Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda’s attempt was to build a study and research centre for both the western and eastern scholars to come and stay, thus to bring out the ancient terms and terminologies employed in the Vedas to the context of the modern way of life. He wanted to build a bridge to embrace the western minds with our heritage. Chinmaya International Foundation Shodha Sansthan (CIFSS) is the quintessence of the zeal and vigour of Swami Chinmayananda who worked relentlessly to impart the universal message of Vedanta to people around the globe.
Affiliated to the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan (Deemed University established under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India), New Delhi, as a Shodha Sansthan (Centre for Sanskrit Research), under the scheme for financial assistance to institutions recognized as Adarsha Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya / Shodha Sansthan, The CIF Shodha Sansthan came to existence on 8th February 2008.
The objective of the scheme is to support and promote traditional Sanskrit learning and research. CIF Sodha Sansthan is a leading centre for advanced learning in Sanskrit and Indology in India with a good academic environment. The Parent Body, Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF), is also recognized by Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, as a Research Centre for Sanskrit and Indology. Ever since the inception of the CIF Shodha Sansthan (CIFSS), it has been serving as a nucleus for the study of Sanskrit, philosophy, principles and values, and the cultural heritage of India.
The Chinmaya International Foundation Shoda Sansthan (CIFSS) is recognized as the Shoda Sansthan with the objectives specifically mentioned in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Foundation.
The Shodha Sansthan brought out a Sanskrit translation of the renowned book Gitanjali. Its translator Sri Ramakrishna Variar was awarded by the Sahitya Academy recently. Other publications include Laghukarnamritam, Suktisudha, Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Ramakrishnacaritam, Smartaprayascittam, Sri Padmapadacaritam, Primal Spirituality, Philosophical Knowledge and Plenary Experience, Logic of Paramarsha and Dhimahi, a Research Journal of the Shodha Sansthan, Akhyatachandrika, Systems of Vedanta and Kashmir Saivism, Kridaniyakam, Kavyakanthacharitham, Vedic Etymology and Semantics: A Linguistic Approach etc and also, books for students like the Holy Gita Ready Reference, Eswaradarshanam, Sri Rama Jatakam and Sulabha Samskrutam and conducted several seminars and courses
- CIF was honoured by the MG University by recognising it as a Centre for Research in Sanskrit and Indology in 1999.
- CIF signed a Memorandum of understanding with the University of Hyderabad in Sept. 2007 for academic exchange in the broad areas of mutual interest in general and the subject of Natural Language Processing in particular.
- Another Memorandum of understanding was signed with the IIIT-Hyderabad in Sept. 2008 to pursue works in the subject of Anusaraka – A machine Translation System – in the field of NLP.
The CIF was conferred with the national recognition in the form of Shodha Sansthan on 21st Feb. 2008 by the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi.
WORKSHOP ON EPISTEMOLOGY
SANKARA KAVI SAPARYA
The Chinmaya Shodha Sansthan has entered into a MOU with the Department of Ayush, Govt. of India on March 2010 for the preservation and digitization of medical manuscripts of Kerala.
Another significant accomplishment is a Memorandum of Understanding signed with IGNOU in March 2009. The objective is to establish a broad framework of collaboration between CIF and IGNOU to promote and offer courses in Sanskrit language, literature and related areas. As the first instance the parties will offer a Certificate Course in Sanskrit Language (CCSL) both in online and distance learning modes.
A Meetingof officials from Indira Gandhi National Centre for Culture (IGNCA) and Chinmaya International Foundation Shodha Sansthan (CIFSS) on the collection and preservation of manuscripts related to art-forms of this region.
Also discussions are on to sign Memoranda of Understanding with Manuscripts Libraries and Research Centres for collecting the digitized copies of manuscripts to add to the digitized manuscripts’ library of the CIFSS.
We have a group of reputed faculty designated in the capacity of approved research guides. Students from the MG University have registered to pursue their research at CIFSS. A few of them have already completed their research works.
A remarkable accomplishment in 2011 was the accolade from IGNOU, that CIF has been declared a Recognised Research Centre (RRC) of IGNOU. Advertisement for Ph.D programmes would appear in the month of July every year. Research disciplines are Sanskrit and Indology. It will follow the independent mode of admission. Candidates having the degree of M.Phil or 5 years’ relevant teaching/ professional experience who can directly undertake thesis work for Ph.D are eligible to apply.
The library has more than 19 thousand printed books. Some of them are donated by academics, well-wishers and philanthropic organizations.
It holds 1520 Manuscripts among which 250 are palm leaves and 1270 are rare paper manuscripts. All manuscripts are digitized and made available for reference. Further efforts are on to locate manuscript repositories and procure them.
The library has subscribed to 45 Journals/Periodicals/Magazines.
Seminars and Workshops
So far, the Shodha Sansthan has conducted more than a hundred seminars such as Textual workshop on Nyaya, Mimamsa and Advaita Vedanta, Workshop on Anusaraka. Several Lecture Series under different themes such as the Tattvabodha Lecture series, Workshops on Research Trends in Sanskrit and Indology, Sanskrit Day celebrations etc.
National Workshop on Navya Nyaya Language and Methodology
Sanskrit Day Celebrations
Pace at Present
We have come a long way and it is evident from the following description of recently completed and ongoing projects.
