Recently, an academic seminar was held at Chittagong University on ‘Sri Chinmoy and Bangladesh Philosophy.’
The historical “Seminar on Sri Chinmoy and Bangladesh Philosophy” was organised by the academic community of Bangladesh, and took place 19 February 2017, in Chittagong, Bangladesh. In the first of its kind, the one-day symposium, which was spearheaded by Chittagong University, brought together academics within and outside of Bangladesh. One goal of the symposium was to raise awareness in the Bangladeshi academic community about the philosophy, wisdom, and wealth of writings of philosopher, author, composer, and poet, Sri Chinmoy.
Conference organiser, N.H.M. Abu Bakar, Chair of the Department Philosophy, Chittagong University, explained: “Here in Bangladesh, we teach different philosophies–Greek philosophy, European philosophy, British philosophy –yet the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy, a son of Bangladesh, has been neglected from our curriculum!” Professor Bakar and his colleagues are working currently to build a curriculum centred on the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy.
The symposium was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Iftekar Uddin Chowdhury, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Shireen Akter, Pro-Vice Chancellor, and Dr. Sekandar Chowdhury, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities–faculty with Chittagong University. In addition, Prof. Lunthita Duthely, University of Miami, offered opening remarks as well. The conference opening was followed by a traditional floral reception, where the speakers were offered small flower bouquets by Chittagong University philosophy students.
A total of six papers were presented. These included:
- PhD candidate, Kamrun “Moni” Nahar, Dhaka University; “Spiritual Philosophy of Sri Chinmoy”
- Prof. Lunthita M. Duthely, University of Miami, “Sri Chinmoy’s The Path of the Heart Meditations in Education: Preliminary Findings”
- Prof. Bakar, Chair of Philosophy, Chittagong University, “God Realization in Sri Chinmoy’s Spiritualism”
- Prof. Kamrul Ahsan, Jahangirnagar University, “Sri Chinmoy: A Spiritual Philosopher of Bangladesh”
- Prof Shafiqul Alam, Chittagong University, “Sri Chinmoy and His Philosophy”;
- Prof. M. Shafiqul Alam, CU, “Sri Chinmoy and his Philosophy”
- Mr. Sarwar Kamal, “Some Aspects of the Eastern Heart and the Western Mind: A Compatibility Debate in Sri Chinmoy’s Spirituality”
- Miss Shantishri McGrath, “The Philosophy of Sri Chinmoy”.
Approximately 200 students and faculty attended the day-long seminar. The seminar consisted of two half-day sessions, which included a combination of paper presentations, discussions, questions, and other commentaries. Interspersed within the presentations were facilitated discussions by Prof. Kamrul Ahsan, Jahangirnagar University, and Professors Lutfor Rahman and Abdul Hai, Chittagong University.
Two spontaneous, but spirited talks, led by Prof. Kamrul Ahsan on “Divine Love”, and another by Kourshed Islam on “Oneness of Individuals, Religions, and Philosophies”, captured the hearts and minds of the Chittagong University students. The program ended with performances of Sri Chinmoy’s music, as well as a quiz, where approximately 40 students won either a book or a musical CD by answering correctly, questions related to the presentations.
According to Prof Bakar, there are at least 10 researchers throughout Bangladesh, from master’s level up to post-doctoral level, currently researching Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy. To facilitate this work at Chittagong University, a scholarship fund was created to fund one student researcher who will compete for the opportunity to use the scholarship to research the philosophy of Sri Chinmoy.
Sri Chinmoy was born in Shakpura, Chittagong, East Bengal on 27 August 1931. Then part of India, the region is now part of modern Bangladesh.
Article by: Lunthita M. Duthely