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Team Maruti Bikes For Dharma To Support Injured Veterans

K. Arvind
06/08/2017

Team Maruti Bikes for Dharma to Support Injured Veterans

अतुलितबलधामं हेमशैलाभदेहं
 atulita bala dhaamam hemashailaabhadeham

दनुजवनकृशानुं ज्ञानिनामग्रगण्यम्
danujavana krushaanum gyaaninaam agraganyam

A reservoir of incomparable strength, with a mighty body shining like a golden mountain,
like a raging fire over a wild forest, and foremost among the wise

(part of a Sanskrit hymn in praise of Lord Maruti)

Team Maruti from Bharathi Vidyashram and the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire rallied to “Bike for Dharma” the third year in a row, and contributed over $2300 in the form of registration fees and donations, in support of the nation’s injured veterans, as they participated in the “Honor Ride New Hampshire”, a bicycle ride around Nashua, NH on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017.

THE KICKOFF

About five hundred bicyclists of all ages, including veterans of the armed forces and their well-wishers, assembled at the Holman Stadium at 67 Amherst St, Nashua, waiting to be flagged off to begin the “Ride 2 Recovery”, a bicycle ride program that aims to save lives by restoring hope and purpose. Following a pre-ride ceremony that included a display by armed forces, keynote speeches by leaders, and  singing of the national anthem, the eager bicycle enthusiasts pedaled away on their chosen 10 mile, 30 mile, or 50 mile routes around Nashua. The weather mostly co-operated and the ride was a memorable one for many. 

TEAM MARUTI

Team Maruti had 20 bicyclists registered (about 4% of the rally registrants) including volunteers and supporters of Bharathi Vidyashram and the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, and their friends. Most team members sported a Team T-Shirt, featuring the Honor Ride logo on the left chest, a water color painting of a bicyclist in the center, a small color mascot featuring a flying Lord Maruti carrying a mountain full of healing herbs (supporting the healing of the veterans is the goal of the ride) surrounded by "Bike for Dharma" and "Team Maruti" in big font. The bottom of the T-Shirt includes a popular Sanskrit hymn (बुद्धिर्बलं यशोधैर्यं - buddhir balam yasho dhairyam”) ”that asserts that dwelling on Lord Maruti, who is regarded as a personification of positive qualities such as intellect, strength, fame, courage, fearlessness, health and articulateness, leads to one acquiring those very qualities.

The bicycling experience of the team members spanned a range from the beginner or occasional rider (some members actually rented their bicycles for the event), to the regular or experienced rider. Based on experience, the Marutis gradually separated into groups along the way, each group doing a distance that suited them. The 10 milers, the nirbhaya (fearless) Marutis, included young Bharadwaj Munugoor riding with his father Lakshmi Munugoor (both riding for the first time), young Pranai Rao, Uma Shankar,  and Meghana Arvind. The distance involved hardly seemed to bother young Pranai and Bharadwaj who participated with enthusiasm and excitement. The 30 milers, the dhairyavan (courageous) Marutis, included young Maitreyi Rayasam who rode with her father Raidu Rayasam, Suresh Annamalai (all doing 30 miles for the first time), PremAnand Rao, Seshadri Dwaraknath, K. Arvind, Michael Friedberg, Chris Friedberg, and Justin Friedberg. Young Maitreyi’s unhesitant and confident reach-out for the 30 mile goal from her previous record of 10 miles is inspiring. The balavaan (strong) Marutis this time were Tom Perry, who did 50 miles, a first-time accomplishment and so a matter of pride, and Greg Freiter who chose to do over an impressive 85 miles by biking to and from home. Four of the registered team members Veeramani Ranganathan, Ganesh Kaundinya, Pranav Kaundinya and Srinivas Gopalan could not make it to the rally this time due to late schedule conflicts.

