Chinmaya Mission Boston
SSWAMI EJOMAYANANDA WAMITT EJOMAYANANDA SWAMI TEJOMAYANANDA th July 7th7July 2016 2016 7th July 2016
Dear Chinmaya Mission Family ofFamily Boston, Dear Chinmaya Mission Family of Boston, Dear Chinmaya Mission of Boston, Hari Om! Hari Om!Hari Om! I am pleased to know that our Chinmaya Mission Boston sevaks have devotedly organized
I am pleased to to know that ourour Chinmaya Mission Boston sevaks have devotedly organized I am pleased know that Chinmaya Mission Boston sevaks have devotedly organized evening talks on July 21-26 on Bhagavad Gītā for Daily Living, and morning talks on July 23-24 evening talks onon July 21-26 onon Bhagavad Gītā forfor Daily Living, and morning talks onon July 23-24 evening talks July 21-26 Bhagavad Gītā Daily Living, and morning talks July 23-24 on Guru, the Guiding Light and Roles and Goals. onon Guru, thethe Guiding Light and Roles and Goals. Guru, Guiding Light and Roles and Goals. The fact that the teachings of Shrīmad Bhagavad Gītā are sought by laymen, researched by The fact that thethe teachings Shrīmad Gītā areare sought byby laymen, researched byby The fact that teachings of Shrīmad Bhagavad Gītā sought laymen, researched scholars, studied by of aspirants, andBhagavad lived and taught by saints, clearly reveals how relevant these teachings are even in and modern day. The innate of the Gītā reveals is such that itrelevant is relevant considered as scholars, studied byby aspirants, lived and taught byglory saints, clearly how these scholars, studied aspirants, and lived and taught by saints, clearly reveals how these theare fifth Veda. Disseminated for the welfare humanity Bhagavān Krishna, this teachings are even in in modern day. The innate glory ofofof the Gītā is by such that it is considered as as teachings even modern day. The innate glory the Gītā is such that itShri is considered scripture is a joyful, melodious masterpiece teaches us how to make Shri our life a resonating thethe fifth Veda. Disseminated forfor thethe welfare ofthat byby Bhagavān Krishna, this fifth Veda. Disseminated welfare ofhumanity humanity Bhagavān Shri Krishna, this scripture issymphony. a joyful, melodious masterpiece that teaches us how to make our life a resonating
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To do so, we must first become a disciple, as Arjuna became. For this, complete surrender at the lotus feet of the Guru is the only sadhana required; everything else is mere detail. The ToTo dodo so,so, we must first become disciple, asthe Arjuna became. this, complete surrender at at we must first become a disciple, as Arjuna became. For this, complete surrender Guru—who is the guidingalight sent by Lord to lead theFor disciple to the highest Truth—then thethe lotus feet of of thethe Guru is the only sadhana everything else isGuru’s mere detail. The lotus feet the Guru is journey, the only sadhana required; everything else is mere detail. The navigates disciple’s while therequired; disciple rests securely in the lap, fearlessly Guru—who is the guiding light sent byby the Lord to to lead the disciple to to the highest Truth—then Guru—who is the guiding light sent the Lord lead the disciple the highest Truth—then traversing life’s many mountains and plains, chasms and crevasses, rivers and seas.
navigates thethe disciple’s journey, while thethe disciple rests securely in in thethe Guru’s lap, fearlessly navigates disciple’s journey, while disciple rests securely Guru’s lap, fearlessly Through thismountains surrender, all our roles andchasms goalsand inand life become rivers clear, and we are groomed to traversing life’s many and plains, chasms crevasses, and seas. traversing life’s many mountains and plains, crevasses, rivers and seas. receive from the Guru the subtlest and highest knowledge in the Vedas. Blessed with this knowledge, by the Guru’s grace, we come to realize our true Self and merge into God/Guru.
Through surrender, roles and goals become clear, and groomed Through thisthis surrender, all all ourour roles and goals in in lifelife become clear, and wewe areare groomed to to receive from Guru subtlest and highest knowledge Vedas. Blessed with this receive from thethe Guru thethe subtlest and highest knowledge in in thethe Vedas. Blessed with this The infinite Power known as God/Guru—known as Lord Krishna/Pujya Gurudev—is knowledge, Guru’s grace, come to realize our true Self and merge intoscripture. God/Guru. knowledge, byby thethe Guru’s grace, wewe come realize true Self and merge incomparable. Have no doubt. This to is the mostour practical wisdom taught ininto everyGod/Guru. Theinfinite infinite Power knownas asGod/Guru—known God/Guru—knownas asLord LordKrishna/Pujya Krishna/PujyaGurudev—is Gurudev—is The known WithPower Prem and Om, incomparable. Have doubt. This is the most practical wisdom taught every scripture. incomparable. Have nono doubt. This is the most practical wisdom taught in in every scripture. With Prem and Om, MISSION TRUST, SANDEEPANY SADHANALAYA, SAKI VIHAR ROAD, MUMBAI – 400072, INDIA. With Prem and Om, CENTRAL CHINMAYA Tel: 91-22-2857 2367
Fax: 91-22-2857 3065
CENTRAL CHINMAYA MISSION TRUST, SANDEEPANY SADHANALAYA, SAKI VIHAR ROAD, MUMBAI – 400072, INDIA. CENTRAL CHINMAYA MISSION TRUST, SANDEEPANY SADHANALAYA, SAKI VIHAR ROAD, MUMBAI – 400072, INDIA. 91-22-2857 2367Fax:Fax: 91-22-2857 3065Email:email@example.com Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite: Website: www.chinmayamission.com Tel:Tel: 91-22-2857 2367 91-22-2857 3065 www.chinmayamission.com
A Message from Swami Shantananda
I am glad to note that Chinmaya Mission Boston is hosting a Yagnafor Pujya Guruji from
July 21st to July 26th, 2016. This being Pujya Guruji’s last visit as Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide, the Boston devoteesare very lucky and blessed to have this rare opportunity to listen to the Master, especially in this centenary year of Pujya Gurudev.
Satsangh with Mahapurushas like Guruji is rare and if you get it, it isdefinitely the grace
of Pujya Gurudev and blessings of Lord Hanumanji.I am sure all our devotees in Chinmaya Mission Boston will make use of thisblessings and enhance their sadhana to achieve the goal of perfection,Moksha. My best wishes for the success of the Yagna.
With love and Om,
A Message from Abha & Anil Singhal During our association with Chinmaya Mission Boston in the past decade, we have witnessed the huge impact the Center has made on the Greater Boston community. Many people supported the Center from its earlier days. The Center has grown thanks to
a large number of volunteers’ help and support. Bala Vihar program, Maruti Temple, Cultural classes and events, and Spiritual discourses are just a few of the Center’s offerings that have brought a huge value to our community.
We celebrated Pujya Gurudev’s Birth Centenary on May 8, 2016. This summer, Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayanandaji is scheduled to visit our Center. It is another great opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate the vision and
A Message from Jaishree & Gururaj Deshpande It is our great pleasure to welcome Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda to Boston this summer! On May 8th 2016, Chinmaya Mission Boston celebrated Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda’s Birth Centenary event with great fervor. Pujya Guruji’s visit to our Center this summer is a momentous occasion
Full Circle By SHASHI DWARAKANATH It all began in the summer of 1989, when I met Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda for the first time. I was inspired to start Bala Vihar classes for children and the rest has become history. Reflecting back on these years, I can say our life has been shaped by our involvement with the Mission. With the help of many members in our community, it has been a great privilege to be part of the Chinmaya Maruti construction, the Mission Center in the Boston area. Here, Karma yoga, Bhakthi yoga and Jnana yoga activities are seamlessly interwoven. Service, worship and spiritual knowledge has benefitted us tremendously. Our Chinmaya family has grown rapidly. Being involved with the children’s program has been such a joy! To see the great number of children attending classes at the center and in the local chapters, participation of so many
and we are looking forward to it. Chinmaya Mission Boston has impacted hundreds of families in the Greater Boston region. The Center had its humble beginnings in the 1980s, and it has taken off in a big way in the last 15 years. It has attracted a lot of new families. Hundreds of kids and youth have taken
volunteers who run the programs at the center is indeed a marvel. Our leaders of the Mission, the Acharyas who impart spiritual wisdom, are a great source of inspiration. Through the years, starting from Pujya Gurudev and Pujya Guruji,we have seen them tirelessly serve the people with great love and compassion. With a desire to know the secret of their joy of giving, I am so blessed now to be at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai. This is the first ashram and school for Vedantic studies that Gurudev started. It has come full circle for me. Words are not enough to describe our gratitude to our Gurus and leaders. Chinmaya Maruti is here for future generations to benefit. Value based education and spiritual unfoldment is a must for every individual, no matter what background. This will help to nurture great citizenship and serve the community and nation well. Looking forward to serving the Mission for many more years to come, I thank all the members of Chinmaya Mission who are my family now!
advantage of the Bala Vihar and language class programs. Our Andover Center also serves as a cultural hub in the region. Satsang program and Sri Chinmaya Maruti temple continue to serve the spiritual needs of our community. In the last five years, the Mission has expanded its services to Metrowest, Newton, Dover, NH regions.
teachings of Pujya Gurudev! It is our great pride to be associated with the Center. Our best wishes to the Chinmaya Boston community on this joyous occasion of Pujya Guruji’s visit to Boston.
Many volunteers are tirelessly contributing toward the cause. We are very proud of our association with Chinmaya Mission Boston. It is nice to see that the Center has come a long way and has successfully implemented Pujya Gurudev’s vision for Boston! We wish the members and friends of Chinmaya Mission Boston all the very best.
