Chinmaya Mission

CMW News


March 2014, No. 158

IN THIS ISSUE

 

 

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NEWS

For all photos, click on image to enlarge.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sannyāsa Dīkshā on Mahāshivarātri at Sāndeepany Sādhanālaya

 

The Quest: A New Film on the Life of Pujya Gurudev

 

YEP 2014

 

Music and Prayer Mark Celebrations as Chinmaya Rameshwaram Turns Four

 

CM Boston Starts Classes in Newton, MA

 

Pack Your Values and Make College an Exciting Adventure

 

News@Chinmaya Naada Bindu

 

CORD USA News

 

Chinmaya Yuva Veer Wins National Youth Award

 

CM Boston Celebrates Shrī Gītā Jayanti and Shrī Tapovan Jayanti

 

Meditation in Action

 

 

 

 

Sannyāsa Dīkshā on Mahāshivarātri at Sāndeepany Sādhanālaya
Report submitted by CCMT


On the auspicious day of Mahashivaratri, on February 27, 2014, brahmacharinsof Chinmaya Mission were initiated into the monastic order of sannyāsa with the blessings of Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda, at the Sandeepany Sadhanalaya ashram in Powai, Mumbai.

Pujya Guruji announced, “Today, on the auspicious occasion of Mahāshivarātri, five more Chinmaya Mission brahmachārīs and brahmachāriṇīs cast off their yellow robes to enter sannyāsa āshrama at Sāndeepany Sādhanālaya, Mumbai. I am glad to announce the initiation of these yellow-clothed brahmachārins into the flaming orange of sannyāsa āshrama as swāmīs and swāminīs on this auspicious morning. May the grace of God and the blessings of our entire Guru Paramparā lead them to the ultimate goal of Self-realization. May we all be blessed to benefit from their dedicated sevā offered at the holy feet of Pujya Gurudev.”

Diksha

Shown in the photograph (left to right) with Pujya Guruji (center), are the new initiates (new name/previous name):
Swami Shāradānanda (Brahmachari Samvit Chaitanya)
Swamini Shubhadānanda (Brahmacharini Subhadrā Chaitanya)      
Swami Samyuktānanda (Brahmacharini Suchetā Chaitanya)
Swamini Prakarshānanda (Brahmachari Prahlad Chaitanya)
Swamini Dharmeshānanda (Brahmachari Prapanna Chaitanya)
Click here to watch a short video.

Pujya Guruji also expressed his appreciation that arrangements had been made to webcast live the Mahāshivarātri celebrations at Sāndeepany Sādhanālaya this year. The celebrations at the ashram’s renowned Jagadīshvara Temple brought in over 100,000 devotees from all areas of Mumbai. Throngs of devotees came in and out of the temple in organized and disciplined lines that kept moving throughout the day with the help of dozens of CM volunteers. The lines began forming as early as 4 a.m. and stood still at the stroke of midnight for the day’s final aarti to Lord Shiva amid the sacred chanting of “Om namah Shivāya,” waving of oil lamps, blowing of conches, and ringing of bells.

 

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The Quest: A New Film on the Life of Pujya Gurudev
Report submitted by Chinmaya Creations

 

In celebration of Pujya Gurudev’s centennial, Chinmaya Creations is pleased to announce the making of The Quest, coming to the screen in 2014!

Pujya Gurudev is one of the world’s most renowned and revered exponents of Vedanta, the foundation of Hindu religion and culture. His life is a story of an unconventional seeker, a mischievous child, a rebellious youth, a revolutionary freedom fighter, a witty journalist, and a daring skeptic. Who was he before he became the great Swami Chinmayananda? How did the passionate, witty, and outspoken freedom fighter and atheist turn into an enlightened Master? 

Chinmaya Creations is proud to present a new film in the making—The Quest: A Visionary’s Life and Mission. The Quest is an unbelievably inspiring story, one that will touch hearts and open minds. It is a story that needs to be told. Click here to watch the trailer.

