Launch of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism at the Vigyan Bhawan
The evening of October 10th marked a historic moment in the cultural history of India: the launch of the International Edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism at a glorious function in Vigyan Bhavan, organized by India Heritage Research Foundation and Global Citizen Forum. The Chief Guest of the function was the Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansariji; the Special Guest of Honour was Mananiya Dr. Mohan Bhagwatji. The program was also graced by the presence of numerous revered interfaith leaders, honourable cabinet ministers, distinguished dignitaries and celebrities including the below:
- Hon’ble Vice President, Shri M. Hamid Ansari
- Hon’ble Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak of RSS
- Hon’ble Shri LK Advani, Respected BJP Leader
- Hon’ble Smt. Smriti Irani, Minister of HRD, Government of India
- Hon’ble Shri Kalraj Mishra, Minister of MSME, Government of India
- Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Founder/Chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation, Founder, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh
- Dr. B.K. Modi, President of the Global Citizen Forum
- Dr. Pranav Pandya, Vice Chancellor of DSVV, Gayatri Parivar
- Chief Jathedar, Akal Takhat, Golden Temple, Shri Giani Gurubachan Singh
- Dewan Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, Ajmer Dargah Sharif
- Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, President, All India Imams Organisation
- Acharya Lokesh Muni, Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati, Respected Jain leader
- Shri Vivek Oberoi, Bollywood Actor
- Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism
- Ms. Preeti Malhotra, Founder Member, Global Citizen Forum
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 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 Encyclopedia will be launched in London on the 27th October by the Honourable Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. David Cameron.
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, founder/chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation, Founder of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism project explains: “The wisdom, truths, teachings and insights of Indian and Hindu culture are not limited to or applicable to only Hindus or Indians. Rather they belong to the world and can deeply benefit the world. It is, therefore, our aim that the richness of this ancient yet timeless culture and heritage should be made available to the entire world, in a way that is authentic, academic, comprehensive and illuminating. However, of course, the teachings, truths, tenets and insights of Sanatan Dharma took birth in India. Therefore, to have the Encyclopedia of Hinduism launched in the presence of such esteemed political, social, national and religious leaders of India is a beautiful and most-fitting symbol of the ‘Unity in Diversity’ which is our Mother India.”
Mananiya Dr. Mohan M Bhagawatji said: ‘Hindusim is not the property of just Hindus, it is their legacy and it is for the world. Today, the world wants it.” He also shared, ‘I strongly believe that as crucial as it is for the world to have the correct understanding of Hinduism, it is far more crucial for the people of India to have this understanding. I am thankful to Pujya Swamiji and Sadhviji for creating this Encyclopedia, after 25 years of tireless efforts, for people to turn to as an authentic source to connect with and understand their roots. Now what we decide to do with it is what really matters. Will we just place it in our libraries, in our museums or will we apply its message in our lives. Today I call to all of you to not only read this compendium but to apply the universal values of Hindusim to your lives.’
The Hon’ble Vice President, Shri Hamid M Ansariji shared: ‘Allow me to mention a specific feature of the publication before us. The selection of entries on different concepts, religious and philosophical streams, identities of geographical and historical significance, is comprehensive. There is, in addition, a conflation of India as a country of great antiquity and Hinduism as an ancient and universal faith having its own philosophy, practices and rituals.’
Hon’ble HRD Minister, Smt Smriti Iraniji said, ‘I offer my humble respect to Pujya Swamiji for His tremendous commitment in spearheading this project. Pujya Swamiji mentioned divine design but i think that it is your divine intervention that in the field of science the darshan and introduction of spirituality is happening today. This in itself is the biggest tribute to Hinduism. In Hinduism, spirituality and science have never been separate and by offering this encyclopedia to the world you have illustrated this.” She also said, ‘Pujya Swamiji you mentioned that you plan to bring this encyclopedia to the global community, but as a mother and a minister, I hope to, with all of your blessings, bring it to the children of this nation.’
Ajmer Dargah Sharif said, ‘The essence of all faiths is to unite people and not to divide them. Just as our blood is the same color no matter what our religion so to must we learn to live together in harmony understanding and respecting each other’s religion. It is commendable that this encyclopedia offers this understanding in a comprehensive and inclusive way.’
Dr. Pranav Pandyaji said: I am glad that today eminent personalities from all faiths are here in release of a unique encyclopedia on Hinduism. This is a revolutionary step by India Heritage Research Foundation under the leadership of Pujya Swami Chidanandji and Sadhwi Bhagwatiji. I congratulate them.”
Acharya Lokesh Muniji said: “The Encyclopedia is a much needed bridge between science and spirituality.”
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia explains: “This is a great moment in history. The depth and breadth of the world’s oldest living culture, civilization, philosophy and theology has finally, for the first time, been encapsulated in encyclopedic form. This launch is such a great symbol of the diversity of India, in which for thousands of years all the major faiths of the world including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism and Jainism have co-existed peacefully and harmoniously together.”
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.
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
Global Citizen Forum, co-organizer of the event with India Heritage Research Foundation, was founded by Dr. B.K. Modi and is based on the philosophy of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, the world is one family.