Kashmiri Pandits Samskriti Sammelan held
16 Jan'2011, Bangalore
A Kashmiri Pandits Samskriti Sammelan was held on 16 Jan. 2011 in the benign presence of His Holiness Pujyasri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya Swamiji at Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Sankara Matam-Bangalore Branch, Sri Mahaswami Marga, Malleswaram, Bangalore.
The meet commenced with Vedic Invocation by Vidyarthis of the Veda Patasala. This was followed by invocation by Ms. Santhosh Pandit. Swastivachanam of Srimatam was rendered. His Holiness Pujyasri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya Swamiji inaugurated the sammelan.Traditional Kuthuvilakku (Lamp) was lit. Sri Shiv Tickoo, President, Kashmiri Hindu Samiti (Karnataka), delivered the welcome address.
In His Anugraha Bhashanam, His Holiness blessed the gathering and recalled a similar meet organized at Sri Sankara Matam, Kanchipuram on 12th September 2010 in which Pandit Omkarnath Shastri of Jammu & Kashmir, a well known Scholar of Hindu Scriptures from J&K was felicitated and blessed by His Holiness. His Holiness mentioned that the Kanchi – J & K Education & Health Foundation has been established for the purpose of providing assistance to the Pandits under various schemes including providing educational facilities to the wards of the Pandits in Veda and Sanskrit Patasalas etc.
Sri Ravinder Raina (Vice Pandit, KHS, Bangalore) and Sri Prem Swaminathan made a presentation on the 1st meeting of Pandits held in Kanchipuram in September 2010 and on the “Vishwa Shanthi Yagna” conducted in Vaishnodevi (29th to 31st October 2010) and in Jammu (1st to 6th November 2010) by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam with the support of Sri Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams in the benign presence of His Holiness.
This was followed by address by the following speakers who spoke on the various facets of Kashmiri Pandits, their traditions and culture.
Pandit Moti Koul, President, All India Kashmir Samaj (AIKS)
Sri Ramana Sharma- spoke on the Vedic traditions and cultural practices of Kashmir pundits
Dr.Shiban.K.Kachan (General Surgeon)
Sir.M.N.Rajadhan (Retd.Vice Chancellor):
Dr.Shashishekar Toskhani (Poet, Linguist, writer & scholar)
Dr.Srinivasan (A retired professor of Vivekananda College)
Dr.V.D.N.Rao (Formerly Govt of India)
Sri Thasoo (Retd. Air Vice Marshal)
Sri Sushil Pandit(Editor, Praznath)
A special feature of the sammelan was a video message from Shri.Kashinath Handoo, a 105 year old, Kashmiri Pandit. Recently, Shri Panchapakeshan from Sri Kanchi Matam had met the veteran and doyen of Kashmiri traditions to record and document the Kashmiri traditions. Shri Kashinath Handoo a Kashmiri Pandit, isgreatly respected by the Pandit Community of Kashmir. He is a Karmakhand Shiromani, has written many Books on Kashmiri Shaivism, Hindu Philosophy and Jyotish Shastra besides being an expert in Tantra Shastra. He knows Sharada Lipi, the traditional script of the Kashmiris. He is said to be one of the very few in Kashmir to know Shiva Karma in detail. He makes the Panchang every Kashmiri year(said to be year 5086 now). He lives in Jammu. A few enlightening excerpts from the conversation with Shri Pandit:
“The second generation Pandits are already losing touch with Kashmir as most of them are living in other parts of India and even abroad. This generation of people at least have some knowledge of Kashimiri traditions but the generation next is bound to have practically zero knowledge and it is this generation that we have to address and equip with knowledge of Traditions. So the youth will have to be focused upon for imparting this knowledge. This should be top priority”
“In the olden days Gouri Thrithiya day was the cut off day for admission of students to the Patashala for the year as also the end of the year for the passing out students .The Educational System emphasized the importance of adherence to morals and was student interest driven.Pursuit of a particular Branch of education was by student choice –for example to go for karmakhand or astrology etc.”
“Ten Samaskars were followed from birth to the stage of Yagyopavith in the case of boys.These were Beejvapanam, Seemanthakaranam, Punsvanam, Jathakaranam, Namakaranam, Surya Darshanam, Chandra Darshanam, Anna prasanam, Chuda Karanam (Mundan ceremony), Upanayanam(Prescribed age was 7 years)”
“All four Vedas were known and followed.They were likened to the four petals of the acroot fruit.But mostly, the Krishna Yajur veda Kathaka Samhita was followed. Likewise, in Sutras Grishya, Lougakshi and Gobhila were followed but maximum was Lougakshi”
A large number of Kashmiri Pandits and other like-minded persons from various places attended the Sammelan and shared their views and received the Blessings of His Holiness.