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Meenakshi Venkataramani And Sowmya Kesari Graduates With A Certificate In Hindu Spiritual Care

Sujata Seth

Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF-Kerala) Holds First Graduation Ceremony for Certificate in Hindu Spiritual Care (CHSC).  The program celebrated a milestone on June 5, 2024 with the graduation of its inaugural cohort of 11 students who are the first to complete the Certificate program, with another 50-plus students in process. The ceremony was held virtually at 9:30 pm ET during the final session of the Rites, Rituals, and Vedanta course taught by Brahmachari Ved Chaitanya (Br. Vedji).  

The graduates from across the US and Canada– Ashlesh Dani and Bina Dani (Poughkeepsie, NY), Hema Ramanathan (Plymouth-Canton, MI), Indira Palekar (Cleveland), Meenakshi Venkataramani (Boston), Pradeep Solanki (Toronto), Rakhi Khanna (Chicago), Ravi Iyer (Houston), Sangamesh Konaraddi (Frederick, MD), Sonali Dave (Dallas), and Sowmya Kesari (Acton, MA) - were congratulated for their hard work in this first-of-its-kind comprehensive training program in Hindu Spiritual Care (chaplaincy).

Students undertook coursework in Hindu spiritual traditions, Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta philosophy, Indian psychology, Hindu rites and rituals and sadhanas, ethical principles and competencies of chaplaincy, and communication skills.  They concluded their studies with chaplaincy practicums at healthcare and other facilities.

Guest Speaker Swami Shantanandaji, President of Chinmaya Mission West, praised the graduates for their commitment to serving communities through spiritual caregiving. "By blending ancient wisdom with modern healthcare needs, you are ambassadors lighting the way for Hindu spiritual care to be integrated into diverse settings," he stated. 

"We are extremely proud of this pioneering group of graduates," said Br. Vedji of CIF. "Their dedication to providing compassionate spiritual support while representing Hindu values in a professional clinical setting is truly inspiring."   

Vilasini Balakrishnan, Program Director of CHSC, credited Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji as the visionary and inspiration behind this program. Gurudev founded CIF in 1989 to be a bridge between East and West, science and spirituality, and Hindu chaplaincy is helping to fulfill this role.  The graduates expressed gratitude to their outstanding instructors and for the opportunity to be part of this groundbreaking educational initiative. They look forward to careers in Hindu Spiritual Care as volunteers or as professionals in healthcare, colleges, the military and community.

The Certificate in Hindu Spiritual Care plans to offer the 18-month part-time online courses annually, helping to meet a growing demand for Hindu chaplains able to offer Hindu religious and philosophical perspectives to assist those navigating life’s challenges.

For more information, visit  https://chinfo.org/hinduspiritualcare 

[ or Www.Chinfo.org/all-courses/hindu-spiritual-care/]

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