Chinmaya Mission

CMW News


November 2014, No. 162

IN THIS ISSUE

 

 

Home

 

Spiritual Trails

 

Reflections

 

News

 

Feature

 

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Previous CMWN Issues

 

 

 

NEWS

For all photos, click on image to enlarge.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CBCC National and International Bhagavad Gītā Chanting Competition

 

New Yuva Veers

 

A Novel Approach to an Ancient Language

 

Gītā Chapter 14 in CM Calgary

 

Chinmaya Bala Vihar in Houston Reopens with Melodious Prayers

 

Mahāsamādhi Camp 2014: The Miracles of 49

 

CM Toronto Revels in Spiritual Teachings

 

CORD Raises Visibility

 

Sixth Annual CORD Walk at CM Boston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CBCC National and International Bhagavad Gītā Chanting Competition
by Swami Sharanananda


As part of the birth centenary celebrations of Pujya Gurudev in 2015-16, regional, national, and international Bhagavad Gītā chanting competitions will be held on Chapter 15, with the theme given by Pujya Guruji, “Chant Gītā, Enchant Krishna.” All levels of the competition are open only to children ages 4-15 years. The regional competition may be open to all ages, as determined by the local centers.

Pujya Gurudev breathed, lived, and talked on the Gītā throughout His life. During his centenary year, Mission centers and members will strive to spread the message of this holy scripture among the masses. To “chant-study-know-live” the Gītā as guided by our Guru Paramparā, is one of the greatest blessings. On behalf of CMW’s National Gītā Chanting Committee, all centers and members are requested to create and promote awareness of Gītā chanting among children, youth, parents of Chinmaya Bala Vihar and the community at large. Learning aid CDs and judging criteria will be e-mailed to CMW centers.

The competitions will be held as follows:

  • Local Level: At satellite centers, per their set date
  • Regional Level: At main centers (with or without satellites); the results must be emailed to sharanananda@chinmayamission.org by September 13, 2015 in order for the First and Second winners from each group (maximum 6 in total) to be eligible for the National Level competition
  • National Level: At CM Chicago (Badri ashram) on October 10-11, 2015. The judging criteria from the International Gītā Chanting Committee will be strictly followed. Attendance does not include travel and lodging expenses. Boarding will be provided by CM Chicago.
  • International Level – The Competition will be held at Chinmaya Vibhooti, in Kolwan, near Pune, India on December 25, 2015. Only the 1st Place National Winners (maximum three) will be eligible to participate. Travel and immigration details must be taken care of by the participants’ parents. Expenses regarding travel, lodging, and boarding will be intimated.


The groups for judging and Chapter 15 verses for chanting are as follows, with all ages as of January 1, 2015:

  • Group A: ages 4-6 years, verses 1-12
  • Group B: ages 7-9 years, verses 1-20
  • Group C: ages 10-12 years, verses 1-20
  • Group D: ages 13-15 years, verses 1-20


The judges at local and regional levels will be appointed by the respective centers. The National Level judges (three per age group) will be appointed by the National Committee (Swamis Shantananda, Ishwarananda, Sarveshananda, and Sharanananda, and Acharya Sharada Kumar). The prizes at local, regional, and national levels will be determined later. The International Level prizes are as follows:

First Prize: Rs. 100,000
Second Prize: Rs. 50,000
Third Prize: Rs. 25,000

 

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New Yuva Veers
by Swami Sarveshananda

 

With the Lord’s Blessings, Pujya Gurudev’s grace, and Pujya Guruji’s unending love and guidance, the second batch of CHYK West’s Youth Empowerment Program, YEP America 2014, completed successfully in August 2014.

