Chinmaya Mission’s Ramayana discourse

by Kris Gopal, Upper St. Clair, PA 

Chinmaya Sanjeevani of Pittsburgh hosted a 5-day discourse on Sundarkand of Tulasi Ramayan by Swami Tejomayananda, the head of the Chinmaya Mission worldwide. The event was organized at the Monroeville Convention Center. Sri Goswami Tulsidas, in Sundarkand sings praise and glories of Hanuman and Sri Rama.

With his good grasp of the Sundarakand, both the original in Valmiki’s original and Tuladidas’ re-rendering of it, the Swami treated the devotees to a delightful discourse. His passionate rendering of the verses and his interpretation made simple and relevant to contemporary life, were quite impressive. Sprinkling humor, he delighted the audience with his inimitable story-telling skills.  Hidden in these verses, he told his audience, are the guidelines for living a life with contentment and in peace.

On Tulasidas Ramayana: Saint Tulasidas (time: 16th century) known as Rambola, became a devotee of Rama at the nudging of his wife, and wrote the Rama-carita-maanasa in Avadhi, a Hindi dialect, popular in Eastern Uttar Pradesh at that time. Tulasi Ramayanam is popular in northern India.

On the opening evening, the students of Chinmaya Sanjeevani Bala Vihar recited the Guru Stotram. Tiny tots and young children recited from memory the Sanskrit verses with perfect diction in front of a large audience. The Bala Vihar teacher Shuba Sriram arranged this group singing. The kid’s age ranged from 3 to 13 years.

An exhibition in the hall highlighted the mission’s activities, sold books. Balavihar activities for children and youth is one of the big part of the activities of the Chinmaya mission. The Sunday classes teach young enthusiastic children the basic tenets of the Hindu faith and culture, Sanskrit slokas and the essence of the Bhagavad Gita. One parent summed up their experience in bringing their children to the balavihar classes: “We too benefited in our spiritual growth in these classes.”
During the five days many other activities were also held both at the Convention center and at the Chinmaya Mission’s Sanjeevani center at Monroeville. One was the rendering of Hanuman Chalisa, forty 2-line verses in praise of Hanuman in Avadhi also the work of Tulasidas Goswami. Chalis in Hindi means literally “forty.” Reciting these verses, the Swamiji said, helps people to purify their thoughts and speech, which reduces mental clutters and calms mind. This reduces anxiety and fear, which aids in recovering from debilitating sicknesses.

Hanuman Chalisa is sung in India with great love and devotion. Some sing it as a daily prayer. The Swamiji sang it to the delight of the devotees in different ragas and explained its meanings.

At the Chinmaya Sanjeeveni facility at Monroeville, the Balavihar children welcomed Tejomayananda.

The Mahotsav was successfully organized under the leadership of local mission President Mrs. Smita Gosai aided by host of volunteers and Bala Vihar teachers assisting her with long hours of work. They also worked to feeding all the attendees with delicious meals all the days. 







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