Home » Resources » Cinmaya Vaani

Cinmaya Vaani

Click on the headings to expand/collapse the topic.


Let a man lift himself by his own Self alone, and let him not lower himself, for, this Self alone is the friend of oneself, and this Self alone is the enemy of oneself. ~~ Bhagavān Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gīta

Excerpts from 'Life Management Techniques' ~~ Swāmi Swaroopānanda

Many of the world’s great achievers began as ordinary persons. National leaders, inventors, artists, athletes…in all areas of life are people who distinguished themselves by pursuing their goal with complete devotion. Even if there were obstacles and failures along the way, these great men and women picked themselves up and sought new ways to achieve their goal. Narendra Nāth Datta was a confused youngster, until Sri Rāmakrishna Paramahamsa gave him the insight to ask himself, “What have I achieved so far? What am I to do now?” Thus, he became Swāmi Vivekananda, the immortal lion of Vedānta. Similarly, Gandhiji was just an ordinary barrister who became a Mahātma by letting his life bear witness to the strength of his convictions.

Lift yourself by yourself and, should you fall, lift yourself again. Do not give up and never look down upon yourself. People are afraid, not of their weaknesses, but of their strengths, not of their failures, but of their greatness, not of their inadequacies but of their adequacies. Success, whether material or spiritual, is guaranteed if one is willing and ready to work for it. The seed and capacity of greatness in achievements is present in everyone, but it often does not sprout because of fear and lack of confidence. Unfortunately, many of us give in to self-doubt even when we have a lofty goal in life. We compromise, hold back, blend in; we allow ourselves to become captives of peer pressure and social opinion. We tolerate or even create an environment of negativity, small-mindedness, and tunnel visions. Sometimes we even join the fray in dragging others down by criticism and sheer cynicism. But how one holds one’s balance in the face of such onslaught is itself a challenge and an achievement waiting to be claimed.

Everyone seeks peace and happiness. The rishis spent their lives in service of humanity, not to give us pebbles, poverty, cheap thrills or smoke and mirrors in the name of religion, but rather, to point us toward the highest goal there can be. “Go for the best. Go for the Infinite!” they encouraged. Throughout the scriptures, the infinite nature of a human being is highlighted. Each one of us is infinite, yet each is also unique.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Excerpts from 'Life Management Techniques' ~~ Swami Swaroopānanda

Life has been given to us as a priceless gift from the Lord through nature. The greatness of one’s life is measured by what one has done with it. If one has not learnt how to manage one’s life and gain peace, happiness, and immortality, then life has been wasted.

Our entire life is a field of activity, where we constantly make choices and accordingly craft our legacy. One’s actions indicate whether one is inclined to material or spiritual goals, drawing one nearer to or farther away from happiness. Our actions bring about success when guided by our intellect, creativity, and conviction. Motive precedes action. Our life needs must be guided by dharma. Dharma is rooted in right knowledge and has been brought to us through direct experience of the rishis across the ages. It refers to the art of management by which one can bring about desirable results in material as well as spiritual life. Dharma governs all the laws of the universe.

The importance of right knowledge in guiding our actions cannot be overstated. One of the fundamental instructions of dharma is that we practice introspection and regularly ask ourselves the question, “What have I done today? What have I done with my life thus far?”. Asking ourselves the question again and again is a sure step towards gaining clarity and perspective on what true achievement is, and what necessary actions we must take. Great Masters have asked themselves the same question, and responded with integrity, transforming their lives by abandoning old habits and adopting a new lifestyle.

Inside the uncut diamond of our life lies our True Nature - the brilliance of wisdom, bliss, and immortality-- what the scriptures call as Sat Cit Ananda Atma. With the tools of right knowledge, and persistent determination, we just have to cut the diamond, on all sides, in all aspects of our life, such that our True Nature shines forth to radiate light and beauty all round. This is the purpose of our life.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


No one, steeped in sensuous pleasures, can ever find abidance in Brahman.
Can a lotus ever grow on rocks or hair on tortoise shells? ~~ Gurudev Swami Chinmayānanda

Happiness (Sukha): (Excerpts from 'Not Too Loose, Not Too Tight, Just Right' ~ Swāmini Vimalānanda)

Without exception, all of us want the maximum possible happiness in life. We feel that different objects, beings, or circumstances are 'joy-giving' and hence, we adopt different pursuits to gain them.

In order for us to grow in life we must pay attention to the quality of happiness we are seeking. Indulgence in comforts and the grosser attractive joys such as fast music and partying gives momentary pleasure which leave a craving for more of the same, along with the rise of new desires within. Eventually, these lead to exhaustion of the mind and dulling of the senses, bringing minimal satisfaction to the intellect. The mind becomes habituated to seeking pleasure and has difficulty in entertaining noble and great thoughts. Even more harmful is the joy which makes one revel in laziness, sleep, and unhealthy activities, causing harm to oneself and others.

In preference, human beings have the free will to choose a more noble life for themselves. When our vision, actions, intellect, and will are virtuous and serene, our mind naturally experiences effortless cheerfulness, peacefulness, and equipoise. There is a sense of well being, a feeling that life is beautiful and that living is a joy which results from dispassion, self-control, discipline, concentration, selflessness, or doing good. There is a sense of satisfaction that one gets in doing a job well, discovering or achieving something by one's own efforts, creating a piece of art, understanding a subtle subject, or mastering a skill. There may be initial difficulty and unattractiveness, but eventually one experiences well-being and lasting joy. Classic examples are waking up early, practicing meditation or memorizing arithmetic tables. Simple joys such as sharing a heartfelt smile, watching the sun rise, breathing fresh air, watching the flight of a bird, or seeing the smile of an infant especially makes the mind restful and peaceful. However, one needs to be alert, for a sensitive mind with keen senses has the capacity to gain subtle joys, but can get hooked onto the subtle sense pleasures, causing further bondage and subsequent sorrow. This can be avoided when one leads a religious life, while seeking right understanding.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Excerpts from 'Not Too Loose, Not Too Tight, Just Right' ~ Swāmini Vimalānanda

