religion

Religion classes are dedicated to sharing the knowledge of Hindu (Sanātana) dharma with children ages 4-18, and mandatory for all VidyaVikas registered students. The curriculum for these classes, has been carefully developed to reveal a variety of Hindu concepts taken directly from the scriptures. The children learn about different forms and deities, avatars, and the significance of important events celebrated as Hindu Festivals. The kids learn about Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata, Saints, recite Shlokas and prayers. They also learn Bhajan-singing, Yoga, Crafts, Rangoli, and finally a celebrated End of Year cultural program that includes theater, music, dancing and stage presentations, to make the learning experience memorable and fun.
Below is the overview of topics covered in each Level.

Ages 4 – 18 (age requirements should be met by August 31st)

gRADEs

Teachers

Nithya Raghunathan - Grade Pre-K

Nitha Raghunathan moved to Dallas 2002, from Mumbai. My family has been visiting DFW temple regularly since then. My kids attended Vidya Vikas since 2006. In 2015, my kid’s class needed a teacher to help so I volunteered. I have been volunteering since.

Kids in my class are the youngest in the school. We teach them through stories. Each class will have at least one fun activity to engage them. Growing up here brings its own challenges. It is important that our kids feel confident and find joy in our culture. There will be tough times and my hope is for our kids to find a sense of belonging and community in Vidya Vikas which they can tap during those times for strength.

Ramya Kannan - Grade Pre-K

Ramya Kannan was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu but grew up in Singapore. She and her family moved to the DFW area 5 years ago. In her free time, Ramya loves to dance and play the veena. Ramya started volunteering at the temple since 2018 when her daughter was in Pre-K religion class.

Tejal Shah - Grade KG
Tejal Shah has been teaching since 2012 and is currently the Religion class Kindergarten level teacher. She loves kids and teaching. She has 2 daughters (Kavya & Yashvi). Without her husband Ankit’s support, it would be hard for her to volunteer. Her parents and in-laws are very proud of her for what she does, because this is what they would have wanted for them as well. The most important thing about being a teacher at Vidya Vikas is that she is continuously learning something new. By teaching younger generation, she gets different outlook on Hinduism. Her daughters now have a strong sense of where they come from and are definitely proud of their heritage. They value the culture they belong to. Tejal loves to travel, read and cook. She sees Vidya Vikas as a place where community comes together to create an environment for the next generation to feel loved and welcomed, a place that will increase kids’ curiosity, where we can exchange ideas and knowledge and learn from each other.
Brototi Bhatt - Grade KG

Brototi Bhatt has been with Vidhya Vikas since 2011. She absolutely loves being around kids which is why she enjoys volunteering as a religion teacher at VV. She has 2 daughters Tanushri and Tanvi; both of them have benefitted from VV programs tremendously learning more about their culture and religion. She loves traveling, reading, eating different cuisines, and spending time with her family. Brototi can't wait to start another wonderful year with our VV temple association.

Devika Saran - Grade KG
Devika Saran is unique amongst Vidya Vikas teachers. In recent memory, she is the only teacher who teaches both religion and another class every week and Devika has been doing it for the past 10 years. She teaches religion level 1 and Hindi Level 2. It has become her passion and she looks forward to interacting with the children every Sunday. Devika believes very strongly in inculcating a love of Hindi and our value system in the current generation. She lives in Coppell with her husband and two children, all of whom have been part of the Vidya Vikas family for a number of years. She would like Vidya Vikas to be the school of choice for all youngsters interested in language and Sanatana Dharma.
Susmitha Anganagari - Grade 1
Susmitha Anganagari lives in Flower Mound with her husband Venkat and two kids Shreya and Suchir. Both her kids were Vidya Vikas students. She has been teaching at Vidya Vikas teacher since 2004, when her son first started at VidyaVikas school as a 5-year-old. It gives Susmitha immense pleasure and satisfaction to teach young kids at the temple every Sunday. Teachers play a great role in molding the kids and teaching them values and discipline. Susmitha is glad that she is able to do that to hundreds of children by volunteering at Vidya Vikas.
Ravindra Palshetkar - Grade 2
Ravindra Palshetkar has been associated with the DFW Temple since 2003. He started volunteering on every Sunday for assisting in making Maha-Prasad in the kitchen and serving the food. His wife was a Religion Class Teacher teaching Mahabharata in VidyaVikas. He has two children’s who has completed their Religion Class until their last year in High School. His Son Akash was part of the Youth Group Committee in VidyaVikas and is now in his final year of college. His daughter Sagarika was the former President of the Youth Group Committee and is now a freshmen in college. Ravindra has been a Religion Teacher since 2010, teaching Grades, 2-9, and currently teaching Grade 2. He is also an Annual Program Coordinator since 2018 and with his background in theatrical arts, he helps all the teachers in Drama Direction, Audio-Video recordings & editing. Ravindra believes in giving back to society what he has learned over his life. Mentoring the young generation and teach the Hindu Religion and cultural heritage to the youth. He holds a Master Degree in Finance and is working as a Technology Manager in a financial institution.
Mahesh Eshwarappa - Grade 3
Mahesh E has been teaching religion since 2018 and is currently teaching Religion Grade 1 class. He has loved reading Hindu religious text since he was exposed to prayers and bhajans as a grade 5 student. Bhagwad Gita is his all-time favorite book and he discovers hidden knowledge each time he reads it. His journey at Vidya Vikas started when he enrolled his kids for religion and language classes in 2017. He started volunteering in the kitchen and when the opportunity to teach the kids came, he jumped at it. These volunteering opportunities have been very soul enriching. He looks forward to his interactions with the kids, their parents and other volunteers. For him to teach religion to the kids is to pass on our ancient Hindu or Sanatan Dharma Values to the next generation, bringing in a sense of belonging and stability. He loves to read books, including religious texts, pen down his thoughts, practice some form of martial arts and spend time outdoors with his kids. He foresees Vidya Vikas continuing to spread the light of knowledge and spirituality to the kids in Dallas for a long time and it will help the kids and adults remain connected to our roots. He is an IT professional and lives in Irving with wife and 2 kids.
Jayathi Shah - Grade 4

