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Chinmaya Mission Twin Cities
To give maximum happiness to maximum number for the maximum time.
- Chinmaya Mission motto
“People think that Hinduism is a polytheistic religion, but it’s not; it’s a monotheistic religion,” says Ishani Jhanjee, board member of the Chinmaya Mission Twin Cities organization, “because it is all about finding the ultimate self.” Among Chinmaya’s members, finding inner happiness within the self is a continuous journey and, along the way, the Chinmaya Mission builds a feeling of kinship and belonging to a South Asian Hindu identity through classes, rituals, and sacred texts.
Jhanjee’s family is one of the approximately 150 living in the Twin Cities Metro area who send their children to the Mission’s Bala Vihar every weekend. In an informal classroom setting staffed by volunteer parents, children learn Chinmaya’s Advaita Vedanta-based philosophy, which interprets the Vedas, Upanishads, and the epics through a belief in the unity of the self and the supreme reality of the cosmos. While learning about Hinduism draws families of South Asian descent to become members and volunteers of the organization, it is the extended feeling of kinship ties that draws numerous families to the Chinmaya Mission centers in both the suburban edges of Chaska, and the urban center of West St. Paul.