Vision for Progressive Rural India

With an abundance of natural beauty and charm, rural India is home to 65% of the nation’s population. Its luscious green fields, clean air, organically grown produce, fresh milk, simplicity, spirituality, and cooperation among peoples and bright sparkling stars against clear blue skies evoke memories of opportunity and boundless freedom. But as India’s bustling urban centers fight to join the ranks of global metropolitan megacities, the basic developmental needs of its villages are being neglected, with many of them still lacking essential affordable social services and infrastructure (e.g. education, healthcare, clean water etc.). Unfortunately, the charm of countryside living is slowly fading away. Recently a shift noticed as peoples suffering and suffocation in the city and the fear of the pandemic has prompted migrants to try to rebuild their lives in their villages…

For reading further

The First Celebration of Hindu Culture and India Independent Day in Kincardine

मानव जीवन दुर्लभ है, इसे पशुओं की तरह खाने पीने, सोने, और बच्चे पैदा करने में ही नष्ट न कर दें।

Victoria Park, Kincardine, was transformed into a colourful, multi-cultural fairground, Saturday afternoon, with exhibitors showcasing various aspects of Sanatan Hindu culture.

The event was free and open to the public, and approximately 400 people from Kincardine and surrounding communities were in attendance in this connection and relationship-building Hindu Culture Open House.

Chandra Tripathi of Kincardine opened the event with a Conch Naad, and the lighting of the lamp ceremony was performed by Sudha Malhotraji.

Tripathi briefly mentioned the purpose was to share the rich, ancient knowledge of the Sanatan Hindu culture with fellow Canadians, to strengthen understanding and enrich the Canadian mosaic, and to pass it on to the next generation so the young people may take pride in their deep cultural roots and support building a strong Canada.

In his keynote speech, Varun Tripathi said, “We are all blessed to live in such a wonderful country – one which has not only welcomed us with open arms but also encourages us to share our rich Hindu traditions with our friends, our neighbours, and fellow Canadians.

“Now, as we move deeper into the 21st Century, we can add a diverse cultural mosaic to the laundry list of strengths which make Canada truly one of the greatest places to live in the world. And it’s gatherings like these, which serve as an opportunity to share a few of our differences, that add just a little more enrichment to our lives.”

A parade of people carrying banners of the Festival of India, Hindu Cultures, and Indian and Canadian flags, and playing Indian classical music and patriotic songs, took place around the park.

The afternoon was filled with prayer in Sanskrit, instrumental music, patriotic songs, bhajans, dances, yoga and meditations, and aarti. There was free Henna art painting, as well as a taste of Indian food for people to enjoy. Attendees took the opportunity to engage and learn from Hindu culture (posters, food, performances and discussion)by sampling ethnic Indian delicacies and discovering new traditions.

Considering the rural setting of Kincardine and the surrounding area, this event offered a unique opportunity and forum to dialogue on understanding the community around us, and on the importance and benefit of inclusiveness, diversity, and various cultures. These interactions further strengthen harmony (समन्वय) in the community and workplace and foster a sense of belonging and inclusion.

Besides celebrating the Hindu culture and the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence Day, the group also recognized and built a connection with local leaders and support services by tying ‘Raksha Sutra (sacred thread)’ as a reminder to righteously perform our dharma/duties.

The organizers appreciate and thank Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson (agriculture minister), and Bluewater District School Board trustee Jan Johnstone for attending the event, as well as fire prevention officer Shane Watson, Kincardine District Senior School teacher Watson Morris, retired teacher Tom Owen, Huron-Bruce MP representative Steven Travale, the South Bruce OPP representative, and teachers from Art of Living Kitchener, who shared their thoughts on the Hindu culture.

Appreciation to all for supporting the first Hindu Culture Open House, Indian Independence Day, and रक्षा बंधन Celebration, and for making it such a great success. See you next year. धन्यबाद !

शास्त्रों से अपने अपने कर्तव्यों की लड़ाई रामायण से तो अधिकारों की महाभारत से सीखें । चयन हमारे हाथों में है। धैर्य, त्याग, कर्तव्य जब अपने लिए तो स्वार्थमय आत्मविश्वास, अपनों के लिए तो प्रेम, और दूसरों के लिए तो यश और परमात्मा के लिए तो आस्था। Awake, live the full and abundant life with righteous means by connecting within and meaningfully selflessly contributing outside for others।

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular Kincardine Multicultural Celebration has been cancelled for the past three years, but with the support of the Kincardine Hindu community, Municipality of Kincardine, Grey Bruce Local Immigration Partnership, Welcoming Communities Grey Bruce, and Sanatan Centre, organizers switched gears and held the Hindu Culture Open House in Kincardine.

