Memorial Prayer Service for Astronauts of Space Shuttle Columbia
8 February 2003, Houston, Texas
Mr. Pinakin Jaradi of BAPS stated, "Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj, saints and members of BAPS have all prayed so that the souls of the astronauts attain eternal peace and their families find strength and courage to face this tragic loss." Dr. Kamlesh Lulla then paid glowing tributes to Dr. Kalpana Chawla, popularly known as "KC" at NASA. He made a slide presentation on "KC" which covered her training as an astronaut candidate, her two flights into space and her observations from space. He recalled, "She was an excellent scientist and an avid pilot that every shuttle commander wanted on his crew." Dr. Lulla said that she was a karmayogi with the gift of goddess Saraswati. In his eulogy, Hon. Consul General Mr. Tayal said, "She has done both India, the country of her birth, and America her adopted country proud." He added, "Dr. Chawla symbolized the intrepid heights to which the human spirit can soar."
Melodious bhajans in Hindi were sung by
the youths of BAPS. This was followed by a solemn ceremony with the
lighting of seven candles, one for each astronaut, by Mr. Banarsilal
Chawla, Hon. Consul General and his wife and Dr. Lulla, amidst the chanting
of the Shanti Paath.