HWS Priest Pandit Rajendra Sharma Dies at 78

HOUSTON: Pandit Rajendra Sharma, known by most simply as “Panditji”, was the longest serving priest of the Hindu Worship Society, presiding over services and rituals for over a decade. Panditji passed away on March 1, after tackling complications due to Parkinson’s Disease for the past seven years.

Sharma was born in a prominent Bhramin family in Suva, the Fiji Islands on September 7, 1944. After high school he attended the University of South Pacific. He then studied in India under Acharya Jagdish Shukla.

After his marriage to Asha Defrantz, he immigrated to Houston in 1989 and two years later, he became the priest of the oldest Hindu temple in the city, the Hindu Worship Society. Sharma was very active in the community over the years. His main main focus was teaching the youth the greatness of Hindu Dharma. His work was published in magazines. He also translated Hindi documents from India for the NASA Space Center.

Sharma is survived by his wife Asha, son Roopesh Sharma and wife Sanjeshna; daughter Ruhi Sharma and husband Charlie LaColla; daughter Charlotte Sneed; grandchildren Ayana Sharma, Esha Sharma, Lily LaColla and Zara LaColla; niece Sharda Usman and husband Mohammed; sister Subita Sharma; sister Saroj Tiwari and brother Diwakar Sharma and many other family members in Canada, Fiji and Australia.