Acharya Abhinavagupta is regarded as a world-renowned philosopher and the greatest exponent of Shaivism. Exactly a thousand years ago, it is said, he along with 1200 disciples walked into a cave in Bheerwah, Kashmir, and became one with Shiva. Today, over 50 universities across the world are conducting research on Abhinavagupta’s works.
Last year on 4th January 2016 a thousand lights were lit as homage to the Acharya and year-long Millennium year celebrations kickstarted. Many academic and cultural programmes were organized across India in 2016 as part of the celebrations. On January 6 & 7, 2017, the celebrations concluded with a national conference in Bangalore. The National Scholars Confluence included eight simultaneous dialogue sessions on different aspects of Abhinavagupta’s works as also current issues – issues having far-reaching implications vis-à-vis Jammu Kashmir state.
Terming Kashmir’s great philosopher Acharya Abhinavagupta as the “greatest philosopher on earth”, Union Minister for HRD, Prakash Javadekar while addressing the gathering of over 300 scholars, strategists and legal luminaries, who had gathered in Bangalore on Jnauary 6 & 7 to mark the conclusion of millennium year celebrations of Acharya Abhinavagupta, said he was the embodiment of Indian thought, which has always questioned established norms and created positive change. “We have been the knowledge destination of the world, even thousands of years ago. Had there been a system of international ranking those days, Indian thinkers would have certainly bagged all the positions from 1st to 10th,” Javadekar said to resounding applause. The Minister also promised every possible support for research and studies on Acharya Abhinavagupta’s works.
According to Arun Kumar, RSS Pracharak and member of the All India Executive Council of the RSS the basic purpose of two-day National Scholar’s Confluence on Jammu Kashmir at Bangalore was to ensure that the issues discussed here become the discourse of the entire nation. The intellectuals, academia, media, decision and policy making institutes should have the issues discussed in these sessions as part of their discourse. “We will make efforts to take the conclusions, arrived at by experts at the National Scholar’s Confluence, across the country,” he added.
More than a dozen universities and institutions of art and culture have participated in these celebrations generating a great debate on relevance of his philosophy to modern India. It is therefore natural that the concluding event of the year-long celebrations was a multidimensional conference involving hundreds of university teachers and scholars in various fields to meet in Bangalore and exchange ideas and experiences about this great philosopher and also discuss various aspects of Jammu and Kashmir,” said Jawaharlal Kaul, Working Chairman of the Acharya Abhinavagupta Millennium Celebrations Committee and President of the Jammu Kashmir Study Centre.
In his address, Sri Sri Ravishankar, whose Art of Living Foundion hosted the national conference said true intellectuals are celebrated beyond centuries and Acharya Abhinavagupta was such an amazing thinker and philosopher. Remembering that his first-ever discourses were based on Shiv Sutras, he said ‘Om Namah Shivay” is a chant that connects India from Kashmir till Rameshwaram. “Today’s program is only the conclusion of year-long celebrations, but Acharya Abhinavagupta’s message has to be taken to everyone across India and the world,” Guruji said.
Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, RSS All India General Secretary, said there’s been a dedicated effort to present a distorted image of Kashmir to the world. “When we say Jammu Kashmir is an integral part of India, it is not a political statement at all. It has been an intrinsic part of India in every way since thousands of years. We are celebrating thousand years of Acharya Abhinavagupta, who was instrumental in propagating the basic principles of Bharatiya thought through Shaiv philosophy – from Kashmir in the north to the southern most areas of Bharat.”
J&K Dy. CM Dr Nirmal Singh while addressing the inaugural ceremony said “Acharya Abhinavagupta’s philosophy and his works constitute the cultural legacy of Kashmir. It has to be researched, understood and popularized in the proper context. His work is as relevant today as it was a thousand years ago. When the youth get in touch with their roots, they will be empowered to thwart the negative forces.”
The partner institutions of JKSC for this programme include Sri Sri Ravishankar University, Bhubaneshwar; Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, New Delhi; Indian Council for Philosophical Research, New Delhi and the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal.