In a project of this magnitude, spanning countries and continents as well as more than two decades, it is impossible to mention everyone who has played an important role. However, there are some people without whom EH would not be complete today. There are others whose participation may have been short, yet it was offered at a critical time and hence made a large difference.
First, thanks to Pujya Sant Shri Rameshbhai Oza for giving his time, heart, and energy to help raise awareness for this great project. Pujya Bhaishri gave several kathas in the USA, as well as in the UK, in the name of EH in the early 1990s, when he and Pujya Swamiji traveled together on dharma yatra.
Our deep gratitude and pranams are offered also to H.H. Pujya Sri Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswatiji for organizing and leading the first Shakti Yagna, and to Pujya Sant Shri Morari Bapu for performing the first Katha for EH. In 1997 and 1998, respectively, Pujya Swami Govind Giri and Late Pujya Sant Amardas Bapu, traveled with Pujya Swamiji, and the “yatra team” on Dharma yatra through the USA and Canada, giving one-day programs in dozens of cities to bring awareness about this monumental undertaking.
The entire team in Columbia—Dr. K.L. Seshagiri Rao, Dr. Kaushal Sinha, Arunima Sinha, Girish Yajnik, Dr. K.R. Sundararajan, Mardi McCabe, and all the graduate students—maintained encyclopedia headquarters with great diligence and commitment for many years.
Our satellite offices in India, particularly the Chennai office headed by C.D. Chidambaram, Seetha Chidambaram, Annapurni Veerapan, S. Thangaraju, and T.S. Vellaiah, the Bangalore office headed by Dr. B.V. Subbarayappa and the Delhi office headed by Dr. V.N. Mishra, Prakash Singh and Dr. Deepavali Banot took the great responsibility of coordinating the assignment, retrieval and preliminary editing of all articles.
The University of South Carolina, particularly the department of Religious Studies, Dr. Carl Evans, Dr. Hal French, and their teams went out of their way to provide facilities and infrastructure for this project. It is a gesture of great significance for a renowned, traditional academic institution to offer support of this magnitude to the production of the Hindu Encyclopedia. It is impossible to overstate our gratitude to the University for over a decade of support and collaboration.
Brahmaswarup Varma left his home and his work in Canada to move to Pittsburgh in 1996 and to oversee the Encyclopedia project as Director of Administration. At a time when financial resources were meager and zeal was waning, he helped to spark a new wave of enthusiasm and excitement for the project among both scholars as well as donors. He also organized the dharma yatras of 1997 and 1998, helping to generate more and more awareness about the Encyclopedia project.
The Board of Trustees of IHRF, in the USA, India, Canada, and the UK have all given tan, man, and dhan (body, mind, and resources) to the project and served as pillars of support for this greattemple of knowledge. It is particularly important to mention the following:
Dr. Vijai Singh, who has held posts of Vice-Chancellor and Associate Chancellor at Pittsburgh University, and served as the first President of IHRF in the USA. Dr. Singh brought a unique level of experience, expertise, and academic vision to IHRF and to the Encyclopedia project. IHRF USA past presidents Dr. Radhu Agarwal and Dr. Krishan Aggarwal have served the Foundation and the project for many years with dedication and commitment.
Hasu Shah, current President of IHRF has been truly a model of leadership and generosity. He is always ready, anytime, and anywhere, to give whatever is required—whether it’s time, funds, manpower, or guidance—for the Encyclopedia or any of IHRF’s numerous projects. Despite being a successful and busy businessman, he has made IHRF a true priority in his life.
Rekha and Atul Mashruwala have served IHRF and EH with boundless dedication and commitment, as devotees and then as treasurers of the Board. Any time of day, any day of the week, anything at all required for the Foundation, they are always ready, always eager, and always full of seva bhava.
Our IHRF team in Canada, serving under the leadership of Dr. Somesh Bhargava, Dr. Bhuhendra Doobay, and now under Pragji Naik, have been stalwart supporters—in tan, man and dhan.
Dr. Raman Patel, a true model of generosity and selflessness, Dr. Madhav Sinha, Saroj Patel, Tara Maniar, and many others have contributed greatly to the successful completion of the project.
