One of the main events during Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's visit to Houston, Texas, was a pair of satsangs at the Chinmaya Mission facility. This is their Siva temple, which Swami Chinmayananda insisted they build here. It was finished just a few years ago.
A solemn procession took us next to the Chinmaya Smriti hall for the satsangs.
The massive Sivalingam on the roof of the temple makes it visible from around the neighborhood, which also has many churches and a mosque.
Chinmaya Mission's facility in Houston is massive and impressive. There group is so large (about 800 adults and 800 children) that they have to split the group into two separate satsangs, back to back, every Sunday.
It was a beautiful welcome for Bodhinatha. The group was so excited. All the Bal Vihar teachers, who wear beautiful red and white saris, held candles while Bodhinatha, the priest and several musicians walked past toward the stage.
Here Bodhinatha sits with Acharya Gaurangbhai Nanavaty. He and his wife are the acharyas, or head teachers, at Chinmaya Mission Houston, probably the Mission's largest group in the US, perhaps in the West. Acharyaji and his wife attended Swami Chinmayananda's 2-year resident teacher training program in 1979 in Percy, California, and then shortly thereafter moved to Houston and started the center here. It has grown and grown ever since.
Bodhinatha's talk focused on many areas, including faith, and, of course, putting Hinduism to practice in our daily lives and not leaving it at home when we go out to work and school. After the first 15 minutes, the children left for their classes, which are held in a series of classrooms in a large adjacent building. The group is so large that they have a class for every grade level from 1 to 12, with a methodically laid-out curriculum.
One of the things that impressed the group the most was Bodhinatha’s use of quotes from Swami Chinmayananda. Bodhinatha remarked that sometimes it is hard to know whether Swami Chinmayananda (whom the call Gurudeva) or our Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, is the source of a given quote--their remarks are often that similar in nature, content and boldness.
Between satsangs, a couple hundred of the Bal Vihar students sang a song that the wrote and practiced just to welcome and honor Bodhinatha.
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, Acharya Gaurangbhai Nanavaty and Sannyasin Senthilnathaswami
3 Responses to “Bodhinatha's Visit to Chinmaya Mission Houston”
"Temples with multiple deities can be confusing, especially for today's Hindu youth. For clarity, we need to bring forward a more precise understanding of the different Hindu denominations and how the different Gods are viewed from within each denomination. For spiritual advancement it is best to focus on one deity and get to the vibration that deity. When we hear teachings from various Hindus, it is important to understand and identify which denomination they are speaking from. This will avert confusion when that teaching gets contradicted in a different context where someone is talking about the same subject but from a different philosophical background."
Bodhinatha reviews the main characteristic of Saivite philosophy and practice with an indepth focus on the four stages of religions evolution, chariya, kriya, yoga and jnana. He highlights how this shows that Saiva Siddhanta is unique and quite from the modern practice of Hinduism as Vedanta