Singing & learning together with our infant class

Usha Praveen & Ramya Chandrasekar

What can be more rewarding than seeing little ones excited and trying to imitate gestures and bring out their first sound of music. The infant class which ranges from little ones newborn to three years of age  gives the opportunity for the same. They really enjoyed listening and humming along to shlokas, notes, bhajans, talams and bits of classical and semi classical songs, some using rhythm props (musical instruments, egg shakers) and others  with hand gestures or standing movements. This year kids were also introduced to multi lingual rhymes with actions, exposing them more to the sights and sounds from an Indian household. To keep the little ones busy for up to an hour, a touch of yoga , some coloring and craft activities relevant to festivals such as Ganesh chaturthi, Shivarathri, Sri Ramanavami and a little thank you for the enthusiastic parents who were so involved with the kids in class.

Here’s wishing our toddlers  Shiven, Srishti, Annapurni, Pranav,Avyukth, Arinjay , Kian and Nischala  a great time in their Pre-K classes and looking forward to our new and continuing kids Sai Krishna, Adhya Sarmishta and Avyansh for the next year !

One Lord so many forms – Pre-K

Shubhashree Venkatesh & Bhaskar Ramakrishnan 

Pre-k has children between ages 3-5. We focus on building independence, active participation and mindfulness. Mindfulness is intrinsic to pre-K curriculum. We start with 3 Oms to calm the mind followed by opening prayers. Some house rules followed very well by kids are: Sitting well with backs straight, raising ones hand to speak and practice general hygiene to stay healthy. Kids are taught to welcome, respect and encourage each other.
Music is the main medium of learning in this class. Kids learn slokas and songs and encouraged to sing in Shruti. Some  dancing and games gets them moving and excited. And yoga teaches them focus.  It’s amazing to see kids this young lying in Shavasana in pin drop silence. We read books and analyze the morals behind words and actions to ensure children understand what is being read to them. Children learn the importance of quality work through careful coloring.  The 2 year curriculum really helps kids blossom, get confident, comfortable and ready for KG
Subhasree & Bhaskar

The Alphabet Safari – Kindergarten

Haritha Kajjam, Rashmi Bhalla, & Mallika Warrier


Our syllabus in KG is the Vedantic Alphabet and the Chinmaya Mission pledge. In the Vedantic Alphabet each alphabet stands for a value. For example instead of “A is for apple and B is for Ball” we teach that “A is for Aspiration, B is for Brotherhood, C is for Cleanliness and so on”.

By imbibing and living by these values we get a sweet mind with which we can see God. The concepts in the pledge are also explained with stories and fun activities. The hope is that our students will get a strong foundation upon which they continue to build during their sojourn in Bala Vihar.

Hanuman the Superman – 2nd Grade

Suma Krishnamurthy & Preeti Kashyap

Sundays have been a joy as 12 enthusiastic 2nd graders and 2 teachers gathered in a classroom to share the next hour together, filled with so many activities centered around Śri Hanuman, the Super Superman.

Starting off with opening prayers and attendance, the class moved on to learning the hanuman chalisa. The adorable 7-8 year olds were keen to learn new tongue-twister verses every week, and enthusiastically anticipated the completion as the year came to a close. And then, to present their yearlong learning to an audience at the annual varshikotsav!! How exciting!!

Story time brought out a new eagerness in the children to listen and to share their own information.

Stories that portrayed the eight virtuous qualities of Śri Hanuman – बुद्धिर् बलम् यशो धैर्यम् …… qualities that help build a strong ‘backbone’ towards mental strength and strong character. Kids shared how they would imbibe Hanumanji’s qualities in their everyday life. Like standing up to bullies, and not staying quiet when they see something wrong happening at school.

The eighth quality वाक्पटुत्वम was probably the most confusing for the kids. Eloquence? And what does that mean teacher? Fluency?articulation?oratory…I still don’t get it, they said. The class turned into a safe practice ground, each student did an impromptu talk for 30 seconds with the topic being – how can we improve and be like Hanumanji.

Control of mind goes hand in hand with control of body, and the entire year the class practiced to stay still and calm whether it is during prayers, or stretches postures, or while chanting Rama-naama with their very own creations of japa-maala. They also used their creativity to make their own name tags, sometimes solved crosswords, and worked on the Hanuman backbone project.

Always finishing off the hour with closing prayers, 🕉पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम्….🙏 and an intent to keep the calmness as the class walks down the stairs.

