Seminar on ‘Sree Narayana Guru’, 6-8 June, 2011
Sree Narayana Guru
6-8 June 2011
Vedantic wisdom took shape originally in the Upanishads appended to the four Vedas of India. A long line of masters redefined this wisdom, making it more precise, keeping in mind the exigencies of their times. Narayana Guru continued this tradition by restating and redefining Vedantic wisdom in line with the mindset of the Age of Science. Living in Kerala between 1854 and 1928, he expressed his vision through philosophical poems and hymns – sixty in number – in three languages: Sanskrit, Malayalam and Tamil.
Narayana Guru was no armchair philosopher; he taught people how to live this philosophy, thus sparking off individual and social change all through Kerala, particularly with respect to untouchability and caste prejudices and practices. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Narayana Guru played a large role in instrumenting the religious amity evident in Kerala society even today, rarely to be seen in other parts of India. In this context, it may be remembered that the first Parliament of Religions in the history of Asia was organized by the guru, in 1924.
The present conference intends to focus on the originality and scientificity of the Vedantic teachings of Narayana Guru, examining how he looked at casteism and religious differences , and exploring the possibility of impacting discourses on caste, in order to animate processes to undermine caste prejudices and religious feuds.
The possibility of applying Vedantic wisdom as an absolute norm in the realms of economics, politics and education could also be discussed, keeping in mind Narayana Guru’s thoughts on these topics as well as the work of the gurukula in continuing the thought processes initiated by him.
It is hoped that the conference might be instrumental in pulling together concrete suggestions that could possibly be implemented by the Government of India.