Prof. Bettina Sharada Bäumer completed her term as National Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. She has been engaged in a book project on the Netra Tantra of Kashmir Shaivism as part of this Fellowship, which is due to be completed in the next few months.
The Institute honored Prof. Bäumer with a traditional Himachali cap and shawl on April 13th, at the farewell ceremony after her final presentation. The former Director, Prof. Chetan Singh, Tagore Fellows Martin Kämpchen and Amit Datta, and other Fellows and friends also celebrated the occasion with a farewell dinner.
We held an intensive retreat seminar in Varanasi from 2nd - 5th Feb, 2017.
The Vatulanatha Sutras belong to the Krama School of sudden enlightenment connected with non-dualist Kashmir Shaivism. These terse Sutras have a commentary by Anantashaktipada, and they have been taught by Swami Lakshman Joo to his disciples. Three versions of the text and translation are available: the original text published by KSTS, Swami Lakshman Joo's own translation and commentary, and a French introduction, translation and commentary by Lilian Silburn. Copies of these will be made available at the registration for the seminar. The text belongs to the anupaya level, beyond any means, and leads directly to a state of intensity and silence beyond speech. Each sutra conveys an esoteric meaning and requires an oral teaching along with the existing commentaries.
Prof. Bettina Bäumer organized a seminar on a dialogue between science and spirituality, at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. The aim of the seminar was overcoming of opposites and dichotomies. We can live neither without science nor without spirituality, and it is a bridging of the gap between the two that will contribute to greater harmony in society. The seminar was a reminder of the vision of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan: “Progress in the realms of Science, Art, and Morality shows that self and not-self are only relatively opposed. It is the business of man to break down the opposition, and make both express the one spirit. This view restores the balance between nature and spirit, and makes life worth living.”
The participants came from the different sciences, such as Physics, Neuroscience, Microbiology, Medicine, etc, and different spiritual traditions and personalities including Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Patanjali Yoga, Vedanta, Shaivism, Vivekananda, Krishnamurti, Tagore and others. The participants engaged in lively and insightful discussions over a broad range of relevant issues. The intellectual discussions were also complemented with a musical performance by the Dhrupad Maestro, Ustad Baha'ud-din Dagar on Rudraveena.
The proceedings of this seminar will be published in due course of time for wider dissemination.
A Retreat Seminar on the 'Yoga of the Netra Tantra' was held from October 20-27, 2016, at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, Rishikesh. More than 70 participants, from Australia, Europe, India, South America and USA attended the seminar. The Netra Tantra is one of the authoritative scriptures of non-dualist Kashmir Shaivism (dated not later than 700 AD) with important sections on Yoga. It is the only Tantra on the third Eye of Shiva, and it is also called Mrityujit or Mrityunjaya, “the Overcomer of Death”, relating to the form of Shiva revealed in it and to his mantra. The commentary by Ksemaraja (early 11th century) is an important help in understanding this profound text and its practice.
(in collaboration with Theosophical Society, Indian Section, and Samvidalaya, Abhinavagupta Research Library, Varanasi)
Venue: The Theosophical Society, Indian Section, Varanasi
We studied Abhinavagupta’s Parātrīśikā Vivarana and practiced with the text. The following books were used:
1. Parātrīśikā Vivaraa by Abhinavagupta: The Secret of Tantric Mysticism – ed. and transl. by Jaideva Singh (Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, several editions)
2. Śri Śri Parātriṃśikā, Hindi translation by Acharya Nilakantha Gurtoo (1985, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass)
3. Bettina Bäumer – Abhinavagupta’s Hermeneutics of the Absolute: Anuttaraprakriyā (IIAS, Shimla & D.K. Printworld, New Delhi, 2011)
Prof. Bettina Bäumer participated in the seminar at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. She presented a talk on 'Some unexplored sources of Aesthetics in Trika Shaivism of Kashmir'. At the inauguration of the seminar, the following book was released by Prof. Chetan Singh (Director, IIAS): Utpaladeva, Philosopher of Recognition, ed. by Raffaele Torella and Bettina Bäumer (2015, IIAS Shimla and D.K. Printworld, New Delhi)
Prof. Bettina Bäumer presented a paper titled "Mystical poetry of Utpaladeva, Abhinavagupta and Lal Ded - a bridge with Sufism" at the seminar on Rishi-Sufi Traditions of Kashmir. The aim of the seminar was to establish a dialogue between Muslim-Sufi and Hindu scholars and practitioners.
