News from Saltillo Congress in UPN

Horacio Francisco Arganis Juarez arganis at TODITO.COM
Fri Apr 14 01:55:48 UTC 2006

The Institute of Philosophical Studies of Saltillo, Mexico held a two day conference on March 
30-31st 2006. The First International Congress on the Philosophy of Religion in a Postmodern and 
Globalized World convened at UPN, The National Pedagogical University of Mexico, Saltillo, 
Coahuila branch. Attendees from Mexico, USA, India, Columbia and the UK presented papers on many 
key and relevant issues. 

Some of the Papers included ;Religion and Bioethics,' 'Religious Systems and Globalization,' 
'Religion and Human Rights,' 'Hindu and Buddhist Contributions to the World,' 'Magic and 
Religion,' as like Eastern Religion and Medicine,' 'Hindu-Mexico: An Authentic and Ancient Cultural 
Nexus,' 'Indian Historical Paradoxes,' 'The Need for a Code of Ethics in Religious Studies,' 
'Studies into the Antiquity of the Ramayana,' 'In the Footsteps of Lord Krishna,' 'Religion and 
Health Recovery' and 'Benefits of Religion in Overcoming Addictions; etc... 

Catholic Professor Dr. Elio Masferrer Kant, permanent secretary of the Latin American Association for the 
Study of the Religions, emphasized that the great challenge for Catholicism in the 21st century is 
for the Church leadership to approach the parishioners in order to understand and satisfy their 
spiritual needs. Recognizing that not only in Mexico but throughout Latin America, people are 
turning from Catholicism he stated: "The statistics verify it. In the last 60 years, the 
number of Catholics in Mexico has dropped from 98% to 80%." Professor Kant affirmed that 
sections of the Mexican population are looking for other religious options, mainly due to the 
structure of Catholicism. It is very centered on the clergy while the Evangelical groups have more 
advantages, "Because their structures are much more participative, the laymen have more ability to 
stand up for their needs and this allows a much more efficient development. More and more people 
are going to voluntarily choose their own religious paths. The Catholic Church should look into 
all the possibilities of becoming more diversified and adapt with changes in its practices and 

Author of the book, “Imprints of the Bhagavat Purana in the Works of Chanakya, “ ;Horacio 
Francisco Arganis Juárez MA, a Professor in Theology, Philosophy and Religion of Ancient India spoke 
on “The Need for a Code of Ethics in the Study of Religion and Culture.” He 
highlighted various instances where religion, spirituality and culture have been analytically 
studied without any thought or recognition for cultural and religious sensitivities. Using the 
example of the recent State of California's Board of Education Textbook issue, he 
said, “While great strides have been made regarding the ethical treatment of animals, I find 
it puzzling that no similar ethical approach is taken in regards to religious studies. Without 
practitioners, religion is just a concept. Yet while studying the concepts of religion no ethical 
approach is applied when dealing with the sensitivities of the practitioners of the faith in 
question. This is a violation of a basic Human rights “; MA Arganis thus urged the 
application of a code of ethics in the study of religion. In this way religious studies can become 
a tool for social development rather than an antagonistic field used to discredit religion. 

Swami Amarnathananda of the Bharat Seva Ashram Sangh gave a talk on the integral role of Sri 
Krishna's Bhagavad Gita in Hindu life. He stated,”Krishna spoke the Gita on a battlefield 
because life is like a battle. So in the battle of life, Krishna's Gita is there. It is not just 
for Indians but it is for the benefit of the whole world.” Swamiji was pleased to see the 
publics great interest in Hinduism and Buddhism in Mexico and appreciated the honor he was given 
as a visiting Hindu monk. 

Independent Researcher Mohini Sarin's paper ' Hindu-Mexico: An Authentic and Ancient Cultural 
Nexus' was well received and generated much curiosity. She pointed out the similarity between the 
Hindu Trinity - Brahma-Visnu-Shiva and the Mexican Panteon -Huizilopochtli-Tlaloc , etc. as well as 
the likeness between South Indian temples and American pyramids. She quoted Donald A. Mackenzie's 
book, Myths of Pre-Columbian America: Tezcatlipoca, was like the Hindu god Kubera, was also a god 
of the north. The story of Yappan appears to be of Indian origin. The story of the temptation and 
fall of Yappan is too like that of the temptation and fall of his Indian prototype to be of 
spontaneous origin in the New World. The conclusion drawn from the evidence of the Yappan myth 
that Hindu cultural influences reached America is greatly strengthened when we find Acosta 
informing us that certain Mexican ascetics, who assisted the priests, "dressed in white robes and 
lived by begging." The wandering Brahmin and Buddhist pilgrims in India similarly begged their 
food." Games such as the pachisi of India and the Mexican patolli, the valador game, mirror of 
pyrite, betel and coco-chewing, with lime and tobacco, as well as gourd containers for the lime; 
shell money; birchbark shelters and canoes; and the identical containers of birchbark with 
curvilinear scraped design from Siberia; string crosses as prayers from Tibet, India, Assam, 
Mexico, and Peru; and last, but not the least - the cultivation of cotton, practiced since early 
times in Asia. Many Mexican Indian words are the same in Tamil and Sanskrit such as Catamaran. 
Other examples included 
chinkat (jaguar) sinha (lion) 
mita (time)mita (step passage of time) 
nana (sister)nanda (sister) 
paksa (the moon)paksa (the full moon) 
kakarpa (tent)k'arpara (parasol) 
chirau (resplendent)sura (to shine) 
huakra (horn)vakra (curved) 

Monsignor Jose Raul Side Lopez, Bishop of the Diocese of Saltillo, Mexico and Human rights 
activist presented a paper entitled, Religion and Human rights.; The Bishop urged 
Religious leaders to seriously apply the built-in standards of human rights that is a part of all 
authentic religious traditions. “No longer should people be forced to fit into the letter of 
religious doctrine but religion must adapt itself to the needs and spiritual necessities of the 
people. It is unacceptable for religions to remain neutral to the sufferings of humanity.” 

