Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha is a guide in an unbroken lineage of enlightened Souls.
Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha evinced a strong inclination for the spiritual path from a very young age.
Ma Gurupriya is a sannyaasin (renunciate) disciple of Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
Swami Ishwarananda is the resident senior acharya of Chinmaya Mission Los Angeles.
Dr. Christopher Key Chapple is Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and founding Director of MA in Yoga Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Dr. Satinder Dhiman, PhD, EdD, serves as Associate Dean, Chair, and Director of the MBA Program and Professor of Management
A confluence of self-discovery, introspection and self-realization ignited a passion for yoga in Derik Mills during his college years
Dr. Urmila Patil grew up in the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai, India. She inherited four languages from her city and her family: Marathi, Hindi, Kannada, and English.
Dr. Dilip V. Jeste, M.D. is a geriatric neuropsychiatrist, who specializes in successful aging, neurobiology of wisdom
Dr. A. D. Amar (Amar Dev Amar), an expert in knowledge work and organizations, received the 2013 Carolyn Dexter Finalist Award
Dr. Philip Goldberg has been studying India’s spiritual traditions for more than 45 years, as a practitioner, teacher and author.
Currently living a productive and spiritually enriching life after retiring as the Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh
With the divine blessings and instructions of his guru, Parama Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sacchidananda
Hailing from Kerala, India, Smt Padma Kutty began learning Carnatic music over fifty years ago
An eternal devotee of Bharatanatyam, Vidhya Subramanian is known for her refined elegance
Mayuri is a disciple of Sri Delhi P. Sunderrajan.
Rohan Ramanan has been involved in both Indian and Western classical music from a young age.
Saturday, September 9th (8 AM - 6 PM)
Sunday, September 10th (8 AM - 2 PM)
University of California, Irvine, Crystal Cove Auditorium
This historic, worldwide movement of re-awakening to the Gita's treasures is starting right here, in California, and it needs generous donors like you to make it happen. Learn More
To contribute online as a general donation or to sponsor food for convention attendees (Anna-daana) please use the payment options below:
|Saturday 09/09||Sunday 09/10|
Registration and Breakfast
Ravi Jandhyala and Pankaj Bhatia
Lighting of the lamp by Poojya Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha, Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha and Swamini Ma Gurupriya
Invocatory Song/BG Slokas
Enlightened Living – Buddhi Yoga of Bhagavad Gita
Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha
Bhagavad Gita – A New Discovery and Assessment
Poojya Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
Bhakti Yoga (Title TBC)
Dr. Christopher Chapple
Declaration of Spiritual Independence: How the Bhagavad Gita Impacted America
Q & A with Swami Nirviseshananda, Dr. Satinder Dhiman, Dr. Christopher Chapple, Sreekanth Challa
Moderator - Dr. Satinder Dhiman
Bhagavad Gita as an Effective Life Management and Administrative Manual
|11:30 –11:45 AM
|11:35 AM-12:05 PM
Holistic Wellness through Wisdom - Lessons from Bhagavad Gita and current understanding from Scientific Research
Dr. Dilip Jeste
|11:45 AM-12:20 PM
Living the Message of Bhagavad Gita
Swamini Ma Gurupriya
Karma Yoga – The Path of Enlightened Action
Dr. K. Aravinda Rao
|12:20 –1:15 PM
Q&A and Conclusion Poojya Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
Q & A with Swami Ishwarananda, Dr. Jeste, Dr. K. Aravinda Rao
Moderator: Dr. Satinder Dhiman
|1:15 –1:25 PM
Vote of Thanks
Cultural Program – Musical Performance
Smt. Padma Kutty’s Students
Recognizing Smt. Padma Kutty
Business Panel - Timeless Lessons for Life and Leadership
Dr. Satinder Dhiman, Dr. A. D. Amar, Derik Mills
Moderator: Dr. Satinder Dhiman
Special Address: ‘Bhagavad Gita – A Revolutionary Message for Transforming Life’
Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha
Swamijis, Scholars, Audience
Cultural Program: “Vinnum Mannum - The Omniscience”
Bharatanatyam Dance Recital by Vidhya Subramanian
This historic, worldwide movement of re-awakening to the Gita's treasures is starting right here, in California, and it needs generous donors like you to make it happen.
