|RUSSIA, April 18, 2013 (Elena Krovvidi,RIR): This week, the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre at the Indian Embassy in Moscow, the Ramakrishna Society – Vedanta Centre and the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, jointly commemorated the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Academics, Indologists and religious leaders speak of the relevance of the great Indian sage’s teachings in modern day Russia. In his opening remarks, India’s Ambassador to Russia, Ajai Malhotra, dwelt upon the contributions made bySwami Vivekananda, one of the most influential spiritual leaders of the 19th/20th centuries. The sage was a social reformer and a great scholar whose teachings influenced many across the globe and continued to do so even today. The Indian ambassador highlighted the message propagated by Swami Vivekananda that “service to God can be rendered by service to mankind.” Other prominent speakers on the occasion were Swami Jyotirupananda, Rostislav Rybakov and Mark Mokulsky who highlighted various aspects of the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda and their enduring contemporary relevance.Swami Jyotirupananda, president of the Ramakrishna Mission in Moscow, was the first speaker. He emphasised Vivekananda’s role as a fighter for the rights of the suppressed members of society in India. Jyotirupananda reminded that in India that April 15 – the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda – is celebrated not only by holding lectures and functions but also by holding charitable activities.
Mark Mokulsky, Prof. and Dr. of physical and mathematical sciences at the Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, followed the discussion about Vievakananda by sharing his hypothesis on the connection between spirituality of Vedanta and genetic-molecular science.
Another eminent speaker Rostislav Rybakov, Indologist, Dr. of historical sciences and Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1994-2009, elaborated about the relevance of Vivekananda’s teachings to the issues Russia has to face in our day. Rybakov maintains that Vivekananda’s philosophy is very much on the agenda for Russia and Russians of the 21st century. Rybakov believes that the only path to follow is to educate children from the youngest age, but not simply educating but imbibing them with moral and ethical values that will lay the foundation for their future view of the world. “The way that we need to go is lengthy, torturous and complex,” Rybakov says. But it is the only possible way.” The finishing stroke of Rybakov’s speech was drowned in enthusiastic applause: “Recently, the French actor Gerard Depardieu has become an honorable citizen of Russia. But, in my view, Swami Vivekananda should become an honorable citizen of Russia, even after his death. We need him very much in our lives today.”