ANDOVER, MA—Endowed with a spiritual bent since childhood, Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath, MD, the 2017 Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award, says spirituality is not just a feel good philosophy. It is simple, and so is the message of oneness of Vedanta. “It makes a Hindu a better Hindu, a Christian a better Christian, and a Muslim a better Muslim.”
In an exclusive video interview on Chai with Manju, Dr. Dwarkanath, a pathologist at Lowell General Hospital and the Resident Acharya at Chinmaya Mission Boston, talks about her early life in Karnatka, her journey to England and the United States, and finally about her spiritual journey and her dedication to Chinmaya Mission.
On May 26, Dr. Dwarkanath will be honored with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award during the 15th Annual Woman of the Year gala at Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA. The Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed annually by INDIA New England News, one of the nation’s largest print, online and video magazines covering the Indian and South Asian community in the United States.
Dr. Dwarkanath is the person behind Chinmaya Mission Boston, one of New England’s largest spiritual centers, which has played a vital role in the lives of thousands of people in the area.
For over 30 years, Dr. Dwarakanath has nurtured the physical and spiritual health of her New England community. After receiving her medical training in the United Kingdom and India, she moved to the Boston area to complete her residency at Harvard Children’s Hospital Medical Center, New England Deaconess Hospital and the Lahey Clinc. As the Chief of Pathology at Lawrence General Hospital and subsequently Lowell General Hospital, she oversaw laboratory activity focused on the diagnosis of disease through the study of patient tissue and blood. Her work has been crucial to individual patient care as well as overall public health.
Outside of the hospital, as a member of Chinmaya Mission, Dr. Dwarakanath has fostered the spiritual growth of families in the Greater Boston area and beyond. She began organizing values-based classes for children in her own home in 1989, and eventually oversaw a children’s Bala Vihar program spanning 4 New England locations and attended by over 650 children. To meet the growing demand of their local mission, Dr. Dwarakanath along with her husband Gopala created the Chinaya Maruti Center in Andover, MA in 2003. The center currently hosts over 400 children and adults who participate in weekly classes and prayer services.
Currently, Dr. Dwarakanath is the Acharya, or spiritual head, of Chinmaya Mission Boston. She has recently attended a two-year residential Vedanta course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai, India. She has brought what she has learned back to her local community, teaching classes on the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, devotional texts and meditation. She has presented talks on parenting and organized a women’s retreat centered on “Harnessing the Power of Emotions.”
In her free time, Dr. Dwarakanath enjoys writing poetry and playing the veena.