On Thurs 7 Aug 08 @9PM I had a deeply moving and spiritual experience when I lit candles and deeyas for Tibet. This was in unison with everyone in my time zone and done globally. I'd like to explore this and share my experiences with you and hear yours as we participate in universal collective prayer events together. I hope to work together with all the universe's beings as we move toward the ideal of Universal Collective Prayer.

Come join me in Universal Collective Prayer!

May God Bless Us All!

UCP-Universal Collective Prayer is produced by Meady's Musings Production . Copyright 2006-2011

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Pundit Parasram School for Hinduism

On Sat(10 Jan 09) last I had the pleasure of attending the opening of The Pundit Parasram School of Hinduism at its new permanent location at the Exchange Shiv Mandir, Exchange, Couva Trinidad. The school has been running out of various make shift locations for sometime now and has finally found its permanent home. The school is named after my grandfather that I speak often about on this blog and whose picture is at the top of my Makar Sankranti post I did before this one. And yes I did have the kichari... and yes perhaps in some cosmic sense he did too. The newly constructed building that will house the school was largely driven by a nephew of my grandfather who also considers him like a father more than just an uncle as he had so much of an impact on his life and contribution to it as he grew up. He on the whole has for over a decade now been working on re-furbishing the old original dirt mandir and the expanding and building on it as seen in photos below. My mum tells me in olden days the original dirt mandir used to have a river or stream of some sort running right next to it and she has very fond memories of visiting there.

The school was founded by my uncle...my grandfather's son. The event's itinerary did not go in exact order but most of the items happened nonetheless with the exception of the 'Greetings from the Pundit Parishad of the S.D.M.S.' since no one showed up from that body.

As I often said at the start up of this blog and I will maintain now, this blog is not about bashing but only about prayers, so I won't go into the affairs of that body that sent no one...but it was and still is the first body that my ancestors formed as Indians and Hindus on the island and my grandfather along with many others like the Pundit I said farewell to in this post, Pundit Basdeo Misir and the business man Bhadase Sagan Maharaj would have been the ones whose blood, sweat and tears the organization was birthed and built on, and as a result of it today there are a plethora of schools for educating our children in secular things but through the Hindu way. Recently on the local parliament station we have here that runs simultaneously on radio and TV I heard of the life story of Chanka Maharaj whom not a practising pundit at the time nor an academic but a self taught man and one of the few Indian voices in parliament at the time championed the cause for many things Indian and non-Indian and Hindu and non-Hindu as well. It was a beautiful story to hear! Anyway so now back to the night's proceedings...

The Indian High Commission to Trinidad and Tobago had a representative-Shri Santosh K. Mishra present who shared some thoughts on Hinduism and pledged support to the school in the form of books needed for the library e.g. Srimad Bhagwat Gita, Ramcharitamanas and others.

It was announced that the library would be set up on the second floor of the building and would be named the Pundit Dr. Samsundar Parasram Library after my late uncle who was the eldest son of my grandfather and a local expert in the area of Jyotish and a well known pundit and also well known in university and scientific research in agriculture in the Caribbean. If a music school fully emerged out of the school it would be named the Surasatee School of Music to honour the memory of my late grandmother whose name was Surasatee and the wife of Pundit Parasram. Her father my great grandfather was Omkar Maharaj and I understand he was very fond of music himself and a musician among other things...I hear he even put on the little village play now and then so perhaps his blood runs strong in my veins and is what inspired me to do Me Eat Manicou? and not just the manicou? But seriously I recall my grandmother telling us stories about how her childhood home was always filled with music and she was always thrilled when we tried to learn different instruments! I can't say I mastered or stuck with any myself though! There is another story that one of the reasons my great grandfather came on the boat all the way to Trinidad from Delhi is because he was a musician in a court there and had fell out of graces with the king...but I dunno for sure...but we do know he was from Delhi and he was into music. He also ran a small shop at some point in the village.

Pundit Dr. Samsundar Parasram

So anyway let me take you back to the school again...The Pundit Parasram School for Hinduism that is. The school hopes to run as follows as I briefly quote some bits from it's prospectus that was also launched that night:

To train students in basic beliefs and practices of Hinduism in Trinidad and Tobago


(i) To establish and maintain a center for the training of students.

(ii) To establish a faculty comprised of persons familiar with the practice of
Hinduism in T&T.

(iii)To maintain a library of relevant Hindu literature.

(iv)To host public lectures, symposia and workshops on Hinduism.

(v)To host a website and publish information on Hinduism.

I understand and this is not nepotism or anything after all I do already hold these prayers here and maintain two other blogs- Meady's Musings and Books and Films Corner and a main website (although I've not done work on it since my Tibet event)so I think I'm well qualified. And so I've been asked to help out with objective (v) above and will keep you informed as to how things go with that. If I see it my way I hope to let that spring into a course on Hinduism in the world of online multimedia and perhaps another course on Hinduism and Theatre.

After the official part of the event was over I was able to meet with the representative from the Indian High Commission- Santosh Mishra and his family. I invited him to the prayers on here and he says if I spot him an email he will check it out. Of course I also told him how I re-blog my posts onto Intent of course I had to use the name Deepak Chopra to get bells ringing! :) Anyway I will be spotting Mr. Mishra an email and I know it is the job of diplomats to well be diplomatic but really he, his wife and daughter seemed really nice and warm and I hope to see him on here on the prayers! :)Nice meeting you and your family Shri Mishra Ji! :)

Also present was the current head of the IRO-Inter Religious Organization of Trinidad and Tobago which for sure have been promoting similar ideals of Universality of Religion long before my Universal Collective Prayer. The current head is also of the Hindu faith and plans to work with the Pundit Parasram School of Hinduism. He is Pundit Brahmdeo Maharaj as seen in pic below:

On a different note I have to say that I did have that kichari on the day of Makar Sankranti and here is a pic of my plate! :) And I will share the recipe soon over on Meady's Musings but will be sure to notify those of you here on the Prayers when I do so! :)


Bahtman said...

Meady, this is good stuff! Its so awesome that there is going to be a school designed to train people in Baba's way, which I understand more and more to be very distinct from what one might call Mainstream Hinduism. (Just look at Indian politics on the subcontinent!)

It is great that the Indian HC and his family came and took part - and offered to sponsor some books for the library. Looking forward to visiting the school in the future.


meadysmusings said...

Hey AJ It will be great for you to visit.

Oh the Indian High Commissioner himself did not visit but someone from the commission-Mr. Santosh Mishra and his family. One of his roles is in the area of Hindi and Culture so was a suitable envoy. I'm in touch with him and he is interested in future ventures of the school and my theatre! So sounds good...and we plan to stay in touch.

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meadysmusings said...

Thanks a lot George and look fwd to your continue following and hope you continue to join in my dance that is Universal Collective Prayer! :)


Feel free to contact me via the email on my blogger profile.

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CDNalini said...

Namaste to you all. Nearly 25 years ago I have heard either Dr Rampersad Parasram or his brother sing a song of praise of Devi, titled Jaya Bhagavati Devi Namo varade. I would like hear this stuti in his voice again, and if possible could you kindly upload you tube recording of this song? Thank you, Namasthe. Jai Sriman Narayana.

Nalini Persad, UK.

meadysmusings said...

@Nalini I will try to find out more about this and let you know. Please drop me an email admin (at) meadysmusings.com if you would like to follow up more on this.

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