Chinmaya Mission Boston
�मापणम ् �म ह�वः �मा नौ �मणाहुतम ्। �मैव तेन ग त�यम ् �मकम समा�धना ।। This famous shloka from the Bhagavadg- This famous shloka from the Bhagavadgita is recited often this sacred Yajna. At Chinmaya Mission’s Maruti temple, ita is recited often before a meal. It implies That is the basis of Annadaanam which Prasad is distributed every Sunday when that god is the food, fuel, and the energy that before a meal. It implies that god is the food, fuel, and the is an age old tradition in religious instituBala Vihar is in session. It is free to all comes from it. We receive the gift of a meal tions all over India. In the famous golden students and their families and the food is from the lord and we ought to discharge it in energy that comes from it. We receive the gift of a meal from temple of Amritsar, for example, the emcooked fresh on site at the temple itself. godly endeavors. When we share a meal with peror and the beggar sat in the same hall to A dedicated team of volunteers prepare the lord and we ought to discharge it in godly endeavors. When a fellow human being, we are conducting receive the Prasad with equal devotion. about 400 meals every week and serve it we share a meal with a fellow human being, we are conducting this sacred Yajna. That is the basis of Annadaanam which is an age old tradition in religious institutions all over India . In the famous golden We oﬀer all puja / Vedic services according to your personal needs and requirements at your preferred venue. temple of Amritsar, for example, the emperor and the beggar sat in the same hall to receive the Prasad with equal devotion. Our priests are well known for performing authentic rituals. They can also brief the meaning of the rituals and why they perform it in a speciﬁc manner. They perform yagna, havan, pujas, vratas, rituals At Chinmaya Mission’s Maruti temple, Prasad is distributed and sanskaras for all occasions by following the Vedic dharma procedures. They can every Sunday when Balavihar is in session. It is free to all travel around New England for this purpose. comers and the food is cooked fresh on site at the temple itself. Brahmashri Sathyanarayana Bhat joined our temple in 2014 and he is well versed in A dedicated team of volunteers prepare about 400 meals every yajurveda, poorva apara prayogam . He is well versed in all type of Hindu rituals and can speak Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu languages . week and serve it with love and devotion. If you wish to sponsor Annadaanam please contact Rakshit Rajesh Sastrigal joined our temple in 2013 Mazumdar at Brahmashri email@example.com and he is also well versed in yajurveda, poorva apara Or just come and meet us any Sunday between 10:30 am and prayogam. He can direct all kind of homams and can 12 noon or 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm when Balavihar is in session. conduct all types of Hindu rituals. He can speak in English, Tamil, and
1 Union Street Andover MA 01810 978 – 684 – 2646 firstname.lastname@example.org
“Chinmaya Maruti” – A Commemorative Souvenir to celebrate Pujya Gurudev’s Birth Centenary event (May 8, 2016) and Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda’s visit to Boston in July 2016. Produced by Chinmaya Mission Boston (CMB) in association with India New England (INE) Editor: Emma Grif�ith, INE DTP / Layout – Peter Faylor, INE Fundraising and Guidance – Dr. Gopala Dwarakanath, Sastri Durvasula & Team Proofreading – Maha Pula, Padmini Narayan, Ramesh Yalakkishettar (CMB) Photo Credits – Various members and friends of CMB Support – Upendra Mishra (INE) and Venkat Pula (CMB) Concept and Coordination – Madhusudhan Akkihebbal
Chinmaya Mission Boston (CMB) is a 501(C)(3) Non-Pro�it organization and accepts no liability for the content in this publication, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information herein. Authors reserve rights to all the articles and images they have contributed. Some images that are available freely on- the world wide-web may have been modi�ied and reused. CMB does not vouch for the authenticity of such content. This publication is not intended for reprint. For more information on this publication, contact email@example.com. For general questions and information about the mission, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presented by: Chinmaya Mission Boston 1 Union St., Andover, MA 01810 Phone: 1 866 RAMDOOT / 978-749-0876 Email: email@example.com Web: www.chinmaya-boston.com FB: facebook.com/chinmayamission.boston
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with love and devotion. If you wish to sponsor Annadaanam please contact Rakshit Mazumdar at email@example.com. Or just come and meet us any Sunday between 10:30 am and 12 noon or 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm when Bala Vihar is in session.
6 Welcome to Chinmaya Mission at #1 Union Street, Andover MA! We offer: • Value-based education for children (Bala Vihar) • Language classes • Youth program • Study groups • Lectures and Discourses • Camps and Retreats • Dance & Music Classes • Library & Book Store • Meditation Hall • Shrine for Hanuman • Fairs & Festivals • Swaranjali-Bhajan sessions • Seva group – community service activities • Function hall for private functions • 350 seat auditorium with state of the art acoustics
Chinmaya Mission, Andover an opportunity to any educational program. Their minds are intensely creative while their energies are at a flashpoint. Chinmaya Mission Boston has a robust and dynamic program for high school students and those in colleges and universities. Program includes reflective study, discussions, meditation, Yoga, creative projects, movies, skits, song writing and community service projects.
A fellowship of spiritually minded people“satsangs” are a regular feature of Chinmaya educational program. In accordance with the mission statement, the wisdom of Bala Vihar Program Vedanta is imparted through lectures, in “Children of today are inheritors of tomor- teractive discussions and workshops. From row” said Swami Chinmayananda. time to time Jnana Yajnas are conducted Bala Vihar is a value-based education where a specific vedantic text is taken up program at Chinmaya for children. Through for a deeper study. Family camps are a inspiring stories, projects, roleplaying, and treat for the entire family where spiritual, songs, a child’s mind is awakened to the cultural and entertainment programs are higher. Curriculum is carefully developed by designed for all age groups. expert Chinmaya Acharyas. The emphasis is Language classes not on repetition and memorization but on learning the meaning of prayers and religious Chinmaya Maruti offers classes in several Indian languages like Sanskrit, Telugu, symbols. “Why We Do What We Do” is a Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Marathi and Guconstant recurring theme which inspires the jarati to name a few. It is a treat to watch inquiring minds of children. the children learn to speak in their mother Youth Programs tongue and the annual language class preYouth present a unique challenge as well as sentations are a hit every year. In 2005, a small group of parents got together in Framingham to organize a small Bal Vihar as an offshoot of the larger Andover center. Under the skilled coordination of dedicated volunteers and the loving tutelage of Sashi Dwaraknath, what started as a small group of about 30 families has grown into an impressive metrowest chapter of over 109 families, 40 volunteer teachers and 15 classrooms in less than 10 years. The Metrowest Chapter of Chinmaya meets every Sunday from 2:15-5pm at Westborough, MA. Language classes in Hindi, Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Telugu
Chinmaya Mission Dover chapter started in September 2015. As parents of growing up children, we have always felt the necessity to have them participate in activities that can provide spiritual development, instill compassion and empathy, develop thinking ability and decision making, and enable them to learn about our roots and culture. During 2015, we wanted to take our children to Chinmaya Mission Andover center for Bala Vihar classes but at the same time we felt - wouldn’t it be nice if we had a Chinmaya Mission chapter nearby, so that most children and families in the area could also get the benefit. It was Gurudev’s blessings that we got
Chinmaya Boston Temple is located at the intersection of I-495 and Rt 28. It is a beautiful shrine for Hanuman. Hanuman, an immortal soul from the age of Ramayana, embodies devotion and service, the very qualities dear to the mission of Chinmaya. Every Tuesday, hundreds of devotees participate in the ritual worship of the image. The temple priests, have extensive training in Āgama texts, the ancient system of temple rituals. They celebrate many important festivals on the Hindu calendar. The grand rituals of “Sita Kalyanam” and “Srinivasa Kalyanam”, celestial wedding ceremonies, conducted yearly are a sight to behold. The priests are also available for offsite religious functions in individual homes.
Many well-known teachers of classical music and dance give lessons at Chinmaya. On Sunday mornings, sweet melodies from the veena, or a soulful singing of a Hindustani “raga” or the rich voices of the bhajan group practicing a bhajan are just a few thrilling experiences of being at Chinmaya.
Library & Bookstore
Chinmaya Maruti has a well-stocked library with an eclectic collection of books. There is a quiet reading corner where many a
time members settle down with a book for deeper study. The book store has a large inventory and the helpful volunteers will order any book published by Chinmaya publications.
On the third floor of Chinmaya Maruti is the center piece of the whole building, the meditation hall. It is awe-inspiring with its domed ceiling, bright skylights and a serene atmosphere. Away from the bustle of modern day life, the place is a sanctuary for peaceful contemplation.
The bhajan group at Chinmaya has great musicians endowed with rich voices. They perform every third Sunday of the month at the shrine, and the program is called Bhajan Sandhya. The group has also produced a number of CDs which contain soulful bhajans and kirtans.
Chinmaya Seva group has a team of dedicated volunteers who serve at several homeless shelters and soup kitchens. The annual CORD walk organized by the Seva group raises funds for the Chinmaya Rural Development programs in India.
Our function hall and auditorium are wellequipped, and many community organizations have rented the facilities for concerts, weddings and private functions.
The Emergence Of The Metrowest Chapter are held for the first hour followed by Bal Vihar and an Adult Satsang from 3.30-5pm. The comprehensive curriculum is similar to what is taught at the Andover Chapter. Bhajan classes are also held during these get togethers. Besides the regular weekly meetings, several special events are conducted including an annual essay writing competition, Lakshmi Puja, Guru Paduka Puja and annual
Gita Chanting event. Many discourses are organized with visiting swamijis presiding over the event. A much-awaited event is a visit by Swami Tejomayananda from July 21, 2016 to July 26, 2016. The recently held Jnana Yagna On “Rama – The Ideal Man” by Swami Ramakrishnanandaji was attended by 100 members for a week even though it was held on weekdays. “I believe there has always been a need among some parents for children to under-
Chinmaya Mission Dover, NH connected to Venkat Pula from Andover center, who totally supported the idea. Then he pursued this idea with Shashi Ji and Dwarka Ji, who both supported and approved of this initiative. Once we all decided to move forward to start the New Hampshire chapter, both Maha Pula and Venkat Pula decided to give their wholehearted support by guiding us in setting up and running the Dover chapter throughout the year. We quickly started spreading the word, and soon we had a group of like-minded families who were more than
willing to join the chapter. Most of the families who supported us initially, have become either volunteers or teachers, and their commitment and support have played a key role in the success of our chapter. We had several challenges during the formation for this chapter, such as gaining the support of local families, finding a location, building up volunteering team, getting teachers, etc. but by God’s grace everything started falling in place one by one. We now have many helping hands, volunteers and teachers who work selflessly and tire-
stand and appreciate our spiritual knowledge and traditions. A lot of parents have learnt about Vedanta - in the process of bringing their children to Bal Vihar. Some of them have told me that - they wish they had access to the knowledge that the kids were getting at Bal Vihar,” says Krishnan Vaidyanathan who along with some very dedicated volunteers has been responsible for keeping the Metrowest Chapter running smoothly.
