Saints, Scientists, Yogis & Experts...


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In his keynote speech at the opening plenary session, Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri), founder of the American Institute of Vedic Studies and the winner of the prestigious Padma Bhushan award by the Government of India, said that yoga was a gift of the ancient Hindu sages and should be not cut-off from its roots and holistic benefits.

On a panel on women’s empowerment, female monk Swamini Svatmavidyananda, female yogi Shambhavi Chopra, and Dr. Indrani Rampersad challenged western feminism, which often does not take into account transnational and spiritual concerns, and proposed ways in which females can find strength in understandings of gender found within the Indic traditions. Another panel on Human Rights featured noted human rights activist Tapan Ghosh of Hindu Samhati and Dr. Ali Alyami, Executive Director and founder of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. Both spoke passionately about the persecution of Hindus around the world and implored the global community to take action to protect the rights of Hindus where they are minorities and are denied religious freedom.

An inter-faith panel, moderated by noted public intellectual and writer Rajiv Malhotra, discussed a framework for a pluralistic world order. It featured Rabbi Justus N. Baird, Dean of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, Pastor David Davis of the Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, Buddhist Monk Venerable Bhante Kondanna, Jain Monk Venerable Amrinder Muni, noted Sikh speaker Ratanjit Sondhe and Hindu leader Dr. Mahesh Mehta.

“What you see here is youth taking charge of Dharma and moving it forward in a bold and holistic way”, remarked Ravindra Jaishankar, HSC President and Conference Program Chair. “The conference, while epic in its scale, also marks a new beginning for the American Hindu youth and their engagement with the community and the greater society.”

Along with a weekend of intellectual and spiritual rejuvenation, the conference included an international concert emceed by former Miss America Nina Davuluri. It featured thrilling classical Indian

dances, a dramatic Balinese theatrical act based on the Hindu epic Ramayana as well as a mesmerizing musical performance by renowned Flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, Mandolin player U Rajesh, Ghatam (Indian clay pot) player Giridhar Udupa and Percussionist Rajeev Mahavir.

Allegra Lovejoy, a recent graduate of Princeton University, noted: “I was deeply inspired to see so many people - both presenters and attendees - who exhibited a humble and dedicated seva [selfless service] attitude. Many traditions and backgrounds were represented, and I learned something from each person I interacted with. Participating in this conference has motivated me to learn and practice dharmic spirituality much more seriously than before.”

As the conference came to a close, attendees appreciated the multiple applications of Dharma beyond religion as well as the need to preserve the holistic nature of yoga beyond exercises. The Council hopes that future conferences produce an even greater impact regarding Dharma’s potential to guide and support sustainable society throughout the world.

About HSC: Hindu Students Council (HSC) is an international forum providing opportunities to learn about Hindu heritage and culture. It is the largest Hindu youth organization in North America, with over 50 chapters across university campuses. Over 130,000 students and youth have participated in HSC activities since its inception in 1990. For more information, please visit www.hindustudentscouncil.org or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. For more information about the conference, please visit www.dharmaconference.com.

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About HSC

Hindu Students Council (HSC) is an international forum providing opportunities to learn about Hindu heritage and culture. It is the largest Hindu youth organization in North America, with over 50 chapters across university campuses. Over 130,000 students and youth have participated in HSC activities since its birth in 1990. For more information, please visit www.hindustudentscouncil.org or connect with us below.