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.
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:
“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 and 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. Simple, but fundamental values and love for Bhagavan is introduced through our curriculum inspired from our Gods and Goddesses. It is conducted in a playgroup structure with parents/guardian attending with the children. Children learn through songs, prayers, stories, and other age appropriate activities. It is a loving, comfortable environment for young children to explore and learn.
Chanting: Vakra thunda * Sarasvati Namastubhyam * Guru Brahma
Bharadwaj – Kindergarten
Our Kindergarteners build on their introduction to Gods and Goddesses. Children start to explore the symbolism expressed through our various Gods and Goddesses, and focus on fundamental values. 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: Opening Prayers
Prahalada – Grade 1
Through the Ramayana, the world’s oldest epic, Lord Rama teaches us the values of the perfect person. These 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: Dainika Parthana
Dhruva Class – Grade 2
Curriculum based on learning about Hanuman inspires our 2nd graders to adopt the virtuous qualities that made Hanuman ji great. It helps children develop faith in Bhagavan; that Hanuman ji will protect and guide them through all life’s circumstances.
Chanting: Sri Rama Stotram
Sandeepany Class – Grade 3 and Grade 4
This beautiful curriculum encourages children to introspect on the importance of our Gurus. Who we are and what we know is because of our teachers. Anyone or anything can be our teacher if we have humility and the right attitude to recognize them. Children learn from nature, one of our best teachers.
Vyasa Class – Grade 5 and Grade 6
The 5th and 6th graders cover two texts. Both are based on the Ramacharitamanas. Saint Tulasidas in a few beautiful caupais has shown us where God resides (Ayodhya Kanda). The curriculum encourages children to expand their understanding of God – his omnipresence. We all can become an address of God if we assimilate the right values.
Caupais from Lanka kanda show us what are the Keys to success. What is the key to success? How do we define success? Children learn the importance of quieting our mind and sharpening our intellect, and the means to do so.
Shankara Class – Grade 7 and Grade 8
This curriculum teaches our children about our culture, and provides deeper insight on how to lead a happy life. Gurudev proclaimed: “Man’s control of nature external is civilization. His control of nature internal is culture”. Using the knowledge from the vedas how can we modify our inner behavior to channel our energy in the right nammer. Children will learn to focus their attention on the spiritual culture rather than material culture to accomplish the goal of life. Children learn about what is our goal of life as presented in Hindu Culture; what is the means to happiness, and the pursuit of self-knowledge.
Chinmayam – Highschool
Our high-school curriculum aims to bring the salient points of each chapter of the Bhagavad Gita to enable children to learn the key messages and apply it in their lives. Curriculum consists of the story of the Mahabharata as a prelude to the Gita. Children will use Gurudev’s book of the Holy Gita for reference. Through discussions and examples from daily life, the teachers gently guide the children in searching for answers to their questions.
Chanting: Gita Dhyanam
Stotradhārā is a chanting program where children and adults are taught to correctly chant sacred Strotrams. The goals of the program are to teach correct chanting form, to comfortably read Sanskrit Transliteration, improve the Medha Shakti i.e memory and thereby increase the students’ confidence in chanting.
Students are grouped into classes by age and experience level. Please check the calendar for class timings.
CMS follows the curriculum used at Chinmaya Mission Los Angeles, home to our guiding Swamiji: Swami Ishwarananda. Recordings of each Strotra may be found on their page (https://chinmayala.org/stotradhara).
We are grateful to CMLA for freely sharing their resources to guide us in this endeavor.
Swaranjali (Children & Adults)
Chinmaya Swaranjali is the music wing of Chinmaya Mission and was formed by a group of musicians inspired by our Guruji Swami Tejomayananda. Swaranjali is dedicated towards exploring the world of devotional music and spreading love and bhakti through melodious and soulful bhajans and kirtans.
With the grace of Pujya Grurudev, we inaugurated Swaranjali in January 2018 here at our center at CMS. We offer lessons every Sunday in the following format. Students will learn bhajans in the praise of different deities throughout the year often tying in with our festivals. They also get to perform at pujas and during Assembly.
|JR Swaranjali (grades 1 – 4)||2:15 – 2:45pm|
|SR Swaranjali grades (5 -12)||2:15 – 2:45pm|
|Adults||4:45 – 5:15pm|
This class is for children of ages 5 to 12.
- In the beginers class, kids will learn the Hindi alphabet (swar and vyanjan), counting, names of the colors, fruits, vegetables, and relationships.
- Intermediate-level kids will learn mantras and differentiate the words as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.
- Advanced-level kids will be able to form sentences in Hindi and learn how to have a conversation in Hindi.
The language in imparted to the kids of all levels through games, rhymes, songs and stories!
The Gita chanting class is a weekly class conducted in addition to the chanting taught in the general assembly. Students learn to chant and memorize the verses from the Bhagavad Gita chanting curriculum in a systematic manner with repetition and individual attention. The goal of the class is not only to learn the verses, but to find joy in chanting the divine song of the Lord.