From Sir, With Love
Dr. Rao has been the main force behind the establishment and advancement of the Hindu Society of Brazos Valley (HSBV). This is an excerpt from a newsletter printed by the HSBV in 1996, on the occasion of Ramanavami. Pearls of wisdom from Dr. Rao.
RAMA -THE PURUSHOTTAMA
Was Rama a real person or only a creation of mythology? Is he an avatar? Whatever the answer maybe, one thing is certain, Rama and Ramayana have profoundly influenced the thinking of people in India and around the world for many centuries. What makes Rama so unique. Why is he called the Purushottama (highest among beings)? The answer is found in the very beginning of Valmiki Ramayana, in the form of a question by Valmiki and an answer by Narada.
“Is there anyone in the present day world who is full of virtues and at the same time possessed of great prowess and right conduct, who is well versed in dharma, who is grateful, truthful and of firm resolve? And who is friendly to all living beings; who is a man of knowledge and also powerful; who has a singularly lovable appearance, who has subdued his self and conquered anger, who is possessed of splendor and who is above fault finding and whom the very gods dread when his wrath has been provoked in battle” asked Valmiki.
Narada replied, ”The virtues and qualities mentioned by you are many and rare to find. However, there is one born in the line of Ikshavaku and known by the name of Rama. He has his mind under control, is very powerful, radiant and resolute and has also his senses under control. He is intelligent and sagacious, eloquent, glorious and an exterminator of his enemies. With a broad chin and possessing a mighty bow and shapely shoulders, Rama is capable of subduing his foes. He has long arms and shapely head and forehead. He is of medium stature with well proportioned limbs and of charming complexion. With a well shaped chest and large eyes he has a body of attractive proportions. Well conversant with dharma, devoted to truth and always engaged in promoting the welfare of the people. Rama is of good repute and full of wisdom and pure in dealings. He has a well controlled and sharp mind. He is like the creator Brahma in supporting all, possessed of auspicious qualities and riches, slayer of enemies, protector of all living beings and dharma. He is well principled and protects his people. He knows the truth expounded in Vedas and vedangas and is adept in archery. He is well versed in the sciences and possessed of a bright intellect and good memory. He is gentle, noble and shrewd and loved by all”.
“The righteous people always seek him just as the rivers seek the ocean. He is courteous to one and all and always well composed and pleasing. Endowed with all virtues he gladdens the heart of his mother. He is dignified and profound like the ocean and steadfast like the Himalayas. He is like Vishnu in prowess, soothing like the Moon, but when his anger is roused, he like wild fire. He is, however tolerant like Mother Earth. He is like Kubera in his liberality and steadfast like Lord Dharma (Yama)”-Valmiki Ramayan.
Where else can we find a better role model?
Our temple celebrates every major pooja and we are always treated to some wonderful maha-prasadam. The food committee of HSBV does such a great job of arranging the feasts every time, but they are always looking for volunteers.
How do they do it? The members of the food committee call the volunteers and request them to cook the maha-prasadam. For each dish, typically 4 volunteers are requested to cook enough food for about 50 people. All members of our community come together to create this great experience.
If you like to cook and would like to be part of the team, or don’t want to cook but would like to help, there are many ways you can offer your services to the temple. It could be something as simple as providing home-made or store-bought yogurt, or buying tortillas or chips. If you would like to be a volunteer, please contact Mrs. Jyothi Raju. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Food Committee members are Mrs. Jyothi Raju, Mrs. Malathi Reddy, Mrs. Sharada Ramsamy, Mrs. Vidya Lalwani and Mrs. Prabha Acharya.
Have you visited?
The Hindu Temple of Central Texas is interestingly enough, in Temple, TX and is about a 1 hour 50 minute drive from the Brazos Valley.
Ganesha is the main deity in this temple, with an OM behind Him, projecting the unifying theme of Hinduism (hence the name OMKARA MAHAGANAPATHY). Lord Ganesha’s statue, 3300 pounds in weight, was chiseled from a single stone cut from a mountain by religious artisans in Mahabalipuram. Other black granite stone deities include: Sri Venkateswara & Padmavathi from Tirupati, Lord Shiva & Parvathi, Subramanya, Navagraha, from Mahabalipuram, Swami Ayyappa brass idol from Tamilnadu & the Ram Parivar, Amba Matha & Radha Krishna marble deities from Rajasthan.
