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Exploring the Depths of Indian Philosophy: The Remarkable Journey of Dr. Vandana Sharma ‘Diya

Dr. Vandana Sharma ‘Diya’ has emerged as a distinguished scholar in the field of Advaita Vedānta Darśana, a prominent school of Indian philosophy. With an impressive academic background and numerous accolades to her name, Dr. Sharma’s work has garnered appreciation and recognition both nationally and internationally.

Having obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Bhārtiya Darśan Śāstra (Indian Philosophy) from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Sharma went on to pursue further studies in Advaita Vedānta and Bhagwadgītā Śaṅkarabhāsya at the esteemed Chinmaya Mission Foundation in Ernakulam, Kerala. It was here that she delved deep into the teachings of the revered philosopher Ādi Śaṅkarācārya, gaining expertise in his profound insights. Dr. Sharma’s thirst for knowledge led her to complete her Ph.D. in Advaita Vedānta from Annamalai University under the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, Ministry of Education.

The remarkable contributions made by Dr. Sharma to the field of Indian philosophy have not gone unnoticed. In 2017, she was honored with the “Power Woman Award” by Kirorimal College, Delhi University. Her translation and commentary on Ādi Śaṅkarācārya’s renowned work, “Praśnottara Ratna Mālikā,” earned her “The Swami Pranavananda Philosophy Book Award 2020,” published by Original Publications, Delhi. Furthermore, in October 2021, her book titled “Śāṅkara Vedānta for Environmental Harmony” was published by Motilal Banarasidass Publications, Delhi, and received appreciation from the former Vice-president of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu.

Presently, Dr. Sharma holds the esteemed position of Post-doctoral Researcher under the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research, Ministry of Education, at Lal Bahadur Shastri Rastriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth. Her current research focuses on Adi Shankaracharya’s Prakaraṇa Grantha and their relevance in addressing the social and ecological crises of today. Additionally, she serves as the Principal Researcher for the Kedarnath Dham project, aimed at the restoration of cultural heritage, supported by the Ministry of Education and envisioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.

Dr. Sharma’s research papers have found a place in prestigious national and international journals and universities, including Philotheos-International Yearly Journal for Philosophy and Theology, The Nebraska University, Lincoln, United States of America, and India Foundation Journal, among others.

A significant highlight of Dr. Sharma’s career was her representation of the Government of India at the “World Congress of Philosophy 2018” held in Beijing, China. Here, she presented her groundbreaking research study on “Advaita Vedānta and Environment and Animal,” receiving accolades from the legendary Australian philosopher and animal activist, Peter Singer. Dr. Sharma’s pioneering research on the intersection of Advaita Vedānta and the environment has established her as the first researcher, both in India and abroad, to undertake systematic exploration in this area.

As an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, Dr. Sharma draws inspiration from Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, considering him as her Guru. It is noteworthy that she has received initiation from the present Shankaracharya of the Puri Math, “Swami Nishchalanand Saraswati ji Maharaj.”

Throughout her journey, Dr. Sharma acknowledges the significant role played by Prof. S.R. Bhatt, whom she considers her academic guru and confidant. She humbly regards herself as his reflection. Additionally, spiritual gurus such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Chidananda Saraswati ji Maharaj (Parmarth Niketan), and Govind Giri Ji Maharaj (Ayodhya Ram Mandir) have provided tremendous support and guidance to her. Dr.Sharma also considers the Brahman Samaj of India as her pillar of strength.

With a vision to promote animal welfare and environmental consciousness through the body of Vedic wisdom, Dr. Sharma believes that being rooted in the Vedas and Upanishads cultivates compassion and fosters a sense of “vasudhaiba kutumbakam” – the idea that the world is one family. She firmly asserts that Hindu Dharma alone can lead to the welfare and well-being of all creatures.

Exciting news lies ahead as Dr. Sharma gears up for the release of her forthcoming book, titled “Nature’s Wisdom: An Indian Philosophical Insight.” The book, set to be published by the esteemed publishing house ‘Chaukhamba,’ is expected to hit the shelves in August 2023. Notably, the legendary philosopher Prof. S.R. Bhatt has provided the foreword, while the distinguished scholar and politician Dr. Sudhanshu Trivedi’s Ashirvachanam graces its pages.

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