Vedanta, Swami Dayananda Saraswati once said, is something beyond that found in books. He described this school of thought as “your response to situations”, as something internal to each individual. This understanding lies at the foundation of the Vedic Wisdom Festival, organised by the Aarsha Vidya Foundation. To be held virtually on December 11 and 12, the fourth edition of this event looks at how traditional knowledge can help as the world seeks to find its equilibrium in the wake of the pandemic.
“The aim,” says Swami Brahmavidananda Saraswati, the founder of the festival and the foundation “is to provide authentic knowledge on what the Vedic tradition is about, especially in today’s world when there is so much confusion regarding Hinduism and the Vedas.” The feedback from the previous three years, he says, has been good with people learning “things they did not know before.” He hopes that the festival will help people “find the ability to face whatever happens with a sense of balance and equanimity. In our appreciation of the spiritual wisdom that our ancient Rishis have transmitted through the Vedas, we can live calmly, effectively and find a sense of fulfillment in our lives.”
Explaining how the programme is conceived, co-founder Swamini Brahmaprajnananda says that, while the emphasis is on Vedanta, other components of Vedic wisdom are also reflected. “Every year, we bring together teachers who have studied in a guru-shishya parampara in different disciplines who shine the light on Vedanta, Vedangas and auxiliary disciplines such as Upavedas (Ayurveda), Dhanurveda (warfare), Gandharva Veda (Music and Dance), Sthapatya Veda (Architecture), Itihaasa (Ramayana and Mahabharata), and so on.”
In this year’s sessions, Swami Brahmavidananda offers personal insights drawn from his experience in ‘How does Vedanta work for me’, while Swamini Brahmaprajnananda will speak about ‘The lessons the Bhagavad Gita holds for us today’. Dr. Parthasarathy, director and Chief Medical Officer, SDJ Ayurvedalaya, Coimbatore will focus on Ayurveda and mental health. A lec-dem on the ancient martial art of kalarippayattu by Belraj Soni, a presentation on temples by well-known historian Chithra Madhavan, the connections between yoga and Vedanta by Padmashri Gloria Arieira, a talk on Sanskrit by Anantharama Iyer and Swami Atmatrptananda’s discourse on From Music to the fulillment of Vedanta are also part of the programme.
“Times like these have reminded us that everything we anchored our lives and happiness on either drifted away or were in danger of drifting away, be it job security, good health, education of our children, travel, family gatherings etc,” points out Swamini Brahmaprajnananda. “sWith climate change looming large over humanity, the number of crises are only going to increase. A festival like this helps to offer insight, expand people ‘s hearts and minds, ground oneself so that we can not only survive but grow, thrive and contribute.
The festival is open to all. To register and for other details, visit https://www.vedicwisdomfestival.in