Chinmaya Mission Boston Welcomes Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath as Acharya, Kicks Off Bala Vihar Session

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Acharya Shahi (center in white saree) Photo by Sanjay Padaki

ANDOVER, MA— Chinmaya Mission Boston, one of the New England’s largest spiritual centers that has played an important role in the lives of thousands of people in the area, this month welcomed Dr. Shashikala Dwarkanath, MD, as the temple’s resident Acharya.

Chinmaya Mission kicks off Bala Vihar sessions (Photo: Sanjay Padaki)
Chinmaya Mission kicks off Bala Vihar sessions (Photo: Sanjay Padaki)

The event also kicked off the 2017 season of Bala Vihar classes that will be held at the mission’s three centers in Massachusetts: Andover, Newton and Westoborough, and in Dover, NH. About 700 people attended the opening day at the Chinmaya Mission Boston facility in Andover.

“We welcomed Shashiji as she is now officially Acharya of the center,” said a Chinmaya Mission official. “She recently completed the Vedanta course in Mumbai’s Sandeepani Sadhanalaya under the tutelage of Swami Bodhatmananda and graduated as an Acharya.”

After completing the Vedanta course, Acharyas wear white clothes only and live an austere life of purity in thought, word, and deed. The white color symbolizes purity, and therefore the white cloth acts as a reminder as well as facilitates their studies, according to Chinmaya Mission website.

Acharya Shashi (Photo: Sanjay Padaki)
Acharya Shashi (Photo: Sanjay Padaki)

“Upon completion of the course, each student is given the option to dedicate his or her life to the Chinmaya Mission-the vision and work of their Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda-or to choose their own lifestyles, regardless of whether it includes serving the Mission periodically or not,” according to the Chinmaya Mission website.

Acharya Shashi is planning a few new programs at Chinmaya Mission Boston that will be announced soon.

In addition to its main temple and facility in Andover, Chinmaya Mission Boston runs satellite centers in Newton, Westborough and Dover, NH. The Mission conducts classes and provides value based-education for children from ages 4 through 18, called Bala Vihar, including youth group classes for teenagers, and a study group called Satsang for adults.

Acharya Shashi (left) Photo: Sanjay Padaki
Acharya Shashi (left) Photo: Sanjay Padaki

About 500 families participate in the mission’s Bala Vihar programs. Chinmaya Mission Boston offers language classes in Sanskrit, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Telugu at is Andover facility.  Due to the high demand, classes are conducted in two sessions in Andover, MA and one session at Westborough, MA and one session at Newton, MA.

Chinmaya Mission Boston also has an auditorium with luxury seating for 375 people, a large stage and a state-of-the-art sound system, a beautiful Mandir with Lord Hanuman, Durga Mata, Lord Ganesha and Ram Parivar with a brand new Sanctum Sanctorum. Other features include a community hall which seats 120 people in a formal setting and 150 people in an informal setting, and a breathtaking front lobby with marble floors to welcome guests.

Acharya Shahi (center in white saree) Photo by Sanjay Padaki
Acharya Shahi (center in white saree) Photo by Sanjay Padaki

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