NAVEETA MAHARAJ: GREAT MOTHER OF TRINIDAD
I saw Naveeta Maharaj about a week ago singing in a show in Minneapolis called "Anant Sangeet 2013" with her husband, Pandit Munelal Maharaj. I met her in August of 2012 when Pandit Munelal officiated a Shiva Yagna for the Ramroop family in Minneapolis. What a great pleasure I had introducing both of them and presenting a short katha on Shiva, Parvati, Ecology and Dharma. She not only sang beautifully, but she told a sweet story to the Minneapolis audience that she presented while in South Africa with her husband. Panditji said that when people heard her sing over the radio that 1,000 people called into the station to find out who the divine singer was when she was in South Africa.
We are celebrating Navratri in the West October 5th-13th. It honors all the forms of the Divine Mother. Every woman is Divine Shakti on earth as Pandit Munelal has told us at yagnas. Every woman had the essence of the Goddess in her. Naveeta is a great mother of Trinidad. When I first met her, I immediately thought of Saraswati Ma because of her great musical ability. In this blog you will get to know her just a little bit.
She was born in South Trinidad on December 25, 1974. Being born on Christmas Day was a sign of her destiny as a spiritual mother. Her parents are Pandit Randir and Smt. Draupati Maharaj. She started singing at the age of 5 and playing the harmonium and keyboards at the age of seven. She is very impressive with her creative keyboard style when she performs with Pandit Munelal. She grew up in the Changunas Hindu Temple in Trinidad and is also a member of Sai Centre. Pandit Munelal met Sai Baba while he was studying in India. She also is heavily involved with the Hindu community and social projects in Trinidad.
She studied both Western and Eastern music and has one of the most impressive and beautiful voices in the Hindu world. She attended Maria Regina Grade School, St. Joseph's Convent and St. Mary's College in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. She received a scholarship for her 'A' level results in the Sciences. In college she attended the University of West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, graduating with honors with a B.Sc in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She also received a Masters Degree in Computer Engineering after she married panditji. She worked as an Engineering Trainee for T & TEC before she married Pandit Munelal. She uses her computer abilities in his ministry and he could not do what he does without her.
She also is very interested in ancient history and the philosophy of the Romans, Egyptians, Vikings and Hindus. I have a BA in History and have studied Biblical Archeology and ancient civilizations, too. The Hindu Civilization was impressive in Vedic times where the matriarchal aspects were more predominant. It is one of the reasons I became interested in Hinduism myself. In modern India Kerala is the place of the matriarchy. All adults are literate there, the domestic violence and poverty rates are low there. Women own the property and lineages and work outside the home. Naveeta did a recording of Sai Baba songs, Sai Vibhuti, with panditji in New York with musicians from Kerala. It is one of my favorite recordings of the divine couple. It was because of her knowledge and intelligence that Pandit Munelal connected with her in the mutual circles of the Hindu mandirs in Trinidad. As I say, "If a man admires you for your intelligence, he's the one you want to have in your life." She does much of the research for his yagnas, and I have to say that I always learn something new at his yagnas. Now I know why. He has a great researcher right by his side.
In April of 1998 she married Pandit Munelal at the age of 24. In that year she compiled and edited with her father, Satya Sai Bhajan Maalaa, a collection of 1100 kirtans. In 1999 she co-wrote Jyotir Vigyan with Pandit Munelal and her father. In 2003 she co-wrote with Pandit Munelal and her father Death and the Soul's Journey on funeral rites and rituals. In that same year she published Lakshmee Mahimaa on Goddess Lakshmee. She has received training in Past-Life Therapy with well-known psychiatrist, Dr. Brian Weiss. His books are a testament to the healing of patients when they were regressed to former lives to deal with their phobias and illnesses.
They have two wonderful girls, Vaishnavi and Saakshi. Vaishnavi is gifted as a singer and speaker and appears with panditji in shows, yagnas and on CDs. Saakshi likes to dance. Naveeta considers motherhood as one of the greatest professions in the world. She has a great philosophy in encouraging women to be strong individuals. These are some quotes from an interview in the Trinidad Express, "You have to do the best for yourself. If you can't do what is best for you then you can't be a good wife or a good mother or contribute to society in a positive way when you are stuck in a wrong pattern. For me it's true what they say, you can't find happiness in a relationship. If you're not happy with yourself, there's nobody on Earth who can make you happy."
It's really great that she promotes education for women and developing their skills and abilities. You are a person in your own being. Developing yourself as a human being is so important in developing your confidence and good, healthy relationships with others. As she says very wonderfully, "I see Hinduism as my roots, in my personal life I don't consider myself an orthodox person. I believe God is a divine energy and He or She is not any one religion." Find your divinity within is one of the greatest goals in life. If you find that, you will be able to accomplish so much in all you do.
Recently Pandit Munelal released his new CD called Jyoti Bindu - The Eternal Spark. Naveeta sings on a number of songs in this collection, besides their daughter, Vaishnavi. The other two CDs she sings in with panditji is Parameshwara and Divya Dharshan. You can purchase their recordings and books on the official website of Pandit Munelal at www.punditmunelal.com. Their schedule and profiles are posted on the website. She often sings with him at yagnas and shows. They are the divine couple in many ways. She is one of the greatest mothers of Trinidad. She is a great scholar, human being, mother, business partner, singer and writer. She combines all these abilities so well. They both make Hinduism a real, dynamic, modern universal experience and philosophy.
JAI SHRI NAVEETA! JAI SHRI PANDIT MUNELAL! JAI SHRI DEVI MOTHER!
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