The following students graduated from the course and will be serving at the following centers:

Divya Rao, CM Princeton
Pranav Rao, CM Washington DC
Srinivas Simhan, CM Ann Arbor
Ansh Grover, CM Miami
Sowmiya Muthuraju, CM Beaumont
Ashwin Chandra, CIF (India)
Raj Cheruvu, CM Philadelphia
Nirav Shah, CM Washington DC
Vamsi Reddy, CM Atlanta
Janani Naidu, CM Ann Arbor
Amudha Pazhanisamy, CM Boston
Meena Mana, CM Bentonville
Ankita Janakiraman, CM Princeton
Sanjana Manikandan, CM Princeton
Rahul Dharmavaratha, CM Washington DC
Avanika Khanna, CM Dallas
Vinisha Rana, CM Ann Arbor
Swathi Anantha, CM Dallas
Shilpam Shah, CM Dallas
Mehana Parikh, CM Austin
Suriya Sharma, CM Philadelphia

YEP gave the participants the opportunity to learn scriptural knowledge, Sanskrit, Vedic chanting, pūjā vidhi, administrative skills, organizational management, and the ability to conduct workshops, seminars, camps, and weekly Chinmaya Bala Vihar and Yuva Kendra classes. They studied with various CM acharyas and through various mediums, and nourished their talent, potential, and confidence.

Special thanks to the following acharyas and sevaks who enthusiastically taught and engaged with the students on various subjects: Swamis Shantananda (CM Princeton), Chaitanyananda (CM Boston), Ramakrishnananda (CIF), Sharanananda (CM Chicago), Paratmananda (CM Beaumont); Swamini Shivapriyananda (CM Toronto); Brahmachari Girish Chaitanya (CM Austin); Acharya Vivek Gupta (CM Niagara); Srinivas Sukumar (CM San Diego); Rudite Emir (CM San Jose); and Barbara Waugh.

Select YEP graduates will be participating in the following national projects:

  • CHYK West National Seva Project: Shilpam Shah, Meena Mana, Raj Cheruvu
  • CORD USA: Ankita Janakiraman, Raj Cheruvu, Avanika Khanna, Mehana Parikh, Ansh Grover, Surya Sharma, Rahul Dharmavaratha, Raj Cheruvu, Sowmiya Muthuraju
  • CHYK West university tours: Nirav Shah, Rahul Dharmavaratha
  • YEP 2016: Swathi Anantha, Ankita Janakiraman, Pranav Rao, Shilpam Shah, Nirav Shah, Srinivas Simhan, Avanika Khanna, Ankita Janakiraman, Sanjana Manikandan, Sowmiya Muthuraju, Swathi Anantha, Janani Naidu, Suriya Sharma
  • CHYK West Cam-Tra-Con 2014: Ansh Grover, Janani Naidu, Sowmiya Muthuraju, Swathi Anantha, Suriya Sharma, Avanika Khanna, Sanjana Manikandan, Pranav Rao
  • CHYK West regional planning conferences in 2015 and 2016: Divya Rao, Srinivas Simhan, Sanjana Manikandan, Janani Naidu
  • Yuva Rhythms (music CD), Part 2 - Ganesha: Avanika Khanna, Ankita Janakiraman, Srinivas Simhan, Meena Mana
  • CHYK West website and data consolidation: Nirav Shah, Shilpam Shah, Srinivas Simhan, Ashwin Chandra, Raj Cheruvu
  • Junior CHYK outreach and national camp: Mehana Parikh, Srinivas Simhan, Vinisha Rana, Pranav Rao, Ashwin Chandra, Rahul Dharmavaratha, Ansh Grover
  • CMW Jyoti Yātrā for CBCC: Vinisha Rana, Divya Rao, Swathi Anantha, Amudha Pazhanisamy, Ankita Janakiraman, Srinivas Simhan, Meena Mana

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to watch youtube video

 

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A Novel Approach to an Ancient Language
by Padmashree Rao

 

Even Lord Ganesha must have been smiling when an audience of all ages waited with curiosity on August 29, the evening of Ganesha Chaturthi. It was the introductory class of the Easy Sanskrit camp at CM Houston’s Chinmaya Prabhā ashram. Curiosity soon melted into light-hearted joy when Swami Ramakrishnananda (CIF) introduced everyone to the beauty, grace, poetry, and timeless value of the Sanskrit language, with easy humor. From the first minutes of that opening class, it was obvious that learning Sanskrit from Swamiji was going to be a hilarious adventure!

With eager interest, the audience came back the next morning. The night before, the tune of the great poet Kalidasa’s “Thatham thatham tham thathatham thatham tha . . .,” from King Bhoja’s story that Swamiji had narrated, had been repeating itself in many minds. The way Swamiji had harmonized the interpretations of “Tat tvam asi” in deep yet simple words had been an eye-opener. It is fascinating how Swamiji teaches the ancient language of our scriptures; it was like Sanskrit never before.

