H.H. Swami Chinmayananda founded the Chinmaya Mission in 1953 and later played an important role in the formation of Vishva Hindu Parishad in 1964.He was a disciple of Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh, who founded the Divine Life Society, and was then referred to study under H.H. Swami Tapovan Maharaj in Uttarkashi in the Himalayas. During his forty years of traveling and teaching, Swami Chinmayananda opened numerous centers and ashrams worldwide, he also built many schools, hospitals, nursing homes and clinics.
Swami Chinmayananda was born on May 8, 1916 as Balakrishna Menon in Ernakulam, Kerala in a devout Hindu noble family called “Poothampalli”. Balan entered the field of journalism, and worked for The National Herald, where he felt he could influence political, economic and social reform in India. While working at the Herald, he went to meet Swami Sivananda at Ananda Kutir, Swami Sivananda’s ashram in Rishikesh as he planned to write an article of Himalayan monks, but instead his life was changed forever and he became interested in the Hindu spiritual path.
Swami Chinmayananda started the tradition of Gyana Yagnas, in an effort to spread the message of the Geeta and the Upanishads, thus the first such Geeta Gyan Yagna was held in Pune between December 31, 1951 and April 1952.By the time he attained mahasamadhi in August 03, 1993, “Gurudev” as he is known affectionately by his followers, had conducted 576 jnana yajnas and scores of family oriented spiritual family camps, logging thousands of miles as he traveled across the globe.
Swami Chinmayananda died on 3 August 1993 in San Diego, California, and his mortal remains were placed in a Samadhi on 19th August, 1993, at the Sidhbari Ashram in the Himalayas.Today, his work has resulted in the creation of an international organization called Chinmaya Mission. H.H.Swami Tejomayananda became the head of the Chinmaya Mission upon Swami Chinmayananda’s mahasamadhi in August 1993. He assumed his new role with ease and humility, and is working tirelessly to fulfill the vision of his guru.
The Mahasamadhi Day of Pujya Gurudev was observed as Sadhana Day and Sampoorna Gita chanting by the teachers, devotees and the students of chinmaya mission was arranged on this auspicious day. 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.
“Don’t put the key to your happiness
in someone else’s pocket.”-H.H. Swami Chinmayananda