Spirit of the Endowment

The word Dharma has many layers of meaning. Of special significance is the Sanskrit root from which the word originates: “That which sustains is Dharma”. Dharma Civilization Foundation is committed fundamentally to the sustainability of life and society in all its forms. One of the Hindu Phrases that best summarizes this attitude is “Vasudaiva Kudumbakam”, i.e. all the world is but one family. Central to the idea of Dharma is the notion that every generation owes certain debts and duties to both its ancestors as well as to the generations yet to come.

We may note that this spirit of Dharma includes and transcends parochial and limited ideologies, and particularly stands in contrast to the western idea of “Survival of the fittest” where human life is seen as a competitive sport, featuring winners and losers, haves and have nots or even the Abrahamic traditions, which envision religions also as participants in a zero-sum game, seeking increasing market-share.

It is the spirit of sustainability of life, of eco-systems, of culture and traditions, societies and families, that most animate our commitment to the study, research, and teaching of Dharma, in contemporary academic settings and disciplines. The Swami Vivekananda Endowment Fund was launched on 16th October 2016, and shall seek to support individuals in the furtherance of their academic careers where their study and research have the potential of advancing the understanding of Dharma in the following domains:

  1. The general understanding of Hindu Dharma, with emphasis on the perspectives of the scholar who is also a practitioner, with a commitment to a Hindu tradition or Sampradaya.
  2. The contribution of Hindu Dharma in shaping India’s (Indic) Civilization and culture, including the Indic Dharma traditions i.e. Buddhist, Jain, and Sikh
  3. The historical continuity and evolution of Hindu Dharma from its ancient Vedic roots to its modern manifestations and its impact on the world
  4. The continuing relevance of Hindu Dharma to humanity, and the broader fields of human and social sciences (i.e. humanities)
  5. The issues and problems that arise in the study of India and Hinduism through the colonial narratives, that dominate many of the disciplines in the human and social sciences.
  6. The endowment shall enable the creation of fellowships, research grants, and other appropriate instruments to further the academic study of Hindu Dharma.

The focus of the Endowment

It would endeavor to mainly support the following areas of research

  1. Recovery of the textual traditions of interpretation and commentary. The scholarship seeks to reclaim and restate the Darshana traditions of India, in a contemporary context.
  2. Re-instating the legitimacy of yogic epistemology and methodology for the pursuit of knowledge regarding ultimate truths on its own terms, and not on the terms of western lenses of suspicion, epistemology, ontology, and methodology.
  3. The scholarship focuses on the contributions of ancient India in the field of sciences, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, politics, governance, architecture, art, poetry, literature, drama, etc.
  4. The scholarship supports the respectful intellectual refutation of contemporary and colonially derived academic narratives of India’s history and reclamation of more authentic Indic perspectives.
  5. The Swami Vivekananda Endowment Fund shall provide the following types of financial support:
    • Research Fellowships
    • Dissertation Fellowships
    • Publication Grants
    • Conference Grants
    • Book of the year award

Research Fellowships

This shall be the most prestigious of the Endowment awards. Swami Vivekananda Research Fellows shall be of two categories:

  1. Highly respected scholars in their fields, who have already made significant contributions to the study of Hinduism and/or its representation in academia; and
  2. New Scholars freshly trained in India with promising projects in line with the mission and goals of the Dharma Civilization Foundation.
  3. In both cases, successful applicants might be brought to the United States or Europe to work on their research for one or two years, funded partially or in full by Foundation grants.

Dissertation Fellowships

The Endowment shall provide deserving candidates pursuing a Ph.D. program at the US or international university, with a dissertation fellowship.

Publication Grants

The Endowment shall provide a Publishing Grant that shall seek to expand publishing and dissemination opportunities for scholars of Hinduism, supporting academic works – typically a full-length manuscript and/or book.

Conference Grants

The Endowment shall provide support for conference-related activities which may be used towards the organization of a conference and/or individual conference travel and participation.

Book of the Year award

The Endowment shall provide a Book of the year award that shall seek to encourage Scholars to not just write transformative works, but also be recognized by the larger community.

The Endowment shall not fund the following types of activities at this time:

  1. Funding for studies at the undergraduate level and below
  2. Funding for the terminal MA (not leading to the Ph.D.) Creative work (e.g., novels, films, exhibitions, performance, or music composition)
  3. Exchange programs, study abroad programs, travel groups, or cultural programs
  4. Travel abroad (e.g., for the purposes of taking up a study or a job)
  5. Filming or documentation of and/or fieldwork on Hindu communities
  6. Support for equipment and materials and the like