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Activities in Bengaluru during Jan 2019
Jnana Yajna in J P Nagar
Pujya Swamini Sampratishthananda of Coimbatore centre conducted a Jnana Yajna in English on Bhagawan Shankaracharya’s Maneesha Panchakam from 30/12/2018 to 06/01/2019 at Sripaadakshetra, J P Nagar. The Yajna was inaugurated by Sri Purandhara Sharma, president of the Mission. The Yajna was organised as a part of the anniversary celebrations of Sripaadakshetra which completed 14 years of service to the spiritual fraternity on 01/01/2019.
Pujya Swamini Sampratishthananda explained how all differences that we perceive are because of delusion where the vision of divinity & oneness is absent and only division is seen. The realised Master sees the whole universe as Brahman alone where He and Brahman are complete – paripoorna with no limitations – The knower, known and knowing form the integrated combination to realise the supreme Truth. Brahman is the canvas on which Maya paints her creation using the three Gunas – Satwa, Rajas and Tamas. Maneesha Panchakam forms the essence of all Upanishads giving a complete analysis of Jiva, Jagat and Ishwara and the relationship through the four Mahavakyas giving complete clarity of the ssssSupreme Truth.
The Yajna was very well attended on all the days.
Gita Jnana Yajna in Nagarabhavi
Pujya Swami Gahanananda of Tumkur centre conducted a Gita Jnana Yajna in Kannada on Bhagavad Gita Chapter-12 at Twinklers’ Vidaniketan, Nagarabhavi from 07/01/2019 to 13/01/2019. The Yajna was inaugurated by noted social reformist and writer Smt Hemalata.
Pujya Swamiji explained that the Bhagavad Gita acts as a manual showing the right path to be followed when confronted with cross roads in life. A sadhak who is confused with respect to choice regarding paths of knowledge and action is given confidence with the fact that both lead to the same Ultimate Truth but prescribed for individuals with different temperaments. What is needed is sincere attempt and attitude of mind with a strong sankalpa to realise the Self. This will calm the mind and the sadhak will view the world with equanimity never getting disturbed by the dualities.
The Yajna was well attended on all days.
Gita Jnana Yajna in N R Colony
Pujya Swami Brahmananda conducted a Gita Jnana Yajna in Kannada on Bhagavad Gita Chapter – 5 from 21/01/2019 to 27/01/2019 at Sri Rama Mandira, N R Colony. The Yajna was inaugurated by well known philanthropist and tabala player Vidwan Sri Venkatatanarayan.
Pujya Swamiji stressed the fact that happiness can never be achieved from the outer world but a state of our own inner Self which is the experience of a calm and serene mind. It is a wrong notion that renunciation of action will lead to realisation. It is necessary to only renounce the feeling of doership and continue performing action benefitting mankind. All Mahatmas led such a life of intense action without being attached to the fruits standing rooted in the fact that they are separate from the body, mind and intellect.
The Yajna was a grand success with several sadhaks deriving benefit.
Annual Balavihar Competition
The Annual Chinmaya Balavihar competition for junior and senior children was held at Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Koramangala on January 6, 2019. Pujya Swamini Sampratishthananda from Coimbatore lit the inaugural lamp for the Junior & Senior competitions. Smt Saroja Sridharan, Principal, Chinmaya Vidyalaya Koramangala graced the occasion.
In her Inaugural address, Swamini Amma spoke about the importance of learning shlokas and Stotrams in our daily life. She stressed that chanting the Shlokas and Stotrams given to us by our Gurus helps us to become pure.
The topics for the competition were Krishnashtakam, Suryashtakam, Pratah Smaranam, Shiva Shadakshara Stotram, Bhagavad Gita Chapter-9, Achyutashtakam, Totakashtakam, Chinmayananda Shatkam, Shivaparadha Kshmapana Stotram, Mankutimmana Kagga and Mantra Pushpam along with Storytelling both in English and Kannada. About 1200 children who participated in all these items left the Judges spellbound with their renditions, chanting and captivating stories.