lessly toward the continued success of our Dover, NH chapter. We feel so fortunate to be able to bring in Shlokas/Gita chanting, Bala Vihar, Adult Satsang and Language Classes, all during the very first year. By God’s grace and Gurudev’s blessings, our Dover chapter continues to grow as we see many new members joining our chapter for the upcoming session. • • • •
Shlokas / Gita chanting Bala Vihar from PreK through 7th grade Language classes Adult Satsang
Chinmaya Mission Boston
A Mantra! “You”
The Best of Both Worlds
By CHAND SRIPAD
In the warmth of sunshine’s golden glow, walk your own path, In the shade of the pines, eucalyptuses, banyans and maples, map your own way, As you walk up the trudge, to the top of the rocky ledge, feel the air lift you, To gasping heights and the world that lies all round you. As far as eye can see, The path that goes up the hill, loops around, flows down to your path again, Stray if you must, to walk your path again. Listen, to the chirp of the chickadee – or is it a mynah or koel bird? Sweet sound that has you leap wide-eyed looking for the mighty source. Know the call; it steers you to the window of your heart and beyond, Rejoice in its utterance, feeling its resonance. Dance to the music of your inner being and a tune will flow, Rhythms that speak your heart and draw from the rich sound of a single bell That jingles and reverberates with others, around your ankles, Move with melodies known and unknown to be joyful, Dance again to that verse and those notes that carve you. Amidst the cacophony of a multitude of languages and billions of words, Seek that syllable that echoes your voice – that loves, soothes, comforts and inspires, Lend your sound to better human and suffering lives, Join the voices that sing the chants to invoke divine grace. Pay heed to knowledge and the wise, time, again and again, Arousing your inner self to that universal call, In the tresses of ignorance, entreat within yourself, The very breath of life that gives you the power to choose, To be you …IN YOU!
By RAMYA AIYER Bengaluru, India My name is Ramya and I was born in the U.S. I am in the eighth grade and I study in India. Throughout my life, I have been moving from place to place, but one thing that has always stayed with me is Chinmaya Mission and the innumerable values it has taught me. As I grew up in Massachusetts, I began to attend Chinmaya Bala Vihar at the tender age of four and the values I have learnt since then have accompanied me despite the many obstacles standing in my way. Every Sunday morning, I would come to Bala Vihar, knowing that I would learn something valuable which I may need in the future, as well as to have fun with my friends. There were plenty of interactive games and endless stories from Swami Chinmayananda’s teachings to aid us in understanding our values. As an extension, we were also given an option of attending language class, choosing from a vast variety of the regional languages of India. The regular assembly right before class in the Maruti temple just below would focus on Gurudev and his blessings, providing us the cor-
rect mindset for Bala Vihar. Every session would be fun-filled and I would thoroughly enjoy myself in every minute. I remember learning the epic Ramayana in my earlier years and then, as years passed by, the Hanuman Chalisa, Madhurashtakam, Guru Stotram and so on. Most of these, have remained with me and I still chant them everyday, though I am now in a different country. When I was told that we were going to move to India, I made a mental note to make sure I would find a Chinmaya Mission nearby, as to continue my Bala Vihar lessons. As it goes, I located a center close by; around 15 minutes walking distance. However, here in Bangalore, Karnataka, the classes happen to be on Saturday from 4:30 to 6:00. I was glad to have found this place and began going each Saturday. Once again, on the other side of the earth, I was enthralled by the atmosphere inside the room and the peace I felt as I recited each and every chant. I have continued to go for the past two years and I have found it a great influence for my thoughts throughout the week and in my performance in school. In this area,
things are done much differently than what I have experienced during my time in the U.S. The younger grades begin with the same shlokas we would chant as small kids, but as the grade level rises, the way of teaching changes as well. Until seventh grade, we would continuously recite various stotrams and shlokas for the entire class, but as I moved into eighth grade, we began to focus more on our rich past and our culture. The classes are aimed towards teaching us children the true meaning of life and what we must do to lead a good life. I enjoy listening to stories of generous kings and what they did to help their kingdom, and quite a number of short moral stories, which send us messages of what is right and wrong. To add to this, Chinmaya Mission hosts a yearly competition in which all the Mission centers join together and compete in a large variety of competitions. My personal favorite being the Bhajan Competition where a select group of children perform two songs taught to them by their Bala Vihar teacher. This year, as part of the centenary celebrations for Gurudev, we had a Bhagavad Gita competition and watched a movie, ‘The Quest’; about Swamiji’s humble beginnings and the life-changing experience which had an immense impact on his view of life and his future works on spirituality. Now, as I look back on all that has happened in the past few years, I notice that the main reasons I am doing well in school and out of school, are the prayers that I chant every day, in the morning as I wake up and in the night as I turn out the lights; the very same ones I learnt as a four-yearold child. They keep me energized through the day and keep my mind from wandering as I study. I regularly recite some of my favorites, such as Hanuman Chalisa and Durga Suktam, even as I am completing another task in order to maintain a proper mindset and perform puja with my dad every weekend. Overall, I have realized that I only have my parents, my teachers and of course, Bala Vihar to thank for all I have become and all that I am yet to become in the coming years.
A Few Thoughts on Gurudev By T. R. RAGHUNATH Standing in front of Gurudev’s portrait in our Maruti Mandir and gazing at Gurudev’s kind, smiling face; one’s mind can’t help but automatically reflects on bhagavan Shankaracharya’ s description of Guru in Vivekachoodamani! He says; Guru is well versed in scriptures, un-afflicted by desires, who has the personal experience of the Self, who is an ocean of mercy that needs no cause for its expression, who is ever ready to guide those who have surrendered un to him. Shankaracharya says the very presence of such a Purusha is at once uplifting to whole society, just as the very presence of Vasanta ritu (spring season) will make every plant small and large blossom! We, Chinmaya family members are fortunate to have come under the influence of such illustrious Guruparampara. In Vivekachoodamani, Bhagavan Shankaracharya sets the stage by explaining how each embodied person is very special and
what a rare and precious gift it is indeed to be born in a human body!! This is an opportunity to be devoted to self-realization. EXPERIENCE OF ONE’S IDENTITY WITH THE SELF is the highest goal of all. This yearning to realize our own true nature is inherent in all of us called “mumukshatvam”. The most efficient way of embarking on this quest – the spiritual Sadhana is under the guidance of a Guru. Where ever there is the presence of an embodied one (manushyatvam), a burning desire to know the ultimate Reality (mumukshatvam) and the presence of a realized Guru (mahapurusha samshraya) know that to be the very presence of God’s grace says Shankaracharya. But, to be deserving of such a Guru, Shankaracharya describes the qualities that an ideal spiritual seeker should develop. They are Viveka, Vairagya, Shat sampatti and Mumukshatvam. The six qualities (shatsampatti) are: Shama, Dhama, uparama, shradha and Samadhana.
In Vivekachoodamani, such an ideal student has approached the Guru and with great reverence asks him three questions:
1. How to cross this ocean of Samsar (the tumults of relative existence)? 2. What will be my ultimate goal? 3. Which of the many paths indicated, I should adopt?
To him the Guru kindly replies, first by assuring him that he will come to no harm, that “there is a well-trodden path (by our rishis) that I will show you to cross this Samsar and reach the state of paramaananda”. In one broad stroke of an answer the Guru states the root cause for all our misery and happiness is due to our identification with and perception of objects (rather than with the changeless substratum). This is bondage (samsara). This substratum, the supreme consciousness can be realized by meditating on the truths of the Upanishads.
And on realizing the supreme, all sorrows end. The elated shishya then asks seven follow up questions:
1. What is Bondage? 2. How does it arise? 3. How is it sustained? 4. How to get out of it? 5. What is Self (Atman)? 6. What is Non-Self (Anatman)? 7. How to discriminate between the two?
Guru is very pleased with the way these well thought out questions are posed and the eagerness with which they have been asked. The entire Vivekachoodamani is Guru’s elaborate answer to these questions punctuated by beautiful analogies. Our Gurudev’s commentaries on these are breath-takingly beautiful!! Hari Om Tat Sat
Coming of Age as a CMB Bala Vihar Teacher BY NEENA VERMA “No, don’t touch that, I got those for my kids!” I still remember the look of confused bewilderment pass between my son and daughter, as they quickly take their hands out of the bag of candy I had just picked up from the grocery store. “But Ma… we are your kids,” said my daughter, only to add later, as she rolled her eyes in exasperation, “Ok, I get it, you mean your Bala Vihar kids. Someday, you’ll forget we even exist!” It was quite the bone of contention in my household – the fact that as a Bala Vihar teacher, I was spending such a significant amount of my meager free time thinking, worrying, buying, planning, and studying for my much-awaited Sunday Bala Vihar class. With a stressful fulltime job, a three-hour commute, two kids of my own to raise, and a spouse often on the road, like most Bala Vihar teachers, my hands were more than full. And yet, over the years, no
matter how many times it was raised by my concerned husband as something I should consider ‘letting go,’ and no matter how rough the goings were, I could never find it in my heart to do so. Over the past ten years, I often wondered about this unexplainable mystical draw I had to the call for being a Bala Vihar teacher. Two weeks ago, as I watched the graduation ceremony of one of my classes, I found the answer to my existential ‘why?’ With a heart overwhelmed with deep love and pride, and with tears threatening to mar my dignified ‘teacher’ stance, I watched on with their parents, as they performed the most beautiful puja led by our spiritual coordinator, and later went on to reflect in their own words, what the Bala Vihar program had meant to them over the years, and what they were going to take from it, as they ventured on into the adult world of college and later, work. Not only did their
words reflect amazing clarity and maturity in thought, but perhaps more importantly, they resonated of a pure and wholesome heart, and rich spirit - none of which was lost upon a spell-bound audience. What a journey! How far along they had come from the gawky, naughty, mischievous, lovable and albeit exasperating 13-year-olds I had encountered on the first day of class as an eighth grade teacher. As I stood there both mesmerized and in awe of this brilliant and inspiring millennial generation, my mind flashes back to that first day of class, and all the classes that transpired over the course of the two years that I had with them as their teacher. And through the glistening tears, I smile, as it all comes back to me – memories of establishing the ground rules on who’s the boss in class after all; memories of yelling and shouting when the days were a bit crazy (and we sure had them!); memories of singing and laughing; memories of
questioning and answering; memories of learning, and sharing our deepest thoughts and fears; memories of dancing and performing; memories of thoughtful reflection and finally, of deep bonding. I break out of my reverie as I am called upon by the program coordinator to say a few words to them. With my hand on my heart, wanting so much to hold on to the memory of this overwhelming moment, I walk up to the mike and share a few words. I don’t remember much of what I said, but I do remember telling them something I have always believed in: “there is no greater reward for a teacher in this world than to see his/her teachings come to life….” I silently thank them all for the gift of their love and their learning. As they move on to do great things in this world, I too come of spiritual age, as a Bala Vihar teacher. With their mothers and fathers, I too let go, with a prayer in my heart…God Bless, Always.
if I don’t I have to sit in front of the projector for the assembly. At 2:00pm we start doing our rituals. First we do the Sahana Vavathu prayer, then we sing a song called ‘Jai Jagadish Hare’, then we say the Pledge, and finally we sing the birthday song. We recently started singing the Hanuman Chalisa. After we are done,
we go to our classrooms. In our classroom, we say the Sahana Vavathu prayer again and then do the attendance (who’s there and who’s not) and then we revise what we did the week before. Then the teachers start reading the next story in the Krishna book. After we are done, we revise the story and do an activity
that corresponds with the story we read. If we have time at the end of the class, we play a game. Then we go downstairs and wait till our parents come and then we go home. I have learned to be more forgiving, sharing, forbearing, being in control, serving others and being humble.