The Chinmaya Family worldwide is invited to help make The Quest come alive. Please generously support this noble project through financial donations so that the film can reach the maximum number of people as soon as possible. Join Chinmaya Creations’ campaign to raise 30K in 30 days! All contributions over $75 will be sent a tax-deductible receipt. For more information, visit the website or e-mail Shabana Dipchand.

 

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YEP 2014
Report based on materials submitted by CHYK West

 

By the Lord's grace and Pujya Gurudev's blessings, CHYK West's Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) 2013 was a wonderful and fulfilling experience, with 31 students successfully graduating from the program as Yuva Veers. The 2013 Yuva Veers are presently completing their fieldwork of service at various Chinmaya Mission centers. These services include conducting Chinmaya Bala Vihar, Junior CHYK, and CHYK classes and camps, promoting sales of CM publications, authoring study materials for CHYK, and fundraising for social service projects, and planning and fundraising for YEP 2014.
 
For YEP 2013, various CMW centers held fundraisers and generous donors supported the cause. For YEP 2014, a national  “Hanumān Chālīsa-thon” will be held on April 19, 2014 in which all Mission centers and members are welcome to participate by organizing and supporting the event locally. This offering by CHYKs and Bala Vihar students of Hanumān Chālīsā chanting will help raise funds for YEP 2014. Pledges may be collected for the number of chants or the number of hours, collectively or individually. The auspicious occasion of Hanumān Jayanti falls on April 15 this year. As part of a national service project, the Yuva Veers have prepared all the details and promotions for this event. Contact CHYK West to get details.

CHYK West looks forward to being instrumental in furthering Pujya Gurudev’s vision to develop youth as dynamic, positive contributors of society and insightful leaders of the future. Click here to view the YEP 2014 promotional video.

 

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Music and Prayer Mark Celebrations as Chinmaya Rameshwaram
Turns Four

by Nimmi Raghunathan


The Chinmaya Rameshwaram ashram of CM Los Angeles (CM LA) celebrated its fourth anniversary on January 18, 2014. It was a day when long-time CM LA members recalled the beginnings of the Mission in Southern California, their unparalleled moments of when Pujya Gurudev visited, the start of the Chinmaya Bala Vihar movement in people’s homes by Acharya Mahadev Parameswaran (CM Los Angeles), and the exponential growth of the Mission with the arrival of Swami Ishwarananda (CM Los Angeles).

Both the acharyas participated in the Ganesha, Navagraha, and Rudra homas led by the priest and CM LA rtviks. After this, the entire congregation met in the main auditorium, where Pujya Gurudev’s pādukas were carried in a procession, to the accompaniment of chendi music, by Acharya Mahadev-ji, and another set of pādukas blessed by Pujya Guruji were carried by CM member, Madhu Sharma. The entire congregation actively joined in the puja, chanting Guru Stotram, Chinmaya Ashṭottara Nāmāvali, Guru Pāduka Stotram, and Purusha Sūktam. Offerings of music and song, invoking God/Guru, were made by the adult Chinmaya Swaranjali group and the children’s Chinmaya Shruti group.

Swamiji, in his trademark succinctness, pointed out that the mind about which the children sang in their bhajan related to the moon in its characteristic of waxing and waning, that the mind would remain in darkness were it not for the sun of the intellect. According to the Hindu calendar, the day marked the start of Uttarāyaṇa and the end of winter. Swamiji said it was this period of auspicious beginnings when Rameshwaram had been inaugurated. He said without the sun, little would be possible in life, so it was important for everyone to work toward gaining control of the mind.

After the Chinmaya Ārti, everyone received fruit prasādam from Swamiji and then partook of lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CM Boston Starts Classes in Newton
by Sumana Rao

 

After a chilly start to the New Year, Boston residents saw the early arrival of spring on Sunday, January 12, 2014. Despite recent talk of snowstorms and a polar vortex bringing bone-chilling temperatures, the sun shone brightly in a clear blue sky, and everyone saw it as the visible loving grace of Pujya Gurudev and the blessings of Lord Hanuman.

