Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan

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         Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan

                                       Silver Jubilee
                                      25 Years of Dedicated
                                    Service to the Community
                     Maha Lakshmi bhavan
               Maha Lakshmi vidya vidya bhavan
                Maha Lakshmi vidya bhavan
                     Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill, London SE23 3LE
                    Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill, London SE23 3LE
                       Telephone: 8949 6565 or 020 8650 650
                    Telephone: 020 020 8949 6565 or 020 8 3728
                             Registered Charity: 1002912
                            Registered Charity: 1002912

                            MISSION STATEMENT
                           MISSION STATEMENT
             “Working to enhance, serve and preserve”
              “Working to enhance, serve

                          PRAYER TO MAHA LAKSHMI

      Om Lakshmi Karotu kalyaanam Aarogyam Sukh Sampadaam

             Mam Shatru Vinashaaya Deep Jyotir Namostutay

                  O Lakshmi Maa, You are the source of happiness,
             O Lakshmi Maa, You are the source of truetrue happiness,
           the remover of forms of illnesses and the bestower of prosperity.
     the remover of all all formsof illnessesand the bestower of prosperity.
                   Please help me to rid myself all internal enemies.
              Please help me to rid myself ofof all internal enemies.
                 We bow this Light which is symbolic of presence.
           We bow to to this Light which is symbolic of YourYour presence.

                               GAYATRI MANTRA

               Om Bhur Bhuvah Swah, Tat Savitur Varenyam

          Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat

        We meditate upon the auspicious Godly Light of of Lord Sun Sun (Savitur);
   We meditate upon the auspicious Godly Light the the Lord(Savitur)
        May that heavenly light illumine our thoughts and in our intellect
   May that heavenly light illumine our thoughts and flowflow in our intellect.

                                    Dedicated Dedicated
                                the Loving the Loving of
                             To the LovingMemory of ofMemory of
                                        To Memory
                             To To the Loving Memory

            1926 – 2007
             1926-2007                                         1921-2006
        Srmt Rewati Gossai
     Srmt RaywatieGossai                                Srmt Subhagia Haricharan
     Beloved Mother of Bankim Gossai
Beloved Mother of Shri Shri Bankim Gossai         Beloved Mother of Shri Ramesh Charan

                                                              1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE   1
                                                               done on once a month basis but soon the need for this
                                                               service was quadrupled from once per month to literally
                                                               every weekend.
                                                               The simplicity, inclusiveness and pure devotion of each
                                                               Satsang were spreading across South London and it was
                                                               not long before we started travelling to North London,
                                                               Scotland, Northern Ireland and beyond.
                                                               In 1991 the Satsang was registered as a Charity in the
                     Shri Ramesh Charan
                                                               United Kingdom by a Trust Deed, with four Trustees to
“Prayer is the very soul and essence of religion and           conduct and manage the affairs of MLS.
therefore prayers must be the very core of the life of man,    Conducting its Satsangs and Classes from the Tooting
for no man can live without religion”.                         Boy’s Scout Hall in Killino Street SW17, in 1994 it became
Mahatma Gandhi                                                 apparent that MLVB could not continue to function with
The 25th Anniversary of any organisation is indeed an          temporary rented accommodation. Once again on the eve
achievement and the 25th Anniversary of the Maha               of Diwali 1994 a Building Fund was launched for MLVB to
Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan is an event to be                         acquire its own premises to house a Mandir and Vidya
celebrated with the greatest pride and sense of                Bhavan.
achievement. Over the past 25 years many devotees have         On 9th September 1999 (9/9/99) MLS acquired its own
benefited from the simplicity, inclusiveness,                  premises in Forest Hill, South London which has been
pure devotion and leadership of Maha Lakshmi                   transformed into a beautiful Mandir and Vidya Bhavan.
Vidya Bhavan.
                                                               Many prominent visitors including Swami Swaroopanand
The eve of Diwali 1982 was an auspicious day in the lives      from Chinmaya Mission and Swami Param Pujya Swami
of Hindus living in the United Kingdom. It was on this day     Gopal Sharan Ji Maharaj of Shri Golok Dham Ashram, New
Maha Lakshmi Satsang (MLS), now known as Maha                  Delhi have commented that “from the moment you enter
Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan (MLVB) came into being and                the Mandir’s door you can feel the divine vibrations”.
twenty five years later, MLVB is now a part of the fabric of   We have all enjoyed the blessings of the Divine Lord over
life in the United Kingdom and beyond.                         the last twenty five years and look forward to celebrating
Its formation was initiated by a group of dedicated            our Golden Anniversary in 2032.
Hindus living in South London who saw the need to              “More valuable than the things we give to each other are
enhance, serve and preserve Sanatan Dharma                     the gifts of virtues we pass on quietly to others through
(Hinduism) in the United Kingdom.                              our selfless and noble actions. These gifts are truly
Many of the devotees who migrated to the United                precious because they are imperishable and they multiply
Kingdom from Guyana, Trinidad, Mauritius and other             the more we share them”.
parts of the world brought their religion to their new home    Ramesh Charan
in a Western country, which previously their forefathers
took from India to the countries of their birth.
MLVB from humble beginnings has grown to the vibrant
organisation it is today continues to move ahead and
enjoys world wide recognition.                                   The views expressed by individuals in this publication
                                                                 are not the views of MLVB and accordingly MLVB
Initially the organization was formed to conduct Satsangs        cannot be held liable for such views.
(prayer meetings) in the homes of devotees, which was

2 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
  Message and Blessings from Param Poojya
 Swami Gopal Sharan Devacharya Ji Maharaj of
   Shree Golok Dhaam Ashram, Delhi, India.

Shri Radha Golokaviharine Namo Namah.                           Specifically, I became involved with the Maha Lakshmi
Bhagavate Shri Nimbarkacharyaya Namo Namah.                     Vidya Bhavan through meeting Shri Gossai Ji by the
Shri Sadgurucharanakamalebhyo Namo Namah.                       arrangements of the Prashar family in Bromley.

In this age of Kali Yug where all moral values are in           It was some years back when, with the Lords blessings, I
decline, Jagadguru Shri Nimbarkacharya has shown that           pledged to provide the Satsang with Murtis for a Mandir
Satsang is the main pathway for achieving                       when it was built as at that time the aim was such. Thus
peace, prosperity and progress. Satsang enables us to           through the commitment of Gossai Ji and all the devotees
experience the bliss of the Lord’s Names, His Forms, His        of Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan, after acquiring the
Leelas, His Worship and, importantly, Satsang provides          premises in 1999, the Murtis that I had promised arrived
the devotees opportunities to have the Darshan of the           from Los Angeles from the Mandir there.
Mahatmas, renounced Swamis and enlightened devotees.
It is through this that it is possible to understand the real   Shri Kapil Ji of Los Angeles arranged for the Murtis and
purpose of life; to change our animalistic behavior into        provided them free of cost, and he attended the Praan
that of the cultured noble follower of Vedic Sanatan            Pratishtha held in 2002.
                                                                By the grace of Thakur Shri Radha Golokvihari Ji Maharaj,
Tulsidas reminds all of humanity that:                          at the holy time of Radhashtami, Shri Gossai Ji and all
                                                                the devotees of Maha Lakshmi Satsang were blessed -
Eka Gharee Aadhee Gharee, Aadhee Te Puni Aadha                  their tireless effort fulfilled - when myself and eleven
Tulasi Sangata Saadhu Ke, Koti Katai Aparaadha.                 Vedic Scholars from all over the world came and the
                                                                original promise that was made was fulfilled with great
If only for one moment, half a moment or even half of half      pomp and splendour in the Praan Pratishtha.
a moment that we spend in Satsang with
enlightened people, millions of sins are destroyed.             Since then Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan has reached
                                                                hundreds of people throughout the south-east with the
Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan has through the years been            message of devotion and Satsang under the dynamic
a shining beacon which penetrates the darkness of the           leadership of Shri Bankim Gossai MBE.
ills of the modern world and attracts all spiritual minded
devotees to worship. From humble beginnings it has              I shower my blessings on all devotees of Maha Lakshmi
grown through the love and perseverance of the                  Vidya Bhavan on this auspicious occasion of the 25th
Caribbean Hindu Community as well as rest of the British        Anniversary and also on the 5th anniversary of the
Hindu Community at large, pioneered by its charismatic          installation of the divine Murtis of the Lord.
leaders Shri Bankim Gossai Ji MBE, and Shri Ramesh
Charan Ji.                                                                                                        ➡➡
                                                                                          1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE         3
                                                       I pray to Thakur Shri Radha Golokvihari Ji Maharaj that Shri
                                                       Bankim Gossai Ji and Shri Ramesh Charan Ji continue to
                                                       progress under the guidance of Guru and Shastra to spread the
                                                       holy name of the Lord in the soul-captivating, faithful and
                                                       devoted manner in which they have been doing for the past
                                                       25 years.

                                                       May all those who help and serve in the Mandir receive the
                                                       choicest blessings of the Lord. May all those devotees who
                                                       faithfully come to the Mandir and have Darshan of His Divine
                                                       forms be blessed with peace, prosperity, long-life, success and

                                                       Kalyanam Karotu Shri Krishnah

                                                       Param Poojya Swami Gopal Sharan Devacharya Ji Maharaj

Message from Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud, President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha

                                                    I wish to sincerely extend Best Wishes to the Maha Lakshmi Vidya
                                                    Bhavan on their 25th Anniversary.

                                                    The Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan has done admirable work during
                                                    this period and though a small group in London, it has earned the
                                                    respect and support not only of the Hindu Community but the
                                                    Government of the United Kingdom.

                                                    I recall very vividly that Shri Bankim Gossai was
                                                    decorated with the MBE by the Queen. In 2005 Bankim Gossai and
                                                    Ramesh Charan conducted Ramayana Satsang and Puja as part
                                                    of Diwali Celebrations that were held in the House of Commons.

                                                    My personal experience with the Satsang when I
                                                    officiated at a Gyaan Yagna in 2002 impressed me with their
    organisational skills and determination to promote the lofty ideals of Sanatan Dharma. You have already achieved
    much and particularly having your own Mandir where the Hindu Community in your area can worship.

    I wish you continued development and growth and greater progress in the future.

                        Happy 25th Anniversary
  4 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
Message from Shri Prakash Gossai
Spiritual Head of Bhuvneshwar Mandir, New York, USA

 Dear Pandit Charan
 On behalf of our Management Committee and all members of Bhuvaneshwar
 Mandir, we extend to you our heartfelt congratulations on the 25th anniversary
 of MLVB. What an achievement!!
 Over the years our association grew stronger and stronger, thus creating
 two vibrant Hindu Institutions in two major continents, attracting many youths.
 The dedication and tireless efforts to manage effectively such an organisation,
 is admired by us all. The discipline and warmth of MLVB is talked of all over the world and I feel very sure the
 magnet of devotion of MLVB will continue to appeal to the wider community.
 It is our prayers that the next 25 years will continue to bring fresh awakening amongst youths to dwell under your
 most meaningful banner “Working to enhance, serve and preserve”.

 Please accept our good wishes & Pranaam

                                 Message from Swami Swaroopananda, Regional Head of Chinmaya
                                 Mission Far East, Australia, Africa and UK and Director
                                 Chinmaya International Residential School

                                   In The Ramayana there is a famous passage consisting of three Slokas, each
                                   describing a certain order of messengers or servants or agents whom a Master
                                   may commission for performing a duty.
                                   Lord Rama placed Hanuman in the first class of servants, who, noting their
                                   Masters’ expressed intentions, perform accordingly and then go beyond these
                                   expressed intentions to the unexpressed ones that accomplish His purpose.
                                   Bankim Ji indeed, over the last 25 years of establishing the Maha Lakshmi Vidya
                                   Bhavan following this highest inspiration of Lord Hanumaanji, has provided an
extremely worthwhile service to the community in and around South East London.
With a wide range of activities from Satsangs, Bhagwad Geeta classes and bhajan and Kirtan, the MLVB has been
a centre of inspiration and spiritual growth for many aspirants and seekers.
On behalf of Chinmaya Mission UK and myself, I offer hearty congratulations and best wishes for the
continued growth in the service and spiritual nourishment offered by the MLVB.
The service to the community is the service to the Lord and may all the inspired sevaks of the temple continue to
serve the Lord in this way.
Hari Om.

                                                                                      1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE        5
       Message from Swami Nirliptananda
       Spiritual Head of London Sevashram Sangha

Dear Bankim Ji and Ramesh Ji

I am glad to know that Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan is celebrating its
25th Anniversary.

London Sevashram Sangha and Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan have had a
fruitful and friendly relationship during these years. In the process the
community has benefited enormously.

On behalf of all the members and devotees of the Sangha we wish all the devotees of the Bhavan
successful celebrations and may the Bhavan continue to serve the community.

       Message from Swami Prakashananda
       Head of Chinmaya Mission Trinidad

Hari Om

It is with great joy and pleasure that I take the time to share these few words
of Congratulations to you Sri Bankim Gossai and all the dedicated members
of Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan on the remarkable contribution you have
made and continue to make in enriching the lives of so many devotees in
London and around the world in the last twenty five years.

The warm wealth of love that you exude immediately catches even the casual visitor to Maha Lakshmi Vidya

On behalf of myself and all the members of Chinmaya Mission Trinidad I once more send heart felt Congratulations
on this 25th Anniversary and wish many more years of success.

May the light of Mother Lakshmi continue to shine through MLVB.

     You are not the mind, but the consciousness beyond it. When you rise
         above your mind, you become aware of the power beyond the
                      mind – the power of consciousness.

                                                                                   1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE        7
        Message from Swami Ghanananda Saraswati
        Head of The Hindu Monastery of Africa


On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Maha Lakshmi Vidya
Bhavan, I send my prayerful good wishes, with warm regards, to all
community members and well wishers of Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan.
I also wish you a healthy, happy, and peaceful anniversary whilst cherishing
the hope that Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan the “Beautiful Flower”, will
continue to blossom and its fragrance will permeate the entire universe.
Congratulations, and God bless you!

