Monday, May 21, 2012

Swami Mitrananda's Visit to Austin

Swami Mitrananda will be visiting Austin on June 2-3!  We invite you to meet him at any of the events below:

June 2, 2012, 7pm - Dinner  bhiksha with CHYKs (18-35yrs) & Junior CHYKs (14-17)
Please contact if you would like to attend.

June 3, 2012, 10.30am - Public talk open to all, at Chinmaya Vatika, "The Art of Raising Joyful Children"

About Swami Mitrananda
 Swami Mitrananda is the Acharya of Chinmaya Mission, Chennai, and Director of the All India Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (AICHYK) the global youth wing of Chinmaya Mission. Inspired by the truth on which his Master, H. H. Swami Chinmayananda, stood rooted, he took up the study of ancient Hindu Philosophy at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, in Mumbai, in 1989. He has dedicated his life to the service of humanity, and travels all over India and South East Asia, conveying the profound Vedantic Truth with appealing logic and clarity. He is a highly sought-after speaker in the corporate circle and has delivered management related talks to various leading corporate-houses.

Swami Mitrananda has a huge youth following, largely because of his innovative methodologies in making the ancient wisdom of Hinduism extraordinarily appealing to the rational and adventure-seeking young minds. Under his leadership, the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra organized two large-scale projects, the nationwide ‘Awakening Indians to India’ quiz program and the Youth Empowerment Programme. Through the Awakening Indians to India quiz programme, he reached out to 500,000 youth across the nation and thus, conducted the largest ever quiz in the sub-continent. The Youth Empowerment Programme was designed by him to create empowered and dynamic youth leaders to do socially relevant work in different parts of India and abroad. 

Swami Mitrananda has travelled to many countries including United Kingdom, Turkey, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Dubai to spread the message of Hinduism and Vedanta. He has lectured at various leading corporate houses of India such as Hyundai Motors, Polaris Industries, TVS Group, and has also addressed students of leading business schools in India such as Symbiosis Institute of Management. He represented India at the Global Forum of Faith-based Organizations for Population and Development organized by UNFPA in Turkey in October 2008.

To watch Swamiji’s interview with Poonam Sagar on the program, India Talks, please click here:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The first-ever National Junior CHYK Camp!

Are you ready for fun? Are you ready for an adventure? Are you game to survive? Get ready for a challenge!

The first ever National Junior CHYK Camp (NJCC) is set to kick off in Brownwood, Texas from June 3-6, 2012 at the Texas 4-H Center. Save the date!

This is an adventure retreat for teenagers in grades 9-12 , called Life is a Jungle - Are You Game to Survive?. There will be various planned activities such as a ropes course, ziplining and hiking.

Three acharyas will be leading this camp - Swami Sarveshananda, Brahmachari Girishji and Acharya Vivekji. Chinmaya Mission Austin is the host center. CHYK West Steering Committee is the lead organizer for this event.

Out of town participants should plan to arrive and depart from one of the following airports: Austin (AUS) or Dallas (DFW) on Sunday, June 3rd before 4:00pm.

Transportation will be arranged into the retreat center from Chinmaya Vatika (Austin), and Chinmaya Chitrakoot (Dallas) and tickets will be available for purchase online.Information,

Registration and Camp Fee will be up soon on .

Join the Facebook Event Page: Do share this information with high school students, 2012 high school graduates and parents who might be interested.

Volunteer Opportunities
We're looking for a few CHYKs to help make this a grand success. If you're interested in being a camp counselor or facilitator, please send an email to This is a fab opportunity to make a positive difference to young minds!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Dark Knight Movie Workshop

Get ready to gain mind-blowing insights into the world of The Dark Knight in a unique and novel movie workshop!

Released in 2008, The Dark Knight is a critically acclaimed film by Christopher Nolan and grossed nearly $1billion in revenue. In this iconic film, Nolan examines the idea of true heroism through the fictional comic book vigilante hero, Batman. In a 2-day interactive workshop, Swami Sarveshananda will go beyond the sophisticated cinematography and chilling characterizations in the film, to stimulate new perspectives through a modern, thought-provoking spiritual exploration of the story through the lens of Vedanta, an ancient school of Hindu philosophy. This is not your regular movie night, so don’t miss this rare opportunity!

About the Facilitator

Through his 22 years of service as a dynamic monk in Chinmaya Mission, Swami Sarveshananda has inspired many people with the depth of his knowledge of Vedanta, innovative teaching, and engaging public-speaking skills. He is the Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Dallas, and the National Director of Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK) West, the youth wing of Chinmaya Mission West.

