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Bike For Dharma – Support The Veterans

K. Arvind
05/12/2015

Bharathi Vidyashram and the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire are happy to encourage you to participate in the “Honor Ride New Hampshire”, a bicycle ride around Nashua, NH on May 30, 2015, in support of the nation’s injured veterans.

Honor Ride New Hampshire – Opportunity to Give

“Honor Ride” is one of the offerings  of “Ride 2 Recovery” (R2R), a novel bicycle ride program that aims to save lives by restoring hope and purpose. The spark for the program was a recreational therapist’s idea that cycling might serve as an alternative therapy to issues like post-traumatic stress disorder that many veterans have to deal with (video). The R2R program has helped over 5500 veterans over its 7 years of existence. “Honor Ride” is a community-oriented program that gives the public an opportunity to ride with healing heroes and enlisted military on a non-competitive, fun ride, while raising funds for R2R. A dozen Honor Rides in various parts of the country are being held this year, with one scheduled in Nashua, NH on Saturday, May 30th.

The Honor Ride in Nashua, NH on May 30th is in honor of Sgt. Jack Nash, a bike industry legend, who started Stowe/Shimano, one of New England’s most prominent cycling teams.  The ride which starts at the historic Holman Stadium at 67 Amherst St, Nashua offers a choice of 3 great routes, a 10 mile route (great for beginners), a 30 mile route (great for regular bikers), and a 50 mile route (for the truly committed bikers) that covers Brookline, Milford, Amherst and Nashua, and promises fun rest stops along the way, and a festive finish line with lunch and music. Routes will be clearly marked and every rider will be supplied with a map and cue sheet. There will be several rest/aid stations along each route that will be stocked with food and drink. Police officers and volunteers will be posted at various intersections, once riders have reached the city limits.

There is a registration fee of $75, which includes a goody bag with an event shirt, and a finishing medal. There is no minimum fundraising amount (just your registration fee), though any additional funds that participants raise will be welcome and appreciated.

Bicycling – Opportunity to Shape Up

I ran into this memorable “baiku” (bike haiku) in a bicycling newsletter:

I like riding bikes
and writing poetry, but
not at the same time

Contrary to what this “baiku” suggests, bicycling can actually be very inspiring, especially when you ride through beautiful bike routes and trails. It is not only a pleasurable activity, but also a great form of aerobic exercise that can burn quite a few calories (about 300 calories in an hour or 10 miles) and help you shed those excess pounds. The natural endorphins generated by the intense activity can contribute to stress reduction. Biking with friends and family can strengthen bonds. If you are lucky enough to be able to ride to work, then you can also whiz through traffic jams and do your part to slow down global warming! You can also obtain a feeling of achievement by riding in challenges such as the Hub on Wheels around Boston, and the Five Borough Bike Tour around New York City which attracts 32000 cyclists.

Bicycling is easy to learn and doesn’t require a great investment. You can get started with a $200 bike available in Costco, though you may want to invest on a more expensive bicycle available in a bike store, if you plan to continue with this sport for longer. If you do not wish to buy a bike immediately, you can even rent a bike for this tour at Goodale’s Bike Shop in Nashua, NH (or check out your neighborhood bike store).

E Pluribus Unum – Opportunity to Love

There are close to a thousand active duty Hindus who serve in the US Armed Forces, and a few thousand more who serve as civilians. One can find interesting accounts of American soldiers of Hindu faith, who strive to balance the demands of their duty with their peace-oriented Hindu beliefs.  In 2011, the Department of Defense established the first Hindu Military Chaplain program in the history of the nation. Captain Pratima Dharm, a native of Mumbai, who was awarded the Bronze medal for organizing and leading humanitarian aid missions for Kurdish Iraqis, was appointed as the first Hindu Chaplain in the US Army the same year.  Captain Dharm, who uses the Bhagavad Gita as basis of counseling Hindus in the US military, retired from the Army in 2014, and now heads the Hindu Ministry at Georgetown University.

The Honor Ride around Nashua provides an opportunity for people of the Hindu faith (as well as other faiths) in the Greater Boston area to display camaraderie, support, and love for their brethren (of their own faith and of other faiths) serving in or retired from the Armed Forces.

Bike for Dharma – Opportunity to Serve

The great teachers tell us that helping others constitutes the essence of Dharma – Paropakaro hi paramo dharmah (परोपकरो हि परमो धर्मः). For example,  Sri Kanchi Paramacharya exhorts us that “on the day we have not rendered any public service, we have not gone anywhere near punya”.  Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba teaches us that “Real paropakara is to act with faith and do meritorious acts to serve the Divine in others, without entertaining feelings of division and difference”. The great Sage Vyasa summarizes the wisdom distilled from the eighteen Puranas as “merit is helping others and sin is hurting others”

अष्टादष पुराणेषु व्यासस्य वचनद्वयम् |
परोपकार: पुण्याय पापाय परपीडनम् ||

ashtadasha puraaneshu vyaasasya vachanadwayam
aaropakaarah punyaaya paapaaya parapeedanam
 

A team from Bharathi Vidyashram led by Smt. Komala Gopalan recently raised $1080 for Project Bread to help feed the hungry by doing the “Walk for Hunger” around Boston (click here for pictures from the walk). We encourage you to use this great opportunity to “Bike for Dharma”, and do paropakara by supporting the veterans who have sacrificed much in order to uphold their Dharma of protecting the high ideals that this nation stands for.  Also, please don’t forget to have fun, enjoy the sights, and shed a few pounds in the process!

Let the Wheels of Dharma Roll

We have set up a team called “Maruti” named after Lord Hanuman for this event. Lord Hanuman symbolizes not only speed and strength, but also healing, which is one of the goals of this ride. In the Ramayana, Lord Hanuman carried and brought a mountain bearing the healing herb Sanjeevani to revive Sri Lakshmana who was fighting with Sri Rama to uphold Dharma. When you register for the ride at the link below, please click on “Join an Existing Team” under “Team Registration” and join the team “Maruti.” 

To register for the ride click here: https://www.raceit.com/Register/groups/default.aspx?newgroup=true&event=30025

To enquire about renting a bicycle, contact Goodale’s Bike Shop, Nashua, NH.

Get the wheels of Dharma rolling! Don’t forget to bring your helmet and ride safe!



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Bike For Dharma – Support The Veterans

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