Message from Professor G K Tetteh, National President of the Hindu Monastery of Africa, Accra, Ghana
                                        HARI OM TAT SAT ~ OM NAMO NARAYANAYA

 On my personal behalf and on behalf of the Council and the entire membership of the Hindu Monastery of Africa, I
 wish to congratulate the Trustees and all community members, wishing you a happy, joyous and peaceful
 celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan.
 I also want to encourage your good selves to continue the very good works you have been doing for humanity
 through the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan.
 May the great Lord Shiva bless you abundantly.

        Message from Dr Madhu Baksh, President of Greenwich Hindu Mandir
Dear Devotees
On behalf of Greenwich Hindu Mandir I take great honour and pleasure in congratulating the Trustees and congregation of
Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan (formerly Maha Lakshmi Satsang) as you celebrate with us your 25th anniversary.
Greenwich Hindu Mandir and Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan (MLVB) have been in close contact with each other ever since the
mid-1980s and have developed a bond and mutual friendship and admiration. Our Trustees and congregation regularly visit
each others' establishments to provide the necessary support, help and advice.
We have therefore been privileged to witness the remarkable progress which the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan has made
during the last 25 years. This group of dedicated Hindus have not only kept alive the principles and traditions of the Hindu
religion (which is one of the most ancient religions world-over), but also have been promoting the understanding of its
peaceful philosophy. It is with great devotion and continuous efforts of the Trustees and the congregation of Maha Lakshmi
Vidya Bhavan that this exceptional success has been achieved.
On 9th September you and your dedicated team acquired a beautiful Temple in Forest Hill and I along with other members of
Greenwich Hindu Mandi, were honoured to attend the Murti Sthapana celebrations. Since the establishment of a suitable
Venue, Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan promoted their work in a very big way and in 2003 the Spiritual Co-ordinator, Shri
Bankim Gossai, was honoured by the Queen and granted an MBE. Your exemplary and inspirational work has set a model for
all of us.
As you celebrate your Silver Jubilee, we at Greenwich Hindu Mandir congratulate you for such unstinted devotion and love for
our religion and culture and wish MLVB every success in the future.

                                                                                             1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE          9
                                    Message from His Excellency President of Guyana, Bharat Jagdeo.

                                    I send warmest congratulations and felicitations to all the members of the
                                    Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan as it commemorates its 25th anniversary.

                                    May this important milestone be an occasion of great joy, but may it also be
                                    blessed with the spirit of humility that is the fruit of enlightenment and the
                                    bedrock of heartfelt charity.

                                   Having provided twenty-five years of religious and charitable service is
 testimony to the enduring relevance of your organisation. Through your steadfast efforts over the years, you have
 uplifted humanity, served your community and preserved your rich culture and religious beliefs.

 I commend the Bhavan for its wonderful contribution over the past quarter of a century in London. I wish to
 encourage all those associated with your exemplary organisation to continue their good works in heart and in
 deeds. May the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan continue to flourish and grow! And may Divine wisdom and
 inspiration guide your footsteps in the years ahead!

                       Message from Shri Vishnu S Jagroo
                       Organising Secretary of The Vishnu Mandir, Clonbrook Village, ECD, Guyana

                       Dear Guru Bankim Ji and Pandit Ramesh Ji

                       Jai Seeta Raam

 The Vishnu family, executives and devotees of the Vishnu Mandir extend their heartiest congratulations to the
 management and devotees of the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan commending the historical achievement of their
 25th Anniversary.

 It is overwhelming and we just cannot find the right words so as to adequately express our inward
 emotions of that cherished love we have accumulated since our association with Vidya Bhavan in February 2001
 and in June 2002. I and family had the most exciting and wonderful experience witnessing the Murti Sthapana
 being conducted by recognized swamis from different parts of the globe.

 More so, after attending your many Satsangs, we were fully convinced with your dedicated management that the
 flags of Sanatan Vedic Dharma would always keep flying. Not forgetting of all the many Satsangs we have visited
 over the past years, the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan is the best and will always remain the best because of its
 organized management, peace, love and tranquility.

 Finally, Vishnu's family and devotees of the Vishnu Mandir join together in wishing the management and devotees
 of the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan divine blessings in the future.

  Seeta Raam ~ Radhay Shyaam.

10 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
                                                    High Commission of India
                           .                                    India House
              Rakesh B. Dubey                                      Aldwych
                                                          London WC2B 4NA
                       (                    )
              Attache (Hindi & Culture)

 TELEPHONE: 020-7632 3058
 FACSIMILE : 020 7836 4331
 EMAIL    :


                                                                ,        ,       ,           ,
                   ,           ,
                                                                                                       from the Indian
                                   25                      ,                                                High
                                                                                     ,       ,



                                                                             (           .   )

 Dear Shri Gossai Ji

 Pravaasee Bhartiya (Indian Migrants) are cultural ambassadors of modern India. The way of life of Hindus in countries such
 as Britain, Guyana, Fiji, Surinam, Trinidad, Mauritius, Africa and other parts of the world, are propagating the great teach-
 ings of India and its culture.
 This is really commendable and any person living in India may draw inspiration from their example.
 On the 25th Anniversary of Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan, the Indian High Commission, London would like to extend its heartiest
 congratulations and wish that your institution may continue to progress towards its goal through to Indian languages, music,
 Yoga and religious activities. The Indian High Commission, London is with you all the way in all your efforts.
 It is a matter of immense pleasure that one of your Hindi teachers, Shri Ved Mitra Mohla, has been bestowed the honour of MBE
 by Her Majesty the Queen for his activities related to Hindi. MLVB must have made a big contribution towards his success.
 Please accept our congratulations in this regard as well.
 With my best wishes for the success of all events marking the 25th Anniversary celebrations at Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan.

 Yours sincerely

 Rakesh B Dubey
 Hindi & Cultural Attache

12 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
 Message from Her Excellency Glenda Morean Phillip
 High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago to London

On behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago I extend
heartiest congratulations to the members, friends and well-wishers of the
Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan on the celebration of its 25th anniversary.

The theme chosen for this year's celebrations, "Working to enhance, serve
and preserve", aptly reflects the philosophy of the organisation, and should
continue to be its motto well after the end of the celebration of its 25 years of cumulative success in keeping the
Hindu community focused on maintaining unity among themselves while at the same time enhancing its
relationship with the wider community.

I trust that this organisation will have even greater achievements to report at next year's celebrations.

                                     Message from His Excellency Abhimanu Kundasamy
                                     High Commissioner of Mauritius to London

                                     Dear Mr Gossai

                                     It is with much pleasure I extend to you and all the members of Maha Lakshmi
                                     Vidya Bhavan my very best wishes on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of
                                     the establishment of this organisation.

I am very convinced that this organisation will
continue in the right path to serve humanity and
preserve and promote the rich cultural values so
necessary for the creation of viable world community.

With warm regards, all the best.

      What I am experiencing at this moment is the result of choices and
       decisions made in the past; what I will experience in the future
               depends on choices and decisions I make now.

                                                                                      1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE        13
Letter from a Devotee: Pushpa Prashar, Bromley, Kent

Dear Gossai Ji


Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan, having been installed in South London has become the focal point of my life. Such a
beautiful Mandir is only to be seen as a blessing from God to us all.
I have silently observed the progress and growth of this unique mission of Sri Sanatan Dharma over the past 25
years and feel proud and happy to be part of MLVB. I remember very vividly my late parents speaking of their love
for the Mandir and also of the dedication of those managing its affairs so peacefully and efficiently.
With Param Poojya Swami Gopal Sharan Ji’s guidance and continued support our Mandir will become a place in
London thronged with devotees from all corners of the United Kingdom.
Congratulations to all past and present Trustees and also to all supporters who are part of this 25 year journey. My
family and I pledge our continued support to this most wonderful and deserving Mandir.

With best wishes for the next 25 years.

Sincerely yours

Pushpa Prashar.

Message from Ushwin Lalloo, Texas, USA, Former Trustee of Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan

We send our heartiest congratulations to Bhaya Bankim Ji, Bhaya Ramesh Ji and all the members of Maha Lakshmi
Vidya Bhavan (Maha Lakshmi Satsang) on the celebration of their 25th Anniversary.
Over the past 25 years, there have been so many accomplishments. It all started with humble beginnings but
through great vision, perseverance and leadership Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan has brought a great sense of
pride, passion and yearning for our rich cultural heritage to the community of South London.
Through the numerous activities, including music, discourses and language lessons the youths, the elders and all
ages in between have greatly benefited from the values and principles of Sanatan Dharma. Today Maha Lakshmi
Vidya Bhavan is the beacon of knowledge and provides a guiding light as we continue on the journey of spiritual
On this landmark milestone we extend our deep gratitude and thanks to Bhaya Bankim Ji, Bhaya Ramesh Ji, the
Trustees, the teachers, the volunteers and all the members of Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan who have worked
tirelessly over the past 25 years with immense dedication, devotion and determination.
Our commitment to spiritual and moral growth is nurtured and instilled through your great work. Our prayers are
that Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan continues to grow from strength to strength.

With Best Wishes, Love and Pranaam.

Ushwin, Kalpana, Misha and Shivani Lalloo
Houston, Texas, USA

                                                                                    1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE        15
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                                  DR MILEN SHAH
                                 MRCGP MBBS BSC
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 “Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three
 essentials to success and, above all, love...” spoke the
 great teacher, Swami Vivekananda. This statement
 could aptly sum up the continued efforts of Maha              Dear Gossai Ji
 Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan (MLVB) over an eventful 25
 years.                                                        Namashkar
 As a teenager, and later as a medical student, I have
 had a connection with the group’s founders and recall         I am very happy our Mandir is celebrating its 25th
 many happy memories of MLVB’s contributions to joint          Anniversary. Over the years I have always been
 events held at universities, youth gatherings,                aware of the good services the temple is providing
 Chinmaya Mission study classes and the temple.                for our children and youths, in particular. I am very
                                                               happy also to know of the direction the Mandir is
 Spiritual inspiration, religious guidance, cultural           moving towards.
 renaissance, community cohesion, educational
 initiative and youth encouragement are all valid              You and all those engaged in the management of the
 descriptions of the widespread service that this              organisation, have worked with great focus and
 organisation continues to provide society – both              dedication to ensure the growth and success.
 locally and further a field. May the Divine Grace             Wherever I have travelled, especially in UK, USA and
 always be received by its coordinators in such noble          West Indies and now in India also, the Maha
 endeavours.                                                   Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan is positively mentioned. I am
 The MLVB Mandir (temple) exudes a feeling of warmth           very proud being the first Patron, since 1993.
 and friendship as soon as one enters, and all of my
 family and friends comment on the sense of                    Please continue the unique service you are providing
 community spirit and devotion experienced at each             to everyone. This Mandir will continue to grow and
 visit. Credit to all the members, guided by the dynamic       flourish for generations to come, as it is nourished
 & ever-serving religious coordinator, Sri Bankim              with ‘Prem’ and ‘Bhakti’.
 Gossai Ji, to whom I offer my respects and admiration.
                                                               Jai Shree Seeta Raam
 As per your anniversary theme, may we:
 “Enhance” ourselves through the process of teamwork
 and transcend our limited egos;
 “Serve” as a method of inner purification and because
 it is our privilege to do so;
 “Preserve” the noble values of acceptance and unity
 enshrined in the ancient Hindu culture.
 The journey of the next 25 years now beckons…
 Hari Om

                                                            Shri Anup Jalota at MLVB
16 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
   Trustees and Management Committee
Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan formerly known as Maha Lakshmi Satsang is a UK registered Charity,
governed by a Trust Instrument and is subject to all the relevant charity rules and regulations of The
Charities Commission. Charity Status was granted on 7th May 1991 with a Charity Registration number
of 1002912.

The Mandir is managed by four Trustees. The current Trustees are Shri Bankim Gossai, Shri Ramesh
Charan who also holds the title of First Honorary Secretary, Shri Krishna Ragbir and Shri Bickram Singh.

                                         Current Trustees

    Shri Bankim Gossai         Shri Ramesh Charan        Shri Krishna Ragbir          Shri Bickram Singh

                                           Past Trustees

                  Shri Jaichand Dyal     Shri Chandramohun Tacouri      Shri Ushwin Lalloo

                                            Our Teachers

                               Shri Ved Mohla MBE           Head of Hindi School
                               Srmt Tara Ramdhuny           Hindi
                               Srmt Nina Fallwell           Sanskrit
                               Shri Peter Bouchini          Sanskrit
                               Shri Sundar Rajan            Vedanta Studies
                               Srmt Saraswati Rajan         Bhagavat Gita
                               Shri Bankim Gossai           Music
                               Mrs Katie McKenzie           Yoga

                                                                               1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE    17
the 25 years
                                                           “Working to enh
  1982 (Divali) Maha Lakshmi Satsang founded
  1988 Monthly Satsangs commenced at Tooting Boys
                                                                  “Om Bhadrakaalyai Namo Nityam,
  Scout Hall
                                                                   Saraswatyai Namo Nama
  1988 Hindi and Music classes commences in                        Veda vedang Vedanta
                                                                   Vidyasthaanaybhya Eva Cha”
  1988 Five hundred copies of Raamcharitmanas
  (Ramayana) sent to Guyana for free distribution to       God’s presence is realised when we are given the
  Mandirs, to mark the 150th year of Indian arrival in     opportunity to immerse ourselves in our interests and offer
  Guyana                                                   it to the world in the form of service (seva). It is in quest of
  1988 Ten thousand copies of Hanuman Chalisa printed      this blessing that I became a member of the Maha
  in Hindi, Romanised and with English translation         Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan 25 years ago.
  printed and distributed free worldwide.
                                                           Our organisation, which began as a small gathering of a
  1989 For the first time ever MLS commissioned a          few people, in the simple dwelling of a living room, has
  unique romanised and transliterated version of           endured the test of time. Previously known as the Maha
  Raamcharitmanas (Ramayana)                               Lakshmi Satsang, we have seen over the years our
  1990 MLS conducts Satsang in Belfast, Northern           membership expand immensely. Today, the Maha Lakshmi
  Ireland                                                  Vidya Bhavan (MLVB) stands as a unit of its own clearly
  1991 MLS registered as a Charity by Trust Deed           recognised at large as a community organisation, offering
                                                           a variety of services to Hindus and non-Hindus alike. It is
  1992 Anup Jalota Charity Concert
                                                           my dream that the MLVB continues to symbolise, on a
  1992 Annual Children’s Concert commenced still           larger scale, an organisation solely representing the people
  continues                                                and their needs, in form of the various social services on
  1993 MLS Building Fund launched                          which all communities rely. Services, such as, supporting
  1999 MLS acquires a building to house its Mandir and     women’s concerns and issues, dealing with youth
  Vidya Bhavan                                             emergencies and family situations, assisting the aged and
                                                           needy, helping those with legal, financial and medical
  1999 Our Hindi School became an Examination Centre       issues when immediate attention is needed, are all key
  for Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate    features of our institution.
  2002 MLS renamed Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan
  2002 Thirty days Ramayan Recital by Shri Gussai Ji       In a demanding society where social assistance in all
                                                           forms are difficult to come by, it would be ideal to
  2002 Murthi Staaphna – Installation of Murtis by H H     represent a foundation which continues to offer such
  Swami Shri Gopal Sharan Maharaj                          services readily to its members without hesitation. These
  2003 Shri Bankim Gossai awarded MBE for Service to       are the needs and issues, which all members of an
  the Community                                            organisation benefit and allowing MLVB the opportunity to
  2005 Our Mandir, being certified according to law as a   magnify such importance would be a satisfying reality for
  place of religious worship, was duly registered for      all of us.
  solemnising marriages
                                                           In the midst of striving to offer a friendly hand to our
  2005 MLVB conducts Divali Celebrations in the House
                                                           community, it has brought me great joy to be a part of the
  of Commons
                                                           MLVB from a personal level. Being a member of this great
  2005 MLVB Website launched                               organisation, has afforded me the opportunity to travel, to
  2006 MLVB represented at International (Hanumaanji)      meet many dignitaries, including Her Majesty, The Queen
  Conference in Texas                                      and Prince Charles when our Mandir was awarded the MBE