The word had spread around in Houston. Those who had thought that they would just attend the introductory lecture came with more eagerness the next three days. The audience was diverse. CMH’s acharyas, Gaurang and Darshana Nanavaty, were promptly there, as were Chinmaya Bala Vihar teachers. Fathers, mothers, children, and grandparents sat together, ready with their notebooks. Those who knew absolutely no Sanskrit, as well as those who had learned Sanskrit in schools and colleges in India, sat equally ready for Swamiji to begin.

There was not even a minute of boredom, as Swamiji charmed and challenged everyone to learn without inhibition. People had to stop themselves from rolling with laughter when Swamiji play-acted, sang opera-style, mimicked accents, and often cooked up hilarious examples, quoting mouth-watering Indian delicacies! And, after a while, the sheer fun and unadulterated taste of learning took over. Adults became children and learned to rap vowels, consonants, and verb conjugations in Sanskrit, taking cue from teenagers and young adults. The children, who were pleasantly surprised to see a Swamiji advocate a rap, immediately connected with the learning process. Many looked amused at their parents’ antics and their efforts to keep with the rhythm of the youngsters. Yet, learning never took a backseat to the unending episodes of laughter.

Having navigated the alphabet and identified the many groups of pure consonants through strange classification methods, by the third class, Swamiji expertly led the alert audience into the expanding Sanskrit world of nouns, indeclinables, and verbs. Swamiji likened the whole learning process to a house-building project. In just three classes of about four-and-a half hours, the functional four walls and a simple roof made a simply elegant “home of Sanskrit” take shape. Nouns of three genders, and their 24 forms, the changeless indeclinables, and the entertaining combinations of the 2,200 verb roots, along with pronouns, all soon came together in happy, coherent sentences. The members of the audience were amazed - they actually could build simple sentences in Sanskrit and speak—what a joy to glimpse into the language of the sages!

Encouraging everyone at each step, Swami Ramakrishnananda then gently introduced the past, present, and future tense forms of some common verbs. Any tension in the learning process vanished when Swamiji taught with dramatic flair, often using reverse logic techniques. The audience “remembered to forget” whenever he led the revision games.

Swamiji, the author of the Easy Sanskrit books and courses in print, home-study, online, and DVD formats (chinfo.org), has made it a mission to make Sanskrit a familiar and loved language. He illustrated how knowing just basic Sanskrit can open the doors to greater understanding. In his concluding session, he presented familiar verses of Bhaja Govindam and Bhagavad Gītā, and helped the audience to read in the light of what they learned so far. To get such insight into a realm that had seemed so unreachable made everyone feel grateful for this unique Sanskrit camp, straight from the land of Bhagavan Adi Shankaracharya.

No one wanted that camp to end; such was the magic of the Sanskrit classes taught by Swami Ramakrishnananda. When Swamiji concluded and praised CM Houston members for their excellent organizational support, an audience of almost 200 students felt reluctant to leave. The rap tunes, rice-mustard-jilebi jokes, and T-dal vs. C-dal dilemma made this camp an experience hard to forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gītā Chapter 14 in CM Calgary
by Ashok Nair


Chinmaya Mission Calgary was blessed to take a spiritual journey into Bhagavad Gītā, Chapter 14 by Brahmachari Girish Chaitanya, August 9-14. Through his profound commentary that spanned six evenings and 27 verses, he enlightened all attendees explaining how the study of Gītā provides insight into their own minds.

Girishji articulated that in this chapter Bhagavān gives the definition of the guṇas, namely sattva, rajas, and tamas. He then elaborated on the bondage of the guṇas, the insignia of the guṇas, where the guṇas will take us, and what will be the ultimate result of living by guṇas. He pointed out that the purpose is to know these guṇas and transcend them, with the goal of human birth being to unite with the highest Reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chinmaya Bala Vihar in Houston Reopens with Melodious Prayers
by Padmashree Rao


The new year of Chinmaya Bala Vihar was heralded on September 7 with over 1200 adults and children, who assembled in two sessions at CM Houston’s Chinmaya Prabhā ashram to usher in another year of learning, the Chinmaya way. Melodious bhajans invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha, Mother Sarasvati, and Pujya Gurudev opened the day.