Krishna, which was part of our topic. Now even though they were just fun stories, I’ve learned that in every story Krishna finds a way to remain composed. So I used what I learned in camp. When a girl said something rude to me, I remembered Krishna and how he would calmly find a solution. So while remembering Krishna, I calmly replied to her and said ‘Thank you for your advice, I’ll be quiet now.” As Gurudev would have advised, I found no point in arguing about such a petty thing. My last example is based on my learning
of the maha mrityunjaya mantram, the “death conquering mantra”, in 4th grade. Whenever I’m scared to go down my steep driveway in winter, I recite the prayer slowly in my head, close my eyes, and stay in a peaceful state of mind. By the time I open my eyes we are down the driveway! So as you can see, what we typically do in Chinmaya really has a lot to do with what we learn or take from the curriculum. So, in conclusion, I have learned a lot in Chinmaya from Gurudev.
Bala Vihar Learning TANMAY ODUGU Grade 4, Dover I start from home every Sunday to Bala Vihar which is at 2:00pm. Once I enter I have to take off my shoes because that is the place where we pray which makes that place holy. If I have time I usually talk with my friends, but
The Bala Vihar Experience MEGHNA KUMAR Grade 5, Andover Every time I come to Chinmaya, I learn new qualities based on Gurudev’s teachings that I can apply in my daily life. This year, I’m learning about an interesting topic, symbolism. As tough as it is to sacrifice my Sunday morning, once I’m off to Chinmaya I’m energized. In 4th grade, it was learning the storytelling, but now I’ve come to realize that even though we learned from those values, the topics are getting into deeper significance.
Bala Vihar Humor By LATHA SAINATH When people ask about what we teach in Bala Vihar, I feel that I have to be careful in what I tell them, so that it does not come across like we teach some serious topics way beyond the children’s age, without any fun on Sunday mornings. So, I not only mention about our age-based curriculum and also remember to add at the end that we make it fun for children. When I think of the “fun” part of Bala Vihar, it is not just the teachers making it fun for children, it is also children with their inquisitive thinking and innocence of their age bring what can be funny and humorous to teachers even on serious topics. Let me reminisce about a couple of Bala Vihar classes… It was a class to introduce Tulasi Dasji to 7 year-old children. It was a touching story of an orphan child (Rambola) who was not even named formally by parents, or loved, or cared by adults around him. We had moved on to the part of the story when a life-changing event occurred for Rambola: he had been married and his wife had gone to her parent’s place. The story went on to bring to heart how much Rambola loved his wife and missed her, that he had lost all his discrimination (not an easy idea to convey to 7-year-olds). In order to meet his wife, Rambola had crossed a river
For instance, in the current class we learned about a coconut. Now, who would think there is anything interesting about it? Once my class learned about the true meaning of the layers of a coconut, suddenly we had a whole different perspective. Now a coconut isn’t just a Caribbean fruit, it’s now a symbolic beauty. So what I’ve taken from this is that, in order to become one with god, you must destruct your ego. What I typically did in 4th grade was I listened to stories about our beloved
on a stormy night holding on to a dead body as a float and had climbed up to his wife’s room holding on to a serpent as a rope! That’s when the wife opened Rambola’s eyes to the truth: that if he can love God as passionately as he loved her, God would entirely change his life! Rambola left his wife’s place and eventually became a great saint and a composer of famous epic Ram Charit Manas. You can imagine how dramatic the story was and how the entire class of seven year olds was immersed in the story. When the story was finished and the pulse of the class was still with the touching story, a little hand of a bright child who was intensely listening went up with an inquisitive question, “Aunty, did Rambola come down using the same snake he had used before to climb up?” My goodness! Did I have an answer readily from everything I had read about Tulsi Dasji’s life? Of course not! I had to control my laughter in the class and quickly answer the child with the same seriousness that he had shown (that Rambola had calmed down by then and used the regular stairs)! Later on, I shared the incidence with other teachers when we all heartily laughed at the child’s question which had not occurred to any of us as important for the message of the story! This story happened a few years ago,
when we only had one Bala Vihar session on Sunday mornings. We had a class with very enthusiastic children and parents. However, we had one mother who was not a morning person (as she herself had admitted.) On one Sunday, a mother had sent an email informing that her child was not going to be in the class on that day as the mother woke up with a sore throat and did not want to be with other children in case she had strep throat, a valid excuse which we understood. On the following Sunday, both the mother and the child came to Bala Vihar as usual and the mother told us that her child had asked her “Of all the days in the week, why did you get sore throat on a Bala Vihar day?”. The teachers who heard the mother had to laugh with the mother. Recently, we had asked the Bala Vihar students to submit one or more drawings from them on anything related to a story or a topic or an idea they had learnt in their Bala Vihar classes. A couple of weeks later, an 8-year-old child submitted his drawings of Guru Parampara, lineage of our Gurus, which we revere at Chinmaya Mission. The child, for his age, had done a beautiful job of drawing the entire lineage of Gurus, Lord Shiva, Veda Vyasa, Adi Shankara, Tapovan Maharaj, Gurudev Chinmayananda and Guruji Tejomayananda. Then, there was one more drawing at the end
after Tejomayananda which came as a total surprise to us! The student had drawn his Bala Vihar teacher! Imagine seeing a Bala Vihar teacher included with the eminent Gurus! All adults who looked at the drawing laughed heartily because we all knew that the teacher did not belong in that drawing. At the same time, we were all thrilled that the child had the right idea of the Guru Parampara and simply drew his understanding of the concept! It is the adults who may unnecessarily attach complicated meanings, but for an 8-year-old child, it must have been a pure expression of his simple understanding and creativity. There are many stories like the above with Bala Vihar children, that bring laughter and smiles to teachers. There are little ones that run to their teachers to hug them on every Sunday. There are children who wish their parents were Bala Vihar teachers. There are some children who sometimes crush us in the middle of a thickening plot of a story raising their hands to be excused for water or bathroom run. There are also students who do not hold their disappointment when a class ends before an interesting story ends! Regardless of how they react, Bala Vihar children in general make our time on Sundays at the Mission worth putting all other priorities on hold for a later day or time.
Chinmaya Mission Boston
My association with Chinmaya Mission Boston By T.R. VENKATESH Residing not too far away from the town of Andover, I had learned of this new premises of Chinmaya Mission Boston a few months after its inauguration, in November of 2003. A friend of mine, who had visited us, casually informed us of the same. Driven by the eagerness to see the center, our first trip was made just prior to our month long trip to India. The temple was impressive adorned with the splendorous and radiant Lord Hanuman. We saw Shashi-ji offering prayers to the deities. First impression is the best impression they say. This very heart-filling first visit ensured that we visited the ashram regularly. Subsequently, things started gaining momentum with the start of Bala Vihar classes, appointment of a a resident acharya, a full-time priest, etc., Soon the center started buzzing
with activities on educational, religious and spiritual fields alike. Both my daughters were enrolled in Bala Vihar and our Sunday routine was defined. In 2009, the Mission had its secondand third-level construction completed with an exquisite meditation hall, a spacious and elegant auditorium and several classrooms. The Divine vigrahas had to be relocated and installed inside the conventional sanctum sanctorum (mantap), necessitating the sanctification ceremony. The kumbabhishekam of the temple that happened in the summer of 2009, was indeed a very memorable event, represented by temple priests from all the local temples in the Boston/NH area, many ritwiks and well attended by many devotees. We were also fortunate to have our Pujya Guruji and many other acharyas from different centers
visit the shrine during the same week of the event. Along with Satish Ananthaiyer, I had the honor of serving in the religious committee. Even though I am not part of the committee currently, I have always been a willing participant in most of the religious activities that happen at the Chinmaya Center. It was in 2008 that Brni Bhamatiji, the then-resident acharya of our Mission sought my assistance in organizing the Gita Chanting competition, an annual event that was started by her in 2005. Unsure of time constraints, I hesitated initially but later accepted. Subsequently when Brni Bhamatiji had to leave, Shashiji entrusted that responsibility to me on a permanent basis. This is one responsibility /yagna at the center that I cherish till date for the sheer opportunity that it provides not only to read, under-
stand and worship the teachings of Srimad Bhagavad Gita but also play a humble part in realizing our Pujya Gurudev’s vision of spreading Gita knowledge to the masses. The satisfaction that it offers is immense and I am ever grateful to the Lord for blessing me with such an opportunity. As the Lord Himself stated in the Bhagavad Gita, there are five variables in the successful completion of any activity. They are (1) the platform or the environment of the activity, (2) the doer, (3) the various tools deployed (4) the various tasks associated and (5) ultimately the will of God being the fifth factor. There is no doubt that God’s will is a factor in the outcome of all actions. Chimaya Mission, having become the home of my religious and spiritual pursuit thereby resulting in strengthening the association over the years, is also a Divine blessing!
participate in it because I know I’m helping someone. Service doesn’t always have to be in the form of donation, because all teachers are serving us by sharing their knowledge with us. The kind teachers at Bala Vihar, as adults, must have so much going on in their own lives, but they still take the time and effort to come to the temple every week and teach us about our culture and spirituality. Swami Chinmayananda has also set a great example for me, because he chose to come down from the Himalayas and spread his knowledge to people all over the world. I can look forward to every Sunday for going to Bala Vihar, clearing my mind for a fresh, new week, and it is all because of Gurudev’s selfless service. If it weren’t for Gurudev’s teachings, I would’ve thought of God as someone sitting in the clouds, watching everyone. I now understand that God is omnipresent, and that he is everyone and in everyone. “Devotion to people is devotion to the
supreme self”, says Gurudev, and I understood that the supreme self is God, and devotion to God is devotion to the people around me. When I recite that part of the pledge, I realize that Gurudev is telling us to treat everyone the way we would treat God. I find myself happier when I take the time to appreciate the good in everyone, instead of pointing out what I don’t like about them. I’ve learned that being honest, patient, and kind creates a good feeling for everyone around me, and it makes me feel good too. This is the real way to unite ourselves with the Lord The Chinmaya Mission Pledge is just the base of the lessons we learn in Bala Vihar, but everything I’ve learned so far conveys the same message. In order to lead a happy life, we have to live together with everyone, live selflessly, and always “seek the Lord’s grace”. We have to realize that false values will lead us to nowhere, and we have to do our job with true devotion and happiness.
