: An Introduction To The Yogasutras” in Pune. The workshop is open to all the seekers of the self. Join us for an introduction into an inner journey with the Yogasutras. Discover the secret to live a life full of delight.

About Raghu Ananthanarayanan

Raghu has been enquiring into three questions relentlessly in his life; how does one become the best that one can be? How do organizations and groups become the best that they can be? What does it mean to be an Indian?

This quest has led to more than a decade of intense study of Yoga with Yogacharya T Krishnamacharya and Desikachar. During this period he also had the opportunity to interact deeply with J.Krishnamurti and learn Process Work from Prof. Pulin K. Garg.

The Core of Raghu Ananthanarayanan’s approach to teaching Yoga is based on the Krishnamacharya tradition. However, he has brought in aspects of experiential learning and introspection that make it contemporary and accessible. He obtained his Postgraduate Degree in Bio-Medical Engineering from IIT Madras during this time for which he studied the application of Yoga and Pranayama in curing back pain. He has published a very well received book “Learning Through Yoga”.

Raghu Ananthanarayanan has co-founded Sumedhas Academy for Human context, The Barefoot Academy for Governance and FLAME TAO Knoware (Pvt. Ltd); He serves on the board of several companies. He is now engaged https://www.raghuananthanarayanan.com/in mentoring a young group of “sacred activists” called Ritambhara, as well as co-creating a platform of Yoga Teachers from the Krishnamachaarya Tradition called “Ananta Yoga”. ​He is also associated with YogaVahini, a training and healing centre that specializes in offering Yoga teacher training and therapist training programs.

You can read more about Raghu Ananthanarayanan and his work on his website.

Indic Academy is providing a grant of Rs 12,000 each to two participants to attend this event. If you are an interested candidate, please fill this form to apply for this grant.

Details

Venue: January 26th to 28th, 2019

Date: Abhimanashree Society, Pashan, Pune

Appeal To Restage Padma Shri Prahasana

I am Rashma – a playwright and published author. I have worked in Australia and India. For two years now, I have been working on creating new plays using the Natyashastra as the basis. Natyashastra is the most ancient text on drama and performing arts. This endeavour will mark the renascence of ancient Indian drama on modern stage. And I need your help to stage the first play in the series.

Padma Shri Prahasana

‘Padma Shri Prahasana’ is the first play that I have written in the series of modern prahasanas. ‘Padma Shri Prahasana’ was in development for a year-and-a-half. Prof Bharat Gupt has been guiding it’s development. The play had its first public reading at the India Habitat Center in December, 2016. The script was rewritten in 2017 and performed at IGNCA on 27th July, 2018. The premiere production was directed by Vineet Chopra of ‘The Great Indian Storytellers’.

Theme

‘Padma Shri Prahasana’ is a satire on the system of awards in India and the politicking for awards. The play mocks artists, scholars, and the English-speaking intelligentia of the country. At the heart of the play is a conflicted musician caught in the trap of lobbying for awards and chasing concerts. The play goes into deeper issues such as – is Indian classical music a sadhana and a means to connect to the divine or an art to be sold in the market place?

Why We Need Your Help

We are re-staging the play at the JNU Convention Center on 23rd December. We have received generous support from Vision India Foundation and Indic Academy. However, since we have made it a non-ticketed, open-to-public show, we need funds to stage the play and pay the artists. Most of the time artists go unpaid in the country. This has brought down the quality of theater. Please help us put on a great show. Donate to us here

Indic Academy has supported this play with an amount of Rs. 50,000 through the Smt. Jayalakshmi Narasimhan Endowment for Women Scholars and Public Intellectuals. IndicToday requests it’s readers to donate generously and make this play a success.

Travel Grants For Conference On Indology

An International Conference titled “Churning Of Indology” will be organized by the Bharatiya Vidvat Parsihat(BVP) as a part of the first meeting of it’s members. The conference will take a look at the impact and consequences of the Indological studies that have taken place during the past 150-200 years.

