Prior to the advent of CM Los Angeles (CMLA) Kashi ashram, CM Bala Vihars, Study Groups, and other programs were conducted in different areas of Southern California, from 1982 onward.
Jnana Yajnas were conducted as and when acharyas from other CM centers visited Los Angeles, such as Pujya Swami Purushottamananda, Pujya Swamini Saradapriyananda, Brahmacharini Arpita, and Brahmachari Raghavan (now Swami Shantananda). The latter two also served as CMLA’s acharyas for some time.
Study Groups were being conducted in different homes, and festivals were celebrated in rented facilities. For two years, CMLA’s working committee researched and searched land and/or building acquisition options.
Finally, at a spiritual camp in San Diego, Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda emphasized the need to acquire some land and start a CM center. It was then that the hand of the Master moved and we found the venue for our center.
The initial property was half an acre of land, surrounded by tall, shady trees with dark green leaves. Gurudev named the ashram Kashi. In the heart of Anaheim’s bustling community, a mile or so from Disneyland, a children’s playground, arose Kashi, the spiritual playground for Lord Kashi Vishwanath’s children, for Pujya Gurudev’s children.
In late 1995, a dynamic Brahmachari Someshwar Chaitanya (now Swami Ishwarananda), came to CMLA as its new resident acharya. He conducted classes on Bhagavad-Gita and other Vedanta texts.
All the Bala Vihars that existed in different areas within a 20-mile radius united at Kashi and a full-fledged center of activity was born. Kashi soon became the venue for CMLA’s jnana yajnas, daily and weekend Vedanta classes and discourses, weekly pujas, and festival celebrations.
CHINMAYA KASHI, 1996
Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda inaugurated Kashi in January 1996. The facility consisted of a temple/satsanga hall, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Kashi Vishvanath. There were three Bala Vihar rooms, a small office, acharya’s quarters, a small kitchen, and a bookstall.
In March 2000, during the Mahashivaratri function, Br. Someshwarji was initiated as Swami Ishwarananda. Swami Ishwarananda served as CMLA's acharya until October 2001, after which he went to Mumbai, India to conduct the two-year Brahmachari Vedanta Course. CMLA was administered by its Board members and dedicated devotees, who catered to the main ashram and nine satellite centers, including Bakersfield. In Feb. 2002, when Guruji appointed Brahmacharini Vibhuti Chaitanya as CMLA’s new acharya. She was acharya until May 2003, after which CMLA’s Board and sevaks held the fort until May 2004.
In May 2004, Brahmachari Girish Chaitanya was posted as CMLA’s acharya and the center soon began rapidly expanding its scope of activities. Soon, Swami Ishwarananda was also posted to CMLA to help start a new center. Thus came the birth of “Chinmaya Mithila”, which is also known in the CMW family as “CM Tustin”.
CHINMAYA MITHILA, 2005
On June 11, 2005, Guruji and the Mayor of Tustin, CA, inaugurated “Chinmaya Mithila”. CM LA’s new Tustin center was built using the framework of the existing church on the 0.45-acre plot.
Chinmaya Mithila stands today as a 7,000 sq. ft. facility with a central shrine/satsanga hall that can accommodate 250 people. There are 9 large rooms that are used for the Bala Vihar and youth education. It has ample parking, a bookstall, an office, acharya’s quarters, storage areas, and a small kitchen/dining area.
Both Kashi and Mithila, along with the local satellites in Diamond Bar, San Gabriel, Northridge, Agoura Hills, and Palos Verde did very well with CM classes and activities. The acharyas visit the satellites at least once a month.
CMLA’s annual schedule of festival celebrations includes Sudarshana Homa, Mahashivaratri, Holi, Rama Navami, Chinmaya Jayanti, Guru Purnima, Chinmaya Mahasamadhi, Janmashtami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Navaratri, Dipavali, and Gita/Tapovan Jayanti. Other actvities include language classes, Gita Chanting Competitions, music and dance classes, and the Chinmaya Shruti and Swaranjali choirs.
In the summer of 2008, Brahmachari Girish Chaitanya was posted as acharya of CM Austin. At the same time, Acharya Mahadev Parameswaran was blessed by Pujya Guruji to serve at CM Los Angeles, where he continues to conduct regular Vedanta and Bhagavad Gita classes to date.
Assembly - Seats 350 (Theater style), Dining (2 levels) - 350, Large stage equipped with professional audio system & lighting
CHINMAYA RAMESHWARAM, 2010
CM Los Angeles purchased a new, 28,000 sq.ft. facility, thus combining the membership of its two centers in Anaheim and Tustin.
The new property has ample parking and is only ten minutes away from the previous Mithila (Tustin) center. The two previous centers will be sold.
On January 17, 2010, the murtis in both the Kashi and Mithila ashrams were ceremoniously moved and installed in Chinmaya Rameshwaram.
After adding second level dining facility in 2014, the building size has been increased to 30,000 sq.ft.
