BHAKTIVEDANTA INSTITUTE – A BRIEF PROFILE
Bhaktivedanta Institute is an internationally acclaimed non-profit organization dedicated towards the cause of helping humanity through the interface of modern science and technology with spiritual traditions of the world. The institute board mostly comprises of alumni and faculties of IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) who are well-established in their academic pursuits and are open and have keen interest in the wisdom hidden in various spiritual traditions. They go beyond the boundaries of specific religious rituals and rather deliberate upon the core values, deeper meanings and bigger questions of life and cosmos – an open territory for both scientists and spiritualists.
The institute has its offices/representatives in India (Kolkata, Bangalore, Sambalpur, Kharagpur, Navadvip, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Karnal, Imphal, Agartala), Indonesia (Denpasar, Jakarta), Malaysia (Johor Baru), Italy (Rome), USA (Denver), Switzerland (Zurich), France (Toulouse).
Activities: In order to achieve its goal, the institute involves into various activities including regular quality dialogues, organize International as well as regional conferences, conducts meetings and dialogues/interviews with prominent scientists and Nobel Laureates, organizes regular Guest and public lectures, publishes in-depth publications, journals and conducts short courses in collaboration with various institutions.
Conferences: Collaborating with various academic institutions around the world, the Institute organizes International and National Conferences around the world. From First World Congress on Synthesis of Science and Religion, held at Mumbai India in 1987 where Nobel Laureate George Wald from Harvard University gave Keynote Address to many conferences such as – First International Conferences on the Study of Consciousness within Science, San Francisco, 1990 (John Eccles, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine gave the one of the Keynote Addresses); Second World Congress on Synthesis of Science and Religion held at Calcutta, India, 1997, where Nobel Laureate in Physics Charles Townes presented the Keynote Address; Second International Congress on Life and its Origin – Perspectives from Science and Spiritual traditions held at Rome, 2004; to several other conferences. Besides, the Institute launched annual conferences in India on Science and Spiritual Quest from 2005 which are hold every year since then and are supported by Dept. of Science and Technology of Govt. of India. The 2010 conference held in capital city of India, Delhi was inaugurated by the President of India Smt. Pratibha Patil herself and she expressed the need of holding these conferences regularly for helping entire humanity. The proceedings volume of many of these conferences containing papers of all the distinguished scientists and scholars participated are also available.
Some of these are reflected below:
- 1986: First International Congress on Synthesis of Science and Religion, Mumbai, India (over 1500 participation)
- 1990: First International Conference on Study of Consciousness within Science, San Francisco, USA
- 1997: Second International Congress on Synthesis of Science and Religion, Calcutta, India (over 2000 delegates)
- 2000: International Conference on the Culture of Peace, Manipur, India
- 2004: Second International Congress on Life and its Origin, Rome, Italy
- 2007: International Conference on the Synthesis of Science and Spirituality for World Peace, Imphal, Manipur.
There have been many other conferences organized at France, Bali (Indonesia), and many other places around the world over the last three decades.
National Seminars and Symposiums:
- A symposium on “Consciousness and the Origin of Life”, (1978)
- Ayurvedic conference entitled “Health and Consciousness”, (1978)
- Conference on “The Model and Structure of the Universe”, (1981)
- International symposium on Science and Religion, (1981)
- Seminar on Religion and Science, Gandhi Bhavan, Hyderabad (1983)
- Conference on “Bio-ethics”, Toulouse, France (1992)
- Seminar on “Science, Spirituality and the Future of Humanity”, Imphal, Manipur (2000)
- Seminar on “The Role of Spirituality in the New Millennium”, Kumbha Mela Ground, Allahabad
- Seminar on “Science, Religion and Metaphysics of Love”, Bombay, (2004)
- Seminar on “Science and Religion”, Calcutta, (2004)
- Seminar on “Science and Spirituality: Life on other Planets”, Dehradun (2005).
- 2005-2010: Annual All India Students’ Conferences on Science and Spiritual Quest, India (Puri, Tiruchirapalli, Tirupati, Allahabad, Delhi) in collaboration with National Institutes of Technology (NIT) Tiruchirapalli, MNNIT Allahabad
- 2011: All India Students’ Conferences on Science and Spiritual Quest, Delhi, India in collaboration with Delhi Technological University (DTU). President of India inaugurated the conference with around 500 delegates.
