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Sadhvi Ritambhara Devi receives $1.8m from Hindu donor

From Left to Right: Rohini Gupta, Didi Maa, Braham Aggarwal and Krishna Aggarwal.

From Left to Right: Rohini Gupta, Didi Maa, Braham Aggarwal and Krishna Aggarwal.

Enlightens about upcoming unique Hindu museum during her visit to Houston

by Manu Shah
Sadhvi Ritambhara Devi’s oratory skills are legendary and a packed room of prominent Hindu leaders in Houston were witness to the full force of that power on July 22 at Keshav Smruti. Using equal measures of humor and gravity, she spoke about spirituality, her work with destitute children and women and her vision to build a Hindu museum to showcase Hinduism – a first of its kind in the world.
Construction is already underway on a 12 acre plot and will utilize state of the art, high tech innovations to exhibit and explain the tenets of Hinduism. Hindu philanthropist Braham Aggarwal of Florida announced a donation of ₹ 11 crores (approximately $1.8 million) for this unique project in Vrindavan whose opening is scheduled for 2020.
Most people know of Sadhvi Ritambhara Devi as a fearless Hindu leader who made headlines with her fiery speeches during the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. At that juncture, she could have easily opted for a successful political life but veered away to become Didi Maa to thousands of poor children and destitute women. Kranti (revolution) and karuna (compassion), she emphasizes, can go together but clearly states that politics is not in her “swabhav” (nature).

Sadhvi Ritambhara Devi speaking at the Keshav Smruti in Houston on July 22, 2017. (Photo by Vijay Pallod)

Sadhvi Ritambhara Devi speaking at the Keshav Smruti in Houston on July 22, 2017. (Photo by Vijay Pallod)

As a child, Nisha as she was named, was reflective and displayed a detachment from worldly things. During her second year of college, she went to an ashram in Haridwar to seek some of life’s answers. Three months later, she met her Guru – Mahamandaleshwar Swami Parmanand Guruji Maharaj and was given the name Sadhvi Ritambhara Devi.

Contrary to her image, Didi Maa as she is better known, is relaxed, approachable and ever smiling in person. That’s until she begins her discourse. A different kind of energy grips her as she leads the way in an uplifting bhajan and recites verses from the Ramcharitra Manas. A forceful voice combined with a prodigious mastery over Hindi is used brilliantly and effectively to galvanize the gathering and ignite their inner being because “Ram Hame Bhi Ban Na Hai.” (We also need to become Ram.)
“Hum kahan chuk gaye?” Where did we go wrong, she questions. Why has a rich ancient country like India come to this pitiful state? Why has Rashtra Bhakti been compromised? Why have we started ignoring the Upanishads and the Vedas? When did pretensions creep into religion?
She called out to the gathering to revitalize Rashtra Bhakti and bring “God into every aspect of your life.”
Didi Maa runs a Vatsalya Gram or a Village of Maternal Love under the Param Shakti Peeth Trust in Vrindavan. She started with 22 children in 2 rooms and gradually expanded to include widows, abandoned women and the aged. The structure is based on a unique concept of making a Vatsalya family where 5 girls, 2 boys, a mother, aunt and a grandmother live like a family in an independent house. There are several such families housed there, which in essence, becomes a childrens’ home, a women shelter and an old age home all in one. There are 7 Vatsalya Grams in India today.

Organizers of Sadhvi Ritambhara Devi ‘Didi Ma’ visit to Houston (Photo by Vijay Pallod)

Organizers of Sadhvi Ritambhara Devi ‘Didi Ma’ visit to Houston.

The organization also runs an institute for children with special needs and the most notable endorsement for it comes from prominent Indo American and philanthropist Braham Aggarwal whose grandson is there and thriving in that environment.
Be the “bridge,” she says in a message to Indo Americans here, to encourage the transfer of Swacchata (cleanliness) from the West to the East and piety from the East to the West. If this is done, she says, the world will be a “beautiful” place.
The team effort of Emcee Gitesh Desai, Event Coordinator Achalesh Amar, Hindu Swayamsevak Houston President Subhash Gupta, President of PSPA Shekar Reddy, Hindus of Greater Houston Vijay Pallod, VHPA Texas Chapter President Girish Naik, Youth Coordinator Vivek Sharda and many other volunteers was displayed in a smoothly organized event. The bhajan mandali with Vijaya Verma, Krishna Juneja and Amit Mishra added to the palpable energy of the evening. A book on RamQuest compiled by Om Prakash Gupta was also released by Didi Maa.

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