Under the leadership of Shashi Dwarakanath and the able guidance of CM Boston’s new resident acharya, Swami Chaitanyananda, the new classes began with great enthusiasm. Volunteers gathered at 1 p.m. to set up the classrooms and assembly hall in Lasell College Newton, and awaited the arrival of the new families. By 2 p.m., the assembly hall was filled with 40 children and their parents. After prayers and ārti, Swamiji and the volunteer teachers welcomed the community to Chinmaya Mission. The eager children followed the teachers to their respective classrooms while Swamiji conducted satsang for the parents. At 3:30 p.m., the first day of Chinmaya Bala Vihar in Newton concluded with students coming out happily to share stories with their parents. The smiles and the joy in the faces of these children said it all: Pujya Gurudev’s vision continues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pack Your Values and Make College an Exciting Adventure
by Shalini Petrime


As the rest of the country shivered and hunkered down, the Caspers Regional Park in the hills of San Juan Capistrano showcased a perfect California day, at a balmy 75° F. The 40 CM Los Angeles Bala Vihar students in grades 10-12, took full advantage of the weather on their day-long retreat with Swami Ishwarananda (CM Los Angeles) to engage in activities that was fulfilling and fun.

The students met in the early a.m. at Chinmaya Rameshwaram ashram and were carpooled by volunteer parents and teachers to the park. The picturesque morning began with yoga under the trees. After some dynamic surya namaskars, everyone enjoyed a light breakfast.

Led by Swamiji, and with energy and enthusiasm, the entire group then began the 1.5-hour hike on the Quail Trail. Swamiji mixed and mingled with the kids as they hiked and enjoyed the fresh air and brilliant views. After seeing only Nature and mountains (and signs to beware of mountain lions!) the city felt much further away than a 40-minute car ride.

After the hike, Swamiji spoke with the prospective college students about the need to “pack” the core values learned during their Bala Vihar years and the importance of truly appreciating the exciting adventure they were going to about to embark on—college.

As the parents and other adults stepped away, the students enjoyed lunch and conversations with former graduates, listening to college experiences and asking insightful questions. By the day’s end, everyone had made new friends and were anxiously talking about and planning the next hike, even contemplating an overnight camping event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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News@Chinmaya Naada Bindu
Report based on Chinmaya Naada Bindu newsletter

Chinmaya Naada Bindu’s (CNB’s) Winter Arts Intensive 2013 was a seven-day adventure in music and dance that brought heartwarming camaraderie to CNB in Kolwan, India through a group of over 45 students who attended the week-long intensive in Hindustani vocal, flute, and Bharatanatyam, December 15-21.

Coming from both India and abroad, the reasons that brought the students to CNB varied, but by the end of the week, the energies of the group united through the common link of the performance arts. The intensives were planned and conducted by CNB Directors Pramodini Rao, Ramaa Bharadvaj, and Himanshu Nanda, along with support from CNB faculty and staff.

Volaine Bhawana said, “I speak for all of us in saying that this was life-transforming experience, way beyond the scope of just learning dance.” Anand Roy said, “What engaged our mind, body, and spirit during the arduous hours of riyāz (practice) was the fact that the teachers at CNB told us not only what to do, but also showed us how and why to do it.” Read more experiences online.

Svara to Ishvara,a five-day residential bhajan workshop, was attended by 14 students and conducted at CNB January 6-10, 2014. The students included regular bhajan singers as well as those who have never sung before. Singing together brought the group closer as they learned solos and group songs, breaking free of personal inhibitions and becoming more confident of themselves.

A musical shraddhānjali at CM Kolhapur was offered by CNB on the eve of January 16 to commemorate at the mahāsamādhi day of Pujya Swami Purushottamananda-ji. CNB Director Pramodini Rao and CNB vocal faculty, Vijay Shivane, led the evening with bhajans in the presence of Pujya Guruji. The event concluded with the audience longing to bas longer in the devotional homage.