To gain everything in life, patience and will are most essential. Patience with people, situations, and with oneself enables man to consistently apply his or her body and mind to the task at hand until it is accomplished, similar to a man who makes it to the top of a mountain peak even when physically exhausted. Patience helps man overcome adverse situations or obstacles that may arise while doing a task. His will and patience do not allow him to get distracted, dejected, or impatient. Instead, they give him greater inner strength as he is more and more challenged. Even for gaining ātma jnanam, patience is required. Lack of patience is the cause of irritation which leads to anger. Anger leads to violence/hiṁsā,-- hurting our children, other family members, and people around.

“Try, try until you succeed” is the secret behind many of our achievements. We fell a hundred times before we learned how to walk. If we had become impatient and given up, we would be crawling on our fours even today! A strong will can make the impossible possible. Sri Buddha decided that he would not get up from under the bodhi tree till he attained realization, even if he were to die in the process.

We must avoid patience that is only periodically shown towards some people or to accomplish some task. One may show remarkable patience with his boss, but impatience with his family. One may work patiently till the exam or project is over, after which they go back to their normal impatient selves. Some are patient till obstacles come their way, after which they lose their cool and give up or get quickly frustrated. Statements such as “How long will I have to bear the pain? I cannot take it anymore,” demonstrate this.

One needs a great deal of patience in dealing with others, especially in situations like teaching a child. Impatience is because we demand that our demands should be satisfied by others. When we don't accept others as they are, it creates impatience. We want things to de done in our chosen way, indicating a sense of insecurity, an inability to deal with opposition or difference of opinion. There are differences and uniqueness in everything and everyone in the world. No two things are identical. Therefore, no one can satisfy another person's requirements completely. Everyone is a combination of virtues and limitations. Recognizing others limitations, we need to be sympathetic towards them. Impatience shows insensitivity to the difficulties and needs of other people and inhibits a person's capacities. Everyone does not enjoy the same strength, skills and frame of mind we may have. We should learn to be accommodative of others drawbacks. Both virtues and limitations of others have to be gracefully accepted.

Man also needs patience with one's own mental and physical shortcomings. For instance, one has to patiently cajole the mind to entertain thoughts of Isvara in meditation. Patience means having the capacity to wait, the capacity to relax. It takes time for a child to be born; It takes time for a seed to become a tree and bear fruit. Likewise, everything takes its own time. By understanding the laws of nature, we can gain patience. The Law of Karma is also at play. Always keeping the larger picture in mind, we can develop patience.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


When the intellect gets purer, it will lose all its present charms for sense experiences, that it had before or may gain in the future. ~~ Gurudev Swami Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Not Too Loose, Not Too Tight, Just Right' ~ Swāmini Vimalānanda

Our intellect has a very important role to play in our lives. It is the driver of our life and can lead us to great heights or to our downfall. It has ability to observe, discriminate, understand, analyze, judge and decide what should be done in a given situation.

Our intellect does not aid us when it gets easily confused, is vague, fluctuates in moods and thoughts, is indecisive, agitated, and unfocused. Arjuna was confused on the battlefield, “Should I fight or not? I can’t decide.” The intellect is also unavailable to us when it does not understand or rather misunderstands people and situations, and therefore, comes to wrong conclusions. For example, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so I will work little, enjoy more." Such a gross intellect views wrong to be right and right to be wrong, causing a person’s downfall.

It is important for us to gain right knowledge from our Scriptures and the right way of living so that we can sharpen our intellect. Once the intellect is sharpened, our intellect can help us to know clearly, correctly, and promptly what should or should not be done under all circumstances. My intellect must tell me what my duty is and what is not. For instance, “I must hand over the thief to the police. I need not beat him up to punish him.” It warns me what I should or should not fear. For example, “Since I speak the truth, I need not fear,” or “If I lie, I will get exposed.” My intellect must help me understand what will cause bondage and sorrow verses what will give lasting joy and freedom. For example, “Living a disciplined life is good for me and will make me happy even though it is difficult.” The Gita advises, “Develop and take refuge in a finely tuned intellect. It will lead us to great heights of glory and success.“

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Act efficiently whenever you work.
The results of action depend upon the very quality of action. ~~ Gurudev Swami Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Not Too Loose, Not Too Tight, Just Right' ~ Swāmini Vimalānanda

Each of us has inherent tendencies or potential talents and abilities called our svadharma. For example, Arjuna’s gift or svadharma was brilliance in archery. In addition, depending on one’s stage and position in life, duties come to us unasked. If I am a student, I must study, whether I like it or not.

To act according to one’s inherent abilities, thereby manifesting one’s full inner potential, is to follow one’s svadharma. In such cases, one progresses easily like fish taking to water. For instance, a man with acute business acumen prospers rapidly whereas another without the flair for business, even if loaded with business management degrees may fail. In knowledge and application, man becomes skilled in his svadharma. He works in joy, tirelessly and rapidly, progressing within and without. A father once told his son, “Son, take a job that you love where you will not have to labor any day of your life!”

With alertness one must perform one’s duties cheerfully, efficiency, without pride, pomp, or show, and without any expectation of appreciation or reward. Joy in the very performance of duty is seen most beautifully in the mother who serves her child without expectation. There is deep satisfaction in doing her duty well. Without complaining, even unpleasant duties are to be done with the attitude that it is the right thing to do, just as Gandhiji washed the bathrooms in his ashram. In addition to a duty towards ourselves, have a duty towards our family, society, nation, and the universe. There must be no confusion in priorities. For example, when a country is being attacked, my first duty is towards the nation and not just my family. In true sportsman spirit, one must do all his work with patience and enthusiasm, never being elated or dejected in success or failure, maintaining equipoise at all times. Jatayu fought Ravana till death and even as he lay defeated and dying, he had no regrets.

