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.

Mission Statement

“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

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.

 

RUCHIRA MALHOTRA

Ruchira is an educator and an Ayurveda Practitioner by profession. She grew up in New Delhi and became a part of the Chinmaya Mission family in 2006.  Subsequently she started teaching in the Brea Chinmaya Mission (Los Angeles) in 2008. Ruchira is blessed with two daughters who started attending Bala Vihar at the age of 6 and 4. Fast forward to today, Ruchira moved to Seattle in 2019 after living in Los Angeles for 23 years. The Chinmaya family in Seattle was her anchor in this new city. Currently, she is the Bala Vihar Coordinator for the Chinmaya Mission Seattle. 

 

KRIPA NAGARAJAN

Kripa has been a part of Chinmaya Mission Seattle since 2018. She grew up in Kolkata and did her college education in Chennai . An optician by profession, she is actively homeschooling her 2 kids. She has been teaching Shishuvihar since 2019. Kripa loves teaching little kids. She also enjoys dancing Bharatanatyam, practising yoga and hiking.

NITHYA SUBRAMANIAN

Nithya has been associated with Chinmaya mission since 2016. She has 2 daughters of her own who attend Bala Vihar. Currently she is teaching the Shishu Vihar class for children 4 and under. She has completed her Waldorf teacher training in Early Childhood and loves to be amongst young children. She is grateful for having found the Chinmaya family and enjoys celebrating festivals as a community. Other than working with children she enjoys being in nature, practicing yoga and playing volleyball.

ALAMELU RAMESH

 

 

ADITYA NAIR

Aditya has been associated with Chinmaya mission since 2018. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Nevada, but will continue to teach over Zoom from Reno. Aditya is passionate about teaching science and leads a research laboratory as well as lecturing underegraduates.

He teaches the Bharadwaj class for 4 to 6 year old Kindergarteners and loves telling them stories, singing bhajans and conducting fun activities. Aditya is a trained in Carnatic music, loves swimming, cooking and dancing, and is always excited to learn and try new things.

ARCHISH SRIDHAR

Archish has been a part of Chinmaya Mission since 1st grade. He has lived in Toronto, Boston, and Wisconsin before coming to Washington. Currently he is a sophomore in Electrical Engineering at UW.

 

PRATHIBHA NAIR

Prathibha was born and raised in Dubai where she attended Chinmaya Mission Bala Vihar and yagnas with her parents. She continued to attend and eventually teach in New York. After relocating to the west coast, Prathibha joined Chinmaya Mission Seattle in 2009 as a substitute teacher for Bharadwaj class and eventually teaching the Dhruva class. She is grateful to have Gurudev’s guidance and blessings. 

REMYAA KRISHNAN

Remyaa is a dynamic IT professional hailing from Coimbatore,India. She was a student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Coimbatore for 12 years. She feels blessed for growing up with Chinmaya Mission and believes that it had a very positive impact on her life. The summer camps, Bhagavad Gita chantings, Bhajan Sandhyas, Mathru Pooja, Bala Vihar classes are few things that she would cherish forever. Having lived in Mexico and now in Seattle,she joined this amazing team of Sevaks of Bharadwaj Class to facilitate growth and learning for the children.She enjoys travelling, cooking, singing and playing Badminton.

SHREYA MALHOTRA

Shreya has been with Chinmaya Mission since she was 6 years old and attended Bala Vihar in Los Angeles till she graduated high school. Currently, Shreya is a part of the Seattle CHYK group as her family moved to Seattle. She is also studying to complete the Foundation Vedanta Course online and is one of the teachers for the Bharadwaj class. Shreya attends Northeastern University in Boston, where she is studying Bioengineering.

 

REKHA KURPAD

Rekha has been a member of Chinmaya mission since moving to Seattle in 2012. She feels blessed to be part of the mission and thankful for the dedication and involvement of all the teachers and sevaks. She enjoys teaching children at Balavihar by providing them with an enriching experience of learning through stories, activities and moral values. 