There has been a constant review of Indological research outcomes in the BVP mailing list by many prominent scholars. Many debates, dialogues, and discussions held in the BVP list have been leading us to the correct understanding of Shastras in a consolidated way. It has been successful in spearheading the improvement of quality research in Samskrit Shastras and related disciplines. BVP has been a platform for sharing new ideas, creative writings, information regarding academic activities, innovative projects, new discoveries and developments that keeps the entire Samskrit academia ever updated. In order to expand the sphere of research and literature in Sanskrit and to make them accessible to everyone, BVP desires to set new directions through this conference.

The present conference is titled “Churning of Indology” to reflect the need of the day. The aim is to arrive at a clear path for future research, based upon past experience, and the need to study the history of the various Bharatiya Vidyas. BVP expects senior scholars to show the new paradigms for research while youngsters will be encouraged to produce ground-breaking research in their respective fields.

This conference is a unique opportunity for scholars to blend with other experts in the field. BVP welcomes all interested scholars to attend the conference. The venue will be the Rajangana of the Sri Krishna Matha in Udupi, Karnataka, from 4th to 6th January, 2019.

Indic Academy will be providing travel grants of upto Rs 10,000 to 5 deserving candidates to attend this program. Please write to us at indictoday@gmail.com to apply for the grant.

More details regarding the various themes to be discussed in the conference, important dates for submission of abstracts and registration are all available in this document.

..अनोखा मोड़..

समन्दर की गहराईयों में रहने वाली एक मछली जिसे बाहर की इस दुनिया के बारे में कुछ भी नही पता, और अचानक उसे कुछ ऐसी शक्ति देकर बाहर भेज दिया जाए जिससे वह बाहर भी रह सकती है, तो उस समय जो उस मछली का अनुभव होगा कुछ ऐसा ही अनुभव मुझे अद्वैत वेदान्त के मास्टर्स कोर्स में प्रवेश मिलने पर मिला।

कुछ महीनों पहले जब मैं सामान्य छात्रों की तरह स्कूल में इंटरमीडिएट कर रही थी उस समय मेरे वर्तमान और भविष्य के बीच मे एकदम स्वच्छ, पारदर्शी शीशा था। मेरे पिताजी जो प्रिंटिंग का कार्य करते हैं तथा माँ जो एक सामान्य गृहणी हैं उन दोनों ने मेरे भविष्य की कुछ अलग ही कल्पना की थी। मैने भी उनकी तरह यही सोचा था कि मैं गणित और भौतिक विज्ञान आदि विषयों को आगे भी पढूंगी किन्तु अचानक से कुछ दिन पहले ही मुझे संस्कृत में उच्च शिक्षा प्राप्त करने की प्रेरणा मेरे पथप्रदर्शक गीता परिवार के राष्ट्रिय उपाध्यक्ष डॉ.आशु गोयल जी द्वारा मिली। कुछ दिनों की चर्चा के बाद मैंने भी अपने जीवन को संस्कृत शिक्षा के सोपान पर ही प्रशस्त करना निश्चित कर लिया

इसे देव का सुयोग कहूं या मेरे पूर्वजन्मों का पुण्योदय या साक्षात भगवान व स्वामीजी की कृपा कि जिस समय संस्कृत में ही उच्चशिक्षा प्राप्त करने का निश्चय हमने किया उसी समय हमारे गुरुदेव प.पू. स्वामी गोविन्द देव गिरि जी महाराज को चिन्मय विश्वविद्यापीठ के ट्रस्टियों द्वारा इस अद्वैत वेदांत के विलक्षण कोर्स के बारे में सूचना प्राप्त हुई जिसके लिए वह सुयोग्य विद्यार्थियों का चयन करना चाहते थे। उन्होंने अपने प्रिय शिष्य डॉ. आशु गोयल जी को ऐसे कुछ छात्रों का चयन करने के लिए कहा और आशु भैया ने मुझे व मेरी दो मित्रों को इस विषय की सूचना दी। यह ऐसा हुआ जैसे एक स्वाति नक्षत्र की बूँद हजारों किलोमीटर का सफर तय करके स्वयं किसी सीप तक पहुँच कर मोती के रूप में परिणत हो जाती है।

