Searching for Happiness

Kitchen of Chinmaya Mission

Ishani Jhanjee carrying a conversation with fellow Chinmaya members at the Chaska center’s kitchen
Photo Credit: Fadi Hakim

Religiosity is the hallmark of the Chinmaya Mission, and such expressions of faith do not only include texts and rituals, but also methods of cultural belonging and ways of imagining ties to the family and the homeland. Vivekji, who is now an acharya at a Chinmaya Mission in Canada, remarked that, before his training as a teacher,

“I pursued all that any young Canadian would: higher education, traveling, fancy possessions. Like everyone else, I followed these pursuits for the sake of happiness. And like everyone else, happiness eluded me- time and time again. This was an intensely tiring period of my life.”

By using different rituals and teachings to explore the self manifested as others, the Chinmaya Mission of the Twin Cities brings together families and offers them the feelings of kinship and belonging in the diaspora. Ishani Jhanjee explains this in the following way:

Poster by Bala Vihar students

A poster by the Bala Vihar students about wealth as God’s gifts, Chaska
Photo Credit: Fadi Hakim

 

"Everybody feels the need to belong somewhere, everybody is looking for the real goal in life. At some point they realize that all the college degrees they have pursued, all the jobs they have pursued… doesn’t really make them happy, and that doesn’t teach them how to be parents or good role models either. They have all faced situations when they don’t know what to do… and the Mission gives us a manual of living.”

Experiences of displacement and mobility are common among diasporic communities, and the Chinmaya Missions offer an opportunity for families to establish cultural and spiritual roots in their new home.