Grand Opening Of Chinmaya Maruti Center
Over the course of the three days June 13,14 and 15, an estimated 3000 people attended the inauguration of Chinmaya Maruti, the Chinmaya Mission’s new Center in Andover, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Maruti is an alternate name for the Hindu deity Hanuman, the devoted servant of Lord Rama.
(Dilip Mathur was part of thr building committee. He is a active member of the Chinmaya Mission and he teaches Gita classes. He may be reached via telephone at 781 861 9344 or via email at email@example.com
The highlight of the three-day celebration was two discourses by Swami Tejomayananda, worldwide head of Chinmaya Mission, on the ever-successful Hanuman. “Human life is meant for realizing God or Supreme truth and to serve the world around. Shri Maruti is the best example of this ideal”, he said. Swamiji in his humorous style spoke on the qualities needed for success.
Poojas, conducted by several area priests, accompanied the installation of the idol of Hanuman
There was a festive atmosphere of celebration for the entire three days. There were food stalls, and two wonderful and heartwarming entertainment programs by the Chinmaya community, including Bal Vihar children, some as young as 5 years old. Books and tapes were available.
Chinmaya Maruti is a space of approximately 13,000 sq feet on a 3-acre property that backs up to a river. A curved copper roof and tall white columns evoke an air of simple beauty. There is a light filled lobby with a soaring ceiling, a large hall suitable for group functions, several classrooms, a library and a shrine area.
This project is the fulfillment of a dream for Dr. Gopala Dwarakanath, the head of the pain management clinic at Lowell General Hospital. Dwarakanath and his wife Shashi, also a physician, and who leads the children’s educational program at Chinmaya called Balvihar, have been organizing classes since 1989 in town facilities. It was in 1999 that Dwarakanath got the inspirational push from Swami Tejomayananda to build a center for the Boston area.
Early support came from Gururaj Deshpande, founder of Sycamore Networks, and his wife Jaishree who donated $500,000. Over the next four years Deshpande, as Chair of Chinmaya Boston Board, devoted endless hours to guiding the Chinmaya teams. . Commenting on the project, Deshpande said, “ What is very exciting for me is that this organization is not only high minded and well grounded in the teachings of Vedanta, but has shown that it can execute efficiently and effectively”. Head of the Construction Committee is Sastri Durvasula, a senior Hewlett Packard executive.
Generous support came from entrepreneurs Anil and Ashwini Singhal, founders of Netscout Systems, Ram Sudi Reddy founder of Cimaron Communications, and Surinder Bharadwaj of Palika Bazaar. Andover residents Drs Thavaseelan, Santosh Shetty, and Chandrakant Patel all rallied to the cause.
Jagat Sisodia, also an entrepreneur and Andover resident, was responsible for the yearlong project to have the idol carved by Indian artisans in Rajasthan. The 420 lb marble idol was air freighted from India. Mala Umapathy gifted the copper Hanuman idol.
Chinmaya Mission activities include Balvihar classes where children between ages 4 to 13 are taught shlokas, values, symbolism of Hindu Gods and festivals, stories, arts and music. For, youth ages 13 to 18 the curriculum includes meditation, yoga, Sanskrit, discussions, Vedic texts, creative thinking and community service.
Adult Study groups typically start with a guided meditation, Swami Chinmayananda’s discourses on the Gita via video, and group discussion on the application of Vedanta to daily life.
Occasional potluck lunches, the all-volunteer nature of the organization, all lend the Chinmaya community a warm spirit of am extended family. “ I feel it is a privilege to be a part of this”, said Latha Magipudi, summing up the feelings of the inauguration attendees.
The classes are for all communities; typically half the audience in Swami Chinmayananda’s discourses would be non-Indian.
Chinmaya Maruti will be a resource to the community, and it is expected that the facility will be used by other organizations to enrich the overall program.
Chinmaya Mission’s mission is “ To provide 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 Center will be open weekday mornings 7 am to 8am, and 6pm to 8pm in the evenings. On weekends the timings are 9am to 12.30 pm and 5pm to 8.30 pm.
Gita classes for adults, conducted on Sunday mornings will begin July 13.
More information is available at chinmayamaruti.org
Lakshmi Samudrala, a Chinmaya Mission member who has been very inspired by the talks given by Swami Tejomayanda gives us a brief excerpt of the discourse.
