Gratitude Sunday: Chaitanya

I am oh so grateful for my daughter Chaitanya.  She was born on September 14, 1977 so today is her 37th birthday!  I feel so blessed to have her in my life.

 

Chaitanya has always lived life fully, whether it be playing with her friends, participating in drill team, running track or doing the many other activities she enjoyed during her childhood and teenage years.

 

She and her brother Sreejit have a very special relationship.  The pictures below give just a tiny glimpse into their life together!

 

Chaitanya went to India for the first time in 1993.  She felt so at home in that country, especially at Amma’s ashram.  Over the next few years, she visited the ashram several times.  On her 21st birthday she decided to move to India on a permanent basis, choosing to dedicate her life to supporting Amma’s humanitarian work.  For many years, she has overseen the work at the cafe and canteen that serves Western food to ashram residents and visitors.

Chaitanya and her husband Akshay met at the ashram and have been together since she turned 28.  They have so much in common and are blessed to have each other.

 

Her dad and I, of course, also have many memories of special times with her.

 

When she was a young adolescent, Chaitanya loved watching old Broadway musicals, especially if Gene Kelly was involved. Over the years, she created numerous short plays of her own.  Since 2009, however, she has written and directed hour-long musicals every year.  The plays are performed on Christmas eve in Amritapuri.  I recently wrote a post about one of them.

Play Practice photo (Sreejit on left, Chaitanya on right)

 

Below you will find the mp3 and lyrics for two of my favorite play songs; the first is from God is Able and the second is from A Guiding Light.

One segment of God is Able is about Rachel, the woman who was healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment.  Rachel had been sick from childhood.  The first words on the recording are from the mother, responding to Rachel’s concern that she (Rachel) is such a burden.  Rachel then responds to her mother’s comments by singing this beautiful tune.  I still cry when I hear it, especially if I’m also watching the play DVD.

Rachel and mom

Mama you’ve given your whole existence
To serving this child plagued with illness
You look exhausted, your face full of strain
It’s I who should be easing all of your pain.

If I had strength in this body of mine
I’d cook and I’d clean till the walls began to shine
I’d put your feet up, tea in your hand
Let you enjoy the life God has given

This may be a fantasy, an impractical dream
I just long to return the love you’ve shown to me
I’ve known there’s no cure a doctor can give
Only a higher power can change what’s been destined.

I pray to you dear God, if it’s your will from above
Give me the strength to overcome.
There’s nothing I want more than to ease her weary soul
To serve her is all I’m asking for.

*****

One part of A Guiding Light is about the three wise men who traveled to Judea to honor Jesus at the time of his birth.  This song takes place at the beginning of that journey. (I recorded this song from the play DVD, using the voice recorder on my phone, so the sound certainly isn’t ideal, but it works!)

Wise men on camels

Wise men together:
High in the sky a star shines bright

Through unfamiliar paths it will be my guiding light
A journey I will make to a far off land
That I may greet God in the form of man

Wise man 1:
I shall bring to him this gift of gold

Treasure that never fades nor grows old
Gold represents his earthly kingship
In Righteousness he’ll rule, with love and virtue

Wise man 2:
I shall bring to him sweet Frankincense
These simple sticks hold great significance
They symbolize his priestly role in life
A burning offering of love and sacrifice

Wise man 3:
I will take this bottle of embalming oil
Though his body’s born, his soul is immortal
He is beyond both Birth and Death
Yet if he resides on earth life is surely blessed

Wise men together:
Yet if he resides on earth life is surely blessed

 

I am20130722_092640 so proud of you Chaitanya.  You have grown into a remarkable, adult woman whose strength, talent and wisdom I admire greatly.  Happy Birthday!

Love, Mom

 

 

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21 thoughts on “Gratitude Sunday: Chaitanya

  1. Happy birthday Chai! Can I say it here since she doesn’t like public recognition of the day that marks one more year closer to the grave without yet reaching the ultimate state of union with God? OK well, anyways, lots of love on your special day!

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    1. I’m glad that you were able to meet them in this way. You were the inspiration actually….. first because you introduced me to Gratitude Sunday and second because of the posts you have written about your wonderful family!

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  2. Karuna, it is so touching I am in tears…Your daughter is universally loved…

    Happy Birthday Chaitanya!!!!

    I too have many many sweet memories…Sharing will be for her fortieth…

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  3. Happy birthday Chai! ….I loved reading this tribute to you and of course seeing Sreejit in these “cute and funny” poses as well..Thanks for being in our lives ..Love Achyut

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  4. Great post! I think you know I’m a big fan of your kids and they have great examples and genes behind their special energy. I saw the post because a mutual friend shared it Facebook – I’m so glad!

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    1. I’ve been hearing from other devotees too so wondered how they found out about the post! I’m glad you got a chance to see it……

      And yes I do know you are a fan of my kids! Thanks for your kind words.

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    1. I thought you would enjoy it! There was a birthday one for Sreejit too. You may have seen it since I think that is one of the “related” posts that came up on Chaitanya’s. Yes, they are true blessings.

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