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The Vaisnava Academy And The Vrindavana Preservation Society

Rajiv Ramaratnam

The Vaisnava Academy is the only school of its kind in the South Shore. The main goal of the Academy is to promote Indian culture, particularly in the younger generation. To most families in the area, the academy serves as an oasis of Indian tradition, offering a diverse curriculum of courses and activities. These courses include Hindi lessons, drama, music and Yoga.

The Academy’s parent organization, Vrindavana Preservation Society (VPS) is a non-profit volunteer organization that seeks to preserve the sacred city of Vrindavana, which is situated about 60 kilometers from New Delhi, India. The efforts of VPS in Vrindavana include preservation of ancient monuments, supporting the farming community and providing welfare to the needy.

The academy helps in the efforts of VPS by raising money through its course offerings and regularly organized cultural and sporting events. During the spring, winter and fall seasons, its members meet every Sunday at 10 AM at the Clifford Marshall School in Quincy, MA. Each session begins with a prayer and then the children break off into groups for the Academy’s various activities. At the end of each session, the adults and children again reconvene for a prayer. This is followed by a free vegetarian potluck lunch prepared by the members of the academy.

The Academy was founded by the dynamic couple, Rupa, (Program Director Vaisnava Academy) and Keshav Shukla (President VPS) on December 15th 2002. The Shuklas have worked tirelessly in building the membership and organizing the Sunday classes and the cultural events for the Academy. With other members of VPS, they are working towards giving the Academy its own dedicated venue in the next two years.

The Academy’s distinguished faculty includes the noteworthy dramatist and Yakshagana maestro Raghuram Shetty, talented vocalist Madhuri Kulkani and accomplished Hindi and Toddler teachers, Kalindi Mehta and Anju Singh. The faculty also includes Celia Markey, a Yoga specialist with over ten years of instructional experience. For the forthcoming fall session, the Academy plans to add additional courses in crafts, painting and Sanskrit to its curriculum.

Earlier this spring, VPS and the Academy presented a colossal Holi Mahotsava Festival at the Quincy High School. This event featured a spectacular play titled “Bhakta Prahalad”, Garba and traditional smearing of Holi colors.

The academy also offers a homecoming for its adult members. In addition to socializing with other members, the adults often participate in Kabbadi games during the fall, spring and winter. In the summer, VPS promotes another Indian religion, Cricket. The recently organized and highly successful Cricket Tournament is a dream realized by its gaming committee chairman, Nikhil Wadhwa. The tournament has roused widespread interest in the New England area and promises to be of a much grander scale next year. Registration for next year’s tournament has already begun. For more information on the Cricket tournament, please contact Nikhil Wadhwa at nikpriya@hotmail.com

With it’s fall session scheduled to begin in September, the members VPS and the academy are hard at work, preparing for a Nandotsava Festival. The festival will feature transcendental music, dance and a Krishna Lila play presented by adults and children of the Academy. Also included in the program are several children’s activities, a free for all Bhangra and a free vegetarian dinner.

The Nandotsava Festival is scheduled for Sunday, the 24th of August at the Quincy High School in Quincy MA. VPS expects a turnout of more than 500 people for the event. While this is a free event, VPS looks to it as a fundraiser towards supporting all its activities and welcomes your generous donations.

For more information about VPS, Vaishnava Academy or the Nandotsava Festival please contact Keshav Shukla at keshav_vps@yahoo.com

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