Even after my dear friend and neighbor, Jaya Sri Radhe, mentioned her plans to give a donation to TKG Academy on Janmastami, I wasn’t prepared for what was coming. When she handed me the envelope, a big surprise was in store: $2900. And that is not all! She also informed me of her joining our school’s monthly donor program. Her generosity deeply touched my heart and I wanted to share her story.
Jaysri Chasmawala’s family is from India. She was born in Boston, and growing up she remembers her father as a devout practitioner of the Ramanuja Sampradaya who provided her first spiritual inspiration. (Later in life, two weeks before leaving his body, he accepted initiation from H.H. Giriraj Swami). As children they often frequented ISKCON temples. Later on, as school demands increased, the visits to the temple became less regular, although Jayshri’s spiritual quest continued. She eventually found her heart’s yearning satisfied back at the Krsna temples she knew from her earlier childhood, and by her senior year in high-school, she and her family renewed their visits.
While in College in Austin, TX, the struggle was hard, but devotees continuously reached out to her, inviting her to their programs. After repeated turn-downs and while visiting the family in Fort Worth for a holiday, she finally made it to a program at the Dallas temple. There she – literally – ran into who was to become her spiritual master, Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaja. His lecture touched the core of her heart; his talk was relevant and helped solidify her attachment to Krsna. She then read – almost “devoured” – his book Yoga for the 21st Century and felt inspired with a new sense of dedication to her spiritual path. She picked up her chanting and a year later, in the summer of 1996, on Bhima (Nirjala) Ekadasi, she received her first initiation.
When she then went onto MED school in Fort Worth, her spiritual master, Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami, offered much encouragement. He especially appreciated her preventative approach to health, which was and still is the focus of her practice. She fondly remembers the many opportunities she got to serve him his meals. On one particular occasion, when she assisted another doctor with preparing and serving a meal, Srila Tamal Krishna Goswamai complained about the quality of the food and jokingly made a statement that “Doctors can’t cook”. When he asked her if she could cook well and she said she couldn’t, he teased: “Become a doctor then!”
She fondly recalls many loving exchanges and funny incidents. He would take the time to personally check on her and show his fatherly affection. His genuine care for her touched her deeply.
In 2007, with the goal of being close to the devotee community, Jayshri established her private clinic in the Lakewood neighborhood, just a few minutes’ drive from Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji’s Temple. Eventually, she took the Integrative Holistic Board Exam and decided to further focus her practice on natural methods and started seeing patients at a devotee’s local Yoga Studio. She openly promotes a healthy lifestyle to all she encounter, which includes plant-based diet and meditation. She often encourages her patients to pick up the Hare Krsna mantra chanting as a recommended form of personal meditation.
She received second initiation from His Holiness Giriraj Swami Maharaja in 2011 and immediately began her deity services. She then moved to the immediate temple neighborhood. On several days a week, Jaysri dresses the deities. When asked which she loves the most, she answers with a smile: “I love Them all! I can’t fathom ever giving up my service to any of Them! No matter what else is going on, when I’m on the altar, nothing else matters. It’s so wonderful.”
Why did she decide to donate to TKG Academy? “One thing that really stands out to me is that TKG Academy students seem more intelligent and self-confident than other children that I meet. I attribute that to the emphasis on creativity and arts as much as the academic curriculum. Since Kirtan is a big part of our philosophy, the children are taught to participate in and lead Kirtans early and often. Whether it is singing or playing musical instruments, they have a wonderful outlet to engage their creative side. Studies show that creativity and music increase focus, clarity and positively shape developing minds. Children are more ready to delve into their studies and have better retention. While most schools cut back on music and art programs or de-emphasize their importance, TKG Academy highlights those as important as the academics. This kind of creative outlet also increases self-confidence.
I decided to donate to the school because I think that what TKG Academy is doing is great. The more individualized curriculums for the students and the small teacher to student ratio are important in shaping the minds of future generations. I do not plan on having children of my own and donating to this institution is my way of contributing to future Krishna devotees. And if for some reason I do have a child, well, then I know where I want to send him/her.”
Jayshri Chasmawala, D.O., is a Board Certified Family Practice and Integrative Holistic Medicine physician with Pure Health Family Practice in the East Dallas community. She provides excellent quality healthcare in a warm, loving, and compassionate environment. She uses a holistic approach focusing on wellness and prevention while educating patients on health as well as smart lifestyle choices. She emphasizes the crucial role nutrition plays in health. Dr. Chasmawala is also the Medical Director at MedPost Urgent Care. She oversees patient care in an urgent care environment and works there a few days a week.
Dr. Chasmawala’s educational background includes a 2002 Doctor of Osteopathy from the University of North Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. In 2004 she received her Masters in Public Health from UNT’s School of Public Health where her research focused on eating disorders. She completed her residency at Houston’s Christus St. Joseph Family Practice Residency Program in 2005. She recently achieved board certification in Integrative Holistic Medicine. Her dual educational background, continuing medical education endeavors and interest in weight management complement her goal to properly address her patients’ needs of all ages. She is fluent in Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati.
Dr. Chasmawala is from a loving family, which includes her parents, a sister and two brothers. The family has resided in Fort Worth, Texas since 1986. She lives in Dallas, enjoys the wealth of activities available, and is still close to her family. She lives what she “preaches” regarding nutrition and exercise. She is an exercise enthusiast and in the past has participated in several half-marathons and a sprint triathlon among other events. She follows a vegetarian/ vegan lifestyle with a focus on whole food plant based nutrition.