The temple's interior structure is constructed in series of Garbha Grihas reflecting diverse Hindu architecture for each deity. Ram Parivar, Amba Matha and Radha-Krishna mandirs depict beautiful north Indian architecture, Ayyappa’s sannidhi reflects Sabarimalai features while other areas project traditional South Indian architecture in great detail. The monumental task was accomplished by bringing in a group of highly skilled sculptors from India. To find out more about the temple please visit their website at http://hindutemple.org
The Waiting Room
We have such wonderful doctors in our community. The waiting room is a question and answer column that provides health information from our community’s medical experts.
With the flu season fast approaching, Dr. Rohini Ragupathi answers your questions.
How can we protect ourselves this flu season?
Always wash your hands with soap and warm water. It is also very important to eat fruits and vegetables. Eat healthy and get enough rest.
Is it important for everyone to get a flu shot?
Previous years we asked that children, pregnant women and the elderly get their flu shots. This year we are asking everyone to get immunized for the seasonal flu.
Are there shots available for the swine flu?
Yes, there are shots available. For now there is a priority order for the swine flu shots. Children, pregnant women, and healthcare workers, in that order.
Dr. Rohini Ragupathi is a primary care physician who has been practicing in the Brazos Valley for the last 21 years. She can be contacted at email@example.com
For our next newsletter we will be talking to a pediatrician. If you have any questions or concerns you would like to have answered, please contact Deepika Gundanna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yoga, Music, and Harmony
By Srividya Ramasubramanian
Just like rhythm is essential to music, life too has a natural rhythm. When all instruments in an orchestra play in synchrony, it is music. When they are off-beat and off-tune, it becomes noise. When our body, mind, and spirit are not aligned, there is disharmony and stress. Yoga is the path through which we can experience harmony in life by the union of the body, mind, and soul.
What exactly is yoga? It is not about bending our bodies in convoluted ways. Rather, Sage Patanjali defines yoga as “Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodah” in his famous Yoga Sutras. That is, yoga is the control of the wandering mind. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna defines yoga as being steadfast in action and being balanced in success and failure. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar calls yoga “the blossoming of human potential to fullness.”
For musical instruments to be in their best shape, we need to tune them regularly. In life, we can achieve harmony through the regular and sincere practice of yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation.
Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian is an assistant professor of Communication at Texas A&M University. She is also the faculty advisor for Art of Living–TAMU. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
From the Kitchen
This easy recipe is a great hit with kids of all ages. It is very nutritious and can be made with whatever vegetables are readily available at home.
Cooked pasta - 1 lb
Frozen peas - 2 cup
bell pepper - 3 ( red,yellow,green)
cooked / canned beans - 28 oz (kidney/black)
olive / veg. oil -1 cup
vinegar -1/2 c ( red/ white/ balsamic)
Mustard --2 tbs ( Any variety)
poppy seeds - 3tsp
mixed fresh herbs - 2 tsp each
Grated cheddar cheese - 2cups
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta, drain and let it cool to room temperature.
2. Stir in all the vegetables and beans.
3. In a bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, mustard, poppy seeds, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing ingredients together vigorously, until the dressing comes thick.
4. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and toss together thoroughly to coat all the ingredients.
5. Cover and chill the salad in the refrigerator before serving.
6. Stir the cheese into the pasta salad and serve immediately on a bed of mixed salad greens.
Mrs. Prabha Kannan is a homemaker and has lived in the Brazos Valley since 2001. Although she dabbles in all kinds of cuisine she is an expert in Italian and Mexican cooking.
For all the working men and women out there, a simple yet tasty recipe. This north-indian dish
can be served with ketchup or chutney.
