GURU JI SHRI PRAKASH GOSSAI
A Veritable Messiah for All
BIOGRAPHY OF PRAKASH GOSSAI JI
(EXTRACTED FROM THE WEST INDIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA)
Shri Prakash Gossai was born in Handsome Tree, Mahaica Creek, Guyana, into a devout Hindu family. His parents are Pandit Bissondial and Shrimati Rewti Gossai. He has two children, Pratiksha and Arun Gossai. From an early age it was evident to those around him that the depth of his awareness and interest in Sanatan Dharma was beyond ordinary. In his teenage years he joined the Mahatma Gandhi Organization in Georgetown, Guyana where he pursued his interest in religion, music and Hindi songs. During his youth, he sought out many spiritual leaders hoping to find an illuminated teacher to guide him in his spiritual quest. He found as mentors Doctor Budhendra Doobay, and Professor Anantanand Rambachan. His personal desire was to learn and follow in the footsteps of these great souls.
In 1983 he immigrated to Queens, New York in the United States of America where he began teaching Marine Biology with the New York Board of Education. This was a great opportunity for Prakashji to interact with many Hindu youths. He saw our children drifting from what we consider a very rich culture and a lack of spiritual upliftment. He quickly realized that it’s the information age and children when asked to perform Pooja want to know the reason behind the rituals. They want to know why the Murti has several hands, why we make offerings to the fire and so on.
Prakashji consulted with family and friends and in 1984 he founded the
Bhuvaneshwar Mandir in Brooklyn, New York. He saw a need for more
spiritual and academic activities in the Temples to attract the youths
from off the streets and to promote Sanatan Dharma in its entirety with
particular emphasis on involving our children in more spiritual activities.
In 1992, his passion for the Ramcharitamanas became so intoxicating
that he gave up his Science career to follow his aspirations and
In 1993, Shri Prakashji went to India to study with his Guru, Brahmrishi
Vishvatma Bawraji Maharaj of Pinjore, Haryana. India. In the hermitage
of this great master he spent the better part of the next year receiving
Swamiji’s strict but loving spiritual discipline. During this period, he met
many of India’s sages and saints and his love of Goswami Tulsidas’
Shri Ramcharitamanas intensified.
His ardent desire to consecrate his life to the love and service of God
thus found fulfillment. Prakashji has traveled and lectured widely,
speaking to capacity audiences in many of the largest Temples and
other venues in the United States, Canada, England, Trinidad and
Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Venezuela, the British Virgin Island and
returned several times a year to his homeland of Guyana. He
emphasized the underlying unity of the world’s great religions, teaching
applicable methods for attaining consciousness of God.
His emergence as a spiritual leader and messenger of the Lord is
remarkable in the history of the modern world. Prakashji is well versed
in several areas of Hindu philosophy. His expertise in the interpretation
of Goswami Tulsidas’ Sri Ramacharitamanas has surprised even
highly erudite scholars. His lectures and songs are typically
characterized by the absence of any criticism on other paths and
religions. He inculcates a spirit of universal acceptance, coupled with
intense faith and steadfast devotion. Shri Prakashji’s vision is to
develop a team of inspired youths who will serve society by
disseminating the profound truth revealed to us by our great saints and
sages and shows the path to God realization. He is the spiritual Guru
for more than a thousand Chelas (disciples) around the world.
On April 19, 2002 Shri Prakashji was recognized at Devi Mandir in
Pickering, Ontario, Canada for his contribution to the Canadian Hindu
community. He was presented with an award from the Premier of
Ontario and the honorable John Hastings, Member of Provincial
Parliament for his contribution to the Hindu community in the Province
of Ontario, Canada. The Federation of Hindu Temples also presented
him with an award for his dedication, commitment and support to the
Hindu Temples of Canada. The final award of Lifetime Membership
was given by Devi Mandir recognizing his fund raising contribution to
the Mandir in excess of $200K over the last four years. In the presence
of over a thousand devotees, he was given a standing ovation while he
accepted his awards with great humility.
