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Rajiv's press Releases 2003-2005

I am associated with the Vrindavana Preservation Society, a non profit organization seeking to preserve the holy city of Vrindavana India and promoting Indian culture. Here are press release I wrote for VPS.

2005
Our January Yoga retreat on Lokvani
Our press release on VPS Tsunami efforts on Hindu Relief Blogspot

2004
Deepavali on Lokvani
Nandotsava on Lokvani
Holi Mahotsava on Lokvani
2004 VPS Cricket Tournament on Lokvani
2004 Cricket Tournament Press Release on Lokvani
2003
Dipavali on Lokvani
Nandotsava Pooja on Lokvani
Holi Mahotsava on Lokvani
Finals of Inaugural VPS Cricket Tournament on Lokvani

An exclusive on the Vasinava Academy on Lokvani
VPS Yoga Retreat 2005
Rajiv Ramaratnam

On Saturday, the 15th of January, 2005 the Vrindavana Preservation Society presented a day-long Yoga retreat at the Clifford Marshall School in Quincy. The free event, a glorious success surpassed all expectations. It was energizing, entertaining and educational.

Yoga is one of the greatest gifts India has given to world. There are infinite paths to enlightenment and Yoga encompasses many of them. This event gave the participants a panoramic view of several of these paths.

After vibrant compeer Jyothi Setty began proceedings, Ajay Gupta, Celia Markey and Siddanta Dasa let the participants through the entire morning session with Yogic warm-ups, Asanas from Hatha Yoga and Pranayama. Hatha Yoga is the most well known branch oh yoga that covers stretches and strength exercises. Pranayama is a unique part of yoga that teaches deep breathing that promotes mental, physical and spiritual harmony. All three of the teachers , Ajay, Celia and Siddanta have been Yoga practitioners for more than a decade.

Following this morning session was a �silent� lunch session where all participants were instructed to enjoy their meal by paying �conscious attention� to the process of mastication. The lunch exclusively contained vegetable salads, sprouts and nuts One of the participants remarked on how little thought she had given her lunch and how she had always taken it for granted. This session, she said helped open her eyes.

After lunch, Siddanta Dasa conducted a workshop on Asrang Yoga. This aspect of Yoga deals with the eight-fold path and goes to the core of material existence and raises questions about the body, mind and soul. The participants were divided into groups and discussed concepts like Ahimsa, Truth, Non-pocessiveness and what these terms meant to each of them. Until this session the children enjoyed a parallel session comprising of games and Hatha Yoga.

It was then time for the fun part of the program. The power of laughter to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and relieve stress and depression is well known. Dr Madan Kataria a physician from India pioneered the technique of Hasta(laughter) yoga. Thomas Varkey an expert on this therapy conducted a laughter workshop aided by two able assistants in this segment of the day. Adults and children surrounded the trio. Using neither jokes nor humor of any type the instructors had the participants laughing uncontrollably for half an hour with a series of simulated laughter techniques. The whole room thundered with the sound of children and adult laughter. For more information, visit www.laughterforlife.org

Refreshed and rejuvenated by this session, the participants then enjoyed a light snack of fruits with hot milk. Jill Jardin an expert on Counseling Psychology and Astrology then gave an enlightening talk on how planets control our lives and affect events that happen on Earth. She also epitomized the use of gemstones to change our destinies.

In the final session, Keshav Shukla presented a talk on Bhakti Yoga and how one could develop a loving relationship of God, regardless of the religion one belonged to. Then as he, Daru Krishna and Celia Markey sang devotional Bhajans, the audience, both children and adults danced to the music. It was a long day but the high spirits, love and devotion in the air was contagious. �I could feel the energy in the air� said Preeti Nath, one of the participants. Almost everyone was rejuvenated by the activities of the day.

Gracie, one of the children was upset that the event was coming to an end. Jill Jardin gave the event 5 stars. Virginia Peck, another participant said that she had learnt how to bring more joy into her life. Participant Ajay Singh promised to practice all he had learnt that day.

Thanks to devoted volunteers, instructors and participants, this program was a glorious success. Two individuals who deserve special mention are Ajay Gupta and Jyoti Setty. Both wore several hats, conducting parts of the program, coordinating activities and ensured the smooth flow of events. Jyoti was ably assisted by her husband Uday.


At the end of the program, all present held a minute of silence for all the unfortunate victims and their families who were affected by the Tsunami. Some members of VPS will visit the affected areas near Chennai, India early next month. For more information on VPS and VPS activities and events, please visit www.vps-international.org


VPS Efforts for Tsunami Relief

By Rajiv Ramaratnam


The impact of the Tsunami and its aftermath has left behind a trail of carnage, death and destruction on several countries across the globe. The members of Vrindavana Preservation Society are committed to doing everything in their power to alleviate the grief of the victims of this disaster.



Some of us have lost loved ones. Some among us are missing friends or relatives. Many of our brothers or sisters have suffered major injuries. In fact this catastrophe has impacted some members of VPS personally.



