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कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम्




By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

The Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar did it again and did it with great aplomb. This great institution of international repute, founded by Swami Shraddhanand more than a century ago, was host to hundreds of Vedic scholars who had come from far and near to put their heads together to find a solution to myriad mental and physical ailments of men and women of the present day world. I must hasten to add that it was not a meet of medics. Indeed it was a meet of the Vedic scholars who delved deep into minds of men to encourage them for a healthy and happy living. They fathomed the uncharted depths of human ocean to churn it and see the outcome. Of course, as a legend has it, when last time the ocean was churned by the devtas and the asuras, both nectar and poison came out. Amrit and vish are symbolic of joys and sorrows of life. To make a successful living, members of the human society have to share the joys and sorrows of life. Indeed that is what life is all about. The Gurukul Kangri was at it once again like a good samaritan for a good cause.

Intellectually it was a gigantic show. The dramatis personae comprised sages,saints and Sanskrit scholars. Politicians of all hues were not in evidence at any stage. It was not their show. None of their ilk could steal the thunder. None tried lest the Vedic Vajra chastised him. Swami Avdheshanand Giri, head of the age-old Juna Akhara made his presence felt at the inaugural ceremony on 9th February 2007 as the chief guest. He spoke well and what he said was to the point. On the hallowed grounds of the Gurukul he himself felt inspired and said he would do more to be in touch with the society at large to ameliorate the hardships of the common man. Pundit Ram Nath Vedalankar, a nonagenarian Vedic scholar and writer of a treatise on the Samveda, was a guest of honour. He and four others who had distinguished themselves in the promotion of Sanskrit learning were mentioned in despatches. Eulogies were read in their honour and the audience lapped it. There were speeches galore until the listeners felt that enough was enough. It was wise on the part of the ace organiser and compere, Dr Mahavir, to call it a day at the appropriate time.

A mention of the Acharya and brahmacharinis of the Dronsthali Kanya Gurukul, Dehra Dun will be in order. Acharya Annapurna Ji and a dozen or so of her disciples rendered the Vedic mangalacharan and gave a demonstration of correct chanting of the mantras and both were pleasing to ears. They have carved out a niche for themselves and their alma mater in the hearts of men and women of the Vedic world.

The Vedic scholars reassembled after lunch in smaller study circles to read and discuss their research papers. By and large the sessions were sedate. The scholars read their own papers, unmindful of the hard realities of this mundane world. Hair splitting at times is the bane of such scholastic gatherings where everyone considers himself superior to the rest of the assembly. Luckily, women who formed a sizeable chunk of the intelligentsia remained untouched by such lowly emotions. Some of them maintained scholarly dignity coupled with royal aloofness. Their intellectual chats were more meaningful, so thought detached observers. Of course, some misogynists held views diametrically opposite and did not fight shy in giving vent to their feelings. All said and done, it was indeed good fun to be around in their company.

Day One came to a close with a poetic symposium enriched by local talents, specially students. It was heartening to note that there was no dearth of talented young men and young women who recited their own poems and enthralled the audience. Initially the crowd was restive and wished to retire for the day after dinner but as the students recited poems in a spirited manner, without imbibing any spirited fluid, the atmosphere eased. Dr Mahavir, the evergreen compere, was at his evening best, notwithstanding the tiring days and nights of hard preparations for the D Day. His labour and that of his well-knit team, was bearing fruit. Seeing was believing.

Day Two came and went unnoticed. There was not much fanfare. It was a poor cousin of the inaugural session. On His Blindness, Milton says : They also serve who stand and wait. Certainly there were contributions made to the scholastic world on the second day too. The scholars had gathered in their designated study circles to read and discuss the allotted papers bearing stamp of their research. Some scholars like Dr Shashi Prabha Kumar of the Jawaharlal Nehru University came, presided over a session and left unobtrusively. Nonetheless, her and that of other esteemed scholars’ contribution to the scholarship of the assembled men and women did not go unnoticed. Dr Vikram Viveki, head of the Dayanand Peeth of the Punjab University,Chandigarh stayed for the three-day session and made a quiet but meaningful contribution to the deliberations.

A colourful evening was on the cards. Some artists from Karnatka had prepared a special cultural programme for the delegates of the Ved ,Vedang and Vidwat Sammelan. In fact we all looked forward to having a rewarding evening. The rain god,however, willed otherwise. It not only rained but poured. Cancellation of cultural programme was the only alternative. What a disappointment it was. We took it in our normal stride,though. A Kavi Sammelan was hastily organised. It did its bit to lift the spirits of the tired scholars.

An animated discussion took place in the last scholastic session on Day Three in the auditorium of the department of Management Studies. It was about a question of correct accent on a letter or a syllable in a mantra here or there and the meaning thereof. A free for all was about to break but saner emotions had better of the situation. Professor Ved Prakash Shastri, the Pro Vice-Chancellor was on the podium. He intervened and pacified the feuding scholars. He was like a fire brigade extinguishing flames of fire leaping to engulf one and all. Nonetheless, the heat generated produced some light too and enlightened the snoozing scholars who were trying to make up for the last night’s lost sleep. All is well that ends well.

Eyes were tearful in the valedictory function. Prof Swatantra Kumar, Kulpati of the Vishwavidyalaya presided. He praised the contributions made by scholars who had come from all corners of the country and some from across the seven seas. He said that such scholastic meets would go on in the interest of common man. Mahamahopadhyaya Dr Satya Vrat Shastri was the chief guest of the finale. He read his paper in chaste but simple Sanskrit. It was highly appreciated. The audience gave a roaring applause when the moving spirit behind the mammoth meet, Dr Mahavir was honoured with a shawl and flowers by the Kulpati and the Mukhya Atithi as well as the Acharya and Up Kulpati. Indeed everyone assembled there had a good word to say about this scholar-administrator. Some of the lecturers who burnt the midnight oil to make the meet a grand success were honoured too. There were many lensmen around who clicked at every opportunity. None of them was disappointed.

Shanti Path was a signal that the show was over. What a grand show it was. A roaring success indeed! AUM SHANTIH SHANTIH SHANTIH.

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