Our target goal is to raise $70,000 for this life-transforming project. Your tax-deductible donation will help inspire and uplift the community so that we can join hands to spread the unifying message of the Gita to the world.
Future events based on this vision are also being planned on a grand scale in India's capital, New Delhi, and elsewhere with the generous help of patrons such as yourself.
We invite you to be an important part of this mighty mission, and attend the 2017 Bhagavad Gita Convention in person with your family and friends. We also humbly request you to donate generously so that we can collectively achieve our goal of making the world a better place for us all.
CIRD-NA is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. You can donate online below or write a check and mail to : CIRD-NA CA Chapter at CIRD NA, 14586 Sweetan Street, Irvine, CA 92604. Phone: Shanthi Natarajan (949) 262 9569.
Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha (addressed as 'Poojya Swamiji' or 'Swamiji' by disciples and followers) is a guide in an unbroken lineage of enlightened Souls.
He has been guiding people in their spiritual pursuit and expounding the universal truths of Supreme Reality in India and abroad for over six decades. His rational exposition of the science of Self-knowledge and its application in the art of refining, strengthening, and elevating the human mind has benefited and transformed countless professionals, householders, and students.
People involved in highly responsible and challenging positions find Swamiji's teachings to touch deep chords in their mind and intelligence which generates the needed sublimity, clarity, and vision to address and overcome difficult situations in their lives.
Swamiji is a Sannyaasin belonging to the 'Tirtha' lineage of Adi Sankaracharya, and an active social reformer. He is widely revered as a spiritual master, scholar and exponent of the ancient Hindu Scriptures - Bhagavadgeeta, Srimad Bhāgavatam and Upaniśads - and is well-known for his discourses on Vedanta and its practical application in daily life.
He has also been instrumental in organizing campaigns for abolition of some discriminative, derogatory and superstitious practices that were followed by some Hindu temples. He has stood strongly for restoration, preservation and promotion of national values, environmental protection, cultural and academic uplifting of village children and development and welfare of rural areas.
Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha was born in 1933, in the village of Parlikad near Wadakkanchery in Thrissur district, Kerala, India. After completing his education, he moved to Kolkata (then known as Calcutta), to join his brothers and take up employment.
It was during this phase of his life that he met and got associated with Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa, a sage from Dakshinkhanda, West Bengal, which eventually led to his introduction to the world of spirituality and seeking self-realization.
Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha's association with Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa inspired him to undergo intense meditation and spiritual practice.
Ultimately, in 1956, at the age of 23, he renounced his professional life and embraced Sannyāsa, becoming a disciple of Baba. After being initiated into Brahmavidya (Science of Self-knowledge), he undertook assiduous study of the ancient texts and scriptures, as well as the Sanskrit language. As he progressed along the path of spirituality, some of his family members were also influenced to follow him. Later on, he decided to move back to Kerala, where the young ascetic was invited by many people, institutions and organizations for giving discourses on Indian spiritual texts, which gradually developed into his mission of spiritual knowledge dissemination, leading seekers towards the light of self-knowledge.
He travelled extensively to conduct discourses, and his proficiency in English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam and Tamil made it easy for him to interact with seekers from different parts of the country. In 1963, he set up Narayanashrama Tapovanam, in Venginissery, Thrissur, which has, over the years, developed into a centre of intense research in the fields of Spiritual learning and Vedanta.
Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha evinced a strong inclination for the spiritual path from a very young age. Right from the beginning, Scientific Quest and Spiritual Pursuit have been complementary in his search for the Ultimate Truth. After a PhD in Physics, he became a scientist and assistant professor in Indian Institute of Technology – Kharagpur. By then, his spiritual quest had become very intense and was manifest in every aspect of life.
In 1987, he renounced his professional life, and dedicated himself wholesomely to spiritual pursuit & societal welfare under the guidance of Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha.
Swamiji's rational exposition of the Upanishads and the Bhagavadgeeta coming from his deep experiential knowledge of Truth has helped people from different walks of life to apply spirituality in all life-situations. Regarding this experience, Swamiji says, "As soon as I started studying Physics, I fell in love with it. Physics used to give me the joy of expansion, the joy of dispassion or impersonality. If we are able to integrate the fundamental philosophy of Physics into our vision of life and the world, then it will certainly generate impersonality, impartiality and humility in our mind."