Thus, when we follow our svadharma, we can discover joy and satisfaction in the very action itself instead of waiting for the results.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Plan out your work and then work out your plan. ~~ Gurudev Swami Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Not Too Loose, Not Too Tight, Just Right' ~ Swāmini Vimalānanda

Man cannot live without actions. Actions by themselves are neither good nor bad. It is the intentions behind actions that make them good or bad. For example, when a doctor performs a surgery, it is not called murder even if the patient dies in the process.

Careful thought and understanding behind an action is needed before an undertaking. One must think about the goal behind the action, the possible results, and consequences of the action. For example, ‘If I take a bribe, it may bring me some easy money but it will certainly set a bad example for my children.’ One also needs to think about the time, effort, money, manpower, and material required for an undertaking, and prioritize one’s goals-- ‘At this time in life, studying is more important than partying.’ Man must also think about the harm that could be caused to others either while doing an action or as a result of it, and whether it is worth doing or worthy of being done.

It is, therefore, important to plan out one’s work in alignment with proper intention and deep thought. After planning well, when all of one’s energy is focused on one’s actions, he or she becomes efficient and successful.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Leaders don't do different things; they do things differently. ~~ Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

It is vital to make our children conscious of the world's great spiritual and cultural values - Sanātana Dharma. Children need to be given a spiritual orientation of right character, right attitudes and right values, through the most pliable stages of their growth. We must help the innocent children growing under our care make a cultural history of tomorrow. The human mind is never the same, for it changes with every breeze of change in the society around. We must make necessary adjustments from time to time to protect the growing minds of children from the malicious whims of change in the values of the society. Our children need a healthy intellectual and physical climate wherein they grow into self-confident youth that serve and rightly act with cheerfulness and noble ideals. We must generate in them healthy emotions, a true affection in all their relationships, personal discipline, and a true spirit of leadership. In doing so we train their capacity to express themselves harmoniously and gain a healthy resistance against the temptations of the world.

Only with the vision and goals of a few leaders, humanity has grown in any field. Our children are our future leaders of society,. We should continue to do the work of sharing great spiritual and cultural values of Sanātana Dharma with our children. Our children will then become great leaders of society, with the grace of the teachers and the Lord.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


The primary reason to attend Bala Vihar is to prepare oneself to lead a successful and happy life and to make others happy. ~~ Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

Bala Vihar is not only a garden for children to bloom and grow, but a garden where every individual can grow towards life’s ultimate goal. While a child learns to wonder, the parent learns to introspect, and the family learns to respect and revere, within and without. Sevaks/Sevikas learn to work together as an offering to a future generation. The teachers learn to reach beyond themselves to embody the teaching they share. Their commitment, enthusiasm, and perseverance are truly heroic.

The body inspiration of the wrestlers, the mental inspiration of poets, the intellect inspiration of the politicians and scientists, and the subtle intellect inspiration of artists are all great. But the greatest of them all is the one whose inspiration is from the Self, the Infinite. Such a one is an A+ wrestler, an A+ poet, an A+ politician, an A+ scientist, and an A+ artist. It is only when the inspiration springs from a place higher than the subtle intellect, that the work becomes a blessing to the generations afterwards. The nobler the motivation, the more inspired is the action.

The exposure to the warm comfort of selfless love is so necessary for children to grow up as whole and complete adults. Especially for children growing up in a land that has a value system different from that practiced in the home. The more generations we are away from India, the harder it is to keep the connection alive. That’s why Bala Vihar is a safety net for the children of the Indian diaspora, where sevaks/sevikas serve together in selfless love. It is the lifeline, which removes confusions and connects them to the cultural heritage of their ancestors. Lack of knowledge about Hinduism is responsible for many teens and young adults converting to other religions. The advantage of being exposed to it at a very young age is that one will never forget its essential teachings, as one will be firmly rooted in being a true Hindu.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Isāvāsyam idam sarvam: All this, whatsoever moves in this universe, including the universe itself moving, is indwelt, pervaded, enveloped, or clothed by the Lord. ~~ Isāvāsya Upanisad

Excerpts from excerpts from 'Hindu Culture, an Introduction' ~ Chinmaya Mission Hindu Culture Series

Knowing the significance of the temple ritual is a beautiful thing. Structurally, the temple represents the human body. Just as in my body there is the heart (mind and intellect) in which the Lord resides, deep inside the temple structure is the garbha grha or sanctum sanctorum, where the Lord’s idol presides. This garbha grha is the temple’s heart, where we experience the presence of the Lord. Though we may not have understanding of the higher and subtler implications of the Lord's idol in the temple's heart, we can begin by worshipping the idol, tuning our minds to it, and developing love for it.

The Lord who is in my heart is covered by the darkness of ignorance and is yet unknown and unseen by me. The lighting of the camphor in the temple ritual represents the kindling of the fire of knowledge within us and the burning up of the ego. In the light of that Knowledge we can recognize the Lord in our hearts. At the end of the ritual when the camphor flame is shown to everyone present, we place our hands over the flame and then touch our eyes. This gesture signifies that we want to keep permanently before our eyes that light in which we saw the Lord. What is seen by the eyes goes into the heart. Consequently, we then look at the created world with a new vision of the Lord being everywhere. With this expanded vision, we become generous, offering our donation into the plate of the camphor flame being passed around. Just as the money given in the temple is for the welfare of the whole community, when we experience Lord's presence everywhere, we can selflessly serve others.

