SESSION EXCERPTS - SESSION VII
4TH OCT 2018
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Need to transform universities into true centers of research, innovation, scientifically oriented knowledge, wisdom and holistic human development
Dr Scott Harriot
Scientifically oriented knowledge and holistic development must be integrated. He is a student of maharishi Yogi which is why he knows there are two approaches to knowledge. One is the knowledge from books and from theories. This horizontal approach is essentially Western. Vertical knowledge is one where they wish to expand upon the consciousness and the holistic aspect to understand and gain knowledge. This is how the Eastern approach to knowledge is. Basically the West views the student as a vessel that must be filled while the East is the one which plans of increasing the size of knowledge itself. Then he also summed up the event at its end by saying the real need of the hour is to synthesize both the Western and Eastern approaches to education by understanding the strengths of both.
Dr Stephen Knapp
Dr Stephen Knapp has written over 40 books dealing with the Vedas and Upanishads and he has travelled extensively throughout India. He states that he started reading the Gita and the Upanishads while he was in his twenties and what gave him heart was a letter he wrote to his local paper in response to an article written by the Principal of his school. The principal stated that people must know what they wish to gain out of their education before they enter schools or colleges. The doctor wondered how is that possible without them having any idea of it or a starting point to consider. Thus he wrote in the letter that people should then read works like the Upanishads and the Gita in order to find the direction of their vector towards education so that then they will know why they wish to educate themselves. Likewise, he believes that the entire source of conflict and chaos in the world today is because people lack ‘Dharma’. Dharma is not a religious word; it merely is a set of rules necessary for someone to live in a civilized society. And thus the opposite of Dharma, Adharm, means vice. The study of materialistic things is as important as is the study of spiritual things. Thus Dharma must be taught to everyone in order for them to integrate better with society and find a cosmic balance between things which will eventually result in peace.
Shri Avinash Rajmale
Shri Avinash hails from Detroit and he was most happy to receive the invitation to attend this conference from Prof Dr Vishwanath D Karad himself. He fondly recalls how he too had laid one of the foundation stones for this monument almost a decade ago. He is an engineer and in that capacity him and his company tour along with the US military forces to more than 100 countries. He asked his delegation from Detroit to take the stage where they could all be applauded. He brings peace and order by building war-ravaged nations along with his vast army of engineers that work in close cooperation with the US defence forces. He showcased a small film clip to make us understand the realities of his work better. He says that we all have our own inherent strengths as in some are achievers, some are developers and some are thinkers. All need to harness their unique abilities together in order to attain world peace. He is happy with the initiative taken by Prof Dr Vishwanath D Karad to call the World Parliament to address such issues in his visionary way.
Mr Folker Mittag
He stated that he is a businessman and thus is an ill fit in this crowd. He is happy to have witnessed peace in the last 60 years in his homeland of Germany. He says that the younger generation have no conceptualization of war and thus do not value peace as much as they should. He sees this in the youth of his homeland too. Now Germany and France are friends, something that was achieved after centuries of war. Now all of Europe is trying to work towards peace. He states that listening is the most important thing as it lets you understand the viewpoint of the others around you, something which in his practical business world has reaped great dividends but can be applied equally to the peace process. He states that silence in the morning to connect with your personal God is also important as it clears your mind and makes you understand your own subject matter better. He hopes they inputs would help people achieve practical peace.
Dr Lezan Azadi
He states that there is an inbuilt harmony between science nature and religion. Thus one cannot be used to validate or invalidate the other. They are in fact each other’s support structures. Thus he believes that religion should guide scientific and technological development along with environmental developments. Universal peace devoid from the role religion plays is simply not possible. In 1985, the year declared as World Peace Year by UN the Baha’i Council released a manifesto about peace. Some of the points are that the great peace towards which people of goodwill people have inclined their hearts and for countless generations people have strived for is no at long last within the grasp of nations. This is because we can finally view our entire planet as one. We can, in fact, come together as a unified world. Yet, some barriers exist; barriers created by states who cannot relinquish power, between systems with rigid hierarchies, etc. These can be overcome by knowledge and implementation.
Dr Manohar Shinde
Holistic development geared towards peace is only possible with the development not only of our external world and environment nor by the development happening in science and technology. We must thus develop our mind via education, our heart via compassion, our hands via skills and our soul via the study of spiritual development. IN this way we must have a holistic approach towards education, something we Indians are very good at. Thus the Indian model of education must be revisited and implemented with its stress on developing the students holistically aiming at their mental, material and spiritual development. He is happy to not that his centre has already set up schools and universities to do so. Lastly, he pointed out the virtue of Indian values by saying that while the countries of the world aim to bless themselves as in God Bless America, there is no invocation in India which states that God must bless India, or the Hindu people, rather God must bless each and every particle of this entire cosmos.
Dr D P Lokwani
He begins by profusely thanking Prof Dr Vishwanath D Karad for this brilliant monument to World Peace that is built. He stresses that the education system for all universities across India must be revitalized to reflect the changes in society today while retaining the brilliance of the education system of yesteryears. In the last 100 years, the progress made in science and technology has been more than in the last thousand years. This necessitates a change in education where each individual student and their unique skill sets must be recognized individually and harnessed. This can happen only when we hark back to the Gurukul process of education, something which cared about each unique student and their abilities. He further states that in India the major Religions of Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam and Christianity are all unique ecosystems yet have the commonality of having a light lit (to represent enlightenment), having a bell or a call sounded (to get a person to the episode of enlightenment) and a prayer, hymn, mantra to give us access to that enlightenment. Similarly, there is a light in the centre of our mind and we can follow it to achieve our own enlightenment. It is for the teacher to sound that call and to arm us with our own personal mantra to achieve that.
Prof Richard R Nelson
The Professor began by thanking the Karad family for inviting him over and said that the leader of his Church of Jesus Christ, which was awarded the highest honour of World Peace Prize last year sends his warmest regards. He was happy to have met Prof Dr Vishwanath D Karad’s extended family, or as he calls it, his Grand family. He states that bigger than this biggest dome were the ideals of the person who conceptualized it and finally built it on grand ideals of worldwide peace and harmony. He postulates that it is very important to achieve the union of science and technology keeping the environment in mind to achieve harmony, but that will not achieve peace by itself. The way to achieve peace and harmony is for it to start at home for the poorest home which is happy and at peace is grander than the grandest palace which is in discord.
Dr Mangesh Karad
Dr Mangesh Karad started by acknowledging that the topic of discussion in the session was one which was sure to excite the imagination of any and every educationist from across the world. He has attended many conferences about the issue and he has constantly been searching for ways by which to make his University better and better. Having established his Universities in India he knows that there is an endemic rigidity as well as bureaucratic orthodoxy within which one has to find a way to educate. However, even American universities are not free from issues despite not having the same problems. Case to point is the numerous mass shootings that occur within the campuses there. So then with all the problems of chaos and terrorism around he sought a solution in the list called the World Happiness Index. This index is one which is applied across countries and is one that takes care of the holistic growth and development of its people, something that ought to begin within educational institutes itself. The only way this can happen is if we follow the Indian education system of old. As the Taitreya Upanishad has said there are 5 layers to holistic development viz the physical body, energy within the body aka vitality, clarity of thoughts and emotions, intellectual body aka wisdom and finally the body of bliss aka happiness. If these 5 are emphasized by universities to develop the students, then we can achieve their holistic development.