Release of Russian Translation of the book “Swami Vivekananda Biography and Teachings”
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Vivekananda International Foundation organised the virtual release of the Russian translation of the book “Swami Vivekananda Biography and Teachings” on 13th April 2021. The webinar was a collective effort of Vivekananda International Foundation and the Embassy of India, Moscow, Russia. Dr Arvind Gupta, Director VIF and Ambassador D. Bala Venkatesh Varma from the Embassy for India, Moscow, Russia, initiated the webinar with welcoming remarks. The virtual release of the book was followed by reflections from distinguished speakers, Ms Tatiana Skorokhodova, Professor, Penza State University; Ku. Nivedita Bhide, Vice President, Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari and Dr Arpita Mitra, Assistant Professor, Kazi Nazrul University and Professor Sergel Serebriany.

Dr Arvind Gupta began the session by invoking the famous speech of Swami Vivekananda that he delivered in the parliament of World Religions in 1893, Chicago. After quoting a few lines from Swami Vivekananda’s speech, Dr Gupta highlighted the significance of the spiritual and unique message the Indian civilisation offers to the world. He said that Swami Vivekananda was the brand Ambassador of the Philosophy of Vedanta and its spiritual concept of oneness and the soul’s consciousness to the world. He added that Swami Vivekananda was an advocate of reason and a critique of superstition. Dr Gupta highlighted that Swami Vivekananda had a great belief in urban education and the power and strength of women to contribute to society. Additionally, Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts reflect the richness of Indian thinking, which advocates for universalism and tolerance, said Dr Gupta.

Following Dr Gupta’s remarks, Ambassador D. Bala Venkatesh Varma welcomed all the guests and dignitaries. He highlighted the auspicious occasion of India’s New Year and elucidated upon the civilisational values behind the same. Furthermore, Ambassador Varma explained the efforts of Swami Vivekananda in awakening India’s rich, harmonious and spiritual civilisational values. These values have led to national awakening, becoming more robust with time, said Ambassador Varma.

Moving forward, Ms Tatiana Skorokhodova highlighted the contemporary significance of Swami Vivekananda’s teachings. She said Swami Vivekananda was a great philosopher, and his teachings hold relevance in today’s world of dissociation, intolerance, alienation of people, fundamentalism and militarism. She added that Swami Vivekananda is the first religious philosopher to present harmonious Indian religious traditions to the world. Ms Skorokhodova said that he was a social philosopher and humanist. He was concerned about human suffering and searched for ways to overcome miseries and develop humanity in social, cultural and spiritual aspects. Ms Skorokhodova mentioned that Swami Vivekananda’s teachings give us a window into inter-religion dialogue. The idea of mutual learning in the discussion becomes a unique means to settle problems and conflicts in the global interaction of societies, said Ms Skorokhodva.

Ku. Nivedita Bhide spoke on Swami Vivekananda’s life. She explained the phases of Swami Vivekananda’s life. She mentioned that Swami Vivekananda had realised that the suffering is the same everywhere, and India has certain great truth to contribute to humanity’s progress. We see he went to America and later to European countries, said Ku. Bhide. He was on a global mission to end suffering; hence, his message became the whole of humanity’s message, said Ku. Bhide.

Furthermore, Dr Arpita Mitra, the original author of the book in English, highlighted the universality of love in the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. She expressed that his message of love is India’s message to the world. It is a common inheritance of the entire humankind, not for India alone, said Dr Mitra.

Lastly, Professor Sergel Serebriany compared the book to a sacred text or a gospel. He suggested a translation of more books that have a multidimensional approach. The discussion was followed by a question-answer session and a vote of thanks by the Indian Embassy in Moscow.

Event Date 
April 13, 2021

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