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Vichaar Manthan aims to explore the narratives that societies tell themselves and each other. These stories embody, legitimise and contextualise the knowledge and experiences of a society.  They order a collective memory. The most powerful stories shape our behaviour and in turn influence institutions to react to the world in equal stead.  

At the Sustainable Narratives conference, we want to explore the most prevailing and long-lasting stories about religion. Are religions truly peaceful or are they by nature designed to ‘other’ the outsider causing conflict in all spheres – from the personal, to the social, and political? Do scientific discoveries about the universe nullify the need for religious belief, or can science itself become dogma of a different kind? What are the possibilities of humanity transplanting itself beyond institutionalised religions to a new form of enlightened spirituality? How much longer can religions claim a monopoly on humankind's pursuit for meaning and truth? We want to put narratives surrounding religion in the dock and cross-examine them in the light of sustainability.

Our panel of expert witnesses from around the world will come together and explore sustainable narratives on religion.

Meet Our Chair

Anil Asthana

Medical Director, Founding trustee of Rashtram

He is a specialist Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist and has a special interest in the study of religion.

Meet Our Speakers

Rev. Peter Groves

Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford

He is an ordained Church of England priest, and has a doctorate in Theology. He is an academic and teaches the history of doctrine at Oxford.

Acharya Vidyabhaskar

Head of Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy at the Omkarananda Ashram, Switzerland

He completed his Masters in Comparative Religion and has a Postgraduate in Organisational Psychology from the University of Freiburg. He is currently working on several translation projects, including the Ten Upanishads of the Vedas, the Yoga sutras of Pantanjali and the Essence of the Rigveda.

Eimear Burke

Head of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, Ireland

She is a psychologist by training, and a story-teller of ancient Irish tales. She works with a growing number of OBOD members from across the United Kingdom organising camps and retreats to resurrect pagan culture.

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