प्रवेश परीक्षा की अच्छी तैयारी करके उसको उत्तीर्ण करना ही त्वरित लक्ष्य हो गया। ऋषिकेश में प्रवेश परीक्षा दी व उत्तीर्ण की सूचना पाकर दो ही दिन में अपने घर से २७०० किलोमीटर दूर पांच वर्षों के लिए एक अनजाने, अकल्पनीय जगत के लिए प्रस्थान किया । यहाँ आने के बाद एक नए जगत से परचिय हुआ। आचार्यों के बीच संस्कृत माध्यम में गुरुकुल पद्धति से पढ़ना यह ऐसा हो गया जैसे पहले मानो मुझे दुनिया किसी और रंग की दिख रही थी और एकाएक किसी दूसरे ही रंग में सब कुछ दिखने लगा। केरल की भाषा अलग, वेशभूषा अलग, भोजन आदि भी अलग था किंतु बहुत ही जल्दी मैं यहाँ दूध में पानी की तरह मिलती चली गयी। यह विषय पढ़ने के बाद मुझे ऐसा लगा मानो मैं इसी के लिए बनी थी। मैं इसे बड़े ही रुचि के साथ पढ़ रही हूँ।

चिन्मय विश्वविद्यालय में आने के बाद प्रातः स्मरणीय हमारी संस्कृति के आधार स्तम्भ आद्य शंकराचार्य के जन्मस्थल का दर्शन कर हम अभिभूत हुए। इस दिव्य मनोरम प्राङ्गण की कल्पना तो मैं स्वप्न में भी नही कर सकती थी और उसके बाद प.पू. स्वामी चिन्मयानन्द जी का परिचय मिला, यह स्थान उनकी भी तपोभूमि रही व उनकी गहन साधना के स्वर आज भी इस प्राङ्गण में गूंजते हैं, यह अनुभव में आया।

शिशुपाल वध में कहा गया है क्षणेक्षणे यन्नवतामुपैति तदेव रूपं रमणीयतायाः।अर्थात् जो हर क्षण नवीन लगे वही रमणीयता का रूप है।

इस वाक्य को विश्विद्यालय ने सम्यक् प्रकार से अंगीकृत किया। यही कारण है कि वेदान्त विषय के साथ अंग्रजी का ज्ञान व आधुनिक उपकरणों जैसेकम्प्यूटर और प्रॉजेक्टर आदि का प्रयोग तथा शास्त्राध्ययन हेतु किसी एक विशेष वर्ग समूह को ही प्रवेश दिया जाना चाहिए या स्त्रियों का प्रवेश वर्जित किया जाना चाहिए, ऐसी परम्पराओं में स्थिति व कालानुसार कुछ परिवर्तन किया गया। समाज की आवश्यकताओं को देखकर विश्वविद्यालय द्वारा उठाया गया यह कदम सभी के लिए अत्यंत लाभदायक है।

भारतीय संस्कृति की सेवा हेतु इस स्थान का चयन व इसकी संकल्पना करने वाले प.पू. स्वामी तेजोमयानंद जी महाराज के चिर स्पन्दन प्राप्त हुए और स्वामी अद्वयानन्द जी महाराज व स्वामी शारदानंद जी महाराज के दर्शन हुए व उनके आशीर्वाद प्राप्त हुए। ऐसे दिव्य महापुरुषों को साक्षात् अनुभव करना और उनके मार्गदर्शन में अपने जीवन का निर्माण करना मेरे लिए स्वप्नजगत के समान है।

