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‘Krishna kept me safe in Iraq war’

By SEETA PERSAD Saturday, October 26 2013

click on pic to zoom in
Light my path: Brittany Jagessar, 18, reflects on a lit deya during Divali celebrations hosted by the Prime Minister at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann'...
Light my path: Brittany Jagessar, 18, reflects on a lit deya during Divali celebrations hosted by the Prime Minister at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann'...

Chief guest at Divali Nagar 2013, US Army Captain Pratima Dharm told the large audience at Thursday’s opening night, one must strive to always be in God’s company.

Everyday when I wake up at 4 am, I say to Lord Krishna, ‘I am yours and you are mine’,” she said at the Divali Nagar site, Charlieville, Chaguanas.

Dharm, the first-ever Hindu chaplain in the US Defence Department, said while serving in the US Army she went to war in Iraq and her plane was shot at, but she kept Lord Krishna in her mind and knew he was in control, keeping her safe.

She urged the public to read the Bhagwat Gita, that is in English especially Chapter 11 verse 11, where Lord Krishna revealed his original self as the lord of the world to the soldier Arjuna.

“The Lord reveals himself to us when it is necessary. He steals into our moment and can change our course,” she said. She emphasised Arjuna had many questions about the path of war and the reason for fighting the enemy and the answers were given to him by Lord Krishna. These answers she says, are there to be read and understood. Lord Krishna is regarded as the embodiment of love and divine joy, one who destroys all pain and sin. He is a protector and an instigator of all forms of knowledge.

Coming from a diverse background, Dharm migrated from India, where she grew up in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to the US just months before the September 11 terror attacks.

She praised the people of TT for their kindness, saying this is her first visit and she is most happy to be here. She is also a guest of Swami Prakashananda of the Chinmaya Mission as she is associated with the US chapter of the mission.

Dharm was especially pleased with the songs of TTs Rakesh Yankaran who sang praises to Lord Krishna in the Bhojpuri language. Yankaran also sang the Hindi song ‘‘Baar Baar Dil Ya Jaaye’’ (Birthday Song) to Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley who celebrated his birthday and was a guest at the Divali Nagar on Thursday night.

President of the National Council for Indian Culture (NCIC), Dr Deokinanan Sharma joined Sahadeo Partap (chairman of Divali Nagar) and Surujdeo Mangaroo (PRO of the NCIC), to honour Pratima on her achievements. She was given a painting of Lord Krishna and Arjuna as well as a plaque with the inscription “The NCIC awards Captian Pratima Dharm”.

Sharma said Divali Nagar provides a forum for people to meet and witness the religious culture of Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism). “Long ago people would celebrate Divali at their homes.

Today Nagar is inviting everyone to come together and greet each other, pray as one nation,” he said.

Sharma also praised the youth for their participation at the Divali Nagar saying in a world preoccupied with pop stars such as Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj, and reality stars, the Kardashians, it was commendable they found the time to support their culture and the dharma.

Divali Nagar runs till November 1 with nightly shows before the celebration of the Divali holiday on November 2.

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