Swami Chinmayananda was born on May 8th, 1916 as Balakrishna Menon (Balan) in Ernakulam, Kerala. His family was very devout in their religious life and had regular contact with holy men. This shaped Balan’s mental and moral make-up.
A man of strong ideas and idealism, Balan studied at Lucknow University and then entered the field of journalism, where he felt he could influence political, economic and social reform in India. At this time, he met Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh and became very interested in the path of spirituality.
The Spiritual Quest
Balan took monkhood from Swami Sivananda to become Swami Chinmayananda – the one who is saturated in bliss and consciousness. Swami Sivananda saw potential in Swami Chinmayananda and sent him to study under the greatest teacher in the Himalayas – Swami Tapovanam — where he led a very austere and rigorous life.
Swami Chinmayananda then felt a deep inner urge to share his knowledge and wisdom with people. He descended to the plains and held his first yagna in Pune with a group of just three people. From this humble beginning, he rapidly expanded to more than 500 series of lectures heard by audiences numbering in the thousands.
During 40 years of travelling and teaching, Swami Chinmayananda opened numerous centres worldwide and built many schools, hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. He made Vedanta accessible to all people, regardless of age, nationality or religious background.
On 3 August 1993, in San Diego, USA, Swami Chinmayananda attained mahasamadhi. He worked tirelessly to the last moment and created an international spiritual revolution.