AJITA GOPIKRISHNAN

◎Statistician by training ◎ Housewife by occupation
◎ Spiritual seeker by aspiration

Ajita and her family joined CMS in 2009, and she started teaching Bala Vihar children in 2011. After a 2 year break, participating instead in study groups and retreats, she returned to teach the Dhruva class in 2020. This year, she is looking forward to exploring “Bala Ramayana” with the Dhruva class. She feels blessed to be part of an inspiring group of teachers and sevaks at Chinmaya Mission in Seattle and for all the inspiration and knowledge the kids impart in every class.

 

BHAVANI SANGAMESHWAR

Bhavani grew up in Bangalore, India and was always associated with religious activities. She has been associated with Chinmaya Mission, Seattle since 2011 when her daughter started the classes. Since then, she always enjoyed being part of the learning process in Chinmaya Mission. She is passionate about teaching kids and engages them with interesting activities.

KRITHIKA MAHESH

Krithika Mahesh was introduced to Gurudev and the Chinmaya Mission in 2004 through a study group. She has been a Bala Vihar Sevak since then, teaching in San Diego and Chicago centers before coming to Seattle.  She has three children who, she says, both provide her abundant joys and opportunities for Sadhana.

 

KEERTHANA KANAGARAJ

Keerthana has been part of Chinmaya Mission Seattle since 2015. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia where she was first exposed to the vibrant Chinmaya Mission family as a young child. While she was not a Balavihar student, her family attended many Chinmaya Mission organized Jnana Yagnas with her parents. She had many friends who attended Balavihar, and saw first hand the contribution Balavihar education makes to develop well rounded individuals with a higher vision of life, who bring joy to those around them, and go on to be strong contributors to society. 

She joined Chinmaya Mission Seattle in 2015 to give the same experience for her two young children. She also joined Vedanta Study Group, and quickly realized the tremendous value of being part of the Chinmaya Mission family. She is currently doing the Foundation Vendanta Course, and continues to attend workshops, and study groups to develop her knowledge. She is a teacher in the Vyasa class, and also manages the CMS seva program. Additionally she serves as the secretary for the CMS core committee. She is grateful for the opportunity to play a role in Gurudev’s work. 

HYMA MURTHY

 

 

ANNAPOORNA MURTHY

Annapoorna (Anu) has been a part of Chinmaya Mission since 2016. She started teaching the Vyasa class in 2019. She is a physician and lives in Redmond with her husband and 2 daughters who also attend Balavihar. Growing up in Bharat, stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana were part of her childhood. She believes as a child if you listen to these stories, then in adulthood you can see the connection between them and the Gita. She is grateful and excited to be part of Chinmaya Mission and also to be on the spiritual quest of Vedanta. 

SNEHA CHIDAMBARAM

Sneha grew up in southern California, where Chinmaya Mission was a big part of her childhood. As a student and seeker in Bala Vihar, her university’s Yuva Kendra group and the Foundation Vedanta Course under the guidance of Swami Ishwaranandaji, she’s endlessly inspired by the spirit of selfless service and quest for true, independent happiness. Sneha aspires to make this rich set of heritage and learnings relatable, fulfilling and empowering to even the youngest of minds. 

 

NIRANJAN JAYANTH

Niranjan grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and he attended Bala Vihar at Chinmaya Mission Yamunotri under the grace of Pujya Swami Sharanananda ji. By the end of his Bala Vihar days, he gained a broader perspective of what he had been learning and became interested in further study of Vedanta. After graduating high school, Niranjan continued involvement with Chinmaya Mission via CHYK at his university. Since then, he has continued to attend CHYK study groups, and in 2018, he started teaching at the Yamunotri center. In 2019, he moved to Seattle and has been teaching the Chinmayam class along with co-coordinating CHYK Seattle.

Niranjan strives to grow in both bhakti and jnana. For one, he enjoys music; vocal and instrumental. He helps teach Swaranjali and plays guitar with the group. Furthermore, he plays the bass and is on the arrangement/production team for Yuva Rhythms, a CHYK West musical collaboration. Niranjan is motivated to educate, empower, encourage the youth to unlock their potential and happiness, just as he was growing up.

DHEERAJ NAVANI

 

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. 
Chanting: Kritajnata