Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan organised a national Seminar on "Veda and Jyotisha" at New Delhi from 21st to 24th December, 1990. More than 100 scholars from different parts of India participated in this Seminar. Sahitya Academy also extended its cooperation to the Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan, since Vedic literature constitutes a major source of various streams of Indian literature. The venue of the Seminar was the Seminar Hall of the Sahitya Academy. The Department of Astrology of Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan also extended cooperation to the Seminar and one full session of the Seminar was held at the premises of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan. Several participants presented written papers, while others spoke extempore. The significance and dignity of the Seminar was heightened by the fact that it was inaugurated by Dr. B. V. Raman, while the Presidential address was delivered by the Honourable Chief Justice of India, Shri Ranganath Mishra. It was also a matter of satisfaction that Smt. Rajeshvari Raman also participated in the Seminar and presented the views of Reference of Yoga to the upliftment of women. At the Inaugural function, Shri Kireet Joshi the then Member Secretary, Rashtriya Veda Vidya Partishthan gave the welcome address. Shri Sudhakar Pandey, formerly Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Dr. K.N. Rao, Vice-Chairman Rashtriya Sanskrit Santhan, and Dr. Mandan Mishra, Vice-Chancellor, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth delivered special addresses at the inaugural function.
During the course of the Seminar, important problems came up for discussion, and discussions were lively and stimulating. Is Astrology a science ? Why do astrological predictions go wrong? What is the utility of Astrology for the modern man? What truths are contained in Bhrigu Samhita and Nadi literature ? What is the place of Astrology in Indian Culture ? What is the relationship between Astronomy and Astrology ? What is the place of Panchanga in Astrology ? Is there need to standardise Panchanga ? These and several other questions occupied the minds of the participants for four days, and yet the time was found to be short, since several participants did not get the time to present their views. The Valedictory address was deliverd by Shri Subhash Kashyap, formerly Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha. Shri T.N. Chaturvdi and Dr. B. V. Raman also spoke 'at the Valedictory function. Dr. Indranath Chaudhury, Secretary, Sahitya Academy also spoke.
The entire proceedings of the Seminar were tape-recorded. The original idea was to bring out a volume consisting of all the written papers and extempore speeches as also the detailed discussions. However, for various reasons, the transcriptions from tape-recordings have been so defective that it is impossible to present any faithful version of the proceedings, except in regard to the papers and speeches which were presented in the written form. We have, therefore, decided to collect and present in this volume only the texts of the written speeches and papers.
Last year, Rashtria Veda Vidya Prathisthan requested me to undertake the task of editing all the materials connected with the Seminar. Although I was extremely occupied with a number of other responsibilities, I could not refuse this request because, in my view, this Seminar had dealt with the issues of Astrology with scientific rigour and contributions made by various participants were truly of high order. There is a great need to remove mis-conceptions regarding astrology; there is also a need to collect emperical facts, on the basis of which the scientific nature of astrology can be demonstrated; there is also a need to· develop astrological science by investigating several issues on which sharp differences of opinion have persisted. I was very happy that the Prathisthan had consulted several Vedic and astrological scholars in the country while organising this Seminar, and I was personally impressed by the fact that the Pratishthan manifested a sincere aspiration to explore the relationship between Veda and Astrology without dogmatism and without any pre-conceived ideas and prejudices. For all these reasons, I felt happy to be associated with the Seminar, and when the task of editing the papers came to be assigned to me, I gladly accepted it.
I should like to record my gratefulness to the members of staff of the Pratisthan who have helped me in various aspects of the work of editing. In particular, I am thankful to Shri Kireet Joshi, former Member Secretary, of the Rashtriya Ved Vidya Prathisthan, who has actively been associated with me in my editorial work.
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