It has always been our goal to extend help, support and comfort to everyone we can. As firm believers in the power of prayer, VPS has organized several Bhajans, chanting sessions and readings from the Bhagavat Gita to pray for the victims and comfort their families.



VPS plans to conduct more of these sessions in the forthcoming weeks. These sessions are open to all interested parties. Please visit www.vps-international.org and visit the Tsunami relief page for more information on the Bhajan sessions.



Prayers alone will not be enough. In the spirit of Karma Yoga, a few VPS members, Dennis Kelley, Charran Mahadeo, Nick Cavallo and Keshav Shukla, have decided to visit Chennai and help with the Tsunami Relief efforts. VPS President Keshav Shukla and the others will join Venkata Dayanandan a member of VPS who relocated to Chennai two years ago. Venkata is presently volunteering to help those affected by the Tsunami



Their efforts will include
Supporting schools, which were destroyed by the Tsunami.
Supporting centers for those rendered homeless by the disaster
Distribution soap, water, food, clothing etc.
Organizing and conducting Bhajan programs in the local temples.
Helping with cleaning projects.
Distribution of fliers containing information on healthiest

If you have not yet donated to any organization then please consider donating a check payable to VPS. VPS will be working with the local people and 100% of your donation will be used for the cause. Your donations are tax deductible.

Please send your donation to
Vrindavan Preservation Society, 226 Billings Street, Quincy

Please write “Tsunami Relief Donation” on the memo section of the check.

We thank you in advance for your generosity.

It is in times like these that our resolve is tested. Let us stay united as one family and aid the victims and the grief-stricken in every possible way. Even if we reduce this ocean of suffering by a drop, it will not be wasted effort. Please keep us in your prayers so that we may continue to do this selfless service. For more information on VPS, visit us online at www.vps-international.org.

Put your faith in Him and have no other thought; By his grace you shall have peace

-Bhagavad Gita
Deepavali 2004 - VPS
Rajiv Ramaratnam

The Vrindavana Preservation Society (VPS) concluded its final cultural event for the year, a mammoth Deepavali and Goverdhan Puja celebration, on Saturday the 20th of November. The show was held at the Broad Meadows School in Quincy MA and featured a deluge of programs.

Deepavali, the festival of lights, is arguably the most widely celebrated of all festivals in the Indian subcontinent. It marks several great happening in Vedic history. In North India, Deepavali commemorates the return of King Rama, to His kingdom of Ayodhya after an exile of fourteen years. In Southern India, it is the celebration of Lord Krishna vanquishing the evil demon Narakasura. Goverdhan Puja celebrates the saving grace of Lord Krishna, who as a child of just seven, protected His devotees from the fury of Indra, the king of demigods.

Dynamic compeers, Jyotji Setti and Rajiv Ramaratnam opened the program to an enthusiastic audience. The first act featured melodious Bhajans from VPS members, Celia Markey, Jeff Forti, Kodi and Daru Krishna.

Following this, the Triveni School of Dance, a well-known dance school presented two Bharatnatyam dance performances. Bharatnatyam, a popular traditional dance, has its roots in Southern India. Young girls decked in fine jewelry and colorful costumes performed graceful movements to music in this segment of the program.

Next Geeta and Sanjeev Sharma, two dedicated VPS members conducted a costume contest. Several children of varying ages filled the stage. Each one sported a different costume and personified an individual from ancient India. It was a joyous sight that showcased the glorious past of Indian culture.

It was then time for the climax of the evening�s festivities. Ramayana is one of the world�s most well known epics. It is the story of king Rama who was unfairly banished to fourteen years of exile in the forest. After serving this term and saving his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana, the demon king, Rama returned to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana.

The children of the Vaisnava Academy, a subsidiary of VPS, presented an abridged version of the Ramayana. The play featured outstanding performances from Radha Madav Shukla, Gracie Chadwick, Abay Shukla, Saurav Kumar, Sridhar Singh, Kanika Rajiv, Uma Sharma and numerous other children. It ended with a huge ovation from the audience.

The evening ended with a sumptuous meal from Sachi Matha�s kitchen followed by more devotional Bhajans and traditional Garba or stick dancing. It was a fitting finale to the VPS cultural agenda for 2004. This was another glorious year for VPS that continues to present excellent Indian programs to the public, instill in its youth, the glorious Braj culture. To find out more about VPS, please visit us on the web at www.vps-international.org.


Nandotsava - 2004
Rajiv Ramaratnam

On Saturday, the 11th of September the Vrindavana Preservation Society(VPS) a Quincy based Indian non-profit organization celebrated the festival of �Nandotsava�. Nandotsava commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna and is celebrated fervently all over India. The VPS event held at the Broad Meadows High School in Quincy was a grand success and was attended by more than 300 people.

Neelam Kumar and Rajiv Ramaratnam, both members of VPS, hosted the event. The opening act featured melodious devotional music from Bairavesh Dasa, a Yugoslavian national who presently resides in Maine.