A Pledge to Seek the Lord AMRITHA PAI 8th Grade, Andover Every Sunday, I walk into assembly and we all sing bhajans, sing the Aarthi song, and we all recite the Chinmaya Mission Pledge. I know all the words, and I recite it every week along with my friends. When I was a kid, my lips moved and said the words, but I didn’t understand what it really meant until I got older. As I analyzed the pledge, I saw that everything we say in the pledge are basic principles of life, and that I can apply these principles to my own life. As human beings, we have many distractions around us that can make us forget our true, happy, nature and indulge in an unreal world. “Fight against all low tendencies within and without us,” says Swami Chinmayananda, and our job is to first identify the false values. Money, relationships, temporary and worldly pleasures are all enjoyable, but they can cause
problems for us. When we attach ourselves to them, false values form within us, like anger, greed, lust, and ego. As a teenager, I go to school every day. I learn so many things from school and I love going there, but I sometimes get stressed out over it. There are times when I don’t get a good grade on a project or I have little time to complete homework. Unnecessary stress prevents me from staying in control, and causes me to get angry at people around me, or to waste my time because of my overconfidence. Every time I recite the Pledge, it reminds me to fight against my anger and ego, and do my duty. Despite all the obstacles in life, we have to “live honestly, the noble life of sacrifice and service, producing more than what we consume and giving more than what we take”. Service is the key to a happy life. When there’s a fundraiser, a food drive, or a clothing drive around me, it always feels nice to donate something of my own or
Chinmaya Mission Boston Timeline -
Compiled By Mimi Robins & Padmini Narayan
February 25, 1949
Balakrishna Menon becomes the Hindu renunciate, Swami Chinmayananda
Swamiji comes down from the Himalayas to survey the level of spiritualism of the Indian masses
First 100 day jnana yagna on Upanishads at Vinayak Temple in Pune, starts with an audience of eighteen and concludes to overwhelming crowds
41 day Jnana yagna in Madras…Among the listeners is the Rangaswami Iyer family
Swamiji is persuaded to start Chinmaya Mission by the devotees of Madras
The Rangaswami / Gopal Sarma family moves to Andover, MA
Swamiji visits Harvard Divinity School to represent Hindus in the conference of World Religions
Chinmaya Mission Boston is formed and Ranganath becomes the first President
The first study group of Chinmaya Mission Boston members is held in Rangswami's residence in Andover
Swamiji returns to Boston to hold a 10 day Yagna at Boston University which the Rangaswami family organizes
The second study group forms in Brookline at Mimi Robins' residence
Brahmacharini Pavitraji (Rangaswami’s daughter) is first Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Boston
1971 – 1983
Swamiji aka Gurudev returns to Boston every year for 10 day Yagnas hosted by M.I.T. or Harvard University
Chinmaya residential family camp at Endicott College in Beverly, MA where Dr. Dwarakanath meets Gurudev. Gurudev tells Mimi Robins "Dwarakanath will build me the center"!
Balavihar classes start in Dwarakanath’s residence in Andover
Chinmaya Mission Boston
Gurudev’s North American University tour. Gurudev stays with Drs. Shashi & Dwarakanath during Boston lecture series
Gurudev writes to Dwarakanath: “Find the spot”!
August 3, 1993
Gurudev attains Mahasamadhi
Adult satsang & Balavihar classes move to Bedford Town Center to accommodate growing membership
Swami Shantananda conducts Spiritual family camp hosted by Chinmaya Mission Boston at Endicott College
Swami Tejomayananda, head of Chinmaya Mission worldwide conducts Spiritual family camp hosted by Chinmaya Mission Boston at Mass 4H Center in Ashland
Land for Chinmaya Mission Boston center is purchased in Andover
Ground breaking ceremony for Chinmaya Mission Boston (Chinmaya Maruti) in Andover is performed by Swami Tejomayananda
June 2003 (50 years after formation of Chinmaya Mission!)
Dedication and inauguration of Chinmaya Maruti by Swami Tejomayananda
Chinmaya Maruti hosts Mahasamadhi Yagna for Chinmaya Mission members from all over the world
Inauguration of Phase 2 of Chinmaya Maruti building in Andover
Chinmaya Maruti hosts Mahasamadhi Yagna for Chinmaya Mission members from all over the world
May 8, 2016
Chinmaya Maruti celebrates Gurudev's Birth Centenary
July 21-26, 2016
Discourses by Swami Tejomayananda on “Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living” at Chinmaya Maruti
Mission Accomplished By ARUNA PUROHIT My daughter, Prerana Purohit was in her fourth grade, when one of our friends introduced us to Chinmaya Mission Boston (CMB). During that time, CMB was conducting sessions at Bedford public school, while we were living in Worcester. Bedford was 50-minute drive each way for us; but we still decided to drive our daughter to Chinmaya Mission for Bala Vihar every Sunday morning. In those days, the Chinmaya community was small, very intimate and friendly. While children were learning in the Bala Vihar classes, parents used to assemble for the Satsang. The Bala Vihar classes were followed by general assembly, “Aarthi” and “Bhajan” in the hall. Then we would all have a nice potluck lunch. It was very much like a big family. After a few years, CMB grew bigger and moved to Andover into a big and elegant building of its own. The Hanuman statue was installed in the basement temple of the building. The temple, classrooms, kitchen, dining room and library were all under the same roof. It became a great joy to go to the Chinmaya Mission every Sunday. As we all know, change is the essence of life. We became busier with the arrival of our second daughter, Archana, our responsibilities increased too. Soon I started questioning my husband, and myself: Why do we go that far to get our daughter her Bala Vihar education every Sunday? However, Prakash was very determined. He said that if I didn’t want to come to Chinmaya every Sunday, then he would take Prerana himself. He deeply believed that the education and atmosphere that Chinmaya Mission provided was very essential for the all-around development of our child. Our cultural, and spiritual values
should be given to our children during their burgeoning years. The seed should be sown when the soil is tender and fertile to see the beautiful tree later. As the years flew by, Archana entered pre-school. As a blessing in disguise, Chinmaya Mission also started admitting pre-school children. I started taking Archana regularly and sitting in her Bala Vihar classes with her. Both our children were learning Bala Vihar lessons with interest and every Sunday after Bala Vihar, while driving back home, we used to ask them what they have learnt and we used to discuss their lessons. The long drive home turned out to be a time for interesting conversation and sometimes a fun family debate. As Archana moved on to first grade, I started attending the parents’ Satsang again. During the Satsang, we used to watch Swami Chinmayanada’s commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita on the big screen in the auditorium. As soon as the lights were dimmed, within a few minutes I would doze off. Now and then, my husband nudged me to stay awake. As always, time doesn’t wait for anyone, and things changed. Prakash became very busy with his work, and was unable to drive us all every Sunday. So, I took over the chore and navigated children every Sunday to Chinmaya mission without fail, but still did not show as much interest in attending Satsang. Years later, I became a serious Iyengar yoga practitioner and our yoga group started studying the Bhagavad-Gita. I felt so embarrassed; being the only Indian in the group that did not have a good knowledge of the Bhagavad-Gita. Determinedly, I started listening to Swamiji’s commentaries
and started taking notes; and soon my interest began to grow rapidly. Time passes, and Prerana entered her senior year in high school. We learned that Chinmaya Mission Boston presents the “Gnana Dhoot” award for graduating seniors through a contest. The requirements for the contest were writing an essay on a specific topic related to Bhagavad-Gita, memorizing a chapter from the BhagavadGita, and a 45-minute interview with the judges including the local Chinmaya mission head. Prerana took interest in the contest and won the Gnana Dhoot award. Her essay was published in the Chinmaya newsletter. The then local head of Chinmaya mission, Swamini Bhamatiji personally came and appreciated Prerana’s performance in the interview. When I heard her warm words of appreciation, I was overwhelmed with joy and my eyes welled up. I felt a surge of pride and accomplishment. The several years of our hour long driving each way every Sunday had been completely worth it. Prerana, now in graduate school, recollected her experience thus, “When I started Chinmaya Mission I was eight years old, and I had no idea what it was going to entail. I thought it was just another opportunity to hang out with my friends. Now looking back, I could not be more grateful for my experience there, Chinmaya Mission not only kept me connected to my religion and culture as I learned how to find the balance of being an Indian-American, but it also taught me about family, friendship and happiness. Knowing that life can be complicated and confusing, I feel more confident to tackle any challenges because I have all these life tools that CMB has provided me with. I thank CMB for giving me
a wonderful sense of community as well as the courage to move forward in life with humility and grace.” Our younger daughter, Archana continues her Bala Vihar education at Chinmaya Mission. From day one, she has been enthusiastically attending the classes. She was very well in sync with her teachers at Andover centre and later, when the MetroWest Center started and we moved her there, she found a good circle of friends as well. She actively discusses various topics from mythology to philosophy with us during our dinnertime conversations. Archana has already acknowledged the importance of attending Chinmaya Mission and says, “To me, Chinmaya Mission has been a great way to learn about my culture, my religion, and about Hindu mythology and philosophy. Not only has Chinmaya Mission been teaching me the values of life, but it has been teaching me how to live my life gracefully and with care. I am happy and grateful to be attending Bala Vihar classes and I know that I will continue attending it in the future.” Now, Prakash is a teacher at MetroWest CMB and is finding joy in giving back to the center, which showered us with blessings of life. I have developed the discipline of starting my day by reading either the Bhagavad-Gita or Patanjala Yoga Darshana or the Upanishads. As a serious practitioner of Iyengar yoga, and with the knowledge I gained from Swami Chinmayananda’s teachings, my eyes have been opened to how rich life is with values and lessons. Having delved deep into these values and lessons, I am now walking a path to blissful life. Our family accomplished the mission of climbing up the rungs on the ladder of values and cultural heritage, one step at a time.
