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Steny Hoyer honors Hindu scriptures at Capitol Hill

October 03
22:30 2013
BAPS Bhadreshswami presenting his scholarly work to US Rep. Steny Hoye

BAPS Bhadreshswami presenting his scholarly work to US Rep. Steny Hoye

WASHINGTON DC: Senior US Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) honored a renowned scholar of Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy, Bhadreshdas Swami of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha at a special ceremony in Capitol Hill on Wednesday, September 18.

Congressmen Hoyer was presented with five voluminous Sanskrit books penned by Bhadreshdas Swami – the Swaminarayan Bhashyam: Commentary on the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutras. Observing that this scholarly work needs to be preserved in the Library of Congress, Hoyer presented these texts in a separate ceremony to an officer of the Library of Congress. She welcomed the texts of ancient Hindu wisdom as an important addition to the cultural and intellectual wealth of the national library.

While an interest in all things yoga has led to a recent revival of Sanskrit and Indian culture in American popular consciousness, the American preoccupation with Indian philosophy and Sanskrit texts stretches back to the mid-19th century when transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson roamed the halls of Harvard, inspired by passages of the ancient Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. Since that time, ancient Sanskrit texts such as the Upanishads and Gita have been contributing to our understanding of ourselves and our world in ways both subtle and overt.

Bhadreshdas Swami was described as a modern-day interpreter of this very ancient tradition. His Swaminarayan Bhashyam is a classical-style Sanskrit commentarial text on some of the most prominent scriptures of Hinduism which are revered by almost one billion Hindus worldwide. Many scholars have lauded the Swaminarayan Bhashyam as one of the great contributions to Hinduism and Indian philosophy in the past several centuries.

Dr Krishnamurti Shastri, Member of the Project Committee, Maharshi Sandipani Rashtiya Vedavidya Pratishthan of India has said that this “poetic commentary presents new insights into the secrets of Vedanta in comparison to any previous views on the subject.”
Bhadreshdas Swami is a scholar of Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures. After being initiated as a swami in 1981, he has been studying Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures for the last 32 years. Having completed a 500-page thesis on the Bhagavad Gita written entirely in Sanskrit, he has earned five Masters degrees as well as a PhD in Sanskrit.

He recently completed commentaries on the Upanishads, Brahmasutras and the Gita and is currently working on a commentary on the Vedas. In recognition of his achievements, the Kavikulguru Kalidas Sanskrit University (KKSU) in Nagpur awarded him a Doctorate of Literature as well as the honorary award of Mahamahopdhyaya, an honorary title given to prestigious scholars by the Government of India.

The Swaminarayan Bhashyam is named thus as it encompasses the values revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in a philosophy known as Swaminarayan Darshan. The five volumes of the Swaminarayan Bhashya address the modern need of religious and social pluralism and harmony in the world along with explaining universal ethical and spiritual values.

As Bhadreshdas Swami explained to Congressman Hoyer, “When the sages of government and the sages of spirituality come together, the result is the spread of peace in the world.” Congressman Hoyer averred that, “Surely these commentaries written by you will bring peace and blessings to the millions who will read and benefit from them.”

Harish Rao

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