The School of Indian Heritage
The School of Indian Heritage will focus on the following four areas to start with:
- Vedanta philosophy in all its aspects and in its liberal universal and rational form, showing its harmony with modern scientific knowledge and discoveries, particularly in the light of Swami Vivekananda's vision of Vedanta as the future universal religion of all thinking humanity,
- Physics-philosophy, science-religion interface.
- Ramakrishna-Vivekananda thought vis-a-vis modern socio-political thought current, in the light of which the ancient books need to be liberally interpreted and re-interpreted, and
- Indian scientific heritage, both ancient and modern—right from the Vedic times through Aryabhata and Brahmagupta, upto Jagadis Chandra Bose, Satyendranath Bose, CV Raman, Harish Chandra etc.
- Study of Sanskrit in its pure classical form--both the language, literature and philosophical texts--as well as in the context of modern developments like Natural Language Processing (NLP), language teaching techniques using Information and Communication Technology (ICT), online Sanskrit Language Teaching (SLT) etc.
The regular courses are mainly focused on Sanskrit Studies—Sanskrit language and literature as well as Sanskrit-related studies like study of ancient texts, both philosophical and scientific.
The courses are aimed at creating a band of scholars who will be adequately equipped to conduct meaningful research in Indian Heritage in its multifarious aspects.
At present, the School of Indian Heritage runs a 5-year integrated M.A. course in Sanskrit Studies (3-year B.A. Hons + 2-year M.A.). This course is conducted fully in Sanskrit medium, with all the students and teachers speaking and writing only in Sanskrit. Besides Sanskrit, these boys are taught the following as subsidiary subjects: Computer Applications and English. Hindi is taught as a compulsory language.
Belur Math already runs a Vivekananda Veda Vidyalaya in which residential students study Sanskrit intensely from Classes 9 to 12. These students could be the feeder-students to the 5-year Integrated MA course, and those passing out of this MA course will in turn be feeder-scholars to the MPhil and PhD programmes.
With the knowledge of both English and Computer Applications, these boys specializing in Sanskrit studies should be Swamiji's soldiers in integrating ancient Indian wisdom with modern scientific knowledge and research into ancient Indian scientific heritage.
Natural Language Processing (NLP), particularly in the context of Panini's Sanskrit grammar, is the subject of study and research by scholars in certain institutes in India and therefore it is relevant in the modern context for the students to undergo education and training in Computer Applications and English, apart from their intense study of Sanskrit language and literature.
In this modern gurukula (4 years at Vivekananda Veda Vidyalaya at Belur Math plus 5 years of integrated MA study at Vivekananda University plus 4 years of PhD at Vivekananda University), these residential students will pursue intense study and research with focused minds for (4 + 5 + 4)= 13 years, as in ancient times.
The vision is to create a band of at least 10 scholars in a year, who, with their scholarship in Sanskrit, English and Computer Applications would prove to be great assets to the country.
Diploma & Certificate Courses
Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute, in the hallowed name of Swami Vivekananda considers a bounden duty to expose and sensitize the present generations of Indians to the Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of India. With this in view, the School of Indian Heritage is running the following courses at the diploma and certificate levels:
- Diploma in 'Indian Spiritual Heritage'
- Diploma in 'Bhagavad-Gita: Ancient and Modern Interpretations'
- Certificate course in 'Studies on Swami Vivekananda'
- Certificate course on the Kathopanishad
The following write up gives the basic vision behind these spiritual heritage courses:
Diploma Course in 'Essentials of Indian Spiritual Heritage':
Part I—Scriptures and Saints
Swami Vivekananda said: "My whole ambition in life is to set in motion a machinery which will bring noble ideas to the door of everybody, and then let men and women settle their own fate. Let them know what our forefathers as well as other nations have thought on the most momentous questions of life." On another occasion he said: "For a complete civilization the world is waiting, waiting for the treasures to come out of India, waiting for the marvellous spiritual inheritance of that race, which, through decades of degradation and misery, the nation has still clutched to her breast. The world is waiting for that treasure; little do you know how much of hunger and of thirst there is outside of India for these wonderful treasures of our forefathers. We talk here, we quarrel with each other, we laugh at and we ridicule everything sacred, till it has become almost a national vice to ridicule everything holy. Little do we understand the heart-pangs of millions waiting outside the walls, stretching forth their hands for a little sip of that nectar which our forefathers have preserved in this land of India." It behoves us, therefore, to reverentially study the glorious spiritual and cultural heritage of our own country before we can distribute 'that nectar' to others. Our University established by Ramakrishna Mission in the hallowed name of Swami Vivekananda feels that it is its bounden duty to expose and sensitize the present generation of Indians to the spiritual and cultural heritage of India. During January to December 2007, we ran a postgraduate diploma course intended to provide such an exposure. The response to the course was overwhelming, which reflects the thirst that people at large feel to learn about India's glorious heritage. Based on our experience in running this course for one year (twice a week, nearly three hours each day), we re-conceptualized our scheme and tentatively decided to have a three-part series—Part I dealing with 'Scriptures and Saints', Part II with 'Philosophy and Practice' and Part III with 'Mythology and Rituals'. The first part of the series, namely, 'Scriptures and Saints' begins in January 2008 and is expected to be completed by December 2009. The course will be taught at Belur Campus and by the monks of Ramakrishna Order for the most part.