इसके बाद मैं पीएचडी करना चाहती हूँ, मैं वेदान्त के अन्तरतम ज्ञान को जानना चाहती हूँ। मेरे जीवन का मुख्य लक्ष्य भगवद्गीता और संस्कृत व भारतीय संस्कृति का प्रचार व प्रसार है। इस विश्वविद्यालय में जहाँ गौरी मैंम, व तुलसी गुरुजी जैसे श्रेष्ठ विद्वत जनों का सान्निध्य मिला, प्रवेश प्राप्त करने के बाद अब मुझे पूर्ण विश्वास हो गया है कि मैं अपने जीवनलक्ष्यों को कुशलता से साधने योग्य बन सकूंगी।

The present author is a recipient of the Smt. Jayalakshmi Narasimhan Endowment for Women Journalists and Public Intellectuals.

Journey Through Non-Duality: Advaita Academy Completes 8 Years

Boldly proclaiming the philosophy of Advaita as the ultimate conclusion of Vedanta, Adi Shankaracharya writes in his Brahmajnanavalimala that “just as the pot, wall, etc., are all nothing but clay; likewise, the entire universe is nothing but Brahman, so roars the Vedanta”.

Vedanta, which is literally the ‘end-part of the Vedas’, is the crown and the zenith of the teachings of the Vedas. It is the ultimate goal of all life, of all paths of philosophy and spirituality. Just as all the rivers, be they originated in the glaciers or are rain-fed ultimately merge into the ocean, so also all spiritual and philosophical paths reach Non-duality at the end. Since, every path ends in non-duality, no path is inferior or superior to the other and Advaita itself has no conflict with any of these paths. Non-duality, in fact, acts as the mother who upholds, protects, and nourishes these diversity of paths of Sanatana Dharma.

It is with this vision that 8 years ago in 2010, during the auspicious festival of Deepavali, Advaita Academy(AA) was founded as an online platform where people across the world can access authentic teachings of Advaita Vedanta made available in the form of video lectures by teachers, who are traditionally trained in the Advaita Vedanta Sampradaya.

Though my own association with AA as its editor is only 18 months old, my pursuit of Advaita Vedanta itself has been a life-long journey and I had immensely benefited from the academy for many years before I became associated with it.

AA has been conceived as an online platform which provides easy and free access to the teachings of Upanishads, Gita, works of Adi Shankaracharya, and other secondary literature of the Advaita tradition in the form of video lectures by teachers of the tradition. AA is a multi-lingual platform with lectures in English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, and Tamil. Over the years, we have also focussed on promotion of Sanskrit and towards this end we have published more than 1000 video lectures (by Sri. NCT Acharya and Dr D Narasinga Rao) for facilitating the students to systematically learn the language from the very basics.

Over the last eight years we have extensively covered various Upanishads including, Brihadaranyaka, Ishavasya, Katha, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya and Prashna; Classical texts like Bhagavad Gita, Ashtavakra Gita, and Valmiki Ramayana; important Vedantic texts like Dakshinamurthystotram and Vivekachudamani of Adi Shankaracharya, Panchadashi of Swami Vidyaranya, and Naishkarmya Siddhi of Sri Sureshwaracharya, to name a few. Apart from this, we have published lectures on miscellaneous themes from Hindu tradition and philosophy.

These lectures are delivered by dedicated teachers of the tradition who have a long experience of teaching students the intricacies of Advaita Vedanta. Currently, more than 40 teachers are associated with AA, including Sri Mani DravidSastrigal (one of the most erudite Vidwans of Advaita), Dr. Karnam Aravinda Rao (Retired DGP, currently member of Indian Council of Philosophical Research), Dr. Kuntimaddi Sadananda (Material Scientist and a disciple of Swami Chinmayananda), Sri. V Subramanian (Traditional Vidwan from Bengaluru), Sri. Bede Draper (A disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati & Swamini Atmaprakashananda), and Sri Babaji Bob Kindler (Spiritual Director of the Sarada Ramakrishna Vivekananda (SRV) Associations), Prof. V Krishnamurthy (Former Prof. of Mathematics at BITS, Pilani), Prof K Ramasubramanian (Professor at IIT Bombay, Prof.B Mahadevan (Professor at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore), Swami Tyagananda (A Sannyasi of Ramakrishna Parampara), Swamini Svatmavidyananda (A Sannyasi of Arsha Vidya Parampara), Swami Guruparananda (A disciple of Swami Paramarthananda),Swamini Atmaprakashananda (A Sannyasi of Arsha Vidya Parampara), and ), Smt. Neema Majumdar (A disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati) to name a few.

