Launch

October 27th, 2014:

Launch of Encyclopedia of Hinduism by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. David Cameron in London

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The evening of October 27th marked a historic moment in the cultural history of India and for Indians and Hindus across the world.  The 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism produced by India Heritage Research Foundation, founded and chaired by Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, was launched in London by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. David Cameron.

The program took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center in Westminster, London, in a special function hosted by Lord Andrew Feldman, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, and organized by the Conservative Party, the Conservative Party Friends of India and Asian Media and Marketing Group, publishers of Garavi Gujarat, Eastern Eye, Asian Trader, Pharmacy Business and Asian Hospitality.

The function was graced by the presence of the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Founder/Chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation and President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India, where Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla recently visited and performed the sacred evening Aarti ceremony, many cabinet ministers, high level diplomats and eminent Indian industrialists.

Filled to capacity with more than 1000 guests, the function began with the lighting of a special diya, in honor of Diwali.  The diya (lamp) was lit by the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Lord Feldman of Elstree, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, the managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism, and Samantha Cameron, the wife of the Prime Minister.

Following the lamp lighting, speeches were given by the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati.

Quotations from the evening are:

Mr. David Cameron, Hon’ble Prime Minister: “This Encyclopedia is a great contribution to humanity.” Later, after Pujya Swamiji’s speech he said, “I love this saying of ‘Let all the noble thoughts come from all directions.’ I am going to use this. This is beautiful.”

H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji said, “Indian culture says, ‘Let all the noble thoughts come from all directions.’ We are an inclusive culture, not an exclusive culture. We are a culture that embraces all, excludes none.  In our prayers, we pray ‘Sarve bhavantu sukhinah. Sarve santo niramaya.’  It means, ‘May all be happy, may all be healthy.’  We never pray ‘May Hindus be happy,’ or ‘May Indians be healthy.’  No, we pray for all.  Our scriptures remind us, ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ the world is one family.  We pray not only for all of human life, but also for the animals, the plants and nature.  Our culture teaches us — Do not only worship the Creator, but also serve the Creation! This encyclopedia was created with that in mind – service of creation, service of those who didn’t know or understand or have access to these timeless truths and insights.”

Lord Andrew Feldman of Elstree, Chairman of the Conservative Party: “’It is an incredible honour for the Conservative Party that His Holiness Swamiji graciously agreed  to launch the magnificent Encyclopaedia of Hinduism on the occasion of our Diwali Party in the presence of the Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron. This work of 1000 scholars over 25 years is a phenomenal achievement. The Party wants to deepen and broaden our links with the British Indian community and with India and this event is one important step on our journey.”

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism and President of Divine Shakti Foundation, who said: “Nowhere in the Hindu scriptures does one even find the word Hindu – the term used to describe these ancient yet timeless teachings is Sanatan Dharma – or eternal way of life.  Hinduism emphasizes the very oneness of Creation and of paths to the Divine.  Hinduism is not simply theology; rather the teachings truly encompass every area of life and are inextricably linked to the cultural fabric of India. So the Encyclopedia includes not only theology but also history, art, architecture, music, medicine and science, dance and drama.”

The first volume of the Encyclopedia was unveiled ceremonially by the Honourable Prime Minister and H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. The remaining 10 volumes were then held and displayed ceremonially with the following dignitaries:

  • Mrs. Samantha Cameron
  • Lord Andrew Feldman
  • Mr. Ramniklal Solanki, Editor-in-Chief Asian Media and Marketing Group (AMG)
  • Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati
  • Mr. Gopichand Hinduja, renowned Industrialist
  • Mr. Chandroo Kewalramani, renowned Industrialist
  • Kalpesh Solanki, Managing Editor, AMG
  • Shailesh Solanki, Executive Editor, AMG
  • Lord Dolar Popat, Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
  • Priti Patel, MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
  • Raoul Goff, CEO of Mandala Earth Publications, publisher of the Encyclopedia

Other government dignitaries present at the event included:

  • The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Minister for Faith
  • The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP – Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
  • The Rt Hon Theresa May MP – Secretary of State for the Home Department
  • Shailesh Vara MP – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister for the Courts and Legal Aid
  • Paul Uppal MP
  • Bob Blackman MP
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October 15th, 2014:

Presentation of Encyclopedia to Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapuji

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On October 15th, Pujya Morari Bapuji came to Parmarth and after his beautiful discourse, where Pujya Swamiji and Sadhvi Bhagawatiji presented him with the new international edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism.