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Chinmaya Mission Boston
Paintings by Avni Mishra
An Account of Swami Chinmayananda’s Centenary Celebrations at Chinmaya Mission Boston
By PADMINI NARAYAN
Om Sahasra Shīrshā Purushah Sahasrākshah Sahasrapāt | Sa Bhumim Vishvato Vratvā Atyatishthad Dashāngulam|| We pray to that mighty Divine Being, that thousand-headed, thousand-eyed, thousandlegged Purusha, or God whose majesty pervades the entire Universe. Thus began the celebrations of Swami Chinmayananda’s 100th birthday on the morning of May 8th 2016 at the Chinmaya Mission Andover Center. To the sonorous chanting of the auspicious Purusha Sῡktam Gurudev’s padukas were brought in to the
Chinmaya Maruti Mandir by President Dr. Dwarakanath, as members of Chinmaya Mission Boston gathered to celebrate their revered Guru. About 300 people from all New England branches of Chinmaya Mission Boston collectively performed Guru Paduka Puja to offer their devotion at their Guru’s feet while requesting His blessings. Deep positive vibrations could be felt as the entire congregation chanted with fervor. Swaranjali teams of Chinmaya Mission Boston set the tone for the day with beautiful renderings of Guru bhajans. After months of planning this big day for the Mission, things were off to a great start! Thanks to countless hours of seva by volunteers, the Center looked colorful and festive. Colorful balloons were up (after all, what is a birthday celebration without balloons?), thorans and streamers had been put up outside. From the almost-life-size kutiya in front of which sat Gurudev reading, to the beautiful Madhubani paintings
depicting Gurudev’s life that were displayed in the lobby, one could see the grace of Gurudev flowing through His sādhaks. The newly re-decorated shrine for Gurudev’s padukas and his portrait, decorated with shining bright Kerala lamps were a beautiful sight to behold. The community hall had been transformed from a dining hall to a great hall of learning! Huge tents had been set up outside to feed hundreds of devotees. As the 10:00AM hour approached, hundreds of members poured into the center to participate in the day-long celebrations. Throughout the day, students and teachers of Bala Vihar performed songs, dances, stotrams and skits, all of which were connected to Gurudev – whether it was a dance to “Salangai katti Odi Odi Va”, one of Gurudev’s favorite songs, or chanting of the Ganga Stuti or Guru Stotram, or a skit about a US Presidential debate, where Gurudev happened to be one of the candidates, or yet another skit where we saw flashbacks into Gurudev’s life as a questioning child and heard the significance of the proportion of the three Gunas through the famous coffee, milk & sugar example! A panel of senior members of Chinmaya Mission Boston accepted the organizers’ invitation to reminisce and share their personal encounters with Gurudev. Every story was touching and inspiring, whether it was about Gurudev’s hardworking nature and strict sense of time and punctuality, or about his utter compassion. In parallel with the cultural programs, attendees had the opportunity to learn about the Mission’s amazingly effective community service (CORD) & education programs (Chinmaya Education Cell) as well as Gurudev’s life through photographs, letters, exquisite dioramas, paintings, games and activities, or in just 18 minutes, the entire18
chapters of The Holy Gita! Bala Vihar children had opportunities to exercise their creative side with projects such as Paduka making, bracelet making and Gurudev mask making; and their competitive side by playing games like Wheel of Fortune, Bowling, Chutes & Ladders, Jeopardy or Darts – all Chinmaya Mission style!! A silent auction of items donated by members was organized for the first time. With items ranging from professional quality portraits of Gurudev made by Mission members themselves to tickets to Boston area sporting events, the auction proved to be hugely popular! In addition to Yoga of the mind, attendees had the opportunity to do some Yoga of the body with Yoga expert Sheena Patel, who led the group through a series of de-stressing āsanās. At the height of the day-long celebration over 700 people were in attendance. With true yagna spirit, in addition to various rice dishes and dessert, the culinary experts amongst our members made and served fresh, delicious masala dosas and sizzling hot puris, to everyone present! For the grand finale of the celebrations, we were fortunate to have as our Guest of honor Swami Tyaganandaji of Ramakrishna Vedanta Society, Boston. In his address, he spoke about what a profound and inspiring teacher Gurudev was and how Gurudev would be happiest if we, as Chinmaya Mission members, put his teachings into practice in our daily lives. What a glorious day it turned out to be. Gurudev had managed to bring together hundreds of like-minded devotees to not just celebrate his birthday, but to pause and reflect on his message of becoming positive contributors to society by grasping the wisdom of Vedanta for our spiritual growth and happiness. Unto Him Our Best!
SWAMI CHINMAYANANDA’S BIRTH CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS MAY 8TH 2016 ◊ CHINMAYA MISSION BOSTON
Performances by Balavihar Children
Displays, dioramas and portraits of Gurudev and his works Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda
Shloka chanting by Balavihar Teachers
Offering our Pranāms to Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda
Yoga, Games & Activities
Fresh puris and dosas being made and enjoyed by all!
Address by Guest of Honor Swami Tyaganandaji, Vedanta Society Boston
Cultural Activities at Chinmaya Mission, Boston By DURGA KRISHNAN One of the pillars on which Chinmaya Mission is built is the fine arts, such as music, dance and other art forms. The ability to create and enjoy fine arts is what also separates humans from animals. Chinmaya Mission Boston is no exception to that philosophy. Under the leadership of Durga Krishnan, who is a life member, and with the help of many dedicated volunteers, a very thriving fine arts program has been put in place for the past ten plus years. Boston’s well-known and well-respected artists teach Carnatic and Hidustani instrumental and vocal music, along with Bharatha Natyam and Kuchupidi dance classes at the center every week. There are also painting, writing and yoga classes taught by eminent teachers. Chinmaya Mission Boston has a beautiful auditorium that has been put to good work by center’s own cultural and spiritual activities, as well as other organizations renting it for various cultural activities. Chinmaya Mission, Boston organizes a weekend of concerts in the spring each year, where very famous and sought-after artists from India come and perform to a packed auditorium. The audience members come not only from Boston and surrounding areas, but also from as far away as Arizona, Ohio, Oregon, California and other places, when their favorite artists perform at the center. Padhma Vibhushan Sudha Raghunathan, Padhma Bhushan Dr. L. Subramaniam, Padma Sree U. Shrinivas, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sanjay Subrahmanyan, sisters Ranjani and Gayatri,
Nithyashree Mahadevan, Academy Award nominee Bombay Jayashri, Padma Shree Aruna Sairam, and Vidhushi Vishaka Hari are to name a few. Chinmaya Mission Boston also organizes Thyagaraja Aradhana every winter to coincide with the Aradhana celebrations in the South Indian town of Thiruvaiyaru each year. This celebration starts at 8:30am in the temple area, where all the local artists and their students render the Saint composer’s Pancha Ratna kritis while the temple priests perform Abhishekam to the Idols of Rama Pariwar. After a quick breakfast, everyone
moves to the auditorium where more than 200 local music students perform and the day ends with a grand finale concert by one of the local artists. Chinmaya Mission Boston realizes and recognizes the importance of the support of the local artist community and organizes programs by them to show its appreciation. The local artists, in return, not only support the cultural activities at the center but also always donate the entire revenue from the programs to the Mission. Another important event that happens at the center is the Purandara Dasa Day, which is dedicated to another great composer who
is regarded as the grandfather of Carnatic music. This event follows the same format as the Thyagaraja Aradhana, but is done with the collaboration of the New England Kannada Koota. Chinmaya Mission Boston also collaborates with other local organizations such as MITHAS to bring more cultural events to the center. The cooperation and camaraderie that exists between the Mission and other local organizations and community is something very special and to be celebrated. All these cultural activities bring revenue to the center, along with the goodwill from the community it serves.
Chinmaya Mission – Boston Area Satellite Centers Chinmaya Metrowest
Congregation B’nai Shalom 117 E Main Street, Westborough, MA 01581 chinmayametrowest.org
McConnell Center (Cafeteria) 61 Locust Street Dover, NH 03820 chinmaya-boston.com/dover
Lasell College, Wolfe Hall, 1844 Commonwealth Ave, Newton, MA 02466 chinmaya-boston.com/newton
Thin-Films Research, Inc. 270 Littleton Road Westford, MA 01886 978-692-9530 Fax:978-692-9531 www.thinfilmsresearch.com
Our Best Wishes to Chinmaya Mission Boston During Gurudev’s Centenary Year!!!
Tuning in to Gurudev By DR. GOPALA DWARAKANATH Let us not forget even for a moment, we all need God’s Grace all the time. What we forget is that it is free and ever available. Shri Ramakrishna says “God’s Grace is ever-flowing, like a breeze, but we need to adjust our sails to catch it”. It is like a well-placed antenna. On a lighter note: “What will happen if two antennas get married?” “Terrible wedding, but excellent reception” You see, to tune our mind to Gurudev, it is not difficult. When Gurudev was flesh and bones, He could only be in one place. Now He is Antharyami- so don’t you think it is easier to latch on to Him? Try, please try. He is available to us all the time even if we don’t deserve it, which is His Compassion and Grace. I get tears in my eyes when I think of his compassion because most of the times I thought I did not deserve such love and kindness, never the less He gave it not only to me but thousands of devotees.
