Vedic Culture Growing Popular Among Indian Diaspora

Vedic culture is still relevant and gradually becoming more popular among Indian diaspora, especially in the youth, said researchers and scholars at a seminar held in the national capital.

The World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES International) and Wider Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES India) organised an event titled “Scientific Aspects of Vedic Knowledge” from December 16 to 18, where the importance of Vedic culture in the contemporary world was discussed.


An aspect which was prioritised at the event was the presence and influence of Vedic culture among Indian diaspora. The speakers emphasised that the cultural events like music and dance have contributed a lot in keeping alive the Vedic culture.

Cultural activities are contributing a lot to keep the customs alive. In the Caribbean countries like the West Indies and Jamaica, the Indian-origin people are mostly from the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and they sing the folk music, this is how the customs are carried ahead,” Indrani Ramprasad, who is working as an independent researcher in Trinidad and Tobago, told IANS at the event.

Bal Ram Singh, organiser of the event and Professor at the School of Indic Studies, US, said that the Indian diaspora in the US is now gradually becoming aware of the existence of Vedic science and it is becoming popular among youths as well. “Lot of institutes and organisations like Chinamaya Mission, Ramakrishna Mission and even colleges have started organising Vedic classes in the US where the Vedic knowledge is being taught and the youths are showing interest to learn,” added Singh.

Not just the Indian diaspora, but the US people too are taking to the Vedic practices like Yoga, learning Vedas, and many are even opting for cremation instead of traditional burial.

Held at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the event saw seminars, discussions and interactive sessions on numerous topics related to Vedic culture.

Sessions were held on Vedic culture’s influence and existence in the lives of modern youth, integration of modern medical and ancient Vedic perspectives on overcoming ageing, reconstructing the contemporary world with Vedic science, nano technology and the Vedic science, rain forest and global water challenges with Vedic science, and some other.

We tried to bring into limelight the importance of Vedic culture in modern science and that’s the reason we took the angle for this year’s seminar. People are not so aware of involvement of science and Vedic culture and the seminar is to bring in focus on this subject,” Singh said.

(The above picked up from the wire service- Indo Asian News Service. IANS.)


Navaratri as the Celebration of the Female Shakti Culture of India

Dr. Bal Ram Singh, a Professor and Director of Botulinum Research Center, Executive Mentor of School of Indic Studies, Institute of Advanced Sciences, a former Professor of Biophysical Chemistry and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and Founding Director of the Center for Indic Studies at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, writes on value of ancient Indian traditions for the modern times.

 “Feminine force is that inner strength, that power, that will to face down any negative circumstances in life and defeat them.” -Georgette Mosbacher

India as a culture faces most negative attention, especially from the Western media and intellectuals, including political leaders who unceremoniously lecture India on things they need to learn from this ancient civilization.

There is always a hue and cry over women in India for one reason or the other, be it political leaders like Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Smriti Irani, Mayawati, Mamta Banerjee, Jaya Lalitha, etc., object of atrocities like Nirbhaya, Phoolan Devi, and many other rape victims throughout the country, activists like Vandana Shiva, Medha Patkar, Teesta Setalavad, etc., the spiritual leaders like Ma Amritanandamayi in Kerala, Anandamurti Guruma in Haryana, the Brahmakumaris in Rajasthan, Mother Teresa in Kolkata, Dr. Niruben Amin in Gujarat, and Didi Ma Ritambhara, who have millions of followers throughout the world.

As this is Navaratri and Dussehra time, we could use this festival to highlight some of the traditional ways in which India’s deep philosophies are practiced in regards to women. If we talk about the Navaratri goddess Durga, a word that comes from durg or fort. Durga is a symbol of fortitude, which comes to women naturally but men need to seek. Fortitude is a mental power, not necessarily the physical one.


