Being the visionary
that he was, Swami Chinmayananda saw that in the hi-tech urban
civilization both sunshine and love would be hard to come by.
Anticipating this need, he started the Balavihars.
A group of children meet at a certain place on a weekly basis and the children
and the sevaks/sevikas learn the art of living in love, the
Hindu way. The idea is to provide an environment where the personality
of the child blossoms in a spontaneous way. Good conduct, emotional
refinement, intellectual finesse and spiritual awareness are
developed by mature sevaks through fun and play, and through
stories and bhajans.
Sometimes it is through tears, but more often through smiles;
sometimes through strictness, but mostly by persuasion. The children are
encouraged to be responsible, alert and sensitive members of society.
Swamiji believed that just as the strength of a wall depended on the quality of each
brick, so too, the health of a society depended on the individuals.
If the individuals are healthy, the society is healthy. His
strategy for building a new society was to "Catch 'em young."
A Typical Bala Vihar
Chinmaya Mission Vancouver has a wonderful Balvihar program for
children ages five to fifteen years. They are grouped according to
their age and school grades. The classes are conducted by dedicated volunteers.
Children meet once a week for 60 minutes. They learn basic values through books,
stories, and games.
Junior Balvihar group, age 3,5 to 7, start by learning
Balvihar alphabet. Each letter of the alphabet has a positive value. Each value
is taught through a story or a song or a game. They move on to learn Bal Ramayana,
Bal Bhagvatam, and their most favorite Super Hero Hanumanji. Teachers are Gargi and Sharada.
Senior Balvihar group, age 7 to 12, learns about Dasavatara, values from the
Bhagvad Gita, our vedic heritage, and key to success. Teacher for kids age 7-9 is Viral.
Teacher for kids age 9-12 is Gaurav.
Youth group, age 12 to 15,
learn about symbolism in Hinduism, our precious culture, and spiritual wisdom.
Our activities include prayers, stories, songs, bhajans arts and crafts, games,
Bhagavad Gita chanting, and of course Prasadam. Teacher is Tharini.
Our future goals are to increase enrollment, increase the teaching time from 60
to 90 minutes, and have more volunteer teachers. We would like to fulfill
Pujya Swamiji's vision to spread the knowledge of Vedanta.
"To give maximum happiness, to the maximum number, for the maximum time, is our religion."
about our bala vihar classes check out the class