Prasada is defined as “purity, cheerfulness, bliss, joy, peace.” The real prasada is the feeling of peace we experience in our hearts while looking at and tuning our minds to the Lord's idol after we have performed our puja or worship with devotion.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Our culture draws sustenance and strength from the spiritual ideals lived and demonstrated by the avataras.
It is our tradition to preserve and cherish the sacred idols of avataras in temples, for the idols represent ideals they lived.
~~ Gurudev Swami Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

Our body exercises in the playground or the gym so that it can become strong. Similarly, our mind gets to exercise when we go to the temple. The temple is the 'speed breaker' to soften our hectic blind rush forward in life. If we want our mind to be strong and razor-sharp, we must enter the temple and tune our mind to the Lord. The Lord is everywhere, but when you come to the temple, He is right in front of you, where you can contact Him directly.

People keep pictures of their family in their home or purses, because pictures invoke the love they feel for their family and bring the presence of those loved ones into their minds. The function of the temple and its idol too is to invoke in our minds the awareness of the Lord’s presence. It is not the temple's stone idol that we worship, but rather the Lord’s presence within the idol that we can become aware of and experience directly. Though the image is outside of us, the knowledge and awareness take place within us. In time we develop a deep love for the Lord.

The Lord is all pervading and does not remain only in one image or place. He is thus equally present in the temple, in the idol, and everywhere. But He cannot be perceived by the five senses, so most of us are not able to see the Lord in everything. Therefore, just as a calculator helps us to solve mathematical formulas mentally, and a cane can physically support a person to walk, so too the temple and the idol give our mind the needed support to tune in to the Lord. Our mind may not be subtle enough to understand a concept directly. Thus, we need the support of an outer symbol to convey a subtler idea in order to prepare the mind- to make it subtle, pure, and capable of understanding that the Lord is everywhere, that He is the highest Truth, and in fact He is our very own Self. It is for this reason, we are asked to first practice seeing Him in the temple and the idol, and then to slowly expand our vision.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Serve the world with the attitude that the Lord pervades it all. In serving the world, I am serving the Lord. This is my worship. ~~Upadesha Sāra, 5

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

Mahatma Gandhi made a pertinent point when he said, “There is not a single moment in man’s life when he cannot serve.” Though our minds are often conditioned to think of seva only as an act of giving material goods, it is actually the fulfillment of any need of the world around us. In serving other individuals, it could be the offering of food, clothing, shelter, or knowledge. Seva need not be anything big. Just a smile, or words of consolation in times of distress, or advice in moments of confusion are also seva. Even a sincere prayer said with a pure heart, for the well-being of all, is seva. According to our Scriptures, the gift of knowledge(vidyadāna) is the highest form of seva.

Seva has deep implications, for it is not the particular act itself, but rather the right attitude with which it is performed that has a greater significance. Charitable acts and social service done in a routine or mechanical manner are not true seva and can sometimes lead to frustration. Resentful feelings or unstated expectations often surface, where we feel we may be doing so much for a society that in turn is so ungrateful. In contrast, a selfless sevak seeks only to benefit the world around him, having the maturity that it is his duty to take care of the community. Our seva is lifted to greater heights if we have the right attitude of serving the Lord as we work towards a noble cause.

If seva is taken as worship of the Lord, then the opportunity to serve becomes our privilege and a great blessing. We then serve with an attitude of gratitude. Our relationship with the Lord needs to change from, not just worshipping Him in the temple, but also to worshipping Him through everything we do. The intention is to treat everything around us with equal vision that all that is here is the one Lord and our service to the world is a worship unto the Lord. “Work is worship.”

Seva fulfills the needs of both the giver and the receiver. Those served benefit because their needs are fulfilled. Those serving gain by the purification of their minds as an attitude of devotion and gratitude develops and permeates all their actions. Seva offered to the Lord increases our love for Him.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


When you learn to forget and retire from the thought that you are doing the work,
He starts His work Divine. ~~ Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

In Hindu religion/culture, we have a wealth of knowledge available in Hindu Scriptures passed down from our ancient rishis. It is the duty of every Hindu to read and learn our Scriptures, to approach a teacher and try to understand their deep meanings, and to reflect and imbibe them as our own knowledge that guides us in our lives.

After acquiring anything in life, we have the most sacred duty to share what we have with others. Knowledge also is to be shared. When shared through words spoken and written it is called “Pravachanam.” To spend time in studying a text is called “Swadhyāyam.”

Chinmaya Bala Vihar, books, website www.chinmayakids.org, and the Bala Vihar magazine, through their books helps us to practice swadhyāya and pravachan. These books are a great help in answering the innumerable questions of life which children come up with! And best of all, children begin to remember the Lord and pray not only in times of distress but also when they are happy and all is well. These teachings knit together and build bridges of love and understanding between individuals everywhere. These teachings impart value-based tales of symbolism, especially molding young minds with positive ideas, so that children discover the depths of their own strengths and grow in stature and spirit. Keeping alive and growing the glow of inquiry in their eyes and the light of idealism in their hearts, the teachings translate the children’s admiration for idols, like Sri Hanuman and Sri Ramachandra, into their ideals for life.

Glory to all Bala Vihar children…May every one of them shine like Shankara, like Gurudev, and the great saints of all religions.

The Bala Vihar magazine can be ordered by going to the following link: https://www.chinmayapublications.com/magazines.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Values come riding on the back of a Hero! ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

In order to live our lives meaningfully, we must understand, appreciate, and live up to a set of values unconditioned by time, place, or circumstance. It is only when we practice these values in our daily lives that we discover their capacity to transform us for the better. It is only when we integrate these divine qualities into our every thought, word, and deed that we become virtuous. Furthermore, a value-based life not only enhances our own well-being, but that of others around us as we expand our hearts to love and serve all. Vedanta teaches us that the one ultimate value is the final goal of discovering our own True Nature as Happiness, and that we are not separate from others. It declares that all the other values, when practiced, purify the mind in preparation for the final value or goal of Oneness.

