Wednesday, January 23, 2013

OBIT: Pandit Hardath Maharaj - 1932 to 2013. Funeral Wednesday at 9 am

JYOTI is saddened to report the death of Pandit Hardath Maharaj of Cumoto. Panditji passed away in his sleep Monday morning, January 21, 2013. He was 81.

He was one of pioneers of Hinduism and remained a pillar of the religion up to his last moment. He was awarded the Chaconia Gold Medal in 2011 for his dedicated national service.

In a birthday tribute to Panditji in 2011 Tunapuna MP Winston Dookeran described the religious leader as a guru of international repute. "Trinidad and Tobago is richer with his presence," he said.

Dookeran noted Panditji's efforts in the promotion of nation building and his compassion for the underprivileged. 

He added, “The teaching, the message and the disciplined spiritual life which have become the hallmarks of Pandit Hardath are guides for all of us... (He) continues to build on the foundation blocks which he initiated decades ago, and from which we must draw an inspiration and lesson in the formation of a just, peaceful and united society.”

Fyzabad MP Chandresh Sharma, speaking at the same event, called Pandit Hardath “a true guru, teacher and guide”.

His late brother, Pandit Krishna of Caroni, was the Dharmacharya of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha. Pandit Krishna turned down the country's highest honour, the Trinity Cross, because he believed its symbolism did not reflect Trinidad & Tobago's multiculturalism. The honour was bestowed on him posthumously after it was changed to the Order of Trinidad and Tobago

Pandit Hardath, whose ancestors were from Uttar Pradesh, came from a lineage of Hindu leaders and thinkers whose contribution to Hinduism in T&T and the Caribbean remains insurmountable. More than 25 members of his family are or were practising pandits. 

He was a contemporary of my late father, Pandit Parasram, who served the community for 71 years until his death in 2004.
Pandit Bimal Maharaj

One of his sons, Pandit Bimall is noted for his religious work at the Shiva mandit in Flordia. Another son, Alderman Pradeep Maharaj is chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation. Panditji had  two daughters, Asha and Lalita. His wife, Maharani, died in 2002. He has 12 grandchildren, and one great grand.

Pandit Hardath was a classmate of the late Archbishop of Port of Spain, Anthony Pantin, and both men remained friends up to Pantin's death although they were leaders in different religious faiths.

Pandit Hardath's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday January 23, beginning at 9:00 am. The cremation would be at the crematorium on the banks of the Caroni river.

In Hindu philosophy and teachings, the mortal body dies but the soul remains immortal. Here's the relevant transliterated Sanskrit text from the Bhagvadgita Chapter 2:23:

nainam chindanti shastrani
nainam dahati pavakah
na cainam kledayanty apo
na sosayati marutah


The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.

Jai Parasram

OBIT from Pandit Bimal's temple in Florida:

JANUARY 21ST, 2013 - A life that has touched the heart and souls of countless individuals has passed on. This morning around 4:15 am, the Dharma Ratna of Trinidad and Tobago, Guruji Pundit Hardath Maharaj peacefully departed, at his residence in Cumoto, Trinidad. 

With all his children and family by his side, Pundit Hardath's soul peacefully left his body and has moved onward. A life dedicated to Sanatan Dharma, Pt. Hardath's legacy as one of the foremost pioneers and leaders of Hinduism in Trinidad and Tobago will live on in the heart's of everyone that he came by. 

A towering personality, with a brilliance of mind, Pundit Hardath Maharaj's life will be one remembered forever.

We offer our utmost condolences to Pt. Bimal Maharaj and their entire family, as they endure this great loss. Please take a moment and offer a prayer for the departed soul.

itnā to karnā svāmi, jab prāṇa tan se nikale
govinda nāma leke, tab prāṇa tan se nikale

Oh God this much, when the life leaves the body, your name comes to my mind heart and lips and then the soul leaves the body. The banks of sacred river Shri Ganga and Shri Yamuna should be near, when the praan leaves the body. The place should be Vrindaban and in my mouth should have the Tulasi leaves and charnamrut the water that has washed Lord Vishnu's Charans.

When the death is nearer no disease should harass me and Yama the god of death should not harass me. Also when the preparation of soul leaving the body, my body should be cleansed of all vikaras, and the wood on which the body would be burnt should be from the forests of Vrindavan.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai