Fruits of its labours showcased at Pranav’s 11th Awards event

A young disciple of Swami Bhajananandaji walked up to the podium where orators at the 11th Annual Pranav Dinner and Awards stood to address the audience. Unbeknownst to her parents, this child, barely past her toddler years, prepared a speech for the event and waited in excitement to speak to the crowd. There, witnessed by everyone, she spoke about her admiration for her guru and the ashram she was budding before.

The purpose for hosting soirees like this yearly fundraiser became apparent in that moment. “It was all so sudden, all so natural, so direct to what I am trying to do,” said Swami Bhajananandaji, Pranav Ashram’s spiritual leader. Pranav Ashram’s mission was manifesting—children of the youngest ages were engaged and growing more impacted by this incredible institution that stood behind them.

That impact was amply showcased as the students entertained with their newest vocal and instrumental pieces directed by their Saaz O Awaaz instructors, Guru Dev Bansraj and Dev Bansraj Jr. “We are working to educate children who are born here, to understand their heritage, their culture,” said Swami Bhajanananda.

According to Swamiji, these tireless deeds of launching fundraisers help take some of the strain off parents who are working industriously to provide their children with the best education possible and help provide a new group of spiritual community leaders tomorrow.

Until that day arrives, the students have a powerhouse of dignitaries to look to for inspiration. Of those who attended were David Singh, Dr. Budhendra Doobay, Dhaman Kissoon, Danny Kissoon, Mrs. Indrani Gayadeen, Bas Balkissoon and Harry Lall Bishamber, the latter two of whom received special recognition awards. Balkissoon, Liberal MPP in Scarborough, was honored for his government service and Bishamber for his years of religious and social work within Pranav Ashram and the community.

In a touching moment of gratitude, David Singh announced that he will be donating a $5,000 bursary to the ashram in honor of his mother, Latchmin Singh, for every year that it is needed. “The only thing that I ask it whoever those scholarships are given to, that not only academic achievements should be taken into consideration but spiritual leadership and care the way my mother cares,” said Singh.

Swamiji humbly accepted the donation and pledged its allocation to students in Guyana.

In addition to the awards, scholarships were presented to Michael Dave Surajpaul, last years recipient now in his second year of studies at the University of Toronto, and Amanda Persaud, a nursing student in her freshman year at Seneca College.

The evening climaxed with a delicious three course dinner, classical and modern dances and more musical entertainment.

“Charity is a very personal feeling,” said Swamiji. That feeling was mutually felt throughout the evening as Pranav Ashram demonstrated through the students of the cultural centre how it benefits from the support of the community.

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Indo-Caribbean World, October 6, 2010

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