Meet a Guru: Swami Chinmayananda

The followers of Swami Chinmayananda founded the Chinmaya Mission.

Background

The Swami was a Vedantic teacher who, like Easwaran, got a degree in English literature. He met Ramana Maharshi (there will be a post on him later) in college and was inspired to begin thinking about the meaning of life.

Chinmayananda was involved in the movement to liberate India  and spent several months in jail, coming very close to death. Eventually he studied Vedanta in a school in the Himalayas and after several years was allowed to take the Vedantic teaching out to a wider audience.

He died in 1993 at the age of 77.

Teaching

Mission Statement
To provide to individuals, from any background, the wisdom of Vedanta and the practical means for spiritual growth and happiness, enabling them to become positive contributors to society.

They have a focus on the path of knowledge/study and are Vedantic. A nice thing about them is that they are known for being welcoming of people from all backgrounds.

They actually have services, which is somewhat unusual for a Hindu organization. I go to a separate temple for praying to the Murtis. At Chinmaya there is chanting, singing, and a lesson from the local Swami. There are volunteer work days and children’s programs teaching strong character. There are study groups to sign up for where you can meet at someone’s house and talk about scriptures.

My Experience

I have been a member for a couple of years and I’ve found them very welcoming. Though it is still mostly Indian, I do see one or two other white people on a regular basis!

Its methods and philosophy suit me very well, but I’m sure it’s not right for everyone.

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* I am not endorsing any of the teachers highlighted in this feature

 

 

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.


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