Padma Śrī Rutger Kortenhorst

On Monday 28 March 2022 Mr. Rutger Kortenhorst, living in Dublin, Ireland, was awarded the Padma Śrī by the President of India, Ram Rao Kovind in his palace in New Delhi with the Prime minister Narendra Modi and other ministers of India in attendance.

The Padma Śrī is one of the highest awards in India acknowledging a lifetime of commitment to any expertise to serve the country. As an example, the OBE is a similar honour awarded by the Queen of England. In Rutger Kortenhorst’s case the award was for ‘Literature and Education’ in Sanskrit as it is has been taught in Ireland for the last 36 years in John Scottus School as well as a Wellbeing Short course for the Junior Certificate based on Ayurveda and Yoga-sutras. In total 128 awardees were celebrated this year, ten of which came from outside of India, and out of those 5 had non-Indian names. Among others were the CEO of Google, Sundararajan Pichai, the Indian Olympic gold medallist in Table-tennis, an Indian vaccine developer against the Covid-19 virus, a farmer who developed affordable machinery for small farmers, the scientist who created the first buffalo from a test-tube, many Indian Bollywood stars, traditional dancers, singers and other artists. Among the other foreigners were the former Polish ambassador to India, who has translated ancient Sanskrit texts into Polish and a Russian professor working at the Department of Indic studies in Moscow.

(see Rutger being presented @2:49 in video below)

Mr. Rutger Kortenhorst is a Sanskrit enthusiast, researcher and teacher in the John Scottus Schools, Dublin, Ireland. Rutger has been a pioneer in propagating Sanskrit in Ireland. He became involved in Advaita Vedānta Philosophy in Ireland when he was 21 years old.

For the last 45 years Rutger has been both a student and voluntary teacher of Vedānta in the School of Philosophy and Economic Science in Ireland, guided by the Śańkarachāryas from North India, Śrī Śāntānanda Sarasvatī and later Śrī Vāsudevānanda Sarasvatī to the present day. He has been a guest of Dr. Rāmachandra Bhat in Veda Vijñāna Gurukula every summer since June 2006, where he studied the meaning of several Upaniṣads, Vyākaraṇa, chanting, Vivekachūdāmaṇi and spoken Sanskrit, also with the help of Saṁskṛita Bharatī. He started looking into spoken Sanskrit from 2005 in the village of Mattur, Karnataka. He took a sabbatical year from his job in Ireland to study a child-friendly method for youngsters in the West and found a novel way to teach under Dr. Narendra, whose novel system he adopted and adjusted, by visiting him at the Śrī Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry for many years from 2008. In order to really take on Sanskrit in John Scottus School he stepped down as vice-principal to run a a fully-fledged Sanskrit program for the John Scottus Primary Schools.

Born on 20 March 1956 in The Hague, the Netherlands, Rutger finished his secondary school in Dublin, Ireland from age 17 and completed his post-graduation from Trinity College, Dublin in French, German and Mathematics and a Higher Diploma of Education. Since 2016 Rutger has been running a Junior Certificate Short course in Wellbeing for 12-15 year-olds in John Scottus Secondary School, Dublin. This course is based on Āyurveda and Yogasūtras, the former for physical and the latter for mental wellbeing.

Rutger Kortenhorst has many publications to his credit such as Sopānam, Saralaṁ Saṁskṛitam 1, 2 and 3; Paṭha Likha 1 and 2 and a website called with colour-coded translations and chanting of the Bhagavadgītā and the Īśopaniṣad. He has received the ICCR World Sanskrit Award 2020 for propagation of Sanskrit in Ireland. His contribution to Sanskrit was mentioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his ‘Maan Ki Baat’ broadcast on 29 August 2021.