The first convocation of Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV) held on Sunday, 06 January 2021, was a momentous event for all those who are directly or indirectly connected with CVV. Owing to the pandemic, the ceremony was held online. But that did not dampen the spirit or enthusiasm among students, parents, faculty, staff, management and the extended CVV family. The preparations went on for days to make the first convocation a memorable one.
The event got off on an auspicious beginning with a beautiful prayer by Sreelakshmi Iyer (third-year B.A. Sanskrit). The Kulageetam sung by Deekshita Muthukumar (B.A. Sanskrit), Sreenidhi Sriram (B.A. Applied Psychology), T. K. Amritasai (B.Com.) and E. S. Sruthilaya (B.Com.) set the stage for the events to follow.
Prof. Nagaraj Neerchal (Vice Chancellor) welcomed everyone to the first convocation being held for the 2017 and 2018 batches together. CVV, now five years old, has produced two batches of UG, three batches of PG and several diploma holders. He remembered everyone who has played a role in the making of CVV from day one, making real Gurudev’s sankalpa of a university – the founding Chancellor Swami Tejomayananda and the current Chancellor Swami Swaroopananda who revealed the sankalpa to the entire world; Swami Advayananda and Swami Mitrananda, under whose guidance the initial structure of the University was laid by the first Registrar Sri Suresh Subramanian; the first Vice Chancellor Prof. B. Mahadevan, the first Dean Prof. Srinivas Varakhedi with the able assistance of Sri. N. M. Sundar (Executive Trustee) and Smt. Pramodini Rao (Director, Chinmaya Naada Bindu Gurukula).
Dr. AppaRao Mukkamala (Managing Trustee) said CVV is the manifestation of the maha sankalpa of Pujya Gurudev, made possible by the generous donations from Chinmaya devotees and supporters worldwide. Dr. AppaRao then introduced the Chief Guest for the day, Sri. Arif Mohammad Khan, Governor of Kerala, a highly respected thinker. Sri. Arif Mohammad Khan started his political career as a student leader, thereafter was a member of the Legislative Assembly, and later a Member of Parliament. Sri. Khan's administrative capabilities were nationally noted during his ministerial tenures. He is an author and a well-known writer and columnist on various matters including religious reforms. A voracious reader, his lectures on various topics are very popular among universities and other audiences across the country.
In his keynote address, Sri. Arif Mohammad Khan, Governor of Kerala, remembered Gurudev and his immense contribution to preserving and propagating Indian culture. He quoted the definition of the worth of a scholar from one of our scriptures, explaining it thus, “Scholarship and kingship are not comparable. A king is respected in his own land, whereas the scholar is respected everywhere. But this respect also comes with great responsibility of employing one’s education to serve society.”
Further, he said, “The graduates of a university are duty-bound to place the problems of human living at the heart of every academic pursuit and serve humanity by using their wisdom.”
He explained how Gurudev’s philosophy was about stimulating right actions, akin to placing a lamp in our hands so that we find our way. “The aim of any university should be to help the students to think right and act nobly. It places a lamp in our hands which throws light on our path ahead. But it is our thoughts and actions for human welfare that would make it brighter. Indian thought always considered universal welfare as the greatest bliss. Sarve bhavantu sukhinaha…maa kashid dukh bhaag bhaved.”
The Keynote Address was followed by felicitations by Prof. Ajay Kapoor (Vice Chancellor Designate). He complimented the faculty and staff and urged the students to remember the hard work put in by the faculty and staff for their education and thank them in their hearts. He also urged them to think of their parents and be grateful to them for their sacrifices and support in getting them educated as well as friends and relatives who have all played a role in their lives. He also asked the faculty and staff to think of the students who have given them this incredible opportunity to reach this convocation day and bless them for a successful future.
After greeting everyone, Prof. Gauri Mahulikar, Dean, with visible joy presented the graduates from the 2017 and 2018 batches. A video procession of the graduates followed. Below is the list of students who have graduated.
Swami Swatmananda (Director of All India Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (AICHYK) and In-charge of ACIHYK’s unique initiative, the Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP)) made a presentation of what YEP is. Launched in 2003, the YEP aims at empowering youth to empower others. It involves three months of training followed by nine months of service to the nation. After ten successful batches, in 2016, AICHYK joined hands with CVV to offer a PG Diploma in Youth Empowerment and Philosophy (YEP). Swamiji presented the graduates of the 2017 batch of this first PG Diploma in YEP.
This was followed by the much-awaited announcement of the Gold Medallists for 2020 and 2021 by the Dean – Anagha Pradeep (B.A. Sanskrit) and Aashika Aanie Kuruvilla (B.A. Applied Psychology) respectively. The students then shared their experiences.
In her Valedictorian Speech, Anagha said, “I took courage to step up to my passion and join the University that had just received a UGC approval. But today, I'm very confident and proud to say that I wouldn't have been as good as I am if I hadn't joined this University.”
Aashika said, “We all had different journeys, but today we are all winners passing out with the best lessons of life. I will not say that what we have learnt here, we would not have learnt from anywhere else. But I am glad that I learnt it from here because it helped me not with ready-made solutions but facilitated self-exploration.”
Next, Prof. Gauri Mahulikar shared a brief explanation of the Shikshavalli from the Taittiriya Upanishad. She said, “The Sikshavalli chapter of the Taittiriya Upanishad has a convocation address by the guru, giving the students his parting advice for the pursuit of happiness”. Vidwan Dr. R. N. Nagendra Pavana (Assistant Professor, School of Vedic Knowledge Systems) chanted the Shikshavalli adding an auspicious aura to the already vibrant event.
Swami Advayananda (Trustee) reminded the students that they are truly blessed for having had the rare fortune of studying at the birth home of Sri Adi Sankaracharya. He reminded them that no matter where they go, they will always be CVVians and torchbearers of this great vision of CVV. He wished them success and fulfilment as they succeed and achieve great things and bring glory to our nation and happiness to this world. He went on to add, “The knowledge you have gained, unless it is applied in day-to-day life, the knowledge does not add value. An ounce of practice is worth tons of knowledge… As you go through life’s ups and downs, what will hold you in good stead, will help you to manage all challenges is spiritual wisdom, cherish it.”
He reminded them that the foundational principles of CVV are ever enshrined in them. “With Purity, Spirituality, Applicability and Innovation conquer the world. Nothing is impossible. You will achieve all that your heart wishes for. You will be capable of everything that you dream and desire.”
In his convocation address, Pujya Swami Swaroopananda (Chancellor) expressed his limitless joy as on this historic day – the first convocation where the first batch of students are graduating from the first-of-its-kind university Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, that integrates ancient knowledge with contemporary knowledge. Sharing his life lessons, he said, “Life is a learning process. Our learning should never come to an end. There is no limit to the knowledge that we can gain… Knowledge is not mere information gathering; rather it is what I understand and what I do with that knowledge… That knowledge which I put into practice, which I am intelligent enough and alert enough to remember and bring into practice becomes my wisdom.”
He expressed his gratitude to people around the world who have in whichever way contributed to making possible this great vision of grandeur and love. The Convocation Address ended with Swamiji invoking the blessings of Bhagwan and the great masters on everyone.
Dr. Soumya S. (Register In-Charge) congratulated the students and thanked everyone who made the event possible, including the office of the Governor of Kerala. The spectacular programme ended with the singing of the National Anthem.