Vedas for Ultra-modern Living … notes by Dr. Anil Maheshwari
Maharishi University of Management (MUM) hosted the 11th conference of WAVES (World Association for Vedic Studies) over the first weekend of August 2014. Over a hundred papers and presentations were made by speakers from around the world. Many scholars came from India, while many others were from the US including many professors from MUM itself. The range of topics covered was vast: covering entire Vedas, to specific topics like Ayurveda and Sanskrit, to specific concepts like maha-vakyas. The presentations were theoretical as well as empirical, intellectual as well as experiential. The event provided an extraordinary international Vedic experience.
Here are a few key observations.
- MUM is a unique and powerful laboratory for ultra-modern Veda-based healthy living style. Speaking with several visiting scholars, I discovered that there seems to be no other place like this in the world. The visitors enjoyed being at MUM even if for a few days. They enjoyed the good sattvic vegetarian food, chanting by Vedic pundits, Gandharva veda music, and the overall high quality arrangements. There are indeed many villages in India where people still do Vedic practices like Rudra-abhishekham on a daily basis. However, they seem to do it because that is as an ancient family ritual, and not as a part of conscious Vedic living.
- The founder of MUM, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is considered up there among the Vedic greats such as Sankara, Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishi, Gandhi, and the like. One after the other, the speakers extolled the greatness of Maharishi from the Vedic knowledge and practice perspective. It was a dream come true for many of the speakers to come to Maharishi’s place.
- Not surprisingly, most of the Vedic scholars worldwide seem to be of Indian origin. The Vedic researchers at MUM are also Indians at heart, whom I affectionately call ‘white desis’. A lot of the Vedic scholars in India seem to be located in the Sanskrit departments in major Indian universities, and some in philosophy departments.
- Many of the papers presented by visiting scholars were theoretical in nature, analyzing and synthesizing the Vedic texts. On the other hand, many of the presentations from MUM speakers were around experimentally validated applications of Vedic knowledge and experiential technologies (such as Transcendental Meditation® ) to human welfare … such as to physiology, psychology, neurology, sociology, business, and the like.
- There were many engaging presentations, and some of them completely wowed everyone. One Indian scholar synthesized all the Vedas to present a guide to daily living. Another Indian scholar showed how the mahavakyas, esp ‘Tat Tvam Asi’, could be applied in the social context to promote cooperation. A visiting scholar from the US presented on how Ayurveda can be used for kaya kalpa. Another visiting scholar from the US enthralled the audience with many thought experiments at the intersection of Vedic legacies and new technologies. A powerful presentation from MUM showed a Unified-field based framework integrating the physical world and the world of Atman or Consciousness. Another MUM presentation showed how Transcendence is the effective path to human development after adulthood.
The conference created new possibilities for sharing of authentic Vedic knowledge around the world. It also gave the world a taste of how Vedic knowledge and practices could be adapted for living the ultra-modern life!