1. FESTIVALS: Shri Ram Navami is celebrated on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra, corresponding to 1st April this year. On this day, when the five planets and the sun, etc. were in the first house of cancer at noon along with the lunar asterism Pushya, Ramachandra was born in Ayodhya.
Celebrations of Ram Navami start on Gudi padwa, the first day of Chaitra; and continue for 9 days. During this period, devotees do parayans of Ramayan, recite the Ramaraksha stotra, sing bhajans-kirtans in His praise and chant His name.
Wishing all our readers happy and prosperous Nava Samvatsar (Vishwavasunaam), Vikarami Samvat 2069 Yugabda 5114: Chaitra Shukla Pratipada, 23 March 2012
2. Hinduism in the twenty-first century: Delivering a lecture on “Hinduism in the Twenty-First Century: Challenges and Opportunities” organised by Social Cause at Mekaster Auditorium, Osmania University Campus in Hyderabad on February 29, Dr Frawley said: “Hinduism has become a much more positive term in the West than it was even a couple of decades ago, and has lost a lot of its negative colonial and missionary stereotypes. That Hindus in the West have a very high level of income and education, and upper level jobs, has gone very far to change the image of Hindus as economically deprived and superstitious, and makes them into an appealing commercial and political group. Hindus are now the best educated and most affluent minority in the US except for the Jews and have an average income twice that of other religious groups.”
The ability of Hindu dharma to spread in the coming century depends upon two factors—better education in Hindu dharma and Hindu culture; revealing greater connections between Hindu-based yoga and healing movements.
Since Bharat’s Independence in the middle of the last century Hinduism and Hindus have gained in resources and power. Dr Frawley articulated that he found a number of Western Buddhists to be philosophically Hindus or Vedantists. They accept karma and rebirth, the existence of the Atman, Brahman, Ishvara, but identify themselves as Buddhists because of their identification of Hinduism with reputed caste and other social inequalities.
Sri C Uma Maheswara Rao, Rtd. IAS officer presided over the function, while Dr Sahadeva Dasa, president, ISKCON, Secunderabad was the Guest of Honour in the meeting.
3. To fight for justice is the ethics of legal profession—SARSANGHA-CHALAK: "Keeping the professional morals high, advocates should be aware of their social responsibilities,” said RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat at Davanagere in Karnataka on March 4. He was inaugurating the ‘Advocates for Hindutva’ Conference.
About 1,400 advocates from different parts of the state, including Siddhalinga Swami of Harihara, M Ramakrishna, former Chief Justice of Assam and Jammu & Kashmir, CV Keshavamoorthy, senior advocate from Mysore, Justice Parvath Rao, national president of Adhivakta Parishad participated in the conference. Hindu Jagarana Vedike organised the event to commemorate its silver jubilee year.
“Lawyers, being a part of the judicial proceedings should ensure to protect the justice and social health, though legal arguments are carried for and against in a case. Hindutva is the only concept, which focuses upon global justice and to eradicate all kinds of injustices. There is a need to understand the concepts in Hindutva,” Shri Bhagwat added.
4. Congress gets a drubbing: Suffers crushing defeat in UP, Punjab and Goa: Much as the Congress may want to give a positive spin to the results of the Assembly elections in five States, the simple fact is that the party has fared disastrously.
Barring Manipur where it has won decisively, the Congress has either suffered a rout or performed far below its own expectations everywhere else. In Uttar Pradesh the Congress has come a cropper despite the party’s high decibel campaign which was led by Mr Rahul Gandhi and a galaxy of senior leaders, while in Goa the party has failed to reach, leave alone cross, the double-digit mark in the 40-member House, with the BJP sweeping the poll. Perhaps the most disastrous performance of the Congress has been in Punjab where the party had taken its victory for granted, fed by glowing feedback about its prospects from a host of sources, not excluding sections of the media. In the end, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine has admirably bucked anti-incumbency and retained power with aplomb, winning 68 of the 117 seats. The Congress had also willed itself into believing that it would post a handsome victory in Uttarakhand but there too the BJP has sprung a surprise, converting the contest into a nail-biting cliff-hanger. This is largely due to the efforts of Gen BC Khanduri who led the BJP’s campaign in this State. It’s a pity the General lost in his own constituency; his defeat is believed to have been manipulated by his detractors in the party.
