Tutors Profiles

The Revd. Dr Stephen Peter Thompson M.Phil. Ph.D. Dip Min. FRAS.

Stephen first experienced the power and beauty of the Sanskrita language through studying Advaita Philosophy at the School of Economic Science in London over thirty years ago. This enabled him to study Greek and Hebrew with fresh insights.

Discerning profound interconnections between all three languages confirmed his view that Sanskrit, the ‘perfectly formed’ language, has a key place in the family of human languages.

It became clear to him that this language, having the most refined system of phonetics and the most scientific descriptive grammar in the world, had the potential to facilitate a new renaissance, especially as its study gives direct access to the Vedic wisdom of the Upanishads.

After obtaining degrees in Sociology and Theology, Stephen completed a four year degree in Sanskrit at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, followed by an MPhil and PhD at the Centre for Advanced Sanskrit Studies at the University of Poona.

He has translated a major portion of the Mahabhashya of Patanjali into English for the first time, under the guidance of the famous Pandit Bhagavat Shastri. He has taught Sanskrit both in Europe and India, especially at the Vidya Bhavan and the School of Economic Science in London.

In recent years he has also been teaching Sanskrit at Middlesex University to students of the BA in Ayurveda.

It is through learning and teaching Sanskrit over many years that he has experienced its profound depth and beauty, bringing one to the rasa, the sweet taste and goodness in and through all things.

Bal-Krishna Patel BA (Oxon) PGDip

Bal-Krishna studied Sanskrit at St James Independent School for Boys Ashford (previously London & Twickenham). Having achieved A Grades at GCSE & A-Level, he continued his studies at Balliol College Oxford in conjunction with Litterae Humaniores (Sanskrit with Greek & Latin).

Since 2001, he has been teaching Sanskrit at Chinmaya Mission UK on a regular basis to a wide range of students from various backgrounds – from school age students to over 65’s. Three students have been coached to GCSE level, all achieving A* grades. These students have gone on to teach classes of their own.

He also practises Sanskrit chanting and conducts spiritual classes based on Advaita Vedanta. Other interests include modern languages, technology and tennis.

Gabriella Burnel BA Hons (Oxon)

Gabriella obtained a BA Hons from Oxford University in 2007 with a degree in Sanskri. Since graduating has been teaching Sanskrit up to A level on a part time basis.

During her time at university she covered Pali, Tibetan and Hindi as well as of course Sanskrit, including study of Panini and working on previously untranslated manuscripts for her dissertation.

Having been taught Sanskrit since the age of 4, it is in her blood, and Gabriella feels particularly strongly about the beauty in the sounding of the Sanskrit language and the purity of the alphabet.

She has taught privately as well as been a tutor at St James senior boys school. Gabriella also writes bespoke songs and comedy, sings regularly and even includes performances of Sanskrit Slokas in her London gigs.

She sometimes sings with musicians from India, combining East and West. Gabriella is currently studying herself with a teacher at the Bhavan, learning Hindustani vocal music and continues her Sanskrit studies with Dr Thompson.

Dr Rhada BhatDr.Radha Bhat MBBS, DPM, MD, MRCPsych, MIGA, MAcadMEd

Dr.Radha Bhat was born and brought up in India and grew up exposed to Sanskrit language, recitation and philosophy both in the family home and throughout  her school education.

She  is a medical graduate working in the national health service and has specialised in Psychiatry and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

Dr. Bhat has a deep and passionate interest in Sanskrit language, Indian Philosophy, Yoga and Ayurveda. She has been teaching Sanskrit at Intermediate and Higher levels at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in London on a part time basis for well over twenty five years.

Dr. Bhat believes strongly in the worthy cause of promoting the learning of this magnificent language with its clarity of phonetics and the perfect nature of its writing.

Dr. Bhat is also extremely involved in the singing of Indian Classical Music and additionally sings devotional Sanskrit compositions.

Dr NandakumaraDR M N Nandakumara

Academic Director Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan 1984 – 1994.

Has been teaching Sanskrit at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London since 1977. Taught weekly Sanskrit classes at Cambridge University  for 3 years. Regularly lectures on Indian Art and Culture and philosophy at various schools including Eton College. Has held classes for the students of Extra Mural Studies, London University.

Is Chairman of the UK Sanskrit Association.  Has taught Kannada language at the Bhavan. Taught Sanskrit at Bangalore, 1975 to 1977.  Has lectured on the Ramayana.  The Mahabharata, the Gita and other related topics to students from schools and colleges in the UK. and at the Bhavan.

Has conducted Sanskrit Seminars, courses and conversational Sanskrit courses in the UK. Has been running a class on Gita & Shankara’s compositions since 1990. Teacher of Sanskrit regular classes at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

As the Bhavan’s Academic Director, has overseen workshops, lecture demonstrations, covering all aspects of Indian art and culture as well as as Music and Dance, concerts by top artistes, seminars on religious topics, lectures by visiting scholars, etc.

Has represented the Bhavan abroad and has visited South Africa twice to deliver the key-note address at major conferences. Has instituted and overseen a B.Mus Degree course at the Bhavan, run in association with Trinity College Music and validated by City University, London.

Has overseen the development and fund-raising for three major projects concerning the Bhavan’s building.  These were achieved with the help of the Bhavan’s own fund-raising together with the help of the Millennium Commission, The Arts Council’s Capital Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

As a result of the above projects, Dr Nandakumara has overseen the development of a new art gallery at the Bhavan as well as the complete renovation of the main 295-seat auditorium – inaugurated by the Prince of Wales in 2005.

Has been responsible for the continuing success of the Bhavan’s Open and Diploma courses over the years since his appointment as Executive/Academic Director. There are 23 such courses attended by some 800 students every year.

Is the Editor of the Bhavan’s monthly newsletter and has supervised design and lay-out of all publicity materials such as brochures, folders, pamphlets.  Has contributed reviews for performances, seminars and also contributed to outside publications.  Has composed poems in Sanskrit and Kannada.

Has worked at the India Office Library cataloguing Indian books and helped to decipher old manuscripts.

Has taken part in light classical music programmes as a singer and has trained students to sing folk and devotional songs and group songs.

Belongs to a family of Vedic scholars.  Has had training in Vedic chanting.  Can traditionally officiate in performing Vedic rituals and festivals.

Sanskrit, Kannada, English, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati (conversation to a certain extent).

Kannada Rajyotsava Award 2011 for services to Indian art and culture in a foreign land.

Award of distinction in the field of Art and Culture in 2006-instituted by the India  International Foundation  and  presented by Baroness Usha Prashar.

Awarded Samskriti Seva Samman by HINDI SAMITI UK for his contribution to Art and Culture.