Chinmaya Mission Houston (CMH) began with four families in 1982 and has grown into a premier Hindu organization in the Houston area. From its humble beginnings in the living room of our present acaryas, Gaurang and Darshana Nanavaty, CMH expanded exponentially and is currently housed on an 18-acre tract of land in southwest Houston. The expansion, from living room to land, began with acquisition of a seven-acre lot that included a satsanga hall and hosted Bala Vihar classes.
The center was inaugurated by Pujya Gurudeva Swami Chinmayananda, who blessed it as “Chinmaya Prabha."
The spring of Vedantika knowledge initiated by our acaryas has rapidly expanded into a large river that today, nurtures over 900 families in this corner of Texas. The campus currently has a large satsanga hall, Chinmaya Smrti, and an adjoining Bala Vihar building, Amrta Balamandira, that houses over 17 classrooms. The facility also includes a library, bookstore, kitchen, and dining area.
Chinmaya Mission’s first free-standing Siva Temple in North America: Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya occupies a prominent place on the Chinmaya Prabha campus. The temple was inaugurated by Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda in December 2007. The 4,000 sq. ft. house of worship has become an integral part of CMH’s existing 43,000 sq. ft. facility. By adding this landmark to our campus, we have fulfilled Pujya Gurudeva’s grand vision for CMH.
CMH's founders and acaryas are Sri Gaurang and Smt. Darshana Nanavaty.
CMH strongly believes that spirituality is a family activity. Special care is taken to conduct spiritual and cultural programs that interest all members of the family.
- Adult Satsanga
From time immemorial, Vedanta has postulated that in the path of spiritual unfoldment, a seeker’s quest for the ultimate Truth is only made possible by the aid and blessing of a qualified teacher.
Every Sunday morning, adult classes are conducted at “Chinmaya Smrti" by both acharyas, who stress the importance of total family commitment in the process of spiritual evolution. Toward achieving this goal, the Sunday class starts with the entire family participating in the Vaidika arati and recitation of the Chinmaya Pledge. The children are then led to their respective Bala Vihar classes by their teachers and student aides. Because of a steadily growing membership, two sessions are conducted each Sunday.
The 90-minute adult class consists of discourses on a wide array of topics culled from the Upanisadas, Bhagavad Gita, and the works of Adi Sankaracharya and Sri Ramana Maharsi.
- Adult Study Group
For true understanding of the subjective science of Vedanta and inner growth on the spiritual quest, sravanam (listening) should be followed by mananam (reflection) and nididhyasanam (meditation). Chinmaya Study Groups are thus conducted for those who want to dwell into deeper realms of their own Self through intensive scriptural studies.
Acarya Gaurang Nanavaty conducts four such study groups that include Ramacarita Manasa on Tuesday evenings, Vivekacudamani on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Mandukya Upanisad classes on Saturday mornings.
- Adult Devi Group
CM Devi groups are special study groups for women. The goal of these groups is the study of Vedanta with emphasis on women and their family perspectives. Currently, Acarya Darshana Nanavaty conducts a weekly devi group on Tuesday mornings at CMH.
- Other Classes for Adults
To support and complement scriptural study and understanding, CMH offers additional classes on Gita chanting, bhajanas, and yoga.
- Bala Vihar
Chinmaya Bala Vihar classes are held concurrently with the adult satsanga. A fully trained team of teachers, with the help of high school youth, teach CM’s systematic and structured curriculum (similar to academic schools) for Grades Pre-KG through Grade 12. Each class has an adult teacher who is assisted by a teenage student aide. The younger children look up to the teenagers as role models and easily relate to them.
- Other Classes for Children
To enhance children’s interests in various dimensions, CMH offers classes for bhajana, Slokathon (Samskrta chanting), music (orchestra), and Indian regional languages (Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, etc.).
CMH has become a beacon for Hindu spiritual studies and has nurtured India’s cultural heritage in the Houston area. The center provides a much needed religious foundation for children born and raised outside of India. With the addition of its Siva temple, “Chinmaya Prabha" is an ashram that continues to carry forward Pujya Gurudeva’s Mission, vision, and teachings to future generations and provides a serene and peaceful atmosphere for devotees in their worship.