Chinmaya Mission - Washington DC
Chinmaya Mission Washington Regional Center (CMWRC®) was established in the late 1980’s to serve communities in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, Maryland, and Virginia. It is an affiliated center under Chinmaya Mission West (CMW) and Central Chinmaya Mission Trust (CCMT‐India).
CMWRC® is registered as a non‐profit organization and is overseen by a Board of Trustees. The day‐to‐day operations are run by dedicated volunteers and managed by an Executive Committee.
Swami Dheerananda hails from Hyderabad, A.P., India. Responding to the call of the Master he underwent the Brahmachari Training Course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, Powai, Mumbai, India during the year 1984-1986 under the instruction of Swami Tejomayananda. With the Divine guidance of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda he underwent austere Tapas at Uttarakasi, Himalayas, the abode of Parama Pujya Swami Tapovan Maharaj, the Guru of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda. Swami Dheerananda is the last disciple directly initiated by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda into Sannyas on May 23, 1993. Swami Dheerananda served in Chinmaya Mission in India conducting Jnana Yajnas and then in the year 1989 Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda placed him as Resident Acharya in Chinmaya Mission Washington Regional Center. Since 1989 Swami Dheerananda has been serving United States and Canada. By the Divine Grace and Blessings of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Tejomayananda, Swami Dheerananda addressed the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in the year 1993 and was given a standing ovation by the distinguished audience. Today, Swamiji oversees and guides all the activities of CMWRC, and personally presides over 3 Bala Vihar sessions and Adult Gita Classes at Silver Spring chapter (Chinmayam), conducts Thursday Vedanta classes, and CMWRC Children Summer Camps in Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Vilasini Balakrishnan, of Chinmaya Mission Washington Regional Center (CMWRC), spent her teen years questing for the meaning of life, and found her answer in India during her Junior semester abroad as a comparative philosophy student. The greatest fortune of her life was meeting Swami Chinmayananda and beginning her Vedanta sadhana in 1975. She graduated from Tufts with a B.S in philosophy, and in 1978, she graduated from the Mission’s two-year Vedanta course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai.
Vilasiniji and her family organized Pujya Gurudev’s first Jnana Yajna and Study Group in Washington D.C. in 1978. Until 1981, Vilasiniji served Chinmaya Mission in Flint, Chicago, Boston, and Bay Area, where she taught Vedanta, Bala Vihar, and Study Groups.
From 1981 to 1984, Vilasiniji had the great blessing to serve as Pujya Gurudev’s secretary, traveling with Gurudev to all his yajnas, videotaping his talks, and performing secretarial duties.
In 1984, she was assigned as Editor of CMW’s (Chinmaya Mission West) Mananam series. In 1986, Vilasiniji and her husband Suresh moved back to Washington, DC. Both were founding members of CMWRC. Gurudev also placed Vilasiniji on CMW’s Board of Directors and later appointed her as CMW’s Executive Secretary.
Vilasiniji became a licensed professional counselor and practices family and marriage counseling, in addition to teaching Vedanta classes for adults and serving as CMWRC’s Regional Bala Vihar Director. She loves teaching meditation and also Yoga Nidra to adults as well as youth. Her Spiritual Parenting workshops are extremely popular.
People say of Vilasiniji, “She is always smiling, just as Gurudev tells us to Keep Smiling.” She brings a natural wisdom and compassion to her classes and loves sharing with people the Science of Happiness that is Vedanta.