This event was followed by two Bharatnatyam performances. The first performance was presented by the Triveni School of Dance. Dressed in colorful traditional costumes and decked with jewelry, the young performers put on a wonderful show. In the second event Sachi Pheny from the Eastern School of Rhythms presented another wonderful performance.

There was also a children�s performance featuring young children from the Vaisnava Academy a subsidiary of VPS. The Academy is a South Shore School dedicated to promoting Indian Culture, particularly in the younger generation.

The climax of the evening was �Krishna Lila� a play based on the life of Lord Krishna. In a time of anarchy on earth, all beings on earth approach Lord Vishnu, the Creator to rid the earth of this evil. Vishnu informs them that He will be born as Sri Krishna and solve this problem. Thus Krishna is born on earth to King Vasudeva and Queen Devaki. The rest of the play centers on how Kamsa, Devaki�s evil brother tries to kill Krishna and how Krishna prevails and finally kills Kamsa when He, Krishna is a teenager.

In the summer, VPS organized a very successful Cricket Tournament. Cricket, a British game once reserved for only the elite is today the most popular sport there. The Tournament brought together several Indian and Pakistani communities in a spirit of friendship and Camaraderie. There was a special award ceremony at the end of the program to honor the outstanding performers and teams in the Tournament. Mustafa Taj hosted this part of the program. The event ended with a sumptuous meal from VPS�s own Sachi Matha�s Kitchen.

This festival is part of the Society�s ongoing efforts to raise funds towards the purchase of a building in the Quincy area. This building will be a dedicated VPS center and a permanent home of the Vaisnava Academy. Some of the proceeds of the Nandotsava Celebration will go towards the preservation of the holy city of Vrindavana, in India. Vrindavan is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. VPS will celebrate Dipavali, the Indian Festival of Lights on the 20th of November. For more information on VPS and VPS events please visit us online at www.vps-international.org.


VPS Holi
Rajiv Ramaratnam

Spring finally arrived in Massachusetts. Well, at least in spirit. The Vrindavana Preservation Society (VPS) and the Vaisnava Academy celebrated their 2nd annual Holi Mahotsava on the 20th of March, the first official day of spring. Attended by about 500 people, the event took place at the Broad Meadows School Auditorium in Quincy Massachusetts.

Holi, the festival of colors, is a celebration of faith. Prahalad, a young devotee was rescued from a fire thanks to the grace of Lord Vishnu on this day. Holi is a celebration of love. Sri Sri Radha Krishna, the divine couple and their cohorts joyfully played with Holi colors at Vrindavana on this day. For many Indians who attended the Holi Mahotsava, it was a D�j� vu to a time of celebration and festivity with friends and family in India.

The program was opened by the able duo, Mrs. Anju Singh and Mrs. Jyothi Shetty. The opening act featured melodious Bhajans from special guest performer Neelima Chaturvedi. She was accompanied by Jeery Leake on Tabla, Priyasha Chaturvedi, Mohini Bhakata, Anil Tandon, Parul Bhakata and some of her students.

Next Celia Markey, a long time VPS member and Yoga instructor led a Bhajan of devotional songs. Sanjay Dasa, Viryavan Dasa, Rick Chadwick and Kate Roper accompanied her. Celia was an instant crowd pleaser. The auditorium reverberated with the sound of clapping hands and chants of �Radhe Shyam�. A group of colorfully attired young performers from the Triveni School of Classical Dance artistically presented three dance performances in the next section of the program.

Following the dance, Nick Cavallo, Acting Director of the Vaisnava Academy presented a slide presentation on the accomplishments of VPS in India and the United States. The presentation highlighted a recent trip to Vrindavana, India made by several members of VPS, USA. The significant accomplishments of this trip include donation of clothes to needy residents of Vrindavana and establishing a joint venture with the Indian Department of Archeology to preserve an old Madan Mohan temple in Vrindavana.

The finale of the program was a play presented by the children of Vaisnava Academy, a South Shore school seeking to promote Indian culture in Massachusetts. The school is a subsidiary of VPS. The play centered on the Divine Loving couple, Sri Sri Radha Krisha. Lord Krishna and His clique of pranksters collude to visit Sri Radha Rani and Her Gopis to celebrate Holi with them. The hostile Gopis attack Krishna�s friends with sticks. However, festivity and Divine Love are in the air and the Gopis and Krishna�s friends soon join together with the Divine Couple in a colorful, joyous celebration. All children who took part in the play received numerous accolades from an enthusiastic audience for their outstanding performances.

Activities were then moved to the school gymnasium where everyone present joined in the traditional celebration of smearing Holi colors and Garba. A sumptuous meal from Sachi Matha�s Kitchen ended the evening�s festivities.

This enormously successful program is the forerunner for several cultural programs VPS has planned for this year. These events include the 2nd Annual VPS Cricket tournament, to be played in June-July and the Nandotsava festival, which VPS will present in fall, this year. For more information on VPS events please visit the newly updated VPS website at www.vps-international.org.