Jayati Shah has been a Vidya Vikas religion teacher since 2006. She is a teacher by profession. It has always been her passion to help kids realize their potential. Teaching at Vidya Vikas gave her an opportunity to nurture young minds about Sanatana Dharma and to teach about Hindu customs and traditions. She lives with her husband, Sanjay and two kids, Soham and Anvita in Carrollton. Going to the temple every Sunday as a family and volunteering for various temple activities is their way of giving back to the society.

Harita Konjeti - Grade 4
Harita Konjeti has been teaching religion since 2014 and currently teaching Religion Grade 3 class. She has two daughters (Rohita and Amrita). Both kids have been going to VV since 2013. Teaching has been her passion since she was a kid. Level 4 curriculum, Bhakti Saints, helped her in understanding the true meaning of life and path towards spiritualism. Her husband Chandra has been an immense support in volunteering opportunities at the temple. By profession she is a software engineer working for an IT firm. VidyaVikas is a way to bring kids closer to our culture, customs, traditions and language. The Year End program gives exposure to stage, acting and presentation skills. In her free time, she likes gardening and reading. Since the pandemic, we have been providing online classes. We have included videos, kahoot games for review and pictures to presentation for kids to relate.
Anila Jivanji - Grade 5

Anila Jivanji has been engaged in various capacities as a teacher, administrator and leading projects like curriculum development at the DFW Hindu temple since September 1992. She currently teaches Religion Grade 5 and is very passionate about our Hindu culture and the Indian heritage. Teaching energies her and she finds interacting with her students very rewarding. Anila wants to create a strong foundation where students are able to have intelligent, educated and engaging conversations regarding Hindu beliefs and culture with anyone. This is a true statement since past students continue reaching out to her for guidance and support. Anila is currently a Sr. Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (DIB) Specialist at Bell where she is involved with projects that aligns strategy with the company goals. Previously she was at American Airlines fir 23 years where she gained diverse experience and led enterprise-wide projects.

Anila enjoys cooking, movies and helping people where it really helps make a positive impact on their lives. She envisions Vidya Vikas and temple to be a place where our children flourish for generations. She is blessed with two beautiful and intelligent children who are past students of the Vidya Vikas institute. Jaisal has graduated with her MBA from SMU Cox Business school and is working for Hilti and Dev is pursuing his education at the Foreign Service School at Georgetown in Washington DC.

Mahalakshmi Sivakumar - Grade 6

Mahalakshmi Sivakumar appreciates opportunity since 2000 to serve in Temple events, as volunteer, EC member and currently as OB member. Enjoys serving children and parents in Vidya Vikas.  Currently teaching Bhagavad Gita chanting for children, Adult classes - Narayaneeyam and Bhagavad Gita Study Group. 

Working as IT professional.  Blessed with a wonderful family of spouse and 2 children. Children went through the VV program all the way up to High School Graduation.  

Enjoys working with children and doing community service activities. Continues to serve her sons Boy Scouts Troop long after he became an Eagle Scout. 

Milind Chauk - Grade 7

Milind Chauk has been associated with Vidya Vikas as a volunteer teacher since 2010. His first introduction to Vidya Vikas was as a parent volunteer. He was inspired by the dedication and hard work of the Vidya-Vikas teachers and decided to join as a teacher. He had been a religion class teacher for multiple levels, and also served as a Yoga teacher when he conducted Yoga-Vikas sessions for all religion class levels.