In a recent study, scientists found women’s brain is more resilient – “Women are able to carry higher levels of genetic defects without getting brain development disorders such as autism, supporting the possibility of a ‘female protective effect’, according to the study as per a news in Australian Broadcasting News (February 28, 2014).The study published in The American Journal of Human Geneticsgives clues as to why fifty per cent more males typically have an intellectual disability than females, and why boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls.

Traditionally, women in India under ideal conditions have high place in the society – Durga, Saraswati, and Laxmi, the goddesses of strength, knowledge, and wealth, respectively. Even 30-40 years ago, at least in eastern Uttar Pradesh, the place where Nirbhaya’s parents come from, girls names had Devi added as a suffix. It reflects what society perceived and professed for women’s high place. Kanya puja is still common throughout the country. The points reflect that women in general reflect the sattvic thoughts and action. And, society prospers when that sanctity is maintained.

Manusmriti (3.56), an ancient book of memoir, states that –

yatra nāryastu pūjyante ramante tatra devtā 

यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवता:

This is wrongly translated as  – where women are worshipped that becomes god’s abode. The real translation would be that where women raise themselves to the level of being worshipped, gods make that place as their abode. The onus here is on the women to raise their level with their knowledge, practice, management, and caring of the society. Worshipping Monica Lewinskys of this world will not make this world abode of gods.

Women in Sanskrit are known as stree, which means they can possess satva, rajas, and tamasic gunas at the same time in their role of mother, sister/daughter, and marriage partners. They are capable of performing these functions concurrently, as in multi-tasking today. Multitasking is women’s second nature, and neuro-scientific studies will be enriched by such analysis.

According a recent report published in CBC News (March 03, 2016) quoting Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos, the director of the Brain Science Centre at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center “What we have found is that women, in many different tasks, process information about five times faster than men, and use much less of their brain to do identical cognitive performance.”

Man, on the other hand, is known as purusha (someone who pursues), because what women can accomplish/understand innately with their intuitive and perceptive power, men need to toil through learning, experiencing, and serving.

How is this difference possible? Women are right brain dominating individuals, whereas men are generally left brain dominated persons. Right brain performs intuitive functions such as art, literature, music, etc. whereas left brain is more analytical and performs math, language, technology type of operations. Right brain believed to operatefaster due to its parallel processing, and provides women with intuitive power much better than men. In India queens always sat along with kings to provide management to the kingdom, and in fact ruled their kingdoms in the absence of kings, and did well, including in battlefields.

In today’s intellectual world India as the rest of the world with few exceptions are considered as patriarchical as opposed to matriarchical society. This is not correct historically or practically, although men may have been assigned to manage the society more due to the foreign attacks the society faced in the past thousand years or so. Over five years ago, Tulsῑ Rāmayan stated that mother’s place is higher than that of the father. In Ayodhyākand Kaushalyā says –

‘jaun keval pitu ayesu tata। tau jani jahu jani badi mata’ 

जौं केवल पितु आयसु ताता। तौ जनि जाहु जानि बड़ि माता ,

which means if only father had given orders to Rām, then he did not need to go to the forest, since as a mother she holds higher position.

In Indian tradition a child is considered the most fortunate whose father is dharmatmā (righteous) and whose mother is pativratā (devoted to the husband). So, it is not easy to be an ideal mother and father. One has to work hard to reach that level, and ideal traits come from the sanskārs (values) of the family and society.

India’s daughters make majority of female graduate students in most US engineering graduate schools. That shows the true treatment of the daughters by a society, Nearly half of the Indian banks are headed by women, and have not defaulted unlike western banks. India’s housewives contribute most to the Indian economy, and Indian space programs, including its mission to Mars, is full of Indian women engineers. These are the true cultural reflections of India’s daughters, something Western world could easily learn.

In summary, women are naturally empowered, and have been accepted in Indian society as such, but it requires hard work to maintain the empowered state. They need to realize both their empowered state and the cost to maintain it. It will not come from government or modern feminist movements, which are based on ego, control, and division of the society.