Ma Gurupriya is a sannyaasin (renunciate) disciple of Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha – the guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam, Kerala; the Centres for Inner Resources Development, in India and abroad; and the Foundation for Restoration of National Values, New Delhi.
Born in a family of academic excellence, Ma Gurupriya's spiritual journey began during her days of postgraduate scientific research, when an overwhelming feeling of dispassion evoked an intense yearning for something eternal. She received deeksha from Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa, who before attaining Mahasamadhi, entrusted her spiritual welfare to Poojya Swamiji. Ma renounced her professional life as a lecturer of Physics in 1987. Dedicating her life at the feet of Poojya Swamiji, Ma attained enlightenment under his guidance. She is the Loving Mother for Poojya Swamiji's devotees and disciples around the world.
The Guru-bhakti and Guru-seva that remain the predominant forces shaping Ma's life are expressed in her discourses and writings, systematic management of Ashram affairs and loving guidance to seekers. Her soulful chanting of Guru Stotras and other slokas echo the power of eternal Truth and devotion.
Swami Ishwarananda is the resident senior acharya of Chinmaya Mission Los Angeles. An accomplished master of Vedantic philosophy, Swamiji explains the universality of spiritual teachings in an extremely simplified manner for the audience to grasp the concept and for a seeker to implement the teachings in day-to-day living. Several companies, universities and inter-faith consortiums routinely reach out to Swamiji for delivering talks to their employees, students and congregations.
Swamiji is presently one of the Directors of Chinmaya Mission West (CMW) which oversees the activities in North America. Previously, Swamiji was part of Chinmaya Mission Bangalore where he served as the secretary. Swamiji's own spiritual journey began when having been inspired by Param Pujya Swami Chinmayananda, and with the guidance of Swami Brahmananda, he left his field of software consultancy and joined Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai in 1991. Upon completing his brahmachari training in 1993, as Brahmachari Someshwar Chaitanya, he served Chinmaya Mission Centers in Bangalore and Calcutta and eventually as resident Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Los Angeles. In March of 2000, he was given sanyas deeksha by Pujya Swami Tejomayananda, and was named Swami Ishwarananda Saraswati.
Swami Ishwarananda served the Mission in Los Angeles until 2001. Swamiji was then made the Acharya in charge of Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai for the 12th brahmachari batch from 2002 through 2004, thereafter returning to Los Angeles. Swamiji is a dynamic speaker and has given talks on Vedanta, stress management, management techniques and other such related fields.The topics include - Medication and Meditation, Spirituality at Workplace, Stress Management, Game of Life, Human Approach to Management, Profession with Principle, Surfing Above Sorrows, Value-based Management, Mindfulness, Excellence in Career, Vedanta in Daily Life, Spiritual Approach to Life, Mind Management, Vedanta for Householders, Practical Spirituality, Destiny versus Freewill, Conscious Self Management.
Swamiji is also a very discerning author providing very deep scriptural imports in simple language in well-known books like Conscious Living, Silent Search, Mukunda Mala, Dew Drops, Pathways to Peace, Guru Stotram.
Dr. Christopher Key Chapple is Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and founding Director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He has published twenty books on topics that include studies of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, and religion and ecology.
Chris began his study and practice of Yoga while in high school in upstate New York. In 1972 he joined Yoga Anand Ashram in Amityville, New York where, along with his wife Maureen, he helped establish a vegetarian restaurant, an art gallery, a bookstore, and a community education center. He earned his bachelor's degree at Stony Brook University in Religious Studies and Comparative Literature, with a specialization in Sanskrit and Tibetan language and literature. He completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Religions at Fordham University, focusing on the intersection between Buddhism, Vedanta, and Yoga.
He served for five years at The Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions at Stony Brook where he also taught undergraduate classes in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Yoga. He joined the faculty of Loyola Marymount University in 1985.
Chris is a featured teacher on YogaGlo.com. He edits the journal Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology (Brill) and serves on the advisory boards for the Forum on Religion and Ecology (Yale), the Ahimsa Center (Pomona), the Centre of Jaina Studies (SOAS, London), and the International School for Jaina Studies (Delhi). Chris is dedicated to the teaching of the whole person, body, mind, and spirit, through the modalities of book learning and experience as provided in Yoga traditions.
Dr. Satinder Dhiman, PhD, EdD, serves as Associate Dean, Chair, and Director of the MBA Program and Professor of Management at Woodbury University's School of Business.
