The 9-day 2016 Christmas Non-Residential Family Camp at Chinmaya Sandeepany, conducted by Pujya Swami Bodhatmananda successfully concluded on Jan 1st, 2017. The camp started on December 24, 2016.
The camp included classes for adults, study group sessions for further reflection on the teachings, chanting, special exclusive sessions with Swamiji for our youth (ages 17-35) as well as planned activities for children below the age of 12. Children 13 and above attended Swamiji’s classes. And last but not least, all delegates were being treated daily to a sumptuous lunch and tea prepared by the CMSJ kitchen team.
Over 325 people gathered enthusiastically for the Christmas Camp at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in San Jose. Swami BodhatmanadaJi inaugurated the camp and gave powerful discourses to introduce the advanced text of Svetasvetara Upanishad. Attendees had a wonderful start with smooth registration process, beautiful weather, nice food, and comfortable facilities of Sandeepany ashram. What a fantastic way to spend the Christmas break – away from the busy bay area routine, in a spiritual environment, pondering over the subtle teachings of Vedanta with like minded people.
All pictures from Day 1 can be found here:
With the second day of the camp, the Upanishadic teachings got getting deeper. But with his infinite compassion, Swami BodhatmanandaJi in his lucid, captivating and humorous style broke down the highest teachings for attendees of all backgrounds and age groups. Here is our loving Swami Ji checking notes of some youngsters. Lot of people, young and adults alike, also got chocolates from Swami Ji today in celebration of Christmas.
More pictures from today (Dec 25th) can be found here:
The original Vedantic scriptures are authored in Samskritam. While we are extremely fortunate to receive this sacred knowledge in English from our Acharyas right here in bay area, it has also created a thirst among the students to study Samskritam to improve their understanding of scriptures. With Brahmachari YatindraJi’s engaging and humorous style, several Christmas camp attendees are getting a nice introduction to Samskritam and an assurance that everyone can learn Samskritam. Br. YatindraJi says – If someone like me who grew up in Chicago can learn Samskritam in merely 2 years, all of you can certainly get it.
What is the nature of God? How can the same God, the in-dweller of all, be subtler than the subtlest and at the same time bigger than the biggest? Swami BodhatmanadaJi expounded such deeper Upanishadic teachings and engaged the audience with his mastery over Vedanta, passion for spreading the Knowledge and his great sense of humor. In this picture, you can see that even the sun rays along with the shadows of the attendees were reaching out to the altar for receiving the sacred teachings.
Here are some pictures from Day 4:
Over 80 youngsters from high-school to 30 year age groups had a dedicated program during the Christmas camp at Sandeepany on the theme of – Maximizing your potential by tuning the equipment of Body, Mind and Intellect. With fun activities and engaging conversations led by Brahmachari YatindraJi, Aditi, Venkatesh Ji and Anoop, these young adults are discussing how they can be empowered by the spiritual teachings. Swami BodhatmanandaJi addressed all of them together pointing out the importance of bringing God into their day to day lives.
More pictures from Day 5 [Dec 29, 2016] are here:
Studying an Upanishad for so many hours each day and for so many days in a row is an immersive and unique experience for several of the attendees. However, they seem to be coping well with the studies and also feeling entirely at home at Sandeepany by now. The study group meetings, chanting sessions, Samskritam classes, bhajans, discussing spiritual doubts over tea breaks, walks with SwamiJi, etc, have turned into a wonderful daily routine for the attendees. You can clearly see the joy on their faces when they all rush to join Swami Ji for the walk after lunch.
Day 8 (Dec 31, 2016):
Over 450 people attended the VishnuSahasranam puja, relished the feast prepared by the able kitchen crew and enjoyed the fun Jeopardy game. It was a beautiful way to usher in the New Year at Chinmaya Sandeepany with our minds dwelling on the Upanishadic teachings brought forth by Swami Bodhatmanandaji over the last eight days during the camp on Svetasvatara Upanishad.Photos are here:
Day 9 ( Jan 1, 2017)
While the rest of the Bay Area was still asleep or recovering from the New Year’s eve celebrations, almost all the attendees of the Christmas Camp (over 300) had gathered quietly to listen to Swami BodhatmanandaJi’s discourse at Sandeepany on the morning of Jan 1, 2017. Close to 2 hours passed like one single poignant moment reveling in SwamiJi’s teachings. It was the concluding session of the Jnana Yagna on Svetasvatara Upanishad held over the past 9 days, which passed so beautifully and smoothly, without disturbance of any kind.
Pics from Day 9[Jan 1, 2017]
Other photos from the camp can be found at: