Nearly 100 women gathered on Saturday May 7, 2005 at Houston's RadhaKrishna Temple. They spent the whole day in various activities to commemorate the centenary year of Laxmibai Kelkar, known as Vandaneeya Mousiji, who with great vision and perseverance started the Rashtreeya Sevika Samiti in India in 1936.
This served to raise the social consciousness about the power, role and duty of the women in building a harmonious society.
Dr. Malathy Koli, a psychiatrist from SanAntonio who has specialized in post-trauma stress disorder was the chief guest. Dr. Koli traveled to Chennai after the Tsunami disaster to help in mental health counseling and relief efforts. She provided a glimpse of the devastation and the trauma suffered by the survivors.
The main theme of this year's program was to reflect upon and share ideas on how to live the wholesome philosophy of Vedanta and create a meaningful life here in US, serving the society-at-large as well as the family. The morning program stated with a prayer, followed by yoga and fun-filled games for all age groups! Ms. Radha Dhanayak then spoke on the inspiring contributions of Vandaneeya Mousiji. She highlighted the power and role of women to build a strong and harmonious society, causing the attendees to beam in a jubilant and happy atmosphere.
The topic for the morning discussion session was 'Hindu View of Education'. Dr. Iswari Murthy outlined that the purpose of 'Vidya' (Education) - is to remove 'Avidya' (Ignorance). Education is a process of self-definition and self-sculpture, leading to the understanding of his relation to nature and society. Education is to mold the person endowed with the ability, spirit of enquiry, generosity and humility to reach for the highest goal. To put this in present day context, Ms.Anuradha Nigam, a high school counselor, shared her insight into listening and communication between parents and children. Ms. Asha Narasimhan expressed the profound value of learning/teaching Karnatic music for realizing the goal of education. Ms. Sandya Suri, a 2nd generation Hindu raising three daughters, had very practical suggestions on how educate children to instill values of modesty and respect.
After the lunch break, there were three workshops: demonstration of vegetable carving by Ms.Meena Kankani, Hindu nutrition by Dr. Sanghamitra Misra and Ayurvedic beauty care by Ms.Uma Desabhotla. Participants thoroughly enjoyed these workshops!
'Hindu View of Health' was presented by Dr.Sudha Rajan who beautifully summarized the holistic, deep and profound understanding of health by tracing the thought from Shiva or Vaidyeshwara, Dhanvantari and Agastya through the current popularity of yoga practice. She drew attention to the fact the more than 80% of the ill health in the present day arises in the mind! A Hindu view of environmental health by was presented by Ms. Bansari Modak and mental spiritual health by Dr.Bhuvaneshwari Krishnan. The audience participated in sharing their views on all these aspects and then enjoyed a short cultural program.
We need to remind ourselves that infinite energy, or the whole universe, is ever present within each of us and it is within our comprehension. A mother plays the most crucial role of triggering the curiosity and ability towards the comprehension of this ultimate truth. Programs like Sakhi Sammelan help women to achieve their goals by bringing them together in a friendly, joyful and encouraging atmosphere.