Manasa Kethireddipalli offered a prayer to Pujya Gurudev and welcomed all the families. She said wholesome success will surely come when we follow the path that Pujya Gurudev has lived and taught. The central prayer extolling Pujya Gurudev that opened this Bala Vihar year was Pujya Guruji’s composition of Prārthanā Gītam. A thought-provoking presentation of each line of the song allowed devotees to reflect on the glory of the Guru. As a leader, who guides, provides, protects, and enlightens through knowledge and devotion, a Guru leads us to a life of goodness without fear or worries. The promise of a truly compassionate Guru is that he never abandons us, even if we may forget him.

Acharyas Gaurang and Darshana Nanavaty then addressed the gathering. Requesting all students to be regular in their studies, Gaurangji offered his salutations to the Guru Paramparā, and explained how all saints and sages experience the same Truth yet manifest It in different ways.

Pujya Gurudev gave a Mission through which the whole family could embrace the scriptures. In the 1970s, when scriptural learning was offered in a few camp settings to adults only in India, Pujya Gurudev opened the doors to welcome a global family. Children were welcomed into the lap of Chinmaya Bala Vihar, the youth were encouraged with Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, and adults were empowered with the scriptural wisdom through Chinmaya Study Group. His establishment of Sāndeepany Sādhanālayas keeps the light of Vedantic knowledge shining brighter still through inspired seekers serving to carry on the legacy of a timeless Guru Paramparā.

Gaurangji lovingly introduced Priya and Rahul Maini, a young couple that took their Bala Vihar inspiration from Houston and Dallas all the way to Sāndeepany Sādhanālaya, Mumbai, and successfully completed the last two-year Vedanta Course.

As the children’s choir began singing Prārthanā Gītam, the acharyas inaugurated the new Bala Vihar year of 2014-15 by lighting the Chinmaya lamp and offering their pranams at the feet of Pujya Gurudev. The young Sāndeepany graduates did the same, followed by every child of each grade carrying a small dīyā and offering it at the feet of Pujya Gurudev. Soon, all the 108 lamps that the teachers lit on the stage of the Chinmaya Smriti hall shone bright, as did the hundreds of lamps offered with love by the children.

The signature aspect of the opening day ceremony was the joyful eagerness visible everywhere—in the faces of children carrying their lit lamps with sweet pride, in the happy smiles of the parents who watched their children connect with their Indian cultural and scriptural roots, in the enthusiastic team of teachers clad in their beige and gold-trimmed Kerala saris, in the spirit of seva that stood out in the assistance offered by the various teams who tirelessly work behind the scenes, and in the bright skies that offered a joyful sprinkle of rain, as if to indicate divine blessings from Lord Shiva, the ashram temple’s presiding deity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mahāsamādhi Camp 2014: The Miracles of 49
by K.C. Bhalgat

 

The Chinmaya Mahāsamādhi Ārādhanā Camp was held this year at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain, Trinidad, July 29-August 3. The camp was conducted by Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda, and attending camp acharyas included Swami Prakashananda (CM Trinidad), Swami Nikhilananda (CM Delhi), Swami Sharanananda (CM Chicago), Acharya Vivek Gupta (CM Niagara), and Brahmacharis Avinash and Hamerajh (CM Trinidad).

Swami Prakashananda, with a team of joyful and untiring sevaks of CM Trinidad, did exceptional work in organizing this camp. Pujya Gurudev’s blessings were visible as all the brahmachārīs of the Vedanta Course in CM Trinidad, local Mission volunteers, and enthusiastic community members of Trinidad made the camp experience wonderful, comfortable, and memorable. All minute details were particularly well-planned and implemented for the 600+ devotees in attendance from all over the world.

In an evening cultural presentation by the children of the Chinmaya Vidyālayas in Trinidad (the only country outside Indian with CM schools), the delegates learned the history of Trinidad and CM Trinidad-Tobago. These twin islands were ruled by Britishers, who, in the year 1800, brought Indians, mainly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, to work on the sugarcane fields. Third and fourth generation Indians now continue to live ther, play leading roles in the government, and maintain their Hindu culture as taught by their forefathers. In 1964, Trinidadians approached Pujya Gurudev and requested him to start a local chapter of Chinmaya Mission. On May 9, 1965, one day after Pujya Gurudev’s 49th birthday, Pujya Gurudev landed in Trinidad and stayed with the Outar family, who accompanied him on a morning walk to a field that was half a mile from their house; this location is now the CM Trinidad ashram. Pujya Gurudev stayed there only for three days and conducted satsangs that had enduring impact on the minds of the people who attended. Pujya Gurudev was invited again in 1966. His final and longest visit was in 1967 with “The Great Geeta Talk Fest.”

