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Saroj Bahl

Saroj Mehta-Bahl PhD,

Hello and thanks for visiting our website! And this truly has been designed to be our website. As you read it, hopefully personal stories of the magical moments of your life journey when you were touched by a greater force will come to mind and you will feel encouraged to share them on our website.

About The


My name is Saroj Mehta-Bahl. After receiving my Ph.D. in Nutrition, I was a faculty member at UT-Health Center for 43 years. The opportunity to teach dental and medical students not only about nutrition but also about the impact of lifestyle choices on overall physical, mental and spiritual wellness was one of the greatest joys of my life.

During my tenure at the UT-Health Center I was fortunate enough to receive several teaching awards at the national and international levels. My biggest reward, however, was the opportunity to help my students become the best versions of themselves. The friendships and connection with my students were of tremendous importance to me and I cherished them greatly. Even though I was technically their teacher, they often taught me important life lessons and I am so grateful to them for that.

While my career and my role as a mother of two great children and an amazingly loving husband were the foundation of my life, I made time for community service. Along the way, I discovered my passion for art and am thrilled to share some of my most cherished paintings on this website.

I have always considered God to be my best friend and believe it was the divine that nudged me to spread the message of unity and spirituality. I was honored to serve as the President of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Houston for 8 years. Vedanta, one of the world’s most ancient spiritual philosophies is universal in its application to all countries, cultures and religions. Vedanta’s overriding world view is that the goal of each of our lives is to realize and manifest our own divinity.

My goal for this website is for it to inspire each of you to engage with it and inch a step or 2 closer to realizing your inner divinity. I have shared many of my life lessons and wisdom on this website. I would be honored if you shared yours as well – each of our journeys are unique and we all have experiences that enrich the lives of others when we share them.

With love and gratitude,
Saroj Mehta-Bahl


Book 1

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Book 2

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My Eternal Journey Part I

As I start on this subject of journaling my own life, as well as others who walked this path with me, I am overwhelmed with a host of emotions. These include immense gratitude, love, fulfillment, contentment, and of course some pain and regret. But I am reminded of a great quote, which I am sure will resonate with all of us.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” These deep words were spoken by the French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

For most of us, this idea echoes at a primordial level. We are all an integral part of this eternal journey. Our stories can all serve, as the Japanese term “Ikigai” would encompass, a motivating force for each other.

I was born (almost 77 years back) to parents who were 23- and 21-year-old in a small town in a country called Pakistan. As a baby, I witnessed the partition of India and Pakistan, and my parents became refugees in a country today known as the Republic of India (the world’s most populous country). This happened as a result of a religious war and my parents were forced to leave overnight, leaving behind all personal belongings and forging forward into unknown territory to start a new life. Obviously, I did not have a typical childhood. Yet, my parents protected me from all the political turmoil, as they struggled to make a living.

I was the first child born to a very loving, pious couple. Although I was a female (not exactly first choice in India in those days), I was the “apple of my Daddy’s eye.” He took great joy in spending time with me in the little free time that he had. As I grew up to be a 2-year-old or so, I started talking a lot (per my Mummy). One day, I approached my mother in a somewhat pensive, reflective mood and started to sob bitterly. I said, “You are not my mother. Why am I in this place? This is not my home.” My mother comforted me and said, “Why do you talk like that, dear?” I stopped at that time, only to repeat it days later. My parents, who were pious Hindus, and believed in reincarnation finally deciphered that I was having flashes from a previous lifetime.

Without spending too much time on this topic, I want to move on to the takeaway, which was that both my parents sensed that I had some unfulfilled desires from my last life that included wanting to pursue a high level of education. Hence my mother (who was training to be a school teacher), encouraged my interest in reading and writing.

We lived in a large house with several members of an extended family. The other members of my family (Uncles, Aunts, etc.) also started to talk about my previous life. Some enjoyed my story, others were simply amused by the chatter of an innocent child. Still, my parents did not take my recollections lightly, and continued to nurture my desire of higher studies, which was rare at that time (especially for females). My mother took the effort to find a very good school, which was a Catholic Convent school for my high school. While money was tight with 3 other siblings, both my parents supported my education and continued to believe in me, fostering strong self-confidence in me at a young age.

One of my favorite childhood traditions was going to a park every evening with my family, included extended family members. We would walk to this part together to enjoy the street lights. We did not have electricity in our homes, so this was a great opportunity for children to run around and play. There would be plenty of interaction between children and adults, and I would become the cynosure of their talks, as I seemingly remembered a past life! I remember how that helped build my own self-confidence. I felt special, unique and worthy.

Though me and my siblings (3 other girls) had no access to luxuries/toys/cell phones like children today, we had many other means of entertainment. For example, after dinner, all of us (myself, my sisters and several cousins) would congregate in the living room with an Uncle who was a remarkable “Story Teller.” Those stories were engaging and entertaining, but designed to teach us life lessons related to faith, hope, courage, etc.

I also want to add that while religion was the cause of the partition of India-Pakistan that I mentioned earlier, we had the good fortune of growing up in a combined Hindu and Muslim neighborhood. We together created a life of joy and peace, regardless of our religious faith. This was a true example of the saying that “It takes a village.”

Looking back, I certainly did not have the luxuries and comforts of today, but I had the love, encouragement, and support from my family and extended family, and support from my community and neighborhood. Without any doubt in my mind, I can say this environment helped to foster greater self-esteem and confidence.

“Cheerleaders” such as the one’s I had (especially parents), have a pivotal role to play in building self-confidence, especially for females.