The riders were greeted at the finish line and honored with “Honor Ride” medals. The ride was covered on WMUR television – in fact the news clip (around 00:43) caught young Pranai Rao, Bharadwaj Munugoor, and Lakshmi Munugoor crossing the finish line! Pictures from the event taken by may be viewed at the following links (with sincere thanks to the photographers for making the pictures available): 1 (pictures by Meghana Arvind and K. Arvind), 2 (pictures by event photographer Mike Simard). Some of these pictures appear in the sidebar.

THE REWARDS

The Honor Ride in Nashua, NH on June 3th, 2017, in honor of Sgt. Jack Nash, a Vietnam veteran and bike industry legend, gave bicyclists an opportunity to ride with healing heroes and enlisted military on a non-competitive, fun ride. It provided an opportunity for members of the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire community and their friends to show camaraderie, support, and love for and solidarity with their brethren of the Hindu faith as well as other faiths serving in or retired from the Armed Forces, true to the Hindu dictum that the whole world is one family (“vasudhaiva kutumbakam” – वसुधैव कुटुंबकम्), and in line with “E Pluribus Unum”, the motto on the seal of the United States. Members of Team Maruti, who participated with an attitude of selfless service, contributed over $2300 in support of the cause of healing veterans in the form of registration fees and additional donations. Registration fees cover event-related expenses and help create awareness about the need for veteran services. Additional donations raised go directly to supporting veteran rehabilitation programs. The additional donations from Team Maruti amounted to $790, which has placed it among the top fund raising teams in the event.

In addition to tangible rewards like medals, T-shirts, and calories burnt, the “Bike for Dharma” riders of Team Maruti felt blessed with the unmatchable gift of the joy of accomplishment, and the satisfaction of having supported the healing of heroes, who have sacrificed much in order to uphold their Dharma of protecting the high ideals that this nation stands for. Team “Maruti” is named after Lord Hanuman, who symbolizes not only speed and strength, but also healing. In the Ramayana, Lord Hanuman lifted and brought a mountain bearing the healing herb Sanjeevani to revive Sri Lakshmana who was fighting with Sri Rama to uphold Dharma.

WALK FOR HUNGER

Bharati Vidyashram, the cultural arm of the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, in conjunction with the Temple, has also been involved in other service activities to benefit the community. On Sunday, May 7th 2017, a team of about 20 volunteers lead by Komala Gopalan did Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger around Boston for the third year in a row. The team raised close to $2000 this year also. The proceeds benefit Project Bread’s mission of ending hunger in the state. The team included both adults and children who enthusiastically walked 20 miles around Boston in support of the hungry and the poor. The children included Anirudh Gopalan, Bharadwaj Munugoor, Pranav Rajaram, Priyanka Rajaram, Arvind Sathappan, Nithin Sathappan, Harish Suresh,  and Akshaya Vadivel. The adult walkers in the team included Suresh Annamalai, Hema Chandran, Rajkumar Chari, Pavithra Dinesh, Seshadri Dwarakanath, Komala Gopalan, Srinivas Gopalan, Krishnan Iyer, Hassan Manjunath, Lakshmi Munugoor, Sathappan Muthiah, Anand Rajaram, Dineshmohan Rajaveeran, Priya Rajkumar, Veeramani Ranganathan, Thenmozhi Sathappan, Chandran Shanmugam, Padma Sirivella, Girish Sthapathi, Jayalakshmi Suresh, Veni Vadivel, and Dharmarajan Viswanathan.

Pictures from the walk may be the viewed at this link.

CULTURAL SCHOOL BUILDING EXTENSION

Bharati Vidyashram also celebrated the completion of an important project recently, namely extension of the school building to create additional space for class rooms and cultural activities. The celebrations included a “Gruhapravesha Pooja” and formal inauguration of the premises by the dedicated volunteers who took responsibility for the project, and drove it to successful completion.

 உடன்பிறந் தவர்களைப் போலே - இவ்
வுலகினில் மனிதரெல் லாரும்;

“All the people in the world are like our brethren”
(from the Tamil poem “Murasu” by the great poet Mahakavi Subrahmanya Bharati)



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