In the holy presence of Pujya Swami Brahmanandaji, Smt Ranjitha Palanivelu and Smt Jyothi Krishnan, senior Mission members distributed the prizes.
Balavihar winter camp at CM Tirunelveli
Chinmaya Mission Tirunelveli organised the Balavihar winter camp on 23rd and 24th December 2018 at Chinmaya Vidyalaya and Pushpalatha schools. 207 children participated in the camp. During the camp they were introduced to traditional arts like Villupattu, Oyilattam, Olai art, Pottery, Kolattam, Reptile conservation and Cookery. Eminent people from the above fields introduced the arts and guided the children in performing. Also they had story telling and games sessions. Children thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and the feedback was very positive.
For More Camp Picture Click Here.
Summary of the Vedanta in Ramayana (ViRa) Course
On September 11, 2016, a group of eager and devoted Chinmaya Mission Centres across North America began a journey to learn the vedantic teachings contained within the Ramayana. Led by Vivekji from Chinmaya Mission Niagara Falls, the Centres began their two and half year online study (approximately 70 classes), where they explored the key facets of the Ramayana.
Using Tulsidasji’s exquisite poetry of Ramacaritamanasa as the basis of the teachings, the glories of Lord Rama were studied in depth. Every Sunday for one hour, key verses of each of the seven kanda’s (chapters) were reviewed, analysed, interpreted and practical implications to our daily lives were shared.
Students learned that the virtues possessed by Lord Rama are a blessing to this world. Lord Rama is Infinite. Infinite are His virtues and the depth of His story is immeasurable. Those whose thoughts are pure will feel no surprise when they hear it. Ramayana is an epic. Its purpose is to guide society. We learn how to be a good child, a dedicated student, a wonderful sibling, a loving caring spouse, a supportive friend, a defender of virtues, a noble contributing member of society and a great leader by studying its message. Various dharmas are taught in Ramayana and that is the reason why we need to study this great epic, so that we can better understand our own dharmas. Dharma brings everything together. One who follows dharma is protected. For all of us, dharma is by design. Each of us has a unique dharma designed by God. Currently, we live in our fears and insecurities, preventing us from seeing our dharma more clearly. By quieting the mind, turning inward, and following our dharma, we can be serene and strong. Dharma will protect us and others. Whatever your purpose is, dedicate yourself to that purpose. These were some of the main messages expounded in our study.
When the meaning of the name of Lord Rama is interpreted, we learned that the Ramayana is happening in ‘Our Own Body’. ‘Ra’ means light, ‘Ma’ means within me, in my heart. So, Rama means the Light within Me. When we bring the vedantic teachings of the Ramayana to ourselves, we learn that our soul is Rama, our mind is Sita, our breath or Life-Force (Prana) is Hanuman, our awareness is Lakshmana and our ego is Ravana.
When the mind (Sita), is stolen by the ego (Ravana), then the Soul (Rama) gets restless. Now the soul (Rama) cannot reach the mind (Sita) on its own. It has to take the help of the breath, the prana (Hanuman) by being in awareness (Lakshmana). With the help of the prana (Hanuman) and awareness (Lakshmana), the mind (Sita) is reunited with the soul (Rama) and the ego (Ravana) vanishes.
Students realized that those who have faith understand fate more fully. The more faith we have, the more fate reveals itself. There is an eternal debate about free will versus God’s will. For those who are less faithful, there is free will. For those who are more faithful, there is God’s will. When you become so faithful that you trust God’s will, you become unshakable. Even in an uncontrolled environment, one will be balanced and happy. Offer all that one has to Lord Rama with utmost sincerity. Hold on to the Divine, as Lord Rama assures us that whenever we remember Him, He will be with us.
There is from a powerful doha which highlights the importance of satsanga, “Binu satsanga na hari katha tehi binu moha na bhaga“. Without satsanga, there is no remembering Bhagavan. If we cannot bring Bhagavan into our lives, then moha (delusion) cannot run away. With sincere and steady prioritization of satsang and study of Ramayana, moha has no choice but to run away.
Om Tat Sat.