2004 VPS Cricket Tournament
Rajiv Ramaratnam

The Vrindavana Preservation Society (VPS) conducted its 2nd annual Cricket Tournament between June 26th and July 18th at the Joy Hanlon field in Quincy, Massachusetts. In the finals, played on Sunday the 18th, the University of Lowell (UML) emerged as the champions of the Tournament by beating Team Baba.

As promised, the Tournament was much bigger and better than that of last year. 12 Teams participated in the Tournament. While most teams were from the Quincy area, some came from Lowell, Worcester and Waltham and even from as far as Connecticut to participate in the event. Spread across 5 weekends this tournament was a roaring success and a �fun raiser� particularly in the South Asian Community.

The Joy Hanlon Field in Quincy is situated in a scenic locale, next to the Fore River. Boats where Yachts grace the waters. Children play and adults relax on the shores of the small beach. While players battled for the coveted championship trophy, their families and friends either cheered them on or explored the surrounding greenery and the beach.

One could not help but notice the meticulous planning and organization that has gone into preparing for this event. Several members of VPS worked in a variety of roles like commentators, umpires and scorers to make this tournament a memorable experience for players and fans. Tournament proceedings always commenced with the players and spectators standing in attention to the national anthems of India, Pakistan and the United States.

The Tournament was played with red, hard tennis balls, specially imported from India. The matches were limited to fifteen overs per side. There were 11 players per team. Each participating team wore its very own custom T-shirts. There was commentary for every game and Hindi music was played during game breaks.

During the lunch breaks, children of VPS families danced to the beats of popular Indian songs. Thanks to the generous contributions of Quincy restaurants India Delight, Punjab Caf�, Classic India and VPS�s own Sacci Matha�s Kitchen delicious vegetarian food was served for lunch.

The finals set to 16 overs per side, were played between two outstanding teams, Team UML and Team Baba. Both these teams were undefeated in all their previous matches and had displayed outstanding fielding in this match and throughout the tournament.

An excellent bowling spell from UML Skipper Rohit Shinde restricted the talented Team Baba to 72 for 8 in 15 overs. Dhawal was the top scorer with 16. UML started with a six of the second ball by Sonu. However, Sameer, Team Baba�s Captain put the breaks on Team UML (4 for 15). This effort turned futile as UML finally proceeded to win the match with only two balls to spare. This was a fitting finale to the glorious tournament. In the first semifinals, UML packed off the defending champions Lagaan. Sabeeh and Babar of UML first dismissed Lagaan for a modest 53. When Lagaan struck back by taking four early UML wickets, Sabeeh(16) and Viral(15) ensured a 6 wicket UML win in 9 overs.

In the second semifinals, Baba edged out last year�s runners up, the Blue Sox. Aided by Nitin(21) and Premal(22) Baba batting first finished at 88 for 9. Nirav from Blue Sox took 3 wickets. Harsha(22) and Nirav(14) of Blue Sox initially gave the Blue Sox a strong start of 33 for no loss. However Hiren�s excellent bowling ensured the Baba win dismissing Team blue Sox for 69.

While the rain played spoilsport on some days, it did little to dampen the spirit of the players, fans and organizers in the tournament. During the finals weekend, VPS organized a �Cricket Carnival� at the venue. While Team UML played Team Baba on the field, there were games for children, Mehandi and eyebrow shaping for women and numerous activities for spectators of the match. On the last day VPS also organized a special six over Women�s match between VPS A Team and VPS B Team. This game was another thriller and as Team B emerged as a winner beating Team A by one run in the last ball of the match. The VPS Sports committee will add a Women�s Tournament to its summer agenda in the forthcoming years.

The delightful Cricket Tournament finally came to an end on Sunday the 18th of July after Team UML beat Team Baba. No activity brings the South Asian Community together more than this glorious game, which was reserved only for the elite during the days of the Raj. This tournament is a giant step towards promoting Cricket in the United States. Nikhil Wadhwa chairperson of the VPS games committee, Keshav Shukla, President of VPS and �tireless� umpire Chetan Anand deserve special kudos for their Herculean efforts in creating a tournament of this scale. VPS will conduct an even bigger tournament next summer. Please visit www.vps-international.org regularly for updates.

VPS Cricket Tournament 2004 Press Release
Rajiv Ramaratnam

The Vrindavana Preservation Society(VPS) will usher in the summer this year with its Second Annual Cricket Tournament. The tournament is expected to be held at the Fore River Club in Quincy MA. (Venues of matches are subject to change.) The matches are scheduled to begin on the 26th of June 2004. The deadline for teams to enroll is 30th of May 2004.

Last year, the inaugural VPS Cricket Tournament was a grand success and roused widespread interest in the New England area. (See attached photo(s).) This year�s tournament promises to be bigger and better. The organizers of the event plan to add a Women�s tournament and Children�s tournament this year if there is adequate interest.

