Chinmayananda’s Mahasamadhi Day Celebrated with Reverence

By Ganesh Krishnamurthy, Volunteer Chinmaya Mission Pittsburgh

Chinmaya Mission Pittsburgh (CMP) hosted its first Chinmaya Mahasamadhi Camp from July 29th to Aug 4th at the Doubletree Hotel in Greentree. The camp is an annual week-long family spiritual retreat for people active in the Chinmaya Mission, and is also open to the public, hosted by different centers in North America. San Diego and Chicago hosted the last 2 camps.

The camp’s thrust is to celebrate the life of Swami Chinmayananda, a great exponent  of the Hindu Vedantic teachings in the 20th century.  Swami Chinmayananda left this world on August 3, 1993 in San Diego and the annual camp culminates on Aug 3, with a devotion filled Mahasamadhi puja.

The main topic for this year was Krishna Leela and was presided over by Pujya Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission. The attendees also heard discourses by Swami Shantananda on Chapter 8 of the Bhagavad Gita and Swami Prakashananda on Purajana Gita.

The organizing team of volunteers endeavored to make the campers like the members in Gokul and Vrindavan with exhibits and murals of child Krishna.

To help complement Swami Swaroopananda’s discourses, several well-known episodes of Lord Krishna’s stories — like Krishna’s birth, Kaliya Mardhanam, and Raasa Leela — were brought to life through dance recitals staged by members of Chinmaya Mission.  Abhang recitations, and painting jugalbandi were other attractions.  

On August 3, all participants offered a Mahasamadhi Puja showing their veneration to Swami Chinmayananda. A highlight of the day was the traditional Kerala-style authentic meal on banana leaf in remembrance of Gurudev who was from Kerala. A separate exhibition showcased pictures, quotes and audio clips of Gurudev.

Many guests associated with Chinmaya Mission for a long time were thoroughly impressed with how the retreat was organized and said this was the “best they have gone to.” Guests also visited the Sanjeevani ashram and the SV Temple on one of the afternoons. Guests were amazed that Pittsburgh, in spite of being a smaller city, had places of worship, spiritual centers and a thriving cultural network, supported by a warm and well-connected Indian community.

Pittsburgh has a special connection to Gurudev since he came to Pittsburgh in the 70’s. He said Pittsburgh’s confluence point of the three rivers reminded him of the Triveni Sangam in Prayaag. For members of the Pittsburgh branch of the Chinmaya Mission who had met and interacted with Gurudev, it was a special and emotional moment to host the camp in Pittsburgh. The members of the Chinmaya Mission of Pittsburgh acknowledge with gratitude the  support and help they received from members of our community in various ways for making the retreat a memorable one.  $$$$


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