TUSTIN, CA – For members of Chinmaya Mission Los Angeles and the larger Southern California community interested in Vedanta, the week of June 28-July 4 provided a veritable feast of spiritual thought and wisdom. Hundreds of listeners gathered each evening at “Chinmaya Rameshwaram” center here,
Each evening, prior to the discourse, a cultural segment showcased the talent and learning at CMLA. Balavihar children, from the far flung centers that make up CM in Southern California, presented plays which were well enacted and scripted. The topics they chose ranged from how students of today approach a guru, the caste system from the time of Adi Sankara to its distortion today, the young lord Krishna going to Sandeepany ashram and a summary of the transcendental knowledge in the Gita. The youth group presented a musical on ‘Navadha Bhakti.’ Youth also performed classical dances that were of high caliber while adult members did a lilting garba. The various other groups that also performed included Chinmayanjali the Vedanta student group which on two days chanted the Ganapati Atharvashirsham and Durga Suktam among others; Shlokanjali, the adult group which also chanted shlokas; Shruti, the children’s choir which sang in praise of the lord and also a composition of Guruji himself, “Koi Vando, Koi Nindo”; Swaranjali, the adult choir, who sang with a full instrumental ensemble and brought great delight when Swami Ishwarananda, the head Acharya of CMLA, joined them onstage for a bhajan.
The week-long event was highlighted by a marquee moment – the 65th birthday of Guruji Swami Tejomayananda. CM members gathered on June 30th morning in prayer that began with a traditional ayush homa, where the gods are invoked for a long and healthy life and then a meaningful ceremony where children conducted a paduka puja to their guru. Guruji is known for his love of music and has composed and sung several pieces. In homage, a musical afternoon followed where he was regaled by a sitar and vocal concert. Guruji on different evenings released a book and a music CD recorded at CMLA. The book, a commentary on the Guru Stotram by Swami Ishwarananda, he praised by saying, he had read it, it was good and a must read for all.
Earlier, on his arrival on June 28, Guruji who was returning to the Southland after four years and was welcomed with the blowing of conches, led in procession inside CM Rameshwaram to the chanting of the Guru Stotram and the purnakhumbham by Acharya Mahadevji and Viji Mahadev, opened “Chinamaya Smriti” a newly built conference room that also showcases in pictures, the Southern California connect of the founder, Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda.
On July 4, the last day of the jnana yagna, CMLA held a Guru Paduka puja in which seniors, adults and children participated. The congregation then chanted the name of the guru 108 times and then heard several speakers talk emotionally of their association with Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda and his great impact on them.
Swami Tejomayananda during his visit to the Southland also made time to visit the Siddhivinayak temple in Brea where he spoke on the need and love for god and enjoyed a musical presentation by Swagatha Chakraborty. Guruji also met with members of several different organizations who called on him through the week. When he left the Southland for Texas, in continuation of his U.S. tour, he left a more enlightened Southland community and one that looks forward to hearing him again.