In the Chinmaya Mission, 'Balvihar' means two things. Place of fun and learning.
Balvihar is a weekly class for children between the age group of 5-12. Children of a particular residential area gather at the house of a devotee or outside venue. The sevak (whom they usually call 'didi' / 'bhaiya') is either a trained missionary or a volunteer. The only qualification is that he/she should have an inherent love and understanding of children, with a wish to do something for their all-time good. The sevak introduces the children to the basics of our culture and sows seeds of good thoughts and good actions in them. With the help of 'My Prayers' (a book published by the Chinmaya Mission), the children chant slokas and sing bhajans. The sevak narrates stories and interesting incidents that give a message and guides them through games, which re-emphasises the values taught in stories.
The children are encouraged to share their creative ideas and ask deep and meaningful questions about the text studied. They also have the opportunity to tell jokes, riddles, colour pictures and crack puzzles. In conclusion to the classes the mission pledge and prayers are recited. Thereafter the aarati is performed. Each child is asked to bring a fruit as an offering to the lord (obviously you can bring other offering as sweets, candies, cookies etc) which at the end of the class is shared by all as prasad.
Periodically, Balvihar classes conduct Geeta chanting, colouring, story-telling, fancy dress and many other competitions. Visiting the ashram and temples, participating in the summer-camps, debates, picnics, sports day, attending festivals, performing dramas, dances etc are some of the interesting activities that children love to get involved in. Meetings (Satsangs) with Guruji Swami Tejomayanandaji (Head of the Mission), Swami Swaroopanandaji, Brahmacharini Sujataji and Brahmachari Gopalji are all what Balvihar kids look forward to.
All this leads to children forming positive and pure impressions in their minds. This is important because it is not enough that, they are good students or good sportsmen, they ought to be good human beings as well. That means more happiness to themselves and people around them.
"Balvihar" is also the title of the children's international magazine, published by Chinmaya Mission. It is into its 35th year of publication. On paper, we try to make life joyful, meaningful and fun-fulfilled for kids. Children are welcome to submit articles for this magazine .
We look forward to giving you the best time of your life, while you are with us.