Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 31 – Day 13 of the Yatra
We went to the Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Taylors road where Pujya Guruji inaugurated the new air conditioned auditorium, Kalaalayam.
Guruji introduced the patrons and they gave us a brief history and activities of the Vidyalayas of Chennai. The first school in Chennai started with 20 students without a Pucca building and now there are four Vidyalayas in Chennai which are rated among the best Schools in the city. It is no wonder that it is a stronghold of Balavihar and Chinmaya Yuva Kendra groups.
Chennai has a very important place in the annals of the history of Chinmaya Mission as it is the birthplace of Chinmaya Mission. It is here that Chinmaya Mission had its inception as the Mission was formed by a few devotees on August 8, 1953. During our visit, it was an honor meeting Mrs Leela Nambiar, one of the pillars of Chinmaya Mission Chennai. Even at the age of 90 she continues to serve CM.
After a traditional lunch served on banana leaves, we headed back to the hotel for a short rest. At 4:30 in the afternoon we were off to Chinmaya Heritage center for a gathering, tour and stage show called “Death”.
The Chinmaya Heritage Center is situated in the heart of the city on Harrington Road has served Chennai in various aspects for many years.
Chinmaya Tapovan auditorium is built on the second floor without any pillars, an architectural marvel that is sought after as a venue for the premium programs in the city. There is a well-furnished library, conference room and a well-stocked book stall.
It also houses the editorial offices of Tapovan Prasad, Chinmaya Mission’s international monthly magazine, and Chinmaya Udghosh, the magazine of Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK).
The CHYKs here have staged plays like Kamba Ramayanam, LOC, 2047, Bharatiyar, Surya 108 and Death which have been performed all over the country and abroad.
After a brief presentation of all activities, we got a tour of their large facility, and it was very fascinating to see the “art of displaying the books” in the bookstore.
“Death” was an intense, marvelous show. I should mention that Swami Mitranandaji, the guiding hands of this show, was travelling with us for the whole yatra, but even without him, the performers didn’t miss a beat and show was absolutely stunning. We got chuckles when we saw our own faces on display in the list of Lord Death.
Death himself (the CHYK who played the Lord of Death) came and served me rice during the dinner!
Small group of our yatris had branched off from Tirupathy to go to Chinmaya Vijaya, an orphanage under CORD initiated by Drs. Sumathy and Apparao Mukkamala, Flint MI. That group described their trip as being very uplifting having observed 4 and 5 year olds who were previously street children, now smiling, reciting chapter 9 of Bhagavat Gita without flaw.
We all went back to our rooms; we are off to Coimbatore tomorrow.