Global Harmony

January 3, 2022

Sivaraman Sits in First Hindu Studies Chair in N. America

Just last year Hindu studies professor and author Krishna Sivaraman had retired from his post at McMaster University in eastern Canada. At 65 he’d invested forty years into teaching and scholastic pursuits.

However, the Gods and Montreal’s Hindus had other plans. Four years ago they initiated a funding drive to establish a Hindu Studies Chair at Concordia University in Montreal. In late 1989 with US$365,000 raised in gifts and interest, the Chair was officially occupied by Sivaraman making it the first in the Western hemisphere Sivaraman said in an interview that the post provides “a much needed forum for learning about Hindu texts, the Hindu philosophy and the Hindu tradition for anybody interested in the Hindu tradition but especially for people of Indian origin who look for guidance in their tradition.” He sees the chair as affording him an opportunity to work with Hinduism in a more “thematic” way.

Guest of honor at the inaugural address and function was Gerry Wiener, Secretary of State and Minister of State for Multiculturalism and Citizenship. Concordia Engineering and Computer Science Dean M.N.S. Swamy was head of the fund-raising effort. He offered sincere kudos to the some 600 individuals who contributed to the chair’s financing and also expressed gratitude to the Concordia administration for being so receptive and cooperative in creating the new program He enthused “Establishing this first Chair in Hindu Studies is not just a question of our own children knowing a bit more about their backgrounds. It is much more than that. Canadians who pursue Hindu studies may now be in a better position to appreciate people of Indian origin who have made Canada their country.”

Sivaraman brings to his new teaching incarnation a virile sense of scholarship He is a voluble winter producing many long, intellectually keen books Published just recently are Vedas Through Vedanta and The Widening Circle With twenty years at Banaras Hindu University in India and seventeen at McMaster in Canada the scholastic compass of his mind is philosophy. He observes that many current books on Hindu studies opinion is that while such work certainly throws new light on the Hindu religion, both in terms of is past and its living present it often underplays or even ignores the philosophical side Hindu philosophy is not one unitary philosophy but a complex and diversified subject, many-faceted representing several world views and ways of life There is no sense of separation of theory from practice, as commonly understood in western religions. Hindu religion in whichever sense is understood primarily as a cognitive discipline.”

In sum, Sivaraman offers, “My definition of Hinduism is what teaches one how to be more human.”

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