SANTA ANA, CA-The entrance to the Santa Ana High School, on Nov. 8, looked festive with floral decorations. The courtyard buzzed with activity as a man in an orange robe stood welcoming guests at the entrance – Swami Ishwarananda, the Resident Acharya and head of Chinmaya Mission Los Angeles warmly...
The annual event, as Swamiji explained in his opening talk, was also meant to gather the extended membership together.
This year the event focused on youth. Labeled, ‘Yuva Tunes – Bhakti Beats’ the evening featured four young and accomplished artistes, all former students of Chinmaya Mission’s balavihars and continuing ties to Chinmaya Mission – Ashwin Krishnan Subramanium, Laxmi Chandrashekhar, Sanchit Malhotra and Devesh Vashishtha. The four are also either recent grads or students at universities pursuing degrees of higher learning.
In introducing the idea of the program, Swami Ishawarananda narrated his first encounter with the lead of the group, Ashwin and, his music and how it had inspired him to invite the artiste to do an entire program. Bhakti Beats, said Swamiji, translates to heart beats; when bhakti or devotion is woven into melody- the resulting fusion is what the evening would have. He added, “bhakti in its evolved form is transformational in nature”.
The vocal and instrumental music show was a beautiful rendition of cultures coming together. Informed by their roots, the four were able to pull Sanskrit slokas, and lyrics in various other Indian languages together, with the sounds and rhythms of western music. The blend was a delightful one.
The musical renditions comprised of bhajans and more popularly, the slokas that has become the hallmark of early learning at Chinmaya Mission. The Guru Stotram for instance, was accompanied with “guruve, gurve, guruve” refrains. There was the Margabandhu Stotram, Mukundmala, Tapovan Shatakam, Paayoji Maine, Sankat Mochan - enjoyed by everyone present.
The audience also heard a few speeches. Acharya Mahadev who encapsulated the essence of the program when he said, “the Rhythm of the body, Melody of the mind, Harmony of the soul create the Symphony of the life.”
CMLA Foundation Committee Chair Shashi Acharya presented the financial figures for the year and explained where the money was spent. As was evident in the video that was shown at the top of the evening, funds are plowed back into upgrading the Center, ‘Rameshwaram’ at Tustin or in providing services to members. The money raised this year closed in on $300K.
Khyati and Dr. Jagdish Bhatt spoke about the value this mission has added to their lives as volunteers and parents of children in CMLA’s balavihar program. The event was emceed by Raju Chellappa and Ramya Radhakrishnan. In an interesting organizational move, CMLA had children from ages 5-12 engage in a special magic show by the very popular Cameron South in a hall while the main event was in progress. This kept the parents free to enjoy the musical evening. While sumptuous snacks and hot chai was served for everyone as they came in to attend the program, boxed dinner was given as they exited the venue.