Pujya Bapuji had done the first katha in the Kumbha Mela to raise awareness for the Encyclopedia when it was just a divine vision.

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October 10th, 2014:

Launch of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism at the Vigyan Bhawan

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The evening of October 10th marked a historic moment in the cultural history of India: the launch of the International Edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism at a glorious function in Vigyan Bhavan, organized by India Heritage Research Foundation and Global Citizen Forum. The Chief Guest of the function was the Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansariji; the Special Guest of Honour was Mananiya Dr. Mohan Bhagwatji. The program was also graced by the presence of numerous revered interfaith leaders, honourable cabinet ministers, distinguished dignitaries and celebrities including the below:

  • Hon’ble Vice President, Shri M. Hamid Ansari
  • Hon’ble Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak of RSS
  • Hon’ble Shri LK Advani, Respected BJP Leader
  • Hon’ble Smt. Smriti Irani, Minister of HRD, Government of India
  • Hon’ble Shri Kalraj Mishra, Minister of MSME, Government of India
  • Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Founder/Chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation, Founder, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh
  • Dr. B.K. Modi, President of the Global Citizen Forum
  • Dr. Pranav Pandya, Vice Chancellor of DSVV, Gayatri Parivar
  • Chief Jathedar, Akal Takhat, Golden Temple, Shri Giani Gurubachan Singh
  • Dewan Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, Ajmer Dargah Sharif
  • Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, President, All India Imams Organisation
  • Acharya Lokesh Muni, Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati, Respected Jain leader
  • Shri Vivek Oberoi, Bollywood Actor
  • Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism
  • Ms. Preeti Malhotra, Founder Member, Global Citizen Forum

The Encyclopedia of Hinduism is a colossal product of more than 1000 esteemed scholars from around the world, totaling 11-volumes and approximately 7000 entries. It is truly a compendium of thousands of years of history, science, art, architecture, polity, religion, philosophy and culture. Further, the Encyclopedia is not limited to Hinduism as a religion, but rather provides thorough treatment of all of India’s indigenous faiths, including Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism, as well as coverage of the role of the Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) in the culture, civilization, history and history of India.

A project of India Heritage Research Foundation, founded, guided and led by one of India’s most revered spiritual leaders, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, the Encyclopedia has been more than twenty years in the making and it is the first time in history that the depth and breadth of India’s great spiritual culture is made available in authentic, academic and scholastic form.

The International Edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism was presented by India Heritage Research Foundation to the Honourable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjeeji on the 23rd June at a huge event at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Encyclopedia will be launched in London on the 27th October by the Honourable Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. David Cameron.

Mananiya Dr. Mohan M Bhagawatji said: ‘Hindusim is not the property of just Hindus, it is their legacy and it is for the world. Today, the world wants it.” He also shared, ‘I strongly believe that as crucial as it is for the world to have the correct understanding of Hinduism, it is far more crucial for the people of India to have this understanding. I am thankful to Pujya Swamiji and Sadhviji for creating this Encyclopedia, after 25 years of tireless efforts, for people to turn to as an authentic source to connect with and understand their roots. Now what we decide to do with it is what really matters. Will we just place it in our libraries, in our museums or will we apply its message in our lives. Today I call to all of you to not only read this compendium but to apply the universal values of Hindusim to your lives.’

The Hon’ble Vice President, Shri Hamid M Ansariji shared: ‘Allow me to mention a specific feature of the publication before us. The selection of entries on different concepts, religious and philosophical streams, identities of geographical and historical significance, is comprehensive. There is, in addition, a conflation of India as a country of great antiquity and Hinduism as an ancient and universal faith having its own philosophy, practices and rituals.’

Hon’ble HRD Minister, Smt Smriti Iraniji said, ‘I offer my humble respect to Pujya Swamiji for His tremendous commitment in spearheading this project. Pujya Swamiji mentioned divine design but i think that it is your divine intervention that in the field of science the darshan and introduction of spirituality is happening today. This in itself is the biggest tribute to Hinduism. In Hinduism, spirituality and science have never been separate and by offering this encyclopedia to the world you have illustrated this.” She also said, ‘Pujya Swamiji you mentioned that you plan to bring this encyclopedia to the global community, but as a mother and a minister, I hope to, with all of your blessings, bring it to the children of this nation.’

Ajmer Dargah Sharif said, ‘The essence of all faiths is to unite people and not to divide them. Just as our blood is the same color no matter what our religion so to must we learn to live together in harmony understanding and respecting each other’s religion. It is commendable that this encyclopedia offers this understanding in a comprehensive and inclusive way.’

