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Akhanda Geeta Jnana Yagna

May 2014 - May 2015

Welcome to Chinmaya Mission


In every age, it is observed that despite scientific and material progress, man still feels insecure and incomplete, and happiness seems to be as elusive as ever. This paradox was the subject of deep investigation by the Rishis (seers) of ancient India. Their conclusions, as well as the sublime vision they arrived at, are enshrined in the immortal words of the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures.

Pujya Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda attained this supreme knowledge from the great Master Swami Tapovan Maharaj. In early part of 20th century, the scriptures were the hidden treasure of selected few. Gurudev took up the task of reaching this rich and subtle message to the common man through his discourses, called the Jnana Yajnas. His talks were in simple language and his thought-provoking humour and down to earth examples made the "difficult" philosophical concepts easy for all.

Chinmaya Mission was born in the year 1953. Today Chinmaya Mission is spreading the knowledge of Vedanta through centres in India and around the world. Through Balavihars, Yuva Kendras, Study Groups and Devi groups, Mission addresses the needs of the various sections of the society.

After the Mahasamadhi of Pujya Gurudev in 1993, Pujya Swami Tejomayanandaji took over the mantle of the Mission. Under his leadership, Mission has expanded and is expanding further and further.

Chinmaya Mission, Karnataka is one of the most active centres of the Mission. Under the able guidance of Pujya Swami Brahmanandaji, Chinmaya Mission activities have spread to various parts of the state.

About Gurus

Swami Tapovanam Maharaj

Swami Tapovan Maharaj was 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, strict teacher, a compassionate mentor, and a poet whose every thought throbbed with ecstatic awareness, and a sage of unsurpassed wisdom and tranquillity. That Truth, which Swami Tapovanam realized and indicated in all his teachings is beyond words, as much as he himself was. Swami Chinmayananda said of his Guru, “He was a God without temple, a Veda without language”.

Childhood and youth

Born in 1889 in Kerala, India, Chippu Kutty, as Swami Tapovanam was known, exhibited a marked partiality for spiritual life. Too intelligent to be trained within the formal learning systems of his time, he sought a less materialistic and more of spiritual education. By 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.He adopted the sannyasi's religious and serene lifestyle long before his initiation into the ochre robe of sannyasa.

The Spiritual Quest

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 Rishikesh initiated him into sannyasa with the name, Swami Tapovanam – “forest of austerities”. Swami Tapovanam chose to live in the then small, remote mountainous area of Uttarkashi in Uttaranchal. His hermitage called Tapovan Kutir, a meagre one-room thatched hut, in front of which the sacred River Ganga flows, would soon acquire great fame the world over for its spiritual luminescence.

The Teacher 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 Swami Tapovanam 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.

As a jivanmukta or Self-realized master, Swami Tapovanam was a lover of Nature and saw the supreme Lord in all expressions, within and without. In his inspiring, poetic works of Himagiri Viharam (Wanderings in the Himalayas) and Kailasa Yatra (Pilgrimage to Kailasa) are seen the full flow of his blissful and soulful renderings of Nature, and the profundity of his subtle observations and reflections. However, it is his mystical autobiography, Ishvara Darshan (Vision of the Lord), that sages and seekers the world over have stamped as his masterpiece.

Our Gurudev - Swami Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda was one of the most world-renowned and revered exponents of Vedanta, the foundation of Hindu religion and culture.

Childhood and Youth

Born on May 8, 1916 in Kochi, Kerala, India, Balakrishnan Menon acquired degrees in Law and English Literature before getting involved in India’s Freedom struggle against the British rule. Balakrishnan's nationalist activities led to his imprisonment, and after he was released, he worked for a newspaper called The National Herald.

Renunciation and Spiritual Quest

While working for The National Herald, Balakrishanan decided to write an exposé on what he believed to be the bluff of the swamis in the Himalayan regions. To investigate and uncover such veils of alleged sanctity, he travelled to Ananda Kutir, Swami Sivananda's ashram in Rishikesh.