Kincardine to mark International Yoga Day, June 21

By: Chandra Tripathi

June 18, 2022

Yoga for Humanity is the theme of the 8th International Day of Yoga, to be observed in Kincardine and globally, on June 21.

This practice brings people together to spread the awareness of physical and mental health, foster a sense of unity, and build resilience. 

Yoga (or yog), which literally means union in the Sanskrit language, is an ancient Indian tradition of Sanatan culture/dharm comprising a lifestyle that has physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. It is an essential science to bring the understanding and experience of the self (turning inward and being one with the self).  

On this day, thousands of yoga events will be hosted worldwide. Everyone is invited to participate in a free yoga marathon with Kalpanaji, Tuesday, June 21, at 6 p.m., at Station Beach, Kincardine.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as the “International Day of Yoga.” It provides a holistic approach to health and well-being. 

I have been practicing yoga for the past 10 years and can testify that it brings joy, health, and peace within. Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or just beginning your yoga journey, join us on June 21 and show your solidarity to exercise mind, body, and spirit through yoga.

Also mark your calendar for Saturday, Aug. 13, when Indo-Canadians are showcasing Sanatan Hindu culture at Victoria Park, Kincardine. Similar to the Multicultural celebration, this open house is free to all and displays diversity within Hindu culture, music, dances, food, traditions, dharm, ayurved, yoga, and meditation.

It is an opportunity for all to interact and become aware of the diversity of Hindu culture and dharm, as well as explore roots, beliefs, and values by interacting with knowledgeable people. For more information visit

Comment on this story? Click here.

Environmental Ethics & Harmony with Nature in Sanatan Dharm

Note from the presentation on the World Environment Day 2022.

I will focus my presentation on Environmental Ethics and Harmony with Nature in Sanatan Dharm which will lead to how personally we can make a difference. प्रकृति, संस्कृति एण्ड विक्रति.  

2. I will cover that nature worship is an integral part of Sanatan dharma with some examples from the scriptures, conservation, and awakening aspects to save the planet and how individuals and together we can revive our ancient practices and restore the earth.

3. Environmental ethics are deeply rooted in Sanatan scriptures and most contain messages for preservation of the environment and ecological balance.

Nature, or Earth, has never been considered a hostile element to be conquered or dominated.

In fact, human is forbidden from exploiting nature and taught to live in harmony with nature and recognize that divinity prevails in all elements, including plants, animals, mountains, rivers, and nature. This has been well described in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita where Shri Krishna state that my material energies are divided into earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and ego.  भूमिरापोनलों वायु खं मनो बुदधिरेव च अहंकार एतियं मे भिन्नः प्रकृति अष्टधा॥ Interconnections between the elements and life forms make us all a part of one family.  This Vedic vision of unity is the basis for an ecological approach in which we honour the entire universe as part of our own higher Self. वसुधैव कुटुंबकम।

Ancient scientists/Rishies perceived that all material manifestations are a shadow of the spiritual. Our scriptures advised to start the day with a prayer to mother Earth:

ॐ पृथ्वी त्वया धृता लोका देवी त्वम् विष्णुना धृता। त्वम् च धारय मां देवी पवित्रं कुरु चासनम्।।  समुद्र वसने देवी पर्वत स्तन मण्डले, विष्णु पत्नी नमोस्तुभ्यं पाद: स्पर्शं क्षमस्वमे।

O Mother Earth, the worlds are maintained by you. Oh, goddess, you are upheld by Lord Vishnu. Kindly purify this seat and maintain me.”   

In the Vedic literature mother, Earth is personified as the Goddess Bhumi or Prithvi.  

The Prithvi Sukta in Atharva Veda states माता भूमि पुत्रोहं पृथिव्या” (Mata Bhumi putroham prithivyah) पृथ्वी मेरी माता है और मैं उसका पुत्र हूँ “Earth is my mother I am her son” and advises to save and revere our Mother Earth, every Day.

स्वच्छ, धवल, पावन हरित, रहे अमर परिधान।  अर्थ ‘अर्थ’ का जानकर हम करें सदा सम्मान ।।

Her beauty and profusion are vividly portrayed in the beautiful verses in the Atharva Veda.  O mother, with your oceans, rivers, and other bodies of water, you give us land to grow grains, on which our survival depends. 

