Shri Surya Narayan Mandir Completes Historic Medical Outreach to Guyana

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Led by Pt. Ram Hardowar, the Shri Surya Narayan Mandir Medical Outreach Team successfully completed a historic journey to their homeland where they helped and served the poor and less fortunate.  This was accomplished by Symposiums on Hinduism and Health that were held in Berbice, Guyana from November 20th-22nd, 2009. The physicians accompanying Panditji were Dr. Anand Hardowar and Dr. Sanjay Ramkissoon. Other members of the Mandir accompanying the medical team were Rohan and Ayomi Maniram, Roshan Shivcharran, Prathna Ramkissoon and Radha Hardowar.

Several months prior to this trip, Pt. Ram Hardowar and the executive members of the temple, planned a new initiative as a means to reach out to more Hindus in Queens and around the world with a goal of reaffirming the values of Sanatan Dharma amongst all Hindus. This humanitarian effort was seen as a way of extending the boundaries of the Mandir beyond its physical constraints and opening up its door to many more Hindus in a time of need. As a result, the Shri Surya Narayan Medical Outreach Team was formed under the leadership of Pt. Ram Hardowar. Its initial venture, a Health Fair, was held on September 20th, 2009 at Shri Surya Narayan Mandir and was a grand success. Because the initial project was so well received by the members of community, Pandit Ram Ji and the team decided to extend their services to the people of Guyana.


All were invited to concurrently attend symposiums on Hinduism and Health. The sessions were held at three separate venues including Crabwood Creek Shiva Mandir, Skeldon Krishna Mandir, and 48 Village Vishnu Mandir. The people of the community were all invited to visit their respective Mandir to take part in the religious discourse and health fair. During the first part of the symposium, the attendees were educated on the basics of a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on diet and exercise.  In addition, essential information on diabetes, blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and basic medical preventative strategies were discussed.  After an extensive question and answer session with the doctors, each patient was given individual attention and was examined and counseled on his/her illness on a one to one basis by the physicians; during that time the rest of the audience remained in the Mandir and participated in the symposium on Hinduism presented by Panditji Ram and other guest speakers. Topics included the declining values and faith among our Hindu brothers, conversion of Hindus to other faiths and factors influencing the high suicide rate of Hindu youths and young adults.

At the end of the day, all patients attending the symposium received free medications pertinent to his/her illness along with a first aid kit, multi-vitamins, aspirins, Tylenols and most importantly a Bhagwad Gita. Over 250 patients were evaluated during the three day period with ages ranging from 4 weeks to 90 years of age, and chief complaints varied from dermatologic, infectious to psychological and behavioral in nature.

The medical team arrived in Guyana on Thursday, November 19th. Panditji (and the medical team) were graciously welcomed by his chelas in Crabwood Creek. On their way from the airport, the medical team made a brief stop at Grove on the East Bank of Demerara.

Unbeknownst to them, news had spread around the region that a medical team from America would be passing through and as a result a group of patients had assembled and were eagerly awaiting their arrival.  The team was initially surprised as this was not a scheduled outreach site, but, nevertheless the team graciously welcomed the challenge as they remembered their primary purpose in Guyana was to perform Seva.  One of the first patients evaluated was a poor Indo-Guyanese woman in her seventies who had a history of high blood pressure, severely uncontrolled diabetes leaving her with kidney damage, left eye blindness and an eventual stroke.  Upon further history taking, it was found that her last blood sugar measurement was years ago, since she could not afford to visit a doctor and could not purchase a glucometer to monitor her sugar at home.  The woman was counseled on proper sugar control and given a glucometer which she would be able to use to test her sugar on a daily basis and prevent further sequelae of her previously uncontrolled diabetes.  Along with the glucometer, she received multivitamins, aspirin, Tylenol, a first aid kit and a Bhagwad Gita.  After being counseled and receiving her gifts, she left for her home with a most gratifying appearance of contentment on her face.  This feeling of satisfaction which all of the other patients left with was sensed by the entire medical team and further fueled their zeal for the remainder of their trip.

The medical team, energized by their initial encounters with the people of East Bank, left Grove later that afternoon and enthusiastically made their way to Berbice, Guyana.  It was not until dusk that they arrived at Crabwood Creek Shiva Mandir.  Panditji Ram and his Dharampatni, Bahenji Radha, along with the rest of the medical team were greeted by a large group of well-wishers.  Among the group were seventeen of Panditji’s chelas, their respective families and other members of the Shiva Mandir.  Panditji and the team were ceremoniously welcomed with garlands and arati along with traditional tasa music played in the background by the youths of the temple.  The team was welcomed into the Mandir, at which point brief prayers and salutations were offered by Panditji Ram Hardowar.

Soon thereafter, the team along with Guruji’s chelas began to work on preparing and parceling off the more than $10,000 worth of medical supplies that were so graciously donated by members and friends of the Shri Surya Narayan Mandir in America.  The team worked up into the wee hours of the night in preparation for what would be a momentous occasion the next morning at the Crabwood Creek Shiva Mandir.

On Friday November 20th, the first official health fair session commenced with prayers to Lord Ganesha asking for removal of all possible hindrances and obstacles.  Pandit Ram ji followed with his introductory remarks stressing the greatness of our religion, Sanatan Dharma and then focused the remainder of his speech on the rampant conversion of our Hindu brothers and sisters by various other religious groups in Guyana, and he concluded that Mandirs need to play a greater role in preventing this process, hence the formation of Shri Surya Narayan Mandir Medical Outreach Team and its unprecedented visit to Hindu Mandirs in Guyana.  Next, both doctors offered prayers to Lord Shiva and relayed to the audience their excitement and enthusiasm for being blessed by the Lord to be given the opportunity to serve the people of Guyana. This first session continued into the late evening and concluded some time after 8pm, after which over 115 patients were evaluated.

The next sessions were held in similar fashion over the following two days, first at Skeldon Krishna Mandir and then the final session at 48 Village Vishnu Mandir.  More than 150 patients were examined and evaluated cumulatively over those two days.

Upon return from Guyana, Pandit Ram Ji and the medical outreach team, along with executive members of the Mandir created an official organization named Surya Narayan Seva Outreach Sanga. This organization was formed after experiencing on a first-hand basis the plight faced by many Hindus in Guyana. Along with the help of a sister organization in Guyana, specific regions will be targeted throughout Guyana to help people through their local Mandirs to provide for their basic needs such as food, clothing, education and medical needs . The group plans to operate through Mandirs particularly in Guyana and other parts of the Caribbean to help stem the tide of conversion efforts and reaffirm the values of Sanatan Dharma within Hindus worldwide.

The medical outreach team would like to thank all those in America and Guyana who generously contributed their time and money to this noble cause to make it a success that it was. If you would like to make a donation towards the Surya Narayan Seva Outreach Sanga, please contact Panditji Ram Hardowar at .