In a bid towards a special focus on India’s legacy, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) will soon get a ‘Sanskrit Chair’ that will get attached to the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. The chair will be to study India’s legacy of science and technology in the Vedas, with special focus on Sanskrit language; according to The Indian Express.
An IIT Madras alumnus Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, spiritual head of Science of Spirituality and Sawan Kripal
Ruhani Mission has funded the Sanskrit Chair. An IIT-M official said that Maharaj has contributed Rs 90 lakh for the endowment and scholarship programme. Sampadananda Mishra, a Sanskrit expert and director of Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC) will head the chair. The official said that using this fund, the Chair will explore science and technology in the Vedas. The funding will include a one-time contribution of Rs 75 lakh, and an endowment for student scholarship-Rs 15 lakh annually for four years.
“I have a yogic approach to science and culture. Sanskrit is a scientific language, it is a language that expresses India’s soul. I hope I will be able to make this language familiar for the youth in IIT-M. I hope to take charge within a month. I want to show them the great scientific contributions of rishis and saints in ancient India. I have developed a course for students on the achievements of ancient Indian scientists through Sanskrit,” he said. “The freedom within the Chair allows me to introduce credit courses on Sanskrit and India’s ancient science and technology. Students can enroll for PhD programmes on these topics,” Mishra was quoted as saying by IE.
Mishra said that Sanskrit is interpreted as being linked to religion or Hinduism and hence, it is not understood. He added that Sanskrit is a language which facilitated the progressive evolution of humanity. He also said that Sanskrit and Science go hand in hand. “There are 27 different words for water in Sanskrit, when it is a mere object for scientists. Imagine if we could teach our young scientists about 27 dharmas of water beyond their usual understanding of it as as an object,” said Mishra. Meanwhile, Maharaj has explained how scientific method can be applied in spirituality.