It is amazing that in the face of these irrefutable facts the Congress continues to find cheer in the results and refuses to acknowledge the stark message: The people are seething with anger over the party’s terrible record of governance at the Centre — rampant corruption, runaway inflation, economic downturn and policy paralysis have conflated into a massive anti- Congress vote. Rather than seek to assuage bruised feelings, an arrogant Congress chose to ignore popular concerns. Instead, it focussed on divisive identity issues of caste, community and quota. For instance, it was obvious to everybody that the voter in Uttar Pradesh was straining at the leash to break free of past. But senior Congress leaders in their misplaced wisdom decided to talk less about the future and more about the past, giving short shrift to development and promising communal quotas. For the Congress, it was a Muslim-only election; a referendum on its communal agenda. Nothing else mattered. It sought to communalise the election by raising issues which had nothing to do with the State’s development. Its leaders spoke about the Batla House encounter of which most if not all voters were least interested. It offered ‘relief’ for weavers and a ‘package’ for Bundelkhand. In the end, nothing worked and the Congress has been rejected, its promises have been spurned, its ploy to divide voters along communal lines has been rejected. Similarly, the Congress’s game plan to polarise votes along community lines has fallen flat in Goa, where Christians have overwhelmingly backed the BJP led by Mr Manohar Parrikar. The BJP now has six Catholic MLAs in that State.
The Congress has failed to get the Church to do its bidding, as it did in the past. Indeed, the Goa verdict is a resounding response to unrestricted corruption facilitated by the Congress and the party’s utterly cynical politics.
In Punjab, the Congress was sanguine of winning the election for two reasons. First, voter preference in that State is known to oscillate between the Congress and the Akali Dal-BJP alliance. Second, the Congress believed it could secure the support of the deras and swing the votes of their followers in its favour. But as the results show, the people have opted to remain with the Akali Dal-BJP combine while rejecting interlopers without a convincing alternative agenda. Also, the deras have chosen not to interfere by issuing diktats to their followers.
A third factor has helped the Akali Dal- BJP combine: The youthful leadership of Sukhbir Singh and the sagacious presence of Parkash Singh Badal. In a sense, voters in this round of elections have opted for young leaders who are earnest, sincere and with whom the people can identify themselves and their aspirations. In Uttar Pradesh it’s Akhilesh Singh, in Goa it’s Manohar Parrikar and in Punjab it’s Sukhbir Singh. More important, voters have given their preferred parties a clear majority. It’s now up to them to deliver. -- Editorial The Pioneer 7 March 2012
5. ‘AN ALL-TIME HIGH VOTER TURNOUT REINFORCED FAITH IN DEMOCRACY’ – S Y QURAISHI: These elections involved about 20% voters of the country. They went off peacefully. Our meticulous planning and efficient execution paid dividends. The people’s participation was spectacular. An all-time high voter turnout in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa was the high point. It reinforced the faith of the electorate in democracy. It showed that if you talk to people directly, they respond.
6. 8000 year-old Sun temple found in Bulgaria: The oldest temple of the Sun has been discovered in northwest Bulgaria, near the town of Vratsa, aged at more than 8000 years, the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) reported on December 15 2010.
The Bulgarian 'Stonehenge' is hence about 3000 years older than its illustrious English counterpart. But unlike its more renowned English cousin, the Bulgarian sun temple was not on the surface, rather it was dug out from under tons of earth and is shaped in the form of a horse shoe.
The temple was found near the village of Ohoden.
This area of Bulgaria was previously made famous because remnants of the oldest people who lived in this part of Europe were found.