THE LITERARY AND SYMBOLIC IMPORT OF CHINMAYA MARUTI
The talk aptly focused on the great character of Hanuman , and what to expect when one prays to Lord Hanuman. Maruti, or Veera Rama Bhakta Hanuman, son of Maru, Vayu devata, manifested as a monkey (Vaanara, a lower form to Nara), to serve Lord Rama who took human form (Nara) to subdue Ravana's atrocities.
One important virtue of Hanuman was that his life was free from any blemish. Even Lord Rama and Mother Sita were subject to unjust criticism. The simple secret was that Hanuman was totally free from any sense of Ahambhava and selfishness. The only thing he knew was that he was to serve Lord Rama. A servant has no ego and desires. He was honest, loyal and dedicated to Rama. Before contact with Rama, Hanuman was in the service of Sugreeva, a monkey's minister. Although Sugreeva was not wicked, he was ordinary. In his service, no greatness came of Hanuman. Also, honesty and dedication, though good virtues, can become dangerous, if they are used for wicked means, like working for wicked people. If one is dedicated to ordinary causes, one cannot manifest extraordinary qualities. Hence, it is always important to work for noble causes.
Another striking quality of Hanuman was that he was always successful. How is this possible? In dwelling on this, Swamiji enumerated the different definitions of success. Many times we fail because there is no full manifestation of our potential- we did not do our best. According to Swamiji, success requires self-effort, teamwork and God's grace. The four qualities that Hanuman possessed abundantly was physical strength (Balam), wisdom to tackle difficult circumstances (Buddhi), fortitude and courage (Dhairyam) and total faith in the cause and outcome of his undertaking (Shraddha). He was very patient, and humble and never claimed he could accomplish anything. Hanuman was silent when the discussion came about as to who is the right person that has the might to cross the ocean. Jambavan was praising Hanuman's qualifications, yet Hanuman was untouched, until he heard that his birth was made for Lord Rama's work. Immediately, he took a huge form of a golden mountain. This was because Hanuman, as a Bhakta, believed that the source of his might was Lord alone.
Having enumerated the great virtues of Hanuman, what is the result of worship of Hanumanji? Verse 31 of Hanuman Chalisa reveals "ashtasiddhi nau nidhi ke data | asa bara dinha janaki mata". Mother Sita (janaki mata) bestowed Hanuman as the giver of ashtasiddhis (8 supernatural powers) and navanidhis (9 forms of wealth).
To work and attain success in this world, one needs all these siddhis, not literally, but symbolically. These siddhis are: Anima (the power to become small). Hanuman took the form of a mosquito, to face Sita in the Asokavana, in Bali Avatara, the Lord took the form of Vamana. In real life, many times we are faced to become small. At such humbling times, we must go on with our goal in mind. Garima (the power to become heavy, the episode of Bhima meeting Hanuman, like a heavy stone that is unaffected by a dry leaf). Mahima (the power to become large), like a leader who rises to the occasion. Laghima (the power to become light as feather). Prapti (the power to attain whatever one wants), with this power, one can watch anything going on anywhere. Prakamya (the power to go anywhere). Isitvam (the power to rule over all three worlds). Vasitvam (the power to control everybody). In our life too, by remembering Lord Hanuman, we are blessed with the ashtasiddhis of buddhi (intelligence), balam (strength), yasho (fame), dhairyam (fortitude), nirbhayatvam (fearlessness), arogata (freedom from diseases), ajadhyam (lack of inertia, alertness), vakpatutvam (eloquence, to know to speak the right words at the right time).
Worship of Hanuman bestows 9 kinds of wealth. These are literally the nine precious gems. However, the greatest wealth is Navadha Bhakti, the 9 forms of devotion. It is Sravanam (listening to the glories of the Lord-knowledge), Kirthanam (singing his glories-action), Smaranam (feeling His presence- mind), Padaseva (service at His feet), Archanam, Satyam (friendship with Lord, where your name is coined with His), Atma Nivedana (self surrender), Vandanam (bowing down), and Dasyam (service). This is the real wealth. The more you give of this, the more you get. All else is subject to tax, loss and stealing. This is the wealth you get as a result of Maruti Bhakti Aradhana. Such is prescribed for bhaktas, children, karma yogins, sadhus and all.
With this, Swamiji exhorted all to follow the ideal of Sri Maruti, which best exemplifies the ideal of human life: for realizing God or the Supreme Truth, with a noble and inspiring ideal of service with utmost humility.
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Swami Tejomayananda with Dr.G. Dwarknath