Local children who study music in CNB’s Chinmaya Social Responsibility Program gave a power-packed performance during the Bhāgavatam camp conducted by Pujya Guruji December 24-31, 2013. CNB provides free music in music for the children in local schools around Kolwan and Paud. Some of these students earned First and Second Place in a district level group-singing competition conducted by the Pune District Education Association. The Paud school students went on to win Second Place in the state level competition. CNB is proud to be associated with these exceptionally talented children.

Rāga Mishra Khamj is an evening rāga used predominantly in semi-classical forms of Hindustani music, such as Ṭhumrī. Click here to hear a rendition by Himanshu Nanda, CNB Music Director. Follow CNB on Soundcloud for additional recordings on Indian classical and devotional music.

Upcoming Events at Chinmaya Vibhootiinclude:

  • 4th Annual Chinmaya Naada Bindu Performing Arts Festival, May 23-25, 2014
  • Summer Arts Intensive, May 31-June 6
  • Monsoon Masti: Workshop on Music and Rhythm, July 12-13
  • Monsoon Music and Dance Intensive, July 16-August 5


E-mail CNB for details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CORD USA News
by Subha Pathial


CORD USA’s Bhutanese Refugee Empowerment Program (BREP) is an effort to help Bhutanese communities maintain their heritage and integrate into their new surroundings successfully. Efforts for adults include issues such as health, education, awareness, and financial independence. Efforts for children include Bala Vihar, and preparing fro school and college entrance exams. CORD USA’s CHYK chapter kicked off a BREP fundraiser called “Penny Wars” in December 2013. CM Vancouver’s Bala Vihar children did something unique by singing select verses from the Gītā and explaining their correlations to charity and service, and raised $370 for BREP.

CORD USA’s chapter at American University (AU) in Washington D.C., led by Puja Balachander, is making great progress. It received official recognition as a student organization in October 2014, and has already had its first meeting and event. The event, a panel discussion on rural development and youth efficacy in India, was well attended and included representatives from the Indian Embassy, IREX, and the Association for India’s Development. The chapter’s general meeting also generated a lot of interest.

CORD USA’s chapter at the University of California, San Diego is nearing the end of its third quarter. Three of its members volunteered at CORD Siruvani, December 16-30, 2013. The chapter is exploring partnerships with local nonprofit organizations to further CORD USA’s local exposure. This year, the chapter will also seek to obtain funds for research and projects through fundraising and global health grants, as well through the sponsorships by private and public bodies throughout the United States.

Agriculture flourishes at CORD Tamaraipakkam. Community development workers are receiving training to plant vegetable gardens and are promoting the use of these gardens in Magalir Mandrams (MMs) and Self Help Groups (SHGs). Manjula, a member of the Chinmaya Venkateshwara SHG in Velliyur, has created a garden and harvested a good crop of many useful vegetables. Another agricultural initiative was spearheaded by Amritha Preetham of Anna University, Chennai. At the invitation of CORD, she conducted presentations on a new drip irrigation scheme for Chinmaya Farmers’ Clubs in three villages. As a National Agriculture Development Project of the government of India, the scheme is fully subsidized, and is expected to increase yields of vegetables and cash crops. Many farmers seem willing and ready to take advantage of the system.

CORD Siruvani supported a theme-based awareness program carried out in Coimbatore by Thennamanallur Vennila Mahila Mandal with the backing of Nehru Yuva Kendra (NYK). Over 500 women, including the members of the 19 Mahila Mandals of CORD Siruvani, participated in the event, as did boys from various Youth Clubs. Speeches were presented on self-defense, environmental preservation, and global warming, and some participants gave dancing and singing presentations. Several items made by SHGs were sold and Chinmaya Mission books were gifted to all program guests.

There were 20 students selected from CORD Kaza for the Springs New Analytical Program, which teaches the same class syllabus in an analytical way by dividing each topic into three levels—textbook matter, topic extension, and creativity. As a result, students can pursue IIT as well as apply for medical, civil services, and other exams.

