First off, I want congratulate everyone and welcome you all to the fall semester!
Thank you for making the decision to join such a wonderful program, one that off the first part will be running in holy Himalayan mountains before arriving in one of the oldest cities on earth, Benaras, or Varanasi, “The City of Light.” It is one of the most beautiful places on the earth and place of great importance for many religions.
My name is Saurabh Pandey. I grew up in a middle class Brahman Hindu family. My grandfather was farmer and I used to help him in the farms when I was child. There was no school in my village so I use to walk 5 kilometers everyday for study, but it was fun. That was the first time I got to meet Dragons students When they came for doing a Homestay in my village. They were in my village because my uncle, Devendra Kumar Pandey (Bantu), works with Dragons and he is my guru (teacher). He has taught me so many things about dragon.Seeing my uncle dedication to his work with Dragons as instructors and the way he thought the students it’s inspired me a lot because he was teaching about our culture and our country. I felt blessed from Lord Shiva and Mother Ganga when my uncle invited me to Varanasi (Benaras) to attend high school and college because neither exist in my village.
When I moved to Varanasi I got chance to host Dragons students in my home. I start teaching by Hindi and little bits about my culture. It gave me an opportunity to improve my English language skills from them, too. After passing my 10+2 I was invited to intern on Dragons programs, meet students who were my age, and learn about the methodology and philosophy. During this time I graduated with degrees in sociology and philosophy, and completed a Master’s in India philosophy and religion from Benaras Hindu University. After all this time, it’s a joy to look back and realize that I have been working with Dragons programs since 2005.
Notes of Interest
1.) Varanasi’s name comes from two old and sacred rivers, the Varuna and the Assi. When you combine the two, Varuna + Assi, you get the name Varanasi.
2.) Khashi, another name for Varanasi, means cosmos.
3.) Benaras’s name comes from bana meaning ready, and ras meaning nectar. So the meaning of Benaras is “ready to serve the nectar of life.”
I am excited to work with all and Jackie ji again. He is very wonderful teacher and I have learned a lot from him. I am also looking forward to working with Uttara-ji, and getting ready to meet you all and learn from everyone! I am looking forward to meeting you all and teaching you about my country’s religion and history.
I hope you are all ready to begin our journey up into the beautiful Himalayas, where we will get to challenge ourselves along the ups and downs of the mountain contours, similar to life. This is the first lesson to learn! And then we are going to be in one of the most gorgeous places, Varanasi, a place of profound learning.There is much more to come from incredible India. My country contains so many colors and histories, religions, different foods, and welcoming hearts. Get ready for the many flavors of India!
I am really excited to meet you all and share my experience and knowledge. I hope to make this 2017 Fall VOI program the time of your life. If you have any question related to India or Indian culture or program you can post them here or email me too!
Welcome you all,