Written by: Sive Mjindi
As the sun set on Thursday, April 14th, Vrije Universiteit, in Brussels, opened its doors for a dialogue with the East. Students and staff from Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium delivered presentations on Eastern and Hindu philosophy and religion for the first time at Vrije Universiteit. Graciously hosted by Professor Werner de Saeger (Dept. of Religious Studies), the event was attended by a small delegation of academia and students, and it sparked a lot of discussion between the two Religious Studies programs.
The audience was introduced to Eastern religion and philosophy by Mrs. Ana Knez. She is the program director of Theology and Religious Studies and a lecturer on World Religions at Bhaktivedanta College. Her interactive and informative presentation gave excited listeners an overview of Hinduism. She highlighted the roots and beliefs of Eastern religious and philosophical thought, along with contemporary beliefs and practices. Also, her comparative interface between Eastern and Western religious thought gave everyone a chance to relate the two and gain insight into devotional aspects of Eastern philosophy.
After these sessions of information and interaction, a short video showed what Bhaktivedanta College has to offer as part of the Radhadesh community located in the ruggedly serene Belgian Ardennes. The new video was produced by Martin Gurvich, who runs the Museum of Sacred Art at Radhadesh.
He also gave a short, insightful talk on ISKCON in Belgium, its history and its current achievements, as he is the director of ISKCON Communications in Europe.
A short discussion by guest art-curator and writer, Sushma Bahl, gave the audience the opportunity to see how influential religious thought has been on art worldwide.
Rounding out the event, scrumptious snacks of samosas and sweets delighted all and made for a light ending to an evening of learning and new experiences. It was a successful event, as attendees of both Vrije Universiteit and Bhaktivedanta College departed with newfound friendships and partners in religious dialogue.