Swamini Vimalananda in the Caribbean Region

Swamini Vimalananda, Acharya of Chinmaya Gardens, Coimbatore recently completed a 7 week visit to the Caribbean region, West Indies. Swamini Amma, under the guidance of Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda conducted the first Chinmaya Dharma Sevak Course outside of India, along with Upacharya and Resident Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Trinidad, Swami Prakashananda.

1st Dharma Sevak Course outside of India

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=18|imageid=197|displaydetail=0|displaydownload=0|namenumchar=15|enableswitch=1|float=left}Swamini Vimalananda, Acharya of Chinmaya Gardens, Coimbatore recently completed a 7 week visit to the Caribbean region, West Indies. Swamini Amma, under the guidance of Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda conducted the first Chinmaya Dharma Sevak Course outside of India, along with Upacharya and Resident Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Trinidad, Swami Prakashananda. Delegates from Trinidad, the United States and Canada were instructed in the foundations of Hindu Dharma during the 6-week residential course hosted at Chinmaya Ashram Trinidad. The course commenced on 01st February 2012 and concluded on 09th March 2012. Dharma Sevaks gained inspiration through texts such as Chandogya Upanishad Chapter 6 (Tat Twam Asi), Sad Darshanam, Bhagavad Gita Chapters 3 and 8, Aranya Kand of Tulsidasji's Ramacharitamanas and Shankaracharya's Forgive Me (Shivaparadhakshamapanastotram). Coupled with study of the scriptures, the course was interspersed with daily Vaidik chanting, Meditation, Yoga, Samskrt, Pujas and Homas and talks on contemporary topics including Interpersonal Relationships, How to conduct Puja Vidhis and How to conduct Sadhanas such as Japa.

The uniqueness of the Dharma Sevak Course reflected in the weekly cultural programmes which exposed the participants and the general public to cultural art forms of India and the Indo-Caribbean region. Concerts included Hindustani vocal and tabla, Classical Manipuri dances and folk dances all by teachers of Chinmaya Vidyalaya. There were also performances of local Indo art forms that have evolved over the period of Indian presence in Trinidad. These include 'Jaal Ramayana', Kabir songs and Chowtal songs or songs of Holi.

The course further incorporated the celebration of festivals such as Maha Shivratri and Holi as well as visits to holy places like Ganga Dhaara.


Chinmaya Vidyalaya Trinidad

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=18|imageid=200|displaydetail=0|displaydownload=0|namenumchar=15|enableswitch=1|float=left}Chinmaya Vidyalaya Trinidad has the blessing of being the first Chinmaya school in existence outside of India's borders. As such, the visit by Swamini Vimalananda, Director of Central Chinmaya Mission Trust Education Cell was especially significant to the students and staff at this Caribbean Educational Institution of Pujya Gurdev Swami Chinmayananda. Swamini Amma conducted sessions with students and staff of the six (6) campuses across the island of Trinidad including:

  • two (2) staff training sessions on the Chinmaya Vision Programme (CVP)
  • five (5) interactive sessions with students of Chinmaya Vidyalaya Pre-schools at Couva, Gasparillo, Cunupia, Barrackpore and Debe
  • two (2) interactive sessions with students of Chinmaya Vidyalaya Primary Schools at Couva and Debe
  • interactive talk with students of the 06th to 08th grades of Chinmaya Vidyalaya High School
  • interactive talk with students of the 09th and 10th grades of Chinmaya Vidyalaya High School
  • training session of Value Education teachers
  • session with the Management (Board of Education) of Chinmaya Vidyalaya Trinidad

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=18|imageid=201|displaydetail=0|displaydownload=0|namenumchar=15|float=left}The guidance and inspiration attained through Swamini Amma's presence at this Vidyalaya was indeed integral to the holistic progress of the school.We are certain that Swamini Amma will continue to visit this institution as it continues to grow.


Public Talks in Trinidad and Tobago

The 7-week stay of Swamini Vimalananda encompassed a series of public discourses at Chinmaya Ashram Trinidad as well as other locations in and around the region. Swamini Amma conducted:

  • 7 nights Jnana Yagna entitled 'The Art of Living'  from 05th to 11th February 2012. Talks were centred around Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 and attended by Government of Trinidad and Tobago officials including the Minister in the Ministry of Labour.
  • Happy Parenting Workshop attended by parents of Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Bala Vihar and the general public.
  • Talk on 'Love and Sacrifice' on the island of Tobago. This was hosted by the Tobago Sai Centre at the Surf Side Hotel.
  • Talk on 'Harmony in Relationships' at the Arya Samaj Vedic Mission of Trinidad and Tobago.

 

Chinmaya Bala Vihar and Yuva Kendra

The Bala Vihar and Yuva Kendra (Junior Chyk and Senior Chyk) were treated to quality 'Amma Time' in sessions over the past 7-weeks. Swamini Amma spoke on topics relevant to each age group, accompanied the Senior Chyks on a Hike to the Tourure Water Steps and was offered a special Chyk Bhiksha.


Visit to Guyana

The culmination of the 7-week tour of the Caribbean Region by Swamini Vimalananda was a 2-day visit to the neighbouring South American country of Guyana, on 14th and 15th March, 2012. The simplicity of the country, its green beauty, expansive Amazonian rivers and warm people greeted Swamini Amma and the travelling party from Trinidad graciously.

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=18|imageid=191|displaydetail=0|displaydownload=0|namenumchar=15|float=left}Through the auspices of the Hindu Swayamseva Sangh and Swami Aksharanandaji, Swamini Amma delivered talks to teachers and students of the Saraswati Vidya Niketan. This is a private educational institution, founded by Swami Aksharananda, aimed at affording the Guyanese people an alternative to quality secular and spiritual education.

Following a two and a half hour drive along the coast to the county of Berbice, Swamini Amma spoke on the reasons behind many traditions of Indian culture including why we do Namaskaar, why we take the Aarti, why we touch the feet of elders and why we do pradakshina, to devotees at the Vighneshwar Mandir.{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=18|imageid=192|displaydetail=0|displaydownload=0|namenumchar=15|float=right}

The final day in Guyana saw 2 programmes at the capital city of Georgetown. Swamini was received by students of the University of Guyana, Hindu Society where they were engaged in discussion on 'What is Hindu Dharma?'. Students were motivated to think decisively about the future of their country and the role they play as educated citizens.

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=18|imageid=196|displaydetail=0|displaydownload=0|namenumchar=15|float=left}The whirlwind tour ended with a talk at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown. Here, Swamini Amma addressed a gathering of representatives of Hindu organizations around the city as well as members of the public on 'The Art of Living'. The talk was flavoured with a lively question and answer session at its conclusion and attended by the former First Lady of Guyana.