7. BHARAT TO REPLICATE CAMBODIA’S ANGKOR WAT: Built during the reign of Hindu King Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat is one of Cambodia’s prime tourist destinations. Bharatiyas who haven’t yet seen Cambodia’s 12th-century Angkor Wat temple have reason to cheer: the World Heritage site is being recreated on the banks of holy River Ganges, in the eastern state of Bihar. To be built by the privately-run Bihar Mahavir Mandir Trust, the temple will have five stories and stand 222-feet tall. It will be taller than Tamil Nadu’s Brihadeeswarar temple, making it the “tallest Hindu temple in the world,” The estimated cost of the 10-year long project is about $20 million, or one billion rupees.
“I have always been fascinated by the beauty and grandeur of Angkor Wat,” Acharya Kishore Kunal, secretary of the trust, told The Wall Street Journal. “Recreating the masterpiece would be a tribute to Bharat,” he added.
8. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO CELEBRATES HOLI: It was a photojournalist’s dream to see parents, children and some popular political figures, bathed in abeer and coloured powder (gulal) for Phagwa celebrations on March 10, at the Tunapuna Hindu School.
No one could escape the dye-filled water guns and ‘squeezy’ bottles, as the clothing of participants looked like expressionist art pieces. There was colour everywhere as children sprayed randomly at the faces and clothing of those who dared to be clean. Tassa drums, chowtaal singing and Hindi music filled the atmosphere as Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar arrived but she could not escape the colour-happy youngsters, as she was swamped by eager children waiting to cover her with abeer.
The festivities were organised by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Saba, and other attendees included the Minister of Education Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters, Minister of Public Utilities, Emmanuel George, Minister of Transport Devant Maharaj, and honoree Israel Khan, Senior Counsel, who also attended Tunapuna Hindu School in his youth.
“Celebrating events like Phagwa is a kind of renewal for the new generation. It helps us to place importance on where we come from,” said Persad-Bissessar on the occasion.
9. Hindus celebrate the spring season: The Hindu community celebrated the holiday on March 4 at the Hindu Association of West Texas Temple in Midland, USA throwing and painting the dried dyes on each other in exuberant fashion.
“You’re literally running around and coloring everyone. All of us dress up knowing our clothes and our hair will be smeared with colors,” Dr. Padmaja Patel, a HAWT trustee, said. “It brings out the child within us. Everyone enjoys it.”
“It’s not a festival for a god. It’s more of a symbolic thing for the coming of spring,” Palvasha Deme, 16, said. “We try to take traditions from Bharat and recreate it here.”
Holi is a time for the Hindu community in West Texas to come together and enjoy the new season.
“It can get a little playful, people want to be just enjoying themselves,” Patel said. “You’re welcoming spring and express the joy and warmth of the spring.”
10. Hindus, Muslims celebrate Dola festival together in Odisha: Hundreds of Muslim devotees of Phalirtakia village under Jagatsinghpur district have been celebrating Dola with the Hindus with traditional enthusiasm and fervor.
Several Burqua clad women and men wearing namaz-ki-topi (Skull Cap) with children in tow are waited huge numbers to offer prayers to the Hindu deity ‘Gateswar’ who visits Muslim Dargah named as Satya Pira Pitha during Dola festival, they believe
The Muslims of the Phakirtakia village offer Bhoga, coconut, flower, incense stick and dry colour to the visiting deity and greet Hindu priests and people accompanying God, in exchange the Hindu priests give them Bhoga and smear colour [ Abhira] at the graveyard and halts few minutes during that time.
11. Rare British era coin found in Bhadradri temple hundi: A copper coin dating back to the British era with images of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman on one side was found in the hundi of the Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy shrine in Bhadrachalam in the first week of March. The coin in the denomination of Rupees Two Annas Eight (Rs 2/8) was issued by the East India Company in 1762. The coin was dropped in the hundi by an anonymous devotee.
12. Kalam releases modern edition of ancient Sanskrit text: Former Rashtrapati Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, on March 14 released the modern edition of Sanskrit treatise "Brihaspati Samhita" on the sidelines of the centenary celebrations of city-based science organisation "Vijnana Parishad, Prayag." Comprising 3,000 verses, the version throws light on the advancements in weather sciences, agriculture and astrology in ancient Bharat.
