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by Ravi R Ponangi

Atlanta, GA: Indian Professionals Network (IPN Atlanta) with the support of community organizations hosted a talk and dinner meeting with community members on Thursday, June 20 in Ashiana Restaurant, Norcross.

Dr. Ravi Sarma addressing the gathering

Community members joined in large number to listen and to bid farewell to the featured speaker P. Ravi Sarma, MD; FACP who is moving to Washington DC. Dr. Ravi Sarma has given a detailed account with power point presentation on the evolution of Hinduism, its past, present and future. Dr. Ravi Sarma told audience what is Hinduism today and what is happening to Hinduism in 21st century. He discussed the ways to modernize the understanding of Hindu religion and also to bring up to date the ways to preserve and passing it to future generations.

Dr. Jagdish Sheth welcoming Dr. P. Ravi Sarma

Speaking about the salient features of Hinduism, Dr. Sarma informed that Hinduism is one of the most enduring and influential forces in human history. Hinduism concept of God is one of inclusion. Its broad statements of Vasudhaika Kutumbam (All the world is one family), Sarva Maanava Soubhratatvam (The brotherhood of mankind) and harmony with nature and respect for all forms of life makes it a “New Age” world religion.

Talking about draw backs, he said presently there is no royal patronage for Hinduism. No autonomy for temples and they are under Government control. No protection to temple assets and properties. Abandonment of Vedic studies and traditions by Brahmana communities with no replacement of the rigorous scholarship required to preserve the large body of knowledge. Lack of social standing and financial security for those who choose to undertake scriptural studies.

Ravi Ponangi, IPN lead welcoming the guests and audience, Dr. Ravi Sarma is also seen in the photo

Raising the question about the survival of Hinduism, Dr. Sarma informed that it is said that “Religion and culture have no grandchildren.” We lose one generation; we lost an eternity. What are we doing to pass on to our children and grandchildren the good that we have inherited? Will they accept the ritual and rote recitation without any understanding? Where is the scholarship and effort to reach the younger generation? Why do we have more and more temples in our communities but no Hindu educational institutions? Will Hinduism survive outside of India and with Hindus who are not Indians? Service aspect of Hinduism (Maanava Seva/ Madhava Seva) seems to be nominal, leaving a void that other religions have been able to fill and gain converts.

Earlier, IPN team lead Ravi R Ponangi welcomed the guests and briefed about the working of Indian Professionals network. He said Indian professionals Network was established in 1993 to bring together information technology professionals, doctors and other professionals.

Jagdish N. Sheth, world renowned scholar and an esteemed member of Indian community in Atlanta introduced the evening’s featured speaker Dr. Ravi Sarma. Dr. Sheth said Ravi Sarma is almost a living legend in terms of what India and Indian community can contribute in this country. Dr. Ravi Sarma is a top gold medalist, very well trained as a medical doctor. He came here, not only joined Emory university as hematologist, but also at the same time began to give back to Atlanta community especially Indian community. Philanthropy means is more than giving money. True philanthropist is one who not only gives money in some fashion but more importantly is time and talent. Dr. Sarma has become his role model as they both share the value of giving back to the society. There is nothing more important than giving back especially as you age, it gives you another purpose in life reminded Dr. Sheth.

Commenting on IPN Atlanta, Dr. Sheth said IPN will not be there as an organization without remembering Dr. Narsi Narasimhan. He was the founder of this IPN. He has created an excitement for us to come here and we still miss him. It is another reason for me to come here to have his memory also at the same time.
There was also one to one interaction between attended community members and Dr. Ravi Sarma.
He answered every question of the assembled attendees. The presentation by Dr. Ravi Sarma was very inspiring and interesting as the attendees engrossed in listening what Dr. Ravi Sarma said.
Dr. Sarma is a well-known community leader who has served the community in various leadership roles especially Dr. Sarma has been very active in early days of IACA and equally involved as one of the cofounders of Hindu Temple of Atlanta.
Several leaders of different organization had the opportunity to share their experiences and express their gratitude to Drs. Seshu and Ravi Sarma. Rajan Vedak proposed vote of thanks followed by felicitations to Dr. Ravi Sarma.

' Aug-13-2019