Category : Reports

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Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai and Rtayana  jointly organized  Dr. S.A.Dange Birth Centenary lecture series on Manuscriptology on 25th  & 26th April 2022 at 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm . The Guest speaker was Dr. Siddharth Wakankar, Ex-Deputy Director, M.S.Oriental Institute, Vadododara, Gujrat. He delivered lectures on the topic- Importance of Manuscriptology study and Scope or contribution of Manuscriptology in research field. He pointed out many essential key elements of Manuscriptology. The science of studying the manuscripts is known as Manuscriptology.For considering a manuscript acceptable, the age of documents should be 75 years since the date of writing the document. The manuscripts are written in different languages & scripts. Manuscripts are written on different materials like palm leaf, birch bark and stone etc. Manuscripts comprise of our most precious ancient heritage as rare piece of recorded knowledge. They deserve the value and importance in the literary research field specially in Sanskrit. So study of the manuscripts is an important aspect in the present era. Dr.Wankar narrated scripts, writing tools, conservation, preservation, maintenance of manuscripts, study of literary manuscripts and its constraints along with importance and basics of manuscriptology. In his lecture he illustrated importance of Manuscriptology study and Scope or contribution of Manuscriptology in research field.


Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai in collaboration with Stockholm University , Sweden and Bhaktivedanta Research Centre has organized three days online International Conference on Bhakti in Vaishnava Traditions on 21st to 23rd March 2022. Esteemed academicians and practioners of Vaishnava tradition have presented their research papers.

         Dr.Sridhar Iyer compaired the Inaugural session. The Inaugural program started with Saraswativandana by Dr.Medha Deshpande. Dr.Shakuntala Gawde and Dr.Sumanta Rudra have welcomed and presented the preamble. Dr. Madhavi Narsalay has introduced Prof. Gopal Gupta. He stated that Bhakti is in its earliest forms found in the Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavadgita. In his speech he mentioned many forms of love reflections from Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavadgita, there are so many different forms of Bhakti, different moods, different flavours of Bhakti that are being spoken in these two profound works. The key note speaker was Srivatsa Goswami ji. Dr.Shakuntala Gawde introduced Srivatsa Goswamiji. Goswamiji explained Bhakti received various philosophical dimensions in different traditions and he has seen Bhakti as an intellectual enterprise. Dr.Ferdinando Sardella proposed vote of thanks.

                  The Special lecture was organized in the next session. Dr.Madhavi Narsalay introduced the guest Gauranga Das ji. The Special lecture was deliberated by Gauranga Das Prabhuji. He elaborated Bhakti element in ‘Bhakti Rasamruta Sidhu’. The Vaishnava Classic that analyzes the various stages of Bhakti (Devotion) as a methodical practice resulting in Love of God.  In this book, a metaphor used comparing an Ocean (Sindhu) to a devotional relationship with God. He conveyed that loving relationships are enjoyable like sweet nectar and deep like an ocean. However, Devotion is truly only meant for the supreme beloved, Krishna. Dr.Suchitra Tajane proposed the vote of thanks.

           The Next academic session chaired by Dr.Gauri Mahulikar. The session moderated by Mr.Ajay Pendse. Three scholars have presented their research papers. Dr.Abhishek Bose the first speaker presented a paper on Bhakti in Gaudiya text. He explained ‘Bhavashabalya’ in Chaitanya sampradaya very beautifully. The next speaker was Dr.S.Padmanabhan with the topic Bhakti in Vishishtadvaita Tradition. He pointed out the difference between Bhakti and Bhaktiyoga very aptly. The third speaker was Dr.Ranganayaki Krishnan with the topic Bhakti in Alvar hymns. She elaborated Ananya Bhakti that is ‘Anyashrayanam Tyagah’ very beautifully with chanting of stotras. Dr.Gauri Mahulikar given her expert comments and given examples of Uttama, Madhyama and Prakrit Bhaktas. And stated a wonderful example of Marathi Saint Namdev Maharaj. Dr.Suchitra Tajane has proposed the vote of thanks.