विज्ञान, कामरेड कन्हैया, एवं वेदांत


– प्रोफेसर बलराम सिंह, सदस्य, बोर्ड ऑफ़ डायरेक्टर, वेव्स

BRSडॉ. बलराम सिंह, प्रोफेसर एवं प्रेजिडेंट, इंस्टिट्यूट ऑफ़ एडवांस्ड साइंसेज, डाटर्मॉउथ, यू एस ए, २५ सालों तक यूनिवर्सिटी ऑफ़ मेसाचुसेट्स, डाटर्मॉउथ, में केमिस्ट्री, बायोलॉजी एवं इंडिक स्टडीज के प्रोफेसर और डायरेक्टर रहे हैं। वे एक दर्जन पुस्तकों, ३०० रेसेरच आर्टिकल्स और करीब ४०० कांफ्रेंस प्रेसेंटेशन्स के लेखक रह चुके हैं।

9 फ़रवरी के जे एन यू के देशद्रोही नारों की घटना के बाद से ही कामरेड कन्हैया कुमार सिंह के बारे में बहुत कुछ सुनता आ रहा हूँ। बड़ी जिज्ञासा थी उनके बारे में जानने की विशेषरूप से जब से पता चला की वह भी मेरी तरह एक ग्रामीण क्षेत्र से है। 39 साल पहले मैंने भी गाँव से आकर जे एन यू में प्रवेश लिया था, यह बात और है कि मैं स्कूल ऑफ़ लाइफ साइंसेज में था और कामरेड कन्हैया कुमार स्कूल ऑफ़ इंटरनेशनल स्टडीज में। संभव है हम दोनों के अनुभव एक जैसे हों।

आखिर में कामरेड कन्हैया को शर्तिया जमानत मिलने के बाद पहली बार सुनने को मिला। मजा आ गया! कई कारण थे उसके। पहला तो कि उसने अपनी सारी बातें हिन्दी, वह भी ग्रामीण लहजे में कही। यह बात मुझे बड़ी भाई और मेरे अपने जे न यू में एडमिशन के इंटरव्यू का दिन याद दिला दिया। मैं स्कूल ऑफ़ लाइफ साइंसेज के 1977 तक के इतिहास में पहला व्यक्ति था जिसने हिन्दी में इंटरव्यू दिया था। दर असल पहले मेरे यह कहने पर कि मैं इंटरव्यू हिन्दी में देना चाहता था, मुझे  इंटरव्यू रूम से बाहर जाकर इन्तजार करने को कहा गया था। फिर काफी देर के बाद बुलाया गया और कहा गया कि अगर सवाल इंग्लिश मे पूछा जाय तो क्या मैं समझकर हिंदी में जबाब दे सकता था। मैंने यह शर्त स्वीकार करके इंटरव्यू दिया और सौभाग्य से मेरा सिर्फ एडमिशन ही नहीं हुआ बल्कि मुझे एडमिशन की लिस्ट में शीर्षस्थान भी प्राप्त हुआ।

उन दिनों जे एन यू में हिन्दी बोलने वालों को हेय दृष्टि से देखा जाता था, तो अब कन्हैया को हिन्दी में भाषण देते देख मैं तो गदगद हो गया, वह भी यह देखकर कि ना कि सिर्फ कामरेड टाइप के विद्यार्थी समझ भी रहे थे बल्कि हंसकर तालियाँ बजाकर प्रतिक्रिया भी जाहिर कर रहे थे।

मैं कन्हैया कुमार को कामरेड इसलिए सम्बोधित कर रहा हूँ क्योंकि एक तो मैं एक सेमेस्टर के लिए एस एफ आई का चरनिया सदस्य हो गया था। दूसरे उनके भाषण, खासकर उनकी वैज्ञानिकों से संवाद की रूचि से कामराडरी (सहमारगिता) उत्त्पन्न हुई है।

