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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.
Geeta Chanting Competition 2018 at CM Jaipur
On December 9, 2018 Sunday, Chinmaya Mission Jaipur organized the Inter
school level of “Geeta Chanting Competition” at Paramanand Hall, C- Scheme,
Jaipur. This competition is being successfully conducted annually by
Chinmaya Mission Jaipur since 1999. It was consecutive 20th year.
In this competition this year 2550 students from 13 eminent and prestigious
schools of Jaipur participated, out of which 29 participants reached the Inter
school level. Immense enthusiasm was seen in schools, parents and students
for this event.
The Chief guest of the event Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sharma, Professor & Head
of the Philosophy Department, Rajasthan University, graced the program with
his presence and guided everyone on the relevance of Shrimad Bhagwat
Geeta and it’s usefulness in life.
In the competition, the first, second and third winners of each category A, B, S
& D were given award of cash prizes of 3000 /-, 2000 /- and 1000/-
respectively along with books and trophies. Four schools were given prizes
for overall best performance.
Certificates of participation were given to all the 2550 participants.
This year, all the participants gave a memorable presentation on the Geeta on
The event coordinators were Dr. Ramesh Wadhwani, Sh. Mool chand Khatri
and special assistance was given by former treasurer Chinmaya Mission
Jaipur Sh. Ramjas Vaish. They were felicitated by the Chief guest and
President Smt. Mamta Mansingka for their dedicated contribution in
conducting the event successfully.
Senior Mission members along with Secretary and President were present
during the program.
“India, My Sacred Land” – Where Bala vihar students and saints came together!
From apprehension to appreciation, an Indian American teenager’s gradual change of heart towards India was the premise of a captivating play performed on December 8th 2018, at Chinmaya Prabha Houston. In a compelling narrative of a few of India’s saints, 115 Balavihar children worked in harmony with live orchestra, modern technology, and visual effects to fly us across space and time to “India, My Sacred Land.”
The play draws inspiration from Shri Darshana Nanavaty’s sixth grade curriculum book, “India, The Sacred Land.” The common notion that saints are only ascetics living in solitude was systematically corrected as each act unfolded the story of a special saint who influenced the society of that time. After paying homage to the Chinmaya Guru Parampara, children embodied the spirits of Samartha Ramdas, the inspirational guru of Emperor Chatrapathi Shivaji and of the melodiously devotional Mirabai, the princess saint of Mewad. They portrayed Purandaradasa, the miserly diamond merchant who turned into a devoted musical saint; they made us revere the values that Kabirdas lived and mesmerized us with the power of the faith of Soordas, the blind poet-saint. They highlighted the great humility of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and the missionary zeal of his disciple Swami Vivekananda–well remembered for his revolutionary address at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. For the duration of the play, those performing were not just children but truly a representation of the saints themselves, worthy of respect and attention.
The bhajans and musical accompaniment of the live orchestra trained by Smt. Jamuna Murali and her team elevated the performance. Singers, tabla players, cellists, violinists, and pianists musically showcased the mood in every scene. Characters like the naughty mice, the perplexed disciple, and the enlightened masters were enlivened by creative sound effects that were mischievous, amusing, and deeply soulful respectively. Make-up and costumes for the 115 performers – for royalty, saints, peasants and devotees who all spanned different centuries, were breathtakingly realistic and true to character.
While the play was written entirely in English, the clever script by the Bala vihar play coordinators moved seamlessly between traditional and contemporary styles of speech. Relatable snippets of a young boy complaining about bedtime, referring to a saint as ‘awesome,’or simply judging India by its outward gildings, struck a chord and often won plenty of laughs from the audience.
An IT-focused audio-visual team tied everything together brilliantly. Awe-inspiring, larger-than-life images and animations burst out from the massive LED-lit backdrop. It drew the audience into the inner sanctum of temples, allowed access into the most important of Shivaji’s courtrooms and even took viewers to the Chicago Parliament of World Religions assembly of 1893.
The most impressive achievement is the diverse age range of the performers from as little as pre-K to twelfth grade. These artists kept the packed hall riveted to their seats. To come across an occasion where people from age two to ninety two can all thoroughly enjoy an evening together is rare. “India, My Sacred Land” is a true testimony to the devoted teamwork of all the volunteer groups of Chinmaya Mission Houston.
Chinmaya Mission Ann Arbor held its 5th annual CHYK retreat in 2018.
Pujya Guruji’s visit to MSSS Patiala
Pujya Guruji visited Modern Senior Secondary School, Patiala.
The days events started with the school band escorting Guruji for the cultural program put up by the students. Ms. Nanki Singh, Trustee of the school introduced Guruji to the children and teachers. Shri Jujhar Singh – Chairman and trustee and Ms. Anjali Singh, Ms. Indu Shrikent, Ms. Kala Ramnath, Ms. Aishna Sharma Chulani, Shri Chetan Sharma members of the School Managing Committee and devotees of Chinmaya Mission were also present. The cultural program presented included the primary school children singing nursery rhymes written by Guruji and the Aarti by Guru Nanak Dev ji. The skits invoked a love for God.
Thereafter Guruji addressed students of classes 6-8.
Speaking to students of classes 9-12 Guruji shared the 6As for success: Aptitude, Aspiration, Ability, Application, Attitude and Altar of dedication.
For the children of classes 3-5 Guruji told a story indicating how all work can be dedicated to God.
In the evening Guruji planted a sapling and had a session for teachers in which Guruji pointed out that the purpose of Education is manifesting the divinity in a person and to develop love for God.