        The second day started with academic session 2 which was chaired by Dr.Nirmala Kulkarni. The first speaker was Smt.Prakriti Goswami with the topic Bhakti in Pushti Sampradaya. She elaborated the Bhakti elements in Siddhanta Muktavali of Shree Vallabhacharya and stated the aesthetic mood of Bhakti. Next speaker Dr.Kiyokazu Okita presented a scholarly paper on the topic Bhakti in Dvaita Vedanta. He focussed on Madhusudana Saraswatis commentary.  The next speaker Dr.Siddhartha Satapathy presented a paper on Bhakti in Odiya Bhagavata. He explained the connection between politeness and Bhakti with the reference of Jagannath Das’s Bhagavata. The next speaker Dr.Shakuntala Gawde presented a paper on Govardhana-Haridasavarya (the best devotee). She explained the Govardhana manifestation as a Bhagavan Krishna, as a Haridasavarya and as a Radha in a very scholarly way. She given many textual references from Vedas, Upanishads, Philosophy etc. Session moderated by Smt.Shobha Sahasrabuddhe. Dr.Sapana Chinnurkar proposed the vote of thanks.

        The Evening session started with the scholarly lecture by Dr.Ravi Gupta. Dr.Shakuntala Gawde introduced Dr.Gupta. Dr.Gupta elaborated the Prema Bhakti in Gaudiya Vaishnavism. He elaborated the essence of Premabhakti which refers to a stage of Bhakti which is characterised by the appearance of prema, the perfectional stage of devotion; The second scholarly lecture given by Dr.Kenneth Walpey. Dr.Medha Deshpande introduced Dr.Kenneth Walpey. His topic was To take place- marking sacred territory in Bhakti hagiography. He explained that for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Bhakti is enacted in wandering and remembering, as a search for the lost/separated beloved Lord of one’s life. This enactment brings one or ought to bring one- in communion with all beings, locating one in a place that is ‘sacred’ not in the sense of ‘taboo’, ‘set apart’, but rather as place of eternally expanding living, beyond the confines and miseries of birth and death. Mainly he focused on a single early 17thc. hagiographical accounts of Chaitanya’s pilgrimage to Vrindavana to Jagannatha puri.

     The academic session of day 3 has been chaired by Dr.Kala Acharya. Three scholars have presented their papers. Dr.Prasad Akolkar was the first speaker with topic Bhakti in Varkari Sampradaya. He elaborated the essence of Bhakti in the Bhagavata/ Varakari Sampradaya especially in Maharashtra. Dr.Madhavi Narsalay was the second speaker, her topic was Vernacularaization of Bhakti- study of two Marathi commentaries of Bhagavata Purana. She pointed out that, The Bhagavata Purana is the home ground of Bhakti, in its practical aspects. So, to help the common folk understand Bhakti with its nuances, the Bhagavata Purana was vernacularized by scholars. It was not just vernacularization of the text, but vernacularization of the Bhakti concepts in it. The next speaker was Dr.Purnima Dave and her topic was Devotion in Nimbarka and Swaminarayana Philosophy. She elaborated Nimbarka’s Bhedabheda philosophy, duality and nonduality at the same time, or dualistic non-dualism and also focused on the Bhakti Sampradaya of Swaminarayana which advocates God within the disciplines of Dharma. The last speaker of the session was Dr.Sriram Iyer with the topic Krishna Bhakti of Madhusudana Saraswati. He defined the bhakti element in Madhusudan Saraswatis ‘Bhaktirasayana’ in a very apt way. The session moderated by Dr.Medha Deshpande. Dr.Suchitra Tajane proposed the vote of thanks.

        The Valedictory function was started with Mangalacharana by Ms.Kanakvalli Santhanam. Dr. Shakuntala Gawde introduced the Chief guest HH.Tridandi Chinna Jeeyar Swami who contributed in the making of ‘Statue of Equality’. Swamiji delivered a thought provoking and inspiring speech. Dr.Rajesh Kharat, Dean of Humanities delivered important speech. The special lecture on Constructing the Aesthetic Self of the Bhagavata Purana given by Dr.Ithamar Theodar from Zefat College, Israel. Dr.Shakuntala Gawde and Dr.Sumanta Rudra proposed vote of thanks.

-Dr.Medha Deshpande


Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai has organized a special lecture series on New Dimensions of Sanskrit Research on 14/02/2022 to 03/03/2022 at 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm. The renowned scholars engaged lectures in the series and explored new dimensions of Sanskrit research.

                        First lecture was taken by Dr. Nirmala Kulkarni. Dr.Kulkarni elaborated Gender Studies in Sanskrit. She told about the application of theories of feminism in Sanskrit research right from the Vedas and highlighted that this is the unexplored field of Sanskrit research but it should be undertaken by unbiased manner. Dr.Kulkarni elaborated Gender studies in Sanskrit in a very scholarly and unbiased way.

