Sanskrit meet recognizes ‘Darshan’ as Vedanta tradition

World Sanskrit Conference leaders (L-R) V. Kutumba Shastry (Head of Organizing Committee), Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, Mahamahopadhyaya Bhadreshdas Swami, Prof. Ashok Aklujkar, Prof. George Cardona (University of Pennsylvania)

Madhu Patel

CHICAGO: The 17th World Sanskrit Conference, the premier international forum for Sanskrit scholars, recognized Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s Akshar-Purushottam Darshan as the first new independent school of Vedanta since the 16th century.
The recently authored ground-breaking Sanskrit works on the Akshar-Purushottam Darshan, the Swaminarayan Bhashyam and the Swaminarayan Siddhanta-Sudha by Sadhu Bhadreshdas of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, were also launched in the conference’s inaugural session on July 9 in Vancouver, Canada.

More than 600 eminent Sanskrit scholars and educators had gathered from over 40 countries for this historic event. The triennial meet which for the last half-century has been bringing the finest minds in the world of Sanskrit together to advance understanding of Sanskrit language and literature, was held at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Mahamahopadhyaya Bhadreshdas Swami, an eminent Sanskrit scholar and ordained swami of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, completed the Swaminarayan Bhashyam, a five-volume comprehensive Sanskrit commentary on Hinduism’s three Vedic canonical texts (Prasthanatrayi) – the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutras – in 2007.

Professor Deven Patel of the University of Pennsylvania said, “The World Sanskrit Conference is proud to honor this new and truly historic achievement in the world of Sanskrit philosophical culture. It is the first Sanskrit commentary on the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita in nearly 200 years and the first commentary on the complete set by a single acharya in over 1200 years.”

World-renowned Sanskrit scholar from the University of Pennsylvania, Professor George Cardona observed “This is a very important classical Sanskrit commentary that very clearly and effectively explains that Akshar is distinct from Purushottam.”

In the conference’s inaugural address, Bhadreshdas Swami explained the principles of the Akshar-Purushottam Darshan, the classical name of the distinct school of Vedanta. This Darshan was revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in the 19th century and propounded by His Holiness Shastriji Maharaj, the third spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the founder of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. Bhadreshdas Swami further explained: “The essence of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan is to offer devotion to Purushottam, the Supreme Being, with loving servitude having qualitatively realized oneself as Akshar, who takes the form of the exemplary living guru.”

This was followed by the blessings of Ishwarcharandas Swami, the International Convener of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, who appreciated the great work of the World Sanskrit Conference and encouraged Sanskrit research and learning.

The World Sanskrit Conference’s inaugural session concluded with all the assembled scholars collectively recognizing Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s Akshar-Purushottam Darshan as a distinct school of philosophy in the Vedanta tradition.

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