- A pilot project to Catalogue and Digitize Medical manuscripts available in Kerala funded by the Department of Ayush, Govt. of India. It was for a period of 6 months from July-December, 2010. This project aimed at digitizing about 400 Medical manuscripts and cataloguing and printing of about 700 manuscripts from different parts of Kerala.
- Critical edition of Brahmasutrabhasya is on the anvil.
- Anusaaraka - Language Accessor and Machine Translation System is being perused.
- Advanced Level Workshop on manuscriptology and paleography was sponsored by National Mission for Manuscripts, New Delhi. Spanning a period of 40 days from 1st Nov to 10th Dec. This workshop covered a wide area of manuscriptology such as the teaching of scripts, history of writing traditions, collation, editing, transcription and preparation of critical editing of texts, methods of conservation and preservation of manuscripts and survey of manuscripts in other countries.
- Critical edition of Jvaratimirabhaskara and Suvarnatantra funded by the Department of Ayush, Govt. of India. Both are unpublished Ayurvedic manuscripts. The Jvaratimirabhaskara elaborates treatment methods of all types of fever. This text is an example of the earliest monographs covering individual types of diseases. Suvarnatantra is a text on alchemy supposed to be propounded by Shiva and Parasurama. The text contains three Sopanas (Khandas) with 36 chapters in 900 verses. It describes the conversion of iron, copper and mercury in to gold including different medicines prepared by mercury for treating different diseases.
- Cataloguing and digitization of Ayurvedic manuscripts of Kerala during 2011–13. This project aims at adding medical manuscripts to the digital library, publishing of hitherto unpublished Ayurvedic Manuscripts and to establish a new idea in the society through Ayurvedic medicine and interlinking up between old and new medical sciences. The activities of this project include collecting information on maximum number of Medical Manuscripts available in Kerala which are in the possession of individuals, libraries, academic institutions, museums, temples, churches and the like.
- Electronic encyclopaedia of Bhagavat Gita and its commentaries during 2011-13. A proposal has already been submitted to the DPI, Govt. of Kerala for financial assistance. The commentaries to be included in this work are:
- Sankarabhashya – Adi Sankaracharya
- Anandagirivyakhya – Anandagiri
- Nilakanthavyakhya (Chaturdhari)
- Bhashyotkarshadipika of Dhanapati
- Subodhini of Sridharaswamin
- Gitarthasangraha of Abhinavagupta
- Tattvaprakasika of Kesavakasmiri Bhattacharya
- Bhavaprakasa of Sadananda
- Gudharthadipika of Madhusudana Sarasvati
- Tatparyabodhini of Sankarananda
- Paramarthaprapa of Daivanja Pandita Surya
- Brahmananda Giri of Venkatanatha
- The Shodha Sansthan will bring out about 3-5 standard publications every year in the form of original as well as translated versions of Manuscripts and rare texts under the Chinmaya Research Series, Chinmaya Granthapushpa Series and Chinmaya Ramarayakavi Series.
- Will ensure the continued publication of the Research Journal ‘Dhimahi’.
- Publication of a quarterly tri-lingual newsletter of about 50 pages in Sanskrit, Hindi and English entitled ‘Tejas’.
- The manuscripts of different Gitas of Mahabharata will be collected from different parts of the country and abroad. The integrated volumes of these books will be published with English translation in the name of ‘The Gita Sandarbha’.
- The Shodha Sansthan will critically edit and publish the manuscripts and rare books of Bellamkonda Ramarai Kavi, a noted poet of Andhra Pradesh. We gratefully acknowledge the permission granted by the RRV trust.
- Establishment of a digital manuscripts library. The idea is to digitize the existing manuscripts and provide online services to scholars in different phases. The Institute will collect manuscripts from various parts of India particularly from Kerala by way of donations; if found necessary, it will purchase important manuscripts. Also digitized/microfilmed copies of manuscripts will be collected from different Institutions/Universities.
- The CIFSS would organize 3 programmes in a year on Temple Culture to facilitate preparation of an encyclopaedic work on Temple Terminology.
Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda spoke on 11th April 1992 at the Inauguration of Eswar Krupa, the residential block at CIF that ‘............the scholars and professors should be comfortably housed and provided with a good reference library. Give them all facilities to help them in their research studies. There cannot be a better place than Adisankara Nilayam in Kerala for this purpose.....................’
In reassurance to the fulfilment of his vision of a good reference library, the following are envisaged-
- A Conservation Lab that will conserve and preserve manuscripts as well as rare and old books.
- A Digital Library which could be accessed through Intranet. The IT ministry has already been approached for these two.
- A Separate Manuscripts Library.
- A Programme for Sastra Swadhyaya wherein the Moolagranthas of different Sastras that are not taught in today’s Sanskrit institutions would be tutored.
- Preparing E-texts of important books in every discipline, like Puranas with all available commentaries.
- Enriching the library by adding-up left-out volumes of multi-volume books received in the form of donation and purchasing basic texts - moolagrantha – of every Sastras.
- Preparing a database of research articles published in referred journals for the benefit of researchers.
- A separate section in the library for back-issues of all available referred Sanskrit journals.