BURLINGTON, MA- In a ceremony attended by about 500 people that included entrepreneurs, philanthropists, social activists and community leaders, Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath, MD, of Chinmaya Mission Boston received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.
The prestigious award was given to Dr. Dwarkanath by Genevieve Nadeau, Chief of the Civil Rights Division in the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General at the 15th Annual Woman of the Year Awards gala, which is organized and produced annually by INDIA New England News. The ceremony was held on Friday at Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA.
Dr. Dwarkanath is a physician at Lowell General Hospital and one of the founders of Chinmaya Mission Boston and its Resident Acharya or spiritual head.
“It has truly been a pleasure to introduce the Lifetime Achievement award because it has given us a wonderful opportunity to honor incredible women for decades of service to our community,” Dr. Manju Sheth, who launched the Lifetime Achievement Award at INDIA New England News four years ago. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving than the special woman we are honoring tonight. It is my pleasure to introduce Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath.”
She said that Dr. Dwarkanath is well known for her passion and dedication to the service of others.
“She is a multifaceted woman. She has done full justice to many roles with extraordinary grace and wisdom. She has taught thousands of children in Chinmaya Mission for over three decades,” said Dr. Sheth. “Shashi is one of the rare women of science who has dedicated herself to spirituality. She is a spiritual head and Acharya at Chinmaya Mission Boston.”
The word Acharya is derived from the world charya which means conduct. An Acharya is someone who teaches by exemplary conduct.
“Shashi has lived and taught the core message of Chinmaya Mission of individual transformation, a message of love, a message of oneness, and very importantly a message of unity which is very needed in the current times. So Shashi, on behalf of our entire community we thank you for all you have done to enrich our lives,” said Dr. Sheth.
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 four 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.
In recent years, she has 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.”