THE YOUNGSTER WHO DIDN’T BELIEVE
He was young, dashing, handsome, and most importantly, rebellious. Coated, suited, booted, the young journalist headed to Haridwar! No, it wasn’t a pilgrimage. It was intended to be a likelihood of a sort of sting-operation! In Haridwar? Yes!
He was determined to unveil the scandal of the Indian monks, who he believed, were parasites on the society. With a zing in his heart and a bling in eyes, the young man had a list of well-thought rational questions to hurl at them and shatter, what he believed to be, their façade of sacredness!
But he was in for some surprise! He reached Divine Life Society at Rishikesh and met Swami Sivananda there. He lived in the Ashram premise, closely watching and scrutinizing the Indian spiritual class.
And to his utter astonishment, he found them to be a lot of ever-smiling men, dedicated to serve others in a sense of steep selflessness, which still remains rare in the world we share. He watched them work with utter discipline and dedication from early dawn through the nights, and yet never stressed or anxious about anything. Tension did not touch them, ego had no effect on them, negativities never knocked them off.
He had a sense of “Wow!”, but needed answers. How can they be the way they are? He started studying spirituality seriously. He wanted to know the secret of their inner strength. And as he delved deeper, he found rational answers, meaningful insights and inspiring knowledge hidden in the Hindu scriptures. It all left him not just convinced, but almost transformed.
Thus began the story of Swami Chinmayananda – a legacy of an atheist who ended up being the greatest Advaitin the world had seen ever since Swami Vivekananda walked the planet.
THE SWAMI WHO ASKED MANY QUESTIONS
It wasn’t an impulsive choice. But a well-sieved, well analysed, pre-contemplated decision. Yes, it was decided that He would be a Swami. In 1949, Swami Sivananda initiated this young modern educated man into the order of Sanyas. And thus, Balakrishna Menon, a bachelor in English literature, a qualified lawyer, a brilliant journalist, a convinced atheist, became Swami Chinmayananda.
But he was not a conventional follower. The orange robes couldn’t confine his questioning spirit, his scientific thinking and his rational mindset. He needed logical explanations and demanded answers to everything. Never would the young Swami accept a statement if it did not appeal to logic.
Swami Sivananda ran a monastery and it was practically impossible for him to cater this new Swami’s questions. It needed massive time and attention, but Chinmaya wouldn’t give up either.
Thus he was referred to Swami Tapovan Maharaj of Uttarkasi, one of the greatest Masters of Vedanta in those times, and perhaps even till date.
- Born on 8th May 1916 in Kerala
- Formally a non-believer and an atheist
- Studied literature and Law
- Participated in the freedom struggle actively
- Imprisoned and almost killed by the British
- Joined the National Herald newspaper
- Became a popular Journalist known by the name “Mochi”
THE MAKING OF THE MASTER
Swami Tapovan Maharaj was a strict spiritual coach. A Teacher of the Truth, Tapovanji laid his conditions clear on the first day. “I will teach only once. But when I ask later, if you haven’t grasped and retained what was taught, you have to leave.”
And interestingly, Chinmayanandaji accepted the condition and lived it.
Hours of study and practice, devotion to the Guru, sincere pursuit of Knowledge, helped Swami Chinmayananda race up the ladder of evolution and establish Himself in complete Awareness of the Self.
Now, he wanted to share the joy he had experienced. He knew it was not meant to be confined to the forests and mountains of the Himalayas. This is not just a Knowledge for those on the shores of the Ganga, but also for the man in the sharemarket or the discotheque or the parliament. He was determined to take it across to the Conference rooms and the College Campuses.
And thus began the journey back into the plains…
Gave his first talk in Pune with a total attendance or 4 people, including the Speaker!
Soon his audience swelled into thousands and he earned acceptance from the educated class
In 1953, Chinmaya Mission was formed by an enthusiastic group of disciples to give organizational structure to the work being done.
Faced immense opposition from the Orthodoxy for speaking on the scriptures in English and taking it to the his work.
He established more than 200 centers across the world, 75 schools, 1 hospital, a nursing school, a management institute and more.
Rural Development projects were also taken up and Seva Kendras established
He founded the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra as the Global Youth Wing of Chinmaya Mission
If there was one word that would describe Swami Chinmayananda fully it is “Unstoppable”. Yes, he couldn’t be stopped by anyone or anything. Nor could the oppositions of people stop him, neither his own health condition.
With just 16% of His heart beating, at age of 77, He would travel across the world with an unfailing enthusiasm to serve, to inspire, to transform.
Youth loved him, children admired him and elders thought he was a miracle in flesh and blood!
HE FOUGHT FOR INDIA’S POLITICAL FREEDOM BEFORE INDEPENDENCE, AND SLOGGED FOR INDIA’S CULTURAL FREEDOM THE REST OF HIS LIFE.
For Him, Chinmaya Yuva Kendra was a movement to create mighty youth who can truly lead the country into a culturally vibrant and spiritually noble existence.
He never spoke of revolutions. He believed in the technique of evolution. Transforming Indians to Transform India was his Vision.
On a Quest
When an inquisitive journalist met an inspiring saint, he undertook a journey that would change his life forever. On a Quest follows the life of Swami Chinmayananda (born as P Balakrishnan Menon) as a naughty child, rebellious youth, patriotic freedom-fighter, inquisitive journalist, yearning seeker and spiritual Master. It features the birth of the Chinmaya Movement and subsequently, the Chinmaya Mission established by a group of seekers under the inspiration and the guidance of Swami Chinmayananda. With stunning visuals and inspiring soundtrack, On a Quest will introduce you to the dynamic saint, compassionate teacher and visionary leader that was Swami Chinmayananda.