CORD Lathikata continues its mission to provide affordable and holistic health care through the Swabalambi Swasthya initiative. Swami Kevalananda is project director of this program, which has treated 390 people so far. In addition to the holistic treatments that include yoga, pranayama, and herbal applications, experts in allopathic medicine, Ayurveda, acupressure, and naturopathy are consulted on a regular basis. Individuals are also educated on nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation.

CORD Deuladiha is all about youth empowerment this quarter. In the village of Santeibhanja, 13 new Yuvati Samoohs (adolescent girls’ groups) were formed, with 138 members. Opportunities such as tailor training are provided to the girls so they can generate income. Two new youth clubs have also been formed in nearby villages. Through these groups, youth are responsible for cleaning their village area and giving back to the village where they can.

CORD Sri Lanka collaborated with the Lanka Health Care Hospitals and Academy and held an eye care medical camp for over 100 women and children in Jaffna, wherein a team of 11 optometrists conducted tests on visual fields, color definition, and refraction. The CORD center in Jaffna also offers tuition for under-privileged children. The need for wellness counseling for the war-torn families is immediate and urgent. CORD Sri Lanka has been discussing ways to offer health and wellness counseling in collaboration with Shanthiham, an NGO.

CORD USA began its Globemed partnership with Boston College at the beginning of the 2014 academic year. Founded by students in 2007, the GlobeMed network engages over 1,500 undergraduates at 50 university-based chapters throughout the U.S. Each chapter is partnered one-to-one with a grassroots health organization in one of 19 countries throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America. Fundraising and on-site efforts at each chapter contribute to one or more of six key areas of impact: maternal health, water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, income generation, communicable disease prevention, and capacity building. Through their involvement today, Globemed students and partners commit to a life of leadership in global health and social justice. CORD USA has forged the Globemed’s partnership with CORD Siruvani, where five lucky interns from Boston College will visit and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chinmaya Yuva Veer Wins National Youth Award
by Cauvery Bhalla


India’s National Youth Award is conferred on youth who have demonstrated leadership and excellence in fields of development activities and social services. In recognition of her outstanding services to the community, Yuva Veer Sumi Roy was awarded the 2013 National Youth Award. The award was conferred by Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, on January 12, 2014 at the 18th National Youth Festival held at Punjab Agricultural University. Distinguished guests included Manish Tiwari, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, and Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab. 
 
Sumi Roy has been associated with Chinmaya Mission Guwahati since 2009. She is a Yuva Veer and has been rendering service to the youth and community of Assam. She is an active social worker who has also received the District Youth Award and State Level Youth Award. She has rendered services in the field of health, sanitation, nutrition, and environment protection. She has also participated in blood donation camps, youth workshops on motivation, trekking programs, and AIDS and HIV prevention awareness.

 

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CM Boston Jnānā Yajña and Celebrates Shrī Tapovan Jayanti
by Venkat Pula

 

Several CM Boston members gathered on the eve of Thursday, December 12, 2013 to celebrate Shrī Gītā Jayanti and Shrī Tapovan Jayanti. CM Boston’s resident acharya, Swami Chaitanyananda, conducted the celebrations in the Chinmaya Maruti ashram shrine and these included Guru Pādukā Pūjā, and the chanting of Guru Pādukā Stotram and Tapovan Shaṭkam. This was followed by chanting of Gītā Dhyānam and Gītā Chapters 2 (sānkhya yoga), 3 (karma yoga) and 12 (bhakti yoga). Swamiji then gave a brief discourse on the glory of Param Pujya Swami Tapovan Maharaj and his vairāgya. The event has concluded with ārti and prasād.

Swami Chaitanyananda conducted a jñāna yajña in Hindi, on Shrī Rāma Gītā from Goswami Tulasidasa’s Shrī Rāmacharitamānasa, December 26-28, 2013 at a local temple in Billerica, MA.

