CHINMAYA MISSION OTTAWA NEWSLETTERS
The Nityam is Chinmaya Ottawa’s bi-yearly newsletter. Take a look to see our events over the past few months!
मेधा देवी जुषमाणा न आगाद्ववश्वाची भद्रा सुमनस्यमाना ।
त्वया जुष्टा नुदमाना दुरुक्तान् बृहद्वदेम ववदथे सुवीरााः ॥
medhā devī juṣamāṇā na āgād-viśvācī bhadrā sumanasyamānā ǀ
tvayā juṣṭā nudamānā durūktān bṛhad-vadema vidathe suvīrāḥ ǁ
May the all-pervading, all-auspicious Medha Devi (the Goddess of intellect, memory and wisdom) be pleased with us and bless us with Her presence. By Her grace, may we give up futile speech and understand supreme knowledge and speak noble words with courage and conviction.
Sneh Aunty, or Nani as many of us called her, gave her heart and soul for the establishment and perpetuation of Chinmaya Bharati. We could not have started without her contribution, both financial and intelligent guidance through the voice of experience. Her recent donation of over $100K will go a long way to helping us continue.
She is our Saraswati Mati — she was full of knowledge, compassion and a mischievous humour to boot! Her love for children was endless, and she made no distinction between her own children and someone else’s … to her, we were all her children. We ARE all her children, and she will watch over us, providing support and guidance as always.
The best tribute to her memory, to what she stood for, would be to imbibe Shri Gurudev’s teachings and put them into practice. Her every last breath was for Him, and she has reached His Divine Lotus Feet in sadgati.
We express our heartfelt condolences to her husband Joti C. Chakraburtty, Nana to many of us. And to dear Meena and Bina, her daughters, and their families — husbands Vinod and Shailesh, and grandchildren Bharat, Arjun, Saakshi and Divya. It is clear that her legacy will live on through their efforts.
We offer our prayers and love to our Sneh Aunty; we lovingly called her Mommy in our Ottawa Centre. We have many memories of Sneh Aunty over last 30 plus years. A true and tireless karma-yogini… always busy. A full-time ER medical doctor serving the community. Lovingly taking care of family. Maintaining beautiful flowerbeds in their Burlington house and later at their Minden home. An excellent cook; paintings; embroidery; flower arrangements; name it, and she was an expert. Above all, an engaging storyteller, a teacher to everyone who wanted to learn vedantic philosophy, the symbolism behind Hindu rituals, pranayama and meditation techniques.
Joti Uncle and Sneh Aunty had exceedingly busy professional lives. They were, and even now, they are, the leading lights of Chinmaya Mission. They did immense work as founders. Leading and fulfilling CORD activities for over twenty years, establishing hospitals and a nurse training network in India. It is their work and solid support on which our Chinmaya Bharati today stands proudly to serve the community.
Sneh Aunty was also a thinker, philosopher and teacher. She is leaving behind an amazing treasure in the form her writings, including 13 book publications. One of these provides medical guidance for cures for nursing practitioners. More thoughtfully, many of her publications are about her personal spiritual journey. These publications combine the theory of one’s inner journey and balancing with the realities of family life. These are practical guides. I have learned a lot studying from her writings. I remember, in one of her books, she summarized how to keep relationships, “by your acts, touch their hearts first and then hold their hands forever.”
Joti Uncle, Bhaga and Sutarwala families, please accept our deep gratitude and prayers. We love and respect Sneh Aunty as she was, and she will be loved and respected in the future.
– Anil Parekh
Om! Friends, a Maha Purusha like H.H. Swami Chinmayananda has no beginning and no end. However, it is important to be aware of the steps that history has taken to reach the front doorstep that we walk through every day. You will find below a recounting of that history.
In the 70s, Chinmaya Mission Newfoundland was formed. This effort was led by the Chakraburtty and Acharya families. They came to know of a sadhu named Swami Chinmayananda through somewhat of a coincidence but along with a tragic circumstance. Unfortunately, a young man named Manmohan Swaroop Ahuja, or Billie as he was often called, died at an early age. He was the younger brother of Sneh Chakraburtty. She had raised him as her own son after her father passed away in 1966. Swami Chinmayananda had been in B.C. at the time of Billie’s passing, where Billie was undertaking pilot training, and was actually the one who completed his final rites.
Through a yagna organized by the late Madhuri Acharya, Swamiji then arrived in Newfoundland. It was at this time Sneh Aunty came to know this was the same sadhu who had performed her brother’s final rites and learned of his final wish. Billie’s dying wish was that Sneh’s children, and all children, be looked after socially, morally and spiritually. His firm belief was that it would certainly create a loving and secure environment that fosters the child’s sense of well-being, allowing one’s full potential to blossom.
While in Newfoundland, Swamiji provided instruction on conducting Bala Vihar classes and study groups. It was through these classes and study groups that the social, moral and spiritual aspects of life were nurtured. This was the program of study that would fulfil Billie’s last wish. The first Bala Vihar class in Canada was conducted at 11 Reid Street in St. John’s. Malek Lalji, a Muslim woman, was so inspired by Swamiji, she donated her home for this purpose. This became the first Chinmaya Mission in Canada and a Krishna statue was installed as the main idol. Today, Chinmaya Mission centers are well-rooted and flourishing in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, London, Halton, Niagara, and, of course, Ottawa.
Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda had come to Ottawa several times in the 70s and 80s. His visits motivated a core group of families to begin Bala Vihar classes in Ottawa. After Gurudev’s last visit in 1991, the Chinmaya movement in Ottawa was kicked into high gear with the participation of a larger number of families. In 1995, the Bala Vihar classes moved to a community centre.
Chinmaya Mission Ottawa was buzzing with Sunday classes for families throughout the academic year, along with youth camps, summer Bala Vihar camps, Acharya visits for lectures, seminars and family camps covering activities for all ages. Several gyana yagnas by visiting Swamijis provided the much-awaited spiritual sustenance for the earnest seekers in the community at large.
Chinmaya Mission Ottawa continued to grow, culminating with the purchase of Chinmaya Bharati in 2013. This was the largest accomplishment to date, achieved through the collective efforts of the community. The Chakraburttys were very instrumental in the purchase of Chinmaya Bharati, providing moral support as well as immense financial support.
Within a few years, Maa Saraswati arrived during Navaratri, making the Center complete. It has become a hub of intense activity, with a full family program on Sunday mornings, and classes for yoga, and study classes for young professionals and adults during the week, to name a few. Every July for 2 weeks, the Center is overrun with children ages 6-12 for the annual summer camp. They are supervised by teenage volunteers who have completed the Bala Vihar program, under the guidance of teachers and parents.
With Gurudev’s grace, Billie’s sister Sneh and her family have been conducting Bala Vihars successfully in Ontario cities for decades. Through a solid team of inspired teachers and sevaks, CMO continues to provide the platform for children, youth and adults to learn the right and prosperous way of living and serving, as instructed by our great Rishis and Gurus.
Chinmaya Mission Ottawa is always grateful to all the founding families, especially to dear Sneh Aunty and Joti Uncle, as well as all the families that provide continued support in various ways.
Saraswati Pooja every full moon day at Chinmaya Bharati (7:00pm)
Why Saraswati Pooja? Maa Saraswati represents knowledge. Worshiping Maa Saraswati with humility brings about the required purity in our mind for the supreme knowledge to flow into us. It helps spiritual wisdom to take root in our hearts. This is a great opportunity for you and your family to truly connect with the Divine Mother.
How long does the Pooja last?
The Pooja lasts about 30 minutes
How do I prepare for the Pooja?
A few days before the Pooja, Maa Saraswati will be bathed and her clothes and jewellery will be changed. You may select and purchase a new sari and any accessories you would like for her yourself (these should be given to the organizers at least 2 weeks prior to your Pooja) OR you could pay $125 to cover the cost of purchasing the new set of clothes.
What do I need for the Pooja?
- 2 bananas for Ganesha
- 2 fresh bouquets of flowers (for decoration)
- Fresh rose petals (at least 108 petals per person performing the Pooja)
- A minimum donation of $121 as Dakshina for the Pooja
- Prashad (made fresh that day)
- Prepare any Bhajans you would like to sing as part of the Pooja
- Optional: flower garland to be placed on Devi during the Pooja
How can I sign up for this Pooja? Contact Saakshi Sutarwala at 613-591-5961
Whenever we chant a kirtan or a bhajan, we must learn to chant with the whole mind. When chanting, the attempt should not be only with the mouth; you should consider yourself like a big crowd singing together, the crowd being every cell in the body, i.e. you should sing with the entire body. With this attitude or bhavana, then you find the entire mind is totally involved in the chanting, and then there is no possibility of the mind wandering anywhere, because no part of the mind is kept idle. In the Ramayana, it is said that when Hanuman was unconsciously lying down, every hair in his body was heard whispering the name of Rama. This mystical expression is only to indicate that the mind of Sri Hanuman was always totally involved in singing Sri Rama’s name. -Swami Chinmayananda
Sundays 10:30 AM (from September to June) – Sunday Program is a comprehensive, family-oriented program of classes that teaches the ‘art of living’ concepts of Vedanta to students ages 3 and up.
Mondays 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM – Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK) Classes (Ages 18 to 30). For more information, please contact Saakshi Sutarwala at 613-227-0828
Tuesdays 6 PM to 7 PM – Yoga Class by Mr. Anil Agarwal. For more information, please contact Bina Sutarwala at email@example.com
Wednesdays 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM – Bhagavad Gita Classes. Study classes will include video lectures of Swami Chinmayananda and discussions. For more information, please contact Anil Parekh at 613-738-7466
O children, remember the great sons of your Motherland once a day and learn to respect HER great spiritual heritage. The man who is not proud of his Motherland and who is not true to his customary duties must be regarded as a base, ungrateful fellow. -Swami Tapovan Maharaj
“Peace and Happiness” – this great mission can be accomplished only by an awakened Hindustan that has grown strong in her morality, firm in her ethics and devoted in her spiritual strength. -Swami Chinmayananda
Despite the awareness that all religions teach the same thing, we are painfully aware of the differences and divisions. But let us think of the simple truth — of the underlying oneness and harmony. It is common sense that since we have to live with everyone, it is better to live in harmony, peace and with love. Otherwise, our existence will undoubtedly be miserable. -Swami Tejomayananda
I carry my motherland in my heart when I live the values that are the rich heritage of my great nation. -Swami Swaroopananda