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Thursday 15 November 2018
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Pundit Uttam Maharaj is new Dharmachaya


South-based Pundit Uttam Maharaj of Rousillac Village was initiated as Dharmachaya — Hindu spiritual leader by India’s Swami Divyananda Teerth at the Maha Sabha headquarters in St Augustine on Saturday.


Hundreds of pundits, Hindu activists and teachers of Maha Sabha attended the huge religious function on Saturday.


The ceremony started with a procession of pundits, led by Swami Divyananda, to the stage area. Then began the religious ceremony where Maharaj was initiated. Soon after, the crowd was treated to classical dancing by members of the Kala Mandir led by Sandra Sookdeo.


Students of the Rio Claro Hindu School rendered verses from the Holy Ramayan (text of Hindus), in song. This was followed by chowtal (ancient folk style of singing) by the Vishnu Boys’ College.


Senator Christine Sahadeo, who brought greetings, told the audience that the whole world was experiencing some sort of crisis and that people should get back into family life.


She welcomed the Swami to TT and extended best wishes to Maharaj. Divyananda urged the members of the audience to treasure their stay on earth and maintain the right conduct in life. He told them that family values were missing and people should do everything in their power to re-instil these values.


Maharaj, who is the grandson of the late Pundit Surujnath Dubey, is the third of nine children. He received his primary education at the Rousillac Hindu School and secondary education at St Benedict’s College, La Romaine. His yearning for higher knowledge and understanding of Hindi, Sanskrit and Shaastriya Sangeet (classical Indian music) led him to the feet of his guru (teacher), Prof H S Adesh where he studied these languages and the heart of music in a formal manner.


Under the professor’s guidance he went on to study Advanced Level Hindi at London University and Sanskrit up to Kovid level of Bharatiya Vidya Bhauan in Mumbai, India.


As a sitar-player, he has given many performances on radio, television and local stages. In 1972 Maharaj was selected to study Hindi in India. This scholarship was funded by the government of India. On completion of his studies, he received a Diploma in Teaching Hindi.


Maharaj has been serving as a judge of music competitions in different Educational Divisions of the Ministry of Education.

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