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 CHINMAYANANDA (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 TEJOMAYANANDA
Swami Tejomayananda is the former Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide, a position he held since 1993 after Swami Chinmayananda attained Mahasamadhi. If Swami Chinmayananda served the cause of Vedanta with his service, knowledge and pioneering qualities, Swami Tejomayananda – fondly addressed as Guruji – completed that with his natural attitude of devotion. This is richly and abundantly evident in his talks, his singing, and his demeanour.
But the gentleness of devotion arrived riding on the back of an intense education in physics, going up to a Master’s degree. Born, Sudhakar Kaitwade to a Maharashtrian family in Madhya Pradesh, this physicist had a close encounter that changed the velocity, direction and path of his life.
H.H. SWAMI SWAROOPANANDA
Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide
Formerly the Regional Head of Chinmaya Mission Australia, United Kingdom, Middle East, Africa and Far East, and presently Chairman of the Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth Trust (University for Sanskrit and Indic Traditions) and Director of the Chinmaya International Residential School in Coimbatore, South India, Swami Swaroopananda has now been bestowed by Swami Tejomayananda the privilege to also serve as the Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide.
Born and brought up in the bustling commercial capital of India, Swamiji had always been convinced that beyond life’s superficial, everyday joys and sorrows, there was something more enduring and satisfying. As a child he heard from his grandmother many religious stories based on the great Indian epics and the history of saints. These stories suddenly came to life, acquiring new meaning and depth, when as an adolescent he encountered the preeminent Master of Vedanta, Swami Chinmayananda.
His heart completely moved and inspired, in 1984 Swami Swaroopananda gave up his family’s thriving business in Hong Kong to undergo intensive training under Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Tejomayananda at Sandeepany, Mumbai. He was initiated into the monastic order in 1992. Since then, he has touched thousands of lives across the world, and his tremendous work in bringing out the essential wisdom and underlying unity of all religions has garnered him a place among the vanguards of self-development philosophy.
यस्य देवे परा भक्तिः यथा देवे तथा गुरौ | तस्यैते कथिता ह्यर्थाः प्रकाशन्ते महात्मनः |
प्रकाशन्ते महात्मन इति || श्वेताश्वतर उपनिषद् 6.23 ||
Swami Shantanandaji is well known for his unparalleled devotion to Lord Krishna and for his absolute devotion to his Guru, Swami Chinmayanandaji. Due to this unique qualification that Swamiji possesses, many devotees come to him from diverse backgrounds, cultures and geographies, and discover Self-knowledge through the study of major Upanishads, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Ramacharit Manas, and Narayaneeyam (to name a few).
Swamiji served his Guru as a traveling secretary for two years and became sannyasin in 1992. True to his devotion to his Guru, Swamiji himself traveled extensively, taught near and far, and has devotees in every part of the world. As every devotee that has interacted with Swamiji knows, he is a member of everyone’s family, and everyone is a member of his Chinmaya family. Swamiji is an authority on the scriptures, yet remains unassuming and easily approachable as he connects with people across generations, languages, and faiths.
Swamiji was instrumental in building the Chinmaya Mission center in Hong Kong and many centers in the USA. He is the current resident Swamiji at the Chinmaya Mission Tri-State Center. He is also also the president of Chinmaya Mission West and oversees the activities of over 60 Mission centers in the USA and Canada.