In 2002, the Government of Guyana presented Prakashji with the
Medal of Service award on the anniversary of Guyana’s Independence,
for his positive contribution and commitment to his native land. In his
acceptance speech, he said: “I am deeply touched and honoured to be
offered the Medal of Service Award on the anniversary of our
Independence. I feel tremendous gratitude in being recognized as
having made a positive contribution to my homeland. Upon reflection, I
am convinced that the enriching experience of my childhood in
Mahaica Creek, being exposed to religion from an early age, as well
as, the relentless encouragement and nurturing of my educational
goals and aspirations by my parents, teachers and peers, have all
contributed for such an award. Like most Guyanese, who now live
abroad, our hearts continually dwell on the memories of our past days,
living in our country of birth. Having the good fortune of returning to
Guyana and encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in their spiritual
journey, will forever remain one of the most precious achievements of
my lifetime. One of the many aspects of the Ramayan, which I enjoy
emphasizing in my sermons, is the meeting of Lord Rama and his loyal
devotee Hanuman. The essence of this meeting, of servitude and
loyalty to duty and God, I see as the most important of all lessons we
need to learn, in order to benefit humanity and ourselves in general. I
accept this award on behalf of all Guyanese who live abroad and
continue to contribute selflessly to our homeland. I wish to thank the
people and the Government of Guyana for bestowing me with such an
Prakashji is an excellent orator and his powerful discourses are
attended by thousands of devotees from various walks of life. He has
magnificently brought to light the relevance of the Dharmic way of life,
the noble concept of family, brotherhood, social order and the just
polity inherent in the Ramayan to the modern world. His emphasis is
on the philosophical interpretation of Hinduism and to highlight the
essence of the true scientific spirit behind this great tradition.
On June 9, 2005 New York City Council and the Tri-state Alliance
recognized Shri Prakashji for his humanitarian services, as well as his
contribution and commitment to the community in the field of culture
and religion. Shri Prakashji has emerged as a powerful spiritual
messenger in a long line of spiritual giants that Guyana has produced.
"SHRI PRAKASH GOSSAI WAY"
NYC PAYS TRIBUTE TO LEGEND, UNVEILS “SHRI PRAKASH GOSSAI WAY”
By: Ashley Kooblall
BHUVANESHWAR MANDIR along with New York City proudly celebrated Shri Prakash Gossai’s life and
legacy marking the corner of 86 th Street and 101 Avenue as “Shri Prakash Gossai Way” on Sunday, July
The late Shri Prakash Gossai founded Bhuvaneshwar Mandir in Brooklyn, New York in 1984, where he
quickly became a household name -- a family favorite for melodious incantations and glorious narrations
of the Ramayana. As devotees grew, a second location was sought in Queens where he continued his
spiritual teachings, and soon became an ambassador for Hindu culture worldwide, including advisor to
the former President of Guyana, Bharat Jagdeo.
“Prakash was gifted with the talent to attract thousands,” said Acharya Bankim Gossai, spiritual leader
of Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan in London, England, and elder brother to Shri Prakash Gossai.
Among the many prominent attendees at the unveiling ceremony were NYS Assemblywoman Jenifer
Rajkumar; NYC Councilmember Eric Ulrich for District 32; District Leader, Richard David; Queens
Borough President, Donovan Richards; Patricia Gordon-Langford of the Guyana Tristate Alliance; Dr.
Dhanpaul Narine of Jyoti Satsang; Lakshmee Singh of “Let’s Talk With Lakshmee, and numerous others.
Councilman Eric Ulrich, who passed the proposal for the street co-naming, acknowledged Shri Prakash
Gossai as a unifying figure whose absence lingers even 12 years after his passing, commending the
crowd who gathered to “honor an ordinary man who did extraordinary things.”
Remembered as a philosopher, educator, esteemed vocalist, and spiritual leader – the unfathomable
love Shri Prakash Gossai had for his devotees and they for him was unsurprisingly felt a little more each
minute as the time for the unveiling neared.
College sophomore, Francesca Liriano, reminded the crowd before the big reveal that “streets guide
without intention.” With this sign, “we remember the pathways he’s helped us cross, and the decisions
we’ve all made in our separate journeys, that his teachings have influenced,” she said.
Undeniably, of all the attendees admiring how “Shri Prakash Gossai Way” gleamed in every possible
view, no one was prouder than Shri Prakash Gossai’s family – his wife, Acharya Leila Gossai, daughter,
Pratiksha Gossai, and son, Acharya Arun Gossai, the current spiritual leader of Bhuvaneswar Mandir.
“My father was a larger-than-life figure. Now that the street sign is up, I’m inspired more than ever to
keep his name shining and flying high,” beamed Acharya Arun Gossai, indicating that of all the titles Shri
Prakash Gossai had, “dad” was his favorite.