What is Balavihar?
“Our children are our joy. No amount of effort put in or time given to them can be considered enough. Our efforts, however, ought to be in the right direction and the time given must be quality time. It is found children reluctantly respond to formal schooling and traditional methods of learning, whereas, they are ever ready for games and sports.”
Recognizing this, Pujya Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda initiated Balavihar classes. Its objectives can be summed up in the following statement:
‘To help children learn values with fun; to delight like the moon and shine like the sun! ‘
Chinmaya worldwide has been conducting Balavihar classes for many years. Balavihar is…
- A group where children meet for 90 minutes each week to learn about the Hindu culture, traditions and stories,
- A place where children learn high ideals and stories from Hindu scriptures taught in the form of stories, arts and crafts and drama,
- Where children from ages 4 – 16 years learn chanting of Bhagawad Geeta and Upanishads,
- A group that have special outings to celebrate India’s great festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi and Deepavali, and
- Where plain fun is all about learning Santana Dharma.
Venues and Schedule:
|Venue:||Community Living North Halton, 917-B Nipissing Road,
Milton, ON L9T 5E3
|Date:||Every Sunday (except as otherwise noted on schedule)|
|Time:||10:00 am – 11:30 am|
Click here for this year’s schedule
(class held outside of main Balavihar session)
|Venue:||Google Hangout™ session
(please contact us for details)
|Time:||8:30 pm – 10:00 pm|
Kindergarten to Grade 1:
Syllabus: “The Chinmaya Alphabet”
This book is specifically geared to teach primary school children the basic values such as R for respect, L for love and B for brotherhood.
The children in this class will learn these values through stories and arts & crafts.
Teacher: Bharati Tanna and Malar Kribakaran
A long time mission member, Bharati has been with Chinmaya Worldwide from Tanzania and now here. She and her family ran Balavihars from their home in Mississauga and have a strong connection to Swami Swaroopananda.
Bharati loves to teach the Balavihar syllabus using her talent of bringing today’s example to the classroom setting, so the child can understand the Vedantic concepts in today’s scenario.
Grades 2 through 4:
Syllabus: “Hanuman the Superman”
The teachers here will expound on the stories of Lord Hanuman, bringing in the Hanuman Chalisa for the children to finish chanting by the end of the year.
Teacher: Bharat Bhaga
Bharat grew up with Chinmaya Mission since birth. He wanted to be involved in teaching youngsters, because it “makes me learn too, as I prepare for class”. He loves to chant and teach Sanskrit shlokas to groups.
Grades 5 through 8:
Syllabus: “My Twenty-Four Teachers”
The goal of this book is to teach the children ages 5 to 9 years of age we are who we are and what we know because of our teachers. As such, we must be indebted to them.
“My Twenty Four Teachers” is adopted form the eleventh chapter of the Bhagvatam. This chapter is also known as “Avadhuta Geeta”.
The children in this class will see the importance of teachers by learning about Nature and her living organisms.
Teacher: Vinod Bhaga
He is a member of the Mission for over 25 years. He began teaching Yuvakendra when CMHR activities were in infancy stage. He loves to prepare games and give hands on demonstration to his group of children with visual effects.
Grades 9 through 12:
Syllabus: “PS: I Love You”
The “I Love You” letters were written by Pujya Swami Chinmayananda when he had his first cardiac arrest in the early 1970s. Through a series of weekly letters, he wrote to devotees both young and old about the meanings and the types of different love (prema and sneha).
Neel and Aarti will discuss with highschool kids what love is, and what types of love exist.
Teachers: Neel Bhatt and Aarti Ramachandran
Neel began study group many years ago. Now a married man of two sons, he wanted to give back to the community as he received so much from study groups he attended. He uses practical teaching techniques which he conveys to the high school students which they use in their day to day activities. He bases his teaching methods from study groups to help the high school youth.
- Chinmaya Study Groups are for the sincere student who want to learn and to reflect on the Hindu scriptures
- They were formed for like-minded seekers to come together to read and discuss spiritual texts providing the group as a whole with inspiration and with ideas between shared between each other
- Goal: to practice mananam (reflection) through group discussion
Text: Adma Bodha
This text written by Adi Shankara reveals to the seeker the nature about Atman or Self. In order to bring home the true nature and description of the Self, Adi Shankara uses illustrations in sixty-eight verses to bring home the point.
Geeta Classes (weekday evenings):
- CHinmaya Yuva Kendra is made of university students and young professionals who try to pursue a life of self-study and self-growth with weekly gatherings
- Young adults meet to learn and facilitate discussions on the art of living by applying values and principles from Vedanta
- Ideal for adults between the ages of 18 to 40
- Meet to celebrate festivals, city gatherings and retreats
- CMHR’s vibrant group meet in Hamilton, Ontario on a weekly basis or on Google Hangouts™
Text: Geeta Talks by Swami Chinmayananda
In the 90 minute session, the group first sees Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda expound on verses from Bhagawad Geeta for one hour, and then spend the rest of the time discussing what was seen and heard.
Note that this class takes place outside of the regular Sunday Balavihar days. See above for venue and time.