18 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
hance, serve and preserve”
                                                                       By Shri Bankim Gossai

  award for Community Service in London. Through MLVB,         Sharan, past and present Trustees, Swami Vishnu Ballabh
  the opportunity to be in the presence of many highly         Ananda, Suresh Wadhwani and the Chinmaya Mission UK,
  educated Swamis and scholars of Hinduism, also               all contributed to the strength and success of this unique
  presented itself. Indisputably, the MLVB is a springboard    institution.
  for spiritual growth and success.
                                                               Paramount to the progress and success of the MLVB, it is
  The saying ‘God is merciful’ has been realized through the   gratifying to recognise the encouragement and blessings
  generosity of Param Poojya Swami Gopal Sharan                of our parents, Gurus and Shastras, without whose
  Devacharya Ji Maharaj of Shree Golok Dhaam Ashram,           initiative and guidance we would be unable to preserve the
  Delhi, without whose generosity we would not have had        treasures of our Sanatan Dharma.
  such beautiful deities to meditate upon and worship. We
  are indebted to him for the moorti Staaphna (installation    Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Maha Lakshmi Vidya
  ceremony of moorties) which was uniquely conducted as        Bhavan brings to light the joy of nurturing that which is of
  his seva to our Mandir. Equally, we are indebted to HH       immense meaning to one in terms of ones interests and
  Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission for his          personal calling. This great location which has been
  great philosophy and his masterful ability to stimulate a    referred to as the “Vrindavan of London” is indeed a true
  continued interest in our great culture and religion.        haven in the midst of the craze of daily life. It brings about
                                                               a harmonious calm which taps into our natural calling and
  Similarly, we have been blessed over the years to have had   inner desire to dwell in the presence of Him, the Divine One,
  visits from many dignitaries including the Home Affairs      in all absolutes.
  Minister Tessa Jowell MP, Mayors, Professors, overseas
  Parliamentarians, and High Commissioners of various          Heartfelt congratulations to everyone, whose efforts in
  countries, numerous Pandits, Sadhus, Yogis and devotees      every minute way, have helped to enhance, serve and
  from many parts of the world.                                preserve the goals of MLVB, thus, the reason for the
                                                               success it is today.
  The undertaking of MLVB to serve humanity through the
  path of immersing ourselves in our vast and remarkable
  Sanatan Dharma has not been confined to London only.         Tanme manah Shivasankalpamastu
  Incredibly, today, our efforts have extended to many         (May my mind always be absorbed in the thoughts of Lord
  countries such as India, U.S.A. Canada, Trinidad, Guyana     Shiva)
  and Nigeria.

  The MLVB would not have been as successful an                Kalyaanam karotu Shree Krishna
  organisation without the selfless contributions of its       (May Lord Krishna grant well being to all)
  volunteers and supporters. We are truly indebted to Shri
  Ramesh Charan Ji, a senior Trustee and Priest, for his       Shri Bankim Gossai
  unstinting devotion, loyalty and sacrifice towards the       Trustee and Spiritual Coordinator
  accomplishments of our Mandir. The efforts and sacrifices    Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan
  of Uncle Zainool Ji, Ushwin Lalloo Ji, Chacha Ji, the late   Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill
  Sohanlal Norda Ji, and the late Sohan Ojah-Maharaj Ji,       London SE23 3LE. U.K.
  Roma Mungol (Ramnarine & Mungol Solicitors), Bhisham
  Dindyal (Andertons), Greenwich Hindu Mandir, Vrajvihari

                                                                                        1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE         19
                               Maha Lakshmi Satsang
                               Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan

                                                                                    By Manju Saxena

     “All devotees greeted each                                 ters, Davina and Priya were not far in the background. We
     other as friends and children                              discovered in the next function, Annual Children’s Charity
                                                                Concert that they were the main organisers. It was also
     met their seniors with respect.                            wonderful to see all the children being involved in one way
     This was unique in my temple                               or another. They sang and danced, did Vedic chants,
     going experience”.                                         played musical instruments, recited verses and even
                                                                played waiters and waitresses to serve food. We experi-
                                                                enced another joyous occasion that was supported by the
The year was 2000. A flyer dropped through our letterbox.       extended family. All devotees greeted each other as friends
It was an invitation from Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan for         and children met their seniors with respect. This was
Janamasthmi Celebrations. Both our younger son Vishal           unique in my temple going experience.
and his wife Kavita, who were expecting their first baby,
Aanandita and I got very excited, as it seemed to be in our     I was intrigued and wanted to find out more about how
own aangan. The Mandir had come to us. It was on Honor          such a wonderful atmosphere had been developed or had it
Oak Park, only five minutes from our house.                     evolved naturally. There was a common heritage for most
                                                                devotees of the Mandir. They had mainly come from
We just wanted to try out the Mandir but that first experi-     Guyana, Trinidad and Mauritius. Is this what brought
ence was so captivating that we are still there with our        about the family feeling? To my amazement no one spoke
hearts and souls and my grand-daughter Aanandita was            in Hindi. All the Pooja and Bhajans were in Vedic, Sanskrit
honoured to be made a patron of the Mandir at the age of        and Hindi and pronunciations were excellent but speaking
two.                                                            Hindi did not come naturally even to this unique and dedi-
                                                                cated group of Hindus. How they had maintained the great
We have visited many a Mandir in our lives, both in India       Sanatan Dharma traditions, saved them and nurtured them
and the UK, but this Mandir was so different. It was not just   in an antagonistic environment in a far flung land from
a religious place where one went in, did Darshan, took          India was truly remarkable. My research begins.
Prasad and disappeared. I found an extended family in
there, so welcoming and so humble.                              A chance conversation with Taraji, Pandit Ramesh Ji’s wife,
                                                                shed many a light on my quest. Taraji became my inspira-
At first glance, it seemed there were two Purohits, Pandit      tion and her wonderful stories about life in Guyana enlight-
Bankim Gossai and Pandit Ramesh Charan but they worked          ened me to a life that I had never imagined existed beyond
in such harmony that the seam was invisible. One per-           the shores of India. Another unique experience for me was
formed the Pooja and the other sang heartfelt Bhajans with      to see Taraji as the Purohit when Bankim Ji and Rameshji
Pravachan that were devotee friendly. What we found the         were away. Since then, I have also seen that the congrega-
most enthralling was the devotion of the whole congrega-        tion itself is always able to carry on with Sunday Pooja
tion that was a family, totally involved in the whole process   when the need arises.
from washing of the hands, Aachman to the final Aarti.
                                                                Maha Lakshmi Satsang formed in 1982
The family involvement started with the Panditjis’ immedi-
ate families. Their sons, Sunil and Arun had a very obvious     There was a great meeting of minds and beliefs. Through
presence as both took turns to play the tabla. Their daugh-     music they developed many friends and associates who

20 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
cherished the informal religious meetings held in their
homes on the first Saturday of every month. In 1982, four
resolute devotees Shri Bankim Gossai, Shri Ramesh
Charan, Shri Moti Sukhlal, and Shri Y.N. Singh formed what
they called a ‘Cottage Service’ as it was a small and infor-
mal fellowship. The format of a small Pooja, Havan and
reading from the Ramayana was very similar to the present
service we experience in Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan now.

By 1986, the original core of about twenty-five grew to         The Early Years – Celebrating our 6th Anniversary at Hindu Centre, Chalk Farm
about sixty dedicated followers. Numbers had grown
beyond expectations and meeting in homes became diffi-
cult. It became necessary to find a regular venue.              By 1994 it became clear that Maha Lakshmi Satsang could
                                                                not continue in rented accommodation. Once the idea of a
                                                                permanent home was born, search started to find a suit-
                                                                able location.

                                                                The money (Aarti and Dakshna) collected from Poojas and
                                                                Satsangs was a good basis to start with but more had to be
                                                                raised. Letters were posted on Divali 1997 to 750 com-
                                                                panies and 100 richest Indians in UK. Only two cheques of
                                                                £25 and £15 arrived and that too from English companies.
                                                                Many had doubts and other Hindu Societies could not
                                                                understand the need for another mandir. Little did they
                                                                know that this mandir had evolved naturally from the devo-
                                                                tion of families!
Monthly Satsang in Tooting

                                                                There were now about 200 loyal devotees. Concerts were
                                                                organised and children participated in fund raising events.
                                                                Priya was only 3 years old when she sang and danced in her
In 1988, the group moved to Tooting Boys Scouts Hall for a      first concert. Now I can see the involvement and dedication
nominal rent. Monthly Satsang was formalised. Services          of the children. They had been part of the fund raising
were in the evening from 7.30 pm - 9.30 pm. All the parvs       process. Children had not only earned their place in the
like Holi, Krishna Janamasthmi and Divali etc. were cele-       Mandir but it was as much their Mandir as that of the
brated.                                                         grownups.

On 7th May 1991 Maha Lakshmi Satsang became a                   A Methodist Church Hall was located in Penge but Bromley
Charitable Trust while at Tooting and Rameshji’s house was      Council refused permission for conversion to a Mandir.
given as the official headquarters. No one had even             Other areas such as Croydon, Peckham and Mitcham were
dreamt of having a Mandir but it seemed beneficial to give      considered but were not suitable, the search continued. As
an official name and make it into a Charitable Trust. But       chance would have it, in 1999, Shri Rasik Morjaria, an
for a trust to be registered there was this fear that a hier-   Optician was treating a patient who happened to be a
archy of office bearers could lead to unnecessary discord.      Pentecostal Minister. He mentioned the Church Hall in
No one wanted that. Fortunately, when Bankim Ji and             Honor Oak but said they could not afford to buy it. Rasik Ji
Rameshji went to the Charity Commission the advice given        with his wife Indu Ji and Ramesh Ji went to see it. It was a
by the officer in charge saved their worries. He suggested      freehold property for £165,000 and was just perfect. The
that an organisation could be registered by Trust Deed with     vision of our own Mandir came true when the site was pur-
Trustees to manage the organisation. This advice saved the      chased on 9th September 1999 (9.9.99).
day. Their wish came true. There were no office bearers.
The Charity was registered by Trust Deed with four trustees,    It was decided to open the Mandir the following month in
Shri Bankim Gossai, Shri Ramesh Charan, Shri Jaichand           October 1999. The Worship Hall was bare with only one pic-
Dyal and Shri Chandramohun Tacouri.                             ture of Maha Lakshmi and small Murtis of the main deities
                                                                decorated on a small podium of steps. Time was short but

                                                                                                1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE                21
everyone helped to create the right atmosphere for the         miles away in London in 1978. Bankim Ji was born in
Grand Opening. The carpet was laid just in time to start       Mahaica Creek in East Coast Demerara and moved to
the Yagna. It was a beautiful day for Mandir Sthapana and      Georgetown at the age of eleven to continue Secondary
an exciting moment for everyone involved. Bhagwan had          Education. Rameshji was born in Kitty, Georgetown. Both
come to reside in our Mandir in Forest Hill. Simplicity that   grew up in religious families where music was an integral
was sought was achieved. It was possible only through          part of their worship. Both of them were greatly influenced
Lord’s Grace.                                                  by their mothers. The cultural values and religious disci-
                                                               pline was maintained in both households. It is also inter-
                                                               esting that both mothers sang the praises and glories of
                                                               Lord Ram.

                                                               Shri Bankim Gossai grew up with his Nana, Nani and Aja
                                                               and Aji who were very religious and their Ishta Devatas
                                                               were Shiva and Hanuman. His parents, Shri Bissoon Dyal
                                                               and Shrimati Rewati were dedicated to religion and music
                                                               and their children were exposed to Tulsidas Ramayana from
                                                               a very young age. They maintained strict discipline and
                                                               children were brought up to respect elders. Truthfulness
                                                               was the family motto.

Mandir sthapana                                                Bankim Ji came to London in 1970 to pursue his account-
                                                               ancy studies. He married Kumari Umesh on a visit back to
In 2002, the current Murtis had their Praanpratishtha. It      Guyana in 1976. He was keen to find a Hindu organisation
was a grand occasion in which eleven learned Pandits           and luckily a friend introduced him to Caribbean Hindu
came from UK and India, all due to the encouragement and       Society (CHS) in Brixton in 1971. CHS was the only acces-
support of Param Pujya Swami Gopal Sharan Ji Maharaj.          sible Hindu Society and also the oldest Hindu organisation
Seven years earlier in 1993, Bankim Ji and Rameshji met        in UK.
Swami Gopal Sharan from Golok Dham Ashram in India.
When Swamiji had learnt that money was being raised for        Shri Ramesh Charan was born in Kitty, Georgetown. His
a Mandir, he unhesitatingly offered to arrange for the         parents Shri Haricharan and Shrimati Subhagia were ded-
Murtis and Praanpratishtha.                                    icated Hindus. His family was a normal religious family
                                                               that lived only five minutes from Rama Krishna Mandir. As
Hindi and Music classes were already being held in             a very young boy he used to attend Pujas and Yajnas with
Beckenham until relocation in Tooting. There was a ready-      his mother. She was part of a group of ladies who used to
made class of the children of devotees. Sunil, Arun, Davina,   sing and she played the dholak in religious functions.
Priya, Tia, Navisha, Nilesh etc. were all keen students of
Hindi and Music. Their progression from Satsang to class-      Rameshji was automatically drawn to the Mandir that was
es was instinctive and natural.                                attached to his school, Rama Krishna School.

