Yagnas, 2018-2019

Yagna Coordination Group

Spirituality in Family Life – by Swami Shantananda, June 2018

Yagna Series for 2018-19 academic year started off with Swami Shantanandaji presiding over our Varshikotsav 2018.  During this event, he also released our Hari Patrika, the first time we published as e-Magazine!

Swami Shantananda is currently the resident acharya (teacher) of the Tri-State Centre in Cranbury, New Jersey and President of Chinmaya Mission West, the governing body of all Chinmaya Mission centers in Canada & USA.

Family Spirituality is the spiritual dimension of everything that the family does. Its most important ingredient is the love flowing between family members. Where genuine love is, we find God because God is love. Family Spirituality is thought of as family life itself – doing and caring for each other. In a most practical way, Swamiji explained that family life is the best suited station for us to understand and practice spirituality.

Krishna the CEO! – by Swami Ramakrishnananda, November 2018

Swami Ramakrishnananda is the Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Nagapatinam and part of the managing board of Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyapeet.  He visited with us in November 2018 and spoke about the leadership qualities we need in our everyday life, and in our profession – through the model of Lord Krishna!

A CEO is a visionary, a leader – maximizing the value of the company to achieve the organization’s mission through good decision-making, effective communication, and inspirational motivation. How do they do it? Lord Krishna, the Avatar of Lord Vishnu, was such a CEO during the Dwapara Yuga, achieving success for the entire society! Swamiji explored Lord Krishna’s leadership and management techniques through Bhagavan Veda Vyasa’s Bhagavatam and Mahabharatam, which are relevant even today!

Power to Redeem! by Br. Yatindra Chaitanya, December 2018

We had Br. Yatindra Chaitanya of Dallas Fort Worth visiting us in December.  This was unique in the sense that he was hosted by one of our CHYKs.  We are very proud to have our next generation carrying on the traditions of Chinmaya Mission Portland.

When Ram asked Vishwamitra, “Who is Ahalya waiting for?” Vishwamitra replied: “One who can uplift the fallen. All know how to judge, blame and punish someone but the redeemer of sin who raises the fallen is rare indeed. Touch of such a great soul’s feet redeems all sins”. Then Ram touched the stone with his feet and Ahalya got freed. There is no sin or guilt which cannot be pardoned by repentance and pure faith in God. God himself will appear and devoid us from all sins.

Happiness Workshop – by Vivek Gupta, March 2019

Acharya Vivek is the resident acharya of Chinmaya Mission – Niagara and deputy director of Chinmaya Yuva Kendra West and had been a regular visiting Acharya since 2010.

The Workshop covered a set of practical steps to help oneself be unconditionally happy! Vivek-ji talked about going from Loneliness to Aloneness — how despite being most ‘connected’ thanks to social media, we feel miserable, and how one can start to love enjoying the company of oneself. In typical workshop style, all of us analyzed how we are spending our time today to realize positive living takes time and spending the time we have well is the most practical step to happiness. On the final day, we learned together to lift oneself by oneself — and not to be dependent on our friends, family, God and environment, for us to be Happy.

During Vivekji’s visit, as an added bonus, we had a workshop on “Story of our Mind” where we learned how to know and manage mind matters with the help of an experienced social work counselor, Madhav Khurana. Be it your work, children, spouse or the world that drives you crazy, most of us deal with mental stress that affects quality of life. This unique session combined psychology and spirituality to help us. We learned what causes stress and depression and how to manage and master mental stress. Madhav Khurana & Vivek Gupta used their expertise in Vedanta and modern medicine and shared their knowledge and insights on methods of calming the mind and managing stress.

Living Vedanta – by Swami Ishwarananda, June 2019

Swami Ishwarananda is the resident senior monk at Chinmaya Mission Los Angeles and one of the Directors of Chinmaya Mission West (CMW). He visited with us in June, 2019 and talked about Living Vedanta (VedAnta Cintanam), a treatise on practical application of Vedanta, composed by Swami Tejomayananda.

While VedAnta teaches us about our true nature, VedAnta Cintanam guides us in the application of this knowledge to our daily life. Swamiji explained that a clear vision of VedAnta is the first step towards its practical application. Swamiji, with his witty humor and practical tips, explained to us how not to be identified with the body-mind-intellect equipment, and yet use them intelligently; and why it is important to cultivate the attitude of being a ‘servant to God’ in all our actions.