अभी हाल में ही  (दिसम्बर 27 – 30, 2015) मैंने कुछ देश विदेश के शिक्षक साथियों के साथ ही एक अन्तराष्ट्रीय वेदांत कांग्रेस जे एन यू में संचालित किया था। उसके पहले विंटर सेमेस्टर 2015 में जे एन यू में ही संस्कृत में विज्ञान एवं तकनीकी नामक कोर्स भी पढ़ाया था। वेदांत कांग्रेस में कई सेसन विज्ञान और समाज की समस्याओं पर थे जो की जे एन यू समेत देश विदेश के प्रोफेसरों एवं विद्यार्थियों द्वारा प्रस्तुत किये गये थे। उदाहरण के तौर पर ‘Vedantic Framework to Navigate through contention issue in contemporary science’, जिसे कि यूनिवर्सिटी ऑफ मासाचुसेट्स के प्रोफेसर सुकल्यान सेनगुप्ता ने प्रस्तुत किया था। Elizabeth Town College के प्रोफेसर जे फ्री लॉन्ग ने ‘Past life,  Memory, quantum Theory and Vedanta’ पर एक प्लेनरी प्रस्तुति की थी। यही नहीं एक पैनल डिस्कसन कामरेड के विशेष रुचिकर विषय ‘सामाजिक एवं आर्थिक समानता पर वेदांत की भूमिका’ के बारे में भी था, जिसमें डॉ. कौसल पवार, एक प्रतिष्ठित दलित शोधकर्ता, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय की अध्यापिका, जो कि जे न यू की एक शोध छात्रा भी रही है, एक एक्सपर्ट के रूप में शामिल हुई थी।

कामरेड कन्हैया के भाषण से ऐसा लगा कि उन्हें वैज्ञानिकों से संपर्क एवं संवाद की कड़ी उत्कंठा है, इसलिए मैं अपनी अगली यात्रा के दौरान (मार्च 10 – 25, 2016) चाहूँगा कि हम लोग मिलें और उनके द्वारा चिन्हित शोषित वर्ग, महिलाएं एवं दलितों की समस्याओं पर विमर्श करें। यदि वे चाहें तो मैं जे न यू के वैज्ञानिकों को भी आमंत्रित कर लूँगा जिनमें Professor R. K. Kale (दलित वर्ग) और Professor Pramod Yadav (OBC) को भी शामिल कर लेंगे।

इतने सारे प्रयासों की तत्परता के बावजूद भी मुझे कुछ अनुभाविक शंकाए हैं। उन्हें भी सबके समक्ष रखना आवश्यक समझता हूँ। ज्ञातव्य हो कि 22nd वेदांत कांग्रेस में भाग लेने के लिए स्वामी रामदेव को जे एन यू के Rector की तरफ से निमंत्रण भेजा गया था और उसका तीव्र विरोध जे न यू छात्र संघ की उपाध्यक्ष शेला रसीद ने न कि केवल विश्वविद्यालय प्रशासन से किया था बल्कि वेदांत कांग्रेस के विदेशी प्रायोजकों एवं उनके संस्थानों को भी लिखित रूप में देकर किया था। इसका मुझे साक्षात ज्ञान है क्योकि मैं भी उन विदेशी प्रायोजकों में से एक था। मैंने शेला रसीद के पत्र का 29 दिसम्बर को जबाब देते हुए उन्हें भी विमर्श के लिए आमंत्रित किया था। आज तक उसका उत्तर नहीं आया है।


फिर भी उम्मीद है इस बदले माहौल में, जहाँ कामरेड कन्हैया के भाषण के समय तिरंगा लहराया जा रहा था, देश की बर्बादी के जंग की बात दूर-दूर नजर नहीं आ रही थी, और भारत के टुकड़े करने वाले कामरेडों को अगल बगल भटकने नहीं  दिया गया था चाहे वह माननीय न्यायाधीश के आदेशों के अंतर्गत ही क्यों न किया गया हो, कामरेड कन्हैया अपने ग्रामीण परिवेश वाले इस बड़े भाई बलराम से वार्ता जरूर करेंगे।