                   Second lecture was taken by Prof.Vijay Pandya. He rightly explained the critique to the critical edition of Valmiki Ramayana and told that critical edition is the specimen for understanding research methodology. He explored many new unknown dimensions of Valmiki Ramayana. Third speaker was Dr.Pradnya Kulkarni. Her topic was Lexical tools in Sanskrit Research. In her lecture she illustrated importance of lexicon in Sanskrit Research.

     Fourth lecture was taken by Prof.Malhar Kulkarni. His topic was Prospects of Research in the field of Sanskrit Grammer. Prof.Kulkarni stated that Sanskrit Vyakaranashastra has got a strong traditions of Arthaprakriya and Shabdaprakriya, both are equally important. There are three fields which are devoted to the language research- first The Philology of Language, second The Philosophy of Language and third one is newly established branch of learning- The Computational Linguistics. He elaborated the new fields that are coming up in order to explain such phenomenon i.e. Cognitive Natural Language Processing (Cognitive NLP), Which utilizes the cognitive aspect of language in addition to data driven approaches. Also he explained the Eye Tracking Methodology which can be applied to figure out the Sanskrit theories, only if it is supervised. He highlighted that Artificial Intelligence, Data Science etc. these fields may going to dominate the research field in coming years. But Artificial Intelligence may create several problems in understanding Sanskrit Grammer for example Over-generation. It is helpful only when it is supervised in specific competence kind of module.

            Fifth lecture was taken by Mr.Hemant Rajopadhye with the topic Sanskrit texts, classicism and modernity. He explained that if you want to learn and understand Sanskrit you must have the interdisciplinary approach. He talked about classicism and modernity. His approach of study was very much illustrative and innovative. He has explained many techniques in order to read Sanskrit text in a critical manner.

                     Sixth lecture was taken by Dr.Rajashree Mohadikar. Her topic was Prakrit-New Avenue for Research. She told, it is believed that Prakrit is an offshoot of Sanskrit, but Prakrit has its own peculiarities because of them, Prakrit is established as being separate language with independent culture and philosophy.

                  Seventh lecture was taken by Dr.Girish Jani, his topic was Literary Research in Sanskrit. Dr.Jani stated that anything which is conveying from the part of the composer through the medium of composition which is having the relevance to the components and the forms that is Literary Composition. He explained that Creation was the leading thing in the past but now focus is on the ‘The Rachanakara- The Composer. Every researcher of Sanskrit should pay attention to this that, modern style of research in Sanskrit or Indology is altogether different thing from past. We need to find out the soul purpose of any literary composition that way. For what reason the composition is presented before us is important. He elaborated the connection between research and literary criticism. Particularly in India has the tradition, whatever is to be given newly, we have to be presented first as following the path of ancients. We have to search for the new meaning, when we speak about ‘Nutan i.e. Navanitattvam’, the human urge for having something new, thinking something new is actually very old in that sense it is ‘Sanatana’. Dr.Jani expressed his views by giving examples of wellknown scholars, poets compositions. Ancient scholars like Bhoja, Bhamaha, Mahimbhatta, Shreeharsha, Bharavi, Magha, Bhavabhuti, Jagannatha Pandit, Adya Shankaracharya etc and Modern poets like, Pt.Jagannath Pathak, Jayanta Bhatta, Almoda, Revaprasad Dwivedi, Vishveshvar Pandey, Vijjika, K.Vyas, S.B.Vernekar, Kshama Rao, Satyavrat Shastri, Radhavallabh Tripathi, Paramanand Shastri, R.K.Narayan Pillai, Bapuji Arne etc. Through these modern scholars examples, Dr.Jani elaborated that particular critical approach of the commentators indicates about the new possibility of the existence of a new sourse of presentation, the depiction of the sentiments in a different way. Dr.Jani pointed out that how this literature can be studied in a traditional as well as the modern approach.

           Mainly all the lectures were illustrative because students must have gain a lot. All the speakers innovative approach towards Sanskrit Research made the lectures enjoyable as well as thought provoking. At the end Dr.Shakuntala Gawde (Head & Asst.Professor, Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai) proposed vote of thanks.

-Dr.Medha Deshpande