Calendar of Events

Celebrating World Sanskrit Day: A Webinar with Indira & Shanta Bulkin, Narendra Budhakar and Bharati Devi*

pranayama poster with Sanskrit terminology
Sun, Aug 02

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Eastern Time

For members of the Yoga Society of New York: by open donation (Request a members' registration link from

Tuition for non-members: $20

This webinar is scheduled at the occasion of World Sanskrit Day -- actually on Monday, August 3rd, the Full Moon day -- in honor of the ancient language of Sanskrit. Sponsored by Ananda Ashram's Membership Committee, the panel discussion will be moderated by Naren Budhakar, who comes from a traditional family acquainted with Sanskrit. Presenters will be Indira and Shanta Bulkin, founders of the East West Sanskrit Institute based in California, as well as Bharati Devi, director of the School of Sanskrit at Ananda Ashram.

The webinar will take place on Zoom platform.

Featured themes will include --

  • "Sanskrit: The Sound that Liberates" -- discussing the concept of mantra.
  • How Sanskrit relates to electromagnetic energy and more subtle, mystical vibration -- an experiential approach.
  • Sanskrit as a healing tool for centering the mind, both through chanting of devotional verses and through study of its grammar.
  • Contemporary relevance of the Sanskrit language.

Indira (Ann) Bulkin met Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati in the summer of 1971 at Ananda Ashram. The following spring, she became a full time resident student at the Yoga Society of San Francisco where she lived for several years. In the summer of 1973, Dr. Mishra asked Indira to start teaching Sanskrit. In the early 1980s, he named her as the head of the Sanskrit Department at the Yoga Society of San Francisco, a position she held until 2010. Indira was privileged to study Sanskrit with Professor Robert Goldman at UC Berkeley and in 1993 graduated with a B.A. in the Sanskrit language. She was blessed to be able to continue her Sanskrit studies with Dr. Ram Karan Sharma for more than 17 years.

Shanta Bulkin met Dr. Mishra in the summer of 1972 at Ananda Ashram. Dr. Mishra said, “If you want to stay here you must study Sanskrit.” Shanta took him at his word and felt the healing effect of this study begin to change his life. Shanta started teaching Sanskrit in the late 90s. He continued to grow as a Sanskritist, studying with world-renowned Sanskrit teacher and writer, Professor Ram Karan Sharma. In the past few years he has been teaching at the College of Ayurveda at the Mt. Madonna Institute, as well as several yoga centers around the Bay Area and elsewhere.

Naren Budhakar was born in Pune city, a celebrated epicenter of Sanskrit in India, into a Brahmin family who valued seeking knowledge above all endeavours. His forefathers earned livelihood performing sacred rituals with Sanskrit hymns for various hosts in return for meager money and regal respect. This practice continued until his grandfather, also a Sanskrit scholar, chose another noble profession of teaching to support family. He was Naren's first Sanskrit teacher. Naren studied Sanskrit as the second language for three years in high school and participated in the radio shows about Sanskrit. He has kept a keen affection for the language ever since. And although life has taken him in many directions finally landing him in New York, the Sanskaras clearly prevail which is why Naren, a science graduate by education and a musician by profession, remains a student of Sanskrit with passion.

Bharati Devi (Bharati E. Balmes) studied the Sanskrit language, Yoga-Vedanta philosophy, meditation and related subjects with Ashram Founder Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati (Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D.) from 1968 to 1993. Under his direction she began teaching in 1971. She was named head of the School of Sanskrit at Ananda Ashram and later appointed trustee of the International Schools of East-West Unity, Inc., by the Founder. She also studied with renowned Sanskrit scholar and poet Dr. Ram Karan Sharma from 1997 to 2015. Bharati continues to teach on a regular basis, incorporating the chanting of original verses as well as Sanskrit grammatical forms.