The Spiritual Desk of WMPP

Religion and Spirituality  

Adhik Maas (Significance)

A lot of wonderful things have happened!

1)The Shahani Trust prog. at Jai Hind College:

I, Ms Shakun Narain released the book ‘Dadi Nani ki Kahaani’ at the hands of Deputy Prime Minister Sri L.K. Advani on Dec.14th 2003

Follows an excerpt of my Speech

I wrote Dadi Nani ki Kahaani at my grandson Aditya’s request.

He asked me to send him a short note on Krishna so that he could share it with his friends. He lives in the US. I started sending these stories to some other children I knew and soon, not only children, but their parents were asking me to add them to my mailing list.

It is then that we realized that there was a need for Dadi Nani ki Kahaani of this kind.

At this Memorial Programme to commemorate the life of Dada K. T. Shahani, allow me, Maya, to pay a homage to my parents and in laws as well.

My father Mr Jamnadas Khiani passed on when I was only 4 yrs old. I was brought up by my mother Mrs Lajwanti Khiani, to who I owe my spiritual inclination. Thank you mummy, I wish you were here!

My in-laws Baba Sobhraj Jhamatmal Kimatrai and Ama Kishnibai groomed me. I married at the age of 20.

My husband Narain, children Sunder Madhavi Anuja supported and encouraged me in all that I did!

I address my husband Narain and daughter Anuja, as I stand here. Thank you for your trust and support.

This book has been made possible because of the encouragement of Mrs Indu JAIN, And Mrs Maya Shahani.

Thank you, Mr Ram Maheshwary, for insisting that I think BIG

We are core members of the Women’s Movement for Peace and Prosperity. Its pet name: WMPP.

My book speaks of the lives and teachings of Great Masters and a host of festivals.

It is time to celebrate the similarities and differences of various faiths.

My dream, dignitaries on the dais, is that at least one page is read at every school assembly hall daily…to instill values in our children…

Allow me to read you the last page of my book.


Dear Children,
I have a vision.
Do you know what a vision is?
To see something that has not happened yet.
It is something that I wish will happen.

Do you know what my vision is?
That the world stops fighting.
That it stops arguing, about which religion leads you to God.
Because the truth is, that if you truly understand the message of God, It asks us to love one another.

And that different religions are different pathways that take us to the same destination.

And then, I have another vision.
And that vision is that you, my grand-children are going to fulfill that dream!

Because you are going to understand the message of God, the way, He intended it to be.
And that is, that there should be peace on earth.

That we may disagree on certain points, but that at no time, we resort to destroy, the home, in which we all live in together.

And do you know where, and what that home, is?
You have guessed right.
That Home is Earth.
And we have to preserve it.

And you, my children, have to perform that task.
And I am sure that my vision will be fulfilled!
With love,
Dadi-Ma Nani-Ma

The book has been recommended for reading in the South Bombay Schools, by Ms Basanti Roy, Inspector of Schools

The books have been distributed to 500 schools in Bombay as part of Value Education  

Lighting candles for PEACE


 1) The Surya Yog session  at Taj Mahal Hotel and on the boat 

Difference between religion and Spirituality 

(from a conversation with Swami Surya Jowel)

 Religion is like a cage

Spirituality is the bird

Religion is restrictive in the sense that it is bound by Scripture, rites and rituals.

It is external.

The bird of Spirituality has the freedom to establish direct link with the Absolute.

Spirituality is all about inner purity where love is unconditional, faith is undivided, and the mind is above matter.

Misuse of religion leads to communal disharmony and violence.

Spirirituality is soul-search; it can only lead to peace and harmony with oneself and with society and nature.

There is no contradiction between religion and spirituality.

No religion teaches to hurt or harm. It is the misinterpretation of religion that gives it a bad name, leading to divisions.

 Spirituality is free of dogma and so can help one rise above religious dogmatism, to be one with the Supreme Spirit.  

by Soma Chakravarty

2) The launch of the speech ‘Gems of Other Faiths’ by Shakun Narain at the

Pier Rotary in the form of a short speech in which Ms Raahat Jaffrey took part as well.