Some of you may think “Oh I missed the chance of being with Gurudev! I want to serve Him. I don’t know how?” Dear Gurudev does not want Paduka Pooja, we do it for our self-purification. He does not want garlands, etc. But what does He want? He really does not want material things from any one of us. What Gurudev really wants is for us to change (I am still struggling). He wants us to carry on His Vision, have more Bala Vihars, dedicated teachers to teach our children, Satsangs, serve the the community. This way we will be paying tribute to Gurudev and unfold ourselves. Every teacher, volunteer, satsang coordinators, prasad team, priests, facilities coordinator, language teachers, art teachers; silent workers are all paying tribute to our Beloved Gurudev. His Blessings are already showered on you and your family, for if you did not have immense love for Gurudev, you will not be doing what you are doing now. His
compassion and Grace are already there for all of us. Please dedicate 5 minutes a day to reflect on His Grace. Chant “Om Shree Chinmaya Sadgurave namah” 11 times
slowly. May we all continue to serve Him. Always at His Feet Dwaraka
children in a different culture may not be our area of specialization, and we should discuss issues with our family members and friends, and be open to their ideas. If we do a good job of listening to our children, the chances are higher that they will listen to us. Perhaps it is easier to talk about the issues in terms of how they impact us, instead of accusing or blaming others. Sometimes, the differences the parents notice are not easily recognized by their children. For example, during our family trips to India, I notice how surprised my relatives are when my children choose to argue their point of view instead of meekly accepting my perspective. It used to bother me a few years back when other would look at me and their eyes said, “You should discipline your child. Good children do not argue with their parents, especially in front of others.” It does not bother me to the same extent now. There are some other behaviors that may bother me, and I should feel comfortable enough to give feedback to my children on how their behavior impacts me. Although, the temptation is to either take full responsibility by taking a dictatorial stand and tell the children what they should do, or abdicate responsibility and think about it as their life and they can live it the way they like. An alternative approach would be to make it a joint and shared responsibility to understand each individual family member’s goals and his/her path to achieve the goals before making final decisions. It may be a good idea to agree to review the progress on decision implementation on specific future dates. Discussing cultural differences and preferences involve subjective assessments, and can get emotional. Keeping communication lines open and respecting each other’s perspectives are essential. One way to keep communication lines open is to discuss our cultures on a regular basis, not just when the child has the offended the parents. For example, after a family outing to see an Indian movie, consider discussing what each family member found interesting/intriguing may increase everyone’s awareness and interest.
Encouraging and supporting the children to start a youth group to discuss issues of common interest with or without the presence of some or all parents, may arouse their interest and curiosity about our culture. Exposing the children to the Indian culture and the U.S. culture by visits to India, celebrating some Indian festivals, visiting with other families with children in the same age group, and developing strong relationships with some American families who are interested in and knowledgeable about different cultures, are some specific actions to consider. Regular visits to the temple or attending meetings organized by spiritual organizations such as the Chinmaya Mission should provide many opportunities to explore our culture and learn about it through a discovery process, instead of a one-way lecture. Parents holding discussions with our children on what it is like to grow up in the U.S. with ties to two cultures, may help increase the children’s receptivity to discussing cultural issues. It is important to give the children an opportunity to question ideas, discuss them and form their own opinions. Valuing and listening to the children’s opinions is likely to encourage them to be open to listening to other perspectives.
Raising Children in a Different Culture: Challenges and Opportunities By SRINIVASAN UMAPATHY The Chinmaya Mission has been a core part of who I am today - from cultural awareness of Hinduism to the values like service and continuous self-improvement. I attended Bala Vihar in Dwaraka Uncle and Shashi Aunty’s basement, was part of Vijaykumar Uncle’s Yuva Kendra classes, and later in my life, have been a part of CHYK groups in Chicago and DC along with my husband. My parents were active in the early days of Chinmaya Mission Boston, but unfortunately, my father passed away unexpectedly while I was in high school, but we all managed with the support of our extended Chinmaya Family. This article was written by my father Srinivasan Umapathy and was published in the Chinmaya Newsletter roughly 20 years ago about parenting bi-cultural children in the US. You can imagine what an amazing Father’s Day gift this was as I am now a mother of two young children. I hope his perspective on balancing cultures and value of discussion with children, even at an early age, is an inspiration to you all. -Shalu Umapathy I have learned much more about what it means to be raised as a Tamilian Brahmin child in a middle income group family after coming to the United States when I was 27 years old, than I did when I was growing in that cultural environment. As a French proverb states, “A fish does not know that it lives in the water until it is out of it.” I now recognized that if I had lived in India all my life, it is unlikely that I would have felt the need to pay conscious attention to how cultural values should be shared with my children. It would have occurred as a natural process. This article focuses on the issues faced by first generation parents who immigrated to the U.S. as they raise their children.
What makes it difficult
For most first generation parents, the move to the U.S. was a conscious choice. However, second generation children did not have the same choice. They were born in an environment where most people looked a little or quite different from them and they did not choose to be born here. The immigrant parents
often consider it to be their responsibility to transfer their culture to their children. If the child does not pick up or show interest in the Indian culture, it can make the parent wonder, “Am I doing an adequate job of transferring our culture to my child?” Second, the traditional role models and counselors the parents had in India- parents, grandparents, teachers, and friends in India- do not fully understand issues faced by parents of Indian origin in the U.S. They are not as valuable a resource today as a resource today as they were in India. Third, although the decisions parents make in relation to raising children in the U.S. are characterized by multiple choices, there seems to be no one right choice but many wrong choices. Risks associated with making a wrong choice seem to be high. It is so difficult to accept that we do not have a fool-proof solution at our disposal. Also, it is equally difficult to acknowledge that the children know more about U.S. culture that the parents do. Fourth, it is difficult to come to grips with the possibility that parents may have some biases and stereotypes, too. Once we discover our biases, it seems quite easy to rationalize that we are not biased and that we are making the decision or recommendation only because it is for the good of the children. Sometimes, we may not be open to having an adult-to-adult discussion on the issues with our children. It seems so much easier to tell them rather than to discuss with them. However, if we do not treat children as adults, we, too, do not get the adult treatment. Finally, it seems that if we postpone making a decision or discussing the issues, we are probably avoiding a wrong decision. This seems so convincing that we may choose this path, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. However, each times we do this, it is similar to pushing the dust under the carpet, because there was too little time to do a thorough job of cleaning before the guests arrive, and quite soon the carpet feels lumpy.
First, we need to recognize that raising
It is important to remember that choosing not to take any action on cultural education of our children is an action, too. Such an abdication of responsibility may lead to confusion about the importance of culture and possibly a feeling of not being grounded. It is important to remember that learning about one’s own culture will take months and years. It should not be rushed. There are no rules or guidelines that may apply to all of us. However, discussing the issues and alternative approaches with others can enlighten all of us. Hope this article generates an increased interest in discussing the topic of raising children in a cultural environment that is different from the one in which their parents grew up. It is a rich topic for both adults and children that can bridge the generation gap some of us face.
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The Birth of Bhakti, Or How Chinmaya Mission Made a Believer Out of Me SUDHIR SRINIVASAN Growing up as a child, I accompanied my mother to the temple every weekend. We would go around the sanctum three times, she faithfully engrossed in the puja while my own mind wandered, and wondered what the point of this weekly ritual was. The novelty in the early years gave way to indignation in the teens – why was I being forced to do something I did not see any rationale behind? The assertions of “Because God takes care of everything” didn’t satisfy, now that the childhood fascination with mythological stories of God’s dealings with devotees and demons was replaced by skepticism from the observation that God didn’t seem to ever act that way in real life. Taking the name of Hanuman as advised didn’t seem to bring the slightest relief during stressful times – my analytical mind only saw the irrationality of it. I wanted to believe, but it wasn’t working and the lack of evidence made it overwhelmingly difficult to do so. Perhaps it would be appropriate if I said that God appeared in a dream one night and from that day I became a believer. While that kind of vision does happen to evolved souls, I am not one of them. Being an engineer, it is no surprise that Bhakti came via Gnana, with the first hook from Gurudev (fittingly, “across Einsteinian space and time” as he often said). Having dropped my kids off to their Bala Vihar classes, I went to the adult Satsangh session where the video of Gurudev’s Geeta Gnana lectures in Piercy California was being screened. The first impression I remember is of being comfortable, at home – here was a Swami that spoke at my level, in terms I could understand, using examples from my everyday life that I could identify with and most of all, with an intellectual sense of humor that
was captivating. He was not asking me to believe because it says so in the scriptures; instead he himself posed the disbelieving questions circling inside my head and proceeded to answer them logically. Logicthat’s what pulled me in. The system of life he was describing was entirely logical if you admitted but one premise, viz. the notion of rebirth, that cause and effect can straddle multiple births. Like every novice seeker, I tried to poke holes in the theory. With the help of the excellent Chinmaya Mission teachers that conducted the Satsanghs, I got past the frivolous doubts and soon the theory had taken root in my mind – or rather, my intellect. I started to look at events in my life with this backdrop and suddenly, I found I was able to explain things where previously the lack of an explanation had caused despair, anxiety and fear. One may reasonably dismiss this as escapism – i.e. explaining away things by a theory that is unverifiable (is it?). To that, I humbly offer two points. The first is that I observed a dramatic change in myself due to this new perspective. I was less agitated and generally more efficient in day-to-day activities. Call it what you will, but the point is this is exactly the outcome that Vedanta promises – i.e. that bhakti leads to an improved state of mind, and I was experiencing it directly! The second is that I analyzed some very positive events in my life as well and found again that this theory was the only one that made sense. Other explanations required an incredible string of lucky breaks and the engineer in me just could not accept the odds of that. I found it much easier to believe the Vedantic assertion that if we put in our best effort, and if our past karmas are conducive, then
the forces of nature (God) will see to it that the positive outcome happens; conversely, if our past karmas do not allow for a positive outcome, it will not occur in spite of our best efforts. I had seen both in my life, and so I became a believer. An enlightened soul sees God’s play in everything. That is now the aim of my spiritual journey, to nurture and grow my Bhakti to a point where this vision is al-
ways there rather than only retrospectively. There is no doubt that Bhakti has changed me permanently. Praying is now a completely meaningful activity, an opportunity to pause my daily distractions and meditate on God. And best of all, I have been able to navigate stressful situations better than before. My deepest gratitude to Gurudev and Chinmaya Mission for beginning my journey of unfoldment.
