Chinmaya e-Bala Vihar Zooms in a New Year of Online Vedic Learning

By Padmashree Rao

Houston: In a pandemic-stricken world, where life, work and relationships have been redefined, learning too has taken a new online face. To evolve through such a challenging time, technology has zoomed in through many platforms to replace empty hallways and classrooms of education with fully charged homes of learning, both secular and spiritual.

Keeping with that trend, the new academic year 20-21 for Bala Vihar in Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH) opened with e-Bala Vihar sessions on the connecting interface of the Zoom software platform. Since CMH Bala Vihar had transitioned and trained its teaching team since March 2020 when social distancing forced Chinmaya Prabha activities to go online, the start of e-Bala Vihar on September 13th was efficient and effective. The opening sessions across grades Pre-K to Grade 12 was marked with a happiness of reunion despite not being together in physical classrooms at Chinmaya Prabha. Eager teachers and energetic children were dressed in colorful Indian attire and bright smiles as they welcomed each other on their screens. When the Zoom sessions for each grade began punctually at 10 AM with the Vaidika and Chinmaya Arati, the Chinmaya Mission pledge, and prayers, it was clear that a renewed and unified strength of purpose, true to Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda’s vision, will be the underlying theme of the online classes. Across grades, when Bala Vihar children shared their thoughts and participated in both joyful and thoughtful icebreakers, the spirit of Bala Vihar shone out clearly.

At the time of this writing, with three Sundays of Bala Vihar already completed, a new welcoming rhythm of spiritual learning has set in between Bala Vihar children and youth and their enthusiastic, sincere teachers across homes. A hard-working Bala Vihar team of teachers along with equally talented technology team collaborate to present the grand glory of Indian scriptures to the 965+ presently enrolled children and youth. This year Chinmaya Mission welcomed a few families from the neighboring cities in Texas to join CMH Bala Vihar to overcome the lack of CM centers in their areas.

Learning happens in a seamless disciplined manner using multiple zoom sessions. It is a large-scale weekly yajna carried out in 47 sessions: 27 sessions of Bala Vihar to serve children in pre-K through 12th grades; 13 sessions for language classes; and, five sessions devoted to bhajana, orchestra, and Slokathon sessions.  Included in the 47 offered sessions is an adult session to learn Sanskrit scriptural chanting and the main Satsanga for adults where Sevika Sneha Sandhane now gives her pravachans on Sri Rama Gita.

Ancient sacred knowledge and Hindu culture has begun to ride the wings of technology to bring the wisdom of Vedanta to the maximum as envisioned by Pujya Gurudev, unafraid of a disruptive pandemic. Trained by the Acharyas of CMH, Sri Gaurang Nanavaty and Smt. Darshana Nanavaty, the disciplined dedication of all CMH volunteers and teachers flows online and welcomes those waiting to be part of this silent and sustained spiritual unfoldment.

Bala Vihar registration is now open until October 15 as we have a few openings. Please be sure to let your family and friends know if they are interested in joining. Visit for the registration link and other details. For more information call Bharati Sutaria – 281-933-0233 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059.