nashto mohaH smrutirlabdhA tvatprasAdAnmyAchyut |
sthiroAsmi gatsandehah karishye vachanam tav ||
— Bhagvad Gita, Ch18,v73
The above words were said by Arjuna, after listening Lord Krishna’s message in the form of Bhagvad Gita after which Arjuna gained his confidence back and was ready to do his duty with even more vigor.
A similar experience, though on much smaller scale, was witnessed through a unique project, ‘Speaker on Campus’. While the universities in US provide conducive environment for awareness and practice of various cultures and traditions, rarely we see events held specifically by Hindus on the campus. Speaker on Campus was one little step taken in this direction. The pearls of wisdom from ancient India were mustered together by renowned speakers and strung together by ‘Speaker On Campus’ project.
Like Arjuna, the students from various Midwestern and Southwestern universities felt rejuvenated after successfully organizing Speaker on Campus events at their campus. While the words of speakers – Shri N.V. Raghuram, Shri Ravi Iyer, and Shri Srinivas Tilak added to the knowledge of audience, their enthusiasm, tireless efforts and engaging schedules motivated the organizers. Shri Raghuram, co-founder and international coordinator of SVYASA University in Bangalore India (www.svyasa.org), brought with him the vast knowledge of “Science of Yoga”. While Shri Ravi, a long time social reformer and thinker, shared the principles of “Vedic Mathematics” and sciences in ancient India. Shri Tilak, an independent research scholar from Montreal, provided deep insight into understanding ‘karma’ and the pillars of Hinduism to southwestern universities. To sum up the quality of their lectures, it is worth quoting a doctoral student from University Of Minnesota referring to Raghuram ji’s event – “This is one lecture in which I did not even think of sleeping!”. Similarly, Ravi ji who shared platform with eminent mathematicians like Prof Greg Lupton of Cleveland State University, witnessed full house for his all lectures in Ohio Universities. The unique presentation style of Dr Tilak was hailed by students and academia alike. “It helped me better understand the Hindu Dharma”, was the remark after the lecture in University of Texas Austin by Girija, a student in UT who comes from Trinidad.
As a part of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh’s birth centenary celebrations of Shri M.S. Golwalkar (the second chief of sangh), ‘Speaker on Campus’ project was an effort led and executed by a team of students from various universities. Students from these universities came together and felt a need for bringing more awareness on campus about Hindu way of life. Their thoughts and concerns culminated in the form of series of lectures by eminent speakers who have dived deep into their subjects. The project which started with Michigan State University, eventually covered 12 midwestern universities within a span of almost 2 weeks, 5th September to 18th September, 2006. The lectures were attended by over 570 people and received help in organizing by nearly 44 students and faculty members. Seven states of midwest were covered through Michigan State University, Purdue University, Illinois Weyslan University, University of Illinois Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, University of Nebraska Omaha, University of Nebraska Lincoln, and University of Iowa. Similarly in southwest, the event touched up to 150 students through 5 Universities including UT-Austin, Trinity University, University of North Texas, Oklahoma University-Norman.
The lectures were tailored for the curious minds and intelligentsia of the universities. While we have heard a lot about Yoga, we rarely get to know the logic behind it. In Raghuram ji’s own words, “Yoga is like a big banyan tree, the part dealing with postures and physical attributes is just one leaf of it”. Many in audience who had come to learn some postures were enthralled by this serendipity. Shri Raghuram presented the logic of Yoga through his familiar crystal clear explanations and sharp logical conclusions. No wonder he was seen surrounded by many doctoral students after his lectures. Similarly, Shri Ravi’s presentation on Vedic Mathematics were instant hit among students coming from myriad backgrounds. He not only exposed principles of Vedic Mathematics but also presented them in simple and easy to remember style. Shri Tilak chose topics which are commonly referred by Hindus as well as when talking of Hinduism – karma and basis of Hinduism. Yet his erudite approach to the subjects gave audience a completely new perspective. To add to this flow of knowledge, a nation-wide travelling exhibition on “Hindu Dharma” was set up at each university which mesmerized everyone due to its content as well as presentation.
‘Speaker on Campus’ was a first such series of its kind. It was an event of the students, by the student, but for the whole society. The series brought people together on campuses to learn, think and implement eternal principles of Hindu culture like – ‘World is one family’ and ‘Let all be happy, prosperous and healthy’. The great monk from east, Swami Vivekananda, once said, “Give me 100 energetic young men and I shall transform India”. Speaker on Campus was just a humble effort to find men and women who can transform not only their country but the whole world. What better tribute could have been given to the great spiritual and social leader, Shri M.S. Golwalkar, who even after 100 years since his birth still lives in the heart of millions of people.