In this text, Lakshmaṇa approaches Lord Rama as his Guru and asks Him to explain what is knowledge, non-attachment, maya, devotion, Īshvara, and jīva. Lakshmana, himself a jñānī, asks these questions for the benefit of mankind. Lord Rama answers the questions in a different order, explaining that all that is perceived by the senses and mind is maya. He says, “I and mine, you and yours are maya.” The Lord says maya’s two powers are veiling (ignorance) and projecting. Ignorance leads a person to attachments, the sense of doership, and the pride of ownership, and brings much pain and suffering to the jīva. True knowledge is the right understanding that all is the Lord’s grace. The eradication of the influences of maya—sattva, rajas, tamas—leads the detachment and knowledge. Detachment is attained when one performs actions without the sense of doer-ship and without expectations. Detachment is not easy, but can be achieved by practicing good values. Through a pure and controlled mind, one realizes the Lord (Īshvara) is the true Controller of all and comes to be freed from the sense of all bondage.

The easiest path for any seeker, where least preparation is needed, is total devotion (bhakti) to the Lord. A true seeker is able to attend to all household duties peacefully by constantly focusing ones thoughts on the Lord. Lord Rama expounds on the nine modes of devotion here, devotion that leads to detachment from the world and attachment to the Lord. These nine modes are shravaṇam (listening to Lord’s praises and stories), kīrtanam (chanting the Lord’s name), smaraṇam (constantly thinking of the Lord), pāda-sevanam (prostrating to the feet of the Lord), archanam (worshipping the Lord), vandanam (revering the Lord), dāsyam (serving the Lord as one’s Master), sakhyam (befriending the Lord), and ātma-nivedanam (surrendering oneself to the Lord completely).

Swamiji said when a seeker makes the Lord his nearest kith and kin, the Lord is most pleased with such a devotee and is ever present with him. He cited the example of Hanumanji as the perfect example of true devotion.

Tulasidāsaji said Lakshmaṇa shed tears of joy on hearing Lord Rama’s blessed teachings. Swamiji’s talks exuded ease and humor. One attendee said, “Swamiji presented deep insight into the chaupāīs of Sant Tulsidāsa that we were not aware of, though we sing them all the time.”   The three-day satsang concluded with the melodious rendering of Shrī Rāma Gītā in different ragas by CM Boston’s Chinmaya Swaranjali group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meditation in Action
by Yatin Dullabh

 

The first-ever CHYK Toronto winter retreat, themed “Meditation is Action,” (MIA) took place over the weekend of February 7-9, 2014. It was led by Acharyas Gaurang Nanavaty (CM Houston) and Vivek Gupta (CM Niagara).

The group of 16 CHYKs, born in eight different countries, gathered at the Chinmaya Dhārā ashram in Niagara Falls, many meeting for the first time, drawn in by a curiosity to try to understand meditation better. The spiritually enlightening weekend was infused with the fun outdoor winter activities of skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Although the 2013-14 North American winter will be entered into the record books as one of the coldest winters in the past few decades, by the grace of the Lord, this CHYK retreat had great weather conditions throughout. Conditions at Holiday Valley Resort were ideal and enjoyable.

Over the past few decades, the word “meditation” has become very popular in the West. Busy lifestyles juggling work, family, social, and personal commitments have made the mind increasingly restless, continuously pursuing opportunities. Inherently in striving for peace and happiness, the understanding of what happiness is has become significantly skewed. Bombarding thoughts in undisciplined minds has made the initial attempts at meditation seem futile. But just as Olympic athletes practice consistently with discipline and commitment, so, too, are the requirements for the spiritual seeker.

The acharyas reminded the young adults to not get discouraged, for one who understands meditation—not as peace to be gained by a process, but as one’s very nature of peace—will succeed. In order to temporarily withdraw from the world and tame the mind’s extroverted passion for the world, the acharyas taught the need of controlling our five sense organs of perception from unnecessarily wandering into the world. To teach the mind to turn within, Acharya Gaurangji said newcomers to meditation can begin with simply sitting quiet for 15 minutes a day, doing nothing but developing physical posture. He said, “When the body is quiet, the mind is quiet. Our very nature is peace. You are the very source of what you are seeking. Meditation will unfold on its own accord.”

All the attending CHYKs offered their deep and humble gratitude to both acharyas and the CM Niagara family for a retreat filled with love and insight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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