He holds a PhD in Social Sciences from Tilburg University, Netherlands; a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University, Los Angeles; an MBA from West Coast University, Los Angeles; and an MCOM (with the gold medal) from the Panjab University, India. He has also completed advanced Executive Leadership programs at Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton. Professor Dhiman teaches courses pertaining to ethical leadership, sustainability, organizational behavior & strategy, and spirituality in the workplace in the MBA program. Author, co-author, and co-editor of 17 books, his most recent books include Holistic Leadership: A New Paradigm for Today's Leaders (Palgrave, 2017) and Gandhi and Leadership: New Horizons in Exemplary Leadership (Palgrave, 2015). His recent co-edited works (with Dr. Joan Marques) include: Spirituality and Sustainability (Springer, 2016) and Leadership Today (Springer, 2016). Recipient of several national and international professional honors, Professor Dhiman is also the winner of Steve Allen Excellence in Education Award and the prestigious ACBSP International Teacher of the Year Award.
He has presented at major international conferences and published research with his colleagues in Journal of Values-Based Leadership, Organization Development Journal, Journal of Management Development, Journal of Social Change, Journal of Applied Business and Economics, and Performance Improvement. Professor Dhiman also serves as Accreditation Mentor and Site Visit Team Leader for the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) for various universities in America, Canada, Europe, and India.
Dr. Dilip V. Jeste, M.D. is a geriatric neuropsychiatrist, who specializes in successful aging, neurobiology of wisdom as well as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders in older adults. He is the Senior Associate Dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
He has published over 600 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 12 books, including Successful Cognitive and Emotional Aging (2009), Prevention in Mental Health (2011), and Positive Psychiatry (2015). He was listed in "The Best Doctors in America" and in the Institute for Scientific Information's list of the "world's most cited authors"--comprising fewer than 0.5% of all publishing researchers of the previous two decades. His work has been featured in popular media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, National Public Radio, PBS, Public Radio International, London Times, and the Colbert Report, among others.
Dr. Jeste obtained his medical education in Pune and Mumbai, India. In the USA, he completed psychiatry residency at Cornell University, and Neurology residency at George Washington University. He was a researcher at National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) before joining UCSD. Starting with just one fellow, he developed a geriatric psychiatry program at UCSD and San Diego VA; today it is one of the largest Geriatric Psychiatry Divisions anywhere, with major clinical, research, and training components. In addition to serving as Chief of the Geriatric Psychiatry Division at UCSD, he is the director of two institutes focused on of aging (Stein Institute for Research on Aging and Hartford Center for Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry) and the newly launched UCSD Center for Healthy Aging (2014).
Dr. Jeste has been widely recognized for his contributions to the scientific community. As the American Psychiatric Association's President during 2012-13, Dr. Jeste spearheaded the process of finalization, approval, and publication of the DSM-5. He also expanded APA's international membership, and focused on Positive Psychiatry. He has received many awards including those from the NIMH, VA, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Institute of Living, and the Asian Heritage Society. He is a member of several prestigious professional organizations, including the Institute of Medicine. He also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Under Dr. Jeste's leadership, the journal became the top publication in the field, in terms of the impact factor, and number of submissions and downloads.
Dr. A. D. Amar (Amar Dev Amar), an expert in knowledge work and organizations, received the 2013 Carolyn Dexter Finalist Award of the Academy of Management for his work on the effects of meditation on emotional intelligence and leadership of CEOs. He was also the 2013 Stillman Star of the Stillman School of Business and awarded the 2010 NJBIA Bright Idea Award in Management by NJPRO Foundation of New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) for his publication on leading without authority in the context of knowledge organizations in the Harvard Business Review.
A tenured Professor of Management for knowledge, operations and strategy at the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ 07079, USA (e-mail:email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org), he came to the US as a student from India.
Dr. Amar has taught, consulted, held management positions and trained managers in industry and public sector undertakings in the USA, India, Poland, Russia, and the United Kingdom. In addition, he has led several University courses to India to help students better understand the business environment outside of the United States in a seminar titled 'Doing Business in India.' He has served as external examiner on several doctoral committees, has years of research in knowledge work, and hundreds of scholarly publications and presentations on a variety of management topics. He has delivered a number of invited, plenary and special lectures worldwide. Among his publications is a graduate-level book on knowledge work and organizations titled Managing Knowledge Workers (Westport, CT: Quorum Books; 2002) and many peer-reviewed scholarly research articles in journals such as the Harvard Business Review, Organizational Dynamics, European Journal of Innovation Management, and IIE Transactions.