WAVES, World Association for Vedic Studies committee member and Independent researcher, Ramen 
Nandi's paper,;Studies into the Antiquity of the Ramayana; posed serious questions 
regarding the ability of researchers to accurately date the Ramayana. Despite vast evidences, 
including geological, linguistic and textual, scholars have not yet been able to confirm the exact 
date of the Ramayana. However, there are many key scientific findings that seem to confirm a very 
ancient date for the Ramayana and its vast influence on Indian civilization since antiquity. 

Vrndavan Brannon Parker, International Co-coordinator for the VFA, the Vedic Friend's Association 
and member of WAVES attended as well. His paper entitled 'Indian Historical Paradoxes' concluded 
that only through modern scientific investigative techniques combined with traditional cultural 
data can a researcher find conclusive results. Parker said,It is a paradox that despite the 
fact that Indian civilization represents the ancient world;s most voluminous source of 
scholarly research into science, religion, philosophy etc. this treasure house of knowledge is 
not considered as an authentic source for information regarding humanities’ ancient past. 
On the other hand, stray artifacts from random discoveries have become the foundation of theories 
that contradict most evidences validated by the traditional Hindu perspective. Mr. Parker 
pointed out that one of the world's leading experts on South Asian Archeology, Professor Jim G 
Shaffer an American archaeologist and Professor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University 
found evidence of extemely ancient cultural continuity in India. He stated that the traditional 
Hindu perspective on Indian history fits better into the archaeological evidence. Professor 
Shaffer was quoted as saying that by including traditional views and cultural belief systems into 
scientific research, one can develop a more accurate and complete picture of the ancient past. 
Parker concluded by praising the inclusiveness of Indian civilization. Throughout history, India 
has welcomed Jews, Parsis and other oppressed minorities. In modern times, India is preserving the 
ancient Tibetan culture and is the only country in the world to host all 72 schools of Islamic 
thought. No Muslim nation can boast of such Islamic diversity. It is India's Vedic Hindu ideals 
that have allowed India to be the home of over a billion people yet still have plenty of room for 
a variety of wildlife, including the world's last remaining Asian lions. 

Professor Heber Ramos from IBCH of Cali Colombia had a presentation entitled, In the 
Footsteps of Lord Krishna. Tracing all the various evidences confirming the antiquity of 
the worship of Lord Krishna, Professor Ramos concluded, There is vast scientific evidence 
regarding the life and times of Krishna that correlates with the traditional Hindu perspective. A 
wealth of archaeological, textual, astronomical, geological and historical evidence is available 
to the honest and unbiased researcher. No longer should academia treat Krishna as just a mere 
human tribal figure. The imprint of Lord Krishna on the history of the world is an obvious, 
authentic and tremendous one.” 

William Henricks MA, a lecturer on Eastern religions and Director of the 
Bhaktivedanta Institute for Science and the Humanities presented a paper called 'Hindu and 
Buddhist Contributions to the World.' He spoke on the development of Buddhism within the 
Vedic-Hindu framework. Rather than presenting Buddhism as a separate religion, Henricks clarified 
that Buddhism developed in India in the fertile ground of Vedic India. Buddha simplified 
spirituality for the ancient Indians and never claimed to be founding a new religion. He also 
spoke on the development of modern Hinduism, clarified the difference between the modern Caste 
system and the ancient Vedic Varna and Ashram system.T”hroughout ancient Indian history, 
Varna was decided by qualification and carachter and not by birth. Only as time progressed did 
birth become the main prerequisite. But the application of Varna based on birth is not true 
Hinduism.” He stated. 

During the conference Spanish and English translation was provided by Sri Kumar Bhattacarjajee of 
Houston,Texas who thus enabled a smooth flow of communication throughout the event.The conference 
audience was a diverse group consisting of Scholars, Catholic Priests and Nuns,Evangelical 
Christians, Hindus of India, Mexico, USA and UK and local University students, among others. 
All found interest in each other's perspectives and called for respect, tolerance and 
understanding amongst the various religions. A common call for an ethical approach in the 
studiesand practices of religion and science was issued. 

The two day conference was closed with a presentation of traditional Hindu music and song. The 
entire audience joined togheter in the chanting of Hindu-Vedic hymns and enjoyed the Hindu musical 
demonstration. During the closing ceremonies, the Institute of Philosophical Studies of 
Saltillo,Coahuila, Mexico honored all Presentors with Certificates of Appreciation and 

El amor es cosa de tres. 
Sí, de 3 X 1 en

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