Chinmaya Mission

CMW News


March 2015, No. 164

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For all photos, click on image to enlarge.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sannyāsa Dīkshā for CMW Acharyas

 

National Gītā Chanting Competition 2015

 

Nāmāmṛta Camp at Chinmaya Vibhooti

 

Chinmaya Jyoti Yātrā Preparations

 

Ushering the New Year with Devotion and Meditation

 

Joyous Events at CM Atlanta

 

CM Orlando's New Year and CBCC Pledges

 

CORD USA Grows and Offers More Service Visits

 

Chinmaya Bala Vihar Teachers' Training at CM Boston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sannyāsa Dīkshā for CMW Acharyas

 

On the auspicious occasion of Mahāshivarātri, on February 17, 2015, three Chinmaya Mission acharyas were initiated into sannyāsa at the Sāndeepany Sādhanālaya ashram in Mumbai, India.

Brahmachari Girish Chaitanya is now Swami Shivatmananda (CM Austin). Brahmacharini Aprita Ayers in now Swamini Radhikananda (CM St. Augustine). Brahmacharini Richa Chaitanya is now Swamini Ritajananda (CM Bhubaneswar). View the announcement.

The CMW Family offers a reverential and loving welcome to all the new initiates who have dedicated their lives in service at the holy feet of Pujya Gurudev. 

 


L-R: Swamini Radhikananda, Swamini Ritajananada, Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda, Swami Shivatmananda


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National Gītā Chanting Competition 2015

 

CM Chicago has distributed to CMW centers the regional and national guidelines and list of prizes for the 2015 “Chant Gītā, Enchant Krishna,” Gītā Chanting Competition on Chapter 15. The national competition will be held at CM Chicago over Labor Day weekend in September 2015. For details, contact Rajul Bhalala.

 

 

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Nāmāmṛta Camp at Chinmaya Vibhooti
by Y. V. Karia


Pujya Guruji conducted a very special camp during which he gave discourses on the hymn, Shrī Vishṇu Sahasranāma, at the Chinmaya Vibhooti ashram, December 24-31, 2014. The camp was attended by many devotees from India and around the world, acharyas from various CM centers, and students of the 9th Youth Empowerment Program (YEP).

The foyer outside the Sudharma auditorium was abuzz with excitement and festivity before the inauguration on the afternoon of December 24. After partaking some tea, over 500 people flooded through the doors, eager to hear and learn the glories of the Lord from Pujya Guruji.

After the inauguration, Pujya Guruji, a consummate teacher and speaker par excellence, began his series of discourses on Vishṇu Sahasranāma with the explanation of what the hymn is and how it originated with Yudhisṭhira’s confusion and dilemma. Catering to the varied audience of all ages, and spiritual and cultural backgrounds, Guruji panned out a perfect introduction.

The camp was efficiently organized, allowing attendees to experience the serenity and beauty of the ashram, study Vishṇu Sahasranāma in detail, and meet like-minded people. Each day, morning tea was served in the auditorium foyer and followed by the chanting of Vishṇu Sahasranāma at 7:30 a.m. The eight-day camp featured two classes a day by Guruji, morning and evening, a daily Guru Pādukā Pūjā at noon that was graciously sponsored by various yajamāns, and evening ārti that was sung by Guruji himself. Each class was as enchanting as the one before, with Guruji beautifully expounding on all the 1,000 names of the Lord with profound depth, unparalleled clarity, and pure devotion.

The evenings were events with an ambience of their own, showcasing various celebrated artists in the performing arts. The programs included an Indian classical violin recital by Kala Ramnath, bhajans by Satish and Santosh Sundaram, an Odissi dance ballet by Rukmini Swayamvar, devotional songs and abhangas by Pushpa Anand, and bhajans by Pujya Guruji and members of Chinmaya Naada Bindu.

The last class of the camp concluded with an ārti, wherein each attendee stood with a lit lamp in their hands, illumining the auditorium with sparks of light and love for the Lord. This was followed by a touching performance from the children who attended the camp and showed what they had learned in their classes with the camp sevaks.

New Year’s Eve brought a spiritual evening of delight, love, and understanding as they participated in the chanting of Vishṇu Sahasranāma and bhajans. The atmosphere was sacred, charged, and serene as Pujya Guruji, and all devotees and acharyas gathered, chanted each name of Lord Vishnu with the offering of flowers and rice at His feet. The new year of 2015 was welcomed with ārti at midnight, a perfect close to the camp and the year, filled with invocation and inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chinmaya Jyoti Yātrā Preparations
Submitted by CCMT


Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda, along with Swami Mitrananda (CM Chennai) and Swami Advayananda (CIF), met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi at the end of January 2015 to invite him to flag off the Chinmaya Jyoti Yātrā on May 8, 2015. CCMT will apprise members of the final plans for the milestone yatra as the event approaches.