DATES: Nov 1 (Tue) and Nov 2 (Wed), 2011

TIME: 7:00pm-9:00pm

LOCATION : Austin Studios Screening Theater

REGISTRATION: (Includes Dinner & Workshop on both days)

GENERAL: $20/person STUDENT: $15/person AT-THE-DOOR: $25/person

Registration deadline to avail online pricing is Oct 30, 2011.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Insights from the CHYK West Seva Retreat

On October 1, 2011, the CHYK West Seva Retreat organized by CHYK Austin. In this unique retreat, CHYKs participated in a community service project as part of Be The Change, an initiative by SAALT, where 1000s of people around the country came together on Gandhiji's birthday to do community service. At the retreat, CHYKs participated in seva for the first half of the day, and then reflected on the service in an afternoon workshop conducted by Brahmachari Girish Chaitanya.

The service project our group volunteered for was the Montopolis Greenbelt clean up. Volunteers were requested to remove trash and invasive species of plants from the park, which was to be donate to the City of Austin. Over 30 youth worked together to remove trash, and it was truly eye-opening about what had been dumped on the trails. I found beer cans, prescription bottles, paint cans, dolls, toys, food wrappers etc. Some of the more surprising finds were mattresses, tables, a tricycle and tires. Some of this trash had been around for so long, they were deeply embedded into the ground, wrapped around by vines and tree roots. This made it very difficult to pull out of the ground.

As I tried to extricate a rotting tricycle from the grasp of undergrowth, it suddenly struck me: how often do we clean our inner mental landscape of negative thoughts, limiting assumptions, dashed expectations, and painful memories? Some of these thoughts are harder to remove than others because we have been clinging to them for so long... The longer they have been there, the harder they are to root out. If we consciously dropped the negativity from our minds on a more regular basis, it would become easier to purify, and we could get rid of our limiting thoughts more quickly before they became deeply rooted in our Ego.

I remembered that in the book, the Manual of Self-Unfoldment, Swami Chinmayananda discusses the process of daily self-analysis:
1. Introspect - our actions, thoughts
2. Detect - discover your weaknesses
3. Negate - become truly conscious of these self-limiting thoughts
4. Substitute - replace this negative thought with a positive one

What if we practiced this more regularly? We would be free of the baggage of negative thoughts!

I resolved to make introspection a more regular practice. Service proved to be a great teacher - just as in the material world, regular cleaning of the landscape results in a prettier, safer park, in the same way, our inner landscape can also benefit from the regular practice of introspection.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Weekly Classes for Young Professionals

The youth wing of the Chinmaya Mission is Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK). CHYK Austin’s weekly young professionals group kicks off today! Our facilitator is Brahmachari Girish Chaitanya (click here for a brief description of Girishji).

Girishji is a captivating speaker and facilitator, and being a young monk, he connects easily with young adults. He studied Electrical Engineering from University of California-Davis, and Sanskrit at Universtiy of California-Berkeley. He joined Chinmaya Mission as a monk in 2002. He moved from Los Angeles last year to head the Chinmaya Mission in Austin.

The CHYK sessions will be on Thursdays, from 7.30pm-8.30pm at one of our members' houses in the Great Hills area. We have an evite that we have set up, if you would like to be on the list, please drop an email to .

Here are some FAQs:

Q: What are the classes about?
The classes are an opportunity for self-reflection of our daily lives. Think of it as a stopping to take a deep breath during your hectic week. Pausing in our modern context can be quite a luxury, but it is a necessity because it gives us some perspective about where we're at - with ourselves, our family, our relationships and our work. The class is a pause in your week, where you sit down and reflect on your thoughts, words & actions. Vedanta is a criteria to assess your actions and provides a framework for understanding why you think and behave the way you do. In addition, the class has a special focus on issues pertaining to young adults such as work-life balance, career as a means of self-development, parenting, etc.

Q: How are the classes conducted?
We have facilitated discussions. Girishji generally gaves an introduction to the topic, and we ask questions directly to him about the topic and everyone in the session shares thoughts. It's not a rigid lecture format, rather an opportunity to commune and reflect as a group.

Q: What are some of the topics of discussion?
We have thus far covered the basics of Vedanta philosophy and the applicability in our daily lives. Beginning this Fall, we will study Swami Jyothirmayananda’s Ramayana, and lessons that we can apply from this famous epic.

Q: Is this religious dogma?
No. Absolutely not. Vedanta is an accommodative framework of thinking, where the Universe is seen as One, not segmented by race, color, religion, national boundaries etc. Girishji will be presenting the basics of the Vedanta school of thought, and clarifying questions as well as commonly-held beliefs about Vedanta.

Q: What is the age-group of attendees?
Approximately 25-35years.

Q: Is there a charge for the classes?
The classes are free.

Q: Do I have to attend every week? What if I miss classes?
You are not obliged to attend every week. That said, the maximum benefit comes from attending class regularly. Most of the topics will be self-contained in the class.

