There are many saints and sages in the history of India. There are also many gurus.
But visionaries are only a few. Sri Swami Chinmayananda was not only a sage of
modern times, not only a guru but also a great visionary, whose work touched not
only India but the whole world.
From time to time, the world witnesses birth of a Yuga Purusha who comes for the
purpose of leading the suffering humanity to the path of Dharma. And we are the
blessed ones who have had the great fortune of being under the direct guidance of
this Guru Sri Chinmayananda, a great Gnani who carved for us the ideal model of
Karma Yogi sweetened with endless Bhakti. Those who met him will never forget
the glow of Chinmaya (Pure consciousness) that He carried around everywhere at
H.H. Swami Chinmayananda is a world renowned authority of the scriptures of
India, especially Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. He was born in 1916 and
attained mahasamadhi in 1993. He worked relentlessly for about 40 years to bring
about spiritual revival in India and abroad. His unique style and logical approach to
explaining complex spiritual and moral ideas is appealing to all young and old.
His was the life of selfless service to others. He is the author of numerous books;
each one is a masterpiece, dealing with the philosophical principles behind the
religion. He made the mysterious and elusive vedantic principles easily
understandable for common people. He is the founder of Chinmaya Mission,
through which the work that he initiated and which was so dear to him, is carried
out in the form of spreading the message of vedanta, and overseeing numerous
cultural, educational and social service activities in the service of mankind.
The Upanishads, Gita and innumerable spiritual texts, use the most fascinating and
powerful words to “describe” the indescribable Brahman. Every one of these
words also describes Pujya Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda.
Brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati – the knower of Brahman is verily Brahman. How
can one ever “describe” Him better than these great scriptures? Yet we will try.
Sri Dakshinamurty Stotram and Updesha Saram describe the Lord as ashtamurti –
eight-faceted divinity. For us, Pujya Gurudev is indeed the Lord Himself. So we
will look at eight facets of Pujya Gurudev through which He manifested himself in
His life and work.
He was a peerless personality
Even though the guru is the supreme Self, still he has an individuality and a
personality that attracts devotees and disciples towards Him. He blesses them with
knowledge and devotion. Pujya Gurudev had a such a peerless personality that He
could interact with anyone with a uniqueness that inspired them to greater heights.
He was an epitome of evolution
He was a perfect jivanmukta purusha – a person liberated while living. We find
many verses in our scriptures in praise of such an enlightened soul. One such
characteristic that comes to mind is that the enlightened person is one who is free
from worry over the past, anxiety for the future and is totally detached and
objective in dealing with the present. Gurudev Himself used to speak about such a
person as someone like a mirror, “A mirror accepts everything, rejects nothing,
reflects everything, but keeps nothing”. Indeed, He was that jivanmukta purusha.
He was a cosmic charmer
His presence and the power of his presence were most appealing. It spoke more
than His words and taught more than His lectures. Just to be with Him was a great
joy and an experience in itself. No one was immune to His cosmic charm.
He was a matchless role model
His greatness went beyond His presence and that He revealed in every little thing.
In big things every one shows off, but Gurudev revealed His greatness even in
For instance, when He would sit down for a meal with the devotees, He would
ensure that everyone was served with a meal, only then He would say the prayers
and start the meal.
He was a magnificent mentor
Anyone who came in close contact with him had the great fortune of learning from
Him. With every word with every step there would be something to learn. One
could just watch in fascination as He would illustrate a learning point either
through His speech or His actions. Even when He was silent one could learn
He was a divine disciplinarian
Discipline was one thing that He loved. Not only was He Himself a very
disciplined person, but He also enforced it on others. The beauty of His discipline
was that it was not dry or harsh, but was accompanied with compassion. For
instance, once during a Gita Jnana Yajna some of the brahmacharis skipped the
meditation class. That day He ordered, “The brahmacharis will not be given lunch
today,” but at teatime, they were given special upama along with the tea. Thus He
always punctuated discipline with compassion.
He was a vast visionary
His vast vision for the mission was essentially two-fold. The first aspect was
external, relating to activities and projects, while the other was internal, the
unfoldment of the personalities of the members while undertaking those projects.
The outer activities started by Him have expanded, grown and benefited the
society; the inner unfoldment by itself is subjective, and each seeker continuously
looks within to see where they are in their journey with the inspiration Gurudev
has given provided them. In this way thousands of lives have been transformed
through the internal as well as the external guidance given by Pujya Gurudev.
He was a lamp of love
Anyone who came in contact with Him served Him, feels extremely blessed.
The most striking quality was His unconditional love for that made Him forgive
many of His devotees many a time and through that forgiveness borught them even
closer to Him and His vision.
He was, is and ever will be an akhanda jyoti of love, light, devotion and
knowledge, a perfectly integrated personality who will forever bless humanity.
This is our Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda and may His blessings be ever
upon all of us so that we may serve the world as the Lord’s manifestation.