Our Acharyas (Teachers)
H.H. SWAMI TAPOVAN MAHRAJ (1889-1957)
Swami Tapovan Maharaj of Uttarkashi was the “Source” where from Swami Chinmayananda (The Founder of the Chinmaya Movement) acquired the Knowledge of Vedanta (Science of Religion).Swami Tapovan was himself the ideal who had personally understood (through deep study, dispassion and contemplation) the relationship between the biological processes of the body and the human psyche.In a spirit of deep renunciation, the infinitely gentle poet in him, saw Humanity and Nature as one vast “plant”, needing only “Love” for its highest fulfillment.
Intimate communion with Nature (while he walked peaks and valleys of the Himalayas for countless years), gave Swami Tapovan the boundless spiritual reverence. He revealed Nature’s secrets in his “travelogue” in two Sanskrit masterpieces, “Himagiri Viharam” and “Kailasa Yatra”.
The masterpiece, without a doubt, is “Ishwara Darshan”, which is his autobiographical “sketch” – it is an absorbing account of a search for the Truth .. Its scientific clarity is subtle, because the treatise gives insight into how the saints of the East attain self mastery;
H.H. SWAMI CHINMAYANANDAJI (1916 – 1993)
There are many saints and sages in the history of India. There are also many gurus. But visionaries are only a few. Sri Swami Chinmayananda was not only the sage of modern times, not only a guru but also a great visionary, whose work touched not only India but the whole world. From time to time, the world witnesses birth of a Yuga Purusha who comes for the purpose of leading the suffering humanity to the path of Dharma.
In 1992 Swami Chinmayananda gave an address in the United Nations titled “Planet in Crisis”. Just before the Mahasamadhi Swamiji was recognized as a world-renown teacher of Vedanta and Hindu religious leader. He was selected as a President of Hindu religion for the Centennial Conference of the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago, where Swami Vivekananda gave His address a hundred years ago. He was also honored in Washington, DC, at “World Vision 2000”, a conference of religious leaders sponsored by Hindu Vishwa Parishad on August 6-8, 1993.
The award was to be presented to Swamiji for His selfless service to humanity and as his extraordinary achievement in creating a renaissance of spiritual and cultural values in the country of His birth, India. Unfortunately, Swamiji was not able to appear for the last two functions as He attained Mahasamadhi on August 3rd.
Swami Chinmayananda, the greatest Missionary and the visionary of our times left His bodily form in San Diego on August 3rd but His mission will continue, carried out by all of us with the zeal and love that He taught us for years. His body was taken to India and buried in Sidhbari ashram, but His teachings and His achievements will live forever.
H.H. SWAMI TEJOMAYANANDAJI
Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide
Swami Tejomayananda is fulfilling the vision that Pujya Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda charted. As he puts it “I am not in Swamiji’s shoes, I am at his feet.” He was introduced to Vedanta early in his life. Coming under the benign influence of Pujya Gurudev, H.H.Swami Chinmayananda, he learnt, absorbed and started living the message of the scriptures that his master so vociferously advocated.An accomplished and internationally recognized scholar, Vedantic knowledge for decades through lectures, Swami Tejomayananda has been spreading seminars and spiritual retreats. He has been the Acharya at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in India and the USA.
Fluent in Sanskirt, Swamiji is the author of original Sanskirt compositions as well. He has written commentaries on scriptural texts, translated Swami Chinmayananda’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. Swamiji’s discourses on the Holy Geeta, Ramayana and Srimad Bhagavatam draw a huge crowd of devotees. Swami Tejomayananda excels in expounding a wide spectrum of Hindu scriptures, from Ramayana to the Bhagvad Gita Srimad Bhagavatam and the Upanishads, the source book of Vedanta.
He takes very keen interest in the Vedanta course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya. He is actively participating in the selection of students, on design of course curriculum, imparting knowledge to the students on important texts, interacting with the students by periodical meetings with them and the Acharya.
Mesmerized by Pujya Gurudev, Swami Shantananda in sixties, then Br. Raghavan, went to serve the Master for almost two years as his traveling secretary. After completing his Vedanta course in Mumbai, Swamiji traveled to Taiwan where he successfully managed his own business while teaching Vedanta part-time. Since 1992, when he was given Sannyas by Pujya Gurudev, Swamiji has dedicated his life to the full time teaching of Vedanta in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York area.
While in Taiwan Swamiji was instrumental in building Chinmaya Mission in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Later in the US, Swamiji led the creation of Chinmaya Kedar in Langhorn PA, and then Chinmaya Vrindavan in Cranbury NJ. He has over years traveled all across the North America doing Gnana Yagna on Upanishads and the Bhagwad Geeta. In 2001, Swamiji undertook and completed 50 Geeta Gnana Yagnas all around the world as his personal tribute to Param Pujya Gurudev, during that Golden Jubilee year.Swamiji is also the President of Chinmaya Mission West which in turn oversees the activities of over 48 Mission centers in the US and Canada.