However, this was not to be so, as Balakrishnan's journey to expose others ended up in exposing himself to his own spiritual revolution and evolution. Swami Sivananda's divinity, love, and Vedanta teachings overwhelmed the young skeptic. A striking inner transformation unfolded within Balakrishnan, and he began questioning and reflecting upon the purpose of life and the secret of permanent happiness. In the company of saints, and through the clarity of their teachings, the highly intellectual seeker soon chose to become a renunciate himself.

On the holy day of Mahashivaratri, February 25, 1949, Balakrishnan was initiated into sannyasa by Swami Sivananda, who blessed him with the name 'Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati'. Chinmayananda means 'filled with the bliss of pure Consciousness'.

Swami Sivananda then guided the new ascetic to the most renowned Vedanta master of the time, Swami Tapovanam, who lived in Uttarkashi, in the Himalayas. Swami Tapovanam who rarely took on disciples, put forth strict conditions to his new suppliant, and all of the Self-realized Guru's terms were readily accepted. As Swami Tapovanam's disciple, Swami Chinmayananda led an austere life and underwent an intense study of Vedantic texts.

A Visionary and Missionary

Spiritually awakened through Swami Tapovanam's tutelage and grace, and inspired by Mother Ganga's continuous flow of purity and service to mankind, Swami Chinmayananda sought and received his guru's blessings to spread Vedantic knowledge to the masses. Having seen widespread spiritual and social degradation in India, he felt the urge to share with others the knowledge that had brought fulfillment in his own life.

Swami Chinmayananda conducted his first jnana yajna (a series of spiritual discourses) in December 1951, at a small temple in Pune, Maharashtra. Jnana yajna, a term he coined from Lord Krishna's teachings in the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, refers to the student who through scriptural studies performs the ritual of worship (yajna) at the altar of wisdom (jnana).

His teachings were based on the authority of the Vedas and his direct experience. They were highly appreciated, and the number of devotees eager to learn from Swami Chinmayananda's highly dynamic, logical, and witty discourses increased rapidly. An inspired band of devotees thus formed 'Chinmaya Mission' in 1953.

From platforms throughout India and around the world, Swami Chinmayananda taught millions who came to listen and learn. By the time he left his physical form and attained Mahasamadhi on August 3, 1993, Gurudev, as Swami Chinmayananda came to be known among his followers, had conducted 576 jnana yajnas as well as countless family spiritual camps, traversing hundreds of thousands of miles, crisscrossing the globe, and transforming millions of lives directly and indirectly.

Our Guruji - Swami Tejomayananda

Swami Tejomayananda is a living portrait of simplicity with depth, humility with courage, and wisdom with devotion. Always jovial, smiling, and welcoming, he is readily accessible and approachable to all who seek the knowledge of Vedanta from him.

Born into a Maharashtrian family on June 30, 1950, in Madhya Pradesh, India, Sudhakar Kaitwade was not spiritually inclined as such. Sudhakar's revolutionary change came about the day he was attracted to a large banner announcing Swami Chinmayananda's talks on Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3. A couple of talks later, he was so thoroughly inspired that he sought the permission of his mother to join the Chinmaya Mission's residential Vedanta course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai. Upon completion of the Vedanta course in 1975, Sudhakar was initiated into the Chinmaya Mission's monastic order of acharyas (teachers) as Brahmachari Vivek Chaitanya. On October 21, 1983, Swami Chinmayananda initiated him into sannyasa, bestowing upon him the name, Swami Tejomayananda.

Swami Tejomayanandaji has served as Acharyas in various Mission Centres in India and abroad. He has conducted Vedanta courses in English and Hindi. After Pujya Gurudev attained Mahasamadhi he became the Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide. As the Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide, Swami Tejomayananda-now known in the Mission as Pujya Guruji-has continuously and dynamically pursued his guru's grand spiritual and organizational vision. Progressive in thinking and precise in decision-making, he has inspired and executed many notable, innovative projects, including the Chinmaya Vibhooti Vision Centre near Pune. Fluent in Hindi, Marathi, English, and Sanskrit, Swami Tejomayananda's talks, written commentaries, and original music, poetry, and text compositions exude lofty spiritual insights, incisive Vedantic scholarship, and universal harmony. He has translated many of Pujya Gurudev’s works into Hindi. His original Vedantic texts include Bhakti Sudha, Jnana Sarah, Manah Shodhanam, Dhyanasvarupam and Jivanasutrani. As a laudable devotional singer, he has recorded several albums with original music and lyrics.