Rice flour - ½ cup
Besan - 1 1/2 cup
plain yogurt – ½ cup
ginger -1 tsp minced
Garlic – 2 tsp minced
green chilies – 2 tsps minced
cilantro – 4 tsp chopped
salt to taste
1. Mix all the ingredients along with water as needed to make a smooth dosa-like batter.
2. On a hot pan, make dosas out of the batter.
3. Cook on both sides thoroughly.
4. Serve hot with chutney.
Mrs. Jasmina Patel has been a long standing food committee advisory member. She is a dialysis technician, is very actively involved in the HSBV and has lived in the Brazos Valley for 15 years.
Do you have a recipe that is simple and easy to make, yet very satisfying and healthy? Would you like to share your gourmet creations with other members of HSBV? If you would like to send in your recipes and comments, please contact Deepika Gundanna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Announcements and Achievements
v Every month the Vishnu Sahasranamam is recited in the home of a host family. All members of the HSBV join the chanting which followed by a potluck dinner. To be a host family and/or to get involved in the event, please contact Ramasamy Perumal at email@example.com.
v The Bal Vihar of the HSBV meets every Sunday except on major holidays. Please look at the calendar at the website for more information about when classes are in session. We have classes for children starting from 6 months onwards until the 12th grade.
v The HSVB Youth group has been organizing some fun activities for kids and families this summer. The idea behind the HSBV Family Nite has been to spend quality family time together while interacting with other members of our community. The events include board games, musical chairs, watching Indian movies and dinner prepared and provided by the youth group members. The events have been a huge success and the youth group is always looking for more participation. From more information please contact Sanjiv Lalwani at firstname.lastname@example.org
v The GITA satsang group (Gita In Today's Action) headed by Dr. Raju, teleconferences every weekday from 6.00 AM -7.00 AM. The number to call is 605 475 6333 and the PIN is 600730 followed by # sign. One can just listen in on the discussion. The satsang was started two years ago. For more information on how to join contact Dr. Raju at email@example.com.
v Rajeev Kinra has been named one of the National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. He was chosen as a semifinalist along with 15 other students. 90 percent of the semifinalists will become finalists and receive National Merit Scholarships, according to the corporation that runs the program. This allows students to be accepted to very prestigious universities. To become a finalist, a student must have an outstanding academic record, a high SAT score, be recommended by a principal and submit a detailed application including an essay. To read more go to: http://www.theeagle.com/schools/Consol-has-16-merit-semifinalists
v Kalyan Venkatraj was selected to represent the state of Texas at Boys Nation in Washington D.C. He was selected from more than 700 students from across the state. In addition to the National Honor Society, he is a returning member of the Interact Club, the tennis team and the Student Council. He is actively involved in the HSBV and has lived in the Brazos Valley since 1998. To read more go to:
v Dr. Keerti Rathore’s incredible research in genetic engineering was published in the Time magazine. He is a professor at Texas A&M University and is an active member of the HSBV. Dr. Rathore's team demonstrated that it can turn off the genes that stimulate the production of gossypol in cottonseeds while the rest of the plant keeps its natural defenses. To read more about it, go to: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1920290,00.html
Unscramble the words:
3. ALB AIRVH
See how many of the questions you can get right.
1. Lord Vishnu’s vehicle is The Garuda. What is Lord Shiva’s vehicle? What is Lord Ganesh’s mode of transportation?
2. In the Mahabharath, the Kauravas were 100 brothers, how many Pandavas were there?
3. The Kauravas had a sister. What was her name? Lord Krishna had one sister, what was her name?
4. How many Vedas are there?
Can you name them?
5. What was the capital of Lord Rama’s kingdom? How many children did he have? What were they called?
Identify these Goddesses :
Look for the answers in other pages of the newsletter.
The HSBV has a very active Bal Vihar learning system in place, that educates our young minds about Hinduism, our role in the society, and our rich cultural heritage. If your child is not already part of this great system, please take the time to bring your child to the temple for the Sunday classes. It is one of the most valuable and informative hours your child will have. Please be sure to check out our website at hsbv.org. For more information please contact Dr. Anand at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Texas A & M University graduate students talk about what is new on campus.
