Vedanta: Its Many Manifestations, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

2013 Conference | Loyola Marymount University

From its origins in Vedic literature nearly 3,000 years ago, Vedānta has influenced every aspect of Indian thought and culture.  Its multiple expressions have inspired worldviews ranging from non-dualism to theistic devotionalism and have shaped varied regional and pan-Indic traditions in literature, art, performance, ethics and culture.

While arguably influencing the foundations of  western thought in pre-Socratic Greece, Vedāntic texts made an important intervention in 19th century German transcendentalism and its continental offshoots and in American idealism from the mid to late 19th century. Revivified by Vivekananda at the turn of the 20th century, the fertile universalism of Vedānta continued to feed a new humanism for more than a hundred years, inspiring Indophilic counterculture and human potential movements.

In our new millennium, the importance of Vedānta remains greater than ever, in expanding the boundaries of human self-conception through transpersonal and integral psychologies and new trans-religious theologies.  This two day conference explored the various dimensions of Vedānta, its relationship to later hermeneutic philosophies that took its name, and other schools of Indian thought and practice, such as Sāṃkhya-Yoga, Tantra and medieval Bhakti. Attendees also heard from leading experts about its influence in the West and its international and transcultural potentials. This conference included bestowing the Doshi Bridgebuilder Award upon Dr. Karan Singh, author, member of Parliament, and former ambassador to the United States from India.  Dr. Singh delivered the keynote address for the conference.  Additionally, the conference celebrated the long-awaited publication of a 50 commentary edition of the Isa Upanisad by Drs. Yajneshwar and Sunanda Shastri of Gujarat University.