The year came to an end rather too quickly, with the realization that there is so much to learn from Śri Hanumanji, if only we can train our monkey minds….

Preeti & Suma

Baala Bhagavatam – 3rd Grade

Radheka Godse & Kavitha Veerappan

Kavitha and I (radheka) profusely thank the Chinmaya Haridwar BV co-ordination team and parents for this opportunity to teach our children our rich culture. It has been great joy to be with same batch of children continuously for two years and to witness their blooming and cheerful personality unfold within… we hope to teach them again in the remote future few years ahead 🙂

Last year Shri Hanuman The Super Superman visited 2nd Grade class every sunday morning & their 3rd year in BalavihAr has indulged them in stories from BalaBhAgavatam to dive further deeper into our core. Come attend our BAlavihAr assembly at 9:20am to check this for a fact :). You will observe our dynamic vAnaraSenA sitting in discipline crisscross and alert utilizing the metaphor of HanumAnji-s backbone plus calm & serene within shining like beautiful blossoms:

॥ बद्धिबल यशोधय निर्यत्व अरोगता अजाड्य वाक्पटत्व च हिमत स्मरणाद् र्वत॥

Buddhir-Balam Yashodhairyam Nirbhayatvam Arogata, Ajadyam Vakpatutvam ca Hanumat Smaranad Bhavet.

Through the worship of Sri Hanuman, one will be blessed with budding (intelligence), balam (strength), yeshas (fame), dhairyam (Courage), nirbhayatvam (fearlessness), arogata ( free from diseases, good health), ajadyam (alertness), and vakpatutam (eloquence). Over the past year we have evolved with BalaBhagavatam to develop devotion in our children. We covered episodes from first nine cantos of Shrimad BhAgavatam and the five avatAras of Lord Vishnu to inculcate faith and a sense of security within: “If I am good, God will protect me.” To conclude this year children will build the DashAvatara mobile and bring it home as a keepsake.

Along with morals of Shrimad BhAgavatam we learned & presented the Shri Guru and DashAvatara stotram to the Balavihar assembly and invited parents to our class room for a meet and greet and DashAvatara puja. We deep dove into core values such as austerity/tapas utilizing practical activities to reinforce lessons of Shrimad BhAgavatam. Visit 3rd grade classroom and see all our display boards. See some glimpses of our “I Promise” (where we took vows on each of our little fingers to do something and live by that vow, that we are doing tapas ☺) bow down in reverence to the GuruShishyaParampara which inspires us to strive to share that only respecting something remains a value only, bringing it to LIFE makes it the VIRTUE.

Kavitha & Radheka


Krishna Krishna Everywhere – 4th Grade

Meera Nair & Rajashree Kanungo

4th grade continues the exploration of Srimad Bhagavatam that was started in grade 3.

In “Krishna Krishna Everywhere”, we learn stories from the life of Lord Krishna, starting from His birth, to the time He kills the tyrant Kamsa. This is based on chapter 10 of Srimad Bhagavatam. Through the stories of Lord Krishna’s childhood, and our year-long activity of “Roadmap to Krishna”, we learn the values that will bring us closer to Him. These values, like kindness, forgiveness, sharing, will be useful throughout our lives.

“My Twenty-Four Teachers” is based on the 11th chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam. We find out that anyone and anything can be a teacher, as long as we have humility and the right attitude to learn. Who we are and what we know is because of our teachers, and we are indebted to them.

Kids enjoyed the stories of Krishna, activities, and the riddles to figure out each of the 24 teachers.


Symbolism in Hinduism – 5th Grade

Aru Mahapatra, Suraj Varma & Ambili Ramakrishnan

 This year in 5th grade we learnt about symbolism of many deities that represent the Lord who is present everywhere along with that of festivals and traditions. The use of symbols for worship is meant to make the mind single pointed whereby we gain the same qualities of the ideals we revere.

We learnt the 16 step puja, Sri Ganesha Pancharatnam Stotram and Shiva Panchakshara Stotram which the kids presented to their parents. And this year for the first time kids also learnt Sri Rama Stuti.

It was a fun year with stories, games, class skits on Ramleela, dandia Dance and the building of their personal shiva linga.

Having been a Bala Vihar Teacher for 7 years and a 5th grade teacher for 2 years, it still feels like it is a journey of learning from and with the children. Hoping that with Gurudev’s blessing we will continue to be a part of this guru shishya parampara and strive to better ourselves.