Swami Prakashananda was born in California, Trinidad, migrated to Toronto, Canada for higher studies, and met met Pujya Gurudev for the first time in 1989 at a jñāna yajña in Toronto. After completing his studies in 1991, the young seeker joined the Vedanta Course in Mumbai, and thereafter spent six years giving discourses across India and Nepal.

Some devotees from Trinidad approached Pujya Guruji in the U.S. asking to start Chinmaya Mission in Trinidad. Soon, the recent graduate, Brahmachari Prem, returned to Trinidad. In 1997, he established CM Trinidad-Tobago and in 1999, began searching with local devotees for property to build an ashram. They selected two locations and proposed the plan to the government. The authorities rejected both proposals, but offered a third parcel of land on Calcutta Road. When they started looking at this land, the neighbor told them that one Indian Swami used to walk here. This neighbor recognized the swami’s picture and the devotees realized Param Pujya Gurudev and chosen and blessed the land.

Pujya Guruji visited Trinidad first time on July 1, 2000, which was also one day after his 49th birthday. He presided over the bhūmī pūjā (groundbreaking ceremony). The ashram acharya was initiated as Brahmachari Prem Chaitanya. On the inauguration of the new ashram, which is designed as a Sāndeepany institute, the ashram’s new official address became #1 Swami Chinmayananda Drive. Pujya Guruji inaugurated the ashram on June 9, 2002. In March 2005, on Mahāshivarātri day, Pujya Guruji initiated Brahmachari Prem Chaitanya into sannyāsa as Swami Prakashananda.

As a brahamachārī, Swamiji had initiated many projects all over Trinidad-Tobago, following Pujya Gurudev’s vision of spreading Vedantic knowledge. Over the years, he has been dynamically conducting satsangs, jñāna yajñas, unique fundraisers, residential camps, Vedanta courses, administering Chinmaya Vidyalayas. He also initiated the Shānti Yātrā on Gandhi Jayanti and was awarded the Chaconia Gold Medal for service by the Republic of Trinidad-Tobago on August 12, 2012.

When Pujya Guruji called Swami Prakashananda in 2013 to accept CM Trinidad’s request to host a mahāsamādhi ārādhanā camp, it was Swamiji’s 49th birthday. This camp was held 49 years after Pujya Gurudev’s first visit in 1965 when he created an indelible impact on the minds of the people. As always, during this 21st mahāsamādhi ārādhanā camp, Pujya Guruji captivated the minds of devotees young and old, local and foreign. The joyful success of the camp was, indeed, part of this unique miracle of 49.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CM Toronto Revels in Spiritual Teachings
by Acharyas Dev and Gina Singh


Devotees of CM Toronto’s Chinmaya Shivālaya ashram, and local community members, basked in an abundance of warmth with the teachings of Shri Rāmacharitamānasa by Swami Prakashananda. The week-long jñāna yajña on Bāla-kāṇḍa was conducted September 22-26.

Swamiji’s unique melodious rendition of the verses in unique Trinidadian style was enriched by his exposition on their profound symbolism and Vedantic significance. With powerful anecdotes, wit, and humor, Swamiji relayed complex Vedantic messages in such a simple manner that the packed audience of all ages went home with many insightful messages to reflect on each day. Reflections included the importance of faith in removing doubt, the power of the Lord’s name, the circumstances leading to Shri Rama avatar, the ideal standards of living Shri Rama followed, and more. At the end of the five days, the audience longed for more satsang with Swamiji, yet felt a joyful contentment from the chanting and deeper understanding of the Rāmāyaṇa.

Chinmaya Shivalaya was pleased to host a one-hour puppet show program featuring the life of His Holiness Swami Vivekananda on September 27. The audience gave a standing ovation at its conclusion. Testimonies resounding appreciation were heard as devotees exited.