O mother, bearing folk who speak different languages and follow different religions, treating them all as residents of the same house, please pour a thousand streams of treasure to enrich me एण्ड all. 

The awareness of our ancient seers about the environment, and its constituents and a vision to live in harmony with the environment was not merely physical but was far wider and much comprehensive. 

The concept of 330 million gods in Sanatan Dharm permeates the entire unlimited world of nature, underlining its fundamental doctrine that God exists in the heart of all beings. Hence, India has a vast network of holy shrines – holy rivers, holy mountains, sacred places, sacred plants, and trees – a pervasive divine presence is what Hinduism emphasizes across its religious texts, be it Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Smriti, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana or Mahabharata. I recite few

अयोध्या-मथुरामायाकाशीकांचीत्वन्तिका, पुरी द्वारावतीचैव सप्तैते मोक्षदायिकाः।

गङ्गे च यमुने चैव गोदावरि सरस्वति । नर्मदे सिन्धु कावेरि जलेऽस्मिन् संनिधिं कुरु ॥

महेन्द्रो मलयः सह्यो देवतात्मा हिमालयः ध्येयो रैवतको विन्ध्यो गिरिश्चारावलिस्तथा ||

The much adored Hindu deity Lord Krishna reinstated respect for nature by honouring the Govardhan Parwat and making the Yamuna free of poisonous pollution from Kalia naag and the most versatile and respected scripture Bhagavad Gita makes various mentions of His oneness with Nature. For instance, the sloka 20 of Chapter 10 reads,

अहमात्मा गुडाकेश सर्वभूताशयस्थित: | अहमादिश्च मध्यं च भूतानामन्त एव च

I am the Self seated in the heart of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle, and the very end of all beings. All beings have, therefore, to be treated alike.

I pervade the Universe. All objects in the Universe rest on me like pearls on the thread of a garland. Even the view that the Vṛṇḍāvana Forest is sacred because Kṛṣṇa valued it is consistent with the claim that human agents morally ought to consider it for its own sake in deciding what to do.

4. Environmental Awareness and engagement

  • Most ancient texts demonstrate the praise and respect for the nature
  • Do not cut trees, because they remove pollution (Rig Veda, 6:48:17)
  • The Hindu religion also stresses vigilance in the conservation of trees. Destruction of forests is taken as the destruction of the state. Protection of animals is considered a sacred duty of man (Charak Sanhita)
  • Most Hindus believe that all living things are sacred because they are part of God, as is the natural world.

5. Conserve Ecology or Perish

the Bhagavad Gita Ch-3 summarizes that

Life is sustained by different kinds of food; rainfall produces food; timely movement of clouds brings rains; to get the clouds moving on time yajna, religious sacrifice, helps; yajna is performed through rituals; those actions that produce rituals belong to God; God is revealed by the Vedas; the Vedas are preserved by the human mind, and the human mind is nourished by food. This is the cycle that helps the existence of all forms of life on this globe.

अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः। यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः ॥  

One who does not contribute to the maintenance of this cycle is considered as a destroyer of all life.

6. The Environment as Our Home

In the Sanskrit language family is parivara, and the environment is paryavarana. If we think of the environment as our home and all of its members as our family it is clear that the key to conserving nature is devotion, love—giving and serving.

Nature, Prakriti, can give and serve. But the role of humanity, Purusha, is then to protect. Nowadays Purusha is not interested in protecting but in exploiting, so nature has to defend herself.

As it is through ignorance that we destroy our relationships in the family and within the environment, that ignorance becomes the root cause of our suffering.

7. Only One earth Protect and Conserve

Sustainable or living in harmony with nature will merely be a paper exercise unless our lives become reconnected and in balance, cooperation, and harmony with nature.

Climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste –evidence that Earth is “code red” is all around us and growing more ominous every day. This year’s campaign, #OnlyOneEarth, highlights the need to reset the balance with nature through transformative changes in how we eat, live, work and move around.

Though government can make stringent regulations, we know that success will depend on our personal decisions to effect change and push for actions and reactions.

Many Vedic hymns are songs that identify the man as part of his environment.