"The compilation aims at dispelling the myth that the 'Brihaspati Samhita' deals only with astrology," Kalam said. Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of Bharat R Chidambaram was part of the event as well.
13. INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY -2012 IN BANGLADESH: Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW) with the assistance of Global Human Rights Defense (GHRD) observed International Women’s Day-2012 in Narayangonj near Dhaka on 8th March, 2012 with aims and objectives of theme of this year “Connecting Girls Inspiring Futures.
Ms. Sharmin Habib Binni – Penal MAYOR of Narayangonj City Corporation was the Chief Guest. Participants were taught how to become good citizen and work for the future prospects of the girls and become self dependent and morally strong. More than 200 participants attended the seminar and rally.
14. BHARATIYAS cross 3 million mark in US: A demographic snapshot of South Asians in the United States crunched out from the 2010 U.S Census by an NGO group shows the Bharatiya-American population in the U.S (including multiple ethnicities) grew 68 per cent over the 2000-2010 decade from 1.9 million to 3.19 million. Counting single ethnicity (discounting mixed race), the population grew from 1.67 million to 2.84 million in the same period. That made Bharatiya-Americans the third largest Asian-American group in the U.S after Chinese-Americans (3.79 million) and Filipino-Americans (3.42 million).
15. BrahMos cruise missile successfully test fired: The Bharatiya Army on March 4 successfully test fired the 290km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile at the Pokharan range in Jaisalmer to operationalise the second regiment of the weapon system in service. The test was witnessed by senior Army officials including Vice-Chief Lt Gen Shri Krishna Singh and Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen AK Chaudhary.
16. Vatican keeps extensive collection of Hindu texts: Catalogue search reveals books on Rig-Veda, Atharva-Veda, Sama-Veda, Upanishads, Mundaka-Upanishad, Brhadaranyaka-Upanishad, Chandogya-Upanishad, Katha Upanishad, Svetasvatara-Upanishad, Bhagavat-Puran, Devimahatmya, Ramayana, Valmiki-Ramayana, Tulsidas-Ramayana, Mahabharata, Nala-Damayanti, Bhagavad-Gita, Parsuram, Mira, Wise Sayings of Bhartrhari, Bhaktiyoga, Krishna, Ramcharitmanas, Ramanuja, Brahma, Brahmanas, Hindu civilization, Hindu manners-customs-ceremonies, Hindu music, Hindu pantheon, Hindu psychology, Hindu theology, Yoga, Hinduism, Yoga-system of Patanjali, Yogic Powers and God Realization, etc. This Hindu collection is in various languages and some of the editions are as old as 1819.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), applauding Holy Seer and Pope Benedict, said that it was a remarkable gesture and a step in the right direction to understand each other.
17. Nagpur Cultural Centre doing yeoman's service for artists: The South Central Zone Cultural Centre (SCZCC) is one of the seven centers set up by the Ministry of Culture to revive dying art forms, help artisans, musicians and dancers, other centres being at Patiala, Udaipur, Nagpur, Thanjavor, Kolkata, Allahabad and Dimapur. A large number of performing artists, painters, folk dancers, sculptors and craftsmen have been benefited over a period of time with their bonding with the SCZCC which is catering to four states-Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
"Nagpur-based SCZCC came into existence on 2nd October, 1986 and has been organising folk dance festivals, workshops, theatre shows, classical music and dances programmes among other activities. The centre is engaged in preservation, promotion, dissemination, development of Lalit Kala in general and folk and tribal arts in particular," Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) and SCZCC Director Ravinder Kumar Singhal said.
The SCZCC spread over about four acres houses an art gallery, a research and documentation cell, an amphitheatre and a sales emporium, Singh, who is a 1996 batch IPS officer.
18. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravaas: Shri Ravi Kumar, Sahsamyojak will leave for Thaialnd Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. Dr Ram Vaidya Sahsamyojak will leave for UK.
