Bala Vihar is a weekly gathering for school-aged children conducted by Chinmaya Mission Centers all over the world. The goal of Bala Vihar is to “wake up the sleeping giant” in our children.
We aim to inspire each one to reach their maximum potential by imparting a value-based education that is bursting with fun-filled activities. Each class follows a central, age-specific curriculum developed by senior Archaryas of the Chinmaya Mission.
filled activities. Each class follows a central, age-specific curriculum developed by senior Archaryas of the Chinmaya Mission.
The children are taught by a team of trained and dedicated volunteer teachers, many of whom have experienced Chinmaya Bala Vihar in their childhood, and are now actively attending courses in Vedanta offered by the Mission.
“To help children learn values with fun,
to delight like the moon and shine like the sun”
Value of Bala Vihar
Bala Vihar enhances the overall development of the personality of a child at all levels — physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.
To understand the value of the Bala Vihar classes for children, we paraphrase the words of our Guruji Swami Tejomayananda:
- To teach children about our ancient culture and heritage, so they understand their roots
- To create self-confidence and leadership skills to serve and act cheerfully
- To provide a loving atmosphere where children grow with noble ideals, healthy emotions and the ability to put these ideals into action
Here is a wonderful video about Bala Vihar by Swami Sarveshananda:https://www.youtube.com/embed/DuK7ExED1pA?rel=0&wmode=opaque&wmode=opaque
“Children are not vessels to be filled, but lamps to be LIT. The seed of spiritual values should be sown in young hearts, and the conditions made favourable for sprouting and steady growth through proper control and discipline. It must be cared for with the warmth of love and affection, and such a tree shall blossom forth flowers of brotherhood, universal love, peace, bliss, beauty, and Perfection” – Swami Chinmayananda
Shishu Vihar is for infants, toddlers, accompanied by their parents. Expectant mothers are welcome too!
Shishu Vihar helps to develop the spiritual aspect of the young child’s personality by focusing on culture and values. An early introduction to spiritual life has a formative impact their character in years to come. Classes follow a modern structure of playgroups where babies and toddlers learn through simple stories from the Scriptures. They sing Bhajans and nursery rhymes, play games to develop motor skills and participate in arts and crafts that foster mental personalities in an atmosphere of love and knowledge.
Shishu Vihar – Preschoolers
This is a class for children of ages 0 to 4. This precious age is one where children are innocent and full of life. We all know that ‘A is for Apple’ and ‘B is for Boy,’ but in Balavihar, the children learn that “A is for Aspiration, B is for Brotherhood, C is for Cleanliness,” and so on. Simple, but fundamental values are introduced through our curriculum of Alphabet Safari. Children are introduced to the wonder of Vedanta in an age-appropriate manner through hands-on activities and demonstrations. They learn that just because something is not seen does not mean that it is not there. Therefore, our minds need to be focused to see the beauty within all of us.
Chanting: Sahanavavtu (a prayer for peace)
. Dhruva Class – Grades 1 and 2.
Through the Ramayana, the world’s oldest epic, Lord Rama teaches us the values of the perfect person. These 6 to 7 year old children track the path of Lord Rama from childhood to marriage to exile to the war with Ravana, culminating in his crowning as King. Embedded in the story is so much symbolism. How are the 3 pairs of brothers in the Ramayana different? What attracts Vibhishana to Lord Rama? Why is Hanuman Ji the greatest devotee, and how can we be like him? The children will amaze you with their deep appreciation of the glories of Lord Rama
Chanting: Shri Rama Stuti
Sandeepany Class – Grades 3 and 4
Thousands of years ago, King Parikshit heard Srimad Bhagavatam from Shukadev. The Bhagavata MahaPurana is considered to be among the purest of our scriptures since it invokes devotion to Lord Vishnu, through His incarnations. Bala Bhagavatam guides young minds, o ages 8 and 9, through the stories of Lord Vishnu. They learn to own up to their actions and to ask for what they need and not what they always want. Even at this young age, the content from this class teaches the children what is meant by Dharma and how we can all live responsibly and meet our potential.
Chanting: Dashavatara Stotram
Vyasa Class – Grades 5 and 6
This class does 2 texts in 1 academic year! Through the text Symbolism in Hinduis, children of ages 10 and 11 are taught the what is a symbol and why have them? For example: why does Lord Ganesh have big ears ? Why does Lord Shiva have Mother Ganga flowing from His hair ? Our scriptures are filled with hidden gems of knowledge, and these treasures are unlocked as children explore the deeper meaning behind all that they see in Hinduism. All these symbols are of the one Lord who pervades all and teaches us to live a life of harmony, fulfillment, and happiness. The children will be able to actually teach their parents/ peers about the meaning of our religion.
In India-the Sacred land, children learn why India is considered a sacred land, have reverence for Mother India, learn and be inspired by the lives of Saints.
Chanting: Sri Saraswati Stotram
Shankara Class – Grades 7 and 8
Mahabharata is an epic narrative of the Kurukshetra war and the fates of 2 sets of cousins who enter the battlefield. This is a Dharma-Yudha or the war for Dharma. It is full of various examples from warriors, to devotees, from ruthless kings and princes, to brave women. It offers so many valuable life lessons, as Lord Krishna guides everyone on the path of Dharma. Through Yatho Dharma Tatho Jayaha, children of ages 12 and 13, will get a good understanding of the entire Mahabharata story, its characters, and deeper symbolism.
Chanting: Gita Dhyanam
Chinmayam Class – High Schoolers
Ages 14 to 18 dive deep into unfolding their Self through one of the preliminary Vedanta texts, Self Unfoldment. This text helps answer questions like Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I sometimes happy and sometimes sad? And many more such questions. Through discussions and examples from daily life, the teachers gently guide the children in searching for answers to their questions. This text is a compilation of talks of Swami Chinmayananda ji who reveals to the reader how to tap the immense potential power of our inner resources and thereby transform our lives.