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Chinmaya Mission Boston In The Spotlight:
Reflections About The Bala Vihar Experience

Mukundh Murthy and Shravanika Kumaran

Chinmaya Mission Boston in the Spotlight Series

Reflections about the Bala Vihar experience by outgoing seniorsItalic


Developing a Spiritual Outlook to Guide the Daily Life

~ Mukundh Murthy


When an idea, a value, a person, or an activity becomes so integrated into your life, it becomes extremely challenging to isolate that specific aspect and explain how it has impacted your personality, habits, and values. If you inspect one specific Sunday a few years ago, I’m likely going to Balavihar either a) my parents dragged me out of bed or b) as the foodie I am, I’m looking forward to the prasad hand crafted with love from mission volunteers along with some possible leftover rasmalai from a festival that happened during the week.

But to identify Balavihar’s long lasting impact on my life, I need not look any further than one particular video stored in the Home Videos YouTube family playlist. In this video, a seven year old Mukundh chants chapter 8 of the Bhagavad Gita, properly enunciating long vowels and marked emphases. The discipline that Chinmaya Mission instilled from a very early age, the idea that you can work hard towards a goal, the idea that you can compound knowledge by showing up every week, stays with me to this day.

I’m a scientist at my core, and Chinmaya Mission has helped me understand the core motivations behind what I do by helping me connect my ideas and activities back to the human condition. In a world where our generation must solve problems like climate change, antimicrobial resistance among many others, it seems obvious that science and technology must advance, but less obvious that self-awareness, clarity of mind, humility, conviction, and kindness need to as fast if not faster. With fourteen years of Bala Vihar and exposure to Hindu epics along with the more unfiltered and powerful teachings from Swami Chinmayanda, I’m confident that I have the resources to continue on my spiritual journey.

I will be attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor this fall to likely major in computer science and molecular and cellular biology, and am very excited to join the group of CHYKs there. I look forward to joining weekly reading and philosophy groups on Vedanta and other spiritual texts.

I wanted to thank my parents and my sister for supporting me along my journey. I would also like to thank my Chinmaya teachers and Shashi ji for guiding me through Bala Vihar and constantly emphasizing that as much as Bala Vihar is about understanding long standing stories and traditions, it’s about encouraging inquiry and creating your own meaning by applying principles to your daily life.


Guiding our Thoughts to be Successful

~ Shravanika Kumaran


Hari Om, I’m Shravanika Kumaran and through the years, Chinmaya Mission Boston has taught me so much, but the greatest impact has been on my mindset. One lesson in particular has stuck with me from when we were introduced to the BMI chart in 9th grade.

Specifically, when it came to the mind and intellect, we talked about our thoughts being a flowing river and in this conversation, we touched upon how emotions were naturally part of the flow as well, but the goal was to find a way to control them at a neutral state of constant happiness. We’re definitely allowed to experience peaks of joy and downhills of sadness and we will, but it’s important that those changes are small curves rather than huge ups and downs.

Since I heard this statement back then, I’ve definitely noticed how it applied to my own life in the moment just like all the other takeaways we’ve slowly accumulated. This year alone, I learned how to set meaningful intentions for myself and balance what I needed to get done with what I enjoyed doing. Even though we were entirely remote, I learned the most as I watched all the dots laid out through the years connect together and light up a string of continuous lightbulbs as the ideas processed in my head.

I just want to say thank you to Shashiji aunty, Dwarka uncle, and all the teachers whose classes I had an opportunity to be in as well as all the other committed teachers, and volunteers at Chinmaya Mission Boston. Finally, also my own parents for bringing my brother and I here every Sunday morning. I’m really glad I got a chance to be part of this community and would definitely like to continue on this journey to discover how I can be the best version of myself through Vedanta. Hari Om!

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