The IHRF UK team, including Ramniklal Solanki, Himat Dawada, Gopal Popat, Kalpesh and Shailesh Solanki, Ravi and Sadhana Karia, Nishit and Priyesh Kotecha, and many others have been great sources of support and cooperation for nearly two decades.
The entire team in Pittsburgh, USA was extraordinarily supportive and helpful, particularly in the early days of conception and planning. In addition to the current IHRF Board members, Shri Jamnadas Thakkar, Dr. Deviyani Pandit, and all the officers and members of the Hindu-Jain Temple served the project with great dedication.
Dawn Baillie has given hundreds of hours of her personal time and divine “touch” in the design of nearly all of IHRF’s and EH’s publications over the last decade. From book covers to brochures and fliers, to calendars and web-banners, Dawn and her team at BLT & Associates, Hollywood, have brought the quality of design work to a truly professional level.
Gordon Goff of Oro Editions Publications has been a great help, for many, many years, in guiding and advising innumerable aspects of printing, production, and publication contracts. He has taken the Encyclopedia into his heart as his own project and has guided us in immeasurable ways. Sadanand & Angie Singh were instrumental in guiding the entire process of obtaining copyrights, initial publication planning, and designing/printing of the early brochures.
Sujal and Hema Popat have been great sevaks over the last several years for EH, in the fields of database management, conference seva, powerpoint presentation, and video preparation.
Dr. Kapil Kapoor has been a gift from God for this project. Since January 2006 when he assumed the role of Executive Editor, he has taken over responsibility for all aspects of the project—academic and administrative. It has been a great asset for the project in its final years to have, at its helm, a leader who is both a world renowned scholar and an administrator par excellence. Dr. Kapoor and his entire team of assistant and associate executive editors and scholars from across India worked indefatigably for several years, back and forth between the head office in Delhi and their “conference center” at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh. It is due to Dr. Kapoor’s absolute tenacity and dedication that this project has come from a work in progress to its final state of completion.
The dedicated and devoted team at Mandala Publishing under the direction and guidance of Raoul Goff extended their hands with deep sincerity, devotion, and eagerness to publish this momentous work in the West. Their unwavering commitment to absolute excellence in content, style, and design along with the singularly outstanding quality of their art books, coupled with their personal devotion to the subject matter made them unquestionably the perfect publishers for a compendium of this magnitude. For a renowned publishing house in California, USA, to give so much time, energy, and dedication to the publication of an encyclopedia of Hinduism shows how very special they are.
Without the generosity and selflessness of our donors, particularly the Platinum Pioneer donors, this Encyclopedia would not be in your hands. Pujya Swamiji provided the spiritual inspiration; Dr. Rao, Dr. V N Mishra, Dr. Kapil Kapoor, and all of their teams provided the academic leadership and guidance. Administrative offices around the globe turned ideas and concepts into actual articles. Yet, without a steady stream of funds, nothing would have been possible. Many of the donors came forward at a time when EH was nothing more than an inspired idea of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. Yet, they gave, in full faith with open hands, knowing that this project would, ultimately, come to divine fruition.
Special thanks are due to the (late) Pujya Swami Dharmanand Saraswatiji and Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh (Himalayas) and Delhi which have provided IHRF and the Encyclopedia project with offices and infrastructure for more than fifteen continuous years.
Most of all, deepest gratitude is due to Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji who knew, without any doubt, that this project, as insurmountable as it must have seemed at a time when most Americans didn’t know the difference between Indian-Americans and American Indians, would be accomplished. Pujya Swamiji served as the guiding light from beginning to end. He provided inspiration, boundless hope and divine vision of a completed project to the scholars, administrators and academic teams responsible for bringing the Encyclopedia to fruition. Whenever any challenge or difficulty arose, or whenever anyone lost faith and bemoaned, “It will never becomplete,” Pujya Swamiji assured everyone, “Yes it will be.” His faith in the inherent strength of the project, his confidence in those to whom it was entrusted, his uncanny ability to solve challenging problems, his steadfastness in the face of turbulence and his clarity of vision in the face of confusion, made him the axis around which this project revolved.