Bankim Ji and Ramesh Ji started teaching Music and Hindi       After Secondary School, Rameshji completed his Teacher
lessons were given by Shri Beni Singh in Beckenham. Shri       Training and started teaching at his own Rama Krishna
Ved Mohla took over the running of the Hindi classes in        School. He started a Culture Group, of which he was the
Tooting Scouts Hall. The name change seemed a natural          Chairman
progression as classes continue in Hindi and Sanskrit at
many levels, tabla, harmonium and vocal music at Maha          Ramesh Ji decided to come to London in June 1978 to meet
Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan (MLVB).                                   up with his College mate Kumari Taramatie, whom he later
                                                               married in August 1978. He felt fortunate as Taraji’s moth-
                                                               er was very religious and conducted daily Puja in the home.
                                                               Ramesh Ji was introduced to the Caribbean Hindu Society,
Shri Bankim Gossai Ji and Shri Ramesh Charan Ji
                                                               CHS in Brixton by an Englishman whom he had met in
The two anchors of Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan were des-         Guyana. Two weeks later Ramesh Ji saw Bankim Ji at CHS
tined to meet, not in their home towns but thousands of        and mistook him for his younger brother Prakash Ji, whom

22 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
he knew from Guyana. He is the same Prakash Ji who has
honoured our MLVB by his visits during Ramayana Yagna.

Bankim Ji and Rameshji met in 1978 in CHS in Brixton.
Music was also instrumental in bringing them together.
One sang, the other played the dholak. They joined to teach
music and bonded so well that they started going to Poojas
together. Devotees recognised their musical talents and
devotional rendering of Bhajans and they started getting
invitations to homes for Pooja. They became so popular,           Chandrama
hosts checked their availability before organising the
Purohit for Pooja. Neither took any money from these Pooja.
All the Dakshna and Aarti collection was put in an account,
that later was used as a basis for the building fund.
                                                                 “You have a vision for your
During the life span of the Satsang money was raised for
many causes dear to both in their own homeland e.g. for          business. It’s a look, a feel, a
the elderly in Guyana. Five hundred copies of Raamcharit        certain style. We have created
Manas were sent to Guyana for free distribution to Mandirs       a unique company to bring
to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Indian arrival in
Guyana. They also supported other organisations like                  that vision to life”.
London Seva Ashram Sangha and Greenwich Hindu Mandir.

A major innovative project was undertaken that had never
                                                                 Project Management
been done before. MLVB commissioned a Romanised ver-             Architectural Joinery
sion of the Raamcharit Manas with English meanings; this
enabled many who could not read Hindi to chant the                   Consultancy
Ramayana from the Romanised text.

Ten thousand copies of the Hanuman Chalisa were translit-
                                                                   Chandrama offers you a
erated in English and distributed free worldwide. It can only   complete professional solution
be due to the glory of the Lord and kindness of a devotee,       to your refit, from inception
that to this day it is not known who paid for the printing of
the Hanuman Chalisas.
                                                                       to completion.

May the Family of Mahakahshmi Vidya Bhavan continue the                    Contact us
causes of Shri Sanatan Dharma for generations to come.
                                                                      47 St. Oswalds Road
                                                                            SW16 3SA

                                                                         020 8765 1568
                                                                         020 8765 1562

Local Community Police at Sunday Morning Satsang

                                                                                1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE   23
An appreciation…
From the Board of
Trustees of MLVB
                                                                          Shri Zainool Ally – “Uncle Zai”

One who is in search of doing ‘seva’ or service to God, is very dear to God and such a person can be
safely described as a good person. His unfailing attendance at our Mandir to clean and prepare the
temple for use is his daily Pooja. The saying, “Let my actions be my Pooja or worship” is Shri Zainool
Ally’s guiding principle in life and indeed the ‘paramsevak’ of MLVB.

A calm and composed individual with many years of experience in dealing with Temples and Mosques,
Uncle Zainool has now attracted the hearts of hundreds of people, for his dedication and service to
MLVB and the community at large.

In 1999, when our Mandir was acquired, he made his debut serving, by secretly tidying the outside of
the Mandir. A daily early morning washing-down of the concrete around the building was his first
Mandir-seva for the day. No one knew that it was Uncle Zainool who was responsible for the sparkling
surroundings of the Mandir until months later when it was discovered.

Uncle Zai became the Mandir’s caretaker in every sense of the word and his love and passion grew
unceasingly, for the community role of the temple. His time keeping and care for his Mandir is beyond
anyone’s ability to accurately describe.

His regular multi-visit each day at the Mandir is of great importance and comfort for us all and in
particular the trustees (past and present), all of whom are eternally grateful to this wonderful
personality who serves selflessly and without any motive whatsoever.
Shri Zainool Ji in his exemplary character of kindness, willingness and love for what he does for MLVB,
is a testimony of our Mandir’s progress, attraction and principle, where everyone is given the
opportunity to serve in many ways.

How then does Mrs Ameana Ally deal with it all? She explained to us some years ago, “I love Zai very
much for his friendliness and compassion. As far as his seva for the Mandir is concerned, I can simply
say the temple is his first love, interest and source of his energy.”

We extend our grateful thanks to both Ameana and Zainool Ji and pray for their good health and

                                                                           1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE         25
                              MLVB in

28 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
n Action

           1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE   29
                              MLVB in Action

The Law in our hands

30 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
     Why I like coming to MLVB Mandir….

Arushi K Sandhu                                            Varun Singh
Age 5                                                      Age 6

I love going to the Mandir because Gossai Ji lets me sit   I like the Gods because they are good people and they
on the stage and pray with him and he calls me his         are strong. The best Gods I think are Rama, Krishna,
Saraswatie.                                                Hanuman, Lakshmi and Shiva.

I also love eating the Prasaadam.
                                                           Aanandita Saxena
                                                           Age 6

Bhavina Singh
Age 6

I have been coming to the temple since I was a baby.

The temple is fun because there are lots of other
children there.

I like learning the prayers and listening to the music.    My Mandir

I am also learning Hindi..                                 I love my Mandir.
                                                           I like doing Pooja and Aarti.
                                                           I like Bhagvanjis, like Ganeshji, Hanumaanji,
                                                           Ram and Sitaji.
Rahul Brahmbhatt                                           My favourite God is Krishnaji.
Age 9
                                                           I like the songs, especially Maa Teri Mam Ta.
I like to come to the temple because there is a lot of     I like singing songs with everyone together.
interesting stuff to do and lots of prayers and music.
And I like summer camp and the concert and the             I like the whole Mandir.
show as I get to play a part. On Fridays I learn to play   I like the two Pandit Babas.
the tabla.                                                 It’s fun.

I also like helping out with sharing Prasadam and          I love being the youngest patron.
other little tasks. All children are encouraged to get
involved with the activities of the temple.
                                                           Om Goswamy
                                                           Age 5

                                                           I love the singing and prayers at the mandir,
Shivani Singh
                                                           especially the drums.
Age 11
                                                           The food is always yummy, and I like sitting with
Everyone always remembers me, and they are kind
                                                           my Nani and the beautiful statues of the Gods and
and warm.

                                                                                 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE      31
  Rahul Soma
  Age 8

  The things I like about the mandir are all the pictures                               Brahmachari
  on the walls because I like the bright colours and the
  colourful patterns. I also enjoy listening to the tabla                               Vrajvihari Sharan ~
  because I like the tunes that go with all the prayers.                                Vijay ~
  It makes me feel very happy when I go to the
  mandir – everyone is very kind to me.
                                                            “It was the first time for
                                                            many that we saw an actual Vedic Yagna with
                                                            more than 11 Brahmanas under the leadership
  Kabir Soma                                                of a God-realised Sadguru”.
  Age 10
                                                            Shri Radha Golokaviharine Namo Namah.
  There are a range of features that I like about the
                                                            Bhagavate Shri Nimbarkacharyaya Namo Namah.
  mandir for many different reasons. Mr Gossai Ji is one    Shri Sadgurucharanakamalebhyo Namo Namah.
  of my main favourites as I find him very kind and
  respectful towards me and others. When I am sitting
  in the mandir I always feel very calm and at peace.
  I enjoy all the prayers, songs and music which make       I was 13 years old when the Gracious Lord blessed me by
  me feel very happy.                                       introducing me to Shri Bankim Gossai Ji and Maha
                                                            Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan. It was an organisation at the
                                                            brink of maturation - at that time we all attended
                                                            Satsang at various venues until 1999 when the new
                                                            Mandir premises was acquired.
  Zara Kamrudeen
  Age 12                                                    The Radhashtami of 2002 was an important year for us
                                                            all, as the Lord chose to reside in our midst at Maha
  I like to come to the temple because I learn              Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan in a form in which we could all
  interesting things about our religion and its fun.        easily approach and serve. All of these are wondrous
                                                            achievements and are a testament to the hard-work,
  I enjoy the music and I also like the summer camps        faith and devotion of all the devotees who have supported
  and the concerts are fun and very active because we       Shri Bankim Gossai Ji and Shri Ramesh Charan Ji's
  do dances and we all have a part.                         initiatives with Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan.

  I enjoy coming and participating in playing the           I am most thankful, however for the opportunity to learn,
  harmonium and helping out with little tasks like          improve and practice in the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan.
  giving all the devotees Chandan at Sunday Morning         Shri Gossai Ji worked extremely hard to provide classes in
  Satsang.                                                  the Mandir, and in the true spirit of service, he and many
                                                            others gave up their time to teach us regularly through
                                                            organised classes. It is this quality present in the
                                                            leadership of the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan that has
                                                            enabled it to reach the hearts of the thousands since its
                                                            inception in 1982. It is through the Grace of the Lord that
                                                            Shri Bankim Gossai Ji enabled all the devotees and I to
                                                            meet an enlightened soul who was to become my
                                                            Sadguru Dev at the Praan Pratishtha that was celebrated
                                                            in 2002.

                                                            All of the Vedic splendour that was there for all to see
POSERS!!! – MLVB Youths                                     was an experience that is embedded in my heart. After
32 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
more than 160 years since Hindus left India for the West      very big family. Because that is how we remember the
Indies, this was one moment in time facilitated by Shri       atmosphere, everyone was like one big happy family.
Gossai Ji and all the devotees that the Vedic values that
we took and nurtured in the West Indies finally fructified.   Our father, Shri Ramesh Charan and Shri Bankim Gossai
It was the first time for many that we saw an actual Vedic    (Uncle Banks, as he is fondly known) along with many
Yagna with more than 11 Brahmanas under the                   others like Shri Jaichand Dyal (Chach or Uncle Chach as
leadership of a God-realised Sadguru.                         some people call him, because many people think his
                                                              name is “Chach”), Shri Chandramohun Tacouri (Uncle
On this 25th anniversary year of the Maha Lakshmi Vidya       Tac), Shri Chan & Beni Singh (Uncle Chan & Uncle Beni)
Bhavan, and the 5th anniversary of the Praan Pratishtha,      and many others were some of the founders of our
I pray to the lotus feet of the Vaishnavas, to my             beautiful Satsang.
Sadgurudeva and to the Lord God Shri Radha Golokvihari
Ji Maharaj, that, the MLVB ever increases in its capacity     The teachings from the MLVB provided us with knowledge
to touch the lives of many and spread the word of             and understanding essential for being a Hindu, these
devotion throughout the land. I thank the Lord always in      teachings were important especially as we were growing
my daily prayers for the blessing He showered upon me         up in a Western Society.
when He introduced me to Shri Bankim Gossai and the
wonderful Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan.                          Since the establishment of our Mandir in 1999 we have
                                                              become more involved with the activities of the Mandir
Aspiring Devotee Of Our Vedic heritage                        and are now part of the very vibrant “MLVB Youths”. We
Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan                                 have been involved with the Annual Children’s Concert
~ Vijay ~                                                     which is now in its 15th year, development of the Mandir’s
                                                              website, the Summer Camps and other activities.

