Arya Samaj Greater Houston’s Tribute to Prem Bhatia, An Exuberant Person

Dev Mahajan paying tribute to Prem Bhatia

By Acharya Bramdeo

Oṁ vāyur-anilam amṛtam athedaṁ bhasmāntaṁ śarīram |

Oṁ krato smara, klibe smara, kṛtaṁ smara || (YajurVeda 40.15 ||

Ātmā, the soul is the doer. It is not made of physical matter. It is immortal. It is that which keeps the body alive. The body dies when the soul leaves the body. Cremation returns the body to matter. Upon death, God gives the soul a new body depending on its karma. This mantra reminds us to always remember Almighty Eeshvar (God) as the eternal witness of our past, present and future actions; to remember our true nature as souls, to gain strength; and to do deeds that enables us to progress on the path of perfection till moksha- attainment of eternal blissful state.

March 9, 2024: Relatives, friends of the Bhatia family, and members, well-wishers of Arya Samaj Greater Houston (ASGH) joined to celebrate the life of late Shri Prem Bhatia. A longstanding tireless, selfless volunteer, Prem Ji always worked behind the scenes contributing to the progress and success of ASGH. We give below excerpts from the tributes by Smt. Sushma and Shri Dev Mahajan, Shri Bhushan Verma and children Manu and Priya Bhatia after the Shanti/Shraddhanjali Yajna officiated by Acharya Surya Nanda Ji.

Prem ji lived life on his own terms till the end. His strong willpower and disciplined lifestyle were allowed him to lead a near normal life for over a quarter century after serious heart illness that left his heart functioning at about 40%. He valiantly fought pancreatic cancer with the help of his dear wife Madhu. He decided to take half the dose during chemotherapy, likely not to lose control of his life and independence. During his last days he undertook his own personal care activities moving around with the help of a walker.

Prem ji’s journey with Arya Samaj Greater Houston. He was a very dedicated volunteer in all the activities of this Samaj and its two schools since 1995. Madhu and Prem ji compiled a havan prayer book with Sanskrit mantras in both Devanāgarī and English scripts, and translations in Hindi and English. Therein he included Vedic bhajans. He also compiled a small Havan book for our school children.

Other initiatives included: The makeover of the January 1st, New Year Yajna (havan) into an opportunity for all present to participate by offering ahutis; The English translation of mantras around the ceiling of the Mandir; Recordkeeping of the history of major events of ASGH; Volunteered as consultant for our website as the major and critical source of information, thus moved ASGH to the digital world; Managing our library and book. His demise is a call upon new volunteers to emerge as torchbearers. Prem Ji inspired all as a sincere, determined, dedicated nishkaama sevak at ASGH. An Arya in action, he embodied the essence of a noble person. He also completed the English translation of a version of Geeta emphasizing on living the message of the Geeta in daily life.

Holder of a PhD in Aeronautical & Aerospace Engineering, he moved to the oil and gas industry creating offshore structures, indeed a breakthrough in offshore technology. Serene, gentle, smiling and also funny, he was often seen joining others in meetings and over prasad (lunch) after Satsangs with a list of jokes that would bring smiles to all. He enjoyed Indian classical Sufi music and ghazals.

Premji will be remembered as a loving husband, father, and grandfather within the family circle, and a rocket scientist, coworker, chef, dog walker, mentor, nerd, friend, guide, giver, carer and selfless volunteer. Let’s remember Prem Ji more for what he was to us, and what he brought to our life and to the community at large.

Om Sadgati. We pray to Almighty Eeshvar (God) to grant a peaceful and progressive onwards journey on the path of perfection till Moksha- the Eternal Blissful state.

Oṁ Shāntiḥ Shāntiḥ Shāntiḥ!