Launch of Encyclopedia of Hinduism by UK PM David Cameron
The evening of October 27th marked a historic moment in the cultural history of India and for Indians and Hindus across the world. The 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism produced by India Heritage Research Foundation, founded and chaired by Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, was launched in London by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. David Cameron.
The program took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center in Westminster, London, in a special function hosted by Lord Andrew Feldman, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, and organized by the Conservative Party, the Conservative Party Friends of India and Asian Media and Marketing Group, publishers of Garavi Gujarat, Eastern Eye, Asian Trader, Pharmacy Business and Asian Hospitality.
The function was graced by the presence of the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Founder/Chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation and President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India, where Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla recently visited and performed the sacred evening Aarti ceremony, many cabinet ministers, high level diplomats and eminent Indian industrialists.
Filled to capacity with more than 1000 guests, the function began with the lighting of a special diya, in honor of Diwali. The diya (lamp) was lit by the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Lord Feldman of Elstree, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, the managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism, and Samantha Cameron, the wife of the Prime Minister.
Following the lamp lighting, speeches were given by the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati.
Quotations from the evening are:
Mr. David Cameron, Hon’ble Prime Minister: “This Encyclopedia is a great contribution to humanity.” Later, after Pujya Swamiji’s speech he said, “I love this saying of ‘Let all the noble thoughts come from all directions.’ I am going to use this. This is beautiful.”
H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji said, “Indian culture says, ‘Let all the noble thoughts come from all directions.’ We are an inclusive culture, not an exclusive culture. We are a culture that embraces all, excludes none. In our prayers, we pray ‘Sarve bhavantu sukhinah. Sarve santo niramaya.’ It means, ‘May all be happy, may all be healthy.’ We never pray ‘May Hindus be happy,’ or ‘May Indians be healthy.’ No, we pray for all. Our scriptures remind us, ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ the world is one family. We pray not only for all of human life, but also for the animals, the plants and nature. Our culture teaches us — Do not only worship the Creator, but also serve the Creation! This encyclopedia was created with that in mind – service of creation, service of those who didn’t know or understand or have access to these timeless truths and insights.”
Lord Andrew Feldman of Elstree, Chairman of the Conservative Party: “’It is an incredible honour for the Conservative Party that His Holiness Swamiji graciously agreed to launch the magnificent Encyclopaedia of Hinduism on the occasion of our Diwali Party in the presence of the Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron. This work of 1000 scholars over 25 years is a phenomenal achievement. The Party wants to deepen and broaden our links with the British Indian community and with India and this event is one important step on our journey.”
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism and President of Divine Shakti Foundation, who said: “Nowhere in the Hindu scriptures does one even find the word Hindu – the term used to describe these ancient yet timeless teachings is Sanatan Dharma – or eternal way of life. Hinduism emphasizes the very oneness of Creation and of paths to the Divine. Hinduism is not simply theology; rather the teachings truly encompass every area of life and are inextricably linked to the cultural fabric of India. So the Encyclopedia includes not only theology but also history, art, architecture, music, medicine and science, dance and drama.”
The first volume of the Encyclopedia was unveiled ceremonially by the Honourable Prime Minister and H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. The remaining 10 volumes were then held and displayed ceremonially by them along with the following dignitaries:
• Samantha Cameron
• Lord Andrew Feldman
• Mr. Ramniklal Solanki, Editor-in-Chief Asian Media and Marketing Group (AMG)
• Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati
• Mr. Gopichand Hinduja, renowned Industrialist
• Mr. Chandroo Kewalramani, renowned Industrialist
• Kalpesh Solanki, Managing Editor, AMG
• Shailesh Solanki, Executive Editor, AMG
• Lord Dolar Popat, Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
• Priti Patel, MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
• Raoul Goff, CEO of Mandala Earth Publications, publisher of the Encyclopedia
Other government dignitaries present at the event included:
1. The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Minister for Faith
2. The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP – Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
3. The Rt Hon Theresa May MP – Secretary of State for the Home Department
4. Shailesh Vara MP – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister for the Courts and Legal Aid
5. Paul Uppal MP
6. Bob Blackman MP
The Encyclopedia of Hinduism is a colossal product of more than 1000 esteemed scholars from around the world, totaling 11-volumes and approximately 7000 entries. It is truly a compendium of thousands of years of history, science, art, architecture, polity, religion, philosophy and culture. Further, the Encyclopedia is not limited to Hinduism as a religion, but rather provides thorough treatment of all of India’s indigenous faiths, including Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism, as well as coverage of the role of the Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) in the culture, civilization, history and history of India.
A project of India Heritage Research Foundation, founded, guided and led by one of India’s most revered spiritual leaders, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, the Encyclopedia has been more than twenty years in the making and it is the first time in history that the depth and breadth of India’s great spiritual culture is made available in authentic, academic and scholastic form.
The International Edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism was published by Mandala Earth Publications of California, USA and presented by India Heritage Research Foundation to the Honourable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjeeji on the 23rd June at a huge event at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The launch in India took place on the 10th October at Vigyan Bhavan in the presence of the Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari and Dr. Mohan Bhagwatji, the chief of the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The Encyclopedia was previewed and blessed at a huge ceremony in India by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and hundreds of India’s most revered spiritual, social and national leaders during the Maha Kumbha Mela.
India Heritage Research Foundation is an international, nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to research into the timeless truths and ancient wisdom of India, youth welfare and education, women’s empowerment, disaster relief and more. India Heritage Research Foundation also built three ashrams (rest houses) – the first ever to be constructed — in the sacred land of Lake Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash in Tibet.
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji is also President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India, founder of Ganga Action Parivar, and co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance.