The establishment of Orissa Chair was conceptualized in the year 1998 during the tenure of Professor R.R. Mukherjee as Hon’ble Chancellor & Late Prof. S.B.Raghunathacharya as Vice-Chancellor in the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, (a Sanskrit University run by the Govt. of India) and was materialized and inaugurated in the year 2001. Dr. V.R. Panchamukhi during as Hon’ble Chancellor and Prof. D. Prahallad Char as the Vice-Chancellor. The contribution of prajnana Vachaspati Shri Janaki Ballabh Patnaik, former Chief Minister of Orissa and the Chief Patron of the Chair are, indeed remarkable with the magnificent financial support of the Govt. of Orissa with an aim to promote and conduct research on Shri Jaganatha Cult., Shri Chaitanya Philosophy and Shri Jayadeva Literature. The concerned sector of the University, with three Research Assistants, has been striving hard to attain its aims and objects since its inception under the supervision of one coordinator by organizing so many academic activities like conduct of national seminars, publication of the proceedings of the seminars, organization of lectures on the concerned subject by learned scholars in the field, observation of Orissa Day in the premises of the Vidyapeetha during 1st April of every year and organization of various cultural activities, publication of books on the subjects etc. etc.. Accordingly, one National Seminar on Shri Jaganatha Cult. Shri Chaitanya Philosophy and Shri Jayadeva Literature was organized in the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupati during 11-13, September, 2001 and several eminent scholars, being invited from various parts of the country, took part and presented their papers in the seminar. The proceedings of the said seminar have been published in the year 2002 as 1st volume of “Utkalshri Manjusha”. While making deliberations in the said seminar, the learned scholars opined to conduct more number of national seminars in various place of the country in collaboration with the learned societies/ organizations of the concerned places so as to intensify the activities of the Orissa Chair by generating an awareness among the circles of the scholars and learners of various places regarding the significant contributions of Jagannath Culture, Sri Chaitanya Philosophy and Jayadev Literature to the field of spiritualism and Literature.
As a part of the implementation of the recommendations of the said seminar, the next national seminar was conducted in Kolkota during January 18-19, 2003 in collaboration with Shri Shri Sita Ram Das Omkarnath Sanskrita Siksha Samsad, 107, Southern Avenue, Baikuntha Dham, Kolkotta. The Seminar was held in the premises of Jadavpur University under the learned supervision of Professor R.R. Mukherjee, the former Chancellor of the Vidyapeeth and the President of Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath Sanskrit Siksha Samsad. Dr.V.R.Panchamukhi, the Hon’ble Chancellor of our University was kind enough to inaugurate the seminar and Prof. Vachaspati Upadhyaya, Vice-Chancellor, Sri Lal Bahadur Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, New Delhi, graced the inaugural session as guest of honour to deliver the keynote address. It was the greatest fortune of our University to have Sri J. B. Patnaik, the Chief patron of the Orissa Chair as the President of the inaugural session. A number of reputed scholars, those who participated and presented their papers in various sessions of the said national seminar on different aspects of Jagannath Culture, Shri Chaitanya Philosophy and Shri Jayadev Literature were as follows- Prof. D.Prahallad Char, the then Vice-Chancellor of our Vidyapeetha, who took active part in organizing the seminar and supervising its proceedings in Kolkota, was present throughout the sessions for which the participants were very much encouraged. Dr. R. Devnathan, a senior faculty member of the Vidyapeeth and the first co-ordinator of the Orissa Chair, Coordinated the programme.
After the Kollota seminar, the 3rd national seminar was held in the premises of the Vidyapeetha during 2nd to 4th July 2004. The major thrust are of the seminar was Orissan Culture in general and Jaganatha Cult. in particular. The Cult. of Lord Jaganatha is closely associated with the life and philosophy of Sri Chaitanya and the epoch making lyrical poetry “Gitagovindam” of the celebrated poet Jayadeva. It is learnt that the poet Jayadeva had composed his poetry in the sacred land of Lord Purusottama, popularly known as Jagannath Dham at present times, in order to sing the glory of Lord Jagannath or Jagadish or Madhav. It is told in Bhaktamala-
Similarly Prabhu Shri Chaitanya also spent eighteen years of his life at Puri in worshipping the Lord and showing his devout devotion and total surrender to Lord.
So many scholars from various parts of the country attended this 3rd national seminar & Orissa Day Celebrations organized by the Vidyapeetha on behalf of Orissa Chair and presented their valuable papers on various aspects of Orissan culture. The scholars who presented their papers were as follows-
It is heartening to note that the Orissa Chair has undertaken the work of publishing the proceeding of these two national seminars held in Kolkota and the Vidyapeetha to present the same to the world of scholars as the IInd Volume of “Utkalsri Manujsha”. The multi-dimensional academic activities of Orissa Chair deserve appreciation and because of these types of year long academic and research endeavours, the Vidyapeetha has been recognized as a Centre of Excellence for traditional Shastras and accredited with A by the National Assessment and Accreditation council (NAAC) and I am sure, it will continue to enjoy better status by attracting the global attention towards it outstanding contributions to the field of Sanskrit learning and research through its tireless efforts and constant commitment in years to come.
May I avail this opportunity to express my deep sense of gratitude to those who have enriched this volume of “Utkalsri Manujsa” by their valuable contributions and I am confident, that this volume will also earn the appreciations of the scholars and readers interested in Jagannath Cult., Shri Chaitanya Philosophy and Sri Jayadev Literature as the previous one. I also thank those who have made efforts to edit and bring-out this volume inspite of certain unforeseen hurdles. Any suggestion from any quarters to intensify the activities of the Orissa Chair are most welcome and steps will be taken to implement the suggestions to promote and popularize Jaganatha Culture, Sri Chaitanya Philosophy and Jayadeva Literature in better coordinated manner.
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