Prostrations to the holy lotus feet of Pujya Swami Chinmayananda Saraswathi.
Swami Chinmayananda was one of the greatest preachers of spiritual knowledge in recent times. He is the founder of the institute of international repute called Chinmaya Mission, which is performing wonderful service in inculcating spiritual, cultural and social values into children and adults alike all over the world.
Swami Chinmayananda was born on May 8th, 1916 as Balakrishnan Menon. He was given the name of Balakrishna by none other than revered Chattambi Swamigal, a great master yogi of those times. Association with saints is infallible in its impact, as seen from the life of Swami Chinmayananda himself who had the love and affection of Chattambi Swamigal often during his childhood.
Balakrishnan was very attractive as a boy and was very active in sports at school. He would sit for prayer with his family where he was attracted to the image of Sri Chandrakaladhara (Lord Shiva) and inadvertently started practicing upasana of concentrating on His form. However he did not see any logic behind the rituals and traditional forms of worshipping practiced at home. Even as a youth he would stay away from religion and was even an atheist. He however continued the habit of mentally visualizing the form of Lord Chandrakaladhara and repeating Om Namah Shivaya before going to bed every night.
In course of time he graduated from Lucknow University in Arts and joined the Indian freedom struggle. He was even arrested and sent to jail. After coming out of jail he entered into journalism and worked for a publication in Delhi.
He always wondered why saints who cared about mankind chose to stay away from people and did not enter mainstream life. To get his doubts answered, in 1947 he went to Rishikesh to the Ashram of Swami Sivananda. His interaction with Swami Sivananda changed him. He extended his supposed stay of two days into three months and eventually started living at Ananda Kutir (Swami Sivananda’s ashram). In 1949 he was initiated in the order of Sannyasa by Swamiji and was named as Swami Chinmayananda Saraswathi.
Swami Chinmayananda was further directed to Swami Tapovanam by Swami Sivananda to master the scriptures. Swami Chinmayananda studied under Swami Tapovanam for some years and with all the knowledge of scriptures came down to the plains, resolved to spread the eternal message to the masses. Thus from 1951 Swamiji has been incessantly working very hard to educate people in the principal texts of Vedanta and setup the reputed Chinmaya Mission, with its various programmes viz Bal Vihar, Devi Groups, Youth programmes, Jnana Yagnas, Sandeepani Sadhanalaya. Hundreds of Chinmaya Mission centers exist today all over the world run by his able disciples, continuing the noble work started by him.
Swamiji attained Mahasamadhi in 1993 after beautifully satisfying the noble mission for which God had sent this exalted soul to Earth.