Mr. William Phelan, the honorable mayor of Quincy, will grace the Tournament. Beautiful Awards await the outstanding performers and teams in the tournament. (See attached photo.) There will be adequate media for the event.

Individuals and teams interested in participating in the tournament can visit our newly updated website, www.vps-international.org. Please click on the �VPS Cricket� link.
You may click on the �application form� link on this page, print out, fill and mail the form with the appropriate payment to
Vrindavana Preservation Society
226 Billings Street, North Quincy, MA 02171

Please click on the �official rules� link on the �VPS Cricket� page to review the rules for the tournament. The website also includes directions to the Fore River Club in Quincy, MA.

For more information please contact:
Nikhil Wadhwa, chairman, VPS games committee, by phone at 781-608-0879 or 508-559-2071 or email nikpriya@hotmail.com.
Or
Keshav Shukla, President, VPS by email at keshav_vps@yahoo.com or by phone at 617-471-0129.


DIWALI Round-up


Dipavali /Goverdhan Celebration by Vrindavan Preservation Society

By Rajiv Ramaratnam

The Vrindavana Preservation Society (VPS) concluded its cultural agenda for the year with a magnificent Dipavali extravaganza. The event was held at the Quincy High School on the 1st of November and featured a deluge of programs.

The celebration was presided by Mrs. Anju Singh. The opening act featured melodious Bhajans by veteran singer Smt. Kiran Nath. She was accompanied by Subhankar Chowdary on Tabla, Kodi on the flute, and Celia Markey with the keyboard. Jeff Forti played drums and guitar.

A festival of this magnitude is never possible without the support of generous sponsors. All sponsors of the event were honored in the next segment of the evening. Following this was an impressive Bhartnatyam recital from the Triveni School of dance.

Next, Rohit Kumar gave a slide presentation, describing the role of VPS and its achievements both, in the United States and in India. Kalindi Mehta, an active member of VPS then conducted a colorful costume contest. Children dressed as Sita, Krishna and other personalities crowded the stage to the cheers of an enthusiastic audience.

The following item featured Dennis Kelley, who assumed the role of an animated Hanuman. Kelley narrated the tale of Ramayana to the audienceAt the end of the story, Kelley with Keshav Shukla, the president of VPS and several others conducted a glorious Bhajan.

The finale of the event was �Goverdhan Hill� a play performed by members of the Vaisnava Academy, a subsidiary of VPS. Mrs. Rupa Shukla, the program director of the Vaisnava Academy, directed the play.

The play featured an event from Lord Krishna�s life when he curbs the haughtiness of the Indra, the lord of thunder. Eight-year-old Kanika Rajiv who held the audience mesmerized with her acting and singing brilliantly enacted the role of Krishna. (A biased opinion from a proud parent.) Other noteworthy performers included Akshad Shekar as Indra and Radha Madhav Shukla as Brihaspati. Yakshagana artiste Raghuram Shetty, with his son Teja, made a special appearance and performed a notable dance sequence in the play.

As in all other VPS events, the celebration ended with a delightful dinner from Sachi Matha�s kitchen. In less than a year VPS has achieved numerous milestones. These include the presentation of several cultural events throughout the year, the organization of a highly successful Cricket tournament and the establishment of the Vaisnava Academy, a school in Quincy dedicated to promote Indian culture.

The Academy plans to add more courses and activities to its curriculum in the coming year. The forthcoming year will also feature more cultural and sporting events from VPS. Included among them are festivals for Holi, Janmastami and Dipavali and the second annual VPS Cricket tournament. For more information, please contact Keshav Shukla at keshav_vps@yahoo.com

The Nandotsava Festival
Rajiv Ramaratnam

Following in the wake of its inaugural Cricket tournament, the Vrindavana Preservation Society (VPS) presented yet another masterpiece, the Nandotsava Festival Celebration. The festival was held at the Quincy High School in Quincy, MA on 24th of August 2003. It displayed a wide variety of Indian culture including a Bharatia dance recital, a Kathak performance and a Krishna Lila play.

Nandotsava is the day after Janmastami, which is the day Lord Krishna was born. Nandotsava commemorates the celebration of the birth of Krishna performed by Nanda Maharaj. The common theme of the entire function was Lord Krishna and the events surrounding His life.

Mrs. Neelam Kumar, an active member of VPS commenced the event as the master of ceremonies. The opening act featured a series of Bharata and Kutchipudi dances, performed by the Triveni School of dance. Mrs. Neena Gulati, director of the Triveni School presided over this part of the program. The stage was a torrent of hues with all dance performers wearing traditional dance costumes. A noteworthy part of this section was an enactment of a wondrous episode from Sri Krishna�s life.

After receiving complaints from Krishna�s sister that Krishna has been eating sand, His mother Yashoda forces Krishna to open His mouth. As Krishna reluctantly obeys her, Yashoda sees the whole Universe housed inside His mouth.

The next program item was a Kathak Recital from another talented guest performer Sanjeevani Kukreja. Kathak is an amalgamation of Jaipur and Lucknow Gharana. The dance was performed with a Bhajan titled Bansi Bata Jamuna Tat Nirata ta Banawari.