As of today, we have published more than 6000 video lectures which have gathered around 2.7 million views, 23 million watch time minutes and 22,000 subscribers on YouTube.

In the coming years, we plan to expand our reach further by collaborating with more teachers, producing more authentic lectures, covering a wider landscape of Advaita tradition, and exploring newer opportunities to grow and spread the teachings of Adi Shankaracharya.

Initially set up as independent not for profit, AA is now part of the Center for Spirituality at Indic Academy. This Center is proposing to now set up a Gurukul and launch a 3 year course in Advaita Vedanta. Apart from the online platform and the Gurukul, 108 murthis of Adi Shankara are also proposed to be installed around the world. The first of the murthi is being consecrated in Tamil Nadu in January 2019.

Sharing below the thoughtful musings of some of our teachers on the journey of Advaita Academy:
In the several years of sharing classes as a contributing dharma teacher of the Advaita Academy organization, it has been a privilege to participate and share the incomparable wisdom of Vedanta, Yoga, and other sterling darshanas and noble pathways of Mother India. What I have appreciated the most has been the underlying nondual platform that A.A. has provided for those of us engaged in this active dharmic transmission, which places it very close to my own ideal involving Swami Vivekananda and his very fine interpretation and superlative vision of Advaita Vedanta. Without this nondual thread of combined foundational and transcendental wisdom, the fabric of religion and philosophy would remain unwoven in this day and age, and the seamless element of unblemished, uncompromised Truth could not be revealed to contemporary seekers. Therefore, I offer both my gratitude and my appreciation for what Advaita Academy is striving to accomplish in such a problematic age as this, and proffer my sincere wishes that it will be supported and expanded over the coming years for the highest good of all beings.
Sri. Babaji Bob Kindler

With the high-speed internets becoming available across the nook and corner of the whole globe, learning using the online courses has become increasingly popular. Advaita Academy had the foresight to start the online Academy for the Vedantic study, with free accessibility to millions of interested students around the world. It provided a tremendous opportunity for those who are really interested to learn, but otherwise cannot afford to have access to the various experts in the field. Recording, webcasting and converting them into you-tube format require significant commitment and effort. Along with it, recording of the many talks on various subjects and texts by many experts, week after week, requires tremendous planning and execution. I was pleasantly surprised when Shree Hari KiranVadlamani requested me to record the series on ‘Introduction to Vedanta’ many years ago. Simultaneously, recording of selected difficult texts by many stalwarts in Advaita Vedanta like Shree Mani DravidShastrigal, etc., provided a significant boost to the Academy standards. Development of online learning courses on Sanskrit also helped in preparing the students to study more advanced texts on Vedanta. Advaita Academy not only provided the necessary recording tools but also the finances to support personnel for the continuous on-going classes on various texts. The best part of the online courses by the Academy is that that one can access the talks any time and any where and study the texts at an individual pace. I am extremely happy to be part of this Academy and recording of the talks are being done in a homely atmosphere while it is becoming made available to every home across the globe. Hari Om!
– Dr. Kuntimaddi Sadananda

Advaita is the most intellectually satisfying system of self-knowledge. It attracts thinking minds from all over the world. Today we are able to disseminate the Advaitic thought through talks, articles, etc. to the global audience thanks to modern technology. Advaita Academy fulfills this role admirably. With a large team of scholars/teachers who are constantly delivering quality material to the seeking section of people, the Academy itself is evolving. The multi-lingual menu with the Academy caters to a wide variety of seekers. To me the Academy is a sort of a mentor as it gives me a chance to constantly improve my knowledge as there is a commitment to deliver the subject in the most appropriate way possible. Through discussion groups, social media windows, etc. the work of the Academy can be even more widely made visible.
– V Subramanian

