‘Dhyāna’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘dhyāi’, which means to think of. In the Yogic parlance, the word means to concentrate on one point so as to know the truth behind it. The ethos of Dhyāna, therefore, is evenness and uniformity in vision. It can be expression, imagination, conception or a mere thought; all of them harping on the versatile yet concerted quest for knowledge. This path, however, is like taking small steps, which come to us as our environment, perception of the surroundings and constant interaction with our world.
Dhyāna as a society for consciousness and awareness attempts to create an ethos of collective reflection, exploring new alternatives and re-interpreting our past, present and future by bringing out our analytical self. We are a society dedicated to revising the concept of education, to focusing the mind into thought, and thought into awareness.The aim is to go beyond textbook learning and theories, and explore the world around us. The society seeks to build an understanding among young minds about the persisting social realities of our times. It encourages students to examine the vast variety of stances on each topic with a fine toothcomb.
Our aim is not to offer simple solutions to compare problems or to fix easy scapegoats to bear the brunt of ancient wrongs. Our attempt is to understand the psyche of a people, trapped in their geography, history and politics. Thus we create a space where young, committed minds can meet, where ideas can be expressed, where the clues are provided not on ‘what’ to think about, but on ‘how’ to think. The one element common to all of the society’s ventures has been knowledge. Dhyāna recognizes the importance of the right to and the duty towards knowledge, knowledge of self and of our environment. Only acquisition of knowledge can stimulate the mind and direct it towards the essential questions.
Student Coordinators: Noor Chhatwal, Kamya Singh, Divya Yadav
Staff Advisors :Dr. Renu Bahl, Dr. Savita Gopal, Dr. Megha Dhillon
Dhyana’s central theme for the year was “TAT TVAM ASI”, a Sanskrit phrase, translated as “Thou art that.”Tat here refers to the ‘Brahman’, Asi means ‘are’ and Tvamis the self. The words when said together convey that ‘You are the only reality that exists.’
Dhyana began the year with an interactive session titled “Painted Faces: - The Initiation. This was an activity where students were paired with individuals who were unknown to them- faces they may have seen in college, might have exchanged smiles with, but never spoken with.
Dhyana also organised the screening of the award winning film‘I am Kalam’ directed by Nila Madhab Panda. Keeping in mind Dhyana’s emphasis on self-exploration, the movie was chosen for its storyline about a boy who pursues his inner calling of becoming like the then President Mr. Kalam. The screening was attended by a large number of students and was followed by a discussion.
Dr. Renu Bahl, Associate Professor in the Political Science Department of LSR, delivered a lecture on ‘The Upanishadic Concept of the Self’. Dr. Bahl spoke of the various aspects and perspectives within the Upanishads and the influences that shape selfhood. The talk was followed by an interaction with the audience. An interactive session with Ms. Ameeta Mehra, an alumna of LSR and Head of the Gnostic Centre was organised.
She spoke on the “The Power of Meditation and Concentration – A Practicum to Deal with Day-to- Day Problems”. Ms. Mehra explained how meditation could help control anger, moderate aspects of our behavior that we wish to change, develop inner poise in daily life and deal with difficult situations calmly. The lecture came to a close with two brief guided meditation sessions. Ms. Ananya Vajpeyi, Fellow at CSDS, was invited to speak on “Selfhood and Solidarity”. Ms. Vajpeyi was the founder of Dhyana society. The lecture was focused on the ways of embracing ‘otherness’, and patiently dealing with a plural environment by making space for differences and dissent. She emphasized the importance of fighting against caging thinking minds by coming together in our own selfhood and as a collective to express solidarity.
Mr. Gurcharan Das, a journalist and international best-selling author visited LSR and delivered a lecture on “The Difficulty of Being Good”. He discussed the ‘Mahabharata’ and its central notion of ‘Dharma’. He narrated various events from the ‘Mahabharata’ and drew parallels with the contemporary world. The floor was then opened for questions, and many students interacted with Mr. Das. The session ended with students getting copies of Mr. Das’s books signed by him. Dhyana organised a talk on ‘The Buddhist Conception of the Self’ by Mr. Kabir Saxena, a Buddhist monk and the Director of Maitreya Buddha Project in Kushinagar. Mr. Kabir said that in today’s competitive world, the significance of Mother Nature and the human-nature relationship have declined. He further stated that aggression could not be the answer to aggression. Rather this needs to be a time of engaging in peaceful deliberations and decision-making. The session ended with a question and answer round.
Dr. Pankaj Jha, Associate Professor of the History Department of LSR gave an illuminating talk on ‘Love and Other Emotions of Power in Medieval Sufism’. Dr. Jha discussed the various stages of love in context of Sufism. He demystified various notions about power and the myths and politics that revolve around Sufism.