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WOMAN AS GURU
Bhakti Bharati Pujya Sri Prema Pandurang
What is it like to be a female teacher? I enjoy doing kathas (stories, music & teaching) on the ancient stories which teach us universal truths. One time when I was introducing a pandit, I summarized the previous Yagna sessions and delivered a short katha. His mouth dropped and his eyes opened wide when he heard my enthuiasm and fiery oratory. Women are not supposed to be like that. I say, why not? When this happens to me, I think of all the other women who have this same experience, like Sri Prema Pandurang.
Pandit Rajin Balgobind has been an inspiration to many. We met in October of 2008 in Minneapolis. I knew he had a woman guru who had inspired him, but I did not know much about her until I read some articles about her for this blog. He credits her as the person who really moved him into his present life as a pandit, teacher, singer and humanitarian.
His Guru is Bhakti Bharati Pujya Sri Prema Pandurang who was a professor of English in the Presidency College in Chennai, India for more than two decades. As a child she was inspired to take up the spiritual life when she heard a discourse (attended by her father), conducted by Anantaram Dikshitar. According her, "When I was only fifteen Dikshitar suddenly said, 'This girl will speak on the incarnations of Krishna.' I am not sure how I did it but thoughts and words came pouring out of my mouth. That was the beginning of a life in the world of spiritual discourses." She delivered the discourses on Krishna often on the weekends when she was a professor. She is a scholar of Hindu, English, Sanskrit and Tamil, the most well known languages of India. She has been involved with world conferences, endowments, writing books, singing Bhajans and social service projects besides starting a Dharma Prasada Yatra. This event was to promote and inspire Indian traditions among young people.
She says this about charity and community service in the Hindu society, "It is absolutely critical. Giving is the fundamental way of life. Feeding the poor is part of our tradition. Charity and community service is what motivated me to set up Kshetropasana Trust where we engage in a variety of activities from feeding the poor, animal shelters, elder care and many others." Her trust is found at www.kshetropasana.org. You can find out about the activities on the site which are connected with the trust. This is one of the many activities she is involved with since her retirement from being a professor at Presidency College in Chennai, India.
Good and right action is most important and really shows love even more than feelings do. Of course, relationships are very important. Caring for humanity and feelings are very much a part of relationships, but if an individual does not show their love in action how can you really see that love in the world? Even in ashrams, a place a way from the world, relationships are very important. Even hermits have to at least relate to animals and people from time to time. Relationships are what make the world go round. That is why all excellent spiritual teachers also do social service in the world. You simply can not just talk about being love. You have to live it, too. Your most important relationship is your relationship with God/Goddess. It is in your relationships with all humanity and family that you show your love for God in the world.
Pandit Rajin is involved also with many similiar activities in Guyana, India and North and South America. Sri Krishna Mandir in Guyana (a country north of Brazil), where he is a priest, has a school and activities centered on helping to empower those with lower incomes. He conducts kathas at Yagnas on Krishna, Ram, The Mother, Shiva and others in North and South America, India and even Europe at times. He has recorded several CDs of Bhajans (songs) to raise funds for these activities. To find out about his projects, kathas, meeting his Guru (found under profiles) and the mandir itself, go to www.srikrishnamandir.com. On August 29 in Queens, NY at 3:00 p.m., he will be part of the Kirtan Sammelan at Smokey Park. Join him and others in celebrating the gifts of song and dance. You can see that he has been inspired by a wonderful Guru who changed his life for the better. That is what a good teacher can do. Every one has a teacher of some kind and every one has been a teacher to some one in their life. Be inspired and seek the Guru within and without!
JAI SHRI PUJYA SRI PREMA PANDURANG! JAI SHRI WOMEN GURUS! JAI SHRI PANDIT RAJIN!