To provide to individuals, from any background, the wisdom of Vedanta
and the practical means for spiritual growth and happiness, enabling
them to become positive contributors to society.
Mission® was established in India in 1953 by devotees of
the world-renowned Vedanta teacher, His Holiness Swami
Chinmayananda. Under his guidance, these devotees formed
the nucleus of a spiritual renaissance movement that now
encompasses a wide range of spiritual, educational, and
charitable activities, ennobling the lives of thousands
in India and outside its borders. Administered by Central
Chinmaya Mission Trust in Mumbai, India, the Mission is
now headed by His Holiness Swami Tejomayananda.
Following the Vedic teacher-taught tradition
(guru-shishya parampara), Chinmaya Mission makes available
the ageless wisdom of Vedanta, the knowledge of the
one Reality, and provides the tools to realize that
wisdom in one’s life. “To give maximum happiness
to the maximum number for the maximum time” is
the tenet that drives Mission workers to uplift humanity
beyond selfish and sectarian attitudes and activities.
Each person’s gain is manifold: personal growth,
heightened efficiency, contentment, and the ability
to live with others in peace and harmony. For more information,
see Chinmaya Mission: Transforming Lives.
There are over 300 Chinmaya Mission centers
worldwide. The Mission’s
various activities and projects include:
• Jnana Yajnas (Vedanta lecture
series, seminars, workshops)
• Bala Vihar (Vedanta forum for children and youth)
• Yuva Kendra (Vedanta forum for university students
and young professionals)
• Study Group (Vedanta forum for adults)
• Devi Group (Vedanta study and discussion forum
• Spiritual Retreats and Camps
• Intensive Vedanta Courses (training for Chinmaya
Mission’s order of monks, acharyas, and sevaks)
• Regional Centers
• Temples and Shrines
• Schools and Colleges
• Medical Services and Training
• Rural Village Development Projects
• Pitamaha Sadans (senior citizen homes)
• Management Courses and Services
• Research in Sanskrit and Indology
|His Holiness Swami Tapovan Maharaj
Swami Tapovan Maharaj, a spiritual master and Himalayan hermit, is that pristine glacier of Self-knowledge through whom flowed the Ganga of Vedantic wisdom of Swami Chinmayananda—the architect of the Chinmaya Movement. Swami Tapovanam was a saint of the highest order, a consummate Vedantin, a sage of unsurpassed wisdom, a strict yet compassionate teacher, and a tranquil poet who exuded ecstatic Awareness. Swami Chinmayananda said of his Guru, “He was a God without temple, a Veda without language.”
Born in 1889 in Kerala, India as Chippu Kutty, as a child he exhibited a marked partiality for spiritual life. Homeschooled until the age of 17, he proved himself to be a devout Vedantin, and a linguistic genius and litterateur par excellence, mastering both Malayalam and Sanskrit. Both his parents passed away before he turned 21, by which time he was already renowned for his authored poems. He adopted the sannyasi’s religious and serene lifestyle long before his initiation into the ochre robe of sannyasa. An introvert to the core, he loved spending his time immersed in spiritual reflection and was averse to all worldly pleasures.
Even as a formidable scholar, his thirst for knowledge could not be quenched by mere intellectual advances. Despite the accolades earned during his years of public speaking on literature, politics, religion, and Vedanta, in his late 20s, unable to control his spiritual hunger, Chippu Kutty left home in search of Truth. For seven years he travelled widely, devoutly studying Vedic scriptures and observing austerities. Swami Janardhana Giri, of Kailash Ashram in Hrishikesh, initiated him into sannyasa with the name, Swami Tapovanam, or a “forest of austerities.”
Swami Tapovanam chose to live in the then small, remote mountainous area of Uttarkashi in Uttaranchal. His hermitage, Tapovan Kuti, a meagre one-room thatched hut before which the sacred River Ganga flows, would soon acquire great fame the world over for its spiritual luminescence.
Filled with divine Light, the compassionate sage shared words of wisdom with all devotees who came to him in search of spiritual knowledge, but rarely did he accept resident disciples. Monks, householders, pilgrims, and seekers from all stages and fields of life continually thronged to Uttarkashi to be in the presence of, and learn from, the Self-realized master and erudite scholar. When Swamiji did accept a resident disciple, the latter was trained under the strictest conditions. There were few who could undergo and survive such hardships, but those seekers who did, were blessed by the master with supreme Enlightenment.
Swamiji’s inspiring writings, available through Chinmaya Publications, include Wandering in the Himalayas, Pilgrimage to Kailasa, and Ishvara Darshan, which sages the world over have stamped as a spiritual masterpiece.
|His Holiness Swami Chinmayananda
His Holiness Swami Chinmayananda, founder
of Chinmaya Mission, taught spirituality as the art
of living. Through jnana yoga (the Vedantic path of
spiritual knowledge), he emphasized the balance of head
and heart, pointing out selfless work, study, and meditation
as the cornerstones of spiritual practice.
Not satisfied by worldly aspirations or his degrees
in literature and law, Balakrishna Menon pursued spiritual
studies for nine years in the Himalayas, under the guidance
of Swami Sivananda (Divine Life Society) and the tutelage
of Swami Tapovanam. He eventually came to share this
Vedantic knowledge with the masses, in the form of the
dynamic teacher known as Swami Chinmayananda.
Swamiji is renowned worldwide as a spiritual master
and one of the foremost teachers of Shrimad Bhagavad
Gita. He is credited with the renaissance of spirituality
and cultural values in India, and with the spreading
of the ageless wisdom of Advaita Vedanta, as expounded
by Adi Shankaracharya, throughout the world.
Swami Chinmayananda attained mahasamadhi
in August 1993. His legacy remains in the form of written,
audio, and video publications; social service projects;
Vedanta teachers whom he taught and inspired; and Chinmaya
Mission centers worldwide, serving the spiritual and
cultural needs of local communities.
Additional biographical information can
be found in Journey of a Master, Ageless Guru, Swami
Chinmayananda: A Life of Inspiration and Service, and
At Every Breath, A Teaching.
|His Holiness Swami Tejomayananda
His Holiness Swami Tejomayananda, the
present Head of Chinmaya Mission worldwide,
is fulfilling the vision that Swami Chinmayananda charted.
As he puts it, “I am not in Swamiji’s shoes;
I am at His feet.”
Swami Tejomayananda has served as Acharya
of Chinmaya Mission’s Sandeepany Sadhanalaya institutes of Vedanta (gurukuls
in India, and as an Acharya of various Mission
centers in India and the US. He has written commentaries
on scriptural texts, translated Swami Chinmayananda’s
commentaries into Hindi, composed hundreds of hymns and devotional songs, and authored numerous books.
A celebrated work is the book Hindu Culture: An Introduction,
which has been acclaimed for its clear description of
the basics of Hinduism and adopted as a reference text
in some American high schools.
Swamiji excels in expounding upon a wide
spectrum of Hindu scriptures, from Ramayana, to Bhagavad Gita,
to the Upanishads. His easy manner, combined
with his in-depth analyses and devotional renderings
of Vedantic texts, have drawn many newcomers into the
Swami Tapovan Maharaj