Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Children enjoying in Bala Vihar.

Despite millennia of social, political, scientific evolution, Hinduism has survived with its core philosophical truths intact as a vibrant and revered religion of the modern world. This adaptability and connection to the current generation has been aided by great Hindu missionaries such as Adi Shankaracharya and Swami Vivekananda who revived and reinvigorated the ancient Vedic culture. A new test and social experiment has now begun. Scores of Indians and Hindus living abroad are striving hard to preserve this great cultural heritage. Will they succeed in imparting the Vedic values and knowledge, unabridged, to the next generations? The life work of the 20th century spiritual master and visionary Swami Chinmayananda was dedicated to ensuring this success.
Under the guidance of its current head, Swami Tejomayananda, Chinmaya Mission's message of "Maximum happiness for the Maximum number of people for the Maximum time" has gained an astonishing momentum, with its goal of imparting Vedanta philosophy, values and Hindu culture in a user-friendly manner to adults, youth and children.
In the Tampa Bay area, Chinmaya Mission has an active local center based in Lutz, known as Chinmaya Prasad. Here, classes for the entire family are held weekly. There are study groups for adults, Yuva Kendra for youth, and Bala Vihar for children. Taught by trained and dedicated sevak volunteers, Chinmaya Bala Vihar classes utilize a new, fun and exciting, worldwide standardized curriculum, with topics ranging from the “ABC’s of Vedanta” to “Ramayana,” “Glory of India” and “Bhagavad Gita.” All classes are taught in English and children also learn Sanskrit shlokas, Vedic chanting, Gita chanting and basics of performing a puja. This is mixed in with fun arts and crafts activities, festival celebrations and outings.
The spiritual atmosphere of the center is enhanced by the frequent visits of Chinmaya Mission Acharyas who offer weeklong spiritual discourses on various pertinent topics for adults as well as practical workshops such as “Spiritual Parenting” and “Gita in Daily Life.”
For more information, visit www.chinmayaprasad.org. Registration for children's Yuva Kendra and Bala Vihar 2010-2011 classes is still open. To be added to e-mail list for events and activities, e-mail tampa@chinmayamission.org


Story provided by Uma Eyyunni


The Kalaivani Academy of Dance and Music of Atlanta presented “FUSION 2 THE FUTURE” Aug. 28 in Jacksonville. Sponsored by Rasajhari and Indian organizations of Jacksonville, the combination of Bharat Natyam, Kathak and Western ballet received numerous accolades from the audience. All proceeds were donated to the Hindu Society of North East Florida.

A group of well-trained Bharat Natyam dancers under the tutelage of Padmaja Kelam, led by Siddartha Kelam and Kathak dancer Samatha and the Western ballet dancer Chad, stole the hearts of Jacksonville community.

Rasajhari will present a musical Buddha in English in May 2011.



Derry Moore © daughter of Sardar Patel, Delhi 1976. Courtesy sepia EYE.


The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMOPA) is presenting the “Bhupendra Karia and Derry Moore: Stillness and Shadows/Vintage Photographs of India” exhibit through Nov. 6.

This distinguished exhibition from Sepia EYE, which was shown in London earlier this year, includes vintage black and white photographic prints that were made in the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition’s sponsors are Lissa and Charles Lyman, Sykes Enterprises Incorporated and Homeowners Choice. FMOPA is also grateful for the support of the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce.

An artist, teacher and curator, Karia (1936-1994) was born in Babra, India. His career included a long association with Cornell Capa and the International Center for Photography in New York. His work is collected by New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi.

Moore (born 1937) studied under photographer Bill Brandt. The Cambridge-educated Moore won attention for his portraiture after having photographed celebrities like John Gielgud and David Bowie. In 1997, he published his study of post-Raj India, Evening Ragas. His work is collected by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and London’s National Portrait Gallery.

Also on view is an exhibition of personal snapshots from area families, “Personal Memories of India from Tampa Bay’s Indian Community.”

FMOPA is hosting the following in conjunction with the exhibition:
*Gandhi Birthday Event with a lecturer on Mahatma Gandhi from the USF Center for India Studies: Oct. 2 at 3 pm;
* Screening of extracts from “Passage to India” (1984 David Lean film) with commentary by Charles Lyman: Oct. 24 at 7 pm;
*Closing Party, Nov. 4 at 6:30 pm. All events are at the museum and, except for the Closing Party, are free for members and $4 for non-members.

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts is at 200 N. Tampa St. (corner of Jackson Street and Ashley Drive). It is open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is a suggested $4 donation. Call (813) 221-2222 or visit www.FMoPA.org


The INDO-US Chamber of Commerce, Tampa will present the second annual India International Film Festival (IIFF) of Tampa Bay on Feb. 18-20, 2011 at Channelside Cinemas in Tampa.

The three-day festival was a grand success this year and the organizers are poised to put together an even bigger event this year. With the IIFF, the chamber hopes to bring the community and businesses together, while providing a platform for independent film-makers to showcase their efforts.

Film makers are encouraged to submit your films to this film festival for consideration. Categories such as Feature Film, Short Films and Documentaries are invited. For more information on guidelines and ways to submit, visit the Web site.

Those with a passion for movies and are interested in getting involved in the organizing the fest can call Francis Vayalumkal at (813) 719-0303 or e-mail francis@IIFFTampa.com or Rachana Dinkar at Rachana@IIFFTampa.com. More information will be available at www.IIFFTampa.com


Manav Dharam Ashram in Tampa and dedicated Shri Ram Katha devotees have organized spiritual discourses in Hindi on Shri Ram Katha recited by Gurudev HH Shri Akhil Ji Maharaj, who is visiting from India.

Shri Akhil Ji Maharaj, founder of Akhil Bhaktiyoga Foundation in Vrindavan, is a well-known authority in Hindu scriptures such as Shrimad Bhagwat, Shri Ramcharit Manas (Ramayan), Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta and other Hindu scriptures.

Manav Dharam Ashram is at 7520 Caron Road in Tampa. The discourses will be from 6 to 9 p.m. from Oct. 8-15 and 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 16. For more information, call Satish Sharma at (813) 877-2192 or Chandrakant Patel at (813) 340-5505 or visit www.akhilbhaktiyoga.org

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