Chinmaya Inspiration Yatra XII
Devi Culture Study Group Satsanga
On the auspicious day of Guru Purnima, July 27th, 2018, Devi Culture Study group started the study of Guru Stotram. The Devi Satsanga was held on a Friday once a month from 7.30 PM to 9.00 PM EST via Zoom under the guidance of Shri Vivek Gupta. Thirteen study groups with approximately six Devis per group participated from USA and Canada.
Each session started with 30 minutes of discourse, followed by a 30 minutes session of Q&A with Vivekji. After which, the individual Devi group discussed the two questions assigned by Vivekji among themselves. Reflection Adventure of the Month (RAM) was assigned after each session to reflect and engage upon.
Devis learnt the inner meaning of the Guru Stotram which emphasized the importance of a Guru in one’s life. The first semester ended on Dec 14th, 2018 with each center giving a presentation describing the philosophy and the implementation aspects of each shloka in the Guru Stotram.
The study group was a fun filled means for the Devis to relax, reflect and discuss ways to resolve their everyday challenges using the knowledge gained. The Devis developed a sense of community, that enabled them to fortify the practical application of what was taught, into their day to day life. The Devi Culture Study Group will continue the study of Jagadish Arati in 2019.
Cyber-Bullying Workshop in CM-Raleigh, NC.
Snapchat, Instagram, Kik Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and so on. This list is endless – Apps that provide a means for communication and can also provide negative experiences. In the hopes of gaining popularity, watching inappropriate videos and seeking approval, our children are unknowingly encouraging the “Rise of the Social Cyber-Bully”. A workshop held in November by Chinmaya Mission Raleigh-Durham(CMRDU) with the objective to bring awareness to parents and teenagers of the pressing threats of social media and gaming apps.
Our guest Natalie Wood Riché, an outreach specialist from the North Carolina Department of Justice revealed the numerous apps that target children. Dating apps such as Yubo and Tinder are where Cyber Predators, not always adults, find their prey. They aim to groom, control behaviors, and ultimately play with the minds of this young population. Amongst others that are harmful for teens are Vaulty and Hicalculator where kids can hide all their pictures and videos. Ms Natalie encouraged parents on how to monitor their kids by not allowing devices in the child’s room, take devices away from time to time to investigate usage and set boundaries such as time usage on their devices. Free resources for parents to monitor were also shared including Circle with Disney, Outpact, App Circle and Kids Place.
The workshop continued with CMRDU’s Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYKs) – young adults who graduated from the Balvihar Program in Raleigh. They echoed Swami Chinmayananda’s words “Culture is taught and not caught”. Neel Mandavilli, Hiren Gihwala and Lavanya Rao expressed the significance of what being exposed to the spiritual culture in Balvihar meant for them. Facing fears, gaining confidence, not needing to gain approval and being content with one’s image were what they learned from this culture and was an instrumental part of their lives to deal with social issues such as bullying.
Our final speaker, Vivekji, Niagara Canada, highlighted that Cyber-Bullies are isolated individuals. We, the community, should understand that these individuals did not have good role models. He encouraged us to be that role model to others in the community and help them grow. Most discussion in the workshop was on the ways to maintain healthy habits with social media and gaming. These include these six sutras, or thread of words:
1) Use social media in the moral am (3am – 9am) when our intellect is most productive.
2) Use social media in public, not alone or isolated.
3) Use social media as a pre-paid means. Keep track of how much time you spend with social media. Our usage will be much more disciplined.
4) Distract the mind with reading. Choose reading instead of socializing on media.
5) Distract the body with walking. Choose walking to relax your body.
6) Use text for planning, not for socializing.
A warm heartfelt thanks went out to our speakers for spending their time on imparting this invaluable knowledge.
Stay tuned for our next workshop soon.
Chinmaya Mission Raleigh, NC.
Chinmaya Setukari West Virtual Satsanga
On the last Sunday of each of the past six months (July to December 2018), Chinmaya Setukaris from the corners of North America met virtually to discuss essays from the Mananam publication “Peace in a Restless World”. The discussions were led by Vivekji on the online video conferencing platform, Zoom.
