Sankara Nethralaya observed the 150th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda the patriotic saint with an undying love to his motherland aptly on the 26th of January 2014 being observed as Republic Day, with a powerful talk on ‘Science and Spirituality’ by Swamini Pramananda the eminent spiritual guru, social worker and expert on Vedanta. Dr Srujana Chittipotu, Head of the Core Instrumentation laboratory extended a warm welcome to the audience with a brief note on Ammaji which was followed by a melodious invocation by Ms Sadhana daughter of Dr. Niveditha Narayanan, Senior Consultant, Cornea Department. Dr J.Malathi, Reader, Microbiology Dept introduced the speaker of the day as a disciple of Swami Dayanand Saraswathi, an eminent teacher of philosophy and expert in the Upanishads, a versatile and warm person who provided spiritual guidance to the terminally ill while working for the empowerment and upliftment of tribal women and running the Purna Vidya and its sub branches which work towards awakening of the society to oneness and harmony.
The guest speaker Swamini Pramananda gave a most powerful speech on the topic ‘Science and Spirituality’, highlighting on the difference between spiritual and material civilizations, she explained that science and spirituality are two distinct fields which neither compliment not contradict each other. She added that while science is about subject matter, observations made and documented, spirituality is about perception and faith underlying that both are essential for a harmonious living. The learned monk touched on the Advaita Vedanta philosophy where there is no past, present or future and no two separate entities of God and Man but one absolute consciousness and one Omnipotent being. Ammaji reiterated her beliefs and convictions on being givers that she had underlined earlier in her R-Day address with a philosophical touch that all our actions should stem from the Joy of contributing and sharing and a focus on being a contributor and how one becomes bigger by giving more.
The impact of the spiritual talk on the audience could be gauged by the wide array and number of questions it elicited from them, not questions seeking mere information but questions from disturbed and disillusioned minds seeking the truth and philosophy of existence, while the spiritual leader could answer many questions, time came as a constraint for the Q&A session and an overwhelmed Swamini Pramananda expressed that she would be happy to organize a full day exclusive session for Sankara Nethralaya employees either at her retreat at Coimbatore or at the Sankara Nethralaya centre at Chennai if Dr SS.Badrinath gave his nod of approval.