Bhagavad Gita Chanting – An Enchanting Competition at Chinmaya Mission Houston

By Sreedevi Gundamaraju

HOUSTON: Pujya Gurudeva Swami Chinmayananda structured Chinmaya Mission on the knowledge enshrined in Vedantic texts such as the Bhagavad Gita. An incomparable visionary, he understood the need to embed, in young minds, the glory of the Gita. To actualize this vision, he introduced the annual tradition of Chinmaya Gita Chanting Competitions (CGCC), a practice that continues to this day in Chinmaya Mission centers worldwide.

An apex celebration of Pujya Gurudeva Swami Chinmayananda’s 108th Janma Jayanti, the annual Gita Chanting Competition was held in a serene and spiritual atmosphere at Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH) on May 4th, 2024.

The event was inaugurated by Pujya Acharya Sri Gaurang Nanavaty. Pujya Gaurang Uncle lovingly emphasized Pujya Gurudeva’s vision of connecting our children with the Bhagavad Gita. He encouraged them to chant the Gita which will gradually evolve into learning its meaning and then living life happily, the Gita way. He explained to the children and the audience about how the event was a competition for the individual to better oneself and not just a race of comparison.

Over 130 students had registered for this year’s competition which focused on Gita Chapter 4 – Karma Sannyasa Yoga. The Bala Vihar students from kindergarten to Grade 12, categorized into six groups, participated with enthusiasm. The groupwise competitions were held among varied audiences, and the children chanted and presented in a superb manner. Every parent, teacher, and guest who witnessed these performances was highly impressed with the quality of diction and chanting of the students. For those children to perfect the pronunciation of the Sanskrit verses of the divine Gita, committed training is key. The students diligently practiced since the beginning of the year, and their hard work and devotion culminated in the superior quality of their presentations.

In addition to chanting the verses of the fourth chapter of the Gita during the CGCC, the students were also tasked with translating and explaining the meaning of select verses. The difficulty level of these tasks was based on Grade levels. All groups did an exceptional job in the section where they had to explain the deeper meaning of chosen verses. Special mention should be made of the group of high school students. The audience was highly impressed with their clarity of thought and the ease with which they succinctly presented the summary of Chapter 4 and explained the meaning of select verses with unique everyday analogies. The memorable chanting competition of the Gita ended with a sumptuous lunch for the happy children and their families.

On the Sunday morning of May 5th, cheered by the main congregation at Chinmaya Smrti, Pujya Gaurang Uncle awarded certificates and recognized the winners in all categories as well as all the children who learned the verses of Gita chapter 4 this year. To participate in the next round of this year’s special CGCC, 14 participants were carefully selected from all groups to represent Chinmaya Mission Houston and advance to the state-level competition which will be held in Dallas on May 18th. May Pujya Gurudeva’s grace prevail on these children who seek to understand the Bhagavad Gita and follow its guidelines in their daily lives. Hari Om!

For more information about Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities please visit, or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233. Photos by Bhararth Rao, Ashutosh Kak