ISKCON News | BIHS to Hold Cosmology Conference in November

( –  By Lila Ocampo   |  Apr 15, 2023

Executive Director of BIHS Brahmatirtha Das speaks to participants

The Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies (BIHS) will host an international conference, “Vedic Cosmology: Historical Perspectives and Current Research,” on November 17–19, 2023, at the BIHS Headquarters in Gainesville, Florida. This event is a natural outgrowth of three prior BIHS cosmology workshops – “Puranic Cosmography: Taking the 5th…Canto!” (2019), “Models and Memes and Maps: A Modern Journey through Ancient Cosmography” (2020), and “The Nature of Spacetime and the Evolving Universe: Exploring Puranic Cosmology” (2022). These workshops examined traditional and contemporary studies of cosmological issues located in Sanskrit texts such as the Puranas (notably Srimad-Bhagavatam), the Jyotisa Sastras, and the Mahabharata. They have also inspired publications that feature recent work by ISKCON scholars, such as Purva-paksa: A journal featuring recent work by scholars associated with the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies, Volume 1 (working title), and Vedic Cosmography in a Modern Context: Virodha-parihara Revisited. The November conference will invite established scholars from around the world to discuss academic analyses in discourse with internal cultural appreciations.

This conference seeks to pursue two goals: First, to further develop topics considered in previous workshops and expand research to include additional topics of interest. These seminars examined correlations between the esoteric cosmology described in the Puranas with both current and traditional conceptions of 1) the nature of spacetime, 2) the cyclic universe, 3) gravity, 4) planetary motion, 5) chronology, 6) Jyotisa accounts of the cosmos, and 6) epistemology of Sankhya.

The second aim is to invite further discussion concerning the following four themes:

  1. History and philosophy of cosmology as it bears on the Puranic universe
  2. Puranic and Siddhantic cosmology
  3. Archeoastronomy and chronology
  4. Understanding science in sastra: epistemology and hermeneutics

BIHS Headquarters in Gainesville, Florida

BIHS Headquarters in Gainesville, Florida

A main objective of this conference is to network with established scholars familiar with Puranic and other ancient and modern cosmological constructs, with the aim to foster collaborative projects that can lead to a richer understanding of the Vedic view of the universe. This in turn will help develop productive narratives identified with the Puranas for ISKCON projects like the Museum of the Vedic Planetarium, which will feature descriptions from traditional texts such as the Fifth Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The BIHS will publish proceedings to facilitate research intended for constructively exploring human experience in relation to the cosmos.

For conference details and information on registration and abstract submissions, please visit the BIHS conference web page

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