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Taken from Chinmaya Mission New Zealand
Born 8 May 1916(1916-05-08)
Ernakulam, Kerala, India
Died 3 August 1993 (aged 77)
San Diego, California

H.H. Swami Chinmayananda was born Balakrishna Menon (Balan) in Ernakulam, Kerala in a devout Hindu noble family called "Poothampalli". Upon his birth, his father called for an astrologer, who stated that Balan's birth was an auspicious one, and that he was destined to be a king. Graduating from Lucknow University, Balan entered the field of journalism where he felt he could influence political, economic and social reform in India. But his life was changed when he met Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh and became interested in the Hindu spiritual path. [1]. Balakrishna Menon took sanyas (monkhood) from Swami Sivananda and was given the name Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati - the one who is saturated in Bliss and pure Consciousness. Swami Sivananda saw further potential in Swami Chinmayananda and sent him to study under a guru in the Himalayas - Swami Tapovan Maharaj under whom he studied for 8 years. Swami Tapovan Maharaj was known for his rigid teaching style, to the point where he told Swami Chinmayananda that he would only say everything once, and at anytime he would ask questions to him. Even with these extreme terms, Swami Chinmayananda stayed with Tapovan maharaj until the very end of 8 years. Being a journalist at heart, Swami Chinmayananda wanted to make this pure knowledge available to all people of all backgrounds, even though Tapovan Maharaj had advised against it. It was then that with Tapovan Maharaj's blessings, he left the Himalayas to teach the world the knowledge of Vedanta throughout the world.

Swamy Chinmayananda played an important role in the formation of Vishva Hindu Parishad in 1964. He became the first president of Vishva Hindu Parishad and served VHP in the role of a spiritual advisor thereafter. During his forty years of travelling and teaching, Swami Chinmayananda opened numerous centres and ashrams worldwide, he also built many schools, hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. His interest in helping the villagers with basic necessities lead to the eventual creation of a rural development project, known as the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development or CORD. Its National Director, Dr. Kshama Metre was recently awarded the Padma Shree National award in Social Work.

Swami Chinmayananda died on 3 August 1993 in San Diego, California. His work has resulted in the creation of an international organization called Chinmaya Mission. This mission serves Swami Chinmayananda's vision of reinvigorating India's rich cultural heritage, and making Vedanta accessible to everybody regardless of age, nationality, or religious background.



  • Discourses on Taittiriya Upanishad. Chinmaya Publication Trust, 1962.
  • Discourses on the Kethopanishad, Chinmaya Book Trust, 1965.
  • Bhaja Govindam, tr. Brahmacharini Sharada. Chinmaya Publications Trust, 1967.
  • Kindle Life. Chinmaya Publications Trust, 1969
  • Love-divine (Narada Bhakti Sutra): the Highest art of making-love to the lord of the heart; (discourses). Chinmaya Publications Trust, 1970
  • Discourses on Aitareya Upanishad, Chinmaya Publications Trust, 1972
  • Meditation & Life. Chinmaya Publications West, 1992. ISBN 1880687003.
  • Discourses in Prasnopanishad. Chinmaya Publications Trust, 1974.
  • The Holy Geeta, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 1976.
  • Discourses on Kaivalyopanishad, Chinmaya Publications Trust, 1978.
  • The Art of Man-making: Talks on the Bhagavad Geeta. Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 1978.
  • Discourses on Isavasya Upanishad. Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 1980.
  • Thousand Ways to the Transcendental: Vishnu Sahasranaama. Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 1983.
  • My Trek Through Uttarkhand. Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 1985.

Further reading

  • Journey of a Master: Swami Chinmayananda, the Man, the Path, the Teaching, by Nancy Patchen. Asian Humanities Press, 1991. ISBN 0895819228, 9780895819222.
  • Ageless Guru: The Inspirational Life of Swami Chinmayananda, by Radhika Krishnakumar. Eeshwar, 1998. ISBN 8186982566. 9788186982563.
  • At Every Breath, A Teaching: Stories About the Life and Teachings of Swami Chinmayananda, by Rudite J Emir. Chinmaya Publications, 1999. ISBN 1880687313.
  • The Role of Swami Chinmayananda in Revitalization of Hinduism and Reinterpretation of Christianity, by Jagdhari Masih. Punthi Pustak, 2000. ISBN 8186791205, 9788186791202.
  • The Penguin Swami Chinmayananda Reader, by Anita Raina Thapan. Viking (India), 2004. ISBN 0670058114.[1]
  • Articles by Swami Chinmayananda
  • CORD
  • Swami Chinmayananda's own written account of his life - written in response to a letter he received in 1966.


  1. ^ Letters

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