It is a matter of great pleasure that Advaita Academy has completed eight years — and a matter of greater pleasure that in a short time period, it has gained much popularity. Deservedly so, because it is an excellent platform that gives students and the intellectually curious accessibility to quality lectures on Advaita. What makes it unique is the fact that it enables rigorous study of śāstra-grantha-s — śloka-by-śloka, sūtra-by-sūtra. My hearty congratulations to the team that has created such an excellent platform, and consequently, such an excellent repository of lectures on texts from stalwarts across the country!
– Manjushree Hegde

The Advaita Academy provides a platform for people to come into contact with the spiritual heritage of India. I am a student of Pujya Swami DayanandaSaraswati and it is this teacher who opened the door to the Vedic vision of God as a fact to be appreciated rather than a belief to be held. This Academy has enabled me to make available what I learned from this remarkable teacher. Not only was Swami Dayananda a great teacher of Vedanta he was also an exponent of the psychology that comes from the Gita. He unfolded this psychology in a way that enabled us to see our lives in a clear and undistorted way. He artfully used the Hindu scriptures as a mirror in which to show us the nature of our suffering and the means whereby this suffering could be resolved. And he did this in a way that was most helpful to a Western person like myself. As well as being an outstanding teacher he was also a beautiful human being and therefore the Vedic vision embodied.
– Bede Draper

The Author is editor of Advaita Academy and a student of Vedanta.

Background of the logo can be read in these two blogs below :
1. https://harikiranvadlamani.com/2013/08/12/advaita-in-ambigrams-2/
2. https://harikiranvadlamani.com/2015/12/25/john-langdon-shabda-pramana/

Fadnavis Years – The Game Changer

The Fadnavis Years charts the rise to political prominence of the youthful, ambitious, current Chief Minister of Maharashtra, and his governance models. It’s by first- time author Ashish Chandorkar, corporate honcho, Puneri via Indore, Calcutta and Chennai, and prolific Twitter user.

Geopolitics, historicity, and socio economic pawns align differently in each century or so on Maharashtra’s chessboard, causing unplanned moves across the country. Fadnavis’ elevation was one such move, and Mr. Chandorkar tracks it from his early student days, through an ABVP tenure, to being mentored by Messrs. Mahajan and Munde for the big break.

I grew up in a household directly concerned with Cooperative elements in agri processing in UP, and gaps in my personal experience are plugged in by the book. Aashish is in his elements when tracking the Maharashtra Cooperative movement, and the numerous infrastructure projects that Fadnavis actively lobbied for and won for his state.

In data dense, cannily crafted sentences, Aashish writes how over 40 years, *active Govt. control replaced a market oriented sugar industry value chain with a politician controlled travesty*. With the BJP confined to controlling 5% of cooperative sugar factories, it’s therefore commendably disruptive of PM Modi to choose a non-farmer, non-dominant caste CM, from a region (Vidarbha) notoriously ignored by previous regimes, based entirely on his track record and fitment with PM Modi ‘s vision of New India.

All of Mr. Fadnavis’ schemes are name-checked. SAHBHAG, AAPLE SARKAR, ASMITA, AMRUT, his CM Fellowship programme, that strike a balance between *Swarajya and Surajya*. Mr. Chandorkar devotes substantial time to Land (Mumbai Metro, Samruddhi Corridor), Sea (Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link) & Air (Navi Mumbai International Airport) projects. The RERA & P-May get their time in the spotlight as well, and one will be suitably rewarded if these sections are studied well, for they are an excellent primer and data repository on Maharashtra State policy.