Dr. Pranav Pandyaji said: “I am glad that today eminent personalities from all faiths are here in release of a unique encyclopedia on Hinduism. This is a revolutionary step by India Heritage Research Foundation under the leadership of Pujya Swami Chidanandji and Sadhwi Bhagwatiji. I congratulate them.”

The Encyclopedia was previewed and blessed at a huge ceremony in India by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and hundreds of India’s most revered spiritual, social and national leaders during the Maha Kumbha Mela.

Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji is also President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India, founder of Ganga Action Parivar, and co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance.  Global Citizen Forum, co-organizer of the event with India Heritage Research Foundation, was founded by Dr. B.K. Modi and is based on the philosophy of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, the world is one family.

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June 23rd, 2014:

Presentation of Encyclopedia of Hinduism to President of India

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Monday June 23 marked a historic moment in the cultural history of India: the official presentation of the international edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A project of India Heritage Research Foundation, founded, guided and led by one of India’s most revered spiritual leaders, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, the Encyclopedia of Hinduism is a colossal product of more than 1000 esteemed scholars from around the world, totaling 11-volumes and approximately 7000 entries.

The presentation of the gorgeous, 7000 entry, 11-volume compendium of the depth and breadth of the Indian spiritual and cultural tradition to the Honourable President took place in the main auditorium at Rastrapati Bhavan (President House) and was graced also by the presence of the following revered spiritual leaders and dignitaries:

  • Shri Swami Chidanand Saraswati, President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Founder/chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation and Founder of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism project
  • Shri LK Advani, MP and Senior Leader of BJP
  • Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law & Justice, Communications & Technology, Government of India
  • Sadhvi Uma Bharati, Minister of Water Resources and River Development, Government of India
  • Dr. Karan Singh, Chairman, Auroville Foundation
  • Shri Giani Gurubachan Singh, Chief Jathedar, Akal Takat [Golden Temple]
  • Maulanna Dr. Kalbe Sadiq Sahib, Vice President, Muslim Personal Law Board
  • Shri Rameshbhai Oza (Bhaishri), Renowned Kathakar
  • Anil José Tomas Couto, Archbishop of Delhi
  • Dr. Acharya Lokesh Muni, Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati
  • Dr. RK Pachauri, Nobel Laureate and Chairman of IPCC
  • Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Managing Editor, Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Additionally Bollywood celebrities Sonu Nigam, Kailash Kher, Vivek Oberoi and Suresh Oberoi also graced the event with their presence. The national anthem at the beginning and end of the event was sung gloriously by Sonu Nigam.

president-ehThe honourable President congratulated Pujya Swamiji for undertaking and completing such a mammoth project. He said, “Hindu religious philosophy identifies Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksh, as the foremost objectives of a human being. Striking a balance in human behaviour in working towards these objectives has been prescribed as a key aim of human existence. Quoting, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, he said that Hinduism is not just a faith. It is the union of reason and intuition that cannot be defined but is only to be experienced.”

The President further stated that the basic tenet of Hinduism is happiness, health and enlightenment for everyone and suffering, pain and agony for none. He quoted Mahatma Gandhi and said “If I were asked to define the Hindu creed, I should simply say: Search after truth through non-violent means. A man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after truth… Hinduism is the religion of truth. Truth is God. Denial of God we have known. Denial of truth we have not known.”

Other quotations are below:

Shri LK Advaniji said: “This Encyclopedia is a huge undertaking and monumental task, and especially to have it presented to a great leader like our Honourable President is testimony to the historic mile-stone of this achievement. The reason that India has been able to sustain itself as a successful democracy for so many years with such a large population is the core Hindu values of living in unity and peace amongst the diversity. This beautiful function is only half complete because the other half has to be done in Rishikesh, at Parmarth Niketan Ashram with the sacred Ganga Aarti ceremony which Pujya Swamiji leads each evening! That is such a pure experience of the purity and divinity of our Hindu tradition.”

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasadji said: “Tenets of Hinduism are faith and dedication. The Encyclopedia is a testament to the faith and dedication of over 1000 scholars coming together from all over the world, under the leadership of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji.”

Sadhvi Uma Bharatiji said: “I am so proud to be here and I am so proud to be a Hindu. Hinduism teaches us how to live in harmony and oneness with each other. That is why Hindus are such great neighbors and India is such a great neighboring country.”

Pujya Shri Rameshbhai Ozaji said: “A temple of bricks can be completed in 4-5 years but this Temple of Knowledge took 25 years! Pujya Swamiji is a Maha Kalpana Purush; he had a vision, took a pledge and fulfilled that pledge. The fruit of that sankalp is this Encyclopedia.”

