NFSI 2020 Lead-up Events
Event 1: A talk on Ramarajya as the Desired Future for the Entire World: Review of Sw. Karpatraji's Life and Works
As a lead-up to the 4th edition of the International Conference on New Frontiers in Sanskrit and Indic Knowledge (NFSI) 2020, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth organised a talk on ‘Ramarajya as the Desired Future of the Entire World: Review of Sw. Karpatraji’s Works and Vision’ on 22 October 2020. Mr. G. V. Pranav Kumar Vasishta, Independent Researcher, Poornapamati, was the speaker.
This was the first among the lead-up events comprising a series of talks and paper presentations leading up to the NFSI Conference. The talk followed the line of argument of ‘How people who were dispassionate about life viewed the ideas of Dharma and Niti’. The speaker highlighted the categorical thinking of Sw. Karpatraji, as opposed to the consequentialism deep entrenched in contemporary jurisprudence and policy thinking.
‘How did Ramarajya, which focused on Varnashrama, emphasise the realisation of Purusharthas of every human being?’; ‘If Samudradharana is considered antithetic to Dharma, how can foreign ministries function in a government?’ were some of the interesting questions discussed. The speaker presented how Sw. Karpatraji has addressed these questions through his works and his life as well.
The talk was aimed at introducing the method and thought process of Sw. Karpatraji to the people, for them to appreciate, contemplate and reflect upon.
Event 2: Online Vakyartha Sabha on लोकतः अर्थप्रयुक्ते शब्दप्रयोगे शास्त्रेण धर्मनियमः क्रियते
Prof. Ganeshwar Nath Jha made an exemplary Vakyartha on the second vartika of Vyakarana that is लोकतः अर्थप्रयुक्ते शब्दप्रयोगे शास्त्रेण धर्मनियमः क्रियते. The main crux of the talk was about the three vikapās that was done in the mahābhāṣya on the word ‘धर्मनियमः’. Many objections were raised by the audience in this regard which were all answered by the speaker.
One of the objections was, ‘why is it not possible to take the meaning of‘parisaṁkhyāvidhiḥ by the word नियमः in the vārtika’. It was refuted by the speaker since there is no ubhayaprāptiḥ which is one of the criteria to consider the parisaṁkhyāvidhiḥ. Another logical argument that was raised was whether it is possible to consider the idea of vyāptiḥ by the word नियमः. It was answered by the speaker that it is possible to take that meaning by the word नियमः but however, in this context, it is better to follow any of the the three different commentaries that was done by the bhāṣyakāra since the idea of vyāptiḥ does not do justice to the context. Many other objections raised from the mimamsa perspective and nyaya perspective were scholarily rejected by the speaker by stating and explaining the logical arguments.
Over 70 people were present and many of them took active participation in the discussions also.
Event 3: Types of Katha According to Nyaya Sutra
The Working Group 1 of the international conference on New Frontiers in Sanskrit and Indic Knowledge (NFSI) organised a talk on ‘Types of Katha According to Nyaya Sutra’ on 18 November 2020, 7:30 pm. The speaker was Shri Srinivas Jammalamadaka, Assistant Professor in the Department of Darshan, at the Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University, Ramtek.
An eminent scholar in the traditional pedagogy of Nyaya shastra and Advaita-vedanta shastra, Shri Srinivas Jammalamadaka gave a very structured talk. He expounded on the nature and distinguished attributes of three forms of debate, namely vāda, jalpa and vitaṇḍā. He pointed out how vāda and jalpa are connected with the verbal exchange that takes place in a judicial court.
He also explained the identity of the jhala, jathi and nigrahasthana in a descriptive manner. Cognitive fallacies in the context of verbal dialogue were also explored.
Event 4: A Talk on ‘Valid Cognition According to Tarka Sastram'
Working Group 1 with the sub-theme ‘Indian Episteme in Law and Public Policy’, organised a talk on ‘Valid Cognition According to Tarka Sastram’ on 4 December 2020, as a leadup to the fourth edition of the international conference on New Frontiers in Sanskrit and Indic Knowledge (NFSI). Assistant Professor J. Suryanarayana, from MIT ADT University, Pune, expounded his ideas regarding Valid Cognition which can be of great help for Jurisprudence.
The speaker initiated his talk by explaining the basic foundations of Indian Philosophy by dividing it under āstikadarśanam and nāstikadarśanam. He then went deeper into the topic, where he expounded on cognition, types of cognition—verbalisable cognition and non-verbalisable cognition, and types of experience. He emphasised the concept of prāmāṇyam and structure of cognition and applied those concepts in examining the validity of cognition.
