The last month at Chinmaya Bharati we welcomed and housed the Chinmaya Jyoti for a short four weeks. During that time, the centre seemed to glow a new glow and was vibrant with activities. From the day the Jyoti arrived to the day the Jyoti left for the next location, everyday there was movement in the centre and brought us together for numerous events.
The first few weeks were filled with classes in the evenings. Weeknights were filled with either the Devi group taking Bhaja Govindam, a study group for Gurudev’s Logic of Spirituality, bhajan groups, Bhagavad Geeta classes, or families participating in Paduka Poojas. The center was filled with new and old members of all age groups getting involved. On weekends, balavihar classes were packed and children worked hard in their final practices for the Geeta Chanting Competition.
As the month continued forward, activities picked up even more, with an overnight youth sleepover camp on the Chinmaya Mission Pledge. The high schoolers filled their minds with Vedanta, enjoyed team work activities and games, and of course ate lots of wonderful food.
A few days later, the long awaited Geeta Chanting Competition took place. Over 15 children came in nervous yet very prepared and tons of spectators sat in the audience to cheer them on. The children of ages 4-16 had been practicing and memorizing Geeta Chapter 15, perfecting their pronunciation and mastering the tune. When the competition began, all were in shock to see how well the children were doing. Jaws were dropping and everyone was excited for the whole evening.
For me, this was the highlight of the month. Swami Chinmayananda’s greatest contribution to people everywhere was the Bhagavad Geeta and he is known all over the world for his commentary and teachings in English on this text. Watching children from such a young age, mastering one chapter from the Geeta and chanting it with gusto, felt like it was very much unto Him. It was a good wrap-up of activities at Chinmaya Bharati for the month having the Chinmaya Jyoti with us.
Overall, the Chinmaya Jyoti symbolized togetherness and helped me to visualize the vastness of the Chinmaya family. To see the Jyoti travel across the world from huge centres like Los Angeles to small townships like Minden, Ontario, was a heartwarming experience. Although I never met Swami Chinmayananda, witnessing events of such magnitude such as the Chinmaya Jyoti Yatra, helps me to know him better. From seeing devotees willingly travel on a long journey to Boston to bring the Jyoti to Chinmaya Bharati, to listening to stories of Gurudev from members at the centre, to watching people conduct paduka poojas with utmost devotion and love, to smiling through the “Moods of the Master” video on the final evening of the Jyoti in Ottawa, I learn more and more about the greatness of Gurudev, and I feel more and more blessed to be a part of such an organization and to continue to follow under His guidance. It was an honouring experience to be involved in such a big movement, and the whole Chinmaya Ottawa family really did attempt to respect our promise of “Unto HIM our best.”