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Lokvani Talks To Pandit Ramadeen Ramsamooj

Ranjani Saigal

Pandit Ramadheen Ramsamooj is the founder and President of  Saraswathi Mandiram in Epping, NH. Panditji , a native of Trinidad, moved to the Boston area in 1990.  He has received his Diksha from Prof Harishankar Adesh in Trinidad.  He has studied under Swami Geetananda Giri and Swami Ram. He gained a lot of profound insights into the Gita from Swami Harihar Maharaj who is part of the Himalayan Institute in Pensylvania.

Panditji was the initiator of the charter school movement in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He has a Masters in Applied Technology from the University of Wisconsin and Masters in Education from Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA. He has also has formal degrees in music which he received in Trinidad.

Panditji established the Vivekananda Academy, a private school for Grades 1 -12. A passionate educator, he feels that good education is an important key to bringing peace in the world.

Panditji is planning to hold a unique Gayathri Mahayagna to re-establish the Saraswathi Mandir which burnt down due to a electrical fire and to bring peace and tranquility in the world at large.

He spoke to Lokvani about his unusual life and his passion for making a change in the world through proper education.

You started your spiritual training in Trinidad. Could you tell us about that experience?

From a very young age I felt the urge to work for the betterment of humanity. I wanted to provide service. The Hindus in Trinidad had no institutions that would allow me to do this. The way Hinduism was practiced in Trinidad made me greatly disenchanted with Hinduism. There was no meaning in it for me. 

I was greatly drawn to the service wing of the Catholic Church and I decided to apply to become a Catholic Priest.  I applied to Presentation College which provided training. My application was turned down. I was very disappointed and I decided to speak to Brother Matthew Fenney who was the principal of the Presentation College. At the meeting he opened his drawer and showed me the Bhagwad Gita which he said was his source of inspiration. He told me that I could provide service but should do it as a Hindu. I realized then the power of Hinduism. So many people of different faiths had adapted it to make their life meaningful.

I was fortunate to meet my Guru Prof Haishankar Adesh in Trinidad who gave me Dhiksha. I learnt Sanskrit, Hindi and Indian philosophy. I also learnt music and got my Bachelors in Indian classical music. Together with my Guru I spent 15 years spreading the message of Hinduism in Trinidad as part of Bharatiya Vidya Sansthan.

You then moved to the US, first to Wisconsin and then to New Hampshire where you established Saraswathi Mandiram. What motivated you to do that?

I came to the University of Wisconsin to get a Masters in Applied Technology. I came to Boston looking for a job. At that time I got very involved with the West Indian community in Dorchester Ma. I was shocked to see the violence in that community where so many children die due to violence. I wanted to do something to help. I weighed my salary against the life of a child and decided I must give up my engineering career and help the children.

I saw that the best way to help the children was through education. The US public education system is greatly lacking in many ways. So I wanted to start a school to provide the right education. I was one of the five initiators of the charter school movement in MA in 1993 and succeeded in passing the bill for charter schools.

We established the Swami Vivekananda School and were the first applicant for a charter school status.  Unfortunately the “Swami” in the name caused a lot of problems and we were rejected. I refused to change the name since Vivekananda means “bliss from good discrimination”, which should be the goal of good education.

Senator James O’ Hearn from New Hampshire called me and wanted my help in starting the Charter School movement in New Hampshire. I moved to Epping NH, where this Green Pastures property was for sale and set up Saraswati Mandiram. The movement was successful though our name kept us from getting a charter school status. 

So is your dream of a school dead?

Not at all. We have established Vivekananda Academy as a private school which is a Bonafide Accredited school for Grades 1 -12. We had twelve students last year. Unfortunately due to the fire we had to close down. The Yagna we are performing is to re-establish and rejuvenate this school.

Why did you choose to undertake the performing of the Gayathri Mahayagna ?

Mother Gayathri is the source of knowledge. As we proceed to re-install the Moorthy of Mata Sarawasthi which was donated to the Mandir , the Gayathri Mahayagna is the appropriate initiation. It will help bring peace and prosperity to the world. We pray for the welfare of our troops, for the welfare of all who are living under the threat of terrorism.

As a priest I  know the trials and tribulations of people I come in contact with. I realize that  a lot of people are afflicted by the problems caused by “Shani Graham”. This causes health problems, financial difficulties etc. This Yagna will bring Shanti to Shani.

Could you tell us about the Yagna?

It is being done in the traditional manner as prescribed in the Vedas. We have a Gayathri Yantra. 108 Yajamans will be seated at strategic points to participate and offer Ahuti to Agni Devata.  We will have prayer to a live Elephant, Lion, Tiger, Horse and Cow which are the vehicles of Mata Savithri, the divine mother.

It will be done over a three day period, August 19 – 21st. A Yagna like this is rare and should not be missed. We also will have lectures on Yoga, meditation etc and everyone will get free prasad. We have planned a cultural program as well.

Who can become an Yajaman? Do they get special benefits from performing the pooja?

Anyone can become a Yajaman. Yajamans are selected on a first-come-first-serve basis. We have a few slots open right now.  While anyone attending the Yagna will be transformed by witnessing the wonderful event, Yajamans will be able to purify their Karmas, since they are doing the Yagna themselves.  If they are affected by Shani Graha (as is evidenced by unusual difficulties) this Yagna will bring peace and prosperity to them.

The world is undergoing great turmoils. What are your prediction for the future?

The knowledge base of the world is changing. We as Indians and Hindus can play a prominent role in bringing our message to the world. I predict that soon The message of peace, environment consciousness etc which are an integral part of Hindu philosophy will resonate with every citizen of the world so the world will be become a better and more peaceful place.

Do you have any special message for our readers?

Asatoma Sad Gamaya , Tamasorma Jyothir Gamaya, Mrityor Ma Amrutam Gamaya
Take me from unreality and falsehood to reality and righteousness
From Darkness to the Light of wisdom
From Death and misery to  immortality and eternal happiness

This Shloka should be the guiding mantra for all . Endeavour to live by these words and seek enlightenment.

To get more information on the Yagna or to become an Yajaman, please cal please contact Pandit Ramadheen Ramsamooj, President of Saraswati Mandiram at 603-682-0211 or swamiji@comcast.com. You can also visit them  at:  www.saraswatimandiram.org.

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