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Gurus & Saints of India

Chinmayananda

Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda (May 8, 1916 - Aug 3, 1993) was born Balakrishna Menon (Balan) in Ernakulam, Kerala in a devout Hindu noble family called "Poothampalli". Graduating from Lucknow University, he entered the field of journalism where he felt he could influence political, economic and social reform in India. But his life was changed when he met Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh and became interested in the Hindu spiritual path.

Balakrishna Menon took sanyas(monkhood) from Swami Sivananda and was given the name Swami Chinmayananda - the one who is saturated in Bliss and pure Consciousness. Swami Shivananda saw further potential in Swami Chinmayananda and sent him to study under a guru in the Himalayas - Swami Tapovan Maharaj under whom he studied for 8 years. Swami Tapovan maharaj was known for his rigid teaching style, to the point where he told Swami Chinmayananda that he would only say everything once, and at anytime he would ask questions to him. Even with these extreme terms, Swami Chinmayananda stayed with Tapovan maharaj until the very end of 8 years. Being a journalist at heart, Swami Chinmayananda wanted to make this pure knowledge available to all people of all backgrounds, even though Tapovan Maharaj had advised against it. It was then that with Tapovan maharaj's blessings, he left the Himalayas to teach the world the knowledge of Vedanta throughout the world.

During his forty years of travelling and teaching, Swami Chinmayananda opened numerous centres and ashrams worldwide, he also built many schools, hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. His interest in helping the villagers with basic necessities lead to the eventual creation of a rural development project, known as the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development or CORD. It's Naitonal Director, Dr. Kshama Metre was recently awarded the Padma Shree National award in Social Work.
Swami Chinmayananda passed away on 3 August 1993 in San Diego, California. His followers regard him as having attained Mahasamadhi at that point. His work has resulted in the creation of an international organization called Chinmaya Mission. This mission serves Swami Chinmayananda's vision of reinvigorating India's rich cultural heritage, and making Vedanta accessible to everybody regardless of age, nationality, or religious background.

       

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