Numerous sponsors helped fund this event. They were all honored in the next part of the program. This was followed by a slick and informative slide presentation on the VPS by Mr. Rohit Kumar and Mrs. Anju Singh. The presentation outlined several achievements by VPS in India and in the United States. In India VPS has made great strides in its efforts towards preserving the holy land of Braj Mandal. These efforts include reforestation of the area, an establishment of a plant nursery and the building of a cultural center.

The US chapter of VPS has raised $25,000.00 towards the purchase of a 5-acre farmland in Braj. It also helped the founding of the Vaisnava Academy in Quincy, MA. The Vaisnava Academy is a school in the South Shore that promotes Braj Culture, particularly in the youth.

The most recent accomplishment of VPS was the inauguration of very popular Cricket tournament in Quincy in June and July of this year. All the star performers of this tournament, and the winning teams were honored in the next segment of the festival. Awards were handed out to the winning team Lagaan and the runner up team, the Boston Blue Sox.

The next event was the first of a magnificent two-part play, Kamsa Vadha performed by several members of VPS and the Vaisnava Academy. The play was centered on events surrounding Lord Krishna�s birth. It was directed and written by Raghuram Shetty. This part of the play depicted the birth of Lord Krishna to Devaki and Vasudev. Devaki�s wicked brother Kamsa tries desparately to kill the Divine Child but all his murderous attempts are annulled by the divine grace of Lord Vishnu.

The performers included Dennis Kelly as the evil king Kamsa, Nick Cavallo as Narada, Celia Markey as Devaki and Lakshminarayan as Vasudev. The caste also included Vidya Mahadev as river Yamuna, Radhika Garland as Yogmaya, Saurabh Sharma as Vishnu and Mukesh Sharma as Brahma.

Keshav Shukla, President of VPS, then lead a �gala� Bhajan that featured a Braj dance celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna. It was a wondrous sight as many people in the audience participated in the dancing and chanting.

Next came the second part of Kamsa Vadha. This was the climax of the play and was performed in traditional Yakshagana style. In this segment Raghuram Shetty himself, performed as Kamsa with his dexterous son Tejas playing the part of young Lord Krishna. The audience was mesmerized by the bright colored costumes and flamboyant acrobatic jumps from skilled artistes. In this part of the play, the evil king Kamsa meets his end at the hands of Lord Krishna.

The event finally concluded with a sumptuous vegetarian meal presented by Sachi Mata, an active member of VPS. This festival marks the beginning of the new school year of the Vaisnava Academy. The fall session of this subsidiary of VPS includes courses Hindi, Sanskrit , arts and crafts, Yoga and music lessons. Classes are scheduled to begin on Sunday the 7th of September, 2003.

VPS and the Vaisnava Academy have planned yet another event for this year. They will be hosting a Deepavali celebration in early November at the same venue. For more information please contact Keshav Shukla at keshav_vps@yahoo.com.


Holi Mahotsava Celebration
Rajeev Ramaratnam

Holi, the "Festival of Colors", is one of the most popular of Indian Festivals. In a country with more cultural diversity than all of Europe, Holi is a day when family, friends and community come together in a spirit of love, friendship, faith and festivity by smearing colors on one another. Holi is always celebrated in the Spring (Phalgun) season. Several significant events took place in Vedic history during this period. Two of these stand out as the most popular ones.

The first event was the survival of the young boy, Prahalad by the saving grace of Lord Vishnu. Prahalad's evil aunt, Holika who tried to burn him in a fire was consumed by the flames while he escaped unhurt. This is a celebration of the victory of good over evil and the triumph of unshakable faith in the divine Lord. The second event of significance was that Sri Sri Radha Krishna (the Divine Couple) and Their cohorts played together in Braj Mandal, Bharat, by smearing everyone with colors.

Thanks to a Herculean effort Mrs Rupa Shukla and other members of the Vaishnava Academy, a subsidiary of the Vrindavana Preservation Society (VPS), the Holi Mahotsava Festival at the Quincy High School on Saturday, March 15, 2003 was a roaring success. It showcased several facets of Indian culture including devotional songs, a traditional Indian folk dance and a play. The finale of the show was the 'ceremonial Holi play' where all attendees of the show smeared colors on each other, in a festive and gala celebration. Another highlight of the program was the delicious free vegetarian dinner, a contribution from the families that are part of VPS.

Mrs. Anju Singh was the master of ceremonies for the event. The opening act of the program featured Bhajans from the rich voices of Mrs. Madhuri Kulkarni and her husband, Mr. Narendra Kulkarni. They were accompanied on Tabla, by Mr. Bharat Patel, and Subhankar Choudhury.

