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Annual Report 2023-24 of Center for Moksha Studies

Annual Report 2023-24 of Center for Moksha Studies

Centre for Moksha Studies (CMS) is a platform for spiritual seekers who are pursuing Moksha or Liberation as per Vedic Scriptures. We feature teachers of Advaita Vedanta from diverse sampradayas. We also feature teachers from other schools of Vedanta and those who trace the source of their teachings to the Vedas and the Upanishads.

Adi Shankaracharya is the first Spiritual Guru who synthesised the wisdom of the Vedas as Advaita and offered a systematic and structured approach to Liberation. Advaita states that the Self and the Universe are essentially the same Non-Dual reality. We believe his teachings have solutions for global challenges of peace and happiness. Our programs include online classes, courses, retreats and festivals.

The Center had its beginnings as Advaita Academy, an online-platform in 2010. Over the last 14 years, it has emerged as the ‘go-to’ place for learning authentic Advaita Vedanta from teachers traditionally trained in the Advaita Vedanta Sampradaya. It is a multi-lingual platform with lectures in English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, and Tamil.  Its Youtube Channel has over 75k subscribers, and 11k videos. The Center has held the Global Festival of Oneness for four consecutive years since 2020. Sri Nithin Sridhar, Director and Chief Curator, has led the activities of the centre.

INDICA Moksha’s Global Festival of Oneness held in April-May 2023 was a significant event, featuring 51 speakers and spanning various discussions and topics. Following Shankara Bhagavadpada, there have been innumerable Acharyas in the Advaita Sampradaya who have not only made notable philosophical contributions to Advaita Darshana but have also made exceptional contributions to Bharatiya Jnana Parampara as a whole. In the last millennium, Advaita Acharyas have made significant contributions to Nyaya-Vaisheshika, Samkhya-Yoga, and Purva Mimamsa Darshanas. They have written exceptional works on Jnana, Karma, Bhakti, and Yoga. Their contributions to Dharmashastra traditions are notable as well. Many sublime devotional and reflective hymns and poems have been written by Advaita Acharyas as well.

In 2023, with an intention to bring to light these multifaceted contributions of Advaita Acharyas to Indian Knowledge Tradition, we decided to undertake organizing online symposiums to present scholarly lectures on the works of various Advaita Acharyas. 

Between September 2023 and March 2024, over the period of seven months, we have organised four symposiums each focussing on the works of one outstanding teacher. 

On September 03, 2023, “Multifaceted Writings Of Śrī Appayya Dīkṣita” had 13 scholars present on the subject. Sri Appayya Dikshita was an outstanding scholar, philosopher, poet, and a ritualist to have walked on the sacred land of Bharat. The inaugural address at the symposium was delivered by Veda Brahmasri Mahamahopadhyaya Mani Dravid Shastrigal who spoke in Sanskrit on the topic “Appayya Dīkṣita’s sublime devotion to Bhagavān Śiva”. Many works of Sri Appayya Dikshita such as Siddhāntaleśasaṃgraha, Śrī-Rāmāyaṇa-Tātparya-Sārasaṅgraha-Stotram, Śivārcanācandrikā and Ratnatrayaparīkṣā were covered. His contributions to Mimamsa, Vyakarana, and Sivadvaita were also highlighted. The valedictory address was delivered by Prof. Penna Madhusudan who spoke on the topic “Appayya Dīkṣita: The Philosopher And Commentator Par Excellence”.

On November 05, 2023, “Contributions Of Śrī Vācaspati Miśra to Āstika Darśanas” had 11 scholars present on the subject. Vachaspati Mishra was a prominent Indian Darshanika who is considered to be one of the greatest literary geniuses that India has ever produced. The inaugural address at the symposium was delivered by Swamini Svatmavidyananda Saraswati who spoke on the topic “Vācaspati Miśra And Advaita Vedānta”. The presentations covered Vachaspati Misra’s contributions to Nyaya, Samkhya, Mimamsa, Vedanta, and Yoga Darshanas. Insights from his magnum opus, Bhāmatī as well as his other seminal works such as Sāṃkhyatattvakaumudī, Tattvavaiśāradī, and Nyāyakaṇikā were highlighted. 