Visitors: Shri Vishwa Niketan, Delhi had the privilege of receiving more than 200 distinguished elders from different parts of the world who came to Bharat to participate in the 4th International Conference and Gathering of the Edlers of Ancient Traditions and Cultures held at Haridwar. Elaborate arrangements were made to receive them at their arrival, to make their halt at Delhi comfortable and to send them back to their respective countries after the event at Haridwar.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Raaslila, the unending play of uninterrupted, unfettered love is Krishna’s everlasting divine world, Nityaloka. Its wordly manifestation, in realms beyond Kala or Time, was held in Vrindavan. – Sree Sree Maa.
JAI SHREE RAM
4th International Conference
Gathering of the Elders of Ancient Traditions and Cultures
4th International Conference
Haridwar, a holy city known for the Kumbh Mela where over 100 million devotees had gathered last year, saw a Kumbh with a difference this year. Over 400 delegates belonging to 50 traditions from all over the world assembled from 4-7 March 2012 for the 4th International Conference and Gathering of the Elders of Ancient Traditions and Cultures at Dev Sanskriti Vishwa Vidyalaya. There were Maoris from New Zealand, Mayans and Navajos from the Americas, European Pagans, Balinese Hindus, Romuva from Lithuania and many others. These delegates discussed the ways and means of preserving the priceless ancient traditions and cultures inherited from their ancestors and share their experiences.
Since its inception at Nagpur in 1994 the International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS) has been active in reaching out to all the ancient traditions of the world, exploring the commonalities in them and bringing them together to foster the sense of oneness in humanity. It promotes the preservation of these traditions and cultures and engages in academic research. From 2003, it organizes an international gathering every three years which is now established as a platform for all such traditions to exhibit their heritage, find similarities existing in other parts of the world and resolve for efforts to sustain these traditions.
The first international conference was held at Mumbai in 2003 with the theme “Mitakuye Oyasin – We are all related”. It was attended by delegates from more than 30 countries. The second conference was in 2006 at Jaipur with the theme “Spirituality beyond Religions”, attended by delegates from more than 40 countries. The third conference was held in 2009 at Nagpur with the theme “Renaissance of the Ancient Traditions: Challenges and Solutions” where more than 357 delegates attended from 32 countries. The theme of this 4th Conference was ‘Nourishing the Balance in the Universe’. The event was jointly organized by International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS), Dev Samskruti Vishwa Vidyalaya (DSVV) and co-sponsored by the Council of Elders Mayas, Xincas and Garifunas, European Congress of Ethnic Religions (ECER) and Children of Mother Earth. A total of 458 delegates from 33 countries including 178 from overseas participated in the conference.
Procession and Inaugural Session
The conference started with a colorful procession by all the delegates in their traditional attires accompanied with rhythmic dances to the tunes of trumpets and beating of drums. The procession went around the campus of Dev Samskriti Vishwa Vidyalaya (DSVV) and culminated at the spacious and modern Mrutunjaya Auditorium. Latvians with their baritone prayers, Maoris in colorful attire and dancing Damais from Karnali - Nepal were the attraction throughout the procession.
The inaugural session started with the welcome song by the students of DSVV. Prof. Dr Radhey Shyam Dwivedi, President ICCS, USA welcomed the delegates to the Conference. He mentioned that we are all a large family and this was a gathering of relatives. This was followed by prayers by 23 representative individuals and groups of various traditions like, Mayan, Maori, Druid, Navajo, Cham, Romuva, Ramava, Pagan, etc from different parts of the world. These prayers invoked the Universal Spirit but in a variety of ways and languages.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati founder of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam delivered the Keynote Address. He said that as ‘managing trustees’ of the indigenous traditions and colorful cultures we need to protect all that we have inherited from our ancestors. Every one of us should be able to contribute in these efforts and nourish our cultures and traditions. Dr. Pranav Pandya, Chancellor, DSVV thanked the organizers for providing his university a chance to host such a wonderful conference at its premises. He observed that it is our duty to preserve the precious diversity. A souvenir magazine was released at the hands of the dignitaries. ICCS representative and Vishwa Vibhag Samyojak Shri Saumitra Gokhale and Professor S. C. Bagri representing Bharatn Hospitality Congress also addressed the inaugural session. Shri Suresh Soni, Joint General Secretary, RSS, Dr.S D Mishra Vice Chancellor DSVV and Dr.Chinmay Pandya, Pro VC – DSVV were among those present on the dais along with various dignitaries.