This event was followed by a very informative slide presentation by Mr. Dennis Kelly, on the Vrindavana Preservation Society (VPS). VPS, a non-profit organization, has chapters in India and in USA. Its main goals are to raise awareness of Vedic culture and tradition, and to preserve the holy city of Vrindavan. Sri Sri Radha Krishna lived in Vrindavan, which is situated 60 miles away from New Delhi on the banks of the river Yamuna. Mr. Kelly presented the issues that confront the preservation of Vrindavan, such as pollution and globalization. The VPS chapter in USA has raised $27,500 in fund towards the preserving of Vrindavan. Mr. Kelly also displayed several slides with photographs from the meetings of Vaisnava Academy at Quincy, MA featuring Bhajans, Yoga and dance classes for adults and children. For more information on VPS, see www.vps-international.org.

Following this was a Bhajan lead by Mr. Keshav Shukla. The stage was a joyous scene with Sri Sri Radha Krishna surrounded by charming children and tiny tots posing as Gopis and Gopikas.

The highlight of the program was a spectacular play based on the origin of the Holi festival. This story of Holi is the story of Prahalad, a young boy and a fervent devotee of the supreme God, Vishnu. Prahalad is the son of the evil tyrannical demon Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu appoints himself the sole ruler of the universe and commits numerous atrocities on earth and in the heavens. He is ultimately vanquished by Narasingha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The driving force behind the play was the director of the program, Mr. Raghuram Shetty (Raghuramji), a veteran of Indian Theater and a master of Yakshagana, a traditional dance from Southern India. Raghuramji himself played the part of Hiranyakashipu, displaying his tremendous acting and dancing abilities. Mr. Dennis Kelly played Narada, the celestial sage. The part of Hiranyakashipu's queen, Kayadu was played excellently by Mrs. Jyothi Shetty. A talented youngster, Nishad Kulkarni played the part of Prahalad. Other noteworthy performances came from Mrs. Jayashree Chandrasekhar, Mr. Arun Chaudhari and several participating children. Mr. Venkata Dayanandan (Venkatji), another versatile member of Vaisnava Academy, played Narasingha. Venkatji also composed and presented spectacular background music for the play, mixing tunes and rolls of the Tabla, appropriate to each situation of the play.

The next event of the evening was a colorful stick dance featuring Sri Sri Radha Krishna and Gopikas, performed by several adults, boys and girls belonging to Vaisnava Academy. Radha Shukla and Kanika Rajiv played the roles of the Lord Krishna and the beautiful Sri Radharani. The event ended in a blaze of Holi colors and festivity. This event was followed by traditional Holi celebration and Garba (Stick dancing) and smearing of colors at the School Gymnasium.

Over five hundred people attended the Holi Mahotsava celebration. Clearly, this is only a preview of more glorious contributions to come from VPS whose members continue to strive to bring about an awareness of the riches of Vedic culture and its timeless spiritual values.

VPS Tournament Finals
Rajiv Ramaratnam

The game of Cricket has been tightly woven into the fabric of Indian life, ever since it was introduced there in the days of the British Raj. This fact was evident at the Fore River Club in Quincy, MA where several teams, spectators and organizers congregated for the inaugural Vrindhavan Preservation Society (VPS) Cricket Tournament. The championship match of this tournament, played on the 19th of July was a fitting climax for this astoundingly successful event.

The proceedings commenced with all present standing in attention to the Indian National anthem. The cloudy morning developed into a hot muggy day with an occasional breeze. While the pitch favored stroke making, the slow outfield made scoring boundaries very difficult.

It was the clash of the Titans when Team Lagaan took on the Boston Blue Sox (BBS) team for the championship match. Both outstanding teams had earned their berths to the finals with impressive wins in previous matches.

The BBS team had stormed into the finals, undefeated in their earlier matches. They had impressive wins over Team Nirvana in their qualifying match and Team Strikers in their semi final match.

Team Lagaan, however had to fight harder battles to get to the finals. After loosing their first qualifying match in a thriller to Team Strikers, the Lagaan team convincingly defeated Team Nirvana in their second qualifier to reserve themselves a semi final berth. In the semi finals, Team Lagaan team defeated the formidable Team Delhi to ensure their place in the finals.

The finals were set to 20 overs per team and like all the other matches in the tournament were played with hard tennis balls. Skipper Mustafa Taj of BBS won the toss and elected to field.

The Lagaan team looked like it was in trouble early in the innings, when Subash of BBS claimed two wickets in the fourth over. Batsmen Kunal (22) and Rajesh (15) steadied the innings taking the Lagaan score to 63. Balaji of Lagaan fortified this score with a quick 23 off 21 balls. However, the BBS team managed to dismiss the entire Lagaan team for 95 in 19.4 overs. For BBS, Subash took two wickets, Satvir claimed 4 wickets and Hari claimed 1 wicket.

The match still seemed evenly poised. The Lagaan team was known for its formidable bowlers while the BBS batsmen had displayed spectacular talents in previous matches. The BBS team had lost a total of just one wicket in their two earlier matches.