                                                              Reflections from Arun:
                                                              I remember taking my first tabla
                                                              lesson from Sunil and Uncle Banks. I

Children of Maha                                              am now able to make use of my
                                                              talent for the benefit of our Mandir
                                                              which has moulded me and given
Lakshmi Satsang                                               me so much. Congratulations and
                                                              Best wishes to our Leaders for giving
By Arun & Priya Charan                                        me such wonderful teachings, here’s
                                                              looking towards our 50th
“We were born into Maha Lakshmi Satsang and                   Anniversary.
we can truly say that we are children of Maha
Lakshmi Satsang”                                              Reflections from Priya:
                                                              I was three years old when I sang in public at the Tooting
                                                              Boys Scout Hall in a concert to raise
One of the first words in our vocabulary was “Satsang”,       funds for our mandir. Being a part of
because as far as we can remember we were always              MLVB provided me with confidence,
attending Satsangs and Pujas with our parents. We can         security, identity and belonging.
say that we “we were born into Maha Lakshmi Satsang
and we can truly say that we are children of Maha             I look forward to being a part of the
Lakshmi Satsang”.                                             celebrations when we celebrate our
                                                              50th Anniversary, as youths of the
It is with pride and honour that we join with so many         Mandir it will be our responsibility to
other children in celebrating the Silver Jubilee of Maha      carry the torch of Shri Sanatan
Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan.                                         Dharma forward and keep the MLVB
                                                              flag flying high.
In the early days we remember being taken to Satsangs at
many different homes of devotees, these devotees became       Big up MLVB!
our Aunties and Uncles, we often wondered, we have got a

                                                                                        1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE      33

             Davina Gossai                                                 Dhenika Narain
                                       “Our Temple’s charm                 “I feel that it is a privilege to be able to come
                                        attracts people from all            to this temple and I love being part if it”
                                        walks of life, adding to
                                        its uniqueness”
                                                                           I first started going to MLVB when I was about 6 years

                                                                           That was years ago, and the temple is still the same
                                                                           lovely, peaceful place it has always been.
             Pranaam to All
                                                                           Over the years I have attended Hindi and Music lessons
             My experience with Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan has              on Sundays which have been very successful. I was
             been one from birth and I have to say that I feel blessed     encouraged by elders to play the harmonium during
             to have been born into such a remarkable organisation.        Sunday morning Satsang which increased my confidence
             Over the years, I have witnessed a small seed blossomed       in playing it a lot.
             into a special and spectacular Hindu organisation,
             especially when reflecting on its humble beginnings and       I also attended the summer camps which were extreme
             the incredible journey that it has undergone.                 fun. During summer camp we did many activities such
                                                                           as yoga, learning how to make Prasad, music. There

             One of MLVB’s aims has been to enlighten young people         were many more days out for the temple such as trips to
             in the community and my memories include many                 Brighton and Neasden Temple.
             sacrifices undertaken in order to do so- from holding
             Ramayana classes in Uncle Tacouri’ s living room to           I also joined the MLVB Youth Group a few years ago, I
             renting numerous premises and endless amounts of              helped to organise days out for the temple to Brighton
             fundraising activities. However there has been lots of fun    and other temples, which was fun.
             and laughter along the way due to the loving community
             spirit of the temple worshippers.                             I have learnt so much from coming to MLVB and been
                                                                           given so many opportunities. I feel that it is a privilege
             Our temple’s charm attracts people from all walks of life,    to be able to come to this temple and I love being part if
             adding to its uniqueness. The community spirit is             it.
             indescribable in words, but looking at what MLVB has

             achieved over the last 25 years demonstrates the hard
             work and dedication of the MLVB family.

             Having visited other temples in the UK, I feel that
             nothing can compare, especially in terms of the roles
             given to young people in the Hindu community. There is        Dr Richard Motie
             always a place for youngsters to involve in various
             activities. I am grateful for the opportunity given to me     “I have made many good friends for life
             to serve my religion and community as best as I can            at the Mandir”
             through applying what I have learnt from attending
             MLVB. Not only has MLVB helped me spiritually, but also       My first visit to Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan was in July
             in my everyday life, for which I am forever thankful for. I   2004 and it immediately struck me as a very warm and

             am proud to be able to say that I have grown up               spiritual place.
             alongside what is, in my opinion, a treasure within the
             Hindu world today.                                            I was made to feel very welcome and quickly felt like part
                                                                           of the collective MLVB family. The Mandir is foremost a
                                                                           place of worship but it also provides a centre for
                                                                           teaching and education where the youths are encouraged
                                                                           to participate and develop.
             34 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
                                                                                                                               MLVB YOUTH
I have to say that the Mandir has an energy which
resonates through the devotees and you leave there
                                                               Dr Karina Gopaul
feeling recharged and ready to face life's obstacles.
                                                               “I am so proud to be part of this community
My own personal experience is that I have spiritually           and hope that now I can shift my focus to
benefited greatly over the last three years, I have made        giving rather than receiving”
many good friends for life at the Mandir, and it has
helped me to develop as an individual and focus my             In my mind, MLVB is synonymous with love, peace and
energy positively.                                             strength.

                                                                                                                               MLVB YOUTH
                                                               A few years ago, my mother asked me if would like to go
                                                               to a Mandir one Sunday morning. After umming and
                                                               erring for a bit, I reluctantly agreed to go. I had a million
                                                               and one things to do…essays to write… textbooks
                                                               gathering dust. Besides, my experience of other Mandirs
Nadeem Zabib                                                   had left me a bit disgruntled. Why can’t we bring fruits
Deemo                                                          and incense? Why can’t we do our own Pooja? Why is
Devotee of the Year 2006                                       everyone looking at us strangely?!

                                                               I was stunned into silence as my gaze fell on the Murtis
              “It is like a home, away
                                                               at the MLVB Mandir. The emptiness and darkness that
               from home”

                                                                                                                               MLVB YOUTH
                                                               had pervaded my mind slowly lifted away and in its
                                                               place there was light and peace. I had stopped
               I have been attending MLVB Temple for           searching.
               many years. What stands out significantly
               is how everyone is treated with respect.        Years later, with the guidance of my Guruji, that light
Attending the Summer Camp at the temple was like a             has only burnt brighter, giving me spiritual strength and
spiritual path to enlightenment. Summer Camp was very          focus that I apply on a daily basis. More importantly, the
enjoyable, everyone spent time together and involved           Mandir is a place of love for each other and the
themselves with all the activities. Amongst the learning,      community. The Youth Group is an extension of this. From
there were also activities such as Yoga, stick fighting,       concerts to camps it has been truly enjoyable and
learning prayers and singing Chowtaal, which was great.        something I’ll always look forward to. I am so proud to be
It is like a home, away from home. Everybody enjoyed           part of this community and hope that now I can shift my
themselves, and it showed, from the smiles of the              focus to giving rather than receiving.

                                                                                                                               MLVB YOUTH

Being at the temple has a heavy influence on me, it
makes me want to get more involved. All the youths are
given the chance by Shri Ramesh Ji and Shri Bankim Ji to
stage the Annual Charity Concert from start to finish.
Like all the other youths, I feel very privileged to play
such an important role within the temple.                      Sanjive Sachdev
To be nominated “The Devotee of the Year” was very
special to me. It was a very prestigious honour to be          “When you walk into the temple, people are
associated with something like that. I would rank it,           always so happy to welcome you and offer
                                                                                                                               MLVB YOUTH

amongst some of my top achievements in life. It is              you any support you may need”
something I will truly remember, for years to come. I am
                                                               The Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan has been a great
proud to be connected with something so divine. The
                                                               support, guide and inspiration to me on my spiritual
certificate sits very proudly in its frame, in my room. It’s
                                                               journey. The Mandir is a very special place to me, having
something I see everyday, and it reminds me of a very
                                                               some unique qualities about it.
special moment in my life.
                                                                                        1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE         35

             The devotees, the teachers, the environment are all so        I want to stay in this revelation of love that produces the
             open and loving. When you walk into the temple, people        most immense glow at our mandir. I want to stay under
             are always so happy to welcome you and offer you any          His unbelievable might and protection here and I invite
             support you may need.                                         all of His children to happily share in this path Home
                                                                           with us. Believe that MLVB is a truly blessed home and
             Most of all, and by far the greatest quality of the temple,   that God joyfully resides there! Come and meet Him for
             there is an intense love for the Lord, and you can see it     HIS Darshan!
             in the smiles of all around.
                                                                           May our Shree Krishna’s bliss shine through us and to all

             I offer my sincere thanks and pranaams to all the             those we encounter. At the highlight of this year-long
             teachers of MLVB. May you continue to serve the               celebration, Deepavali, may our dear, ever-graceful and
             community and touch the hearts of many as you did me!         ever-watchful Mother Lakshmi illuminate our minds and
                                                                           our hearts for Divine success throughout our loves.
             In HIS service, with Prem and OM – Sanjive.
                                                                           Always at His feet

                                                                           Sunil Gossai.

             Sunil Gossai

                         “Believe that MLVB is a truly
                          blessed home and that God                        Vimla Narain
                          joyfully resides there”
                                                                           “…. knowing that these are the children of
                                                                               MLVB makes me feel happy and proud”
             Our Dear Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan
             Congratulations to all, on our 25th anniversary. We           I am honoured to be a part of the Maha Lakshmi Vidya
             deserve to celebrate and truly enjoy this anniversary in a    Bhavan Mandir as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
             rich and powerful way as a mark of the success of all of
             the trials we have gone through to get where we are           Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan has grown tremendously
             today with our ‘home' and as a show of determination          over the years and has offered a lot not only to the local

             and fortitude for the rest of our lives.                      community but also organisations worldwide. I have
                                                                           attended Music, Hindi, Bhagavat Gita, Vedanta, and
             MLVB has given support and encouragement beyond the           Yoga classes, which are some of the many opportunities
             highest measure to humbly push the youngsters of our          given by MLVB. I have found them all truly gratifying
             society into positions of trust and recognition, which we     experiences and have walked away each time feeling
             might have only dreamt of. We, the youths and children,       that I have learnt something worthwhile. I have also had
             are eternally grateful for such inspired guidance.            the experience of attending fundraising concerts to help
                                                                           charities such as ‘Kid’s First Fund’ in Guyana.
             Many of us question ourselves as to why we might be
             here and as to what is our purpose on Mother Earth. It is     One of the very enjoyable experiences I feel that I have
             a very innate question, yet we may never know the one         had at MLVB is the Summer Camp. Here, children
             true answer to it in this birth. However, the feeling at      (mostly) from the age of five take part in games,

             heart of knowing you are doing something right and            recitations of the Bhagavat Geeta, singing, playing
             even more powerful, that you are heading towards that         instruments, yoga and other fun activities. The camp
             very answer to our ‘Home’ is one that is very rare. Those     also goes on outings to places such as the ‘Hare Krishna
             reading this should know that they are blessed to             Mandir’. I found this experience enjoyable with all the
             experience this regular spiritual intoxication of our         children having fun in an atmosphere where they were
             Mandir. Indeed, like desert creatures we crave for more       able to really learn and understand things and take
             and more of His love.                                         home new abilities that they had learnt.

             36 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
                                                                                                                          MLVB YOUTH
The best experience I feel that I have had the opportunity    which enhances our prayer reciting and devotional
to take part in is the Annual Children’s Concert, which       development.
takes place every year around Christmas time. In this
concert children of all ages (ranging from as young as 3      I believe my achievements have really shown through my
years, to 25 years old), take part in singing, dancing,       devotion and part taking in doing seva for the temple,
plays, poetry and musical instrument recitals…but to          such as Murti clothes changing and helping around the
name a few. I find this experience really amazing as you      temple. After taking part in our yearly Saraswati Pooja,
see such a range of children with a vast amount of            all the children of the temple always achieve higher
different abilities and talents and knowing that these are    grades as a result of our dedication and love to our

                                                                                                                          MLVB YOUTH
the children of MLVB makes me feel happy and proud.           religion.

                                                              MLVB has taught me to appreciate people from different
                                                              backgrounds. MLVB is unique as there is no other
                                                              temple that offers youths to view their own opinion and a
                                                              chance to develop.

Kimi Dial
                “Being a part of the Youth Group
                 encourages me to recognisee
                 my religion and be
                                                              Avinash Stubbs

                                                                                                                          MLVB YOUTH
                 proud of it”
I first started going to MLVB at the age of six. My sister                “What can I say about MLVB Mandir
and I began singing and Hindi classes. We were always                      other than it’s a geat place to go!”
excited to go to these classes and temple, as there were
children from my own background and age that I could
have easily identified with. I am now a profound member                   Seeta Raam
of the MLVB Youths.
                                                              My name is Avinash Stubbs and I have been going to
Being a part of the youth group encourages me to              Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan from a very early age.
recognise my religion and be proud of it. In the past I
joined in a protest against Mileni shoes for printing         What can I say about MLVB Mandir other than it’s a great

                                                                                                                          MLVB YOUTH
pictures of Shree Ram. We stood up to what we knew was        place to go! People from all walks of life (including
right from the teachings from MLVB.                           accountants, students, civil servants) and different
                                                              nationalities (including Guyanese, Trinidadians, Indians,
I am proud of being part of the youth group as it gives       Ghanaians and British) all find a warm welcome,
me a chance to expand my learning curve. We take the          normally in the form of my Guru Bankim Gossai Ji or
responsibility in organising fundraisers such as              Pandit Ramesh Charan Ji.
children’s concert. This has boosted my confidence and
made me more open to challenges. MLVB is not only a           Through my association with MLVB I have had the
place of worship but also encourages families and             opportunity to visit many different Mandirs where I have
communities to engage in social gatherings, for               often witnessed the Priest speak in Hindi or Sanskrit
examples Children’s Concerts and the Annual Fund              throughout, without considering whether their audience
Raising Dinner.                                               understands what is being said to them.
                                                                                                                          MLVB YOUTH

Summer camp is always the highlight of the summer,            At the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan we are more
packed with activities and lots of learning. We are           fortunate as our elders recognise that not everyone
privileged to go to trips like Watford temple and             understands these languages and they take the time to
Brighton. It is a chance for the youths to all get together   explain the texts to us in plain English. They also make
and enjoy what MLVB has to offer. We are always blessed       language classes available to those who wish to learn
to have a Swami present during our summer camp,               the languages of our forefathers                   ➡➡
                                                                                     1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE       37

             Over the course of a year the MLVB hosts a wide
             selection of activities focused around our religious
             calendar. These are both educational and fun including        Message from
             my personal favourite celebration – Holi, which my Dad
             and I take very seriously (stocking up on large amounts
                                                                           Arun Gossai
             of coloured powder ready for the occasion). And then of       Bhuvaneshwar Mandir, New York, USA
             course there is the Summer Camp. At the Summer Camp
             we learn about the different deities, an art or even get
             the opportunity to visit local places of interest.                               Jai Shri Raam

             Over the last few years the MLVB has taught me much          On behalf of the youths of Bhuvaneshwar Mandir of
             about my faith as well as both yoga and stick fighting!         Queens, New York, I would like to wish Maha
             The MLVB is truly a great and enjoyable place to go to         Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan of London, England the
             worship to which all are welcome.                                heartiest of congratulations on their 25th

                                                                          It is written in the Ramayana, “Binu Satsang bibek
                                                                          na hoyee, Raam kripaa binu sulabh na soyee”. It is
                                                                             only through Satsang that the precious lessons
             Amber Rungoo                                                 from our scriptures are given and understood. Also,
                                                                           it is through the Lord’s grace that we are afforded

             “The highlights of my two years at MLVB were                  the opportunity to associate ourselves with such a
              the summer camps”                                            learning environment and to be part and parcel of
                                                                                         a place we can call home.
             The first time I went to Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan was
             for Holi in 2005. When I entered the temple everyone was
                                                                          For twenty-five years, MLVB has been a place where
             celebrating Holi with great enthusiasm and joy which
                                                                            anyone can go and learn about their Dharma or
             made me want to go there again and again.
                                                                            purpose in life. The environment itself is always
             Gradually I started attending the temple on Sundays and       attractive and spiritually charged with Prarthna,
             became a member of the Youth Group. I also attend Hindi        Kirtans, and Bhajans. It is a place where people
             classes taught by Ved Ji after the Satsang in the morning.       of all backgrounds can pray together as one
             This really helped me to improve my knowledge of the                 huge family in an attempt to surface

             Hindi language                                                                Divinity from within.

