Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, inaugurated the two-day ‘International Seminar on Santha Kavi Bhima Bhoi and the legacy of Mahima Cult’ today in Bhubaneswar. Several academicians, dignitaries, Vice Chancellors, eminent speakers, etc. were present at the event. A short video on Santha Kavi Bhima Bhoi and the legacy of the Mahima Cult was shown during the programme.
The Central University of Odisha, Guru Ghasidas Viswavidyalaya, Central Tribal University of Andhra Pradesh, SOA Deemed University Bhubaneswar and Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Odia, CIIL, have come together with the Ministry of Education to organise this seminar.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pradhan highlighted how Santha Balaram Das’s Laxmi Puran and Santha Kabi Bhima Bhoi’s philosophy and poems addressed the problems of the most vulnerable in society. Both played a leading role in reawakening the cultural and literary consciousness of Odia society, he highlighted.
He mentioned that Mahima Dharma and its philosophy will always be a source of inspiration in life for him and he was blessed to address the highly revered sants, present at the event, and academicians and scholars from Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Bhima Bhoi’s philosophy is more relevant now than ever and a guiding principle for society for putting the welfare of humanity above the welfare of self, Shri Pradhan said.
The Mahima Cult, rooted in the spiritual and cultural landscape of Odisha, India, represents a distinctive religious movement with a focus on simplicity, equality, and devotion to the formless Divine. Central to the Mahima Cult are two luminaries, Mahima Gosein and his disciple, Bhima Bhoi, who lived during the late 19th century, made an indelible mark in the contemporary Odia Society with their spiritual leadership and social revolution through the Mahima Movement, which continues to resonate in the cultural and social fabric of the region. Bhima Bhoi, often referred to as the “Santha Kavi” meaning the “Saint Poet”, is revered across the length and breadth the eastern India for his spiritual teachings and literary contributions in the form of Odia Bhajans and Chautisa (devotional song). The famous “Stuti Chanitamani‟ is the finest book comprising numerous verses in the Odia language with deep devotional, spiritual, and philosophical insights.
The seminar aims to delve into the life and works of Mahima Gosein, Santha Kavi Bhima Bhoi, and Biswanath Baba and the profound impact of the Mahima Cult on spiritual, social, and cultural aspects. Following are the sub-themes of the seminar: Mahima Gosein & Santha Kavi Bhima Bhoi – The Lives and Works of the Saints; Sarvadharma Samanwaya – Mahima Cult Origins and Beliefs; Samajik Samarasta – Social Reforms and Equality through the Mahima Cult; Janajagarana – The Mahima impact on Tribal Communities; Adhyatma Samaj – Interplay of Spirituality and Social Transformation; Kala O Sanskriti –Exploring the artistic and cultural expressions within the Mahima tradition; Odia Sahitya O Bhima Bhoi – The Literary Legacy; Adhunikata -The Contemporary relevance of Mahima philosophy and teachings; Sanskrutik Samrakshan: Preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the Mahima Cult; and Santha Parampara O Bhima Bhoi – Santha Tradition and Bhima Bhoi.
Earlier in the day, Shri Pradhan attended the state-level Yuva Utsav organized by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Nehru Youth Center Organization in Bhubaneswar. The programme aimed to motivate the youth and promote cultural diversity among them.
Shri Pradhan thanked the organisers for organising the event following the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to unite the youth in building a developed India. He also congratulated them for adding new competitions like Mobile Photography. He also mentioned how the enthusiasm, courage, and creativity of the youth inspire and give direction to society. The Minister also mentioned that self-reliance with respect and dignity is what the youth need today.