Dr. Amar has been department chairperson, Director of MBA Assessment, Director of Seton Hall University Comprehensive Achievement Program (SHUCAP), Director Management Development Center, and the Editor cum Director of the Mid-Atlantic Journal of Business for 12 years. He serves, or has served, on several boards of journals and professional societies. He is a member of AOM (the Academy of Management) and Beta Gamma Sigma. He has been a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), APICS The Association for Operations Management (APICS), the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
A confluence of self-discovery, introspection and self-realization ignited a passion for yoga in Derik Mills during his college years; however, getting stuck in LA traffic in 2007 would surprisingly catalyze the initial idea for YogaGlo. “I was rushing to a yoga class after work, and I was never going to make it there on time,” he recalls. “I was stopped in traffic. I thought, ‘Why can’t I just beam this class that I’m going to into my living room?’ At the time, I wanted to pursue something that possessed a deep meaning for me. Throughout life I had always come back to yoga. A lot of people think of yoga as just stretching, calisthenics, and downward dog—which are all great—but my first experience with yoga was the philosophy. I wanted to share all of those sides within the framework of this idea.”
With over a decade of diverse international business experience, the concept represented the nexus of technology, wellness, fitness, connectivity, and spirituality for Derik. He founded and self-funded YogaGlo in 2008. Teaming up with his younger brother Ryan, they converted a Santa Monica office into a studio. As the vision came into focus, the online service empowered subscribers to experience yoga and meditation classes taught by world-renowned instructors on-demand in the comfort of their own homes. By 2017, the company had expanded to an experienced and committed team of over 100 people, including employees and faculty, and produced over 7,000 classes. Featured by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time, Forbes, Goop, Oprah, and more, YogaGlo quietly became a cultural phenomenon driven by Derik’s dedication, diligence, and devotion.
“As a seed is genetically encoded to become what it is meant to become given the right conditions, so too is YogaGlo as the confluence of my various paths taken,” he says. “When I saw the potential for those paths to align towards one mission for which I was thoroughly passionate, there was no choice; it had to become what it was meant to become. Its actualization took on its own inertia.”
You can trace Derik’s journey back to his childhood. Born to educator parents, the New Jersey native always possessed a thirst for knowledge. Upon graduating from the University of the Puget Sound with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, he set off on a seven-year course around the world, spending much time in in Germany, India, Japan and Australia where he achieved a Master’s in Business at the University of Sydney. His career spanned entrepreneurial successes throughout various verticals, but yoga continued to beckon him as it did in college.
“The word yoga means ‘to yoke’, ‘to connect’ or ‘to unite’ among others in Sanskrit,” he says. “I ask myself, ‘What’s so important to me that I would bind myself to it?’ Looking back, it seems the creation of YogaGlo was something I was subconsciously working towards. I’m learning something new every day.”
Forever a student, Derik resides in Southern California with his wife Lisa, and he devotes free time to surfing and bike riding.
Dr. Urmila Patil grew up in the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai, India. She inherited four languages from her city and her family: Marathi, Hindi, Kannada, and English. Curiously enough, it was the classical language Sanskrit that fascinated her early on. She went on to do her BA and MA in Sanskrit literature and developed a skill-set required to read classical Hindu scriptures. She won the University Gold medals for securing the first rank at both BA and MA in addition to the President Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma Gold Medal for being the best student at Mumbai University. During her MA she received a scholarship from the Shanti Trust of Kerala to study Vedanta Philosophy.
At the University of Texas at Austin where she completed her PhD she discovered the joy of learning history and historiography, and blended it with her love for Sanskrit in her dissertation on the social history of Brahmans in pre-colonial and colonial Western India. She then taught Sanskrit and Indian epics at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, she was also the acting director of the Hindi language program at the Lauder Institute, which operates under the aegis of the Wharton school of Business.
When she moved to the warm and sunny southern California she discovered various options. She taught Asian Religious traditions at UC Irvine. She had her students at Irvine read the Bhagavadgita along with other influential texts in Confucianism and Daoism. Currently she teaches contemporary Hinduism at UCLA, and Sanskrit, the Yogasutras, and the Bhagavadgita in the Yoga Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University.
