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Remembering Swami Chinmayananda who spread the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta on his birth anniversary

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New Delhi, May 08: Swami Chinmayananda was an emminent spiritual personality who inspired lakhs and founded the Chinmaya Mission which propogates the knowledge in Upanishads in India and abroad. Chinmaya Mission's motto is "to give maximum happiness to maximum people for maximum time."

Chinmaya Mission, a spiritual, educational, and charitable non-profit organization, hasover 313 mission centres all over India and abroad.

www.chinmayamission.com

Swami Chinmayananda, who was born on May 8, 1916, devouted his life to spread the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta, the non-dual system of thought found in the Upanishads, which epitomise the philosophical teachings of the Vedas. He authored 95 publications, including commentaries on the major Upanishad and Bhagavad Gita. He was a visiting professor of Indian philosophy at several American and Asian universities and he conducted university lecture tours in many countries.

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Swami Chinmayananda, whose birth name was Balakrishna Menon, was born in Ernakulam, Kerala, May 8, 1916. He completed his formal schooling in Sree Rama Varma High School, Kochi and Vivekodayam School, Thrissur. He completed his FA (Fellow of Arts) at the Maharaja's College, Ernakulam and his BA at the St. Thomas College, Trichur . He went to Lucknow University for Post Graduation.

Swami Chinmayananda later acquire a degree in English Literature, plunge into the Freedom Movement of India against British rule. In 1944, almost two years after the British had issued his arrest warrant, believing his case was long forgotten, Balan arrived in Punjab and associated himself with several freedom groups. He advised students on distributing leaflets and organising public strikes but was arrested and imprisoned. He spent several months in unhygienic conditions in prison and caught typhus.

Balan slowly recovered his health. K. Rama Rao gave Balan his first job, as a journalist at The National Herald, a young newspaper that had been founded a few years back by Jawaharlal Nehru. He wrote a series of articles on the imperative of socialism.

It was while working as a journalist that he travelled to Sivananda's ashram in Rishikesh for this purpose of writing an exposé of the sadhus. With Sivananda's blessing, Chinmayananda sought out one of the greatest Vedantic masters of his time, Tapovan Maharaj of Uttarkashi, and devoted the next few years of his life to an intensive study of Vedanta under his tutelage.

Chinmayananda held his first lecture series at a Ganesha temple in the city of Pune in December 1951. At the end of the second jñāna yajña in Madras in 1953, a handful of people expressed the desire to create a forum for the study and discussion of Vedanta. Chinmayananda agreed in principle.

The Madras group insisted that the best way to "pass it on" was through the support of a forum. They wrote back pointing out that the word "Chinmaya" did not have to indicate Chinmayananda's name, since, in Sanskrit, the word itself means "pure Knowledge," which they were seeking. He conceded. On 8 August 1953, the Chinmaya Mission was formed.

What does Chinmaya Mission teach?

Chinmaya Mission follows the Vedic teacher-student tradition (guru-shishya parampara) and makes available the ageless wisdom of Advaita Vedanta, the knowledge of universal oneness, providing the tools to realize the wisdom in one's life.

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Vedanta, the essential core of Hinduism, is the universal science of life, relevant to all people of all backgrounds and faiths. Vedanta inspires seekers to understand their own faith better. Thus, although Chinmaya Mission is a Hindu organisation, it does not seek to convert other religious practitioners.

As a spiritual movement that aims for inner growth at individual and collective levels, the mission offers a wide array of Vedanta study forums for all ages, promotes Indian classical art forms and operates numerous social service projects. To date, millions worldwide have benefitted directly or indirectly from Chinmaya Mission's numerous centres, ashrams, classes, events, services and projects. (Source - chinmayamission.com/Wikipedia)

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