A Happy Beginning for Chinmaya Mission of Houston’s Bala Vihar

By Shalini Konde

CMH Bala Vihar teachers 2022

HOUSTON: Arriving at Houston’s Chinmaya Prabha facility on the pleasant morning of September 11th, 2022, brought with it the joy and warmth of meeting friends and families after a long time. While BalaVihar had continued uninterrupted over the past three years via online classes, one could feel the buzz of renewed energy and excitement of children as they gathered in Sarasvati Nilayam. About 600 children and 400 families attended on the first day.

One cannot deny the importance of Satsang, a coming together of spiritual seekers that gather in a sanctified environment.  Spiritual seekers are uplifted with divine aspirations and purifying vibrations. There are two sessions conducted for families at the Chinmaya Prabha facility every Sunday. The morning session starts promptly at 8:35 am and the second at 11:15 am. Satsang commences with Bhajans in Smrti Hall, and Sarasvati Nilayam followed by Vedic Arati, Gurudev Arati and Chinmaya Pledge. On the first the day, BalaVihar children were taken by their Grade teachers for darshan at auspicious Saumyakasi Sivalaya temple before commencing their lessons.

Pujya Acharya gave a beautiful and inspiring introductory Pravachan on Adi Shankaracharya’s Bhaja Govindam. It began with a little story with a message on ‘standard of life’ vs ‘standard of living’. Unless our standard of life matches the standard of living, we will face discord.

A couple Srikant and Swati, blessed with good jobs and healthy children, often complained about tiredness, lack of sleep, arguments about chores and stress at work. They decided to leave their children with friends and take a short vacation. They booked themselves into an Oceanview room in a luxurious beach resort. The phones were put away and they made a pact to steer clear of arguments. The mini vacation started off well and both avoided arguments and tried to relax. Srikant chose to go for an early morning walk on the beach and enjoy the invigorating fresh sea air. As he walked, he spied a huge log being tossed up and down by the waves.  As he continued to watch, a big wave dashed the log onto the shore. The log now lay still. Srikant began to think – this is how my life has been – I have been tossed up and down with every situation in my life. As he continued to reflect, he perceived three boys walking towards the water lugging their surfboards. Each tried to catch and ride the waves as they appeared, falling often and trying again. The oldest boy appeared to be the most experienced surfer, displayed the ability to maneuver the waves with more skill.

Pujya Acharya, Sri Gaurang Nanavaty, said that circumstances in life will never stop like the waves. This is the reason why, with Pujya Gurudev’ s blessings, we meet every Sunday and pray together for strength to navigate the ups and downs in life and be happy. Just as a bee is not satisfied with the beauty and fragrance of flowers but gathers honey, the very essence of flowers, we would reap the benefit of raising the standard of life by understanding the essence of Bhaja Govindam.

For more information about Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities please visit www.chinmayahouston.org, www.saumyakasi.org or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233 — Photo by Jayesh Mistry