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[New Member: Keshava Dasa]
Date: Wed Jun 07 1995 - 15:04:44 PDT

[I am forwarding an introduction from a new member of our
 mailing list, Keshava Dasa (Greg Jay)].

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To: mani
Subject: Re: Vaisnava Web Site
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 1995 16:18:01 -0400

Dear Mani,

Back in the early 70's i got involved with the Hare Krishna movement which at
the time was the only form of Vaishnavism commonly available in the west. I
was always interested in the roots of Vaishnavism. So i travelled to India
and studied Sanskrit, Hindu philoshophy, and Pancaratra Agama. I spent four
years in Vrndavan, Mathura District, UP, and another four in Bangalore. I
have travelled extensively in India to holy places from Kanya Kumari to
Badrinath (and even to muktinath in Nepal) and from Dwaraka to Puri. Due to
my background in Agamas I would fly all over the world to perform the opening
ceremonies at ISKCON temples. I have also performed many marriages and other
pujas for Hindu communities woldwide. I was general manager of a PL480 funded
microfilm project run by the smithsonian in the 80's called Vaishnava
Literature Conservation Project. I worked under Dr. Charles S. J. White of
The American University, Washington, D.C. I have connections with saints,
swamis, and scholars in India and abroad. I got initiated in ISKCON by the
founder of the Hare Krishna movement Swami Prabhupada and was the head priest
as his samadhi mandir in Vrndavan for over two years. I studied Pancaratra
Agama (Padma Samhita mostly) from M. R. Sampat Kumara Bhattacharya of Tulasi
Ram Das Mutt, Fraser Town, Bangalore (a vadakalai man) and the late Y. R.
Vasudeva Bhattacharya (a tenkalai man), professor of Pancaratra Agama at the
Maharaja's Sanskrit College, Mysore. I received Archaka Diksa (cakrabja
mandala diksa, panca samskara, samashrayana, etc) from Vasudeva Bhattar.

I live on Maui in Hawaii, with my wife Bhakti devi who is a watercolor artist
and photographer. We are pure (lacto) vegetarians. We don't take meat, fish,
eggs, etc. We don't smoke or drink and try to live satvik lives and do the
kainkarya of the lord. We rise early every morning and chant suprabhatam. I
perform sandhya vandanam, morning sauca vidhis and ijya (puja) every day. We
have a lot of deities and saligrams on our altar and we also offer our food
at home and regularly invite others for prasad. We chant Visnu Sahasranam
whenever we find time and both do daily japa of Tirumantra, Dvaya, and Carama
sloka. Whenever we can we Wear Dhoti, Sari, Tiruman and Sri Curna, especially
in India. We visit india for at least one or two months a year. We have just
returned (April 1st) from a six month trip to india, in which we lived for
five months in Sri Rangam (witnessing the celebrations of Vijay Dasami,
Vaikuntha Ekadasi, Brahmotsava, and Tepostsava), and spent one month
travelling to Vrndavan, Udaipur, Nathadvara, Jaipur, Bangalore, Melkote,
Mysore, Udipi and Bombay.

I would very much like to be a part of your group. Specifically I am
interested in sri vaishnavism (any discussion of philosophy or religion,
really) but my wife and I are interested in pretty much anything connected
with India, from Sambar recipies to Carnatic singing.
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