The typical daily schedule started with the demonstration of ceremonies and rituals of the different cultures. Several similarities like use of fire, water for their performance was quite evident. There were also many that were unique. The rituals performed by the delegates exhibited the harmony of cultures, traditions and customs of different groups. Worshipping Nature was the underlying principle of these cultures and traditions. Though in different ways, they all worshipped the five basic elements of Nature i.e. Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Sky. “Love Mother Earth” was the message that emanated from all these rituals and religious ceremonies.
After breakfast was a plenary session in which scholars from various traditions spoke on topics and issues relevant to all. This was followed by three parallel sessions that included paper presentations on various sub-themes by speakers from various traditions. Many papers generated a lot of interest and lively interaction as well. Just to quote some paper headings; ‘Lasting World Peace for Every human being’ – Nina Meyerhof, ‘Finding Balance in a Chaotic World’ – Rev Patrick McCollum, ‘Yoga’s Approach to Universal Balance’ – Rajen Narayanan etc.
From 6 to 6.15 p.m. there would be a nada yoga and meditation session with total silence and tranquility. On 6th March, four parallel workshops were conducted in which practical topics that needed more hands-on participation were included. Some topics were, ‘Elemental approach to Conflict resolution – the Eastern Way’ by Deidre Combs, ‘Native Indian Story telling’ by S. D. Young Wolf.
The much awaited event used to be the colorful and spectacular evening cultural programs that were held from 8 to 10 p.m. These were put on by the delegates on the first and the third day. The students of DSVV provided an assortment of folk dances and shows on the second evening. These were most entertaining and the performers would always amaze the audience by their talent and skills. The pulsating activities of the day would come to a close with the recitation of the shanti mantra after which the delegates would silently retire to their quarters.
The Valedictory function was held from 3.30 to 5 p.m. on the 7th of March. Dr. Pranav Pandya, Chancellor, DSVV and P. P. Sarsanghchalak of RSS Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, started the proceedings by the lighting of the lamp. Shri Shyam Parande, Zonal Coordinator of ICCS, Bharat welcomed the gathering and gave a brief account about the conference. This was followed by a geet – ‘Vishwa Hamara, Dharati Apani’, rendered by the students of DSVV that portrayed the vision of Late Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya, the founder of Gayatri Pariwar.
Five dynamic and promising young elders namely Inra of Vietnam, Cholponai of Kyrgyzstan, Katrina Pihera of New Zealand, Ghulam Asgar Zaidi of DSVV, Haridwar and Lyla Johnston of USA spoke about their dreams, ideas, aspirations and expressed their feelings that they have experienced in the 4-day conference. Each of them confessed that the four days of interactions have been their finest experience in life and a great learning opportunity.
Awarding of Hon. Ph. D
Setting a new precedent, University of World Ancient Traditions and Cultural Heritage, USA (UWATCH) awarded Honorary Ph. D. degrees to five eminent personalities for their knowledge of the tradition, distinguished leadership and outstanding social service to their respective traditions. Dr. Pranav Pandya and Dr. Mohan Bhagwat conferred the degrees to the recipients. Brief introduction of the five recipients is as follows. The awardees were Kenneth Kennedy of New Zealand - a Kaumatua (Elder) of the Te Arawa tribe and an acknowledged expert in Maori Language and culture, Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj of Guatemala - a Grand Elder of the National Council of Elders of Mayas, Xincas and Garifunas of Guatemala, Jonas Trinkūnas of Lithuania – a father figure in the revival and popularization of the ancient Baltic faiths of the Lithuanians and chairmen European Congress of Ethnic Religions (ECER), Grand Chief Stan Beardy of Canada - Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Jagdeo Ram Uraon - President of Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram. This was followed by soul stirring traditional prayers by Pat McCabe a Navajo from USA and Solyomfi Nagy Zoltan of Hungary representing White Horse tradition of the Huns.