Acharyas

JNANA YAJNA

The concept of Jnana Yajna started by Pujya Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda, founder of Chinmaya Mission is a unique way of sharing and transferring the knowledge gained by the Acharyas at the feet of realized masters to interested seekers. Various topics covered in these discourses include, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Spiritual works of Great saints like Mukunda Mala, Saddarshan, Upadesha Sara and the epics and puranas. These are usual 1.5 hrs of talks for a period of 6 to 15 days in the evenings between 6:30pm and 8:00pm. The talks are held in suitable languages. In Bangalore the talks are primarily in English or Kannada, occasionally talks are organized in other languages as well.Sometimes, a talk on a more advanced Upanishadic text is also organized in the mornings between 7:00 and 8:00am. The text is taken stanza by stanza giving word by word explanation, the external meaning, the inner meaning, the spiritual concept involved, history behind the evolvement of ideas, examples from the lives of great saints and personalities who tried to live the ideas, how the idea or concept can be 
adapted to the modern way of thinking and living and how the concept can be modified to suit varying situation and times.

The discourses are usually studded with down to earth examples interspersed with thought provoking humour to make the subject palatable and easy to understand. In all, the purpose of the Yajna is to kindle the interest in the listeners to know more about the subject and motivate 
them to appreciate the rich culture and message of our scriptures so that they can 
pursue the subject of their liking.Chinmaya Mission has to its credit over 500 acharyas all over the world 
conducting Jnana Yajnas non stop through out the year.

SATSANG

This is almost on similar lines of the Jnana Yajna – except the duration will be from 1 to 3 days for about 1 to 1 ½ hours at mutually acceptable timings and the participants will be about 20 to a maximum of 200. The venue can be anyone's house or a small temple or hall with comfortable seating capacity.

Satsangs are usually accompanied with chantings and bhajans with discourse on a topic by the speaker along with question / answer session. Satsangs also can be organized on similar lines as Jnana Yajna.

CHINMAYA BALAVIHAR - Tuning the next generation

Never can children’s education be complete unless we impart to them true appreciation of the eternal values of life.- Swami Chinmayananda

Chinmaya Balavihar imparts to the children the glory of our rich culture & heritage, aiming at overall development of the child, thereby helping them to grow into responsible citizens of tomorrow. Balavihar inculcates the eternal values of the Sanatana Dharma, as taught in our scriptures and instills in children a deep reverence to life, nature and all things around them. Children are taught chanting of Bhagawad Geeta, Stotrams and Veda Mantras which give them an urge to learn these man-making scriptures at a later age. Melodious Bhajans instill Bhakthi Bhava in the children. They are taught the Values of right living through stories, workshops and other activities. Important festivals are celebrated in the classes and significance of the same explained to the children. Special summer activities like Residential Camps instill in the children the sense of living together.In summary, Balavihar prepares the child to face the challenges of the world with confidence and lead a life spreading joy and happiness all around.Children who have graduated from Balavihar are now responsible citizens with successful careers and also strengthen the Mission activities. They live a life following the Mission pledge of “Giving more than what we take”.

Chinmaya Mission has over 60 Balavihars in various parts of Bangalore and in other parts of the state as well.

CHINMAYA YUVA KENDRA -Harnessing Youth Potential through Dynamic Spirituality

Youth is the stage in human development full of energy & enthusiasm. It is natural for the youth to have the daring to plan, the irresistible urge to act, the enthusiasm to conceive, the energy to work along with their shy impatience, with all the inefficiencies and ugly defects that they find in the world all around. To channelize these resources in the bosom of the heroic youth, they must be trained to study the problems in life and evaluate each of them correctly. Our scriptures talk about how one can train the mind and intellect to evaluate and judge situations in the midst of confusing situations.

The Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK) the global youth wing of Chinmaya Mission provides the platform for the youth to imbibe the sacred knowledge of the scriptures. Inspired by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, the main aim of CHYK is to help youngsters develop clarity of vision and create an atmosphere that allows them to achieve their full potential.

What we aim for:

>> Personality unfoldment through enrichment of character and sharpening of intellect
>> To cultivate qualities necessary to win the game of life such as clarity of vision, team spirit
>> To prepare the youth to face the challenges and realities of life with a SMILE
>> To be responsible citizens, who contribute positively to the society.

How we achieve:

Through Study classes, Workshops, Adventure camps, Residential camps, Bhajans, Cultural activities, Social Service and loads of fun.Whatever we do, we seek to bring out the best in one another and in ourselves – to live life to the full in its truest sense. It is this spirit that defines CHYK. All of us have great potentials. Chinmaya Yuva Kendra gives an opportunity to turn this potential into action; into performance.

“Know that the Yuva Kendra is the bow and (your) Self is the sharpened arrow. Your goal should be the welfare of the world, and (your) self. Like the arrow, may you be one with that goal.” - Pujya Swami Chinmayananda

STUDY GROUPS

"Mere listening will not add to your beauty. These ideas are to be reflected upon deeply and digested slowly. This process is hastened only when you discuss what you have studied with others. Study Groups constitute the heart of our Mission. The ideas, when discussed with others, not only become deeply rooted in you, but as they become clearer in your own understanding, they also inspire those who listen to you. Thus, each student, while trying to strengthen his own understanding, can become an instrument for the spread of this knowledge. This process is the dynamic study scheme followed in the Vedantic tradition. This is not a Chinmaya methodology; it is the most ancient Vedantic tradition of study."

- Swami Chinmayanda

Chinmaya Study Groups allow like-minded seekers to come together once every week to read and discuss spiritual texts and topics, based on the set curriculum, thereby providing each other with in-depth study, clear and logical thinking, and inspiration for personal practice.

DEVI GROUPS

Women of the country mould its future. The caliber of the children will be determined by the upbringing given by their mothers. Women had been, indeed, and even today are, the real custodians of our country's spiritual culture. The fall of our cultural standards is a true measure of the growing ignorance in the mothers of our society.

- Swami Chinmayananda

In the Chinmaya Devi Groups, ladies gather together once or twice a week for about an hour. They learn to chant stotrams and sing bhajans. They also have group discussions conducted by the sevikas or satsang by an acharya.

SPIRITUAL CAMPS / WORKSHOPS

Chinmaya Mission regularly organizes spiritual camps and workshops outside
Bangalore for periods ranging from 1 to 15 days to help sadhaks get out of the daily monotony and mechanical living and experience a totally peaceful and serene atmosphere in holy locations like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Uttar Kashi, Sidhabari, Kolvan, Chokkahalli, Rameswaram, etc., Normally 2 subjects are chosen for study and an easy but disciplined time table starting from 5.00 am with meditation class and ending with a tension release cultural programme towards late evening is set to keep the campers busy throughout the day.

Opportunity is given to each participant to exhibit his/her talent in all activities be it cooking, speaking, decoration, management, fine arts, etc., besides learning new skills from experts in the field to the accompaniment of studying the shastras at the feet of realized masters who are normally the camp acharyas along with ample time for enjoying the fresh air and country side trekking not to be found in the busy cities. Spiritual camps serve as tension releasers to many executives who are grilled in the present chaotic and time bound method of working.

It also paves way for community living, understanding others’ problems and the unexplainable joy of sharing / giving which is totally missing in the nucleus families of today. Several youngsters are drawn by the rejuvenating country side trekking, mountaineering and thought provoking games that are organized in the camps.

Camps are normally conducted looking into the convenience of participants usually at a time when there are school holidays and clear atmosphere is prevailing.

Centers