Bhakti – The Answer to Modern Maladies?
February 20, 2012
School of Arts and Sciences, Amritapuri
“How can devotion for God help mankind in a practical way?”
“The answer is inherent in the question itself. Devotion or love for God is the purest of all love we see in the world or rather a culmination of the same. It naturally gets extended to love for mankind and gives birth to the noblest feelings.”
Ms. Shibani Aich was speaking at the 35th Annual International Conference on Oriental Heritage 2012.
This four-day conference organized by the Indian Institute of Oriental Heritage in Kolkata during February 2-5, 2012 attracted an august gathering of oriental scholars on Sanskrit and Sanskrit Literature, Vedas, Vedanta, Ayurveda, Upanishads, Jyotisha, Tantra, Indian Philosophy and Vastu Sashtra.
Scholars came not only from all parts of India but also Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
As a research scholar currently pursuing her PhD in English at the Amritapuri campus with the guidance of Dr. Sujatha, Shibani spoke on the topic, Voice of Bhakti – Answer to Modern Maladies.
She spoke about the importance of devotion, not necessarily as a part of religious practices but as a way to attain a state of peace and harmony, both within and in society.
Explaining how to mitigate the growing problem of depression world-wide, she said, “What the man of today needs is faith; that alone can give him courage to remain undaunted in adverse circumstances. The easiest way to cultivate this faith is through devotion which naturally leads one to a higher spiritual understanding based on the discrimination of the real and the unreal, the transitory and the eternal.”
Shibani reminded the audience that God dwells in all beings. This supreme knowledge dawns on the bhakta as the fruit born of the flower of devotion. She quoted from Swami Vivekananda, “When a man attains this state, forms vanish; rituals fly away; books are superseded; images, temples, churches, religions and sects, countries and nationalities – all these little limitations and bondages fall off by their own nature. Nothing remains to bind him or fetter his freedom. This is the ultimate cure to all conflicts arising out of differences.”
In conclusion, Shibani proclaimed that love alone is the cure to all problems in the world today. In love, all diversities merge and become one.
Shibani quoted Chancellor Amma. “Love is the foundation of the world. Where there is love, there is peace.”
Shibani’s presentation was greeted with great acclaim and she was unanimously nominated the Best Woman Speaker at the conference. When the organizers wanted to “crown” her, she graciously accepted the crown, and later reverentially presented it to Chancellor Amma, who had inspired her to make her presentation.
So impressed were the organizers with Shibani’s presentation that they invited her for another unscheduled talk the next day.
On her way back from Kolkata, Shibani presented another paper titled Enjoying Language and Literature Studies at the National Conference on Trends in Contemporary Literature and Language Studies organized by the Department of English, Sri Sankara Arts and Science College, Kanchipuram.