The reward is in the journey itself: Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath

Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath speaking at the Woman of the Year Awards gala. (Photo: Manoj Panicker)

BURLINGTON, MA— Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath, MD, the spiritual head of Chinmaya Mission Boston who was bestowed Lifetime Achievement Award last week, says the life’s reward is in the journey itself.

In her acceptance speech in front of a ballroom packed with 500 people at Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA, Dr. Dwarkanth also emphasized the unifying message of Vedanta: Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam, whose inscription she wore on her saree.

“It is from our scriptures, Mahanarayana Upanishad. It means the World is One family. Not just humans, but all of nature, the environment, plants and animals are also included along with us,” said Dr. Dwarkanth. “If we, being the crown of creation can understand how that is possible and make this our own wisdom, then what comes from each one of us is love and service to all.”

Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath speaking at the Woman of the Year Awards gala. (Photo: Manoj Panicker)

She also underscored the importance of discovering passion within oneself and pursuing it with perseverance.

“I have found out that once we discover our passion and pursue it with perseverance, the reward is in the journey itself,” said Dr. Dwarkanath.

The prestigious Lifetime Achievement 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.

“I would like to first offer this award and recognition to the great spiritual Masters who have inspired me, who gave me a chance to teach and serve and in the process helped me learn and grow,” said Dr. Dwarkanath. “Being with children through so many years, though I thought I was imparting the message of values and traditions, I myself learnt so much from them! What a joy this journey has been.”

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.

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.”


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