Never can children’s education be complete unless we impart to them a true appreciation of the eternal values of life. Storytelling is one of the best methods to impart these values to children. The listener is taken on a journey during which he can gather new insights. The narrative becomes a medium through which a child learns to distinguish between acceptable and non-acceptable behavior. Give it to them in a story and they will always check whether their action was morally good or not.

In today’s modern education, the children are not provided with any ideals to emulate. Data is given but no ideal to pursue. Values can be so subtle that even an elderly person may not be able to understand and live by them unless the values are exemplified by an ideal or through the heroic stories of people who have lived these values. For example, children may not understand the concept of truthfulness through a talk, but when they are introduced to the value through the story of a truthful person, they comprehend it easily. One may forget the story, but the concept and ideal linger on. Hence, the need for stories and ideals.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


A quiet mind produces a more brilliant intellect. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

Everything we say affects the mind. The chanting of slokas and mantras involves the repetition of Bhagavan’s name, and results in calming the mind and creating new impressions. Even without knowing the meaning, we experience peace and serenity, which then spreads to the surroundings. Our effort is mainly to encourage the children to chant the verses so that as they grow up, there will spring forth in them a desire to understand the meaning and value of these verses.This is the first step in their spiritual quest.

Powerful results accrue from the practice of this ancient tradition of chanting. Chanting helps attune the minds of children to Divinity. They learn about the great rishis who have given us these prayers and mantras with such beautiful and profound meanings.

Even more powerful than chanting individually is chanting in a group. The power of the multiplier effect ensures that the vibrations generated are purer and more powerful.

Bhagavad Gita chanting is an introduction to a life-long friendship with the Gita. Children embark on a progressive path of ‘Chant-Study-Know-Live the Gita.’ From the recitation of the Gita arises the desire to know its meaning. Thence arises the Knowledge (of the Self). From this Knowledge arises fulfillment. Hence an individual must recite the Bhagavad-Gita.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


The universe is a cosmos and not a chaos. There exists a mental affinity; a scientific law; a rhythm of mental relationship in which the entire living world is held together in one web of love. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

People have different notions about spirituality. Some think it is meant only for those who have retired or are unable to live a productive life. To others, spirituality means sitting in a cave and escaping from life. The Guru-sishya parampara tradition(Teacher-disciple tradition) removes these erroneous notions and helps one discover that spiritual Knowledge from our Scriptures. This Knowledge is revealed through appropriate means of communication and sound reasoning by our teachers in the Guru-sishya parampara. We become aware of the Upanishads, the Gita, and other Prakarana granthas of Vedanta. In fact, the names of Masters, which would have otherwise been forgotten and lost, are thankfully a part of our living heritage today.

Generally, people listen to spiritual talks and read books based on ideas and thoughts expressed in the Scriptures without knowing their original source. As a result, many people become attached to a particular book or person. On the contrary, it is the strength and tradition of the Guru-sishya parampara teaching that takes everyone to the very source which are our Scriptures, giving vision and clarity of the Vedic foundation. Once at the source, there is no need to look elsewhere for this Knowledge as you are taken to the very source of happiness.

Life demands perennial flow. The sustained guidance of the Guru-sishya parampara results in the constant flow of Knowledge either orally or through a vast body of literature in different languages. This cultural tradition has even connected the sages to our little Bala Vihar children and must be protected. Protection of the Scriptural Knowledge by sharing with others is considered to be one of the Pancha Maha-Yagna - Rishi Yagna. By living and sharing the teachings of the Scriptures we are expressing our gratitude to our rishis who protected the Scriptures and made them available for all of us.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Accept nothing I tell you without thinking.
The longer the beard, the greater must be your suspicion. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

Swami Chinmayānanda was a disciplined, yet spirited independent thinker whose mind was boldly active on the path of inquiry, questioning the ‘whys’ and ‘why nots’ of life. Coupled in equal measure was his humility, the courage to concede his faulty presumptions and perceptions. Thus, independent thinking and inquiry based on Scriptural teachings, along with humility were Gurudev’s greatest assets leading to his discovery of Truth.

Teenagers have a peculiar tendency to rebel in the name of independent or original thinking. They may refuse to follow their parents’ advice or listen to Scriptural teachings, yet they may yield to peer pressure. Thoughtless rebellion based on one's own thinking does not reflect a questioning and independent spirit. When we have questions, we must have the readiness to inquire, understand, and accept realities based on the Scriptures.

May we draw from Gurudev’s inspiration to develop a questioning, inquiring spirit. May we contemplate independently after studying and listening to the Scriptures, and then arrive at proper understanding. It is important to note that any independent spirit of adventure will find its goal only if the adventurer has enough humility. Often people are unable to accept Scriptural teachings. It requires courage, great strength, and humility to say "Let me listen to the Scriptures." May we thus have the humility to listen to the Scriptures and become strong enough to fearlessly seek the Truth.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


In the early stages of childhood, everyone is potential material,
which can be molded, with a little pressure of discipline,
into spectacular beauty and covetable perfection. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

In the current day and age, rather than take orders, we prefer to give them. In order to gain the right to give orders to others, we have to first learn how to obey.

Obedience and living in discipline are very important in childhood. Parents must be vigilant about the dangers of children acting without permission, even in doing little things. If parents are not vigilant, children lean towards taking greater liberties, and often the situation snowballs out of control. If a child does only what he likes and refuses to do what he dislikes, he is making his likes and dislikes even stronger. This is bondage from which it is difficult to escape.

