MORARI BAPU TO NARRATE RAM KATHA JUNE 2-10 IN TAMPA
Pujya Morari Bapu will narrate a Ram Katha in Gujarati with summary in English from June 2 to June 10. The katha begins on Saturday, June 2, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. From June 3 through June 10, the katha will be from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. The key organizer is India Cultural Center (ICC).
A well-known exponent of the Ram Charit Manas, Morari Bapu has been doing Ram Kathas for more than 50 years. The overall ethos is of universal peace and of truth, love and compassion; and while the focal point is the scripture itself, he draws upon examples from other religions and invites people from all faiths to attend kathas. He has narrated more than 700 kathas; they have been held all over India and in various parts of the world from London, New York and Dubai to a Mediterranean cruise, the rainforest of Brazil, Bhutan and last year in Kailas, Tibet.
Bapu’s love and knowledge of the Ramayana started at the early age of 5, when Tribhovandas Dada or Dadaji, Bapu’s grandfather and guru, would teach Bapu five chaupais of the Ram Charit Manas each day and Morari Bapu would memorize these while walking to and from school. Morari Bapu lives in Talgajarda, Gujarat, today with his family.
Spearheading the efforts to bring the katha to Tampa are Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel. “For the last two years, we’ve personally appealed to Morari Bapu to conduct a katha in Tampa,” said the Patels. “Our persistence has paid off and credit goes to the community and everyone else for their support.”
Also, a couple of years ago, when the Gujarati Literary Academy of North America’s seventh Sahitya Sammelan was held in Tampa, the Patels took the challenge of hosting the event with a commitment from the Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay to volunteer. “That gesture added value, goodwill created from the event, the way we conducted as a community, shows we can host someone of Morari Bapu’s stature. I want to thank Vasant Patel of Tampa, who was a key player in contact with Morari Bapu, Samaj President Chetan Shah, ICC President Dr. Mahesh Amin.”
Though Morari Bapu has visited Tampa before (during the opening of the India Cultural Center in 1996), this will be his first katha in Florida and the only katha in the United States during this trip. About 2,000 to 4,000 people are expected to attend the katha on a daily basis. And nearly 1,000 people from outside the Sunshine State are among those expected. “The katha is a rare opportunity for listening to a spiritual leader of this caliber at such close proximity,” the Patels said. It’s an opportunity very few people can have.
Breakfast and lunch will be served. The logistics of dinner arrangements are still being considered at alternate locations for a donation. Efforts will be made to accommodate those needing special assistance at the venue. Parking spots will be closer to the katha hall for seniors and handicapped persons.
Hosting the katha is ICC with support of the entire Tampa Bay area and Florida community. “We have personally invited and welcome other Florida communities to host the event on different days,” the Patels said. “Fort Myers already has committed to be a host for one day. Accordingly, another day will be dedicated to South Florida (Miami/Fort Lauderdale). The hope is that other cities will come forward and volunteer as a group on separate days of the katha.”
To volunteer or for schedule, hotel/accommodation, weekly Ramayan quiz and more details, visit http://www.ramkathaflorida.org As specific arrangements are finalized they will be added on the Web site. Also, for more information, call John Adhia at (813) 784-1132.
SUSHMITA SEN GUEST OF HONOR FOR MIAMI TEMPLE FUNDRAISER MAY 26
Bollywood superstar and former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen will be the guest of honor Saturday, May 26, during a fundraiser for the under-construction Miami Lakshmi Narayan Mandir.
The gala dinner will be at the Florida International University, Graham Hall Center, Grand Ballroom, 11200 S.W. Eighth St., Miami. Tickets are $100 per adult and children younger than 18 years of age are $50. There will be Bollywood dancing and music with entertainment by DJ 3rd Degree Promotions and live music by Tony Ramesar and group. For information, call Mahendra Doobay at (954) 304-3643, Dr. Samir Kulkarni at (786) 218-8833.
“The goal of the Miami Lakshmi Narayan Mandir is to promote our culture and Hinduism in the South Florida area,” said Mahendra Doobay, who is leading the efforts toward building the temple. “Today, there is no Hindu temple in the Miami area. Our mission is to provide a place of worship for the Hindu community in the South Florida area. Also, to provide a forum for discussion of Hindu philosophy, whereby the community can conduct spiritual, educational, social and cultural activities to benefit Hindus in the community.”
The long-term goal of the temple is to establish a dedicated facility to house a library, schools for Bal Vihar classes and music and dance classes. “This is needed to preserve the Hindu traditions and our cultural heritage,” said Doobay. “Our youth must have a place where they can learn their history and develop their Hindu philosophy so they can be proud of their heritage.”
Construction is in progress at 9851 S.W. 168th St., Miami. “Anyone can participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event as a sponsor,” said Doobay. “Depending on the sponsored amount, your name and dedication will be posted on the patronage wall for our current and future generations to acknowledge. We’ve completed Phase 1 and now currently in Phase 2. We need an additional $250,000 to $300,000 to finish Phase 2, which will allow us to occupy the new mandir via a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy.”
For more information about the mandir, call Mahendra Doobay at (954) 304-3643, Dr. Samir Kulkarni at (786) 218-8833 or visit www.hindus.com
ORLANDO CHAMBER’S ANNUAL Business Expo MAY 20
On Sunday, May 20, The Indian American Chamber of Commerce – Central Florida (IACC) will hold its third Annual Business Expo noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 20, at the Wyndham Orlando Resort, 8001 International Drive.
There will be about 100 vendors showcasing services and products; more than a 1,500 people are expected to attend. The expo will provide an informative platform for business to connect with customers and provide networking opportunities. Attendees will be able to get information about health services, enjoy sampling Indian food from participating restaurants, and a chance at winning raffle prizes. Entry for visitors and parking on premises is free.
TAMPA INDO-US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO HOLD BANYAN BALL MAY 19
The Indo-US Chamber of Commerce in Tampa will hold its annual gala and awards banquet on Saturday, May 19, at the Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore. The Banyan Ball is an event honoring Asian-American businesses and individuals who have distinguished themselves through professionalism and community service. It provides excellent networking opportunities and brings together local business and political leaders to celebrate the Chamber’s activities and its successes over the past year.
The black-tie event at Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore, 5303 West Kennedy Blvd., will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. and continue with dinner, business awards, keynote speaker, entertainment and dancing. Tickets can be purchased through www.indo-us.org or by contacting Ronak Ganatra at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 562-9036.
For more information about the Banyan Ball, see the “Business Beat” section on pages 16 and 17.
Celestial Trio Concert MAY 19 IN HOLLYWOOD
The Association of Performing Arts of India will present a Celestial Trio Concert on Saturday, May 19, in Hollywood. Performers are Rupak Kulkarni on flute, Snehashish Mozumder on mandolin and Subhen Chatterjee on tabla.
Kulkarni is a child prodigy with music blown into his breath by his father late Pandit Malhar Rao Kulkarni. He has blossomed under the finest tutelage of flute legend Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia to become an outstanding exponent of Maihar Gharana.
Mozumder is among those few established musicians in India who has mastered the art of playing mandolin, and has blended it perfectly into the style of Hindustani Indian classical music.
Chatterjee based his style of playing to Lucknow Gharana that he learnt from his guru tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chowdhury. Not restricting himself to one single Gharana, he learnt the intricacies and beauty of other Gharanas.
The 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. concert will be at Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center,
1770 Monroe St., Hollywood (U.S. 1 and Monroe). Parking is free. Tickets are $30 (first five rows), $25 general admission and $20 for seniors and students.
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