3)  Ms Promilla Gurtu held a session of ‘Healing by Chakras’ at the TOI.  

4)  Spiritual session are conducted by Ms Shakun Narain for children above the

age of 7 yrs at the Sadhu Vaswani Mission,13, Gitanjali Bldg, 1st floor,

Near Radio Club, Colaba, Bombay – 5 and at Ishwar Bhawan, Little Gibbs Rd.

5) Ms Rohini Gupta conducts Spiritual Sessions in collaboration with the Brahmakumaris,

once a month at the The Brahmakumari Centre, 301, Varun, Dattatreya Rd, Sta Cruz West (2003)

6) Celebrating Adhik Maas (Invitation notes sent out)

Hindus have an extra month which comes every two and a half years.
The Hindu calendar has got less than 30 days in a month.
These extra days, make an extra month.
This extra month is called ‘Adhik (extra)  Maas (month)
It is also called ‘Purushottam Maas’
Purush means ‘man’ Uttam’ means ‘Great’
It refers to the High Being, who you may call ‘God’
This year the month starts on July the 18th and ends on August the 15th .
This month is considered very auspicious and is especially dear to Lord Krishna’s heart.
Lord Krishna is my Ishta Devta, which means that: the Deity that appears to my mind when I pray, is ‘His’

So I would like to celebrate this month with my ‘Sakhis’ (girl friends).
Those on my emailing list, who live in Bombay are very welcome.

Have organized 2 kirtans.

1) At Shantivan:  This garden, inspired by a vision of Ms Amla Ruia is a sanctuary of lush green  which helps us to live in harmony with nature. The landscaping, amphitheater and waterfalls are a sight that give the garden a divine ambience. Address: Shantivan is situated in a lane near Simla House, a few steps from Godrej Baug, stretching from Malabar Apts right up to Little Gibbs Rd, near Hanging Gardens. To get to  Shantivan, you take the lane going up, opposite Priyadarshni Garden, (Napean Sea Rd) towards Simla House. Date: Monday, the 26th July 2004 Time: 4 to 5 pm. (There is a covered area, so we shall only get wet with devotion)
2) Iskcon has got a beautiful mandir opposite the Babulnath Temple, to which I have been wanting to take my friends to. So I thought which better time, than during the month of the Supreme Being (Purushottam) Shree Radha Krishna Prabhoo has been kind enough to fix a time slot which is generally convenient to my lady friends. He is kindly taking care of all the other arrangements. All we need to do is to take a few steps towards HIM, and Krishna will do the rest. So see you there too.
Address: Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir, 7 KM Munshi Marg, Chowpatty, Mumbai
Date: Monday, the 2nd of August 2004
Time: 4.30 to 5.30 pm
(The Temple is on the 1st floor but there is a lift facility)

See you,
Please come, and say hello to the Lord.and me!
Do bring your friends. It is a big hall.

Connecting with ‘Manthan’ (Seated Ms Basanti Roy, Inspector of Schools, South Bombay

12) Taken my speech on ‘Gems of Faiths’ to:

1)Rotary Club Bombay Pier

2)Rotary Club Bombay Queen City

3)Rotary Club of Bombay Bandra (Oct 19th 2004) at Otter’s Club

4)Rotary Club at WIAA (Oct 27th 2004)

5) Indus International November 2004

6) Rotary Club of Bombay Peninsula on September 22nd 2005

7) Rotary club of Mumbai Sealand on 27th July 2006

Below: Attended an alternative Education Vision by Partho at Maya Shahani’s place. Partho believes in Education which facilitates connection with ones innermost being. Education must have an intuitive and spiritual approach

rather than it being only academic…

What is alternate education?

What is the free space we talk about in alternate education?

Space to voice opinions
Space to move intelligently

 What qualities would a child from such a school possess?

Sensitivised to self and others
A child who has the
ability to adapt and possessing a high level of competence

 To create sensitive human beings, we have to start with teachers.

 Why do we want the change? 

There has to be a common goal:  A decision to change the system. 

Most of us are frustrated with the educational system.

One cannot make the change working in isolation. For this, connecting and networking is important. 

A change in learning is necessary. A will to change is necessary.

