There are fundamentally three motivations for funding the study of Dharma in general and Hindu Dharma in particular, in main-stream academic Universities that underlie the work of Dharma Civilization Foundation.
I. Engage the students of the diaspora.
We believe that an intellectual engagement with the authentic teachings of Hindu Dharma is often a key ingredient in the development of a young child who has just gone to undergraduate school, and for the first time, away from their parents’ influence, are trying to figure life out for themselves. If we do this work successfully, students who go to undergraduate school at various large American universities will be able to take 101 level classes on Hindu Dharma, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. They can enhance their understanding of their ancestral traditions in a more rigorous and systematic way. We can make available fully accredited courses and programs, leading even to undergraduate minors for students of the Indian diaspora, as part of their general education development (GED) curricula. Systematic academic study of Hindu Dharma, will enhance the young student’s grasp and appreciation of their family traditions, beliefs, philosophical foundations and ritual expressions of worship, which often are not very easy to understand. This can help them gain a respect for the tradition into which they were born into. We may even anticipate that some of these students may get interested in higher learning of Santana Dharma leading to M.A. and Ph.D. programs
II. Create a community of scholars
We believe that the voice of Dharma needs to be heard with more confidence and clarity in the public square. Today there is an inadequacy of qualified voices (i.e. Scholars and Professors with Ph.D. degrees from reputed academic institutions) that represent Hindu Dharma publicly. We need to fund, support and enable the creation of a group of scholar – practitioners who will represent the teachings of Hindu Dharma authentically, within the academy as well as in the public square i.e. the media, in think tanks, expert forums, conferences and international dialogues. We need to build a community of Scholar Practitioners within the Academy, who can represent the authentic voice of Sanatana Dharma and help clean up the many mis-perceptions and distortions about Hindu Dharma that exist today. We can anticipate that in addition to their teaching duties at various main stream universities, these scholars will play an important role in engaging the communities in their places of worship i.e. the temples as well as the important international public forums and conferences.
III. Develop Dharma centered Solutions
We believe that the voice of Dharma has significant value for contemporary humanity, in addressing the most pressing challenges of our time. We need to support research and writing projects in the domain of applied Dharma that develop Dharma centered approaches to addressing the world’s most pressing problems and challenges. We need to enable scholars to present these approaches through formal publications for the benefit of humanity. Whether it is global warming, sustainable development, economic disparity, poverty, violence of terrorism, religious intolerance, international relations, holistic health and well-being or family stability, Dharma centered principles and values have relevance for our own time and age. These have to be developed formally in a scholarly manner for the benefit of humanity itself.
We believe that Dharma Civilization’s work, will in course of time, make an impact in all of these three dimensions.