Vanaprastha (Senior Study Group)
The Chinmaya Vanaprastha Sansthan (CVS) is the senior citizens wing of Chinmaya Mission uniting people over sixty years of age. CVS encourages senior citizens to pursue the final spiritual goal of life and shows them the means to achieve it. It assists and trains householders and near-retirees (vanaprasthis) to make a smoother and easier transition from life in grihasta ashram to life in vanaprastha ashram.
The aim of CVS is to give a comprehensive vision to senior citizens and to make their life healthy, serene, comfortable, purposeful and happy. Its motto is:
Graceful Aging through Spiritual Living
Chinmaya Mission’s services for senior citizens are innovative, practical and unique. They help society’s elders find a harmonious balance between action and inaction, a remarkable strength in retirement, comfort and security within a like-minded community and the beauty and wisdom of spiritual evolution.
Scheme & Courses
“You need not go to the forests to become a vanaprastha. You can start the life of a vanaprastha immediately, while living in your own house.”
– Swami Chinmayananda
The scheme of CVS is comprehensive and particularly answers the following questions faced by retirees:
* How to prevent old-age diseases?
* How to keep the body, mind, and intellect healthy, fit and alert?
* What to do after retirement to fill the social vacuum?
* Where to live? Should one live with children or separately?
* How to have good relations with children their spouses, neighbours and so forth?
* How to maintain a reasonable standard of living with limited finances and income after retirement?
* How to achieve the spiritual goal?
“In vanaprastha ashrama, 75% of one’s time is to be devoted to sadhana and 25% to worldly interactions.”
– Swami Tejomayananda
To request a training class or camp for a group in your area, contact:
‘Art of Graceful Aging’ Course
“Graceful aging doesn’t happen in a few days, weeks, or months. It is a long process, but if followed, its rewards are great indeed…Grace comes only when we start living a beautiful, spiritual life. Otherwise, the days merely come and go. Conscious living, in remembrance of the Lord, is how we must make our lives meaningful, joyful, and a blessing to ourselves and others. This is called graceful aging.”
– Swami Tejomayananda
CVS’s ‘Art of Graceful Aging’ Course is for persons over 50 years who are interested in planning for their eventual retirement and their life’s activities thereafter. The preparatory course is for four days and the full basic course is for ten days. The course is typically conducted by two senior gerontologists and a Chinmaya Mission Acharya, for whom the local organizers provide transportation, lodging and board. Talks, demonstrations, and workshops are offered on the following topics:
How to prevent and cure old-age ailments and diseases, how to maintain vibrant health, specific yoga techniques.
How to prevent and cure psychological problems, analysis of the mind and its workings, integration techniques.
The vision and approach to retirement, how to plan in advance for retirement and constructive social activities during retirement.
Financial planning for retirement, investment strategies, part-time jobs, wills and testaments, the holistic vision of minimalism and how to reduce one’s dependence on money.
This includes Vedantic study of texts such as Sadhana Panchakam, Dhanyashtakam and Bhaja Govindam, guided meditation and spiritual sadhana.
In addition to the above topics, one hour is reserved for interactive sessions. Participants are divided into several groups for brainstorming sessions. They are given topics covering major problems faced by the elderly for discussions and getting suggestions for solving them. Topics include managing relations with children and their spouses; cultivating good relations between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law; and providing a good value system to grandchildren.
‘Keeping Fit: The Yoga Technique’ Course
‘Keeping Fit’ is a course, which is both preventive and curative. It helps to strengthen both, the gross and subtle body, through exercises. Almost all important pranayamas, bandhas, and mudras are incorporated in the yoga techniques taught. Concentration of the mind is achieved through the rhythmic performance of prescribed exercises, all of which are patterned after renowned yoga techniques. The exercises revitalise muscles, strengthen bones, and positively affect involuntary organs as well as the digestive and neurological systems. While this course promotes the prevention and cure of various old-age illnesses, more importantly, it imparts holistic health, increased energy and well being.