Chinmaya Mission was founded in 1953 by devotees of Swami Chinmayananda in India. They formed the nucleus of a movement of spiritual rennaissance that now encomppasses a wide range of spiritual, educational and charitable activities, ennobling the lives of thousands in India and outside its shores. The Mission is administered by Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai, headed by Swami Tejomayananda.
Following the teacher-taught tradition (guru-sisya parampara) since time immemorial, Chinmaya Mission makes available the ageless wisdom of Vedanta, the knowledge of the One Reality, and provides the tools to realize that wisdom in one's own life. To give maximum happiness to the maximum number for the maximum time is the tenet that drives members to uplift humanity beyond selfish and sectarian attitudes and activities. Each person's gain is manifold: personal growth, heightened efficiency, contentment, and living in peace and harmony.
The greatest boon given by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda to the younger generation is Balavihar. Balavihar provides a spiritual and cultural orientation to the children of the modern age. The rationale of the Balavihars as elucidated by Pujya Gurudev in the "March of the future" talk is summarized below:
What is the Balavihar?
In Balavihar, the rich cultural heritage of India, including its teachings on moral values, is taught to children and youth at different levels, using the medium of stories, drama, arts and crafts, and discussion. Children are also taught popular Bhajans and Shlokas. Chinmaya Mission centers have become models for teaching India"s rich spiritual heritage and the fundamentals of Vedanta to the next generation. The Balavihars are organized into grades which match the grade of the child in school. Each of the grades caters to the age group of the child. The grades range from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Balavihar - Program for Children
"In the autobiography of an individual, he moves from the lap of the mother into the ‘courtyard of his house’ and from there, onto the ‘playing field’. If at this juncture we can flood him with noble ideas that are expressed in the scriptures, inspire him with the moral and ethical values illustrated in the Puranas, he will grow up to be a healthy, strong, courageous, disciplined, self-confident, self-reliant individual". -- Swami ChinmayanandaThe Official Chinmaya Mission Website