             The youth group helped in the temple with cleaning,          On each visit to Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan I have
             serving Prasadam, decorating the temple and                   always felt spiritually richer. I have not only learnt
             participating in fundraising events. My role in the youth     a great deal from my dear Chachaji, Shri Bankim
             group was not a big one as I have only been there            Ji, but I have also learnt valuable life lessons from
             occasionally.                                                   everyone I came into contact with whilst there.
             The highlights of my two years at MLVB were the summer
             camps. As a group we did many activities including             MLVB is a place that I hold dear in my heart and
             making Prasadam, reading scriptures as well as playing           will always be a place that I look forward to
             football.                                                     visiting. I would like to congratulate the members
                                                                              of MLVB for their hard work over the years to

             Bankim Gossai Ji helped me in the presentation and            maintain such a wonderful institution of learning.
             debates about Hinduism in college and other religious
             issues around us who I thank very much for his help and             May the Divine Blessings of Sri Raam
             guidance.                                                                   be with one and all.
             Coming to MLVB has been, is and will continue to be an
                                                                                             Jai Shri Raam!
             unforgettable experience for me.

             38 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE   39
 By Sunil Gossai

 Any gift or food that is distributed to devotees or worshippers after it has been offered ceremonially to God or a Saintly
 person is known as Prasad. Prasad is considered the Lord’s gift to His devotees and its receipt is regarded a bless-

 Whatever the Lord gives to us can be considered as Prasadam. He has given us so much Prasad!

 But what are the Lord’s gifts? Anything we as creatures cannot directly create ourselves must be considered gifts of
 the Creator. Thus we can view our bodies and all varieties of creatures as well the world itself as gifts arising from
 the Creators graciousness. And, although we may decide what actions to take, under certain circumstances, the con-
 sequences of those actions are not ours to command. Whatever comes of these actions comes from the controller and
 the welder of the laws that governs life - The Creator Himself. So it is the Lord who distributes the deserved results
 of all thoughts, words and deeds.

 When devotees come to recognise the entire world of inner and outer experiences as only the Lord’s gifts, then such
 a vision brings a secure tranquillity. This peace of mind is another form of Prasad. With such peace of mind and con-
 tentment with everything, the devotee finds upliftment, good humour, brightness and inspiration in living. The very
 attitude of an all-accepting mind is a blessing itself. It is the Lord’s grace shining through the receptive mind.

 When we offer worshipful service to the Lord in all our activities, and recognise everything around us as His gifts, He
 blesses us with clear inspiration and deep tranquillity - His Prasadam.

 Finally we would like to humbly request everyone to please take your Prasadam home on all occasions and share it
 with neighbours and friends or even work mates. Of the many places we have had the opportunity of visiting; we have
 experienced devotees leaving their Prasad behind. How could this ever be tolerated in our society? What ever has been
 offered to and granted by God, let us accept it with faith! Hold on to it tightly! It is also not only disheartening for
 the devotee who made the Prasadam, to witness such a degrading act, but it is also a rejection of God’s grace and
 love for us.

 Let us remember, God has given us so much, there is little with which to repay him with except with our love and
                                                                 Do not leave behind what the Lord has given you

      Summer Camp 2006, Bhakti Vedanta Manor

40 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
                         GROCERY STORE
                         By Avinash Stubbs

As I was walking down life's highway many years ago I came upon a sign that read:

                                        “HEAVEN’S GROCERY STORE”
When I got a little closer the doors swung open wide and when I came to myself I was standing inside. I saw a host
of angels. They were standing everywhere, one handed me a basket and said "My child shop with care”.

                         Everything a human needed was in that grocery store and
                         what you could not carry you could come back for more

                         First I got some Patience. Love was in that same row
                         Further down was Understanding, you need that everywhere you go
                         I got a box or two of Wisdom and Faith a bag or two
                         And Charity of course I would need some of that too

                         I couldn't miss Peace; it was all over the place
                         And then some Strength and Courage to help me run this race
                         My basket was getting full but I remembered I needed Grace,
                         and then I chose Salvation for Salvation was for free
                         I tried to get enough of that to do for you and me

                         Then I started to the counter to pay my grocery bill,
                         for I thought I had everything to do the Master’s will
                         As I went up the aisle I saw Prayer and put that in,
                         for I knew when I stepped outside I would run into sin
                         Peace and Joy were plentiful, the last things on the shelf
                         Song and Praise were hanging near so I just helped myself
                         Then I said to the angel "Now how much do I owe?"

                         He smiled and said "Just take them everywhere you go"
                         Again I asked "Really now, How much do I owe?"
                         "My child" he said, "God paid your bill a long long time ago"

  Learning and teaching are players in the same game. If either one stops,
 everything becomes heavy and ceases to be fun. Learning is the reward for
         respecting life and teaching is the fruit of experiencing life.

                                                                                      1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE       41
 By Davina Gossai

Between 28th July and 31st August 2003, Maha Lakshmi
Vidya Bhavan held its first summer camp for both youths
and adults. The camp was conducted by Swami
Pushkarananda of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha
(Toronto, Canada) and Mrs Geeta Maraj, a professional
Yoga instructor, also from Toronto, Canada.

The five days consisted of a wide range of activities such
as, Yoga, with evening classes held especially for adults,
                                                                Youths doing Yoga stretches
stick fighting and the learning and recitation of a
selection of verses taken from the Srimad Bhagwad Gita.
                                                                Swami Pushkarananda was our teacher and guide for the
                                                                classes in the Gita. Everyday we were taught a new verse
The camp began at 10am each morning, commencing                 from the Srimad Bhagwad Gita. Being such a dedicated
with prayers and kirtan, shortly followed by a session of       teacher, Swami Ji ensured that we perfected the
Yoga, in preparation for the day ahead. Each class began        pronunciation of the verses and helped us to memorise
with breathing exercises, as we learnt about the                them in such a short space of time. Swami Ji then
importance of our breath; the way we breathe and its            presented an explanation of each verse, ensuring that we
significance in the way it affects both our mind and            could see their relevance and, therefore, be far more
bodies.                                                         appreciative of their significance.
All yoga postures, or asanas, were preceded by stretching,
completing the preparation of our bodies, before taking
off in full flight into the yoga sessions. The first asana of
Yoga that we were taught was the Surya Namaskar,
otherwise known as the Sun Salutation. The importance of
this routine was emphasized as, each day, we began with
this particular asana, enabling ourselves to benefit from
an entire bodily workout. We were introduced to a variety
of postures that applied to the activities we come across
in our everyday lives, particularly as students. For
instance, postures such as Arjuna’s pose and the Warrior               Swami Pushkarananda demonstrating stick fighting techniques
pose, which help to improve concentration.
                                                                The youngsters were given the opportunity to air their
The Yoga sessions were spectacular and attracted both           views in open forums, where all were invited to take part
young and old. Most of us were exposed to this art for the      in question and answer sessions with Swami Ji and
first time, however, an interest has now been sparked, all      conduct presentations on topics of personal interest to
due to a great yoga instructor – Geeta Ji.                      debate amongst the group.

42 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
We were also blessed to be entertained by Swami Ji’s
talent in stick fighting, as he continuously amazed us
with his demonstrations throughout the week. We were
                                                                             My Beautiful
fortunate to have these lessons in self-defence passed
onto us as the days concluded with heated duels between
                                                                             Temple – By Ria Dial
the children!
                                                                             Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan led by our greatest
                                                                             Shri Bankim Gossai Ji and Pandit Ramesh Charan.

                                                                             They travel from north, south, east and west, and
                                                                             always produce their very best.

                                                                             A temple of devotion, love and unity.
                                                                             With dedicated members like Chach, Uncle Sam,
                                                                             Uncle Tacouri & Aunty Sulsie.
    The ‘Heated Duels’ at the Monthly Satsang                                A place where love, stress release and satisfaction
                                                                             is guaranteed.
The final day of the camp was filled with fun and games                      You are always sure to be given some Prasad,
and competitions. The two major competitions were for                        bhojan, or even a cup of tea!
Gita recitation and demonstrating the Surya Namaskar.
Nalini Ramnarace, Dhineka Narain and Rahul Pankhania                         To share and partake in this divine heaven,
won the trophies for the Gita recitation and the Yoga                        spread the word from deep in your heart.
champions were Tia Ward, Sunil Gossai and Dhineka
                                                                             Say it proudly that I am a member and I
                                                                             am a part!

                                                                             May Bhagwan Ram bless Maha Lakshmi
                                                                             Vidya Bhavan.

                                                                             Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan Ki Jai.

    The winners of the Surya Yoga Competition with the Teachers
    (Left to Right) Sunil Gossai, Geeta Maraj, Tia Ward, Swami Ji, Dhineka
    Narain and Shri Bankim Gossai Ji

The trophies were presented to the winners at the monthly
Satsang in August, along with certificates for all those
who attended the camp. The Satsang gave the youths an
opportunity to display to everyone what they had learned
at the camp.

The camp was extremely successful and was enjoyed by
both adults and youngsters. We were all very fortunate to
have been given the opportunity to attend such a
fantastic camp, filled with elements of fun & laughter, yet
proving to be highly beneficial, particularly for youngsters
living in today’s society. As we are increasingly exposed to
such events and activities, we are undoubtedly being
given a point in the right direction to becoming more
involved in our wonderful religion and glorious culture.

                                                                                                  1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE       43
a fun, illustrated alphabet designed as twenty-six mini-lessons on Hindu thought and culture

A     is for Aum, the three-syllable mantra that represents the Sacred Mystery in sound and vibration.

B      is for Bhakti, deep devotion and love for the Divine which softens even hearts of stone.

C     is for Culture, the beauty of Hindu music, fine arts, drama, dance, literature and architecture.

D     is for Dharma, which is righteousness, cosmic order and duty, leading us on the right path.

E     is for Earth, our lovely blue planet, which we treat as sacred, protecting all its wonderful creatures.

F     is for Family, the precious cornerstone of Hindu life, culture, service and tradition.

G     is for Guru, our enlightened master who, knowing Truth himself, can guide us there.

H     is for Hatha yoga, healthful physical science for vitality, energy balancing and meditation.

I     is for India, Bharata, Mother Land to one-sixth of humanity, holy land for Hindus everywhere.

J     is for Japa, repetitive, prayerful mantras which quiet emotion and empower the mind.

K     is for Karma, the law of cause and effect by which we determine our experience and destiny.

L     is for Lotus, the heart's inner shrine, where God dwells, ever serene, ever perfect.

M     is for Mauna, not talking, the inner silence known when words, thoughts and actions are stilled.

N     is for Non-attachment, the art of living the simple life, without too many needs or desires.

O     is for Open mindedness, the Hindu's tolerant freedom of thought, inquiry and belief.

P     is for Puja, mystic worship of the Divine in our home shrine and holy temples and places.

Q     is for Quest, seeking to know, "Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?"

R     is for Reincarnation, our immortal soul's journey from birth to rebirth. We do not fear death.

S     is for Samskaras, sacraments sanctifying life's passages: name-giving, marriage, death and more.

T     is for Tilaka, forehead marks worn in honor of our unique and varied lineages.

U     is for Utsav, our many home and temple festivals, full of Bhakti, fun, feasting and family sharing.

V     is for Vedas, our oldest and holiest book, the word of God recorded in 100,000 Sanskrit verses.

W     is for Wealth (artha), one of life's four goals, along with love, dharma and enlightenment.

X     is for Xerophily, the ability of certain plants and animals to thrive in India's hot, arid plains.

Y     is for Yoga, union of the soul with God which brings release from worldly bondage.

Z     is for Zeal, the fervor with which we perform service, go on pilgrimage and greet our holy religious leaders.

44 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
Bankim Chand Gossai, UK Guyanese
Honoured by the Queen with an MBE
In Her Majesty’s Queen Elizabeth birthday honours announced on 14 June 2003, UK based
Guyanese Shri Bankim Chand Gossai was awarded an MBE for his services to the Hindu
Community in South London.

Shri Bankim Gossai hails from Handsome Tree in Mahica Creek, Guyana and is the elder
brother of the renowned Prakash Gossai. He attended the Canadian Mission School in his
childhood, and then proceeded to Central High School where he left after passing the Senior
Cambridge Examination. He was a school teacher for five years before leaving Guyana in
1970 for the United Kingdom where he studied and became a Certified Account (FCCA,
MBIM). He was the Finance Director of Arrowcroft Ltd, until his retirement in 2001.

                      Shri Ramesh Charan, Shri Bankim Gossai, Davina and Sunil at Buckingham Palace

Together with Shri Ramesh Charan, another Guyanese who comes from Kitty, Georgetown
they were instrumental in -forming the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan. It is an Institute for the
promotion of Indian Culture and Sanatan Dharma where classes in Hindi, Indian Music,
Yoga, Sanskrit and Hinduism are held. Workshops on Hinduism are also held for the youths.

The Devotees of the MLVB, as the organisation is popularly know comprise of Guyanese,
Trinidadians, Mauritians, Africans, Indians, Fijians and Europeans.

At their Sunday morning Satsang on 15th June 2003, Bankim told the devotees amidst
rapturous applause that this honour, which Her Majesty has bestowed on him, is for all
Hindus, and is a great day for all Hindus.

    There’s great beauty in simplicity. It’s not plainness; however it is plain
      in the sense that words and actions are enacted with great royalty,
                 full awareness and with so much significance.

