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IN MEMORIAM: ANANDA BHATTACHARYYA
a personal remembrance
Anand's far-ranging and key contributions to interfaith understanding might be suggested by the fact that he is the “Hindu” in the Donna Ziegenhorn play, The Hindu and the Cowboy. He was tireless in promoting not only the better understanding of his own faith by sharing it in many ways with the larger community, but by supporting efforts to bring faiths together in mutuality and trust. He wrote for The Kansas City Star and often advised me on my column through its weekly appearance for 18 years. An engineer by profession, he was a spiritual scholar, teacher and servant of the divine, a man of integrity and joy.
Anand was the first Hindu member of the Kansas City Interfaith Council 1989 (last image); and he and Dipti offered me, along with so many others, great friendship and all kinds of help. So many memories! — including bhumi puja ground-breaking at the site of what became the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center when he was president, to his being honored by CRES at the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Sunday Family Ritual Meal in 1999 (image 1) to his participation in the press conference September 11, 2001 (image 2), and the day of observance September 11, 2002 (image 3) , to his welcoming guests from here and abroad at the nation's first Interfaith Academies for professionals and students when the participants visited the Temple in 2007 (image 4) . . . and so many other public and private ways he enriched our lives.
We honored him at this year’s interfaith Candlemas.
We are blessed in so many ways by knowing Anand, and those who never met him still benefit in ways they may never know from his time with us.
And may I mention a couple other,
rather personal, things.
The Rev David E Nelson, a past Council convener, knew Anand from the Council's first meeting in 1989. “Anand embodied the vision of the Interfaith Council. He lived his faith and spirituality in his primary relationships, his vocation, and in his relationships with others. I always appreciated his wisdom and his warm hospitality.”
From the Kansas City Vedanta Society,
From the Rev Kara Hawkins: Even as the embodied Self passes, in this body, through the stages of childhood, youth, and old age, so does It pass into another body. Calm souls are not bewildered by this. —The Bhagavad Gita — “O dear sweet Anand, your shining light comforts me. I shall not be bewildered and will remain calm through all earthly illusions, as I think of you and your many blessings to me, the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, and to all the interfaith community. I look forward to your continued guidance.” — With love and appreciation, Kara Hawkins
From the Rev Kelly Isola, who leads
the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, we learned January 14 of the
death of beloved Hindu leader Anand Bhattacharyya. Her message included
Ananda Bhattacharyya passed away due to pancreatic cancer on Sunday, January 14th about 10 a. m. He and his wife Dipti had been staying with their son and family in St Louis since late Fall.
Ananda ji was
the First President of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center for five
years from 1983 to 1988. During his tenure he designed the entire
electrical lines for the temple. Ananda ji was instrumental in getting
Durga” murthi so that it appeals to the Bengali community.
We shall miss Anand ji very much.
For the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council's newsletter:
To be invited to join him and others for the the ground-breaking for the building of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center October 27, 1985, and to participate in bhumi puja then, was a demonstration of the universal embrace of his love. His explanations of Hindu stories and rituals, and welcoming to various celebrations, enlarged my spiritual vision.
Indeed, at the 1987 Interfaith Thanksgiving Ritual Meal, according to my organization's newsletter, "Hindu Anand Bhattacharyya spoke in the context of a tradition 5,000 years old. He said that thanksgiving is not a once-a-year activity, but rather a regular event of the religious life." With his encouragement, on May 11, 1989, the Interfaith Council was created, and he was the first Hindu member, acknowledged with a special award at the dinner ten years later, also recognizing his columns in The Kansas City Star.
Although we shared activities throughout the passing seasons and the flow of many years, it was the annual Thanksgivings that literally "tied" us together, because one year I admired the tie he was wearing. He had a second one just like it, and gave it to me, and it became our custom to wear these identical ties together at these yearly interfaith gatherings.
Anand was remembered in the program for this year's Interfaith Candlemas, and photos and tributes appear at http://www.cres.org/Anand.htm. Now he is with the light that pervades the cosmos; and for knowing him in this life, I give profound thanks.
COPYRIGHT 2005, 2009 Vern Barnet at CRES, Box 45414,
Kansas City, MO 64171
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