Q: Can I come for one class to just see if this is for me?
Absolutely! Come see if this is your cup of tea! Drop us an email today to sign up for the evite list.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Upcoming Event: Bhoomi Puja @ Chinmaya Sundaram

Chinmaya Mission Austin
invites you to attend
Bhoomi Puja
(Ground Blessing Ceremony)
at our new property
Chinmaya Sundaram
12901 North Mo-Pac, Austin, TX 78727
(Just north of Parmer and Mo-Pac intersection; behind the TX-Tag building)
In the presence of
H.H. Swami Tejomayananda
Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide

Program Details:
June 26, 2011 (Sunday)
4:30 pm Bhoomi Puja
5:30 pm Bala Vihar brick seva ceremony
6:00 pm Guruji’s pravachan
7:00 pm Dinner prasad

For more information, please visit or contact Ph: (512) 689-8659

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A CHYK Adventure in London

My trip to London was unexpected but the plan fell into place seamlessly. I wanted to attend Swami Mitrananda’s week-long yagna in London, followed by a CHYK camp. Having known Swamiji for more than 15 years, I knew that this was an adventure I could not miss. Swami M is a monk like no other.


His means of teaching Vedanta to youth are largely non-traditional, for instance, Swamiji has organized motorbike rallies in the Himalayan region and to Leh, Ladakh, as part of a program called “Meditation on Wheels”. He has organized success

ful CHYK adventure camps (including whitewater rafting, trekking and camping). He lives by the tenet Vedanta is learnt through adventure and by living and breathing it. Swamiji’s innovative approach to teaching Vedanta inspired me as young adult and under his guidance, I attended the Yuva Veer Program (Youth Empowerment Program) to become a trained youth facilitator.


Apart from attending morning and evening talks by Swamiji, I attended a 2-day CHYK camp in Ashford with about 117 young adults (25-35yrs). The text for the camp was “Gita for Yuva” (Gita for Youth) which is a collection of shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita that relate to youth concerns and goals.

The CHYK camp a phenomenal experience. The amazing enthusiasm and dynamism of the UK CHYKs really blew my mind away. They undertook all their tasks with enthusiasm, creativity, skill and professionalism. There was no room for half-heartedness. This truly embodies the spirit of dynamic living that Sri Krishna discusses in Bhagavad Gita – do your duty to the best of your ability.

Swamiji had about 5 sessions with the camp participants, including a Q & A. Other sessions included watching and discussing the movie, “October Sky” which had a great message about the power of perseverance. The CHYKs also organized a unique musical production for the evening. Each group of participants was assigned to perform one story of Sri Krishna’s life. In between every group’s performance, their Swaranjali group (singers and musicians) sang lively bhajans, and this musical continuity turned a series of skits into a musical production. The camp participants were fun and spirited, so it was a very entertaining evening.


The highlight of the camp for me, however, was the outdoor adventure activities, in particular, High-Ropes. There were three activities – Jacobs’ Ladder, The Equilibrium and The Ultimate Leap of Faith – all of which tested your ability to conquer fear of heights and (an essential teaching of the Bhagavad Gita) overcome your fear. The hardest part about philosophy is to walk the path. And here came my opportunity to walk the talk, so I could not refuse.

The Ultimate Leap of Faith

Due to lack of time, we had to choose a single activity, and I picked the Ultimate Leap of Faith. I had to climb a 30-foot pole (with the support of wooden cogs), and onto a small wooden platform, and then jump to catch a trapeze. I had to face my fear of heights – and it was not easy. I was buckled and harnessed for safety purposes, but this was very little assurance for me. I did not want to fall off a 30-foot pole (nor dangle in suspension) and I did not want to fail. I knew that others were watching (as was Swamiji) and this was significant pressure. It was battle with my mind to climb up the pole. As I climbed up the 30foot pole, I continuously pushed away any negative thoughts (“OMG, I must be crazy!”, “I HATE heights”, “I’m going to fall”, “”I can’t balance”, “My hands are slipping, I cannot grip the cogs”). I stayed focused on the task. The challenge was hauling myself onto a platform at the top of the pole (only wide-enough for 1 person to stand). I had continuous encouragement and guidance from my friends below, and that definitely helped. Every second felt like an hour. Once I finally got on top of the platform, I had to stand up and face the trapeze which was about 4-5 feet away from me. The instructor below started counting down to my jump, but I stopped her and told her I would do it in my own time. I then gathered everything I had and leaped forward to catch the trapeze – and I made it! J

This activity was very insightful. It made me realize that it was a good analogy to life. Divinity is the “safety harness” in our lives, and so really speaking, we are in good hands. However, our fears and our desire for control are so strong that we often forget that the Divine is looking out for us. Another insight was how fear can be a powerful agent in limiting our potential. My fear of heights had the ability to affect my physical body (sweaty palms, deep breathing, quivering etc), and seriously affected my ability to perform. The way to deal with fear is through conscious positive thinking and self-encouragement – every step of the way. Finally, it made me realize that if we truly want to reach our highest potential, we must be willing to surrender our fears and take a leap of faith.

The UK CHYK camp proved to be an amazing learning experience, where I had opportunities to practice Vedanta outside of the classroom and spent time in the inspiring company of the UK CHYKs and Swamiji.

Sharanya Rao