Urmila feels that teaching these texts to a diverse community of Yoga practitioners which includes journalists, photographers, dancers, academics, and school administrators is a highlight of her teaching career. Her research interests are just as diverse. She works on the politics of food among Hindu elites, royal gastronomy in Indic traditions, and Hindu lawyers in colonial India. She is working on book projects concerning the last two topics.
Dr. Philip Goldberg has been studying India's spiritual traditions for more than 45 years, as a practitioner, teacher and author. He is the author or coauthor of more than 20 books, including Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path and his most recent, American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West . That book was named one of the top ten religion books of the year by both Huffington Post and American Library Association's Booklist, and received the Award for Special Distinction by the Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies.
An ordained Interfaith Minister, a spiritual counselor and a meditation teacher trained in 1970 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he is an illuminating and entertaining public speaker who has presented at yoga centers and festivals, universities, religious and spiritual institutions and various other venues throughout the U.S. and India.
He blogs on the Huffington Post, contributes regularly to Spirituality & Healthmagazine online and is a consulting editor at Sutra Journal. He has led workshops on the Bhagavad Gita and related topics, both in person and online. He also conducts tours of India with American Veda Tours and cohosts the popular Spirit Matterspodcast, which features interviews with spiritual teachers and leaders. He is currently working on a biography of Paramahansa Yogananda, to be published in April, 2018. His website is www.PhilipGoldberg.com.
Currently living a productive and spiritually enriching life after retiring as the Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, Dr. K. Aravinda Rao is an active international speaker and author on various subjects within the realm of Advaita Vedanta. He was born on 6th June 1951 in a rural part of Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh graduating with a B.Sc and M.A (English) from Sri Venkateswara University.
Dr Rao Joined the Indian Police Service in June 1977 completing thirty-four years of service in the Indian Police Service in various capacities. During his tenure he earned the Indian Police Medal and the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service.Dr.Rao has worked as Superintendent of Police in five districts – Medak, DCP East Zone, Hyd., Warangal, Krishna, Cuddapah, and as Commissioner of Police, Vijayawada.He also worked as Deputy Inspector General, Guntur.
As DIG, Special Intelligence Branch,and Inspector General, Greyhounds (anti-naxal commando wing), & IG,CID, DR.Rao had a distinguished and stellar career spanning elite wings of the police intelligence field. Stints as Addl DG, Training, DG, Vigilance.Addl.DG, Intelligence, DG, ACB continued, and Dr.Rao worked in his capacity as the head of police force (Director General of Police), AP, until he retired on 30th June 2011.
As an author, Dr.Rao’s books included the following interests and expertise: Wrote a book entitled ‘Naxalite Terrorism: Social and Legal Issues’ in English, published by East West Publishers, Hyderabad, in 1996.
Association with Sanskrit Studies
Studied under the guidance of Mamahopadhyaya, Padmasri P.Sriramachandrudu, renowned Professor in Sanskrit. Passed M.A in Sanskrit in distinction in the distance education mode in the year 2000 from the Osmania University, Hyderabad, securing a gold medal for highest marks.
Pursued further studies and obtained a Ph.D in Sanskrit in the part-time mode from the Telugu University, Hyderabad in June 2011 for the Sanskrit thesis on the subject – ‘The Concept of Jnana in Upanishads’. Was awarded a gold medal. The thesis was later published as a book in Sanskrit entitled ‘Upanishatsu jnana-swarupa-vivechanam’ (Analysis of the concept of jnana in the Upanishads) published by the Rashtriya Samskrita Vidya Peetham, Tirupati, 2012.
Dr. Aravinda Rao has written several books and has been writing blogs and articles on Vedanta on the website www.advaita-academy.org. As well as teaching (in English) BhagavadGita and Upanishads along with the bhashyam of Sri Shankaracharya .He has completed teaching of the bhashyam of Gita and six Upanishads – Isavasya, Katha, Kena, Taittiriya, Mundaka and Prashnopanishad. Teaching Vivekachudamani and Valmiki Ramayana at present. You tube talks on “Basic Course on Hinduism”.