A productive discussion followed the talk. The speaker concluded his dialogue by presenting some concepts in Tarka Sastra that when correlated with other disciplines from Indian Knowledge systems can be of great assistance to Jurisprudence.
Event 7: A Talk on ‘Applied Hermeneutics of Pūrvamīmāṁsā for Jurisprudence’
As a leadup to the fourth edition of the international conference on New Frontiers in Sanskrit and Indic Knowledge (NFSI), a talk on ‘Applied Hermeneutics of Pūrvamīmāṁsā for Jurisprudence’ was organised by Working Group I on 21 December 2020. Vidwan Rajeshwar Deshmukh, Acharya of Nyāya and Pūrvamīmāṁsā, Vedanta Vidyapeetham, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, expounded on the methodologies implemented in the Pūrvamīmāṁsā to interpret the intended meaning of verbal context/verbal sentence and how it can be applied in interpreting the meaning of statements in the constitution.
The speaker elaborated how the golden rule, mischief rule, single meaning rule etc. were used in Pūrvamīmāṁsā for the interpretation of statements in the karmakāṇḍa. He explained how the concepts of ‘supply of word’ and ‘conflict of law’ were dealt with in jurisprudence and Pūrvamīmāṁsā. The talk was followed by a Q&A session. He concluded the session by implying the scope of further interdisciplinary research between Pūrvamīmāṁsā and Jurisprudence.
Event 8: Morality: A Dynamic Value, Yet Uncompromisable—An Indic Perspective
As a part of the fourth edition of the international conference on New Frontiers in Sanskrit and Indic Knowledge (NFSI), a talk on ‘Question of Morality from a Vedantic Perspective’ was organised by Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth on 11 January 2021. The speaker, Dr. Madhusudan Penna, Dean, Faculty of Indian Religion, Philosophy and Culture, KKSU, Ramtek, explored the nuances of morality through a Vedantic framework. Being a scholar of philosophical systems, including Sankhya and Yoga, he emphasized morality as something that cannot be compromised and that the concept of morality has been given equal importance in all philosophical systems.
He began by identifying two distinct selves within every individual, the true self and the false self. The true self is who a person is on the inside and the false self is how one projects him/her to others. Every individual carries the mask of a Persona with them and there arises a conflict between these two selves, which essentially should have been the same. This leads to loss of self-esteem and other psychological disorders. Vedanta teaches one how to reconcile the differences between the two. It speaks about something higher (self-realisation) and to achieve that, one has to be morally grounded.
He presented morality as a system of principles concerning people’s behaviour accepted by a society or by a particular group of people. In response to the question of what is right and what is wrong, what is proper and what is improper, he said it is the scriptures (Shastras), which recommend looking and following the elite’s (shishta) way of life. Sage Veda Vyasa, one of the most famous egalitarian thinkers of the Dvapara Yuga believed Whatever I know that causes pain, is immoral, and whatever that causes (leads to) happiness, is moral”.
He also brought to notice that there also existed certain values namely wisdom/knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, transcendence, love, kindness and social intelligence common to all cultures. He further examined the descriptions of morality and happiness by various leaders and thinkers including Moses, Jesus Christ, Plato, etc.
He identified three sources of morality in Vedanta, i.e., the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. The Upanishads make it very clear that it is Avidya (lack of right knowledge) which allows for wrong actions (impurities: kashaya). One must obtain scriptural knowledge on reality (Tatvajnana) and avoid the actions caused by avidya.
The Brahma Sutras argue that a saintly man, i.e., a man who has attained self-realisation, can do anything and there is no good or bad attributed to his actions. Dr. Penna clarified that if a person commits wrongful actions after claiming to have attained self-realisation, it simply means he/she hasn’t attained self-realisation.
Dr. Penna explained how the Gita preaches that performance of karma and morality go hand in hand. The Gita recommends Karma yoga, stating that anyone who is a dedicated karma-yogi, neither hates nor desires, is known to be an ‘eternal renouncer’ and an eternal renouncer cannot conduct an immoral act.
Having discussed the knowledge of morality and self-realisation from these sources, Dr. Penna also clarified that giving up of desires means only the wrong ones. He insisted that people should have and follow their desires motivated through love and passion. He opined that one must control their kama and krodha in order to be true Vendantins. Wisdom on morality and one’s behaviour shouldn’t be contradictory.
Shri Nithin Ramakrishnan (Assistant Professor of International Law, School of Ethics, Governance, Culture and Social Systems thanked Dr. Madhusudan Penna for the informative and engaging lecture and moderated the Q&A session that followed. Dr. Penna constructively clarified the questions and queries raised by the participants.