- 2012-2016: Annual All India Students’ Conferences on Science and Spiritual Quest, India
(Bangalore, Varanasi, Kharagpur, Mathura) in collaboration with Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, IIT-BHU, Varanasi, IIT-Kharagpur, Hindustan College of Science and Engineering, Mathura
- Conference on “Quantum Physics and Consciousness”, Rabindra Tirtha, Kolkata (2017) in collaboration with Bharatiya Vidya Mandir
Publications: One of the key features of the institute is to bring out quality publications and journal in order to provide and sustain the content of science and spirituality field. Some of the noteworthy publications are:
- Thoughts on Synthesis of Science and Religion
- Seven Nobel Laureates on Science and Spirituality
- Science, Spirituality and the Nature of Reality – A Dialogue with Sir Roger Penrose
- Essays on Science and Religion
- God, Intelligent Design and Fine-Tuning
- The Science of Interreligious Dialogue
- Life, Matter and their Interactions
- Science and Spiritual Quest 2007 (Tirupati Conference Proceedings volume)
- Science and Spiritual Quest 2008 (Tiruchirapalli Conference Proceedings volume)
- Bridging Science and Spirituality (Allahabad Conference proceedings volume)
- Science and Spiritual Quest 2011 (Delhi Conference Proceedings volume)
- Towards a Culture of Harmony and Peace
- Vedanta & Biotechnology
- Vedanta & the Science of Aging
- Man and Nature
- Life and its Origin – Explorations from Science and Spiritual Traditions (DVD) (Rome Conference Synopsis)
- Savijnanam – Scientific Exploration for a Spiritual Paradigm Vol. 1-7 (annual journal)
- Tattvajijnasa – Scientific and Spiritual Quest for the Ultimate Reality (magazine)
The institute’s various publications are also translated to into other regional languages such Bhasha Indonesia, French, Italian, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya.
Courses: The institute organizes short courses on Science and Spirituality from time to time at various locations around the world, besides offering master’s degree program.
School Education: With over 5000 students, the institute imparts education through its various schools
located in North-East India (Imphal, Mairang, Agartala, Bamutia) and Bali (Indonesia). All the schools in India are recognized as per the central board education of Govt. of India and covers education from primary to twelfth grade.
Dialogue with Opinion Leaders: The Bhaktivedanta Institute regularly organizes dialogue about the constructive engagement of science and religion with prominent scientists, statesmen, and religious leaders around the world. Some of the Key figures involved are:
- Prof. Ahmed Zewail, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics, and Director, NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, CalTech, USA;
- Prof. Charles Townes, Nobel Laureate in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley,
- Prof. William D. Phillips, Nobel Laureate in Physics from Physics Department, University of Maryland and NIST.
- Prof. Alan MacDiarmid, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Prof. Paul Lauterbur, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
- Prof. George Ellis, a prominent mathematician from the University of Capetown, South Africa
- Prof. Karl Pribram, a well-known neuropsychologist from the Georgetown University and Professor Emeritus of Stanford & Radford Universities, USA
- Prof. John Eccles, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine, USA.
- Prof. Werner Arber, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine at the University of Basel, Switzerland
- Prof. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Switzerland and many others.
Academic Institutions: The Institute associates and conducts various Guest lectures and seminars on topics related to science and spirituality with various academic institutions around the world. These include: Stanford University, USA; University of Colorado, Boulder, USA; University of Padova, Italy; National University of Singapore; Tehran University, Iran; University of Durban, South Africa; Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil; Medical College, Suva, Fizi; Udyana University, Bali, Indonesia; Emory University, Atlanta, USA; Institute of Oriental Studies, Peru; Indian Institutes of Technology, India (Kanpur, Kharagpur, Mumbai, Guwahati, Delhi, Chennai), and University of Malaga, Spain.
Rapport: Bhaktivedanta Institute has been having a very healthy rapport with many renowned scholars and luminaries who have contributed extensively and well-wishingly in our activities like publications, conferences, outreaches etc. Some of the renowned luminaries who have contributed in our publications are: Dalai lama, Nobel Laureate in Peace; George Wald, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine; Charles Townes, Nobel Laureate in Physics; Betty williams, Nobel Laureate in Peace; B. D. Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics; Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry; Werner Arber, Nobel Laureate in molecular biology; Sir Roger Penrose, mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science; Richard R. Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry; Karl H. Pribram, Neuropsychologist; E. C. G. Sudarshan, particle physicist; Amit Goswami, Quantum Physicist; J. N. Srivastava, famous Statistician; Paul C. Lauterbur, Nobel laureate in Medicine & Physiology; and many others.
Our various conferences as well have been visited by the likes of Smt. Pratibha Patil, Former president of India; Werner Arber, Nobel Laureate in molecular biology; Amit Goswami, Quantum Physicist; Dalai Lama, Roger Kornberg, Nobel laureate in Chemistry.