National Seminar on Philosophy of Swami Vivekananda

Date: Nov 21, 2017 - Nov 23, 2017
Organized by: Department of Philosophy Department

Call for Papers

The Department of Philosophy, NEHU, Shillong, will organize a three days National Seminar on Philosophy of Swami Vivekananda from 21st to 23rd November 2017. The Department invites papers from interested scholars for presentation. The papers are expected to be in line with the concept note given below.

Concept Note:

Advaita vedanta upholds the idea that there is non-difference between self and the Brahman. That we need to put this ideal non-difference into practice is the crux of Swami Vivekananda’s practical ved?ntawhich stands fundamental to his multi-faceted philosophy. Through practical ved?nta Vivekananda argues in favour of unity, love, non-violence and, more importantly, a kind of self-realization that we should have to recognize our infinite potentiality and hidden divinity. The philosophical foundation that he adopts for this self-realization is what he considers the essence of ved?nta, namely, tat tvam asi. In his interpretation, ved?nta tells us to believe in ourselves and ‘a man who does not believe in himself is an atheist’. Vivekananda considers ved?nta a religion and Bhagavad Gita the best exposition of ved?nta; advocates for real activity, Niskama karma, that one needs to perform with ‘eternal calmness’, without passions.

One of the most significant contributions of Swami Vivekananda to the modern world is his interpretation of religion as a universal experience of transcendent Reality, common to all humanity. This universal conception frees religion from the hold of superstitions, dogmatism, priestcraft and intolerance, and makes religion the highest and noblest pursuit – the pursuit of supreme Freedom, supreme Knowledge, supreme Happiness.

Vivekananda by advocating the concept of ‘potential divinity of the soul,’ tried his best to prevent the degradation, to divinize human relationships, to make life meaningful and worth living, and also has laid the foundation for ‘spiritual humanism’, which is manifesting itself through several neo-humanistic movements and the current interest in meditation. Vivekananda has given a new theory of ethics and new principle of morality based on the intrinsic purity and oneness of the ?tman. We should be pure because purity is our real nature, our true divine Self or ?tman. Similarly, we should love and serve our neighbours because we are all one in the Supreme Spirit known as Param?tman or Brahman.

He also emphasizes on the activity aspect of religion rather than the scriptural or doctrinal aspect; renders more importance to the role of reason rather than blind faith in religion. In his words, “it is better that mankind should become atheist by following reason than blindly believe in two hundred millions of gods on the authority of anybody.”  For him, God is not an outcome of imagination, God is the most known of all that we know; the proof for God’s existence is nothing but the existence of our godhead; ‘the proof of the Christs and Buddhas of the world’ is that ‘you and I feel like them’. It is not just spiritualism that he emphasizes on but also secularism as well as nationalism; of course, with the ethical principle of ‘non-injury and doing good’.

That we need to be educated in order to learn how to control our minds, that knowledge is not just an accumulation of information, that a language’s impact depends on who and how has it been used, that love is the law of life are certain other important teachings of Vivekananda which may be properly understood in the framework of practical ved?nta.

The objective of this proposed seminar is to provide a forum for new works on the philosophy of Vivekananda in general and practical ved?nta in particular so that we can meaningfully contribute to Vivekananda’s mission of ‘making man’ by a better understanding of different ideals he upheld.

The following issues may be addressed under the scope of this seminar.

  • New exposition, interpretation or critical assessment of practical ved?nta.
  • The philosophy of religion, philosophy of culture, moral philosophy, socio-political philosophy and  philosophy of education in accordance to the teachings of Vivekananda.
  • Theory of knowledge, error, reality, mind, and language in accordance to the teachings of Vivekananda.
  • Nationalism, Youth leadership, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, secularism and spiritualism in accordance to the teachings of Vivekananda.

Abstracts must be sent through email to by 20th of October 2017.

For further information please contact
Dr. Laxminarayan Lenka,
Department of Philosophy,
NEHU, Shillong, Meghalaya- 793022.
Mobile No: 9862249750.

NB:  No TA/DA will be provided.