A New Indian wisdom initiative by Vana Foundation Inaugurated

Vidyaloke aspires to rekindle curiosity and interest in India’s wisdom and rebuild the intellectual lineage of the guru-shishya tradition. Its intention is to provide opportunities that help you begin your own intellectual and spiritual journey.

Earlier this week Vidyaloke had its first inaugural teaching with none other than His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as the first torch-bearer.

His Holiness is known to underline the importance of intellectual study and contemplation in order to gain a deeper understanding of our emotional states. In that vein, he lay the foundations for an effort to revive Indian wisdom, tradition and knowledge in a secular way. The teaching was attended by over 333 shishyas in a contemporary rendition of the guru-shishya parampara.

The gathering was very significant as we saw people from India and all over the world come together– inspired by the desire to chart a unique course for their own journey with Indian wisdom as their guide and also to be of benefit to others.

Vidyaloke also has a focused age-group for the private teachings, keeping it open for those between the ages of 16-40, while the Public Talk that will take place on the 5th of February is open to all those who have registered.

The title of the teaching was ‘Virtue and Vice in Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend’. Arya Nagarjuna was a peerless Nalanda scholar who lived between 150 and 200 C.E, and his ‘Letter to a Friend’ is a text that is revered in the Indian wisdom tradition, written for his friend King Surabhibhadra. The selection of this text reflects Vidyaloke’s intent of making wisdom accessible and directly relevant to the youth of India today as they undertake their personal, spiritual journey.

The thoughtful attention in creating the right environment for the teachings was appreciated. It was conducted in the peaceful environs of 15 APJ Abdul Kalam Road, New Delhi and we could see allusions to Indian wisdom, culture and tradition – in the aesthetics to the way in which the teaching was conducted.  This was followed by a traditional bhojan with His Holiness.

His Holiness’ masterful skill and style made complex thoughts in the text engaging and relevant to the young generation that attended them. This was a very beneficial for those who have never attended such a teaching before and would be unfamiliar to Indian wisdom as a whole.

The selected text was very relevant to the audience of shishyas as it discussed spiritual accomplishment not only for oneself but also for others – especially for those of us who still have to fulfil societal duties like working a regular job and managing a household.

His Holiness also took questions at the end of the session – answering simple and complex doubts alike in his wonderful, illuminating style. A review session followed the teaching, with Venerable Geshe Lhakdor and Yangten Rinpoche, who’s light-hearted yet perceptive approach really helped us understand the teaching better.

The afternoon session also witnessed the shishyas and scholars breaking out into groups discussing very relevant aspects of reviving Indian wisdom and knowledge in the current day. These discussions were seen as an important catalyst to the work that will be done going forward in the revival of Indian wisdom in contemporary India. A wide-ranging selection of topics were discussed in these groups - from ‘Ancient Indian Philosophical Schools of thought’, ‘Science of Mind and Emotions’ to ‘Epistemology and Logic’. These generated a lot of healthy, positive discussions, and participants engaged with their facilitators in an enthusiastic, thought-provoking manner. The conclusions of these discussions are slated to be presented to His Holiness in an interaction on the afternoon of the 5th of February. 

About Vidyaloke: Vidyaloke is an Indian wisdom initiative that aspires to rekindle our legacy of wisdom and reawaken our intellectual and spiritual curiosity. The name, Vidyaloke, is an amalgamation of two Sanskrit words, Vidya (wisdom) and Aloké (light), which is a journey towards greater wisdom, compassion and conscientious choices. Vidyaloke hopes to inspire people to chart a unique course for their own journey through participation in private group teachings, public gatherings and virtual engagement.

Vidyaloke is an initiative by Vana Foundation with the blessings of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and patronage from Analjit Singh & Family. Vana Foundation was also involved in the planning and execution of Siddhartha Festival in Bodhgaya last year. They aspire to create a paradigm shift in people’s minds by strengthening their relationship with the self, one’s community, nature and our culture. Veer Singh, Vana’s Founder, believes that Vana is a manifestation of his principles and a desire to be of service and enhance wellbeing, a vision his family and team stand firmly behind.