From June 29 to July 4, 2014, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISCON), Bengaluru, with the active association of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan organized a national conference on the message of Upanishads, at the temple premises. The conference was an attempt to propagate the universal teachings and values found in the Upanishads for the benefit of one and all.
Dr Sampadananda Mishra, Director, Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC, a unit of Sri Aurobindo Society) was invited to speak on Vasishtha Ganapati Muni’s contribution to Upanishads. Dr. Mishra’s talk was held on July 3, in the post-lunch afternoon session. In his talk he mentioned about Muni’s commentary on Ishopanishad, and emphasized on how the Muni correlated certain ‘vidyas’ of the Upanishads with the ‘mahavidyas’ of the Tantras. A considerable portion of the major Upanishads is devoted to the ‘upasanas’ or meditative exercises or methods to progress on the paths of spiritual realization. These methods of sadhana are called vidyas. In addition to the vidyas of the Upanishads, there is also mention of the ‘mahavidyas’ or the feminine aspect of the divine reality in the Tantric tradition. According to Tantric experience this primordial goddess has ten outstanding personalities called dasha-mahavidyas or ten great paths of knowledge. The names of these ten personalities appear differently in different Tantras, but the most popular and widely accepted names are Kali, Tara, Tripurasundai, Bhubaneshvari, Tripurabhiravi, Chinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamalatmika.
Dr Mishra explained how the Muni, in his work called ‘Mahavidyasutram’ has established connection among the vidyas of the Upanishads and the mahavidyas of the Tantra by dealing with each mahavidya and the corresponding vidya of the Upanishads.
On July 4, 2014, Dr Mishra spoke on the topic ‘Sanskrit a Language of Yoga’ at National Seminar on Dimensions of Yoga, jointly organized by Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram and MOP Vaishnav College for Women in Chennai. In his talk, Dr Mishra spoke on some prominent facets of Sanskrit which make it a language of Yoga, a living language, and its relevance to our day-to-day life. He also gave many examples to show how Sanskrit fulfills the aims and objectives of Yoga. He showed how one gets the benefit of Pranayama by reciting the sounds of Sanskrit alphabet. He emphasized that the conscious use of Sanskrit leads to joy, clarity, and helps the user to grow from within.
You can see the video of Dr Mishra’s talk on Sanskrit a Language of Yoga.