The seminar was also the occasion to re-visit Ishvar Ashram of Swami Lakshman Joo and some of the sacred places connected with Kashmir Shaivism.
At the Salzburg Festival 2015 (Salzburger Festspiele) the Ouverture Spirituelle was centered on Hindu music, dance and theatre. In this context a symposium took place under the title: "Disputationes: Über Europa hinaus - Indiens Kultur und Philosophie (Crossing Europe - Indian Culture and Philosophy)" from 18th to 22nd July, 2015. Prof. Bettina Sharada Bäumer delivered a lecure on: "Shaivism and the Foundations of Indian Aesthetics" on 21st July at the Festspielhaus, Salzburg. She was also actively involved in arranging the programs of Indian artists.
Venue: Deer Park Institute, Bir, Himachal Pradesh
The Spanda Karika with Kshemraja's commentary and his Spanda Sandoha
Venue: Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, New Delhi
On 8th April, the President of India presented the Padmashri Award to Prof. Bettina Sharada Bäumer in a Investiture Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi, along with a number of distinguished personalities from various fields. She was nominated from the state of Jammu and Kashmir for her contribution to the fields of Scholarship and Education.
The Vatulanathasutra is a short text of the higher Krama tradition of Kashmir, consisting of 13 sutras with a commentary by Anantasaktipada. The age of the text is not known but it cannot be earlier than 13th century.
Swami Lakshman Joo has taught this text to his disciples and his commentary is also available.
The Sanskrit text with commentary and translation will be made available to the participants.
Veda Nidhi, Dumraobagh, Assi, Varanasi
Prof. Bettina Sharada Bäumer was nominated to receive the Padmashri award as declared by the Government of India on January 26, 2015. In celebration of this honour, her students and staff organized a Dhrupad Music concert by Pt. Ritwik Sanyal and Shri Ashutosh Bhattacharya, in the presence of eminent personalities of Varanasi.
Venue: Samvidalaya: Abhinavagupta Research Library, Varanasi
Puja and Prasad
Inauguration of Pt. H.N Chakravarty Collection donated to the library by his family
Followed by a music program
Venue: Samvidalaya: Abhinavagupta Research Library, Varanasi
Rishikesh: Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, Virbhadra Road, Virpur Khurd, P.O. Pashulok, Uttarakhand, India
See website for registration: www.ahymsin.org
Sidhbari, Himachal Pradesh
Due to the floods in Kashmir, the venue had to be shifted from Srinagar to Sidhbari
In continuation of the retreat-seminar of September 2013, we studied and meditated on the Śivastotrāvalī of Utpaladeva.
The purpose of studying and meditating on these texts is to awaken us to a level of consciousness which can receive, reflect and absorb their meaning in our own spiritual life. Poetry is not a description of the spiritual path such as texts on upāyas and yoga, and it requires a subtle sensibility (sahṛdayatā) to apply it in practice.
("Interreligious Dialogue: the Path to Inner Transformation") (French)
Voies de l'Orient, Brussels (BE)
(chapters 7 and 8 of the NT)
Deer Park Institute, Bir, HP
28th January, 2014
New Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Lecture on: "Acārya Lakshman Joo"
3rd December, 2013
New Delhi, India International Centre in the lecture series of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of H.H. Dalai Lama
Lecture on : "The Non-dualist Kashmiri Śaivism".
November 30 – December 1, 2013
New Delhi, India International Centre
Seminar on: Remembering Raimundo Panikkar: A Pilgrim across worlds.
Paper on: "Tradition and Modernity in Panikkar's Thought: A Challenge".
September 26 – October 2, 2013
Conference on: Śikṣā: Perspectives of Traditional Education
at: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Presentation: "Inspirational Ideas from the Non-dualist Tradition of Kashmir Śaivism"
September 16-20 2013
Retreat Seminar on: "Mystical Poetry of Kashmir: Śivastotrāvalī of Utpaladeva, Stavacintāmaṇi of Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa, Lal Ded".
Received the "Österreichisches Ehrenkreuz fur Wissenschaft und Kunst I. Klasse" from the Austrian Government, Ministry for Science and Research (Ministerium fur Wissenschaft und Forschung) for her merits in the bilateral relations between India and Austria at the scholarly level.