                                                                                            1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE   45
                   RAAMNAUMI 2005
                   CELEBRATED IN THE
                  HOUSE OF COMMONS

Hundreds of leading politicians came     This was indeed a proud day for
together in central London as the        members of the Maha Lakshmi
House of Commons celebrated the          Vidya Bhavan based in Forest Hill,
Hindu festival of Ramnavami for the      South London as the honour of
first time.                              conducting the spiritual aspect of
                                         the programme was given to them.
At an event backed by the Hindu
Council UK several members of the        The programme was opened with
cabinet, shadow cabinet and the          invocational mantras and prayers to
                                                                                 Pandit Ramesh Charan & Shri
Liberal Democrats party joined a host    Lord Rama by Shri Bankim Gossai,        Chandramohan Tacouri
of dignitaries for the ceremony which    Spiritual Leader of the Maha            conducting Raamnaumi Puja
celebrates the appearance of Lord        Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan. Puja to Lord
Rama. The event was being                Rama was conducted by Pandit
celebrated for the first time ever at    Ramesh Charan, assisted by Shri         To conclude the celebrations the
the Houses of Parliament thanks to       Chandramohan Tacouri of the MLVB.       whole congregation sang the Aarti
the efforts of the Minister for                                                  and universal prayer “Jai Jagdeesh
Transport, Tony McNulty MP, and          Appropriate parts of the                Hare”.
Parliamentary Advisor on Community       Raamcharitmanas were chanted by
Issues and Hindu Council UK advisor,     Shri Gossaiji accompanied by Shri       Ramanavami is observed by over one
Mr. Abhay Lakhani.                       Sunil Gossai on the tabla. The          billion Hindus in the world and is
                                         Members Dining Room was                 rooted in the oldest spiritual
Mr. McNulty, Labour MP for Harrow        transformed into a Mandir and the       tradition. It attracts people of all
East, first called for the festival to   sounds of Rama’s glory reverberated     spiritual cultures and is one of the
be recognized at an event to             throughout.                             most popular celebrations in
celebrate Krishna's birth the                                                    Hinduism. All the Hindu temples in
previous year and has been backed        Dances depicting Rama’s life were       the UK celebrate this festival with
throughout by Mr. Lakhani.               conducted by members of the             drama, dance, music, multi-media
                                         Bharatya Vidya Bhavan.                  shows and exhibitions.
This was a wonderful opportunity for
the British Hindus to have the
festival of Ramanavami celebrated
at the House of Commons where
people of all faiths and communities
participated. It showed the Hindu
community’s resolve to integrate with
the rest of the society. Mr Lakhani
said: "We are pleased to be
celebrating Ramanavami, marking
the birth of Sri Rama, at the Palace
of Westminster”.                                  Shri Sunil Gossai, Shri Bankim Gossai & Pandit Ramesh
                                                  Charan Opening the Raamnaumi Celebrations with Prayers

46 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan
A Centre for Learning
By Ved Mitra Mohla MBE, Head of MLVB Hindi School

                   It is entirely appropriate that the name of the institution we serve
         incorporates the words “Vidya Bhavan” – which means the abode of learning

         I am not referring to a school here. Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan (MLVB) is first and foremost a Temple, a
         Hindu Mandir but with a tremendous difference.
         From the inception, twenty five years ago, the founders did not want it to be just a Mandir, but a place
         where people could attend not only to worship, but also to improve their lives through learning.
         As most of the MLVB’s devotees are of Indian origin, it is only natural for them to cherish a deep desire to
         associate themselves with India and matters related to India. Not only Indian food and clothes interests
         them but they are also attracted towards Indian languages and music; all things Indian have a special
         place in their hearts.
         As Hindi is the National language of India, and the language of most of our forefathers, its teaching was
         carried out in one form or another by MLVB. In the early years classes started in Beckenham by Shri Beni
         Singh Ji, a stalwart of Hindi, here in the UK and Guyana.
         But Hindi teaching really took off in earnest in 1997 when structured, modern teaching methods were
         adopted, where text books written by me were used. Since then Tara Ramduni Ji has been helping me with
         great enthusiasm in conducting regular classes which are held every Sunday from 12.00 noon to 2.00 pm.
         As a result most of the regular students were able to develop their language skills. Students like Sharad
         Sharma, Davina Gossai, Meera Shaunak and Monika Chitakara obtained high grades in their GCSE Hindi
         from Cambridge University. Some students ventured into taking Hindi for their A Level studies. Shivani
         Shaunak was not going to stop at GCSE Hindi; she enrolled herself at SAOS degree course with Sanskrit as a
         core subject. We can only admire her courage and wish her success in her ambitious future plans.
         In 1999 our Hindi School became an Examination Centre for Cambridge University Local Examinations
         Syndicate. Students were able to sit not only for Hindi but languages like Gujarati, Bangala and Malay were
         also available on the syllabus. It is a matter of great pride that our Examination Centre attracted students
         from all parts of London and beyond. Many of the students had been discouraged from taking examinations
         at their normal schools (assuming their failure will have adverse effect on their position in the League
         Tables). They came to MLVB and most of them passed examinations in a variety of subjects. In 2003,
         however, Cambridge University reviewed its policy about Examination Centres and decided to close down all
         small Examination Centres as they were not cost effective. As a result MLVB could not continue to offer its
         service that it provided as an Examination Centre.
         In 2001 great propagator of Sanskrit, Chamu Krishna Shastry came to England as a part of his world tour in
         which he held talks and workshops promoting Sanskrit. For London he chose MLVB as a venue for his
         workshop on the subject ‘How to speak Sanskrit in 10 days’. On participating in the workshop, many of our
         devotees were inspired to learn Sanskrit on regular basis. Soon after Nina Falwell Ji started teaching
         Sanskrit at MLVB, a task which Peter Bouchini Ji has been assisting her for the last four years.
         Our Sanskrit students cannot comprehend the deep philosophy of Geeta as yet but they do recite the Slokas
         beautifully. Several students were successful in GCSE Sanskrit and some continued with A Level.
                                                                                     1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE           47
In the last four years GCSE in Hinduism has become a very popular subject at MLVB. Tara Charan, Saraswati Gobind,
Vedica Persaud, Kewala Doobay, Priya Charan, Vimla and Dhenika Narain and Sujoy Kumar were amongst the pioneers
to get GCSE in this subject. Many more success stories are waiting to be told in this field.
Shri Bankim Gossai Ji and Ramesh Charan Ji have been teaching Music and Tabla for many years. You only have to
listen to recitals from Sunil Gossai and Arun Charan to get the glimpse of the quality of music that is being taught at
MLVB. Many more budding Tabla players are in the pipeline, the youngest being Sanil Ruckhunty and Samuel Ramnath,
aged five!!!!
Since year 2000 UK Hindi Samiti has been organising a competition for Hindi in UK and Europe. Many of our students
like Tia Ward, Avinash Ruckhunty, Sanil Ruckhunty, Dhineka Narain and Vimla Narain have won London & South East
Region prizes. In the category of Senior Students Saraswati Govind and Tara Charan have made us proud by winning top
prizes. But, alas, the greatest of all prizes, being selected to go to India, has eluded us so far. It is a big challenge.
I look forward to the day when one of our students at MLVB wins the top prize and goes to India with students selected
from many countries in Europe.

Nine Forms of                                                  THE FIFTH is to chant My name and have undeviating
                                                               faith in Me. By reciting His name and mantras from the

Devotion                                                       Vedas and offering flowers, fruits, leaves, water or grains
By Shri Bankim Gossai
                                                               THE SIXTH is to control the senses, be good natured, and
                                                               resort to renunciation of worldly objects and following the
Bhagwaan Raam having visited the Ashram of Sage                paths of saints.
Matang was indeed pleased with the love and intense            THE SEVENTH is to perceive My omnipresence in the entire
devotion showed to him and his brother by Shabri. Our          universe and to regard the saints better than Me. By
Lord then narrated the nine forms of devotion (Navdha          seeing God in all, serve all and hate none is the practice
Bhakti) to Shabri, indirectly demonstrating to mankind         of this form of devotion.
the potency and inherent power that rests in such forms
of worship.                                                    THE EIGHTH is contentment, to be satisfied with whatever
                                                               one gets and never to find faults in others.
THE FIRST method is to have the association of saints. By      THE NINTH path of devotion is to deal with all without
keeping such company the devotee becomes absorbed in           deceit and fraud, and be straightforward in all dealings
the hearing of God's name and glories. The mind                in thought, word and deed. Not even in his dreams should
therefore, loses its charm for worldly objects.                a devotee harbour ill will for anyone. The devotee should
THE SECOND is to have love and liking for My divine epic.      be indifferent to pain and pleasure and have implicit
The mind gets rooted in the thoughts of God through the        faith in God always.
study of the scriptures. The devotee does not think of the     Shabri had been blessed with all nine forms of worship
material world that inspires sensual inclinations but          according to our Lord. She was an embodiment of true
loses his likes and dislikes of this mundane world.            love and selflessness, with these forms of worship and
THE THIRD is to serve the lotus feet of the Guru (teacher)     devotion firmly embedded, etched and imprinted in her
in all humility. The ‘‘true’’ Guru being a manifestation of    heart.
God, is the bridge between the devotee and God upon
which the devotee makes his or her path to the abode of                  "JOGI BRIND DURLAB GATI JOEE |
God.                                                                  TO KAHUN AAJOO SULABH BHAIE SOEE"
THE FOURTH is recitation of My glory without deceit. By        "You have attained very easily today, what is not
singing our Lord's name and glory (Keertan & Bhajans)          available to even the ascetics"
the devotee is inspired and thrilled with divine vibrations
and therefore loses himself in the love for God.               RCM Aranya Kaand 35.4

48 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE   49
 By Shri Bankim Gossai

Gowswami Tulsidasji, in his Raamcharitmanas reported          Whatever blessings parents give to a deserving child,
these wonderful words of Bhagwaan Shri Raam as he            it's fruition cannot be denied even by God Himself.
spoke to Ma Kaikeya:
                                                             But should parents always be the ONLY giving source of
“SUNO JANNEE SOYE SUTU BARD BHAGEE JO PITU MATU              love and affection? I present to you, dear devotees, the
BACHAN ANURAAGEE TANAI MATU PITU TOSHNIHARA                  answer to this question as was demonstrated by a great,
DURLABH JANNEE SAKAL SAMSARA”                                dutiful and caring son, SHRAVAN KUMAR (means one who
Listen my mother; blessed is the son who loves to obey        During the reign of Aja (Dasratha's father), there lived a
his parents' commands. A son who thus contents his           boy, Shravan Kumar, who was a Vaish by caste. Both his
mother and father is rare in this world".                    parents Gyanvati and Shantavan had become blind, old
                                                             and weak and were unable to even walk. Shravan Kumar
RCM.Ayod.40.4                                                rendered service to his invalid parents with care,
                                                             sincerity and devotion and he tried to fulfil every wish
The above describes the greatness of one of the many         they would express.
qualities Shri Raam showed to mankind having come on
earth. It is these qualities upon which MAN should           When Shravan Kumar heard that only a pilgrimage to the
pattern his life in order for him to enjoy peace and         seven holy sites would restore his parent’s sight, he
supreme happiness.                                           pledged to carry them on his shoulders. He made a
                                                             contraption of two baskets hanging from a bamboo and
Parents, according to Shri Sanatan Dharma are our            carried them to the places of worship (Tirthas). During the
earthly Gods. It is said:                                    journey, the son would bring kandamool-phala (roots and
                                                             forest fruits) from the forest to feed them, as begging is
"MAATRI DEVO BHAVA                                           prohibited for Kshyatrias (fighters) and Vaishas (traders).
Look upon mother as Divine.                                  Brahmins were allowed to beg for their livelihood, but
PITRI DEVO BHAVA                                             they were expected to spread knowledge in return. Sudras
Look upon Father as Divine".                                 (workers) served the above mentioned two communities.
                                                             During the pilgrimage, Shravan arrived in a forest near
Parents having brought us into being, nurtured us in         Ayodhya. One night his parents felt thirsty and Shravan
times of great difficulties, they also give us all that is   Kumar took an earthen vessel and went to the bank of
necessary towards a happy life. They give to deserving       Saryu to fetch water. At that time Dasratha, who was
children what Bhagwaan Himself cannot deprive them of.       hunting for wild animals heard the sound of the vessel
The poet says:                                               dipping into the water, and mistaking the sound for that
                                                             of thirsty elephants and deers, he aimed an arrow
"MAATA PITAA KAY CHARAN CHUA JO, CHAAR DHAAM                 towards the sound and shot his deadly arrow which
TIRTH PHAL PAAWAY"                                           pierced the chest of Shravan Kumar. Shravan gave out a
                                                             shriek, fell on the ground moaning and dying, leaving his
By touching the feet of parents, honouring their wishes,     old, weak and blind parents helpless and alone in the
children attains the four fruits of Life - ARTH, KAMA,       dark night in the forest.
                                                             Hearing the moaning, Dasratha came running and saw
                                                             the innocent boy clad in the bark of trees, lying in a pool
                                                             of blood on the ground. When Shravan saw the prince, he
                                                             told Dasratha he was a Vaish boy, and had come from far

50 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
off to take his parents on a pilgrimage. He begged him to
take out the arrow as it was giving him severe pains.
The boy then told him that his parents were waiting at
the hermitage nearby and requested the prince to take
water to his parents, who were very thirsty. So saying, the   Why should I not be proud that I am lifting my parents in
boy breathed his last. Tears flowed from Dasratha's face,     this 'KAAWAR', and taking them to their destination
as he stood there speechless with guilt, because he felt
that he had committed a great crime. Remorsefully, when
he explained the whole incident to Shravan's parent, the
parents were deeply grieved and shocked. Weeping and
wailing and without touching the water Dasratha had           In one basket is Lakshmi incarnate, my mother, and in
brought them, they requested him, to take them to the         the second is father, God Himself!
body of their son. Dasratha brought them to the spot. He
told the parents that the heinous sin was committed by
him, unknowingly.
                                                              There is a great fortune hanging on my shoulders.
The old couple sat stunned for a few seconds, then
choking with grief, said these words, "Shravan was our
only son, and you have killed him". The mother then
collapsed and died. The bereaved father then pronounced
this curse upon Dasratha, "Just as we are dying because       Serving parents is the path of truth, and my own
of the separation of our son, grieving for him, you           pilgrimage. I will never stop walking this path.
(Dasratha) will also die due to the separation of your son,
grieving for him", saying so the father gave up his body
Dasratha was shaken with these happenings. He returned
                                                              I will not bend with their weight because the weight of
to his palace and arranged for the last rights of Shravan
                                                              parents are lighter than rose buds !
Kumar and his parents, but he was always grieved and
worried. He, since then, gave up hunting.
Time is a great healer, so Dasratha forgot the incident of
Shravan Kumar in due course.
Shri Raam who came on earth to relieve sufferings and         With my head held high up, I shall keep going forward
restore righteousness, was sentenced to fourteen years        despite the storms that may come.
exile, because of a boon exercised by Mother Kaikeyi. This
separation had become unbearable for King Dasratha,
and due to profound grief for Shri Raam his life came to
a blissful end with these words as recorded in
Ramcharitmanas:                                               In my childhood, I sat on my parents shoulders and
                                                              rocked with joy!

