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In Conversation With Dr. Dwarakanath

Ranjani Saigal

“Meeting Swami Chinmayanada was a turning point in my life. He gave a whole new perspective to my life and work” says Dr. G.K. Dwarakanath who is the founder of the Chimaya Maruthi in Andover, MA. Dwarakanath has worked tirelessly ever since the mission unveiled plans for a $4 million spiritual center in Andover several years ago. Despite his busy schedule as a doctor, he puts in at least 10-15 hours a week into Chinmaya Maruti, which gets over 500 visitors a week. The organization, though rather young has a large number of services available to serve the needs of the community.

The annual “Tastes of India” event, to be held on Sunday, November 7th 2004 at the Diburro Function Hall, Haverhill, MA at 5.00 pm, is a special event where for $50 you get to taste cusines from Kashmir to Kanyakumari prepared by the finest chefs in the Boston area. This event is the brainchild of Dr. Dwarakanath who wanted to design a fundraising event for the center “which will really ensure a good time for the people attending the event”.

Dwarakanath spoke to Lokvani about his spiritual journey, Chinmaya Maruti and the upcoming "Tastes of India" event.

Dwarakanath is  the director of the Pain Management Center at Lowell General Hospital, where he treats patients with acute, chronic and cancer pain. He's also an anesthesiologist on staff at the hospital. Dwarakanath was educated at Bangalore Medical College and spent seven years in England and Sweden, developing his extensive experience in the area of pain management.  He practiced as an anesthesiologist at Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical School before starting the Pain Management Center in Lowell in 1986. 

Despite your busy life as a doctor you have spent a lot of time of energy to create Chinmaya Maruthi. What motivated you to do this? 
Indians in America have been very successful in establishing careers and contributing professionally to different fields. But there is a need to seek a higher purpose in life, one which is beyond academic conquests and building a bank balance. For me Chinmaya Maruthi was a fulfillment of that need.

Was there a transforming moment in your life which turned the course of your life towards spirituality and community service?
Spirituality and community service has been a major part of my upbringing. My father has done a lot for the community in India. He established Navajeevana Nilaya to serve Leprosy patients.  My mother was very devout and she brought me up in an atmosphere of devotion.

In 1989 I was fortunate to meet Swami Chinmayananda. I was driving him to different places for his speaking engagements. As I was doing that I realized what an incredibly  intelligent man he was. In his presence I felt a sense of calm. Later in 1991, I had the opportunity to further interact with him. He answered so many of questions. But most importantly I was amazed at his capacity to love people, his ability to forgive and his passion for community service. I think that was a turning point in my life when I decided to follow his teachings. Ever since I have experienced a tremendous shift in attitude.

What is the mission of Chinmaya Maruthi?
Swami always says that one should have centers that can enable positive changes to happen. Chinmaya Maruthi which is built on Swami’s principles is an attempt to bring about a positive change in society.

We have five wings - Spiritual, Educational, Cultural, Community Service and Religious.  We hope that the studies of Vedanta and Upanishads will give people a true understanding of Karma Yoga – which  is nothing but  doing your work without any selfish desire. Mother Thersa is one of the greatest examples of a Karma Yogi.

In our education wing we teach children things that get missed out in a secular education. We need to help build the family unit based on love and respect. We teach children to love people, to help and serve the community around them. We have Bal Vihar classes that are based on curriculum designed by experts. In addition to Bal Vihar we teach dance and music which is an integral part of Indian culture.

Jaishree Deshpande is the head of our community service wing. Our children go to homeless shelters and cook. We also have priests – a resident Swamini from Gujarat and a priest from the South who can help serve various religious needs.

Could you tell us about the upcoming "Tastes of India" event?
It is a fundraiser to support Chinmaya Maruthi. India is a vast country and we have a wide variety of cuisines. In the Boston area we have chefs who specialize in different cuisines. This event is designed as an evening in fine dining where people get to taste foods from different parts of India while getting together and having a good time. We also will have saree and jewelry exhibition the sales of which will help raise funds for the center. Each year it has been a grand success. We put an effort to make sure the hall is beautifully decorated. The ambience is great and people have a great time while helping support the center.

As a doctor you have always been involved in helping people. Did you change the way you work after your transforming moment with Swami?
Absolutely. Earlier, I used to think “I” am doing all the work. Thus when something went well it was a credit to “me”. Now I realize that all I am is an instrument of God. This shift in attitude has made work a sport and work has become fun. Even the nurses in the office have taken on this attitude and I think we have become very efficient in our work because of this.

Looking at your board you have people from all different parts of India. Is being inclusive an important part of Chinmaya Maruthi? What role does the board play in ensuring the success of the organization?
Yes. Chinmaya Maruti is a very open and welcoming organization where we welcome people of every caste, creed and religion. We have people from different ethnic backgrounds attend events. We pride ourselves on our inclusiveness.

We are also very open to new ideas. If there is a group or an individual who has an idea and is willing to put the energy to implement it we would very much welcome their efforts.

Also we are very fortunate to have people like Anil (CEO Netscouts) and Ashwani Singhal, Ravi (CEO Sycamore) and Jaishree Deshpande, Mahendra Patel and others who have put so much into this organization. They are people who have built major companies and their support ensures its success.

How do you manage to balance work, family and community service? 
One needs to make the time for important things. In my case I am extremely fortunate that I have the tremendous support of my wife Sashi. She is equally vested in this. She coordinates the Bal Vihar classes. We made a commitment that we will spend Friday and Sunday at the center. We go out only on Saturday evenings. Even then Chimaya work takes priority. My children are also part of this. My daughter who is a lawyer in Manhattan sent $1000 from her first paycheck to support this initiative. My son is doing his MD/PHD at Umass Medical and yet whenever he is free he also supports the center. I am blessed to have a wonderful family.

Any message for the community?
I would urge people to come to the Tastes of India event on Nov 7th 2004, for they are sure to have a great meal while having a really nice evening out. I would also ask everyone to make use of the center. There is so much that the center offers and I think it can be beneficial to all. 

To learn more about Chinmaya Maruthi please visit their website at




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1.To meet dr,dwarkanath January 13, 2012n murthy 

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