Founder : Late Pundit Vishnu Prasad Kashyap, 4 June 1941 to 30 September 2010
Sri Ramcharitmanas Institute was started by late Pundit Vishnu Prasad Kashyap in Sydney on 1st March 1988. During the 80s people of Indian origin having interest in their vedic teachings wanted to learn and better understand their heritage. At that time the new migrants were settling into their newly adopted country where distractions of western life and new freedom significantly impacted many families. Family breakups, alcohol and substance off abuse and petty crimes were on the rise.
Pundit Kashyap was a practicing priest, a marriage celebrant and a JP. He realised that if he could somehow communicate in simple language how to guide our lives through the teachings of Ramayan and Gita then he could help the community help themselves. As such he exerted substantial effort at his own costs to run weekly Ramayan and Gita classes.
Many benefitted and over time the class numbers grew and a structure was formalised, the institute was registered and volunteer managements were elected to run the classes for the benefit of all communities.
Pundit Kashyap was born on 4th July, 1941 in Nandali, Nausori, Fiji Island. He was the grandson of Pt. Guljaari Maharaj and son of Pt. Krishna & Deoraji Prasad. He completed his primary education at Vunimono Primary School and secondary education at Lelean Memorial High School.
In 1965 he was married to Ms Sarawati (currently continuing her husbands work) and moved to Suva in 1967 during which time his family expanded via arrival of son Yogesh and daughter Jyotika. In 1988 he migrated to Sydney, Australia.
As a spiritual scholar, he began reading the Ramayan and vedic teachings at the young age of 8 years. He started performing marriage ceremonies in 1972 and at that time was recognised as the youngest marriage celebrant in Fiji. He was a great researcher of vedic religion and published five religious books which are being widely used by Ramayan manadalis, pracharaks and pundits and purohits in Australia, Fiji, Canada, USA, New Zealand, UK and India.
He was a founder, Priest, and Pracharak of Vedic Sanatan Society of NSW. He was the unopposed National President of Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha of Australia from 1997 to 2007. During his time as the National President there were 50 affiliated Ramayan Mandalis. He was a life member of Board of Governors of Shree Sanatan Dharam Sabha of NSW and provided his invaluable services as the Head Priest for several years.
Being a community orientated person he helped in transferring knowledge from our religious text and preaching Ramayan to inmates in Naboro Prison, Navua with aim to help them understand wrong doings and improve their lives going forward. The community support was extended to Sydney hospitals to people of Indian origin admitted as a result of road accidents and or illness where he would come to the hospital and pray for them to get better soon and provide moral support. He initiated Sanatan Soccer in NSW and performed activities such as faag samellan, Ramayan samellan, bhajan nites, musical nites and many similar Indian cultural events.
In Fiji he held teaching classes to educate Purohits and propagate Ramayan to several Pracharaks. And continued the tradition here in Australia. In 1980 he started the beginning of Sri Ramchartimanas Institute of Australia to promote teaching of Ramcharitmanas Ramayan. The institute became the heart and soul, to which he committed most of the time whereby he provided teachings from his residence. As the number of students grew he moved to rented premises from the Council Community facility of Green Valley.
Thursday the 30th September, 2010, a call too sudden, all were stunned to lean that our beloved guru and teacher had been called to rest in peace. It was a great loss to the Hindu community in Sydney, friends and families and to Ramcharitmanas Institute.
Currently continuing her husbands work:
Mrs Saraswati Kashyap, Patron