Dharm imbibes and encourages ecological ethics and responsibility to care for the earth and nature. A country as ‘Mother land’ and nature’s five elements – Air, Fire (Agni), Water (Jal), Space (Vyom), and Earth (Prithvi) – as the constituents of the body and foundation of an interconnected web of life of all living beings. The swadharm instills an innate sense of oneness between all things. This lays a strong foundation for vegetarianism and the preservation of ecological sanctity.

Wilderness is the favourite abode of the divine and Banyan tree is the holy tree where saints and seers like to sit in a state of trance to attain union/ yog with supreme knowledge and enlightenment.  Varah Purana says,

Varah Purana, Padma Puran, Bhagavat Puran, Matsya Puran all have specified reverence and importance of tree plantation and caring for the earth and other key elements.

दश कूप सम वापी, दश वापी समोहदरह दश हृद समय पुत्रों, दश पुत्रो सामो द्रुमह – One tree is equivalent to Ten kids.

“A person who plants Neem tree, Peepal tree, Banyan tree, two Pomegranates, five mangoes, two oranges, and any ten flowering shrubs, including creepers, shall never go to hell.”

The Panchvati concept of preserving five types of trees is well described in the Ramayan.

According to Padma Purana, A person who is engaged in killing creatures; polluting ponds, wells, and tanks, and destroying gardens, goes to hell.”

In the Arthaśāstra, Kauṭilya suggests that rulers should fine people who mistreat nature.

All these references simply show that ancient Indians were concerned with the protection of their environment and preached respect for all forms of life and emphasizes on preservation of bio-diversity.

Many indigenous cultures and the old pagan traditions of Europe have a similar understanding of all nature as sacred and recognize the special sacred places in their environment.

However, in modern times we have forgotten our traditional sacred approach to nature. Under the compulsions caused by overpopulation, lack of education, and the need to develop the economy, nature in India and everywhere in the world is suffering.

We are so used to the urban lifestyle and lost our ecological vision in competition to have a better economical vision.

The environment became the victim of the empire, and like all empires, it dresses things up in the language of morality and duty. When we turn wilderness over to agriculture, we speak of our duty to feed the poor. When we industrialize the wild places and cut forests out of greed, we speak of our duty to modernization. When we spear whales, we speak of our duty to science. When we raze forests and mountains, we speak of our duty to develop. We alter the atmospheric makeup of the entire world: half of us pretend it’s not happening, and the other half start looking for new machines that will reverse it. This is how empires work, and environmental degradation continues.

Material growth is so integrated into a life that most people are unable to understand the effect of their consumer choices, traveling behaviour, recycling efforts, and lifestyles on climatic change.  

The environment falls prey to compulsive market behaviour. Without the intervention of united social forces, the current economic system simply will not safeguard our planet.

Our ancient traditions need to be honored and their practices be revived. It is important that we reclaim the ecological vision inherent in our religion and ancient cultures. This means bringing nature back into our lives, not only through rituals, and conferences but the reality on the ground.

Protecting nature is our duty and, it is important that we strongly put our vision before western thinkers and compel to examine the profound philosophy of Vedanta which sees the unity of all beings in the Self.

As we try to raise awareness about the wide-ranging consequences of climate change, let us be inspired by visions of old and remember to protect the one thing we all share in common — our planet, your planet, and no one can advocate for it like you and I can. No one can protect it like you can. There is OnlyOneEarth….

Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned that ‘We are proud of our long history and tradition of harmonious existence between man and nature. He launched the ‘Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) Movement’, a global initiative, and asserted that its vision is to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it. He said India is ready to lend its support to actions to make the environment better and improve global wellness.

Mahatma Gandhi talked about a zero-carbon lifestyle. In our daily life choices, let us pick the most sustainable options. Let us follow the principle of reuse, reduce and recycle. Our planet is one but our efforts have to be many. Plants and trees can be called the youngest members of this family, as they are always connected to earth, like babies who cling to their mother. A little ‘elder’ to them are the animals, which move on all fours, like slightly older babies. Humans, who walk upright, are the eldest members of this family. It is our responsibility to take care of our younger ‘siblings’ and ensure that everybody in the family has the opportunity to explore and bloom.

If we want to teach the kids about protecting the planet, we’ll want to exhibit behavior that matches these values. By living what we preach, we’re able to get the point across, therefore we have to seriously investigate and change within.

8 – Summary

In the end, I will leave you the Native American Proverb that We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

  • There is a great role played by dharm in protecting the environment.

