A view of the new Centre (Photo Supplied)
The late Swami Chinmayananda, an internationally renowned Spiritual Master Leader and Master of Vedic philosophy, would have been proud to be in Auckland at 5 pm on July 31, 2021 to witness the inauguration of ‘Chinmaya Nikunj,’ a new facility with modern amenities.
He would also been pleased to attend the morning prayers to mark the inauguration.
The new Centre has been designed as a Spiritual Garden (Nikunj) for experiencing wellbeing at all levels – mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual.
Location and facilities
Located at 63, McKenzie Road in the South Auckland suburb of Mangere, this Wellbeing and Event Centre, built at an estimated cost of $4.6 million, incorporates a Community Hall with a capacity to accommodate 240 people, four studio rooms (one large for 50 people and three small for 25 each), a Meeting and Reading Room, Bookshop and a commercial kitchen.
While the kitchen is fitted with all modern essentials, the Centre will allow only vegetarian food and non-alcoholic drinks within the complex.
Swami Swaroopananda (Photo Supplied)
Visitor carpark at the Centre has provision for 50 cars, with facility for another 100 vehicles under a special arrangement with the neighbouring property owner.
Situated at the heart of Mangere Bridge near the famous Te Pane O Mataoho (Te Ara Pueru) or Mangere Mountain, the Centre forms a part of 5550sq metres of land acquired by Chinmaya Mission Auckland and included the Wellbeing Centre (1150 sq metres), Residential Building (500 sq metres), Driveway, carparks, footpaths (2250 sq metres) and land for future development (1650 sq metres).
President of Chinmaya Mission New Zealand President Kishan Raj said that the facilities will be the first of its kind as it caters to the lifestyle and convenience of the communities.
“We are very excited about the new wellbeing centre and welcome all New Zealanders to truly experience happiness in a serene and calm environment. It is a great venue for use by the community. We have listened to and involved all stakeholders throughout the process of development and construction. The Wellbeing Centre provides facilities for meditation, Yoga, social & community events, quiet reflection, study and more,” he said.
Costs and funding
The Centre has been funded by its members and community donors but when the Project was stuck for want of $2.65 million, commercial banks shied away. It was at this juncture that a Chinmaya devotee in Hong Kong agreed to provide bridge finance of the amount without any security.
And then typically, one of the large banks in New Zealand agreed to provide a loan of $2.75 million, enabling the Mission to repay the Hong Kong financier.
The trustees hope to repay the loan in a few years, with regular contributions from members, organisers of events and other sources.
Land cost: $640,000.00
Resource & Building Consents $395,000.00
Total Cost $4,605,000.00
The Funding Process:
Members and Community donations $1,460,000.00
Grants from Foundations and Trusts $ 395,000.00
Bank Loan $2,750,000.00
About Chinmaya Mission Auckland
The Centre is run by Swamini Amritananda with the support of a Board of Trustees, an Executive Committee and volunteers.
Mr Raj said that the Chinmaya team has become an important part of the community and its members are well known for their contribution to wellbeing of the community.
“There is a strong emphasis on programmes involving children and youth with the aim of giving them the right values of life and making them positive contributors to the community. The hall and rooms are open for hiring by the community for staging social and cultural events. People who hire the place will find it uniquely spiritual and appealing to their aesthetic sensibilities. The Centre is easily accessible as it is near the motorway and a bus route in Mangere and will cater to the community across Auckland,” he said.
Swamini Amritananda (Picture Supplied)
Chinmaya Mission New Zealand
Chinmaya Mission New Zealand has been serving communities for more than 20 years in Nelson, Auckland, Wellington and Wanganui. The service offerings are rooted in an inclusive philosophy that extends the vision of Oneness for the wellbeing of everyone. Swamini Amritananda is the Spiritual Teacher of Chinmaya Mission New Zealand and has been with the Mission for nearly 40 years. A qualified Yoga teacher, she conducts regular Yoga classes, meditation sessions & study groups for adults and children.
About Chinmaya Mission Worldwide
Chinmaya Mission was established in India in 1953 by devotees of the world-renowned Vedanta teacher Swami Chinmayananda. Guided by his vision, they formed the nucleus of a spiritual renaissance movement that now encompasses a wide range of spiritual, educational and charitable activities.
Swami Swaroopananda is the current Global Head of the worldwide Mission. Under his guidance and inspiration, the Mission has continued to grow across the globe and today it functions at more than 300 centres in 45 countries.
Kishan Raj (Picture Supplied)
His profound insights in personal, spiritual and corporate life, coupled with his humane, down-to-earth approach, make him an irresistible force to all listeners.
He will address the audience online since border closures have prohibited his journey.
One of the greatest attributes of the Late Swami Chinmayananda (who this Reporter has known since 1960s and met several times during his visits to the Arab Gulf) was his ability to bring together the old and young in family spirit and perform community work.
“Love is a consistent passion to give, not a meek, persistent hope to receive. The only demand of life is the privilege to love all,” he used to say.
The Grand Master who brought together millions of people of varied faiths and disposition passed away 28 years ago (August 3, 1993) in San Diego, California but his teachings and the Missions located across the Continents will continue to illuminate with knowledge and people who congregate to hear and do good.
The opening of the new Centre, just days before his 28th Anniversary would be a fitting tribute to the Spiritual Leader.
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