Pujya Gurudev’s Service to Humanity RITU SOMAYAJI Grade 9, Metrowest
Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda once said “Happiness depends on what you can give not on what you can get”. His life exemplified this idea, as he wasn’t satisfied by just gaining knowledge, he strove to spread it to as many individuals as he could. Gurudev served humanity by creating an organization through which all people could easily access and understand Vedanta philosophy. From Gurudev’s journey to achieve this there are many aspects we can take away including his persistence to spread his ideas. After his time with Tapovan Maharaj, Gurudev decided that he wanted to spread the knowledge he had gained. Without much recognition and support from the people in the beginning, Gurudev started his pursuit by holding lectures and hoping people would come. While attendance was meager at first, it grew steadily and eventually turned into a global organization. Gurudev pioneered a way to bring the essence of Vedanta to both adults and children. He was able to fight the strict restrictions people had placed on Vedanta philosophy such as the language the scriptures were discussed in. Many people considered that the scriptures could only be discussed in Sanskrit, the holiest of languages. Yet Gurudev was able to show these people that Vedanta philosophy can be taught in the vernacular. He opened up Vedanta philosophy for the common people around the world. Gurudev’s work truly embodies the Chinmaya Mission motto as his organization continues
to educate a variety of people about our ancient philosophies for generations to come. When it comes to helping humanity, there are several attributes we can look to Gurudev to find inspiration. One such attribute is his persistence and determination. Throughout his journey to spread his ideas he faced many obstacles, yet he was never discouraged. For example, when Gurudev made the decision to study under Tapovan Maharaj he had to make an arduous journey by foot through the mountains. However, when he reached the ashram, Tapovan Maharaj asked for a referral paper and sent him all the way back down. Gurudev wasn’t stopped by this initial difficulty, he made the trip again and returned to learn under Tapovan Maharaj. In today’s world where there is so much competition, it’s very easy to give up after we fail. But Gurudev showed us that if our intention is good and we keep striving, we will achieve and we will be able to make our impact. We should let our goal constantly motivate us while not letting failure discourage us. Today due to Gurudev’s determination and persistence, Chinmaya Mission has over 300 centers worldwide. Chinmaya Mission is positively affecting so many people due to Gurudev’s vision. Apart from his spiritual teachings there are numerous lessons that we can draw from his life. Gurudev served as a role model for all and his impact on humanity is continually felt every time a child learns the Mahabharata in Bal Vihar or a verse of the Bhagvad Gita is discussed in English rather than Sanskrit for the better understanding of everyone.
Watercolor Portrait of Swami Chinmayananda by Vandana Swarma
Watercolor Portrait of Swami Chinmayananda by Vandana Sharma
Chinmaya Mission Boston
Music as Bhakti Yoga! By NARESH PARMAR Bhakti means “devotional service”. Each one of us in this world is perpetually engaged in some sort of service, and the impetus for such service is the pleasure we derive from it! In 2009, eight musically-inclined Chinmaya Mission Boston members decided to collectively offer their musical talent towards devotional music; and that was our humble start. The group meets regularly for practice, and has presented bhajans and kirtans at least twice a month at various venues. In 2014, Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda inducted the team into the global Chinmaya Swaranjali network (of devotional music) and christened
the team as “Chinmaya Swaranjali Boston.” In addition to presenting music regularly at Chinmaya Mission Boston (located in Andover, MA), Swaranjali Boston gets invited to offer music at Diwali events, house concerts, and at other local venues. Over the last seven years, Swaranjali Boston group has dedicated itself to serving the community with quality devotional music. In the process, the team has produced six devotional CD albums so far. This endeavor has resulted in greater camaraderie among the group members over the years! Even though the goal of the Swaranjali Boston group is to offer music service to
the Lord and spread the joy of devotional music to other seekers, we believe each member of our team has benefited the most in the process. When we come together for music practice or performance, music often transcends us into a world that connects us to our inner Self. What an elevating experience! Swaranjali Boston team is passionate about having others experience this joy, and we have been sharing music with the motto “Music as Bhakti Yoga” all these years. Chinmaya Swaranjali Boston released its first music album “Bead-1: Bhaja Govindam” in 2010. With the initial success, the group continued to produce four
other music albums – Bead-2: Rama Gita, Bead-3: XIV Abodes of Sri Ram, Bead-4: Smita Smita Sundara, and Bead-5: Chinmaya Maruti Dayaa Nidhaan. Further, to celebrate Pujya Gurudev’s Birth Centenary, Swaranjali Boston group released its latest music album “Bead-6: Vande Sadguru” in May 2016 to dedicate it to Swami Chinmayananda. The CD albums are available at CMB Book Store in Andover. The team presents Bhajan Sandhya on the third Sunday of the month (5:30 to 7pm) and may be contacted via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Youth Empowerment Program By REENA PATEL Reena Patel is a graduate of Chinmaya Mission’s Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), a unique value-based leadership program for dynamic youth to learn and serve. For more on YEP, please visit www.chykwest. com/yep/. Here is an excerpt from her handwritten journal during her 60-day experience.
The time is 6:52am. The identical sound pronounced from the Lord, we recite, “Om taccham yoravrnimahe, gatum yajnaya…” I feel at peace. This hour feels wholesome, serene, and the clearest way to start the day. I adjust myself on the maroon cushion, title and date the first line of my notebook, and look up. Swami Sarveshanandaji has entered. I have eight minutes to prostrate to my Guru, bring my hands to my heart to offer myself to Bhagwan, and take myself back to my designated spot. It’s 7:00am sharp. We commence. Swamiji begins with reciting the shloka flawlessly. I attempt to follow the English translation, but become quick to realize the pronunciation is much clearer in Devanagri. Although my reading is broken, the few words I can read defeat the inadequatelywritten English version. “It’s like running to nowhere…the treadmill syndrome.” Swamiji asserts. He elucidates that we only have very few years in life to be productive, so we must take hold of our lives. As I sit in the second row and take detailed notes to each word he says, I am careful not to mess up the sequence. I want the exact mantra. Each declaration is valuable, and I instantly feel obliged. We continue with the concept at hand. As a class, we do the math to calculate out of
our 24-hours in a day, only two hours are measured as useful. My eyes widen and a sense of shock stains my system. There is a definite sense of urgency. My mind begins to wander. How will I make an impact? What will be my donation towards society? The monotony of my day flashes in front of me. I come to a quick conclusion that each day is a waste. My reality sets in. This exercise provokes me to think about entrepreneur-like projects and the world’s current tycoons. My mind drifts. “What you get in life, is what you get. What you choose with what to do with your life, is your choice,” Swamiji states. I’m back. These words instantly remind me of my sweet grandmother, who is the ideal model. She uninterruptedly made the choice to live life with a smile on her face, rather than tears in her eyes. Her name and form often come to my mind (especially during value-based teachings). I feel appreciative to have a relative who illuminates the example of putting these age-old scriptures to practice. My mind is with Swamiji, but I find my body is agitated. I continue to rotate my legs, and stretch my arms back. Although the information is essential, my mind gets broken with the movement in my physical form. I remind myself to remain alert. I must. I am prompted of why I have come to the Youth Empowerment Program to start off with. To change. To live an inspired life, full of depth and spiritual growth. With such thought, I position myself in the right posture and pull the maroon-colored cushion from underneath me. I owe it to myself to stay attentive and learn.
Reena Patel is an active member of Chinmaya Mission’s Yuva Kendra (CHYK) and serves on CHYK West’s Steering Committee, CORE Committee, and coordinates weekly CHYK Boston satsang at Harvard University. She is the youth group coor-
dinator at Chinmaya Mission Boston and teaches the high school curriculum every Sunday at Bala Vihar. She works in Leadership & Development at Deloitte and is the co-founder of the wellness firm, Savsani.
Chinmaya Mission Boston
Reminiscing Kumbhabhishekam Celebration and Center Expansion in July 2009
Pictures Courtesy - Harvard Pluralism Project
Chinmaya Mission Pledge PRATYUSH VENKAT KRISHNAN Grade 6, Newton The Chinmaya Mission Pledge is an oath we all take at the beginning of Bala Vihar. But what does it mean? First of all, people should not say it for the sake of saying it, because this pledge is really more than that. It isn’t just a page of words that people say because they have to, it is a very meaningful poem with a vast wealth of knowledge. If you really parse its inner meaning, you will realize that it aligns with the true values of life and Hinduism. The Pledge begins, “We stand as one family bound to each other with love and respect.” This means that we all are one family, one community, and we love and respect each other. We shall not disrespect or discredit anyone, as we are all equals. The second line reads, “We serve as an army, courageous and disciplined, ever ready to fight against all low tendencies and false value, within and without us.” This means we must bravely fight the bad qualities within ourselves and others, but we need good values to succeed. Line three states, “We live honestly the noble life of sacrifice and service, producing more than what we consume, and giving more
than what we take.” The first part of this is living honestly, being truthful and not lying. ‘Sacrifice and service’ is devotion and ultimately self-realization, and serving the country, the people, and the world. ‘Producing more than we consume’ and ‘giving more than we take’ fit synonymously with each other, as you are doing a service by practicing virtue. Line four says, “We seek the Lord’s grace, to keep us on the path of virtue, courage, and wisdom.” This means we must live a life of virtues, gain good values and retain them throughout our lives, but this is impossible without constantly seeking God’s blessings. The fifth line reads, “May Thy grace and blessings flow through us to the world around us.” This line is a plea to the Lord and asking this from him, which implies that when we attain these good qualities, we become a medium of God so His grace can flow through us, for the benefit of society. Line six states, “We believe that the service of our country is the service of the Lord of Lords, and devotion to the people is devotion to the Supreme Self.” This shows that when we serve our country, it is equivalent to serving the Lord, who will
take it as devotion to Him. To conclude the pledge, line number seven says, “We know our responsibilities; give us the ability and courage to fulfill them.” This shows that even after we have realized our responsibilities, we still need God’s grace to give us the necessary ability
and courage to carry out our responsibilities. This pledge shows the true values of life. Let us all practice its teachings and lead a happy and healthy life for ourselves and everyone around us. OM TAT SAT
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*Fluency in Gujarati and Hindi* 204 Andover Street, Suite 402 Andover, MA 01810 (978) 474-0100
Chinmaya Mission Boston
209 N Main Street, Andover, MA
Phone: (978) 809-3094
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Located close to Chinmaya Mission Boston
Chinmaya Mission Boston
Surrender to Him, and fearless you live. No harm can come! - Pujya Gurudev
On behalf of Chinmaya Boston, our humble salutations and a warm welcome to Pujya Guru ji Swami Tejomayananda to our Boston Center!
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A commemorative souvenir on the occasion of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda's Birth Centenary year and Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda's...
Published on Jul 13, 2016
A commemorative souvenir on the occasion of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda's Birth Centenary year and Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda's...