Acharya Lokesh Muniji said: “The Encyclopedia is a much needed bridge between science and spirituality.”

Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, founder/chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation and of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism project explains: “The wisdom, truths, teachings and insights of Indian and Hindu culture are not limited to or applicable to only Hindus or Indians. Rather they belong to the world and can deeply benefit the world. It is, therefore, our aim that the richness of this ancient yet timeless culture and heritage should be made available to the entire world, in a way that is authentic, academic, comprehensive and illuminating. However, of course, the teachings, truths, tenets and insights of Sanatan Dharma took birth in India. Therefore, to have the religious leaders of India present the Encyclopedia to the Honourable President is a beautiful and most-fitting symbol of the ‘Unity in Diversity’ which is our Mother India.”

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia explains: “This is a great moment in history. The depth and breadth of the world’s oldest living culture, civilization, philosophy and theology has finally, for the first time, been encapsulated in encyclopedic form. This launch is such a great symbol of the diversity of India, in which for thousands of years all the major faiths of the world including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism and Jainism have co-existed peacefully and harmoniously together.”

Also, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji presented the Hon’ble President with a sacred rudraksh tree sapling and a shawl woven with love by the women left widowed, homeless and hopeless by the tragic floods last year in the Kedarnath valley now where under Pujya Swamiji’s leadership, Ganga Action Parivar has sponsored the opening of 3 centers providing vocational skills to over 500 ladies.

All of the speakers, politicians Shri LK Advaniji, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasadji, Sadhvi Uma Bhartiji and Dr. Karan Singhji, the religious leaders, Shri Chief Jathedar Sahib, Maulanna Dr. Kalbe Sadiq, Pujya Shri Rameshbhai Oza, Archbishop Father Cuoto, Acharya Lokesh Muniji and Nobel Laureate Dr. RK Pachauriji all deeply appreciated the great vision of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji for conceiving of the project and His great Shakti and tapasya for carrying it through to fruition. All speakers emphasized the crucial and universal nature of Hinduism and the great benefit that this wisdom provides to the whole world.

The Encyclopedia has been nearly twenty-five years in the making and it is the first time in history that the depth and breadth of India’s great spiritual culture is made available in authentic, academic and scholastic form. It is truly a compendium of thousands of years of history, science, art, architecture, polity, religion, philosophy and culture. Further, the Encyclopedia is not limited to Hinduism as a religion, but rather provides thorough treatment of all of India’s indigenous faiths, including Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism, as well as coverage of the role of the Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) in the culture, civilization, history and history of India.

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August 25-26th, 2013:

The Encyclopedia of Hinduism International Edition Launch

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Click here to view a special newsletter on this historic event.

Sunday evening the 25th August and Monday morning the 26th August marked a historic moment in the spiritual and cultural history of India: the official launch of the international edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism.

The launch ceremony was organized and hosted by the University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA. A project of India Heritage Research Foundation, founded, guided, inspired and led by one of India’s most revered spiritual leaders, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the Encyclopedia of Hinduism is a colossal product of more than 1,000 esteemed scholars from around the world, totaling 11-volumes and approximately 7,000 entries.

The official, launch of the international edition, published by Mandala Earth Publications, an esteemed publisher of California, USA, was organized, hosted and sponsored by the University and presided over by Dr. Harris Pastides, the President of the University. The Encyclopedia project was headquartered at the University of South Carolina for many years during its compilation and editorial stages, and it is a beautiful and fitting full-circle for the University to be the ones to host the official launch.

August 25th

The launch was graced by the presence of:

  • H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Founder/Chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation
  • Hon. Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina
  • Dr. Harris Pastides, President of the University of South Carolina
  • Shri Anna Hazare, renowned social leader from India
  • Hon. Joe Wilson, Congressman for South Carolina
  • Hon. Ajit Kumar, Consul General to India
  • Dr. Meera Narasimhan, Vice Dean, School of Medicine, USC, organizer of the event
  • Dr. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia
  • Many esteemed scholars of the Encyclopedia and dignitaries

Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji said: “The wisdom, truths, teachings and insights of Indian and Hindu culture are not limited to or applicable to only Hindus or Indians. Rather they belong to the world and can deeply benefit the world. It is, therefore, our aim that the richness of this ancient yet timeless culture and heritage should be made available to the entire world, in a way that is authentic, academic, comprehensive and illuminating.”