A common challenge of adults in the Setukari age range of 25-45, is balancing their various responsibilities to family, career, society, etc. How does one cultivate and maintain peace in this restless world of responsibilities? This was the main theme explored by the roughly 50 Setukaris that attended the monthly online discussions. The online nature of the discussions allowed Setukaris from all over North America to participate, from Vancouver to New York and Los Angeles to Toronto.
Each discussion explored three of the eighteen essays from the Mananam book. After a 30 minute summary and analysis from Vivekji, the participants would be sent to virtual break-out rooms of 7-10 people each to discuss a key theme of that month’s reading. The satsanga would end with a 15 minute question-and-answer session with Vivekji and a RAM: reflection adventure of the month, a thought-provoking activity to be continued on one’s own over the following month.
Setukaris will continue these monthly Zoom discussions with Vivekji over the next six months (January to June 2019) based on the Mananam publication “Embracing Love”. These online discussions will be complemented with a Setukari retreat in Raleigh, North Carolina from February 15-17, 2019 where the topic will be “Led by Love, Lead by Love” based on the Vibhishana Geeta portion of Tulsi Ramayana
Gita jayanthi Tapovan jayanthi at CM Sriperumbudur
We celebrated Bhagavad Gita jayanthi and Swami. Tapovan Maharaj jayanthi on 8th Dec 2018.
Former Assistant Registrar Mr. Munusamy from University of Madras inaugurated the programme with lighting the lamp. Around 200 devotees participated in the programme.
Prayer song sung by Balvihar students. All devotees chanted selected verses from 18th chapter of Bhagavad Gita.
Brni. Bharati Chaitanya gave a talk about importance of Bhagavad Gita and Guru.
Our kids gave wonderful talk about Bhagavad Gita. Everyone enjoyed the talks of kids. Our Chyk students chanted 108 names of Bhagvad Gita and we concluded the programme with Bhagavad Gita Aarthi and Prasad. Attached some photographs of the programme along with this mail.
Chinmaya Mission Cleveland’s 5th Anniversary
Chinmaya Mission, Cleveland began with humble inception on January 18th, 2014. From meagre curious families that gathered that day, it has steadily grown to a solid community of almost 60 committed families over the last five years. With Gurudev’s blessings and Vivekji’s guidance the Cleveland Chapter has had tremendous opportunities to attend Vedanta in Ramayana classes, Bala Vihar classes and be part of various study groups, regularly.
In the true spirit of Guru-Shishya parampara, their focus has been knowledge, service and spiritual evolution. Three study groups meet every Thursday and have had privilege to formally study great texts like Self Unfoldment, Moha Mudgara, Atma Bodha and Upadesa Sara. Many seekers from Cleveland have been part of Advanced Vedanta course, Bhagvad Gita course and currently studying Meditation and Life on Tuesdays. The Cleveland Chapter has steadily grown in organizing various programs too. Such programs have included week long Jnana Yagnas on Hanuman Chalisa and Patanjali Yoga sutras, Chalisathon and Children camps. The Chapter has successfully organized two Weekend Family retreats and a Marriage retreat. Other inspirational programs have included- Beyond Bullying workshop, Devi workshop, Seva events and Yuva events. Some of the members have been fortunate to be part of Silence retreats and Chinmaya Inspiration Yatras organized by Vivekji.
With Vivekji’s guidance, its first fundraiser was organized in November 2018 and was able to raise more than $50,000 due to generous contribution from community. The Chapter’s vision is to have its own Ashram in near future. Cleveland Chinmaya community is inspired, committed and dedicated to live with ageless Vedantic vision and it is poised to spread it’s wings further with blessings of Gurudev.
Activities in CM Bengaluru during Dec 2018
Activities in Bengaluru during Dec 2018
Geeta Jnana Yajna in R T Nagar
Pujya Swami Aparajitananda of Mangalore center conducted a Geeta Jnana Yajna in English on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter – 2 in English at Vinayaka Temple, R T Nagar from 07/12/2018 to 13/12 2018.