                                                              Today they are rocking with joy on my shoulders and I am
The King cried out "Raam" six times and then gave up          pleased in my heart.
his body in agony for the separation from Shri Raam
and ascended to the heavenly abodes. Thus the words
(curse) of the ascetic's elderly parents had come to pass.
This beautiful Bhajan which follows, is also intended to
remind us all of the love and reverence parents truly         I shall endeavour to fulfil their wishes, as long as life is
deserve.                                                      in my body !

                                                                                        1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE         51
 The Five Great
 Daily Duties
               ~Panch Mahayajna~
                                                                         By Shri Ramesh Charan

Regardless of our individual stage in life (Ashram             1 Dev Yajna
Dharma) and also our profession, as Hindus we are
required to perform Five Great Daily Duties. These are
                                                                 Towards Nature
minimal practices which guide a person in everyday life,
ensure peace, material and spiritual prosperity.               Worship of God in the form of a family deity (Ishta
                                                               Devata) in the home shrine, through prayers and
The Sanskrit word ‘Yajna’ is derived from the root ‘yaj’       meditations. This practice helps one to become God-
which has 3 meanings:                                          conscious in all daily activities.

      1. Prayer to God.                                        Additionally, this practice arouses a sense of
      2. Collective action.                                    togetherness in the family, since the family members
      3. Selfless service.                                     worship together and participate in rituals, chants,
                                                               singing and study of the scriptures. Tradition says that:
Deeds performed with this triple attitude are called
‘Yajna’. The word ‘Panch’ means five and ‘Maha’ means            “A family that prays together stays together”.
great. Hindu scriptures, such as the Vedas, Shatpath
Brahmana, Laghu Vishnu Smriti (5-9), Manu Smriti (4-           Dev Yajna specifies the protection of the environment as
21), Mahabharata and many more, identify 5 great duties        a religious duty. The word ‘Dev’ here means the one who
(Panch Mahayajna) to be performed in daily life.               gives or the one on whom we depend. The givers (Devas)
                                                               are all considered to be elements of nature. In order to
These were designed to remind people of their obligations      maintain purity of atmosphere, Hindus perform
towards religion, environment, nature, ancestors, elders,      Angnihotra or Havan. Some people wrongly interpret
society/nation and all animals. They are not merely            Angnihotra as worship of fire. In fact it is very similar to
obligations to perform religious rituals, but are social and   a scientific process of fumigation, chemical disinfection
moral obligations which have become deeply ingrained           and sterilization in which camphor and aromatic
into the Hindu way of life over many centuries.                substances are burnt to produce aldehydes and ketones.

The idea of ‘Panch Mahayajna’ has influenced many              2 Brahma Yajna
Hindu traditions. Its principles are still followed,             Towards Knowledge
knowingly or unknowingly, by Hindus in their daily life,
even more by those Hindus who do not strictly adhere to        This is the study of the Vedas and other scriptures. This
religious practice                                             daily practice refreshes one’s mind with the sacred

52 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
knowledge and also helps to preserve and enrich such         others, particularly those who were still in student life or
knowledge. Studying at an educational institute, gaining     those who had recently renounced the world. Traditionally,
knowledge about the created world, individual study of       the holy men, Sadhus and Sanyasis, roamed around
the scriptures, and finally praying and meditation are all   preaching. Their arrival was usually unexpected and
aspects of Brahmayajna in the daily life of a Hindu.         householders were required to provide shelter and food for
                                                             them. Hindu scripture state:

3 Pitri Yajna                                                  “He who eats before serving the guests loses
  Towards ancestors                                                   his family’s fame and glory”.

Pitri Yajna are deeds performed to fulfil one’s obligation   Atharva Ved 9.6.35.
towards one’s forefathers. Three categories of ancestors
are recognized: those with direct hereditary or ancestral
links (blood relations), mentors with educational and        5 Bhoot Yajna
moral links (gurus, writers of scriptures, Rishis) and
those with national and cultural links (kings and other
                                                               Towards Animals
national leaders who have protected Dharma).                 The word ‘Bhoot’ means ‘one that has life’. Bhoot Yajna is
                                                             the name given to all charitable deeds done for poor and
Pitri Yajna has two aspects: Shraadha and Tarpan. The        sick fellow human beings and animals. Traditionally,
word ‘Shraadha’ means to offer respect. Respect is of        Hindus remind themselves of this duty by setting aside
course offered to living parents but traditionally some      five portions of their food before eating. The scriptures
Hindu families give to charities on the anniversary of the   specify the five beneficiaries as:
death of a forefather. Others show respect to their
departed mentors or gurus by inviting learned scholars to          1. Domestic animals such as cows and dogs, wild
their homes and by offering them food. ‘Tarpan’ means to              animals such as snakes and rats.
please.                                                            2. The poor, homeless and destitute.
                                                                   3. The sick.
This practice is intended to serve as a reminder to                4. Birds.
preserve, enrich and continue our cultural heritage and            5. Insects such as ants and bees.
family values.
                                                             The Hindu view is that humans are the greatest of all
                                                             living beings and their greatness should be reflected in
4 Atithi Yajna or Nara Yajna                                 doing good to and serving all other living beings.
  Towards society
An Atithi is a person who can arrive at any time without
giving notice of their date (Tithi) of arrival. Under the
Ashram system it was the duty of householders to help

                                Mother Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, both
                                material and spiritual.

                                The word ''Lakshmi'' is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksme,
                                meaning "goal”. Lakshmi, therefore, represents the goal of life,
                                which includes worldly as well as spiritual prosperity. Goddess
                                Lakshmi, also called Shri, is the divine spouse of Lord Vishnu and
                                provides Him with wealth for the maintenance and preservation of
                                the creation.

                                                                                      1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE       53
            ~ A BRIEF OUTLINE ~
                              By Shri Bankim Gossai

                                         What is a Mantra?
                                         A Mantra is a combination of words which when reflected
                                         upon, protects that person. The highest meaning of
                                         “mantra” is that word or words that takes man across

        T   he word ‘Mantra’ is
            used frequently
        amongst Hindus world
                                         the ocean of rebirth, when chanted with sincerity and
                                         faith. They are given by Rishis, men of wisdom, who have
                                         realised the deep significance and importance of the
        over. As we sit to do
        puja (worship), very             One such universal mantra, par excellence of the Vedas is
                                         the Gayatri Mantra. It is described as universal because it
        important and sacred             is a meditation on LIGHT through the SUN which is the
        mantras are invoked.             same to the whole world. The Gayatri Mantra has been
                                         declared as one of the oldest available divine hymns, and
        Mantras are given to
                                         although many revolutionary changes have taken place
        Shishyas on the                  in our religious belief. The Gayatri Mantra continues to
        occasion of Guru                 persist and has in present day a compelling charm of its
                                         own, to millions of Hindu-hearts. Originated from the
        Dikshaa and mantras              single-syllabled “OM” the sound of God, (Brahm), Gayatri
        are common in all our            is the highest point of knowledge, sustaining the human
                                         soul to this day. Gayatri Mantra is an embodiment of all
                                         forms of Godhead. It helps the higher man to be born in
                                         us all.
        In this short and
                                         It does not belong to any individuals, caste or any
        ‘shallow’ presentation,          orthodox set of people. It is universal in it’s scope and
        an attempt is made to            application and it is meant for all. Sage Vishwamitra is
        define a Mantra and to           the seer of the Gayatri Mantra.

        focus in particular upon
        the Universal Gayatri
        Mantra – its meaning             What it means:
        and various names, it's          Gaya = The Jiwa forms of individuals.
                                         Tri = Protection, saving force and grace.
        application and benefit
        to the seeker of Truth.          So Gayatri means:

                                           “That which protects and fosters all Life Thoughts”

                                         This very sacred Mantra could also be compared with the
                                         three sacred rivers (places of Tirathas) in India, where

54 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE
everyday millions of pilgrims converge for prayers and       TAT                  That
most importantly for Spiritual Cleansing.                    SAVITUR              Lord Sun
                                                             VARENYAM             That Supreme God
Ga = Ganga Ya = Yamuna Tri = Triveni                         BHARGO               Brillance
                                                             DEVASYA              Of that God
So too, it is Spiritual Cleansing for devotees who, with,    DHIMAHI              We meditate
unflinching devotion and shraddha chant and meditate         DHIYO                Intellect
upon Gayatri.                                                YO                   Who
                                                             NAH                  Our
The sacred Mantra is known by different names, five such     PRACHODAYAT          May (inspire) lead towards
names are listed hereunder:                                                       illumination

1.     GAYATRI (Gayatritrayati) – that which protects
       and fosters all life thoughts.

2.     SAVITRI meaning the source of all light that          Meaning intended:
       illumines the world.                                  He, who is the Creator of the three worlds and gives
                                                             impetus (driving force) to our intuition (the power of
3.     GURU MANTRA meaning the mantra to which God           knowing), may I be in communion with His Supreme
       himself as Preceptor initiated the Sages in the       Luminosity (brightness).
       beginning of Creation. Therefore Gayatri implies
                                                             We meditate upon the auspicious Godly Light of the Lord
4.     VED MUKH meaning the voice of the Vedas.              Sun (Savitur);
                                                             may that heavenly light illumine our thoughts and flow in
5.     VED MATA meaning the mother of the Vedas.             our intellect.
When one understands this mantra, and puts it into
practice, that person then lives the teachings of the
Vedas and succeeds in attaining the ultimate Brahman,
which is the true object of man’s existence. Gayatri being   Benefits of Gayatri:
the Mantra of the Brahman Himself, brings the soul in        1. When the UPANAYANA Samskara, also known as
unison with God.                                                YAJNOPAVITA or the sacred thread ceremony (Janeo) is
                                                                done, the mother being the first guru of the child,
                                                                teaches her son as follows. “............. engage your
                                                                mind in studying the holy scriptures and meditate on
The Gayatri Mantra and it’s                                     the great Gayatri Mantra which will be imparted to you
word for word meaning                                           today. May universal Mother Gayatri protect you.”
Om Bhur Bhuvah Swah, Tat Savitur Varenyam
                                                             2. It guards and protects it’s votary. Removes all fears,
                                                                and it is the best cure for all ill.

Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat             3. Gayatri Mantra transforms the devotee into the divine.

                                                             4. It endows the devotee with the brilliant light of the
                                                                highest spiritual illumination.
OM                  The word that is God
BHUR                Represents Earth                         5. It belongs to all mankind and not solely meant for any
BHUVAH              Represents the region between               chosen class.
                    earth and heaven
SWAH                Representing the Celestial region        6. It will guard the votary from all dangers and give
                    Heaven                                      infinite strength to overcome all obstacles and take

                                                                                      1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE          55
   the aspirant to the very pinnacle of splendour, power,     Recommendation:
   peace and bliss.                                           The devotee should :
7. Humility, non-possessiveness, spiritual insight,           1. Chant and Meditate on the Gayatri Mantra, daily, at
   selfless service, sacrifice, understanding, forbearance,      least ten times in the morning and ten times in the
   universal friendship, unflinching devotion to Truth,          evening.
   cosmic consciousness and cosmic love and other             2. Do so with your Ishta Devata foremost in your mind.
   divine virtues manifest themselves in man, by the
   practise of Gayatri Mantra.                                3. Do so with love, bhakti and shraddha, concentrating
                                                                 intensely on the Gayatri.
8. Man commits errors and sins due to the darkness of         4. Be regular, be consistent and you will feel the power
   ignorance. Gayatri blesses with the Light of Truth so         which is derived from this wonderful and sacred
   that man cannot fall into the clutches of karma and           Gayatri.
                                                              In conclusion it is worth noting that although the Gayatri
9. By opening our third eye of wisdom, it reveals the         is intended for spiritual illumination, millions of devotees
   past, present and future to us and leads us gently to      who pray for health, wealth, longevity, progeny, etc. have
   the Blessed Abode.                                         had those desires also fulfilled.
                                                              In the Vedas it is said ‘SAMANO MANTRA’- let one mantra
10. Transforming our energy into divine love and              be common to all. Let this Gayatri Mantra be that
    creativity, the light of Gayatri makes our whole life a   common Mantra for all Mankind. Let us from today give
    divine life.                                              further serious consideration to words of God that will
                                                              brighten our paths as we proceed to His Abode.

When should we meditate?
Gayatri meditation is also known as ‘SANDHYUPASANA’ or
‘SANDHYAVANDANA’ which means a meditation at dawn                   Om Bhur Bhuvah Swah, Tat Savitur Varenyam
and dusk.
SANDHYA means the meeting period of day and
night(dusk) and night and day(dawn).
According to Vedic literature our Rishis seemed to insist        Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
only upon early morning and evening worship. Generally
morning prayers are done most profitably between 4.30         We meditate upon the auspicious Godly Light of the Lord
and 6.00am and evening prayers between 5.00 and               Sun (Savitur) May that heavenly light illumine our
7.00pm.                                                       thoughts and flow in our intellect.

  MLVB Board of Trustees would like to extend their gratitude to the following devotees for all their
  help and assistance in the production of this publication:
            Bidhen Brahmbhatt, Omatie Dial, K. Ofori-Awuah Jnr (President Junior),
            Davina Gossai, Pushpa Prashar and Manju Saxena.

  Our grateful thanks also to all our Sponsors and Advertisers.

  Special thanks to Sudhir Bhir (Director) and staff of Genesis Print (020 8665 1080) for all their
  help and guidance.

56 1982-2007 SILVER JUBILEE