Our individual decisions shape how our next generations and societies impact the environment. As well as making our personal lives more sustainable, as individuals, we can press for and support faster and more far-reaching environmental change from larger entities like governments and businesses.

  • Human is considered as part of nature not apart from nature.

We truly do have the power to build a future in which nature and people can thrive together. We need to broaden our definition of personal action beyond what we buy or use. Let us be more aware and concerned about protecting our environment.  

  • Environmental ethics ask human not to exploit but to establish a correct view of nature, respect and live in harmony with nature.
  • Interconnections between the elements and life forms make us all a part of one family. Hindus considered the earth as the mother and have articulated the need to sustain and promote ecological balance.

Sarva bhuta hita – the common good takes precedence over individual advantage including protection of the environment.

  • We should investigate and change within – Life style – food, living, clothing, shelters, movement and energy usage.
  • Ancient traditions need to be honoured and their practices to be revived and restored to protect the environment.

Since divine presence is everywhere all things coexist and have a connection with others. This inspires to maintain harmonious relations between human beings and nature.

Coexistence is vital and requires recognition and respect of other species in nature

All-pervading divine force and see divinity in everything. Therefore, take only what you need (Isa Upanishad)

  • Messenger is the proof of the message. We environmental professionals should become true ambassadors and role models.

यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः। स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ॥३-२१॥

Whatever a leader does, that other man also does (imitate) ; whatever he sets up as the standard, that the world (people) follows.

To have a balanced, peaceful life, let the human world create less disturbance to our surroundings. Substantial efforts in planting trees, conserving soil, protecting biological diversity, and finding new ways of producing natural energy could help to a greater extent in maintaining a balanced environmental harmony in our present world.

धन्यवाद --

Mother’s Day – Let’s connect and instil qualities of Motherhood within

My great salute to all mothers! It is a day that makes people remember the importance and significance of mothers in their lives and building stable families. The day should be observed by making a true connection with mothers and motherly figures around us.

My mother is no longer with me, but every day I thank God Krishna for my mother, and I’m sure you do the same to your mothers. We all can celebrate and salute mother and motherhood that is always wanting the best for her kids and sees her kids as a part of herself (true inclusion). Mother is a true example of spirituality that sees all existence as part of one larger Self. This is what we honour in our mothers.

My mother Mankanthi Devi Tripathi was loving, hardworking, and deeply rooted in dharma and karma. My mother’s exemplary living life with discipline, selflessness, love, and complete surrender to God’s will has transpired in me values of holding a strong character, caring for relationships with compassion, and loving and respecting others. My wife Abhilasha and I have three children and my sisters, Aruna, Kiran, and Uma each have two children. When I observe my wife’s and/or my sister’s selfless love, sacrifice commitment, and readiness to help, I am inspired to give more.

In today’s society, the important role of a mother is not as highly esteemed as it should be. I disagree with those who refer to raising children as just stay-at-home moms and considered a waste of a woman’s potential. They are missing the point and have not well understood the value of motherhood, sacrifice, determination, and love that are required to make that tough decision.

A good mother epitomizes selfless love and sacrifice. In Hinduism, we honour mother and father as God (Matru devo bhav, Pitru devo bhav). Mother’s Day is a good time to remember our mothers and thanks mothers for their selfless love, all the service she does behind the scenes, and how she is always there for us. I salute my mother and all mothers on the earth!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Experiences and Insights from Twenty Years of Gita Satsang – Kincardine

I would like to share some written testimonials from participants who have been enriched by Satsang in the small town of Kincardine, Canada. This would not be possible without the spirit of selfless service that flows so generously from the hearts of participants, which continues to inspire, refine and uplift the spirit and life of Self and others. I hope you enjoy and resonate with these insights from them.

  1. From Varun Tripathi: The direct translation of Satsang is truth-community. But given there is a religious connotation to its everyday use, a more apt translation would be spiritual gathering; a gathering of like-minded individuals engaging in activities that revolve around the divine, existential/moral philosophy, and devotion. Having grown up in a religious home where prayer was as routine as any other daily ritual, I’m intimately familiar with the concept. We often sat as a family to discuss everything from the purpose of prayer to the value and importance of charity.

    So it was no surprise when my parents started a weekly Satsang in Kincardine shortly after our move. Along with preserving Hindu spiritual tradition, the initiative also helped build and strengthen the bonds between members of the Indian community. But by no means was it restricted to Indians. My dad has always taken pride in educating others on the richness of our traditions and dharm. So members of the broader community from all ages and various ethnicities joined us from time to time. 