 

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Ushering the New Year with Devotion and Meditation
by Megha Sharma, Anoop Honnekeri

 

Members of CM Los Angeles gathered at the Chinmaya Rameshwaram ashram to usher in 2015 with chanting, bhajans, and meditation. The evening began with remembrance of Pujya Gurudev and realizing his importance in their lives. The group chanted Guru Pādukā Stotram, Pujya Gurudev’s 108 names, and Tapovan Shaṭkam, and then reverently and enthusiastically chanted Shrī Vishṇu Sahasranāma. This was followed by bhajans from two CHYKs who had devotees humming and singing into the midnight hour. Swami Ishwarananda (CM Los Angeles) took over in the last 20 minutes until midnight to lead the assembly in silent meditation, advising them to try to practice total silence for at least 15 minutes every day. At midnight, everyone participated in the ārti and received prasād. In his New Year address, Swamiji said, “In this new year, may you constantly strive to recognize the silent observer in you, by knowing whom alone does one attain permanent happiness.”

 

 

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Joyous Events at CM Atlanta
by Meenal Vashishat


CM Atlanta had joyous events and the privilege to host two jñāna yajñasthis past winter of 2014.

Swami Ramakrishnananda (CIF) returned to Atlanta to conduct an advanced Sanskrit course and teach Avadhūta Gītā from Shrīmad Bhāgavatam. Swamiji’s techniques are truly unique and amazing. In one moment, students would be seriously learning compound rules, and in the next, bursting out in laughter at his quips and examples. Swamiji’s teachings in the morning talks on Avadhūta Gītā focused on the invaluable importance and glory of the Guru. He pointed out how different the instructions Lord Krishna gave to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gītā and to Uddhavaji through Avadhūta Gītā were, and yet, both paths led to the one Reality. Swamiji shared the simple, but subtle and profound, lessons the great avadhūta, or ascetic, learned from his 24 Gurus.

Swami Prakashananda (CM Trinidad) conducted a jñāna yajña on Sundarakāṇḍa from Tulasi Rāmāyaṇa in November 2014, with morning talks on the sublime scripture of Kaivalyopanishad. In his evening talks, Swamiji spoke on the beauty and glories of Hanumānji, and how true beauty comes only as a result of true devotion to God. Swamiji explained the symbolism in the text with one example being that Hanumānji’s crossing the ocean symbolizes transcending samsara and all its obstacles with fierce determination. He said the obstacles Hanumānji faced represent various obstacles that a spiritual seeker faces on his journey to liberation. In discussing how to overcome these obstacles, he said temptation should be declined graciously; greed should be outwitted; jealousy must be eradicated; delusion has to be reformed through satsang. Swamiji emphasized that until we engage in satsang, we continue to suffer from our own delusions. He brought out Hanumānji’s humility, sharp intellect, strength, and greatness of character, and shared the rarest gem known as sharaṇāgati, or surrender to the Lord. Not only did Swamiji point out the attitude with which one should surrender, but also the firm faith that one should have when one truly seeks surrender, just as Vibhīshaṇaji did.

Swamiji also shared wonderful parenting tips, which included guiding children to recognize that their accomplishments are due to the Lord’s gift to them of limitless potential. Accordingly, children can continue to nourish and enhance their skills as their gift to the Lord.

After the jñāna yajña, CM Atlanta hosted its first food fair, which showcased delectable delights represented from different regions of India. Also included was Swami Prakashananda’s culinary expertise in the two drinks he prepared—chai and his original creation, Zing. The food was prepared in a sattvic manner and served with great care, under the instructions of Acharya Geetha Raghu (CM Atlanta). The attendees enjoyed the experience and even took food to-go. The event brought together Mission members as one family, with everyone contributing, including children. Swamiji sang beautifully and addressed Chinmaya Bala Vihar students on Sunday morning, which marked the concluding event of this visit.

Divali was special for CM Atlanta members in 2014, as it was the first Divali function held at their new ashram of Chinmaya Niketan. Everyone came dressed in beautiful, traditional Indian attire and participated in a puja conducted by Acharyas GV and Geetha Raghu (CM Atlanta). The evening concluded with dinner prasād and fireworks.

 

 

 

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CM Orlando's New Year and CBCC Pledges
by Satish Nagarajan


CM rang in the New Year with Gītā chanting as has been its annual tradition for many years. A large number of devotees gathered in the Kaivalya hall on January 1, 2015 to start the new year on an auspicious note with the chanting all 18 chapters of Bhagavad Gītā. The day began at 7:45 a.m. with prayers to Param Pujya Swami Tapovan Maharaj and Pujya Gurudev, followed by Gītā  chanting, which completed just before noon and was followed by Pujya Gurudev’s ārti and Gītā ārti. The devotees partook of lunch prasad, and dispersed with the prayer for the Lord’s words and teachings to continue resonating in their lives through the coming days of 2015, so that they may help fulfill Pujya Gurudev’s service to humanity.

With Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda’s blessings, Acharya Shailaja Nadkarni (CM Orlando) pledged to conduct 108 Guru Pādukā Pūjās and Gītā talks at the homes of various devotees in commemoration of Pujya Gurudev’s birth centenary. Families have signed up through May 2015 for most of the weekend evenings.

