At an age when people start enjoying their retirement, reclining regally in an easy chair, grandchildren in hand, Mr.V.K.Vasudevan, a retired top officer with the Reserve Bank of India, at 69 years, has successfully completed his PhD, and his Viva voce examination which was held on Wednesday, 10 December at the Selaiyur Hall Guest Room, was a source of inspiration to most of the youngsters gathered there. Dr.Ms.Kadambari was the external examiner.
His reflections on the Mystical Vision in the great Tagore, Kabir, J.Krishnamurthi and Osho, made everyone sit up and take notice of this great scholar par excellence.
A few Excerpts from his viva:
It's true that science has done enormous service to humankind. But are we really happy? Are we really progressing? On the one hand you see Chandrayan, and on the other you see violence unleashed in the Law College.
The unlettered Kabir has done what even many scholars couldn't. A Bhakti saint, who sang the ideals of seeing all of humanity as one, his name, Kabir, is often interpreted as Guru's Grace. According to Kabir, all life is an interplay of two spiritual principles. One is the personal soul (Jivatma) and the other is God (Paramatma). It is Kabir's view that salvation is the process of bringing into union these two divine principles. The social and practical manifestation of Kabir's philosophy has rung through the ages. It represented a synthesis of Hindu, and Muslim concepts. From Hinduism he accepts the concept of reincarnation and the law of Karma. From Islam he takes the outer practices of Indian Sufi ascetics and Sufi mysticism.
Coming to Tagore, Mr.Vasudevan gave the bird analogy, comparing the caged bird to the jivatma and the free bird to the paramatma.
The tame bird was in a cage, the free bird was in the forest,
They met when the time came, it was a decree of fate.
The free bird cries,'O my love, let us fly to the wood.'
The cage bird whispers, ' Come hither, let us both live in the cage.'
Says the free bird,'Among bars ,where is the room to spread one's wings?'
'Alas',cries the cage bird,'I should not know where to sit perched in the sky.'
Isn't this what we all desire in life ?
A place to sit in repose. A heart to live in.
We crave for that illusion of security. We crave to be in a position that helps us feel secure. The more ambitious ones try to do one better.
Distinguishing the sharp contrast between Religion and Spirituality, he said that Religion may make you fanatic, violent and narrow minded, but being spiritual helps you to treat all people alike, because at the end of it all, it's the soul that matters.
According to Tagore, as with Kabir and J.Krishnamurthi, and Osho, our main motive in life should be service to man, and only then can one attain salvation.
All the four great philosophers vouched to the fact that Education should not be like the blind men feeling the elephant. It should be practical, moral oriented, value oriented. Morality should be taught right from childhood. (he quotes in Tamil: pasumarathaanipol/ ainthil vilaiyaathathu aimbathil vilaiyathu)
The 'I' or the Agam is the root of all the problems. It (ego) should be removed.
He then enunciated on the "New Man" who will be free from ego, bondaged and corruption, and who will in turn inspire others around him.
Agam(ego) should be replaced with love, and total transformation of self.
Giving her comments on the PhD Scholar, the examiner said, "I'm supposed to scare the scholar but here he is scaring me with his wit".
"The thesis has brought out beautifully the relationship between humanism and mysticism, and going by the sheer breath of his mystical vision, his larger argument is something to be seen to be believed," commented the foreign examiner
Dr.V.Rajagopalan, our Head of the Department, and Dr.Stephen Jebanesan, Reader & Guide of Mr.Vasudevan spoke. The Principal Dr.V.J.Philip presided over the viva.