The Lagaan restricted their bowling to the offside, making it hard for the BBS team to score runs. This strategy would pay rich dividends. The mounting pressure would prove too much even for the able batsmen of BBS. The BBS team was soon dismissed for 55 in the 15th over. For the Lagaan team, Rohit, Rajat and Balaji claimed 2 wickets each. Rajesh and Kunal claimed a single wicket. For BBS Shaswath scored 12 and Subash scored 11.

With this resounding win, team Lagaan, (reminiscent of the movie of the same name) emerged as the undisputed winner of the VPS tournament. This was followed by the prize distribution ceremony. Sagar Banaso, captain of the winning team, Lagaan and the Mustafa Taj captain of the runner up, BBS were presented trophies. Balaji was aptly christened the �man of the match�.

This event would not have been successful if not for the contributions from numerous volunteers, the participating teams and the spectators. Chetan Anand, one of the umpires deserves special mention for his dedication and for braving the scorching heat for every match of the tournament. Many members of VPS worked untiringly wearing several hats, as commentators, organizers, tournament promoters and makeshift umpires displaying a high level of professionalism. In particular, Nikhil Wadhwa, chairperson of the VPS gaming committee and VPS President, Keshav Shukla were instrumental in organizing and promoting this event. The camaraderie displayed by participating teams and the enthusiasm of the spectators throughout this tournament was contagious. They have proved that Cricket in the New England area is indeed here to stay. The VPS Tournament in particular has attracted more wide spread interest in this area and promises to be even bigger and better next year. Registration for next year�s matches has already begun.

For more details, please contact:
Nikhil Wadhwa by phone at 781-608-0879 or 508-559-2071 or Email nikpriya@hotmail.com.


The Vaisnava Academy And The Vrindavana Preservation Society
Rajiv Ramaratnam

The Vaisnava Academy is the only school of its kind in the South Shore. The main goal of the Academy is to promote Indian culture, particularly in the younger generation. To most families in the area, the academy serves as an oasis of Indian tradition, offering a diverse curriculum of courses and activities. These courses include Hindi lessons, drama, music and Yoga.

The Academy�s parent organization, Vrindavana Preservation Society (VPS) is a non-profit volunteer organization that seeks to preserve the sacred city of Vrindavana, which is situated about 60 kilometers from New Delhi, India. The efforts of VPS in Vrindavana include preservation of ancient monuments, supporting the farming community and providing welfare to the needy.

The academy helps in the efforts of VPS by raising money through its course offerings and regularly organized cultural and sporting events. During the spring, winter and fall seasons, its members meet every Sunday at 10 AM at the Clifford Marshall School in Quincy, MA. Each session begins with a prayer and then the children break off into groups for the Academy�s various activities. At the end of each session, the adults and children again reconvene for a prayer. This is followed by a free vegetarian potluck lunch prepared by the members of the academy.

The Academy was founded by the dynamic couple, Rupa, (Program Director Vaisnava Academy) and Keshav Shukla (President VPS) on December 15th 2002. The Shuklas have worked tirelessly in building the membership and organizing the Sunday classes and the cultural events for the Academy. With other members of VPS, they are working towards giving the Academy its own dedicated venue in the next two years.

The Academy�s distinguished faculty includes the noteworthy dramatist and Yakshagana maestro Raghuram Shetty, talented vocalist Madhuri Kulkani and accomplished Hindi and Toddler teachers, Kalindi Mehta and Anju Singh. The faculty also includes Celia Markey, a Yoga specialist with over ten years of instructional experience. For the forthcoming fall session, the Academy plans to add additional courses in crafts, painting and Sanskrit to its curriculum.

Earlier this spring, VPS and the Academy presented a colossal Holi Mahotsava Festival at the Quincy High School. This event featured a spectacular play titled �Bhakta Prahalad�, Garba and traditional smearing of Holi colors.

The academy also offers a homecoming for its adult members. In addition to socializing with other members, the adults often participate in Kabbadi games during the fall, spring and winter. In the summer, VPS promotes another Indian religion, Cricket. The recently organized and highly successful Cricket Tournament is a dream realized by its gaming committee chairman, Nikhil Wadhwa. The tournament has roused widespread interest in the New England area and promises to be of a much grander scale next year. Registration for next year�s tournament has already begun. For more information on the Cricket tournament, please contact Nikhil Wadhwa at nikpriya@hotmail.com

With it's fall session scheduled to begin in September, the members VPS and the academy are hard at work, preparing for a Nandotsava Festival. The festival will feature transcendental music, dance and a Krishna Lila play presented by adults and children of the Academy. Also included in the program are several children�s activities, a free for all Bhangra and a free vegetarian dinner.

The Nandotsava Festival is scheduled for Sunday, the 24th of August at the Quincy High School in Quincy MA. VPS expects a turnout of more than 500 people for the event. While this is a free event, VPS looks to it as a fundraiser towards supporting all its activities and welcomes your generous donations.

For more information about VPS, Vaishnava Academy or the Nandotsava Festival please contact Keshav Shukla at keshav_vps@yahoo.com

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