Bhagavadpada Acharya Sankara was not only a great thinker and the noblest of Advaitic philosophers, but also an inspired champion of Hinduism and one of the most vigorous missionaries in India.
In his work of propagating the great philosophical truths of the Upanishads, Acharya Sankara employed a number of weapons in his armory. He alone was capable of undertaking this task as the guardian angel of rishi culture.
An exquisite thinker, a brilliant intellect, a personality scintillating with the vision of Truth, a heart throbbing with industrious faith and ardent desire to serve the nation, sweetly emotional and relentlessly logical, in Sankara the Upanishads discovered the fittest spiritual general.
Chinmaya Mission closely follows the teachings of Acharya Shankara, as envisioned by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, the founder of Chinmaya Mission.
Swami Tapovan Maharaj of Uttarkasi was the master from whom Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda acquired his wealth of knowledge on Vedanta.
He taught Pujya Gurudev virtues enumerated in the Seventeenth Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita constituting the three forms of tapas – physical, verbal, and mental. He was a virakta mahatma, an embodiment of sanyasa, with supreme renunciation, wisdom, divine dignity and compassion.
Swamiji, a poet, was inspired by the Nature’s beauty, particularly the unfrequented peaks and valleys of the Himalayas. He reported his travels in two splendid volumes, “Wandering in the Himalayas” and “Kailasa Yatra”. Swamiji’s masterpiece is the bulky sanskrit volume called “Iswara Darshan”, an autobiographical sketch. He lived for 68 years as a monumental expression of an ideal Vedantic teacher in the ancient rishi tradition. Swamiji attained Mahasamadhi on the 16th of January 1957, a full moon day.
Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, founder of Chinmaya Mission, taught the logic of spirituality, while emphasizing the balance of head and heart. Selfless work, study, and meditation are the cornerstones of spiritual practice, he said. Not satisfied with degrees in literature and law or other worldly aspirations, he pursued the spiritual path in the Himalayas under the guidance of Swami Sivananda and Swami Tapovanam.
He is credited with the renaissance of spiritual and cultural values in India and with awakening the rest of the world to the ageless wisdom of Advaita Vedanta as expounded by Adi Shankaracharya. On 3 August 1993, Pujya Gurudev attained Mahasamadhi. Until his very last moments, he worked tirelessly to create an international spiritual revolution.
His legacy remains in the form of books, audio and video tapes, schools, and social service projects; Vedanta teachers whom he taught and inspired; and Chinmaya Mission centers around the world serving the spiritual and cultural needs of local communities.
Depiction of his quest for Truth is made as a feature film in 2015 and is available in DVD format.
After the Mahasamadhi of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda assumed the post of the spiritual head of the global mission and worked tirelessly for 23 years in fulfilling the vision that Pujya Gurudev started. As he says, “I am not in Swamiji’s shoes, I am at his feet.” Pujya Guruji has served as Acharya of the Sandeepany Institutes of Vedanta both in India and California, USA.
He has written commentaries on scriptural texts, translated Pujya Gurudev’s commentaries into Hindi, and authored a number of books. A key contribution is “Hindu Culture: An Introduction”, a text acclaimed for its clear description of the basics of Hinduism and adopted as a text in some American high schools.
Pujya Guruji excels in expounding a wide spectrum of Hindu scriptures, from Ramayana to the Bhagavad Gita to the Upanishads. He conducts jnana yajnas on Vedanta as he moves around the world. His easy manner and devotional rendering of Vedanta texts has drawn many newcomers into the spiritual fold.