ANDOVER, MA—Over 700 people gathered at Chinmaya Mission Boston in Andover on Sunday to celebrate the kick off Swami Chinmayananda’s birth centenary. (Photos courtesy: Chinmaya Mission Boston).
Four centers of Chinmaya Mission Boston came together bright and early at 8:00 am to start the celebration with Guru Paduka Puja to Gurudev. Over 200 people had gathered in the Mandir where the vibrations could be felt as entire congregation chanted with fervor. At peak around noon, about 700 people joined the celebrations.
Throughout the day students and teachers of Balavihar performed several songs, dances, stotrams and skits all of which were connected to Gurudev, whether it was a dance to “Salangai katti Odi Odi Va”, one of Gurudev’s favorite songs, or chanting of the Ganga Stuti or a session where senior members of Chinmaya Mission Boston reminisced about their personal encounters with Gurudev, or a skit about a US Presidential debate, where Gurudev happened to be one of the candidates, or yet another skit where attendees saw flashbacks into Gurudev’s life as a questioning child and heard the significance of the proportion of the three Gunas through the famous coffee, milk and sugar example.
At the height of the day-long celebration over 700 people were in attendance. With true yagna spirit, the culinary experts amongst its members made and served fresh, delicious masala dosas and sizzling hot puris to everyone present.
Swami Tyaganandaji of Ramakrishna Vedanta Society was the Guest of Honor. In his address to the audience, he spoke about what a profound and inspiring teacher Gurudev was, and how Gurudev would be happiest if we, as Chinmaya Mission members, applied his teachings in their daily lives.
Here is a brief history of Swami Chinmayananda:
On May 8th, 1916, in the city of Ernakulam in the southern Indian state of Kerala, was born a baby boy named Balakrishna Menon who was destined for greatness. His innate curiosity for the truth led him to the sanyasis residing in the Himalayan Mountains from where he returned as Swami Chinmayananda, an enlightened soul, with a mission to share the knowledge of ancient Hindu scriptures with the masses of India.
In 1953, Swami Chinmayananda’s devotees established Chinmaya Mission with this simple yet profound goal – “To provide to individuals from any background the wisdom of Vedanta and the practical means for spiritual growth and happiness, enabling them to become positive contributors to society.”
The Boston chapter of Chinmaya Mission was started in an apartment in Brookline, MA back in 1980 by Brahmacharini Pavitraji. Over the decades, Chinmaya Mission Boston has blossomed into a center for spiritual learning and service, boasting nearly 450 member families from Dover, NH to Newton, MA, with its flagship center located in Andover, MA.