On January 20, 2024, “Svāmī Vidyāraṇya’s Singular Contributions to Bhāratīya Jñāna Paramparā” had 11 scholars. Swami Vidyaranya, also called as Madhavacharya, was a great spiritual master and a civilization builder, who not only protected Hindu civilization at a critical juncture by laying the foundation of the great Vijayanagara Empire, but also made unparalleled contributions to Bharatiya Jnana Parampara. Dr. Gauri Mahulikar in her inaugural address at the symposium spoke on “Svāmī Vidyāraṇya: An Impeccable Vedāntin”. Svami Vidyaranya’s contributions of Mimamsa, Vedanta, Jyotishya, Dharmashastra, and Puranas were prominently highlighted. Insights from his notable works such as Pañcadaśī. Kāla-Mādhava, Parāśara-Mādhava, Sarvadarśana-Saṃgraha, Vivaraṇa-Prameya-Saṃgraha and Purāṇasāra were significantly discussed.

On March 10, 2024, “Bellaṃkoṇḍa Rāmarāyakavi’s Unparalleled Contributions To Advaita Siddhānta” had 10 scholars presenting. Sri Bellamkonda Ramaraya Kavi was a renowned Sanskrit poet, scholar, yogi, and a staunch philosopher who propagated Advaita Siddhanta. Dr. Nagaraj Paturi in his opening remarks presented a biographical sketch of Ramarayakavi. Other speakers spoke about unique Vedantic insights presented by Ramarayakavi in his seminal works such as Advaitāmṛtam, Advaitavijayaḥ, Vedāntasaṅgrahaḥ, Bhāṣyārkaprakāśa, Vedāntamuktāvalī, Śārīraka Catuḥsūtrī Vicāra, and Śaṃkarāśaṃkara-Bhāṣya-Vimarśa. Ramarayakavi’s arguments in defence of Advaita Siddhanta against criticisms offered by non-Advaita schools, most notably the Vishishtadvaita school were especially highlighted. 

Three retreats were held at Rithambara: October 6-8, 2023 – Love Songs of the Bhakti Poets by Dr. Anupama Kylash, January 5 -7 2024, Upadesha Sara of Ramana Maharshi by Rammohan S, and March 15-17, 2024, Journey To Self Realisation – An Introduction to Aparokshanubhuti by Swami Chidrupananda.

Through “Conversations” and “Weekends with Wisdom,” INDICA Moksha provided a platform for insightful discussions and deep dives into various aspects of Indian philosophy, spirituality, and culture, enriching the participants’ understanding and fostering a sense of unity and oneness.

Seventeen talks were presented by scholars and luminaries. Dr. Satyan Sharma spoke on Dharma Gnan and Moksh, Swami Brahmavidananda Saraswati on Insights from Mandukya Karika, Manikanta Somayaji Terala on Glory of Lalitha Trishati, Dr C.S.R.Prabhu on Introduction to Ashtavakra Samhita, Dr. Omkar Ullhas Aaradhi on सांख्य दर्शन : Hindi Talk on Philosophy of Realization, Swami Chidananda, Krishna Kashyap on Three Vedantic Perspectives on Ishavasya Upanishad were some of the speakers.

Shri Nithin Sridhar has also had conversations with stalwarts including Vidwan V Subramanian, Swami Nikhilananda Saraswati, Dr. Srinivasa Acharya, Dr. Rajeev Kurapati, Swami Chidrupananda, Sri Giriratna Mishra and others. 

(This report has been compiled by Director Center for Moksha Studies (Home – Indica Moksha) Shri Nithin Sridhar)