Obituary: Shri V Dharmarajan (1943 to Dec 16, 2023) — A Well-Liked, Long-Time Resident and Vedanta Teacher

By Gopal Krishnamoorthy, Monroeville, PA.

Venkatram Dharmarajan, a long-time resident in the Pittsburgh area known to Indian-Americans from wide background in the Indian context, passed away in sleep at home on December 16, 2023.  His family celebrated his 80th birthday during Thanksgiving weekend a month ago.  Dharmarajan was born on November 30th, 1943, in Mumbai, and was the youngest of three siblings. 

Dharmarajan graduated from Ruia College in chemistry in Mumbai and joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.  In 1968, he earned his doctorate in chemistry from Louisiana State University and went to Tulane University for post-doctoral work.  He then moved to Pittsburgh joining Bayer where he worked for thirty years as an industrial hygienist, retiring in 2009.

Listening to Swamy Chinmayananda’s lectures in Mumbai, Dharmarajan was impressed with the Vedantic tradition in self-enquiry and seeking Truth. When he moved to Pittsburgh, his interest in Chinmayananda’s teachings continued.  He and a group of followers hosted Swami Chinmayananda in Pittsburgh and organized camps in the late 1970s and in early 1980s. Dharmarajan was a founding member of Chinmaya Mission Pittsburgh. He also was active at the Sri Venkateswara Temple. 

Dharmarajan was one of the founders and guarantors of Chinmaya Sanjeevani (Hanuman Temple) in Monroeville, founded in 2008, where they started Chinmaya Bala Vihar, an important part of the Chinmaya mission to expose young minds to the basic tenets of our faith in a nondogmatic easygoing style. These Bala Vihar classes later started in South Hills and North Hills as well. Dharmarajan was also one of the founders of Chinmaya Amarnath (Shiva Temple) in Mars, PA in 2022 .

Dharmarajan authored daily email digest to hundreds of recipients worldwide entitled “Vedanta Pearls,” style — a fitting title for the “gem” of a person he was — imparting an early morning dose of philosophical and Vedantic wisdom to his readers in a nondogmatic laidback style. 

His passing is a huge loss not only for his family, but also for the general Indian community at large in Pittsburgh that held him in high regard because of his stature, Vedantic knowledge, experience, and service to the community.  

He was the devoted husband to wife Visalam, proud father to Sekhar (in St Lois, MO), and Sheila (in New York City), father-in-law to Seena, and adored grandfather to his five grandchildren, Anand, Anil, Rohan, Nikhil, and Anika.

Throughout his lifetime, Dharmarajan touched the lives of many young and adults born and raised here, introducing many into Vedantic studies and guiding seekers on a path of self-discovery, inner peace, and enlightenment. His love, kindness, and mindfulness inspired youngsters who interacted with him face-to-face or on-line that resonated deep, far, and wide.

Those who interacted with him feel that with his Final Exit, a true guiding light has ascended, but his Vedantic teachings will forever illuminate their spirits.

Dharmarajan’s Hindu cremation was on December 20th, 2023, with Priests Shri Varadarajan &  Shri Venkata Charyulu from SV Temple and Shri Dharma Teja Nagalingam & Shri Satya Tej Ponna from Chinmaya Mission Pittsburgh guiding the Dharmarajan family with the last rites.


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