LARGEST CIRCULATED ENGLISH FORTNIGHLY OF J&K
ISSUE FOR THE FORTNIGHT APRIL 15-30, 1999
'KASHMIR SHIVA SCHOLARSHIP IN DANGER' --SEMINAR
DELHI, Apr 11: The scholars participating in a seminar on Kashmir Shaivism at Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan New Delhi expressed serious concern on the depleting reserves of the Shaiva scholarship in the country. Articulating this concern Dr Navjivan Rastogi, Hony. Director of Abhinavgupta Institute of Aesthetics and Shaiva Philosophy of Lucknow University said, 'Abhinav Gupta is a craze in the west these days. It is unfortunate that Shiva tradition and scholarship are in danger in India. Dr BL Pandit is the only link with the living tradition of Kashmir Shaivism'.
The seminar on Kashmir Shaivism, the first of its kind in New Delhi is recent times, was organised jointly by Nityanand Shastri Kashmir Research Institute and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on 11th April in the premises of Vidhya Bhawan. Dr Karan Singh Chairman of Bhartiya Vidhya Bhavan presided over the inaugural session. Dr Karan Singh expressed his pride in the fact that the unique thought of
Kashmir Shaivism could survive despite all the disasters and holocausts that have befallen Kashmir. 'This seminar will be a beginning of a new renaissance. Despite cruelty of time our main philosophic tradition has remained intact' he said. Elucidating his views on the Kashmir Shaivism Dr Karan Singh said,' Shankara's Vedanta has received more importance perhaps unduly, and Shaiva Sedhantas have gone unnoticed. Abhinav Gupta's Tantraloka is the greatest treatises on religious thought.' Dr Karan Singh while concluding his speech paid tributes to great Shaiva saint scholar Swami Laxman Joo. He also paid his gratitude to the Kashmiri Pandit teacher Sh Permanand Bhat who had taught him Sanskrit.
After the inaugural address the key note presentation was read by Dr Bal Ji Nath Pandit who made a brief exposition on the metaphysical principles of Kashmir Shaivism to set the tone for the seminar. The most eloquent and thought provoking presentation in the seminar was made by Dr Navjivan Rastogi. He elucidated that Kashmir Shaivism was unique in the sense that it doesnot reject world as a Maya and is infact the opposite pole of Shankar Advaita. 'Life negation that we find in Budhism and Shankara's Advaita is not found in Kashmir Shaivism', he said.
Explaining further he commented that Kashmir Shaivism accepts life in total and its roots are not in fragmentation. 'Shiva is the Karta, and Kashmir Shaivism is unique in the sense that it starts with joy. Kashmir Shaivism is in fact a celebration of life,' he elaborated. Concluding his presentation he enumerated the areas where immediate work is to be done in order to sustain the scholarship on Kashmir Shaivism. Dr Lakshmishwar Jha, Prof. of Sanskrit Lal Bahadhur Shastri Sanskrit Vidyapeeth New Delhi while agreeing with many of the elucidations of Dr Rastogi cautioned that emphasis on delinking the Kashmir Shaiva thought from the Vedic sources is not well founded. He emphasised that the essence of the thought also lied in Vedas. The other speakers we made presentations in the seminar were Dr Kaushalya Wali, ex-HOD Sanskrit Department Jammu University and Dr Ashutosh Angiras from department of Sanskrit SD College Amballa. Sh. J.Veera Raghavan Director Bhartiya Vidhya Bhavan, New Delhi who was former secretary-culture presided over the pre-lunch session while Dr BL Pandit chaired the post-lunch session. Sh. J.Veer Raghvan explained the essence of the efforts in the field of philosophy, by elucidating a story were a person was searching for a key under a lamp post. When another person asked him as to whether the key was lost at that place, he answered in negative. When again asked as to why he was searching for the key there when it was not lost at that place, he said that he was searching for the key there only because there was light at the spot only. He said that the story explained the real challenge in the quest for truth