Dr. Harris Pastides said: “It is a deep honor to be participating in the American release of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism. This is a remarkable work of scholarship and research. I hope that many in academia and in everyday life will turn to it as a resource to better understand the characters, the tenets, and the impact that Hinduism has had, and is having, in the world.”

Shri Anna Hazare said: “I am so happy to be here this evening. Pujya Swami Chidanandji is carrying our Indian culture to the entire world. This is a historic event here tonight. Spreading the teachings of our great tradition is a wonderful task Pujya Swami Chidanandji has undertaken and completed successfully.”

Meera Narasimhan, vice dean at the USC School of Medicine, said: “Hinduism, one of the oldest traditions of the world, has been a major influence with a focus on the ancient moral and spiritual insights and their modern developments. The EOH will serve as a comprehensive, scholastic reference for students, teachers and researchers and helps deepen the inter-cultural dialogue. As an Indian American, I have strongly been influenced by Hinduism and it’s rich rubric of spiritual, philosophical, and cultural ideas and practices that originated in India.  As a physician trained in western medicine, it provided me with an abundance of knowledge to help better understand the mind, body, spirit connection that is key in understanding health as it pertains to disease and wellness.”

Subhash Kak, Regents Professor of Computer Science, Oklahoma State University, said: “Encyclopedia of Hinduism is a historic milestone in Indian studies. It will facilitate the understanding of the culture and civilization of India and its diaspora scattered all over the world.”

V.V. Raman, emeritus professor of physics and humanities, Rochester Institute of Technology and senior fellow at Metanenexus Institute, said: “Indic civilization is among the brightly shining stars in the firmament of humanity’s heritage. Volumes have been written on it. There are copious commentaries on the abundant treasures of Indic culture. But one thing it has not had until now: a multi-volume Encyclopedia dedicated to it, in which the primary authors are scholars and thinkers from the Hindu tradition. That serious lacuna has disappeared as a result of this major publication.  In keeping with India’s welcoming arms to one and all, Non-Hindu scholars were also invited to contribute to this international project.”

Rama Rao Pappu, senior professor of philosophy at Miami University (Ohio), said: “The EH is comprehensive in its scope by including important topics in Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism; erudite scholars from all over the world have given their expert knowledge of their discipline, at the same time making the EH accessible to other scholars and general public as well.”

Pujya Swamiji presented the first official set to the Governor of the State of South Carolina, for the State’s Library. Hon’ble Nikki Haley, the Governor said: “It is so beautiful, and such a great gift, this Encyclopedia of Hinduism. I am so honored to receive these beautiful 11 volumes on behalf of the State. I am so glad to be here tonight at this historic event.”

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati said: “This is a great moment in history. The depth and breadth of the world’s oldest living culture, civilization, philosophy and theology has finally been encapsulated in encyclopedic form. To have the international edition launched by the University of South Carolina in USA demonstrates the universal applicability and universal appeal of the Hindu tradition. The launch is a great meeting of East and West. With Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Shri Anna Hazareji here from India joining hands with the President of the University, Dr. Harris Pastides and the state congressman Joe Wilson, shows that the Hindu and Indian culture truly have no boundaries and no borders.”

Congressman Joe Wilson and the Consul General Ajit Kumar were also full of praise for the Encyclopedia and the great accomplishment
that Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji has achieved in conceiving of this project and then bringing it to fruition.

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August 26th

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The second part of the official release of the International Edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism took place on August 26th at the University of South Carolina.

Together with many of the scholars who worked on the Encyclopedia, University officials, and the hundreds who gathered for the release, Pujya Swamiji, Shri Anna Hazare and USC President Harris Pastides unveiled the encyclopedia’s 11 volumes.

The unveiling was part of a daylong conference on Hinduism and the encyclopedia project and drew many USC faculty, staff and students.

In addition to numerous talks, the event captured the vibrancy of Indian culture with a traditional Indian lamp lighting ceremony, music and food and art.

President Pastides said it was a deep honor for the university to host the American release of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism.

“This is a remarkable work of scholarship and research. I hope that many in academia and in everyday life will turn to it as a resource to better understand the characters, the tenets and the impact that Hinduism has had, and is having in the world,” Pastides said.

Hal French, professor emeritus of religious studies, served as associate editor of the encyclopedia since its inception in 1987. He called the 25-year quest to document Hinduism a privilege.

“Having studied the Hindu tradition as my major research area, it has been a real privilege to work in some small way with many others in producing a work, which may be the standard comprehensive rendering of Indian tradition for years to come,” French said. “The time and effort required adds to the gratification in seeing this really monumental project come to completion.”

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