Festivals at Chinmaya Haridwar

Kavitha Veerappan and Lalita Pandruvada

Festivals are periods of celebration and are an important part of life. When religion is intertwined with spiritual meaning, this joy came to be identified with the joy of worship. In Chinmaya Haridwar we associate Festivals with religion and participation in the productive activities and with the seasons of the year. Festivals are a time to reflect and renew our commitment to selfless service in pursuit of unconditional happiness.

Here is a glimpse of the various festivals we enjoyed over the past year academic year (2018-19).

Guruji Jayanthi – Our Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayanandaji’s birthday falls on June 30th, during our Summer break.  We celebrate his birthday by chanting the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra 108 times followed by aarti for his long and productive life.

Guru Purnima – Guru Purnima in 2018 was on July 27th.  To students of Vedanta, the Guru is the embodiment of their goal. The Guru is nothing but pure Consciousness, absolute Bliss, and eternal Wisdom. Self-redemption must come ultimately from ourselves. The external props, such as temples, idols and gurus, are all encouragements and aids. They must be intelligently used to help build up inner perfection.  We perform Guru paduka puja and aarti on this day followed by dinner.

Janmashtami – We celebrated Janmashtami on September 2, 2018. Janmashtami  celebrates the birth of Shri Krishna, an Avatar of Lord Vishnu. On this day, we welcomed the Lord with Pooja, Bhajans, Dahi Handi, Jhula Utsav and other festivities.

Karwa Chauth – Our lovely women celebrated this festival on October 27th 2018 after fasting for the whole day by gathering together to perform a puja for the safety and longevity of their husbands.

Diwali – This is one of the much awaited festivals of the year for all our students and volunteers. We celebrated Diwali with so much fun and festivities on November 10th 2018.  Celebrations started with a Lakshmi puja, followed by dinner (with lots and lots of sweets) and huge amount of fireworks.

Thanksgiving – This is a day to chill out with family and friends and be thankful for all the blessings we have been bestowed with. This year we celebrated our 8th Annual Thanksgiving dinner together.  Of course the highlight of the day is our Chocolate Turkey!

New Year Day – We welcome the New year with a Ganesha puja that is performed by our Mom-to-be’s and family.

Maha Shivarathri – Students and volunteers look forward to this day to shower Lord Shiva with love and milk and to get his ever-lasting blessings.  This year we celebrated Shivaratri on March 3rd 2019.








Ramanavami – We performed the Jhula utsav on 14th April 2019 followed by Rama Aarti. The kids enjoy rocking baby Rama in his Jhula.

Gurudev Jayanthi – We celebrate Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda’s birthday, Balavihar Graduation and Mother’s day together at Haridwar.  On this day, five of our graduating 12th graders performed the traditional Paduka pooja to honor and celebrate Pujya Gurudev’s birthday. This being combined with Mothers day, the wonderful dads of Chinmaya prepared and served a very memorable lunch.

Cooking Camp Reflection

Ramya Reddy, 10th Grade

Last summer, I volunteered to teach at the Chinmaya Cooking Camp, and it was a great experience. Each cooking session started with a demonstration on how to make a couple of Indian dishes. After cooking the main meal, we then made a dessert to end the day on a sweet note. Even though the camp was only for a few days, I felt like our group had bonded over cooking together, and everyone had become friends. No matter the age or cooking experience, everyone who came to the camp had a fun and enriching time, and I encourage everyone to try cooking or baking for fun; it’s a great pastime! You can also join us at the next cooking camp this summer!


Reflections on Speech and Debate Camp

Vivek Kumar, 11th Grade

Speech and Debate Camp and Public Speaking Workshop

Through this 3 day course, middle school students were introduced to the art of public speaking. Instructed by Kapil Varma, Aabhi Anand, and Vivek Kumar, the team of three utilized their experiences to deconstruct the fear of public speaking. From holding microphones to power poses, the team touched all the skills necessary for preparing these students for their competitive high school speech and debate team as well as public presentations. Starting from 30 second speeches, the students worked their way up to 5 minute impromptu speeches. The 3 day camp helped transform the anxious students into confident presenters.


Reflections on Lego Robotics FLL Camp

Vivek Kumar, 11th Grade

Lego Robotics FLL Camp

FIRST Lego League is a fast growing robotics experience in Portland and around the world. Through the vast experience of Krishnan Kolady, Gokul Kolady, and Vivek Kumar, elementary and middle school children had hands-on opportunities to learn about the principles behind FLL. Whether it be building, programming, or project presentation, the team of instructors helped introduced the world of robotics to them. The students worked with the Lego EV3 to construct a fully functional robot. At the conclusion of the three day camp, students presented to their parents and walked away with a strong robotics foundation.