H.H. Swami Chinmayanandaji
The life of Swami Chinmayanandaji was one of extraordinary spiritual strength, immeasurable love and tireless service. In less than half a century, he has left behind a worldwide organisation, hundreds of institutions, and millions of devotees. This was all aimed at a single theme, discovering the Eternal within. Swami Chinmayanandaji was born on May 8th, 1916 as Balakrishna Menon in Ernakulam, Kerala. His family was very devout in their religious life and had regular contact with holy men. This influence moulded mental and moral make-up of Balan, preparing him for the mission of his life ahead. Balan excelled with his education graduating in Science, Political Science, Law and English Literature at Lucknow University. A man of strong ideas and idealism, he entered the field of journalism where he felt he could influence political, economic and social reform in India. At this time he met Swami Sivanandaji at Rishikesh and became very interested in the spiritual path. Here he found the answers that he was seeking. Balakrishna Menon took monkhood from Swami Sivanandaji to become Swami Chinmayananda – the one who is saturated in Bliss and Consciousness. Swami Sivanandaji saw the potential in Swami Chinmayananda and sent him to study under the greatest Teacher in the Himalayas – Swami Tapovan Maharaj. Swami Chinmayananda studied for 12 years under the guidance of Swami Tapovanji Maharaj, leading a very austere and rigorous life. Then he felt a deep inner urge to share his knowledge and wisdom with the mass of humanity. He descended to the plains and held his first yagna in Pune to a small group of three people. This humble beginning rapidly expanded to more than 500 series of seven days lectures on Bhagwad Gita given to audiences numbering thousands. During his 40 years of traveling and teaching, Gurudev opened numerous centres worldwide, he also built many schools, hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. Reinvigorating rich Indian cultural heritage, Swami Chinmayanandaji made Vedanta accessible to everybody regardless of age, nationality, or religious background. On 3 August 1993, in San Diego, USA, Swami Chinmayanandaji attained Mahasamadhi. He worked tirelessly to the very last moment and created an international spiritual revolution.