The first event was a pādukā pūjā held on January 9, 2015. Shailajaji arrived at the devotee’s home with the sacred pādukās from the ashram altar and the host family welcomed these with the chanting of traditional prayers and worship. After the pādukās were placed on a specially constructed and decorated altar in the home, Shailajaji guided the family in performing the puja. The home resonated with the chanting of Purusha Sūktam and Guru Pādukā Stotram by all the devotees. The puja was followed by a discourse by Shailajaji on Gītā, Chapter 12. The evening concluded with the host family performing Pujya Gurudev’s ārti. View photos here.

 

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CORD USA Grows and Offers More Service Visits
by Subha Pathial

 

The year 2014 saw beautiful and touching milestones in CORD USA. The children across CMW centers in North America conducted 14 CORD USA fundraisers and raised $124,000! A number of children offered their monetary collections from graduation, Araṅgetram, and artistic performance gifts to support CORD. There are now four active university chapters of CORD USA interacting with various CORD centers.

GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations, honored CORD USA with a prestigious 2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit Award. CORD USA is proud to receive this award for the third consecutive year!

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To see the impact at the various CORD centers across India and Sri Lanka, see the funds distribution page on the CORD USA website. CORD programs and activities have been inspired by and formulated based on dynamic and vibrant interactions with thousands of villagers, with the aim of giving needy villagers “a hand up, not a handout.”

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Administratively, CORD USA has kept costs under strict control with 0% overhead. Thus, all funds raised go to help the needy. CORD USA is greatly appreciative of all the Mission centers that continue to raise awareness and funds to support a great cause.

Since its inception, CORD USA has organized many annual service visits to CORD centers in India for high school students from North America. The students stay and work at the centers, and return from their trips inspired seeing CORD work in action. With the core values CORD etches in their hearts, they feel inspired to become the next generation of ambassadors who will continue to raise hope and funds for CORD recipients.

The recent winter service visits were to CORD Deuladiha (Odisha) and CORD Tamaraipakkam (Tamil Nadu). One of the chaperones on the trip said, “During the service visit, the students were able to see first-hand what CORD does in India. Before their visit, they had an abstract idea about CORD through fundraisers and presentations. Through this visit, they were able to witness the tremendous work done by CORD at the grass roots level. Their love and friendship knew no language barrier. Despite not knowing the local language, all the kids were filled with joy.

“Most students saw what it meant to live without even minimal comforts and to appreciate all that they take for granted. Yet, they also saw the same happiness in the faces of villagers that they have experienced, and all this despite meager circumstances. The students went home excited to have met children, youth, women, and farmers hard at work.

“It was exciting for the volunteers to see the impact of their activities. Some of these impacts were evident immediately upon completion, as in with the physical tasks of village clean up, pit digging, toilet construction, etc. Though immediate results were less tangible, the high school students were equally inspired and excited to be able to pass on awareness about cleanliness, education, hygiene, self-empowerment, and career choices. Filled with gratitude, they recognized that they had gained more than they had given, and learned more than they had taught during this visit. They came away with memories for a lifetime and many friendships that will last a lifetime too!”

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CORD USA is pleased to offer service visits this summer to two of its most dynamic centers, namely, CORD Sidhbari (Himachal Pradesh) and CORD Siruvani (Tamil Nadu), July 5-18 and 12-25, respectively. The service visits are fueled by enthusiastic students who are eager to work and committed adult chaperones who are interested in guiding bright youth, leading by example. These visits are extraordinary opportunities to serve others and experience the joy of service. Applications are online and seats are limited.

 

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Chinmaya Bala Vihar Teachers' Training at CM Boston
by Latha Sainath


CM Boston held its Chinmaya Bala Vihar teachers’ training at the Chinmaya Māruti ashram, December 6-7, 2014. The training was conducted by Acharya Darshana Nanavaty (CM Houston), author of the current Chinmaya Bala Vihar curriculum teaching manuals. The program was well attended, with 60 teachers from 3 BV locations, as well as some teachers from CM Fairfield and CM New York. 

Darshanaji used PowerPoint slides with sound along with her explanation and captivated the interest of the participants for the two days. She began her presentation with an impressive overview of the purpose of Bala Vihar, connecting it with Chinmaya Mission logo and the motto. To help children discriminate through the study of scriptures and use that discrimination as an oil to light the lamp of consciousness to live an ethical life was the essence of her message. Chinmaya Bala Vihar is a gym for the mind, she emphasized. Darshanaji enhanced her presentation with a summary of the key objectives of the curriculum topics under each grade and at the end, gave a glimpse of how Gītā may be taught to high school students.

The new teachers found the weekend program a wonderful opportunity to get insight into the entire Chinmaya Bala Vihar curriculum and appreciate how the curriculum at each grade works toward molding a child’s personality. The experienced teachers appreciated the reinforcement of the spiritual concepts to be inculcated in the students. All the attendees clearly felt the inspiration that Darshanaji had silently brought, along with her dedication to Pujya Gurudev and continued love and service to children. CM Boston’s resident acharya, Swami Chaitanyananda, also attended the entire program and appreciated the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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