India, The Sacred Land – 6th Grade

Sid Ramachandran, Hari Chandrasekaran

The 6th grade curriculum, “India, the Sacred Land”, helps students develop a better appreciation for the great country and its culture and traditions. After having learned stories of Krishna, Rama, Hanuman and many other Gods and Goddesses in the early elementary grades followed by the symbolism behind the spiritual practices in the 5th grade, the 6th curriculum provides a peek into what India stands for, its glorious heritage and time-tested scriptures. The curriculum also covers a variety of other topics like India’s geography, mountains and rivers, languages and festivals, food and clothing, various arts and sports, etc. It also deals with various saints and masters and their contributions.

These were fun topics for the kids and we tried to make it more interesting through discussions, jeopardy, and puzzles. 6th graders also collected points every week for the clothes they wore. The kids did a fantastic job of motivating each other to come in Indian clothes and they won themselves a bowling party at the Big Al’s at the end of the school year. We, teachers, had a great time with this year’s 6th graders and we wish them good luck!

Sid & Hari

P.O BOX Mr. God – 7th Grade

Uma Venkatachalam & Geetha Nathan

It has been a blessing for us to teach the 7th Grade this year! This was our first year teaching middle school and we were not sure what to expect. We taught the same group of children in third grade and we were looking forward to an exciting beginning of Bala Vihar 2018 -2019. Soon we found out that though they had grown by age and grade, they were still the same on the inside!

We had a wonderful syllabus to teach this year. For the first half of the year, the book was P.O.BOX Mr. GOD based on Ayodhya Kanda (Doha 127-131) from Ram Charit Manas. For the second half of the year, it was “Keys to success” based on Lanka Kanda (after Doha 79) from Ram Charit Manas.  It was a great opportunity for us to learn these gems from the Ramayana!

Each child was so unique in their own way. Many were talkative (sometimes too much so :), normal free flowing teenage hormones!!!), while some were quiet. But none of them ever took anything at face value. They would question everything (challenging for us!!!).  Despite having to miss some classes or showing up a little late due to their extra-curricular activities, they were fully in the moment at the times they showed up.

One of the highlights of this year was when we learned the Shiva Manasa Puja and a Ram Bhajan (thanks to Suma Aunty who sent us the recordings from India and filled up missing gaps in the song in our textbook!!!). Initially, there was reluctance to learn the bhajans and more so to go up on stage. However, eventually when the day came to perform they pulled it together beautifully. YAY!!!

We are very proud of our class and we are confident that they will go on to achieve great things in life! We wish them the same too!!!

Uma & Geetha

Year’s Reflections by 7th Graders

Sruthi Satyanath:

Goal of PO Box, Mr. GOD

  • God is Omnipresent, He is within/ without us
  • We can all become an address of God, if we assimilate the values described in caupais of RamCharitManas

Dharma Chariot (This Dharma Chariot was written by all from a poster that was on the wall)

  • 2 flags  – Satya and Sila represent Truthfullness and Good Character
  • 3 Reins – Kshama(Forgiveness), Krpa(Compassion), Samata(Equanimity)
  • 4 horses – Bala(Strength), Bibeka(Discrimination), Dama(Control of Senses), Parahita(Caring for others)
  • 2 Riders – Isha Bhajanu(Devotion to God), Sarathi Sujana(Intelligent charioteer)
  • 2 wheels – Dhiraja(Fortitude, Patience), Sauraja(valor, courage)

What is happiness?

Objects or Beings which only give temporary happiness are not true sources of happiness.

Humans two weaknesses/ enemies(inner)

  • Passion(Desire, Lust) & Greed(Jealousy, Ego)

Gowri Ganesh:

God lives in the hearts of people who…

  • Never tire of listening to his stories
  • Always long to see him
  • Distinguish between right and wrong
  • Do puja whenever they can
  • Only give the best, say good things
  • Always remember God

Dharma chariot

Same as above from Shruthi.

Keys to Success

Knowledge, Hard work, Determination are the KEYS that give you happiness.

