Glowing Tribute Paid to Yoga Teacher Rama Rao

Rama Rao send off April 2010.

Rama Rao send off April 2010.

By Haider Kazim

HOUSTON: A prayer meeting (Shraddhanjali) was held by VYASA-USA (Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana) Tuesday evening at Keshav Smruthi for Yoga Teacher and therapist B.S. Rama Rao who expired last week at Mysore, India, at the age of 77.

Rama Rao inspired hundreds of students in Houston and was highly respected in the Yoga circles. He taught therapeutic yoga courses at Memorial Herman Hospital-Southeast since August 1999 and both general and therapeutic yoga in Keshav Smruthi from April 1999 to June 2011. He also taught general yoga classes at University of Houston at Clear Lake from September 2000 to January 2002. In addition, he conducted workshops, several teacher training courses and classes for different groups in the Houston, Los Angles, Tampa, Orlando and bay area.

Rama Rao and Meera Rao.

Rama Rao and Meera Rao.

He was diagnosed with colon cancer and had undergone surgery. His dedication to yoga was immense and even one day before his death he was talking about taking yoga courses at Infosys-Mysore in India.

During the period of his brief illness, he kept smiling although he knew his end was near. He told his wife Meera: “Don’t lose enthusiasm and strength. Continue to do yoga. Death is nothing but a positive change for the people who are suffering from physical disease.”

He is survived by wife Meera, daughter Seema, son-in-law Naresh and grandchildren Nikhil and Sharmila.

At the prayer meeting, organized by Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA), several students and people who knew him recounted their association with Rama Rao. The whole group, whole heartedly engaged in chanting the Bhagavad Gita, Bhajans & Nirvana Shatakam praying for departed soul to rest in peace.

“Rama Rao was a monument of simplicity and humility. He never said no to anyone asking for help” said Ramesh Bhutada, well-known businessman and founding president of VYASA-USA in Houston. Bhutada recalled his association with Rama Rao and said that the yoga activity he was engaged in after retirement was inspirational to many people.

Jugal Malani, President of India House and a leading businessman, said we can proudly call him Baba Rama Rao and he was a mentor to many of us.

Sharad Amin, President of Hindus of Greater Houston, said that Rama Rao’ nature and his smiling face always amazed the people. He disclosed that when HGH was considering the choices for its first Akhil Chopra Memorial Service Award the first name that popped up in every committee member’s mind was that of Rama Rao. He was presented the award by then Indian Ambassador the US Ronen Sen.

Dr. Sudha Rajan, present President of VYASA-USA, said he was very energetic even at this age and was very enthusiastic about his work. She said that Rama Rao left an example for others to follow.

Vishwarupa Director & Smitha, Assistant Director of VYASA-USA, who conducted the program, described Rama Rao as a true karma yogi. They described him as a strict disciplinarian who will get up at 4 a.m. every day and get ready to go to yoga classes.

Dr. Durga Agrawal, a well-known businessman and community leader who could not attend the prayer meeting said, Houstonians were fortunate to have a Yoga teacher like Rama Rao. “ It was a privilege to have yoga teacher like Rama Raoji in Houston. He taught yoga with a lot of compassion. My wife and I started practicing yoga with Rama Rao Ji 11-12 years ago, We both have more energy than we had before we started practicing yoga.”

“For me, Rama Rao Ji was an angel in disguise. He showed me the right path and has changed my life, not only through yoga, but also through his personal guidance. A very loving, caring, and kind person, that is what describes Rama Rao Ji. His presence will always be felt,” said Neelofer Ali, a student.

Rama Rao had a B.E. degree in civil engineering and had done specialization in architecture. He worked in several capacities in Bhilai and Rourkela in India as well as in Dubai, UAE and Muscat, Oman. He played cricket, chess and carom and loved travelling.

After his retirement, he took up yoga which became his passion until his last day. As suggested by Ramesh Bhutada, he went to India and received a diploma in Yoga and Naturopathy upon the completion of the Yoga Shikshak course conducted by the SVYASA, Bangalore, India, in January 1999. He also completed practical training in Nature Cure and Yoga in Paramarth Nature Cure Hospital and Bapu Nature Hospital, New Delhi, India. He was a participant in the “All India Nature Cure Conference on Diabetes and Asthma” in December 1998.

Rama Rao taught yoga and provided instructions in basic & therapeutic yoga in Houston since 1999. Since then, nearly 250 students of yoga have graduated under him in Houston and other parts of USA.