When journalist Balakrishnan Menon became Swami Chinmayananda, he sparked off a movement that swelled into a mighty river, revitalizing Vedanta and bringing spirituality to the mainstream of modern life. A salute to the Chinmaya mission.
Guru of GurusPioneer of a unique brand of teaching that bridged traditional scriptures with a contemporary idiom, Swami Chimayananda inspires a league of Vedanta teachers today. Some such as Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Swami Sukhabodhananda and Swami Parthasarathy were closely associated with the Chinmaya Mission before branching out to start their own organisations.
Swami Dayananda Saraswati
Swami Dayananda, through his deep understanding of Western culture, communicates a vision of non-duality to modern listeners, Indians and abroad. He has started numerous centres for Vedic teaching around the world including the Arsha Vidya Ashram in Rishikesh and the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Coimbatore.
Involved with the Chinmaya Mission since its inception, he describes it as, "a natural expression of people inspired by his teaching."
Acknowledging his debt to Swami Chinmayananda, he says, "He was the first teacher to bring the scriptures to the urbane western educated man in English. He evolved his own style incorporating discussion and elaboration and used simple English to translate Sanskrit. It was a methodical approach and is the style I myself emulate today."
Swami Sukhabodhananda is the founder chairman of Prasanna Trust in Bangalore that runs the LIFE (Living in Freedom - an Enquiry) programme.
While still in college in Bangalore, it was Swami Chinmayananda's discourses on the Bhagavad Gita that inspired his spiritual journey. He studied the scriptures under Swami Chinmayananda and later under Swami Dayananda Saraswati before branching out to create his own unique programme.
The LIFE programme, started by him to incorporate dialogue into the traditional teaching process, blends traditional Vedanta with Zen, Buddhism, Sufism and other modern techniques such as NLP, gestalt, reiki and scientology; he is as much a modern management guru as a spiritual teacher.
Swami Parthasarathy is another exponent of Vedanta who widely applies its principles to practical life. With a multi-disciplinary academic background, he has authored Vedanta Treatise and The Symbolism of Hindu Gods and Rituals.
Earlier associated with Swami Chinmayananda, he later founded the Vedanta Cultural Foundation, which runs the Vedanta Academy at Malavli near Pune.
Swami Parthasarathy conducts seminars for business houses where the theme of Vedanta is applied to boardroom management techniques. Through his public discourses he raises awareness of the higher values of peace, harmony and prosperity.His Vedanta Academy holds a three-year residential course on the Vedas conducted by the alumni themselves.
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