A young plant must be nurtured and protected. Once it becomes a tree, it can in turn give protection to others. Children lack proper discrimination and correct understanding. Thus, guidance, instruction, and discipline by elders/teachers and obedience of children is necessary. We have to carefully equip and train children so that their minds are purified of likes and dislikes, making them capable of taking the right decisions.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Children’s behavior depends entirely upon, and is ever controlled by,
the standard of purity and culture of their parents. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

What can we, as parents, do to encourage our children to follow a religious life and culture?

Gurudev gives us the best practical advice instructing us to live the culture and values ourselves. Rather than preach, we must practice daily. He guides us to make a daily routine of bringing the family together for the evening ārati or bhajans and to just leave it at that. No one becomes a millionaire by counting the king’s money. We have to practice.

As we silently continue to lead a prayerful and religious life, our children will watch us, the teaching will be silently conveyed, and the rest will follow in due course of time. Young children are active observers. They are more alert and learn much more when young than later in life. The rate of absorption of knowledge and experience in their early years is stupendous. Therefore, an atmosphere of religious life, culture, and values in their surroundings is very important in molding and enhancing a child’s mental life.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Your child needs your presence, not your presents. ~~Swami Tejomayananda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

The family is the foundation of society and the nation. The family unit plays a pivotal role in the upbringing of the child. A family in which there is mutual love and respect, sharing and caring, joy and laughter, learning and growing, will give the right ambience for the child's growth.

The right upbringing of a child is the sacrosanct duty of parents, given the understanding that the children do not belong to them. Parents cannot shirk this responsibility by pleading lack of time due to the pressures of the workplace. Children have never been good at listening to parents, but they never fail to imitate them. Therefore, we parents must mind our speech and act carefully in front of our children. May we not take shortcuts or play double standards, for if we parents are smart, our children are even smarter. Children are able to see through trickery and are skillful in removing the wool being pulled over their eyes by their parents.

As parents, may our actions exemplify what we want our children to be. May we be inspiring role models for them. As parents, when we want them to learn about their rich cultural heritage, let us also immerse ourselves in the learning and practice. Many youngsters go astray because they have no good role models or goals and find no meaningful purpose in life. They are confused about what constitutes a happy and successful life. By the Lord's grace, may we guide our children in setting the right immediate and long-term goals, which will enable them to achieve the ultimate goal of life-- freedom from all bondage!

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Do your best, and leave the rest. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

The role of parents can be likened to that of farmers or gardeners. It is most important to provide a nurturing environment without the burden of doership.

Farmers neither create the seed nor the soil. The potential exists in the seed; nothing needs to be added or injected into it. The farmer or gardener provides an environment suitable for the seed to grow. If the seeds have something in them, they will sprout; but if they are roasted, or if the soil is not proper, or when there is too little rain, then what can the gardener do?

Parents can only provide an environment conducive to the child's physical, intellectual and emotional growth. But there is no guarantee that the child will grow up the way the parent desires because of a host of other reasons.

Our effort is only one contributory factor. In fact, the totality of this world acts on the seed. The results of the efforts (karmaphala) do not accrue as a result of our action alone. Our duty is only to provide the right atmosphere in a given situation, and the seed with potential will grow. If, despite since effort, the expected results are not forthcoming, then there is no blame. Having done all that was possible, the conscience will be clear. This holds true, not just for parenting, but for every activity in life.

Many well-meaning parents languish in guilt when their children stray from the path of goodness. At such times it is best to remember Pujya Gurudev's simple injunction, "Do your best, and leave the rest"

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. ~~Khalil Gibran

Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

How can parents be objective when it comes to guiding children?

Swami Nikhilananda expands on the above analogy of Khalil Gibran to illustrate that parents can be objective only with an attitude of humble surrender.

Parents are like bows and children like arrows. The one who wields the bow knows the trajectory of the arrow. An arrow does not have its own power nor does it create its own path. The Lord is the wielder of the bow; He gives the power and direction.

The more flexible, steady and elastic the bow, the more it bends and the greater is the power that it transfers to the arrow. When the arrow is released, it takes the correct flight path. Lord alone knows where the arrow has to be led. If the bow refuses to release the arrow, the arrow's power will reduce. Its flight will weaken and it will not reach its target.

Similarly, clinging attachment to our children can be best avoided. Parents are bows in the hands of the Lord, and it is the parents through which children are delivered into the future. If there is no bending in humility before Lord's will, the arrow will not go far. However, if we surrender to Lord's will, the arrow will fly swift and far.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Excerpts from 'Our Children, Our Future' ~ Chinmaya Mission Mananam Series

We need to constantly remind ourselves that every jiva (individual), born in this world has a mission to complete, a destiny to follow. With some jivas, we spend just a few moments; with some, an entire lifetime. We may be together for a while, yet inevitably part our ways. Swami Tejomayananda uses the apt example of a train journey to explain these comings and goings in the journey of life.

While traveling by train we do not know who our co-passengers will be. This secret is revealed only when we board the train and find out who they are. Only one karma is common to all the passengers on the train - they all are travel on the same day, the same train. However, their reasons for traveling and their destinations are varied and different.

Members of a family come together because of some common karma. But each one of them has come into this world for a different purpose. Each jiva has to fulfill a certain objective. The family members spend some time together sharing good and bad times. Then, like fellow travelers, they alight at different places and go their own way. All of us have come to exhaust certain karmas and learn the lessons needed for our evolution. Once this is done, the jiva moves on.

This is the reality of all life. So, as parents we need to remove this 'I-ness' and 'my-ness' from our lives and take a more objective standpoint.

We do fine with friendships on a train journey, but when it comes to family, it is hard to let go, more so where our own children are concerned.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Parenthood is an intense stage of life. Our human instinct to nurture our young ones takes over our personalities and we fail to recognize our part in the larger scheme of things.

