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'With the mast of Sri Rama’s grace high up and favorable winds of Pujya Gurudev’s blessings, Chinmaya Mission Atlanta (CMA) had a memorable camp during the Labor Day weekend, with 120 attendees. Swami Prakashanandaji from Chinmaya Mission Trinidad, Brahmacharini Arpitaji from Chinmaya Mission St. Augstine, Florida and Acharya Vivekji from Chinmaya Mission Niagara Falls, Canada, graced the occasion and kept the audience enthralled. Swamiji gave daily discourses on Sundarkand from Tulsi Ramayan’s Ramcharitmanas and Shri Adi Shankaracharyaji’s Dhanyashtkam and Arpitaji and Vivekji each gave a satsang on Srimadbhagvatam and “Life is a Gift” respectively.
The weekend was busy with thought provoking lectures, meditation, yoga, delicious food, and programs/sports for the youth and children. Arpitaji and Vivekji along with CM Atlanta Sevikas kept the children and youth engaged with discussions, activities and songs. Little did we know that Swamiji is an “avid” cricket player, too. The Camp was a fabulous treat and it would not have been possible without the tireless work by Acharyas Raghuji and Geethaji. The Lord blessed us with good weather for the weekend, with starry nights and crescent moon in the clear blue sky.
Any description of the camp would be incomplete without a taste of the wealth it offered for everyone. In discoursing on Sundarkand, Swamiji brought recognition to us of the power of the Lord and the importance of putting the lord ahead of ourselves, just like Sri Hanumanji. As Swamiji described it, Sundarkand is beautiful because it speaks of the close relationship of the Bhagwan and the bhakta. Remembering Bhagwan, just as Hanumanji crossed the ocean to reach Sri Lanka, the ocean of samsara is just that easy to cross when there is no distance between us and the Reality. Beautifully Swamiji put that Hanumanji already had the darshan of Sri Rama, then what was the need for him to take this journey? It is only after he saw Sitaji that he felt his life was then complete, so called “kritkritya”. Bhagwan Sri Rama represents Existance and Sitaji represents the Bliss portion of the Consciousness-Existence principle.
In the early morning lecture while lecturing on Shankaracharyaji’s Dhanyashtkam, Swamiji told us that a person who has realized himself is blessed. Other types of blessings, i.e. the worldly blessings may even prevent us from getting realization. As Swamji emphasized, do not let the achievements have us and that Dhanya is the person who has realized his own essential Reality.
In addition to Swamiji’s daily discourses, we had the privilege of briefly listening to Brahmacharini Arpitaji and Acharya Vivekji.
While giving a satsang on Srimadbhagvatam, Arpitaji explained that “minus” our personal story, we are THAT. We are birthless, and we manifest from age to age, not just to burn our karmas, but to realize our true nature. Crisis is often the catalyst for something great that is coming. She gave the example that Vasudevaji had obstacles on his way, but he had a higher inspiration, the command of God. Aptly she explained that the chains in our lives do not have strength, other than the strength that we give them and that whatever the difficulty, we have to be the ones to take the first step. God is the doer, but we have to be the willing instrument.
Acharya Vivekji impressed upon the adults and the youth that to live artfully, we have to first acknowledge that the life is a gift, and the first gift is that we are alive. He emphasized that the Divine is of the nature of love, and therefore, anything given by Him has to be of the nature of love. We need to always count our blessings.
We felt extremely fortunate to be part of this 4-day family camp with all the wealth of knowledge and ambiance of spiritual comradery.
CMA activities commenced in 1994 with Chinmaya Bala Vihar classes at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta. In 2008, an additional Bala Vihar opened in Gwinnett county to reach and serve a wider area in metro Atlanta at Berkmar High School. At Bala Vihar, children learn about Human values and Virtues, Hindu Religion, culture and heritage of India through weekly classes and several fun filled activities. In addition to Bala Vihar, CMA provides weekly classes on scriptures such as Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, and Prakarana Granthas to gain insights that are practical and applicable for everyday living. If you like to know more about Chinmaya Mission Atlanta, please visit