1982-1984: First Balafest Competition for Bala Vihars of Southern California
Summer 1985/1988: Pujya Gurudev’s Camp, Pomona College (with all BVs of Southern California)
Nov. 1992: Pujya Gurudev’s LA University Tour; Fundraiser Concert
Jul. 27-Aug. 2, 1993: Pujya Gurudev’s Camp, Guruji handles with Swami Shantanandaji
Aug. 1994: Pujya Guruji’s ‘Bhagavat Saptah’
Nov. 1994: Swamini Saradapriyananda’s Yajna on ‘Vajrasuchi Upanishad/Gita Ch.4’
Nov. 1995: San Antonio Lake Camp with new acharya, Br. Someshwar Chaitanya
Mar. 1996: “Kashi” Inauguration with First Annual Mahashivaratri Rudra Homa, Abhishekam, Laksharchana
Apr. 1996: First Annual Rama Navami
Dec. 1997: Pujya Guruji’s Camp at Palm Springs
May 1998: Acquisition of Kashi Annex
Apr. 1999: BV Annual Day
Mar 2000: Br. Someshwar Chaitanya returns as Swami Ishwarananda after Sanyas Deeksha
Jul. 2000: Pujya Guruji’s Camp at Palm Springs
May 6, 2001: Grand Mela for 5-yr anniversary of Kashi
June 2001: Inauguration of Dhyana Mandir (Kashi Annex) by Pujya Guruji
Sep. 30-Oct. 5, 2001: Sampurna Gita Jnana Yajna by Br. Someshwar Chaitanya
Jun. 28-Jul. 3, 2004: Pujya Guruji’s Yajna on ‘Kapil Gita/Dhyanasvarupam’
Jul - Aug, 2004: First Kailash - Manasarovar Yatra by CMLA, led by Swami Ishwarananda
Jun. 2005: “Chinmaya Mithila” Inauguration; New CM Tustin Center
Sep. 2005: Swami Ishwarananda’s monthly week-long intensive Vedanta Classes start
Feb. 2006: Mahashivaratri Rudra Yajna: 10th Anniversary of “Kashi”
Oct.-Nov. 2006: Charity Golf Tournament and First Sevanjali - Concert Fundraiser
Jan 2007 - Bhagavad-Gita Monthly lectures by Swami Ishwarananda begins
Mar 2007 - Chinmaya Channel - webcast service begins
Nov 2007 - Second Sevanjali - 'Anup Jalota' Concert Fundraiser
Aug 2008 - Mahadevanji is assigned as additional Acharya of CMLA
Nov 2008 - Third Sevanjali - 'Shubha Mudgal' Concert Fundraiser
Nov 2009 - Fourth Sevanjali - 'Magic Maya' - magic show Fundraiser
Jan. 2010: New “Chinmaya Rameshwaram” ashram acquired - Deities re-insalled
Jun 2010 - Swami Ishwarananda completes 3 year sessions on Bhagavad-Gita lectures
Jul-Aug 2010 - 'Ramayana Soundaryam' - 17th Chinmaya Mahasamadhi Family Camp at Burbank Marriot
Nov 2010 - Br. Uddhav Chaitanya's Yagna in Rameshwaram
Dec 2010 - Br. Girish Chaitanya's Yagna in Rameshwaram
Jan 2011 - First anniversary of Rameshwaram
Feb 2011 - Swami Shantanandaji's Yagna in Rameshwaram
Mar 2011 - Swami Prakashanandaji's Yagna in Rameshwaram
Nov 2011 - Fifth Sevanjali - 'Ventriloquism' - Fundraiser
Nov 2011 - Asian Cultural Yatra with Swami Ishwarananda & Acharya mahadevanji
Jan 2012 - Second Anniversary of Rameshwaram
June 2012 - 'Kalanjali' the cultural wing of CMLA - First event 'Odissi Dance'
Aug 2012 - Renovation of Temple and dedication to Gurudev's birth centenary celebration
Oct 2012 - East to West Yatra with Swami Ishwarananda & Acharya Mahadevanji
Dec 2012 - Sixth Sevanjali - 'Comedy Hypnotist' - Fundraiser
Jan 2013 - Third Anniversary of Rameshwaram
April 2013 - Multi cultural presentation for New Year
July 2013 - Second Kailas-Manasarovar Yatra with Swami Ishwarananda & Acharya Mahadevanji
Sep 2013 - Renovation of Performance Stage
Oct 2013 - Sanskrit Learning Camp with Swami Ramakrishnanandaji
Oct 2013 - Swamini Ganganandaji's Yagna in Rameshwaram
Nov 2013 - Seventh Sevanjali - Desha Bhakti Devi Bhakti - Fundraiser
Dec 2013 - Srilanka Yatra with Swami Ishwarananda & Acharya Mahadevanji
Jan 2014 - Fourth Anniversary of Rameshwaram
June 2014 - Renovation of Dining Hall and addition of upper-level dining facility
Nov 2014 - Eighth Sevanjali - Yuva Tunes - Fundraiser
Dec 2014 - Vietnam & Laos Yatra with Swami Ishwarananda & Acharya Mahadevanji
Jan 2015 - Fifth Anniversary of Rameshwaram
May 2015 - Renovation of conference hall - Chinmaya Smriti
June 2015 - Geeta Gyana Yagna by Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda
June 2015 - Release of commentary on 'Guru Stotram' authored by Swami Ishwarananda
Sep 2015 - Sanskrit Learning Camp with Swami Ramakrishnanandaji
Nov 2015 - Ninth Sevanjali - Shruti Layam by Dr. K.J. Yesudas - Fundraiser
Dec 2015 - Shatjyotirlinga Yatra with Swami Ishwarananda & Acharya Mahadevanji
Dec 2015 - Ramayana Gyana Yagna with Acharya Arun Gosai
Jan 2016 - Sixth Anniversary of Rameshwaram
Feb 2016 - Chinmaya Jyoti Yatra - a month long celebration of Chinmaya Birth Centenary
May 2016 - Release of the 11th book in Chinmaya Birth Centenary Mananam series, authored by Swami Ishwarananda & Nimmi Raghunathan
Jul 2016 - Third Kailas-Manasarovar Yatra led by Swami Ishwarananda
Aug 2016 - Renovation of Rameshwaram 1st level facility : Lobby, Kitchen, Bhiksha Room, Restrooms and Bookshop.
Bala Vihar enrollment is over 1200 children, including satellite centers.
Study Groups: Three groups are conducted weekly or monthly in satellite regions. Daily Vedanta talks by the acharya, sevaks, or Pujya Gurudev on video are offered throughout the year.