We are all jivas (limited individual beings). Every jiva is a part of the Lord and hence is directly connected to the Lord. The others, whom we address as mother, father, sister, brother, child and so on are also jivas and therefore, parts of the Lord as well. Everyone belongs to the Lord. Both parent and child belong to the Lord because they are a part of Him. While raising children, this important aspect is most often forgotten.

In his writing, Prophet, the philosopher-poet Kahlil Gibran declares:
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself.
They came through you, but not from you.
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you."

Most parents think - "We have given birth to our children, hence they belong to us."

Our children are expressions of Life coming 'through' us, not 'from' us. The bodies of the parents are merely a medium being used by Life to express its longing for itself. Parents are merely the spirit from where children take birth. A feeling of possessiveness can be harmful. It is important to have the right attitude towards one's children.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Training the mind is the essence of education. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Today's academic education is merely a lot of 'information gathering' on many subjects. In reality, education has the larger purpose of 'transformation' of the individual. A judicious combination of academics (information) and cultural/value education (transformation) serve as an ideal approach to education.

Swami Chinmayananda has said, "Through such an education, followed faithfully, we can more effectively complete the education of our growing generations. Secular education makes them proficient to meet the challenges of their professions, and the values of life inculcated in Bala Vihar will mold them to be a better persons in society."

'Vision of education' needs to aim at elevating a child's 'Vision of life', thus helping them evolve into outstanding individuals of character and achievement.

Today's competitive world places an inordinate emphasis on academics and grades. The kind of education (scriptural teachings that emphasize Right Living) that Bala Vihar offers is not available in most schools.

Teachings of our Sanatana Dharma/Vedic Scriptures give us the 'Vision of life' and the means to fulfill this vision - 'Way of life".

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Rightly handled we can make a divine saint out of even an underdeveloped child. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

Saṁskāra Pradhāna: Creating Right Impressions
Saṁskāras are the impressions created in the mind. These impressions decide our destiny. They decide the direction of our life, the character that we develop and the mentality that we are endowed with. This happens at a very subtle level of the mind.

Young age is the right time for creating good saṁskāras. A child is like a clay doll. You can give any shape to that clay doll while it is wet. Once it dries, you cannot alter its shape at all. Therefore, it is essential that children imbibe positive saṁskāras. The doors of our mind and heart are closed, but that is not so with children.

Bala Vihar is Saṁskāra Pradhāna, meaning the main focus is creation of good impressions. At Bala Vihar, when the children are young, the emphasis is given to create good saṁskāras. Children are taught chanting slokas, daily prayers, Bhagavad Gita chanting etc - all these forms of chanting create good impressions. The aim is to make sure children shine in their personal life and simultaneously bring joy to others. Simple things give us happiness. Parents are pleased if their children chant even a few slokas. Children do not have to know the meaning. The meanings of the slokas are told as the children grow into the teenage years. The meanings are kept simple and easy. There is no need to give them the complete in-depth explanations when they are young.

The greatest service Bala Vihar renders is to simply create love for the Lord in the hearts of children. If this is achieved, then everything else will follow. In other words, all will be taken care of. Guru-Bhakti and Isvara-Bhakti are the pillars on which we can build a strong personality. If this is achieved, then the Lord will do the rest.

This is the reason that in Bala Vihar - daily prayers, chanting of slokas, chanting of Bhagavad-Gita, concluding prayers, Stuti Vandana programs are emphasized to create good saṁskāras and love for the Lord. Teachings of the scriptures are subtle and cannot be easily explained to children. By creating good saṁskāras mind of the children is refined, disciplined and well directed from a young age, which will help to gain the teachings of the Scriptures as the children grow older.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


At young age, it is difficult to give children the reason and rationale of all that is being taught to them. Also, too much logic and reasoning is not required for a child. There is enough time for explanations. These can be given to them in stages as they grow.

Bālakeṣu ca saṁskāro vicāro yuvakeṣa ca - Good impressions in childhood; Inquiry during youth.

Some people erroneously think that all the child's questions must be answered. Though children do ask questions, all the children do not have the ability to understand all the answers. Keeping this in mind, replies to queries should be uncomplicated and easily understood. They should be given only as much information as is necessary and sufficient for their understanding. Answers should be in keeping with the age, maturity and understanding of the children. We should exercise wisdom and discretion in answering their questions. We need to use examples children can relate to. Not only should the answers be child-appropriate, but also the entire approach should be grounded in strong values.

How children needs to given Right Answers at Right Time is illustrated beautifully by Swami Chinmayananda-ji.

Young Boy: Swamiji, no one has 'seen' God. How can I believe that if I live a spiritual life I will for sure experience the Lord?
Gurudev: Can you see a beard or a mustache on your face?
Young Boy: No, Swamiji.
Gurudev: Yet, are you not sure and do you not believe that in time you will grow up to see it appear on your face?
Young Boy: Yes, Swamiji.
Gurudev: Similarly, the Lord is hidden in you and will manifest to you at the time of your spiritual maturity. Remember the Lord and keep calling him.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


An uncultured person is given importance only in his own house. A rich, influential person is respected in his village. A kind is worshiped in his own kingdom. However, a wise man is worshiped everywhere. ~~Pujya Swami Tejomayananda

A child starts learning by watching and observing. The child's endless wonderment at things, the steady sense of inquisitiveness, thoughtful attention to everything said and done around is the stage for education. This stage in the life of a child is an impressive period and is most crucial in building the entire future. At this stage, the child imitates all the elders in the immediate world. From everyone the child picks up traits, habits, words, ideas, dress habits and even their accent and inflections of speech. The child is never tired of observing the surroundings, learning from everyone and from every situation.

Pujya Gurudev knew this well and set out to open Bala Vihar. Bala Vihar is a place where children learn values and insights into their own culture - Vedic culture. Children are cared for with the warmth of love and affection, so they blossom forth flowers of Brotherhood, Universal love, Peace, Beauty and Perfection.

