BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London hosts a three-day international academic conference on the theme of ‘Realising Global Peace: The Role and Impact of Hindu Teachings.’
The conference at the Neasden temple was aimed to elucidate the role of peace within Hinduism and how Hindu teachings can positively contribute to not just academic scholarship but to humanity at large. It was jointly organised by the All-India Philosophy Association, BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute, and the Indo-Hellenic Society for Culture and Development, Greece.
Over 80 delegates and guests attended the conference. They included eminent scholars and students from India, England, Ireland, America, Canada, and Australia, as well as local civic leaders and Hindu and other faith representatives.
The keynote address in the inaugural session was delivered by Prof. Jatashankar, esteemed professor of philosophy at Allahabad University, India and President of the All-India Philosophy Association. The closing session had special addresses by Dr Brian Black, Lecturer of Hinduism and Indian Philosophy at Lancaster University, and Dr Rembert Lutjeharms of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and Religion and the Oxford Centre of Hindu Studies.
The final day featured a plenary session chaired by Dr Ankur Barua of Cambridge University in which five scholar-sadhus from India, America and England – including modern-day ‘bhashyakar’ Sadhu Bhadreshdas (PhD, DLitt, Mahamahopadhyaya) – presented papers on principles and practices within the Swaminarayan Sampradaya conducive to global peace. This session was especially well received, as Dr Black noted: “I was particularly impressed by these papers, how one can draw upon spirituality and a particular tradition yet be so well grounded in rigorous scholarship.”
Dr Ramesh Chandra Sinha, secretary for the All-India Philosophy Association, praised the arrangements and warm hospitality of the hosts, calling the conference “a gift from Pramukh Swami Maharaj”.
Kirit Wadia, local secretary of the event, shared: “Hindu teachings have a lot to contribute to the quest for peace, especially as modern technology increases human connectivity and decreases distances between peoples and nations, making the need for peace even more pronounced for individuals and societies. We are very grateful to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj for providing this theme and to all the delegates for contributing such rich discussions over the three days.”