His latest books in print are 'Mundakopanishad' with Shankara Bhashyam in English and Telugu and 'Prasnopanishad' with Shankara Bhashyam in English. He has also just begun a series of talks on Valmiki Ramayana for the Advaita Academy available on You tube. In the last 10 years he has been a student of Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati of the Arshavidya Gurukulam instituted by Swami Dayananda.
With the divine blessings and instructions of his guru, Parama Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sacchidananda Swamiji of Avadhoota Dattapeetham, Srikanth Challa conducts Jnana Yagnas(discourses), Vedanta Study Groups, and Bhagavad Gita study groups for adults.
Following the instructions of Sri Swamiji, Srikanth underwent a disciplined training through a 2 Year Brahmachari Vedanta Course, studied Sanskrit, Advaita Vedanta through Upanishads, Bhagawad Gita and other Vedantic texts in a traditional gurukula atmosphere. He is a Dattapeetham certified Kriya Yoga Teacher and conducts Kriya Yoga workshops and practice sessions.
Fulfilling the divine vision of his spiritual master, he has become instrumental in training 100+ adults and children in the memorization of the entire Srimad Bhagavad Gita consisting of 700 verses. Srikanth developed innovative techniques for young children to memorize verses and chant fluently. Some students who finished successfully from these Gita Mahayagna classes had a unique opportunity to be on the judging panel for Gita competition conducted by organizations such as Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation.
Srikanth has been working with youth for the past 13+ years and coordinates youth empowerment programs such as Bala Datta and Yuva Datta in Washington DC and New Jersey areas.
Srikanth has been working in the IT industry for the past 12 years as a Business Intelligence consultant. He has a Masters degree in Computer Science..
Hailing from Kerala, India, Smt Padma Kutty began learning Carnatic music over fifty years ago as a young child with Kadakyavur Ranganatha Bhagavathar and the RLV Academy of Music with a Gana bhushan degree. Recognized in the United States and in India for her artistry, Padma is also sought after as a teacher offering comprehensive vocal training to a legion of students in Orange County. Padma says, "Carnatic music means everything to me. It provides me with sustenance and I can not survive without it... This divine music has not only helped me incorporate devotion, self-respect, and discipline in my life... In addition, it has also given me a valuable medium through which I can pass on aspects of the rich Indian cultural tradition to [children] in the community."
An eternal devotee of Bharatanatyam, Vidhya Subramanian is known for her refined elegance and "the total internalization of emotive energy". Her choreography combines great discipline, knowledge of space and time, exquisite control and total immersion in her subject.
Favored by "an entrancing stage presence", she recognizes the immensity of a stage, the worldview it offers her and the power of transformation that she could effect. Lauded thus, "Her dance was a powerful and sustained love-pact between the dancer and her material", Vidhya is able to delve deep and introspect to perform breathtaking representations of conceptual themes.
Trained in the Vazhuvoor style by eminent Gurus S.K. Rajarathnam and abhinaya exponent Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan, Vidhya's performances have stood out as a beacon to discerning audiences. The New York Times honors her with the words, "...her portrayal of the love between Radha and Krishna had the internal glow of felt emotion" while the Times of India commends, "The rich grace in 'adavus' and striking sense of the aesthetic made her recital memorable."
As a teacher and artistic director, her intense involvement has been the reason for the evolution of many students and ensemble works. With a Masters degree in theater arts, she has been involved in theatre and film as another creative outlet to her immense talent.
"Within seconds of her entering the stage, she convinced the connoisseur that her talent belongs to the uncommon category. She went through the highly stylized movements of Bharatanatyam with a delicate touch of artistry that made them all look easy and natural." – The Hindu
"It seemed as if an Apsara had descended from the heavens and brought down with her the magnificence of Bharatanatyam from the gods to the delight of humans. "- Nation, Nairobi
Mayuri is a disciple of Sri Delhi P. Sunderrajan. She started her initial training under Smt. Padma Kutty and during visits to Chennai has also learned from other professional singers and teachers. She has performed during the Chennai music season in prestigious sabhas. Mayuri has graduated with a dual Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Opera performance and is currently preparing to audition for opera programs around the U.S.
Rohan Ramanan has been involved in both Indian and Western classical music from a young age. He has sung in school choirs and a cappella groups, and has studied Hindustani music under Smt. Usha Sathe for the past eleven years. Rohan will be receiving his Bachelor of Music degree in classical oboe performance from University of California, Irvine.