A child said, “It was beyond words. I have never seen anything like that in my eight years of life.”

An adult said, “During Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago address, I had uncontrollable tears. I wish I had known how amazing it was going to be. I would have brought so many more people.”

Swamini Shivapriyananda (CM Toronto) said, “This show deserved to have been at Thomson Hall.”

What was so special about this show was its relevance and appeal to all ages. The story began as a dialogue between a grandfather and his young grandson, who heard, and learned from, the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. The show beautifully demonstrated a dramatic change in the child as he went from being obsessed with his iPad to a valuable asset to the community.  

The powerful script tactfully depicted the teachings of Swami Vivekananda over the course of his life, including his extraordinary courage in childhood, his spirit of service and desire for knowledge in youth, the importance of basic morals and values that make one an asset to the society, a simple but profound definition of karma, some of his famous anecdotes, and his famed address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

The artistic expertise was notable. In collaboration with the Government of India, the Ramakrishna Mission in Delhi hired a famous puppeteer group from Rajasthan, India that engaged the audience through advanced audio-visual effects, a powerful script, exceptional puppetry, and artistic color dyes.

Indeed, this ingenious depiction of the life of His Holiness Swami Vivekananda offered befitting homage to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the revered spiritual master.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CORD Raises Visibility
by Subha Pathial


CORD USA requests all readers to write a review of CORD to raise visibility for its work. GreatNonprofits is honoring highly reviewed nonprofits with their 2014 Top-Rated List. CORD USA has had the privilege of being listed as one of the Great Nonprofits in 2012 and 2013, and with everyone’s support, hopes to continue to be recognized. All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. Click here to submit your review.

 



Rajesh Desingu was planning to run the New York City Marathon when he had the opportunity to meet CORD USA organizers in New York and decided to partner with them and dedicate his marathon run to raise funds for CORD Sri Lanka.

Kamya Chandra, a high school sophomore from Portland, had her Bharatnatyam ārangetram in October and requested all her well-wishers to donate to the Chinmaya Vijaya orphanage through CORD USA instead of giving her a gift. 

Sanjana Srinivasan (grade 8), owner of Frosted World: Cupcakes for a Cause Bakery in New Jersey has been baking cakes, cupcakes, and cookies for a cause since she was 11 years old. She donates all her profits to CORD. Last year, she donated $1,588.50. Read her blog and get more information at frostedworld.com.

 



CM Philadelphia’s CORD chapter held a successful walkathon at the Playwicki Farm in Langhorne on September 20. View photos.

CORD USA volunteers at American University gave their time and services to CORD Thamaraipakkam for six weeks, May-June 2014. During this time they visited many villages, met and interacted with the beneficiaries, conducted English classes, visited differently-abled children, painted classrooms, and helped organize womens’ and girls’ empowerment events.

CORD USA organizers in Raleigh had a great turnout for their 5K Run on August 9 with 120 participants, 40 volunteers, and the Mayor—who all came out despite the rain. The event commenced with invocation prayers, a rain dance, and words from the Mayor. Event sponsors had provided bread, smoothies, massages, face painting, and origami. It was a fun event that everyone enjoyed and it was covered by the TV Asia news channel. View the clip.

Globemed GROW Team of Boston College spent three weeks this past August learning and working alongside staff and volunteers at CORD Siruvani. Globemed is excited and ready to start their second year of a strong partnership between their organization and CORD USA.

 


Shivali Marwaha and Sid Chawla, students at Langley High School in Virginia, organized a Bollywood Bash with five other local clubs in June and raised $500 for CORD. Read details.

Geetha Somayajula donated her high school graduation gifts to CORD USA in June and received appreciations from Pujya Guruji. Read her interview.

Chethan Anant offered a flute and vocal concert on June 22 in Chicago and asked asked everyone to donate to CORD USA instead of giving him a gift. He collected over $4k in donations at this event.

CM Princeton’s Bala Vihar students of the Bridgewater location organized and particiapted in their first walkathon on May 18. They had a successful event and received kudos from the other attendees.