Pujya Swamiji laid foundation to the subject stressing that Chapter 2 explains the nature of the Self which is nothing other than Brahma Vidya. Man has control only over action but not on the result. Expecting karmaphala will lead to bondage and birth death cycle to exhaust the vasanas. The only solution is to perform action righteously for the welfare of totality with a sense of gratitude to the Lord who has given us all the instruments and surroundings. The ladder of downfall actually starts with a single desire which builds up into intense craving for possessing which when not fulfilled turns to anger and delusion leading to loss of memory & discrimination culminating in total destruction of personality. The difference between a common man and a man of realisation is that the common man accepts the world as real being source of happiness whereas the Mahatma knows the world is unreal and happiness is his very nature. A man of wisdom is able to give up all desires of the mind as he is contended with himself for he knows that he is in reality immortal, ocean of peace & happiness – Sat Chit Ananda.
The Yajna was well attended on all the days.
Geeta Jnana Yajna in Tyagarajanagar
Pujya Swami Gahanananda of Tumkur Center conducted a Geeta Jnana Yajna on Message of Bhagavd Geeta for Daily Living in Kannada from 11/12/2018 to 17/12/2018 at Shirdi Sai Mandir, Tyagarajanagar.
Pujya Swamiji took several shlokas during his discourse to drive home the fact that Geeta is the Reference Manual that can be applied for peaceful and meaningful living facing the ups and downs in life without getting agitated. The best way is to perform all activities selflessly with dedication without expecting any result but accepting what come as His prasada. This is possible only through complete surrender when the Lord Himself will help in removing our delusion and bless us with Self knowledge.
The Yajna was well attended.
Geeta Jnana Yajna in Rajajinagar
Pujya Swami Brahmananda conducted a Geeta Jnana Yajna in Kannada on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter – 6 at Sri Sai College for Women, Rajajinagar from 16/12/2018 to 22/12/2018. The Yajna was inaugurated by Sri R Anand, chairman of Sri Sai Mandira Trust.
Pujya Swamiji emphasised that sanyasa is not the external appearance and renouncing society but performing all actions within the framework of society amidst all situations in life maintaining a calm and peaceful mind. We are responsible for our own lives and it is futile to blame the outer world of objects, persons and situations. He is a true karma yogi who can control his senses and remove all the negativities in the mind through daily puja, bhajan, dhyana and tapas. This attempt to purify the mind must be a regular practice and the only way to prevent the mind from getting disturbed by the petty daily situations. By living a perfect life in the present we prepare a blue print for our future.
The Yana was very well attended.
Geeta Jnana Yajna in Sahakaranagar
Pujya Swami Adityananda of Mandya centre conducted a Jnana Yajna in Kannada at SNEHA Bhavan, Sahakaranagar on Adi Shankara’s Bhaja Govindam from 23/12/2018 to 30/12/2018. The Yajna was inaugurated by Sri B M Gopalakrishna senior member of the Mission.
Pujya Swamiji explained that Bhaja Govindam tries to remove the wrong impressions and worldly attachments imbedded in our mind through ignorance. Acharya Shankara advocates worshipping Govinda stressing the fact that Govinda is the inner Self who is the Chaitanya enlivening the inert body, mind and intellect. We with ignorance serve the body which in reality is not the real “Me”. There is also a subtle warning here that we need to do what is necessary, apt and moral instead of performing acts that are useless & foolish having no meaning or relevance. Shankar justifies his stand through several day to day examples that magnify the futility of most of our regular activities inspiring us to understand the Reality. Once we start looking at life with the inner eye a totally new outlook blossoms in front of us with the understanding that only Chaitanya – Govinda exists.
The Yajna was well attended.
Gita and Pujya Swami Tapovan Jayanti was observed in all the centres on 18/12/1019 through chanting of all the chapters of Bhagavad Gita along with Tapovan Shatkam and performing Paduka Puja. Satsangs were also conducted by Swamijis on the eternal message of Bhagavad Gita to humanity and Pujya Swami Tapovan Maharaj’s contribution in making the subtle message of our scriptures available to common man.