Hindu Society Promotes Students' Growth & Development.
By Amnaya Awasthi
Starting fall 2009, the Hindu Society of Brazos Valley (HSBV) has started a new program to help international students develop themselves into stronger individuals. The program, supported by the society and led by a few faculty and students at Texas A&M University, is aimed at inculcating academic excellence, spiritual growth and professional achievement through the time tested Vedantic way of life. The effort also strives to serve the students with survivability, both socially as well as academically during their stay at A&M hence facilitating a healthy environment for their progress.
Integral to the vision of this effort, is the acquisition and maintenance of a physical location, a facility located right in the heart of the student population, enabling easy access. Named the 'Vedanta House for International Students', this facility promotes students, regardless of age, gender, religion, race or nationality to utilize the space and participate in various Vedantic activities, under the guidance of qualified experts. The effort also comprises of a religious component for students' interests where a part of the facility is dedicated to daily prayers.
The Vedanta House organized a new-students welcome event 'Namaskar Howdy' on
September 5th. This event, attended by about 80 students incorporated discussions on ethics in academics, successful entrepreneurship, financial management and interplay of academics in industry. Later this day, with the help of students, the society organized an evening of dinner and fun filled games. This ice breaker gathering, attended by over 170 individuals of different ages was highly effective in bringing the students closer to the community. Recently, Swami Swahananda, a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order visited the Vedanta House to interact with A&M students.
The Vedanta House is also the venue for weekly meetings, some of which include chanting of Vishnu Sahasranama, learning and practicing meditation and personality development short courses. The students light music band called Dhwani, utilizes the space for musical gatherings and practice. The Vedanta House organizes student rides to the Omkarnath Temple in Navasota on occasion of festivals. The Vedanta house also networks with international students through an online community in Facebook on topics of academic excellence. To get more involved, please contact Dr. Sharath Girimaji at email@example.com.
Amnaya Awasthi is a Ph.D. candidate in the Materials Science and Engineering program in the Aerospace Engineering Department. He is actively involved in the Vedanta House and the HSBV cultural events. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. The email for the Vedanta house is
The Executive Board Members of the Hindu Society of Brazos Valley would like to welcome everyone to the 4th Annual Cultural program and Open house.
They wish you all a happy and healthy Deepavali and a prosperous New Year ahead!
Answers to the questions in the Kiddies Korner
Unscramble the words.
1.TEMPLE 2.WORSHIP 3. BAL VIHAR 4. HINDU 5. AVATAR
1. LORD SHIVA’S VEHICLE IS THE NANDI OR THE BULL. LORD GANESH’S VEHICLE IS THE MOUSE
2. THE PANDAVAS ARE 5 BROTHERS
3. THE KAURAVAS’S SISTER’S NAME WAS DUSSALA. LORD KRISHNA’S SISTER’S NAME WAS SUBHADRA
4. THERE ARE 4 VEDAS. THEY ARE THE RIG VEDA, THE YAJUR VEDA, THE SAMA VEDA AND THE ATHARVA VEDA
5. Lord RAMA’S CAPITOL WAS AYODHYA. HE HAD TWO SONS(TWINS) CALLED LAV AND KUSH
Identify these Goddesses
Goddess Durga and Goddess Sarawati
Please send announcements and achievements that you would like to have published in the newsletter to email@example.com
Dr. Devan Balachari is the contact for the newly proposed entrepreneurial group hoping to connect business owners in our community.His email is
Notes from the Editor
We have tried to make the newsletter interesting and relevant to all age groups. We have columns on yoga and fitness, events at the temple and on campus at TAMU, and announcements and achievements of our community members. This newsletter also focused on the children of our community and has a dedicated page of fun activities for them. Please contact me with your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to acknowledge some people without whose support this newsletter may not have been possible. My deepest thanks go to all the contributors who sent in their articles on such short notice. I thank our President Dr. Saravanan, who really renewed my enthusiasm to start this newsletter. Without the support and encouragement from the community, an endeavor such as this would not be successful. I look forward to continued support from our members. Thanks to my family, especially my 15 month old son, for being so patient with me.