Initially, the weekly Thursday evening Satsang took place at the local ashram – a small bungalow in a wooded area just Southeast of Kincardine, owned by a Guruji who split his time between India and Canada. But the bungalow remained largely unoccupied throughout the year, so he had graciously agreed to letting us use the property for religious or cultural activities. In those early years there were weeks when each and every Indian family would attend and the large clearing adjacent to the bungalow would be filled with people stretched out in various yoga poses – we were lucky to have a trained yoga teacher in the group, so the Satsang included a breathing and mobility component. I have many fond memories of us laying on our backs after the session, surrounded by trees, breathing in the warm summer air. The more solemn part of the evening would follow, with a reading of the Gita, a discussion, and eventually, a prayer. In the winters, or when, for a given stretch, the attendee numbers would dip, the Satsang would take place at either our house or the Malhotra household. Malhotra auntie and uncle were the elders of the community. Both emanated a calm that was matched only by the pace of the town in those early 2000s. Uncle didn’t say much, but his presence alone would put you at ease. Auntie, on the other hand, would overwhelm you with her love and kindness. Theirs was a position of tenure. My parents were the honorary elders. A title they had earned through my dad’s sheer persistence of initiatives and my mom’s authenticity and warmth.  

A decade or so later, when the ashram was sold off to new owners, our house became the primary location for the Satsang. It made sense from a practical standpoint – though they could fluctuate in any given week, the attendee numbers were a fraction of what they had been at the start. So, what was the sense in driving to a different location when a basement room at home would be more than sufficient? But more than that, it’s as though our home was always meant to be the ashram for the community. The prayers and bhajans, the Gita and Ramayan readings lasting 24 consecutive hours, the countless yajnas. If structured prayer and ritualistic purification represent the foundation of an ashram’s sanctity, then there is likely no better place in Kincardine to host these satsangs. 

When I was a teenager I couldn’t comprehend the value of these brief weekly gatherings. A few years in, when my parents became more hands-off and my attendance went from mandatory to voluntary, the Satsang was more like background noise. But despite my obvious lack of spiritual precociousness, the weekly Thursday evening Satsang left its mark. Reflecting back on its 20-year run it’s amazing to think how, at different times, it served so many different people. Inspiring, grounding, and maybe even sheltering them from the weight of everyday life. For me, admittedly not having used the opportunity to the extent I could, the Satsang is a reminder that building community and committing to it whole-heartedly has the power to change you and impact those around you, in ways you can’t anticipate. It’s the little things, done over long periods of time, that have the outsized influence we all want from our actions. Two hours, once a week, over 20 years (~ 2,000 hours). Truly amazing.

Varun Tripathi

Varun Tripathi performing Hawan

2. From Joanne Dallman: I was a member of the Kincardine Satsang Group, led by Chandra Tripathi, for two and a half years (2018-2021), and during that time I not only learned a great deal, I felt as if I was included as part of the spiritual family. Once a week our group would gather to chant prayers, sing Kirtan, and study the Bhagavad Gita. In addition, I was delighted by the chance to also study the Ramayana, the Bhagavatha Vahini, and participate in a chanting course taught by a teacher in India. Being a member of the Kincardine Satsang Group opened up areas of study for me that had previously not been available.

Through my participation, I had a chance to become more adept at singing the “call and response” chants. And was challenged to not only learn some new chants but to regularly lead others in chanting. This was a very enjoyable and liberating experience, and one which gave me the confidence to lead Kirtan at the Ashram as well, when I lived there for 6 weeks in 2020.

Prior to joining the Kincardine Satsang Group, I had studied yoga for 15 years and had spent time at the Ashram participating in yoga courses and providing volunteer service in a community organized by Swamis. And even though I had been studying yoga for many years, joining the Satsang Group helped me to go much deeper into the wealth of material that is Hinduism and to admire the depth and breath of the magnificent scriptural writings and practices. I still feel as if I have only managed to “scratch the surface” of all the beautiful teachings that are Hinduism and Yoga.

I want to thank Chandra and his wife, Abhilasha, for being so gracious and inviting me into their home, weekly, to join them in their spiritual practice. They have provided me with memories that will bring me lasting joy.

Joanne Dallman (Divya)

Joanne Dolllman from Vancouver

Photos at different times of Gita Satsang