JUNE 2015
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Sri Sri Ravi

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

International spiritual teacher and ambassador of peace Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will visit Tampa on June 18 for a special talk “Explore Happiness” at 6:30 p.m. at A La Carte Pavilion. He established the Art of Living Foundation, a non-profit organization that recognizes a common human identity above the boundaries of race, nationality and religion, which has a presence in 152 countries. Sri Sri’s teachings incorporate yoga and meditation. His powerful technique, Sudarshan Kriya, is the centerpiece of Art of Living courses. Millions around the world have benefited from his courses and service projects. He will be a guest speaker at the national AAPI convention on June 19 in Orlando before traveling to New York City for a special program at Lincoln Center for International Day of Yoga on June 21.

Rajesh Jagasia

Rajesh Jagasia

Rajesh Jagasia, an international Art of Living teacher who has been teaching yoga and meditation for 13 years, is currently in Tampa. He spoke to Khaas Baat about what one may expect from the Happiness program.

Give us an overview of how the mind works.

As Sri Sri says, “Today if something is as omnipresent as God, it is stress. Stress is giving a good competition to God.” The stress that we know it is at the level of our mind. The mind has to learn how to be in the present moment, learn how to quickly bounce back from emotional instability and learn how to be comfortable or at home with everyone. If you see the oscillations of the mind, we learn that the mind goes to past events and chews on them and produces emotions like anger and regret. So if you are angry it simply means you are living in the past. When the mind sits in the future it produces emotions of anxiety and fear. When the mind sticks to the past over the same negative events then it becomes violence and in future can become paranoia. Bringing the mind to the present brings joy, creativity and silence. The Art of Living Happiness Program teaches us how to do it, gives one an experience.

How was your journey from software to spirituality?

I was developing price management solutions for the retail industry in Minneapolis and decided to become a full time AOL teacher. It has been quite an experience teaching all around the world, meeting wonderful people and seeing how people simply relax after doing these programs. I have had the opportunity to travel to countries around the world that I would never have visited as a software engineer. Programming minds has been a lot more fun than programming software.

What can I gain from the Happiness program that is happening from June 19-22?

When the mind knows how to relax, your battle is won. Tension simply means repetitive thoughts and getting drowned. The Happiness program anchors the mind and makes us look at life from a bigger context. It’s quite a program, fun, powerful and super interesting.

Could you share with us more about the Art of Living foundation?

It would take the whole newspaper if I start to describe all the things the foundation has done. To name a few, the Art of Living has worked with prisoners, conflict zones, war zones, tsunami-affected people, and more recently Nepal Earthquake and Baltimore. Art of living prevents stress and mends broken hearts together. It is about exploring happiness, no matter what. It’s quite a challenge to be happy in difficult situations. Sri Sri has a key to that. Sri Sri has made yoga and spirituality reach to everyone. His talk in Tampa on June 18 is going to unravel the secret to be joyful in every situation. It will be an experience.

For tickets to Explore Happiness on June 18, visit www.trulyhappytampabay.org or call (813) 816-1230.

For information on Art of Living courses in your city, visit www.artofliving.org

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By NITISH S. RELE – [email protected]

AAPI ConventionAbout 1,500 people are expected to attend the 33rd annual AAPI (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) Convention & Scientific Assembly June 17-21 in Orlando. The annual event returns to the West Central city after nearly 15 years.

“‘Generations Many, Mission One’ is our motto,” said AAPI President Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar. “We’re transitioning out of our generation to the next leadership generation. But we can be mentors to the new crowd.”

Sri Sri Ravi

AAPI President Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar

Jahagirdar is excited to note that AAPI has come off age after more than three decades and is now widely known in the mainstream. “We are the only ethnic organization recognized by the American Medical Association, which also has delegates from AAPI,” he said. “Besides, you’ll see the most diverse group of patients at an Indian physician’s office. So diversity is our specialty.”

Another focus for AAPI is treatment for diabetes and heart disease. “Indians are eight times more likely to get the two killer diseases than a Caucasian,” said Jahagirdar. “We are studying them more since how we respond as a race to some drugs is different from others.” Also, the organization has adopted 100 schools for its child obesity program.

Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, who will be speaking at the convention, is one of the AAPI’s successes on the legislative front. “Our clout on the Hill is educational advocacy, not lobbying. And we’ve had stellar success with Dr. Murthy,” said Jahagirdar.

Also attending the convention will be Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, spiritual world leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Indian Ambassador Arun K. Singh. Entertainment will be provided by K.Y. Yesudas, Jay Sean, Sonu Nigam and Monali Thakur. Other activities include exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge advances in healthcare and technology; plenary and scientific sessions; alumni/specialty gatherings; symposia on women’s health, men’s health; CEO Forum for healthcare and hospital executives; children/youth programs; and a fashion show.

The event will be at Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, 6677 Sea Harbor Drive. To register or for details, visit www.aapiconvention.org



To commemorate Asian/Pacific American Heritage last month, the U.S. Census Bureau released some interesting stats on Asian Indians for 2013. Though the median income of households headed by the Asian alone population was $72,472, the Indian American median income was $100,547. Compare that to 2010 when the Indian American income was $90,711. This makes the community the highest-earning ethnic group in the U.S. Bangladeshi median income was $51,331, Black-American households earn $33,321 and Hispanic household income was $39,005.

Also, Indian Americans are the third largest Asian group by population (3.5 million) after Chinese (ranked at No. 1 with 4.3 million and Filipinos at 3.6 million). There are 19.4 million Asians in the U.S. of which 6.1 million live in California, followed by New York a 1.8 million.

On a different note and in another study, this one by the Pew Research Center, found that Hinduism is the fourth-largest faith in the U.S. after Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In 2014, the country’s Hindu population was 2.23 million (in a U.S. population of nearly 319 million), a spurt of one million or 85.8 percent since 2007, attributed to immigration. That’s up from 0.4 percent in 2007 to 0.7 percent last year. Hindus also continued to be among the most educated religious traditions. According to the report, 77 percent of Hindus are college graduates. Also, 36 percent of Hindus reported their annual family income exceeds $100,000, compared with 19 percent of the public overall.

The report also found that Hindus have the lowest divorce rate at just 5 percent; 91 percent of Hindus have a spouse/partner who is a fellow Hindu; and the median age of Hindu adults is 33 years.

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