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Chinmaya Youth—Lighting the Inner Torch

February 2016
Chinmaya Youth—Lighting the Inner Torch

 

The Chinmaya Jyoti Yatra (journey of the inner light) symbolizes, recognizes, honors, and celebrates the greatness of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda’s life during His centenary year (2015-16) as it travels from one Chinmaya mission center to another. Chinmaya Mission Alpharetta (CMA), having received the Jyoti with a lot of joy and festivity from members of CM North Carolina, was honored to host a month-long celebration in December at the ashram (Chinmaya Gurukul) with daily pujas, bhajans, chants, talks, Akahanda-Gita parayan, and more.

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Highlights of this celebration were the “Yuva Rhythms” shows—contemporary, devotional music concerts, composed and performed by Chinmaya youth. The shows were held on December 12 and 13, with a packed attendance totaling to about 500 over the two nights. Special dignitaries who participated in lighting the Jyoti each evening included Consul General of India (Atlanta) Mr. Nagesh Singh; Forsyth County Commissioner Cindy Mills; CEO Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce James McCoy; and Emory University Professor of Religious Studies Dr. Joyce Flueckiger.

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Local CMA youth (JCHYK) coordinated the efforts for these events, acting as MCs, welcoming guests, helping with tickets, food, parking, etc. The JCHYKs commenced each evening singing beautiful invocations, followed by conducting an insightful presentation on the vision and outreach programs of the youth wing of the mission.

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The Yuva Rhythms team (featured guest performers) with Dr. Joyce Flueckiger, Emory University Professor of Religious Studies. From left: Ashwin Subramanian, Lakshmi Chandrashekhar, Dr. Flueckiger, Sanchit Malhotra.

The featured act included three youth performers (Ashwin Subramanian, Lakshmi Chandrshekhar, and Sanchit Malhotra) who were also key performers in the first official “Yuva Rhythms” album released by CHYK West (the North American chapter of the global Chinmaya Yuva Kendra organization). Yuva Rhythms is a series of music albums, with the second one being a Musical and the third one currently in the making. Ashwin is a music composer, vocalist, and keyboard player and Lakshmi is a vocalist and song arranger. Both are a duo from the Bay Area of San Francisco. Sanchit is a guitarist, vocalist, and music composer, now based out of Seattle. Sanchit has been part of the CMA Balavihar program since he was 7 and has been the coordinator CMA CHYK program for the past 4 years at Georgia Tech. Together the trio enthralled the audience with beautiful devotional songs rendered in a new age twist.

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Each evening attendees commented that they were extremely pleased to bring their family to an Indian event that did not include the typical Bollywood-style entertainment. Parents loved that their children were able to connect with the spiritual messages of the songs while being entertained with the level of talent of the performers at the same time. Inspired kids were eager to seek autographs from the performers. “It was truly a very unique, enriching and inspiring concert for all,” said Dr. Joyce. “In a competitive world of diminishing values, CMA programs and initiatives like these are important to kindle the inner light of inspiration” commented one of the CMA volunteers.

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With all the Jyoti celebrations going on, CMA volunteers and youth also collected donations for Chennai floods on behalf of CM Chennai. The youth (CHYKs), under the guidance of Swami Mitrananda provided incredible support and services to those affected in Chennai.


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[The article above contains additional text that does not appear in the print and digital issues.]
Posted 1/29/16.



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