We want our children to have the overall development of personality at all levels - physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Children exposed to this knowledge of Vaidhika dharma and culture, live more fulfilling lives. We want our children to willingly take responsibility, think independently, and do not succumb to peer pressure. We want them to be rooted in the values of acceptance and sharing and work for the greater benefit of humanity. Most importantly we want our children to develop love for the Lord and forge a lasting relationship with the Lord.

Children should be drawn toward learning with love. In a loving atmosphere, learning happens effortlessly. The environment should be inviting, friendly, and conducive for learning. When there is love, the teaching is imbibed without any conscious effort or struggle. This is the benefit of children attending Bala Vihar. They get to learn by observing others and learn in loving atmosphere.

It is a pleasure to interact with disciplined, well-mannered children. They are indeed a blessing to the family; they are blessing to society and also to the world at large. But cultured children do not just happen. They have to be nurtured and trained by the parents and elders in the society.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


The seeds of spiritual values should be sown in young hearts. The condition should be made favorable for their sprouting and steady by the exercise of proper discipline and teaching. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

We need to teach our children not only to have right values and convictions, but also to have the heroism to live up to them. We have to take responsibility for molding and beautifying the child, prepare the child to face the world of the future.We need to make the children understand that there is an unseen hand (Lord) that molds the affairs of the entire Universe. It is a tremendous responsibility.

Nurturing the child starts when they are young. Only when a plant is young and we sincerely care for it, we can train it to grow straight. A plant can be trained, but not a tree. If the tree has a bend, it has a bend. Then, we can only trim the branches but not the trunk.

We can see how Prahlada learned about higher values of life when he was in the womb of his mother. Prahlada's mother was exposed to religious teachings for the last three months of her pregnancy, the child within her was molded - not outside, but in the mother's womb, akin to a prenatal education - and it is this child who became the great Prahlada. Prahlada's father wanted him to become another demonic Hiranyakasyapu, but because of the prenatal spiritual training, this little boy stood against the entire materialistic culture that had developed in the country at the time. Prahlada brought his country back to the healthier and eternal values. Prahlada taught his friends the wisdom that he had gained in the mother's womb. It is only through his efforts that an entire generation of asuras was transformed.

Like Bhakta Prahlada, Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanda understood the need for children to connect with the Lord at an early age. He also knew that for achieving success in the outer world, they require a strong value system strengthened by discipline. For only then would they be able to work fearlessly in the world outside, while remaining rooted and peaceful within. Pujya Gurudev was particular that Children must be given the right samskaras (Right Vaues, Right Attitude, Right Knowledge, Right Goals etc) at the right time.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


In early stages of childhood, all children have potential, which can be molded, with a little discipline into spectacular beauty and covetable perfection. ~~Gurudev Swāmi Chinmayānanda

To nurture children, help them reach their potential and become great is the primary responsibility and role of parents. Mothers, especially are the ones who can mold children. In order to do this, a mother has to spend extra effort and energy, most importantly spend her time.

One little child can change the entire history of a country. This is how all the great men of the past were made - A Shivaji, a Tagore, a Mahatma Gandhi. From their childhood onwards, their mothers inculcated noble ideas in them. If you read their autobiographies, they all openly declare that if they achieved success and greatness, they are indebted to their mothers for their success.

It is always the mother at home who imparts values and ideals to the child, who molds the thinking of the child. Women plays a critical role in the upbringing of a child. Once the woman of the family is convinced of the value of the scriptural teachings, the whole family is secure. Women need to be aware of their important role in the larger scheme of life.

Mother can impart the soft values. She gives the child the ideals of charity, goodness, tenderness, affection, and forgiveness. She never imparts values by giving the child a discourse, but through her life, she demonstrates these ideals, and the child sees it. These ideals then become embedded in the child.

When mothers lose touch with the spiritual values and live a loose and unethical life, then their childrens' lives will also be degraded. Such children, when they become youngsters, they start looking around and find that the values they have been given are hollow, empty and lonely.

Therefore, it is important for the parents, especially the mother to learn scriptural teachings, culture, and values. Through these, mothers can impart values to their children and give them a healthy foundation upon which they can build their life.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini


Children enter this world through a natural process, but to make them great children is a great responsibility. If we want our children to be great, we need to do something about it. Nothing happens automatically. Children need support and guidance. How great our children become will depend on how well they are groomed. Although children are born with their own karma, despite this, we can mold their present and shape their future.

In olden times, children studied in gurukulas, the teacher did all the grooming. Later, in joint families, traditions were imbibed through a process of osmosis. Today, the gurukula system is no longer prevalent, and joint families are fading away. Everybody is busy. In this environment, Swami Chinamayananda recognized the need for a protective armor to safeguard the children of the future, so that they can live meaningful lives. With this vision, the shield was shaped from the wisdom of the past and strengthened by the culture of our ancestors. With this vision to impart the wisdom of our religion and culture, Chinmaya Bala Vihar was started. Being a part of society, Bala Vihar has certain obligations toward the well-being of its members. With this spirit Bala Vihar helps our children to grow. Bala Vihar is to help children learn about values in an enjoyable atmosphere.

As a gardener helps to grow a plant by tending and nurturing it, we facilitate the growth of children through the various activities of Bala Vihar. With dedicated parents, sevaks and sevikas working together, Bala Vihar program promises to make a difference in every child's life through the joyful teaching-learning process. Children are molded in their attitudes, in their values, in their ideas, and in their ideals.

The most expensive gift we can give to our children is - our Time. In Bala Vihar there are dedicated parents, sevaks, sevikas who are giving their time and efforts to mold our children and mold their future.

Om Tat Sat
Chinmaya Hamsavāhini