Article for Item : 4 – World Hindu Political Conference – Theme
Article written by Sridhar Rangaswamy called “Sri” aka Dr. Just Kidding in the United States, as he has a Patent for Dr. Just Kidding and UltimiZed SolutionZ Logo – both are Patented.
Date: March 20th 2018
Clad in t-shirt and jeans, I arrived in the United States on May 16th 1996 on H1B Work Visa Legally to the United States. Today I am a US Citizen through Naturalization … I am also Post-graduate (M.S) studies in computer information Security at the Colorado Technical University. The grueling coursework kept me busy, while the dreamer in me kept me motivated to pursue new challenges. On weekends, the few of us from Madras (still not Chennai) on campus would rent a car and head off to see friends on neighboring campuses. Each trip ended in a temple visit. Besides delicious halwa-puri, and boisterous debates on the future of technology, watching sunsets from the temple stairs reinforced my belief my sojourn on earth becomes meaningful by doing God’s work.
During my college days at Madras University, one of my favorite memories is a trip to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. It is on this rock Swami Vivekananda attained enlightenment. On the half-day trip, I spent some time at the mandapams, and the rest of the afternoon gazing at the vast open ocean. As I stood on the edge of the rock, pondering about the mysteries of nature, the spray mist tingling my face opened my mind to the Dvaita worldview—dualism of form and formless. Akin to a lab experiment on semiconductor electronics, I found evidence for God’s mysterious ways. Consciousness is formless, while elements of nature manifest themselves in some form. This understanding of duality could also be extrapolated to other phenomena such as creation and destruction, physical and transient properties, and so on and so forth. It made sense in my own way, and I was delighted by the epiphany.
Like a kid with a new cricket bat, I jumped at every opportunity to play—I dug deeper into Swami Vivekanand’s teachings. I was amazed how his teachings on Vedanta enhanced my previous knowledge of Dvaita by reconciling it with its converse characteristic Advaita—the ultimate form is devoid of distinctions and qualities. This wisdom is powerful, because it helps us make meaning about our sojourn on earth.
It made sense for my own conduct, and I describe it by using the scientific metaphor that is such a core component of my professional life. My experiential journey is like an experiment, where the research method is salvation—saving the soul from sin. To achieve the goal of divinity, I need to control the experiment by applying relevant techniques. Supporting research methods include discipline, philosophy, work, and worship, among others. Books, doctrines, and temples are approaches for refining the research methods. Though these tools seem like constraints, when performed at a high level, they actually set me free from the undesirable influences, which helps achieve the journey in the finest possible way.
When I started writing this article for the World Hindu Political Conference, I felt it necessary to provide some perspective on how I got this far. Following the epiphany, I dedicated myself to promoting Hindu philosophy to fellow beings aspiring to benefit from spiritual advise. My first gig was volunteering at the temple of Casselberry, where I ran errands ranging from parking vehicles to organizing bhajans as a committee member. I then volunteered at the temple of Tampa, where I ferried swamis on tour of the States. One particular incident I remember is when Swami Nitayanada Giri helped me resolve a dilemma that had been lingering on my mind. As if by quantum physics, Swamiji read my mind and suggested that the problem would come to pass and I would feel better—it happened exactly as Swamiji had said! Following that moment, I have been actively serving temples in Atlanta, Knoxville, Orange County, Raleigh, and Tamil Nadu, among others.
Based on my experience, I believe there is a need for a platform to help not only those with an interested in Hindu ideologies but also for followers like me and those who plan to make this mission a success. As the former Commerce Secretary of the Asian Chamber of Commerce, former Council Member of Orange County District 2, former Board member of the City of Ocoee HRDB Board of Diversity, and several other positions, I am testimony to the fact that cultural, political and religious processes are ways to make our journey meaningful, just like Swami Vivekananda had said in his teachings. Recently, I had the privilege of promoting our support to the White House during former President Barack Obama’s tenure as a member of the Hindu American Seva Charities Partner. To my fellow Hindu brothers and sisters, I am happy to announce that the reciprocity is heartening, and we must continue our mission.
In the next phase of my career, I aspire to take on leadership roles including mayoral and senatorial duties. I am confident I could build broad consensus among people on cultural and religious matters. Swami Ramakrishna Parahamsa, one of my beloved leaders, urged his followers to incorporate several dimensions of human experience while serving the community. Besides selfless devotion, ethics, honesty, and integrity could elevate the social experience for us Americans. In conclusion, I invite everyone to join me in this movement to elevate the social environment with our deep spiritual wisdom.
#historyinthemaking #drjustkidding #gsnj