The 2nd International Symposium on the Social Sciences, Globalisation and the Cultures of Resistance was held in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico on April 24-26, 2008.
Shri Ram Madhav Varanasi, a National Executive member of the RSS was the keynote speaker. In an appropriately relevant speech entitled Hindu Spiritualism vs. Global Materialism, Shri Ram Madhav highlighted the fact that Hindu civilisation is not solely based on spiritual pursuits. Rather Hinduism recognises the pursuit of happiness as an integral part of life. It therefore prescribes methods for the pursuit of pleasure in a righteous manner.
In his well attended and well received speech he highlighted the Hindu ideal of living for the benefit of others. Just as a mother would gladly feed her children at the expense of her own nourishment the Hindu ideal finds pleasure and happiness by helping others. He told the story of a great Vedic sage who upon seeing the theft of his roti (bread) by a dog, chased it. He did not chase the dog in order to get back the food. Rather he pursued the dog in order to give it some ghee to add to his stolen meal. In other words the Sage'shappiness was based on the satisfaction of the dog. This is the Hindu way and this is the ideal that must be implemented by humanity at large if we are ever to overcome our current states of crisis.
Shri Madhav once again issued a call for unity amongst the peoples of Mexico and India. He also highlighted the fact that these Hindu ideals do not represent a great leap for the people of Mexico. Nor are such ideals an artificial imposition for the cultures of Mexico.
Many students and faculties from the leading universities of Saltillo were in attendance. These were the Communication Sciences of U A de Cassited, the Normal Superior of Coahuila (Professors Training Institute and University), the Faculty of Economic Studies, Social Workers & Professionals, the Education, Sciences and Humanities Faculty from U.A.C, the Institute of Graduate Studies for Teachers of Coahuila and the Coahuila Institute for Women.
Another very interesting talk was given by Lic. Marco Antonio Almager U A de C., a leading criminologist of Saltillo, Mexico. His paper was entitled Criminology, Jurisprudence in the Cause of Peace and Social Justice. In his presentation he noted that a great global struggle was taking place in which the needs of Local and National law are often at odds with International Law. He highlighted the fact that many International treaties have been made in the past banning many dangerous weapons. However as soon as certain powerful nations feel inconvenienced by these restrictions they pass new amendments to the treaties that allow them to develop the very weapons they agreed not to produce.
Dr. Eugeni Torres Carrillo U R V Terragona, Spain y el INAH, an anthropologist studying the ancient Shamanistic cultures of Mexico, highlighted the wisdom of Mexico'sancient peoples. His paper was entitled The Modern Traditions and Shamanism of the Huichol. He stated that, ?At all historical moments human societies, cultures or groups have lived (and they live) between ?traditional? and ?the modern?….the solution to this permanent and changing tension is to map out the connectivity with other peoples and societies. One of the positive aspects of globalisation is the ability to recover one'sown traditions through the search of traditions within the cultural context.?
Dr Howard Resnick B.A. Philosophy of Religion UCLA. PhD in Sanskrit and Indology Harvard presented a paper entitled The Abortion Debate in which it is said, ?With the purpose of broadening the horizon in the search for tools that allow us to define the right to life, we must explore the Vedanta philosophy of India.? Dr Resnick pointed out that once humanity recognises the value of all life and gets over its obsession with the hedonistic pursuit of sexual pleasure it will be much easier to overcome the bioethical dilemma that is abortion.
Vrndavan Parker of the Vedic Friends Association and Vedic Empire Productions spoke on the true meaning of the word Aryan. In a presentation entitled Arya, Anarya and Aryan, Parker pointed out that since India'sVedic Scriptures are the source of the word Arya it behoves the serious researcher to look to the source when deciphering its meaning. Forgotten by many scholars is the fact that India has always been a knowledge based culture. In other words the search for truths, both mundane and transcendental, has always been at the heart of Indian civilisation. Great debates were held in the manner that the Europeans held jousting tournaments. Rather than blood sports the ancient Indians put a premium on information and fact verification.
Michelle S?mano Reyna and Aliber Castillo of PENSANDO EN TIBET, EN EL NORTE DE M?XICO gave a presentation entitled Tibet, a Culture in Danger. Without religious or political affiliation, this group based in North Mexico is dedicated to the support of Tibet. ?We want to create a conscience amongst Mexican society regarding the Sino-Tibetan conflict. Our goal is to spread information about the true situation in Tibet and contribute towards creating positive and significant changes in Tibet.?
In a talk Evidences Regarding the Ancient Connections between India and the Pre-Columbian Americas, local Yoga instructor and English Professor Raul Martinez referred to an episode from the Krittivasa version of the Ramayana in which King Mahiravana is mentioned. According to some, Lord Ram came to the Amazon, Brazil from the Island Sri Lanka by use of a tunnel. At that time Brazil was part of the kingdom of R?vana and Mahiravana was his representative. More research into this possible connection may reveal the connections between India and the Americas.
Professor Horacio Francisco Arganis Ju?rez. Lic. por la U A de C of the Bhaktivedanta Institute for the Sciences and Humanities gave a presentation on the Proposals for Dialogue between Various Religions and Hinduism.
William Henricks, B.A. in nuclear Physics and the Sciences of the Communication from Purdue University, Texas spoke on Conversion and Inter-faith Dialogue. He pointed out that a tolerant society must include diverse views. While remaining confident of our own views and beliefs we must not deny the belief systems of others. He concluded that tolerance is natural when one understands that the world, with all its uniqueness and diversity, is indeed perfect. As Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada said; ?The only thing which is incomplete in this world is the incomplete concept of the complete one or God.? Once we have that vision and recognise that perfect religion comes from the same perfect source, we can live in a world of peace and tranquility.
The conference was inaugurated with cultural performances representing the dance of both Mexico and India. Rueben of Bharatnatyam de Mexico, Krishna Chaitanya Bengali Bhajan Band of Laredo, Texas and various local musicians and dancers added much colour and pageantry to the event. The daily symposium sessions began with Vedic invocations and mantras and ended each day with Mexican traditional song and dance. The international convention drew attendance from India, Spain, USA and regions throughout Latin America and included many representatives from the Coahuila State and Saltillo City Cultural and Education Departments, local scholars, journalists, artists and students. The symposium was held on the grounds of State Central Public Library ?Biblioteca Publica Central Estatal Ildefonso Villarello Velez?.
Official diplomas of recognition from the Government of the People of Coahuila, Mexico were presented to the speakers. Signed by Lic. Armando Sanchez Quintanilla, Coahuila State Coordinator General of Libraries, Publications and Literature, Lic Norma Zapata de la Garza, Director of the Coahuila State Central Public Library and RSS National Executive, Ram Madhav Varanasi, recognition was given to the speakers for their contributions towards a better understanding amongst the people of India, Mexico and the world at large.