 It is important to enjoy the process of learning and teaching and should not be just a means of acquiring knowledge and information. 

One should be able to extend beyond defined horizons.

 How do we start with the teacher?

 1. Initiate teachers into new way of thinking – giving them personal orientation.

Teachers need to be open to this. The teacher’s philosophy of life should be a practical living example.

2. Concentrated re -education of teachers

 Teachers trained to be thinkers- unfortunately the best of minds are attracted to corporates; only the others become teachers . Thinking must evolve as learning happens and must lead to social and intuitive thinking.

 We have to create scientists not students of science

Always enquiring, questioning

 Teachers who will make children want to come back to learn more for the joy of it.

 3.       We have to address the curriculum 

·        Child oriented B.Ed curriculum ( for teachers)

·       A curriculum that is child-originated and teacher framed that seeks to creatively transform and shape the content

·         This creates an intellectual curiosity and joy of learning that

travels with the child for life – stretching from primary level to high school level and beyond… 

4. Methodology- Alternate thinking-  away from  mainstream/ conventional paradigms.

Radical change in pedagogy – the art or science of teaching – required.

Individual’s initiative very important in the process of change. 

What does an alternative school need?

 1. Three important factors:

a.                   Pedagogy

b.                   Finance and resources

c.                   Management                                          


Steps to create alternate education:

expand our world
widen and deepen our world
understand that anything that contributes to learning is education.

 Alternative education is not only academic achievement defined in its true sense but also applying

 intelligence to actual situations.

Finance and resources


Space – location 

  Resources encompass the core group, teachers and the curriculum

 Management system 

 Must celebrate childhood and have an open ended philosophy 

We had a book release on the 19th of Aug 2006 at the Times of India Bldg

The book: ‘Shiva to Shankara’ by Dr Devdutt Pattanaik published by Indus Source Books

 was released by Mr Sudarshan Shetty whose sculpture adorns the Hyatt Grand at Santa Cruz, Bombay

In the picture above, from left: Dr Devdutt Patanaik, Ms Sonavi Desai, Sudarshan Shetty and myself speaking about the necessity of not only  understanding and appreciating our own faith but that of others…

Shiva to Shankara is a praiseworthy effort to decode symbols and mythology connected with MahaDeva.It is a must read for those who must make an effort to understand the ‘subjective truth of a people or a culture’

On the 2nd September 2006:

Women’s Movement for Peace and Prosperity (an initiative of the Times Foundation) and Dharma Rain Centre  oganised a public talk on Meditation in Everyday Life by Dharmacharya Shantum Seth  at the Times of India Building

Dharmacharya Shantum Seth is an ordained teacher in the Zen (Dhyana) tradition of the Vietnamese Master

Thich Nhat Hanh. He teaches in India and abroad and has been leading pilgrimages ‘In the Footsteps of the Buddha’ since 1988

Shantum said:  Become aware of the miracle of each breath. Walking, talking, even the disturbing sound

of the cell phone during a talk can be used to meditate…A bell should ‘bring’ you in touch with yourself…

Thich Nhat Hanh says:

Walking meditation is like eating. With each step, we nourish our body and our spirit. When we walk with

 anxiety and sorrow, it is a kind of junk food. The food of walking meditation should be of a higher quality. Just walk slowly

and enjoy a banquet of peace.

Above: Spoke at Seva Sadan on ‘Gems of Faiths’ on 8th Sept 2006

It was very well received thanks to God who must have spoken through me! After all He must be hoping for Peace too!

From left: Seva Sadan  Society managing committee members; Vaijayanti Gupte

( chairperson edu comm and hon jt treasurer), Meheru Panthaki (Hon Jt sec), Khurshed Pavri (Hon sec),& guests

Ms Mithila Apte (MD Sinara Consultancies), Ms Tarana ,(counsellor Sinara) and Yours Truly..:-)

Above: Part of the WMPP TEAM, the women with compassion who work hard to give voice to the voiceless women by

making them physically, mentally and spiritually healthy!

Read: Hindu Customs and Beliefs


Symbolisms in the Ramayana

Read: Spiritual Desk of WMPP