Reading about Mr. Fadnavis negotiating tough for his State’s inclusion in literally every Central Govt. project of importance reminds one of brand managers fighting for marketing & sales promotion budgets for their brands. Which is how Fadnavis’ governance style is. He brings in outside support. Sets up a SWAT team to workaround obstreperous bureaucrats. He prepares for and communicates his elevator pitches frequently. It’s infuriating to contrast this with how Akhilesh Yadav frittered his mandate in his last two years. Mr. Yadav’s uncooperative attitude, coupled with lateral talent crunch, the lumbering Uttar Pradesh bureaucracy, & popular expectation of snout at trough, stymied the state at a time when the Central Govt. was hungry for development.

Fadnavis’ unqualified success with the Jalyukt Shivar (tracked through 2015-17), the politically courageous APMC reforms, and the subsequent hit on the NCP’s blatant political interference, all lead up to the horror of Bhima Koregaon. A reminder that New Indian politicians might be technocrats and able administrators, but the Old Guard doesn’t relinquish power that easily to new-fangled ideas.

Caste, always a massive factor in Maharashtra politics, has become an even bigger entity thanks to a bankrupt opposition using the only available weapon in their arsenal to counter the BJP Govt. The odd, and sad, part is that Indians recognise this as a political gimmick but justify and dismiss its damage potential as *politics*. Post the Bhima Koregaon episode, delicately explored by Mr. Chandorkar, it’s clear the Old Guard doesn’t have any vision for the future, except more caste based reservations, and emotional stoking of the electorate. The New Guard, focussed on development, attracting investment and managerial talent, doesn’t know yet how to tackle the return to 1970s’ socio-politics.

One aspect Mr. Fadnavis gets the most flak for on the internet is his handling of cultural and religious affairs. This being a policy handbook, Mr. Chandorkar keeps the scope narrow and restricted to one chapter (Staying The Course, pg. 144). As Mr. Chandorkar reminds us, Fadnavis is leading a minority Govt. with an unpredictable ally. Run out of cosmopolitan Mumbai with global financial linkages, all voters’ interests have to be accounted for. But these are issues that need to be addressed rigorously and impartially, perhaps somewhere else.

I like how the book runs in verticals (sections), while exploring horizontal themes that cut across. Without getting into a psychographic analysis of Mr. Fadnavis, Aashish has actually brought out more of him as a person. Fadnavis’ stint in Vidarbha in particular (inviting steel production, selling excess power, working his constituencies, seguing from separate statehood demand to rebalancing resource allocation in its favour to kill that same demand) is one that his real life and virtual opponents, and emulators, should do well to study.

Since every book has something of its author, I must add that I first met Mr. Chandorkar in person over breakfast in a small gathering of diverse folk. He is boyishly warm and very witty, and has injected the occasional sly turn of phrase to make you chuckle. The tone is largely neutral, and style a cross between a business hardcover and Tim Ferriss.

To my question as to why he wrote this book as his first, with this subject, he said “Our understanding of contemporary politics and current events is quite poor. We read history but we do not understand how things are working around us. So I wrote the book to narrate the present. Which also becomes a reference for later to assess how things panned out in the tenure of this government.” That clearly indicates a follow-up in the works.

The book assumes a certain familiarity with Maharashtra politics, or at least non-passive interest in it, and comes with a helpful executive summary, and exhaustive references. I can’t stress enough how packed with data the volume is, making it a modern Maharashtra state policy handbook than a mere recount of Mr. Fadnavis’ regime, and the money you spend buying it, is well-spent. Even those who may not vote like Mr. Chandorkar, can use this book to strengthen their submissions.

Aashish has clearly sat in a few meeting rooms off the corridors of power that he writes about – if there’s a political anecdote that can be recounted about Maharashtra politics, he has it. And that ultimately is the reason why the book works. It’s written by one of us, confidently moving through several worlds at the same time, about one of us who is applying the same skills but in a different, a tad unpredictable industry.

(The Fadnavis Years by Aashish Chandorkar can be purchased here)