He considers Vidya Vikas a forum for children to discover and manifest the divinity within. It enables Hindu children in the US to appreciate their cultural roots and learn Hindu values.

Milind lives in Irving with his wife Meenal and daughters – Shreya (20) and Khushi (16), both of whom had been Vidya Vikas students, and his pet dog “Prince”. He works in the information technology industry at Southwest Airlines.

To him, Vidya Vikas is a place of disciplined and dedicated learning about Hindu dharma. It is doing a great work of passing on the wealth of knowledge about Hindu dharma to our next generation Hindu Americans. It is not only his passion but also his social responsibility towards the Hindu society to support and contribute to this noble cause.

“Giving food to a person is a great deed, but giving vidya (education) is even better. The satisfaction (obtained) from food is momentary, but that (obtained) from vidya lasts a lifetime” (Shiv Purana)

Nita Anant - Grade 7

Neeta Ananth was encouraged by Anuja Sabnis to bring her daughter to Vidya Vikas classes in 1998. And from there Dr. Hansmukh Shah convinced Neeta to start teaching. At that time there were only 3 teachers and 65 students!! Since then Neeta’s Sunday mornings have been spent in DFW EKta Mandir for Vidya Vikas School. With the grace of God, she cannot think of spending her Sunday mornings in any other way. Her kids have greatly benefited from Vidya Vikas classes. The DFW Hindu temple and Vidya Vikas School has been a great growing experience for her family. They met many people and made lifelong friends.

Tarun Saran - Grade 8

Tarun Saran has been teaching religion for since 2014. He has been a religion teacher for Grade 8 students, for the past 3 years and taught level Pre K for 4 years before that. He started at Vidya Vikas when the Pre K teacher had to leave the session midstream and he was provided the opportunity of volunteering in that class. He enjoys interacting with young children and imparting knowledge of Hindu Dharma is deeply satisfying for him. Vidya Vikas provides a great platform for young children to learn the essentials of Hindu religion and culture and he wishes every child avails of this wonderful opportunity. Outside of Vidya Vikas, he is associated with many non-profit organizations and values the opportunities they provide. He lives in Coppell with his wife, Devika, who is also a Vidya Vikas teacher and their two children.

Abhishek Bansal - Grade 9 - 12

Abhishek Bansal has been a religion instructor since 2012. Abhishek lives with his wife Pooja and kids Rinika and Krishnay. As volunteer at the temple and a parent of young kids, Vidya Vikas was a natural stop for him. Teaching allows him to share quality time with the younger generation, something he looks forward to the entire week. He believes that as an adult, there is no better way to live, than to devote time towards shaping our collective future that has the foundation of Sanātana dharma and pillars of our time-tested sanskāras. The most important aspect of teaching at Vidya Vikas is to give back to the society, with a sense of pride & appreciation towards our religious roots.

Abhishek also volunteers for several other temple events. As a host of the temple’s Radio Archana program, he finds pride in broadcasting temple events to the entire Hindu community within the metroplex, alongwith playing his favorite bhajans. Bhakti is an essential element of one’s sadhana, and Abhishek finds deep gratification in chanting names of Paramātmā and singing them in bhajan form, thus active with the Adults Bhajan group in the temple. He also cherishes participating and volunteering for kathās, pārāyans and cultural events in the temple. Abhishek also spends a lot of his time at work, at an IT major.

Manoj Chopra - Religion Foundation Program (Summer Only)
Manoj Chopra is a devotee and a volunteer at DFW Hindu Temple. He has been the Coordinator of Vidya Vikas and has also served as Secretary and a Treasurer at DFW Hindu Temple. Manoj has been actively involved with Vidya Vikas for more than ten years in various capacities, including religion and the Hindi language. He is passionate about creating an engaging, immersive learning environment for language, religion, and cultural heritage. He enjoys interacting with students, parents, and teachers to continually looks for innovative ways to collaborate and create a positive environment for the learners. Manoj’s wife Deepa also teaches at VV, and both their children have attended VV classes and have also taught the Hindi language during summers.
Rajneesh Gupta
Rajneesh Gupta, an ex-Vidya Vikas Admin, until recently was the administrator in Dr. Guptas Oncology clinic. A very inspiring person, she has nurtured a culture of team work and recognizing and bringing out the strengths in VV volunteers. The Guptas have two wonderful grown up sons. She has been coordinating the Ram Leela program in our temple for several years. Make sure you are there to watch our children in action this year!! Outside of VV, Rajneesh attends Gita classes and focusses on community service with various organizations.
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