 



CM Minnesota organized two back-to-back CORD USA walkathons on May 10 and 11 in Chaska and St. Paul, respectively. They raised $18k in total, of which Chaska’s Chinmaya Bala Vihar students traised $900 by selling sandwiches. With only three weeks to prepare, they made water bottles sporting the CORD logo and healthy sandwiches for lunch. One student raised $830 selling jewelry. St. Paul’s Chinmaya Bala Vihar joined its Mother’ Day picnic with the CORD walk to help raise more funds.

The Consulate General of India, New York, in association with the CORD USA’s New York chapter, organized a guitar recital by Ravi Iyer on May 9. It was a memorable experience for the attendees, who also received a presentation by Supriya Krishnakumar and William Burke highlighting CORD’s efforts to improve the lives of people in India’s villages.

CORD USA organizers of CM Alpharetta hosted a 5K CORD Walk on April 19 at South Forsyth Middle School. They had food, music, Zumba dance, and several vendors showcased. The walk was sponsored by several organizations, including Suvidha, AT&T, Datum Software, and Smile Magic Dentistry. Approximately 450 participants registered for the event and generously donated for the noble cause.

CM Sacramento members participated in the local annual Mustard Seed Spin, a 20K bike ride for a local school for homeless kids, on September 28.

The construction of new facilities at CORD Siruvani is underway and coming up beautifully. Special thanks to all donors, especially to CM Niagara’s “Steps to Siruvani” program. View construction photos.

 



CORD Deuladiha’s youth empowerment program has facilitated the formation of 14 Yuvati Samooh with 146 members in total. The youth meet monthly and have completed a variety of awareness projects in the community (e.g., cleaning a community pond in the village of Deuladiha). CORD Deuladiha has also provided training in tailoring training 52 adolescent girls as part of its income generation initiative for the Yuvati Samooh. Of these 52 girls, 9 are now earning a monthly income by making school dresses. Read more.

CORD Lathikata continues to bring awareness to health, hygiene, and sanitation. It organized a program on sanitation under the Grama Parimala Divas at Betora, Mundojare Gram Panchayat on February 20. The program educated participants on various practices, including the harms of using contaminated water and improper disposal of human waste. The drive was held on May 8 and involved youngsters, the elderly, acharyas, and CM and CORD sevaks. Read more.

The awareness theme continues at CORD Siruvani. In addition to activities conducted by local CORD members, many volunteers from around the globe who visited CORD Siruvani have helped improve health awareness. They interacted with the villagers, especially women and children, and educated them on health issues such as anemia, tobacco addiction, and improper sanitation. A waste segregation initiative was introduced by volunteer Parthu Kalva from the University of California San Diego. The initiative was in collaboration with a local vendor and PROWASTE, an NGO. Children in rural schools were given a schedule to follow to segregate waste at their schools. Read more.

Going Organic, CORD Kaza is expanding their kitchen garden this year to help provide children at Chinmaya Vijaya with nutritional food. A Child Development Project officer from the Department of Women’s and Child Welfare visited the orphanage and was highly impressed by how the administration of Chinmaya Vijaya. Read more.

CORD Sidhbari showcased women’s empowerment through an awareness rally, “The One Billion Rising Program,” which provides a legal framework to protect women from domestic violence and similar issues. A resolution was submitted to the District Commissioner of Kangra to provide legal aid to women as well as police appeal support. The Chinmaya Navajyoti Mahila Mandal raised its collective voice at an event to stop the use of an illegal stone crusher that was hampering the safety of the village and hindering the nearby river’s water flow. Read more about similar achievements and key activities in their annual report.

 

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Sixth Annual CORD Walk at CM Boston
by Venkat Pula


CM Boston conducted its sixth annual CORD Walk on September 28 at a local park on a picture-perfect day. The event was successfully organized by a dedicated team of volunteers under the able guidance of resident acharya, Swami Chaitanyananda. Also in attendance was Gowrie Mahenthiran, Director of CORD Sri Lanka. 

In addition to the Walk, the day featured a family picnic, and games and activities for children and adults. These included cricket, face painting, a petting zoo, an ice cream stand, and a display of handmade goods and paintings for sale. The display items had been made by CORD Sidhbari villagers and CORD Sri Lanka locals. 

Among the 300 people who attended the event, the youngest walker was 4 years old, the oldest was 70 years old, and the fastest was a 14-year-old who completed the path in 25 minutes. 

 

 

 

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