Swami Tapovan Maharaj of Uttarkasi is the master from whom Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda acquired the wealth of knowledge on Vedanta. He taught Gurudev all the virtues enumerated in the Seventeenth Chapter of the Bhagavad Geeta constituting the three forms of tapas – physical, verbal and mental. He was a virakta mahatma, an embodiment of sanyasa, with supreme renunciation, rare saintliness, austerity, deep wisdom, divine dignity and compassion that is implied by such an ideal.
Swamiji, a poet, was inspired when witnessing the canvas of Nature’s beauty unrolling itself in the unfrequented peaks and valleys of the Himalayas. He reported his travels in two splendid volumes, “Wandering in the Himalayas” and “Kailasa Yatra.” Swamiji’s masterpiece is the bulky sanskrit volume called “Iswara Darshan.” This is an autobiographical sketch, a garland of spiritual thoughts in a Man-of-realization. He lived, for 68 years, as a monumental expression of an ideal Vedantic teacher in the ancient rishi tradition. On the 16th of January 1957, on the Full-Moon day, at 4:30 A.M., in the Brahmamuhurtha, Swamiji gained his Mahasamadhi
Swami Chinmayananda, founder of Chinmaya Mission, taught the logic of spirituality, while emphasizing the balance of head and heart. Selfless work, study, and meditation are the cornerstones of spiritual practice, he said. Not satisfied with degrees in literature and law or other worldly aspirations, he pursued the spiritual path in the Himalayas under the guidance of Swami Sivananda and Swami Tapovanam.
He is credited with the renaissance of spiritual and cultural values in India and with awakening the rest of the world to the ageless wisdom of Advaitic Vedanta as expounded by Adi Sankaracharya. On 3 August 1993, in San Diego, USA, Swami Chinmayananda attained Mahasamadhi. He worked tirelessly to the very last moment and created an international spiritual revolution
His legacy remains in the form of books, audio and video tapes, schools, and social service projects, Vedanta teachers whom he taught and inspired, and Chinmaya Mission centers around the world serving the spiritual and cultural needs of local communities.
Swami Tejomayananda is the former Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide, a position he held since 1993 after Swami Chinmayananda attained Mahasamadhi. If Swami Chinmayananda served the cause of Vedanta with his service, knowledge and pioneering qualities, Swami Tejomayananda – fondly addressed as Guruji – completed that with his natural attitude of devotion. This is richly and abundantly evident in his talks, his singing, and his demeanour.But the gentleness of devotion arrived riding on the back of an intense education in physics, going up to a Master’s degree. Born, Sudhakar Kaitwade to a Maharashtrian family in Madhya Pradesh, this physicist had a close encounter that changed the velocity, direction and path of his life.
The physicist, who once hoped to be a teacher, has stunned members and devotees alike with his fluency in Hindi, Marathi, English and Sanskrit. This also means he is aware of their resident cultures and their idiomatic expressions enter his talks and writings with ease and élan. The devotional aspect of his learnings is deeply etched in his innumerable musical renditions – some of which he has composed himself, making him an extremely inspirational singer and composer. This quality enters his discourses with inimitable ease, making his talks exquisite and enjoyable. As a laudable devotional singer, he has recorded several albums with original music and lyrics.Swami Tejomayananda’s talks, written commentaries, and original music, poetry and text compositions exude lofty spiritual insights, incisive Vedantic scholarship and universal harmony. His words are memorable and his points incisively reach home.
His original Vedantic texts include Bhakti Sudha, Jnana Sarah, Manah Shodhanam, Dhyanasvarupam and Jivanasutrani. His acclaimed commentaries include Kapila Gita, Yoga Vasistha Sara Sangraha, Svetasvatara Upanishad, Adi Sankaracharya’s Drg-Drshya Viveka, and Ramana Maharshi’s Upadesha Sara, He has also translated into Hindi Swami Chinmayananda’s English commentaries on Shrimad Bhagavad-gita and the Upanishads. His book Hindu Culture: an Introduction has been adopted as an academic text by some American schools. Another popular book, Graceful Aging has been incorporated as a text into a Chinmaya Mission course for senior citizens. His profound, poignant and pictorial talks on Sant Tulsidasa’s Ramacharitamanasa and Veda Vyasa’s Shrimad Bhagavatam are world-renowned, highlighting his spiritual wisdom and masterful storytelling.
In an era rife with scepticism and confusion about matters spiritual, Swami Swaroopananda is a rare voice that blends authenticity with accessibility; theory with self- practice; logic with heart.Formerly the Regional Head of Chinmaya Mission Australia, United Kingdom, Middle East, Africa and Far East, and presently Chairman of the Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth Trust (University for Sanskrit and Indic Traditions) and Director of the Chinmaya International Residential School in Coimbatore, South India, Swami Swaroopananda has now been bestowed by Swami Tejomayananda the privilege to also serve as the Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide.
Born and brought up in the bustling commercial capital of India, Swamiji had always been convinced that beyond life’s superficial, everyday joys and sorrows, there was something more enduring and satisfying. As a child he heard from his grandmother many religious stories based on the great Indian epics and the history of saints. These stories suddenly came to life, acquiring new meaning and depth, when as an adolescent he encountered the preeminent Master of Vedanta, Swami Chinmayananda.His heart completely moved and inspired, in 1984 Swami Swaroopananda gave up his family’s thriving business in Hong Kong to undergo intensive training under Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Tejomayananda at Sandeepany, Mumbai. He was initiated into the monastic order in 1992. Since then, he has touched thousands of lives across the world, and his tremendous work in bringing out the essential wisdom and underlying unity of all religions has garnered him a place among the vanguards of self-development philosophy.
Swamiji has authored several commentaries on such important spiritual classics as Ik Onkar, Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and Sankat Mochan, besides numerous books on contemporary lifestyle subjects such as Simplicity and Meditation, Storm to Perform, Avatar, Managing the Manager and Journey into Health.Swamiji is equally adept at conducting ‘wholistic management’ seminars for senior corporate executives. Among the well-known institutes he has been invited to speak at are The Ford, London Business School and Harvard University, to name a few. In fact, a proprietary self-development course he conceived and initially conducted, Make It Happen™, has been adapted and integrated into the human resource training programmes of various corporate organisations in India and beyond.
Mesmerized by Pujya Swami Chinmayananda in the 1960s, Brahmachari Raghavan served Pujya Gurudev as his traveling secretary for a few years. After completing his Vedanta course in Mumbai, he traveled to Taiwan, where he successfully managed his own business and taught Vedanta part-time. He was instrumental in founding CM in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In 1992, he received sannyasa diksha from Pujya Gurudev and became Swami Shantananda. Since then, Swamiji has dedicated his life to Mission work and Vedantic teachings, and is presently the resident acharya of Chinmaya Mission New Jersey.
As a speaker, Swamiji’s talks are filled with wonderful insights into life and people respond instantly to his wisdom and affectionate nature. In 2001, as his personal tribute to Pujya Gurudev, to commemorate the 50th-year celebrations of Chinmaya Mission, Swamiji undertook and completed 50 Gita jnana yajnas all around the world.