Rainah Rajan:

After a year packed full of learning, these are the 5 main things I took away from this class:

  • The Dharma Chariot has lots of important values that should be taken and applied to real life. These include Isha Bhajanu(devotion to God), Bala(strength) and Satya(truthfulness)
  • There are 2 birds that demonstrate important skills
  1. The Chataka bird only drinks rain water, symbolizing only taking in the purest things
  2. The Hamsa bird can separate milk from water, just like how we should symbolize the good from the bad
  • Listening is very important. Have ears like an ocean to be a good devotee to God by taking in Ram’s stories. Being quiet and listening can also help in the case of finding a pocket-watch in a room full of hay. If you stop, quiet your mind and listen, you can hear the watch ticking. Being still and quiet can help with many things in life.
  • The most important thing Chinmaya has taught me is to be kind, above all else, be kind.

Akshaya Arun:

  • You should separate good from bad like

      The Chataka bird who can separate milk and water

      The Hamsa bird who drinks only pure water

  • You should always think and hear good things
  • Each element of the earth is born out one another
  • The Dharma Chariot has many values that relate to God
  • God lives in everything and is everywhere
  • The key to success is to believe in yourself
  • Oceanic Ears: Hear the good things
  • Believe in God, Devotion to God
  • You should not discriminate
  • Success is when you achieve something that helps you in life
  • Actions are like Boomerangs, if you spread good, you will get good – spread happy ripples.

Maansi S:

  • Parts of the Chariot (same as that of Shruthi)
  • The stories I learned from both the books taught me lessons that I can use later in my life such as Patience, trust, thinking before speaking and the importance of my Devotion to God. I think the different parts of the chariot are the core values of someone’s life.

Khavya Balamurugan:

  • I learned about the chariot which has many virtues in each part. For example, I learned about “Satya” which is truthfulness. I also learnt the true meaning of “Bala” which is strength. Many people think it is when you lift stuff. But in reality it is when you stand up for something you want. It is to take a leap and getting out of the box and into the real world. This year in Chinmiya, I learnt about “Kshama”. Forgiveness is important in your life. It’s when someone does something to you and you forgive and forget. Sometimes, it’s hard to forget the mistakes done by others, but sometimes it’s better than holding a grudge, Chinmiya has taught me my dharma and karma and the results of it.

Nivedita Giani:

  • God is in everything
  • There is a chariot of good values
  • If you follow one good value, the rest will come naturally
  • There are 5 elements
  • Happiness is not something on the outside but on the inside
  • The key to success is believing in yourself
  • Happiness is something that makes everyone happy
  • Believe in God
  • Discriminate between good and bad, right and wrong.

Kavya Ananth:

  • Cataka Bird – Drinks the pure, clean raindrop water
  • Hamsa Bird – separates milk and water
  • Dharma Chariot – (Same as above)
  • God:
  1. Control your senses
  2. Never stop listening to His stories
  3. Do a lot of puja’s for him

Tanush Sistla:

This year, a couple things stuck with me.

  1.  That God, who exists infinitely everywhere, resides in so many places, in so many people, that it is useless to list where he resides. Some would say he resides in specific places, like those with oceanic ears, but in truth, he is not only everywhere, but everything. We must learn to acknowledge that, for then, we may be slightly closer to God, and understanding all that He is or represents.
  2.   That to reach success, one must ignore the qualities held by most humans, like selfishness, ego, arrogance and so on. We must follow the Chariot of Dharma, which shows the many ways we must combat and defeat our evil qualities. We must use our Bala, Bibeka, Dama and Parahita as horses to guide us, since they are strength, discrimination, control and caring. Devotion and Intelligence control the 4 horses, leading them and us in the right direction. Weapons, though unlisted, must be used to combat the evil we feel, to destroy all that attaches us to the wrong ideas.

Roshen Nair:

  1. Over this year, I learned about where God lives. In ears like ocean, open to everything and in the eyes like the jataka bird, pure. In mouth like the humsa bird which only sees the good and in the nose like those who smell only good things. God lives in the heart of the people who yearn for stories of Rama. This is what we learnt from the book Mr. God.
  2. We also learnt the Keys to success from the Bhagavat Gita. We saw the Dharma Chariot and what each part represents. We learned the wheels were Sourija and Dhirija, valor and fortitude. (The rest were from above paragraph of Shruthi). These are all important to practice the good Dharma of the Dharma chariot.
  3. We also learned God is omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (everywhere) and omniscient (all-knowing). Also, the attributes of good people are equanimity, devotion to God, polite to all, well-wisher of all, beloved all, speak with truth, speak with love, don’t say the truth unpleasant and don’t say the pleasant seeming lies.