My Eternal Journey Part II

In part I of “My Eternal Journey,” I shared a glimpse of my early childhood to establish the fact that my faith in the Divine and spiritual strength helped me to develop the self-confidence that I have today.

My faith in Divine intervention and guidance from HIM and has been my greatest asset, I owe this spiritual component of my personality almost entirely to my late father Mr. L.D. Mehta. While my mother, GD Mehta, was a very learned and practical individual, my Daddy was an exceptionally, spiritual, innovative, and idealistic human being. He exemplified and taught me to “keep God first” in my life and I have always done that.

My Daddy did not lose any opportunity to instill in me a sense of security and confidence. This was particularly important in those times when female children did not have access to the same educational and advancement opportunities as males. I was the eldest of four girls which was another disadvantage as social norms dictated early age marriages for girls. Daddy (and Mummy to somewhat lesser extent) was not just my main mentor, but seemed to provide answers to all my questions/concerns). I witnessed him struggle and rise from an almost penniless refugee to a very successful business man. Despite his busy schedule, he always made time for my questions and concerns. While due to the limited scope and constraints in this write up, I cannot recount too many incidents but I would like to cite just a few.

Both my parents encouraged me to speak freely and use my voice openly. At an early age, I used to enjoy public speaking. For example, when I graduated with a B.S. (home science) degree, I wanted to apply for an M.S. (nutrition) program at Lady Irwin College (one of the most highly rated colleges in Asia). There were only 12 seats in this prestigious program. To make matters worse, I had not secured good enough grades in my undergraduate program. Daddy advised me “to do my best and leave the rest to God” (his favorite tagline). Fortunately, I had an opportunity to speak during the admission process. There was a committee of 12 people who interviewed the prospective candidates. I excelled in the interview process and was given “first place” despite my not-so-good grades! I witnessed first hand the power of using one’s voice.

After having completed by M.S. (nutrition), I wanted to get a doctorate as well. At this juncture, my Daddy was somewhat reluctant as he worried that pursuing an even higher education would delay my prospects of marriage “at the right time” which was around 20-25 years according to social norms established at that time). Nevertheless, my parents agreed. I became one of the first 5 ph.D’s in the country at that time.

During my ph.D, both my parents reminded me about the powerful adage of “simple living and high thinking.” One incident that specifically stands out in my memory is that I told my father that I shook hands with a Nobel Laureate researcher who had visited our institute. He said Oh, my dear daughter, I shake hands with a Nobel Laureate everyday!” I replied, “Daddy, you are funny. That can never happen!” His answer was “Why not? Remember that we are all children of the same Divine. So think big, dream high. As they say, aim for the moon and you will at least land on the stars.”

I could say a lot more about my parents, particularly, my Daddy, but that would take an entire book. To keep it succinct, I would conclude by saying parents carry the ability to heavily influence the success and self-confidence of children. All children are born with their own potential and proclivities for some particular purpose. It takes a great set of parents and community to unravel and inspire these hidden talents.

As is said, “Behind every great daughter is a truly amazing Dad.” (Anonymous)
Certainly, that is not all though! It takes an entire community and “village” as well.

My Eternal Journey Part III

When the Divine is directing your path in life, all opportunities that are appropriate for you fall in your lap. One such milestone in my life was co-authoring a book on nutritional care of the HIV-positive persons.

The exact title of the book is “Nutritional Care of HIV-positive persons: A manual for individuals and their caregivers.” My co-author, James F. Hickson, was a well-known nutritionist in the area of sports nutrition and he had an interest in writing this book. He requested me to write this book with him as he was grappling with serious health issues.

He already had a contract with CRC Press, one of the leading, well-known publishers of scientific books. Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to be the primary author in writing this book.

Looking back in time, it was a god-sent opportunity which put this book on a global map, getting all of us involved in this project considerable visibility.
My husband’s role in this journey requires special mention. He, Vishwa M. Bahl, was the one who motivated me to enter the academic field.

He was definitely my primary motivational influence. Now after having retired after 43 years in primarily teaching (during this time I became a tenured professor), and having received several prestigious honors and awards, I do believe that my husband (and now best friend) knew my strengths and weaknesses better than I did! As someone aptly said, “Behind every strong woman is an amazing father and husband.”

As stated in one of the most highly revered and holy scriptures – the Holy Bhagavad Gita, the main goal of life is God or Self-realization. In chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita, which is also called “The Hearts of Devotion”, Lord Krishna (God incarnate) states that secular life need not be separated from spiritual life.

The method God mentions to Arjuna, who is the disciple and the Lord’s friend, is that one can perform every (even mundane) job as an offering to God. Obviously than one would do the best in terms of actions and surrender the results to God.

It is said that “when we take one step towards God, God will take a thousand steps to get to us,” – St. Luke 19:5

Once this relationship is built, the Divine guides us at every step. One should also be surrounded by the right company – that is like-minded individuals. This helps build an adequate community for raising individuals with similar goals. Fostering good relationships then is the key factor in building self-confidence.

In modern times and with the current culture, one has to find other substitutes that were easy to access in the earlier times, such as mine (e.g., a “tribe” or village to support and develop the youth).

I do consider myself very fortunate to have had a life like I had, which has been full of spiritually, family support, and encouragement along the way. However, regardless of these opportunities, I do believe it is possible (and even essential) to tap into one’s own spirituality for guidance and allow the Divine to intervene and show us the way.

Once we have tapped into our “inner knowing,” it becomes a more seamless process to fulfill our secular responsibilities with joy and confidence.

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