Dr. Pranav Pandya, Chancellor, DSVV, in his presidential address remarked that incomprehensible damage has been done to ancient cultures and traditions by a few groups who could not appreciate the diversity. He recalled the Mayan belief that a New Era is due in 2012 and proclaimed that the DSVV would be the epicenter of the same and hoped that differences would melt and future is sure to be of humanity seeking welfare and wellbeing of everyone.
Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak of RSS, delivered the keynote address where he stressed the need to nourish the balance of nature. He praised the efforts and resolve of the Elders in preserving their traditions and cultures. He recalled the priceless treasures of Bharatn thought like ‘Live and Let Live’, ‘Unity in Diversity’, ‘World is one family’ & ‘Let us ennoble the world’ and remarked that these have extreme relevance today. Universal outlook is the hallmark of Bharatiya thought and the happiness and well-being of everyone is always sought, he reminded. Dr. Bhagwat stated that it is only through integral view and not compartmentalized view that we can bring about the change in attitude. He also felt that it is our responsibility to show to the world that the age old traditions have solutions to modern problems. We have to become the instruments of change and for this we need to organize ourselves for the benefit of everything in this creation he concluded.
The 4-day event had transformed the delegates who arrived as strangers but returned as relatives. They felt empowered with the new connections and network. They could communicate with each other not with the help of a language but by their love, warmth, respect and affection for each other. The delegates returned with a renewed vigor and a greater clarity as to why the revitalization of their traditions is the need of the hour for the welfare of the world through a balanced and holistic approach.
Like Inra Jaka, who represents the small community of native Cham Hindus of Vietnam, convincingly stated that his struggle to retain everything that he finds closer to nature including arts, clothing, and philosophy is strengthened through this conference. His conviction for preservation of his tradition has grown thousand fold now.
Dr. Gulnara Aitpaeva attended such Gathering in Bharat for the first time and before setting off for her group’s journey back home to Kyrgyzstan said, “we would be attending the next conference in larger number and would also try to get representation from our neighboring countries. This conference has bolstered our self confidence.” Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy was humbled and honoured to be the Indigenous representative for North America at the Conference.
During the conference, ICCS’ Tampa, Florida campus, honoured a selected few indigenous leaders from across the world, who have worked hard to preserve and maintain their ancient culture, while at the same time finding ways to move their communities forward within modern life. At this year’s conference, ICCS’s education arm, the Research Institute of World’s Ancient Traditions, Cultures and Heritage (RIWATCH USA) honoured, NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy, as the sole recipient from North America.
Some of the distinguished elders who participated in conference were Elizabeth Araujo, Maya from Gautemala; Mother Nana Aphadu, African from Ghana; Zoltan, Aitparera, Pagan from Hungary; Aitpaera Gulnara, Pagan from Karzystan; Grand Chief Stanley Bearly, Native American from Canada; S.D. Young Wolf, Native American from USA, Patricia MaCabe, Native American from USA, Rav Patrick McCullum, Native American from USA; Vytautas Tumenas, Romuva from Lithuania; Ramants Jansons, Romuva from Latvia; Lue Sanh Thanh, Cham Vietnamese Hindu from Vietnam; Megumi Shimammoto, Japnies from Japan; Malcohn Tukinoshort, Maori from New Zealand; Kenneth Cameron Kennedy, Maori from New Zealand; Piotr Winch, European Pagan from Poland; Philip Carr Gomm, Draid from UK, Mani Bahadur, Damai Hindu Tribe from Nepal, Bholanath Yogi and Govind Khaphle, Hindu from Nepal; Totok Paron (Prist), Adi from Arunachal Pradesh Bharat, Mishimbu Miri, Idu Mishmi from Arunachal Pradesh, Bharat.