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Archive for January, 2009

India Express Buzz , Sunday, February 01, 2009 2:39 AM IST

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CHENNAI: A three-day national seminar on Agamas-Theory and Practice was jointly organised by The Art of Living International Centre, Ved Vignana Maha Vidya Peeth, Bangalore, and the Department of Sanskrit of the University of Madras from Wednesday on.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual master, and founder of the Art of Living, inaugurated the seminar.

The seminar was aimed at dispelling the general impression that Agamas are meant only for worship.

Inaugurating the seminar, Ravi Shankar said, “Even in Varanasi, Agamas don’t exist. They’re coming from Tamil Nadu.” He wished that 20 research scholars at the University of Madras should become 200 and then 2,000 research scholars.

He said that today there’s a great need for the knowledge. We left Gnanakandam in Agamas and are into karmakandam. There’ll be strength only if gnanam and karma kandams are used together He also added that in a country where 85 per cent of Hindus are living, we could just count the Padasalas and Sanskrit schools. He later released the book on Agama: Dhyanapuspanjali The Registrar of the Madras University M Ranganatham presided over the function, while Dr R Nagaswamy, former director, ASI, TN Circle and Vice-Chancellor, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Vishwamahavidyalaya Enattur, Kanchipuram, delivered the key-note address. Agama Research Scholar Sambandha Sivacharyar was honoured at the seminar.

A multimedia presentation on Evolution of Indian Architecture by director of Bharat Gyan D K Hari was very interesting.Several scholars and 500 Samskrit students from various colleges and Agama Padasalas participated in the seminar.

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Sri Sri with Sri Lankan refugees at the Mandapam camp in Ramnad on Monday.

Express News Service RAMANATHAPURAM: The Sri Lankan crisis cannot be solved by military action and everyone should st rive to bring peace to the embattled country, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar said at Mandapam on Monday. Ravishankar, who reached Mandapam camp by helicopter from Tiruchendur, told mediapersons that the refugees were in a state of uncertainty. It was necessary to create trust among them. Action should be taken to ensure that their life continued undisturbed. He blamed some political leaders for handling the Lankan issue with selfish motives. The Centre should stop providing arms and other assistance to the Sri Lankan government for use against the Lankan Tamils, he said. He condemned the double standards adopted the Central government in treating the Lankan refugees and Bangladesh refugees. The former were not allowed to stay outside the camp after 6 pm while the Bangladeshi refugees were enjoying government benefits, including ration cards. Therefore, the government has to change its stand and the State government and the leaders should pressure the Centre to take action to solve the Sri Lankan problem, he said. Ravishankar said he intended to visit Sri Lanka to initiate peace talks for the benefit of the Tamils there. Otherwise, LTTE leader Prabhakaran’s fate would be similar to that of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussain, he pointed out. The government has to take all action to eradicate terrorism in the country. Students should be given training to lead a spiritual way of life instead being drawn by terrorism, he said. Earlier, Ravishankar blessed the Lankan refugees and distributed sarees and dhotis to them, before proceeding to Rameswaram.

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Despite rising threats of religious terrorism, Naxalism and natural disasters,
India is moving ahead. What makes India tick? India was born in the midst of
religious strife, violence and trauma. Religion has never been a unifying force
in the world. What accounts for India’s continued strength in the midst of such
religious and cultural diversity?

In this century, China has been held together by force while India has been
held together by cultural and spiritual bonding. Though religious
fundamentalism, caste violence, Naxalism and natural disasters have rocked
India in recent decades, the country’s resilience that is anchored in her
spiritual values has become far more visible in the world.

India is married to its principles: Liberty, spirituality and a nationalism
that honours universalism. It is one of the oldest civilisations on the planet.
When America was not yet discovered and Europe was in its Dark Age, India’s
glory was widespread. It was famed for art, architecture, spirituality and
trade.

Over the centuries, the country has faced and survived many challenges. On the
one hand, India has touched pinnacles of justice and equality, on the other
Dalits have been oppressed. India is a country of non-aggressive, humane
people, yet practices such as sati have prevailed. It is very difficult to
judge India. There is no midway: either people have a high opinion or low
opinion about India because it is full of opposites.

For centuries, India’s negative aspects have been projected over the good ones.
Fortunately, that’s changing. As a country, divided by language and caste and
subjected to centuries of humiliation, it continues to reel in low self esteem.
Like an elephant that can uproot trees but is scared of the mahout’s small
stick, India can be timid at times. Even the West has called it a sleeping
giant.

With one sixth of the world’s population, she could have already played a
bigger role. She now needs to take her rightful place on the world stage. For
this to happen, her people need to become more confident and take greater pride
in their cultural and spiritual roots. We have to harness our spiritual values
to fight terrorism and other social evils and to prevent our young minds from
turning to violence. The issue of Naxalism has to be addressed at its roots and
the misguided youth should be brought back to the mainstream. We have to remain
open to learning and innovation, rather than simply imitating Western consumer
and material values.

Today, we need to take steps towards:
– Providing Job-oriented education.
– Eradicating politics of corruption and malpractice.
– Encouraging the educated and the youth to take interest in social
development.
– Attending to the agricultural sector. While industry has flourished,
agriculture has been totally neglected.
– Improving basic hygiene
– Providing AIDS education
– Preventing female infanticide
– Ensuring judicial use of water resources

As the population continues to grow, solutions to these problems are still a
long way away. The wisdom, which was India’s glory, has been almost forgotten
and needs to be revived.

We should work for an India where there is no place for violence and terror,
the poor have both relief and justice, the middle class is free from fear and
frustration and is able to dream and to dare, and the affluent take social
responsibility and uphold human values. Let us hope for an India which is able
to take the best of its wisdom and traditions into the 21st century, both for
the benefit of ourselves and for the whole world family.

from http://www.zeenews.com/lifestyle/etc/2009-01-26/501760news.html

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