The greatest achievement of Pujya Gurudev in my view is that he touched the hearts of millions of people all over the world and transformed their lives for better. Even though people evaluate a great man's work in terms of the number of devotees or institutions founded by that person, the real achievement lies in inspiring people to rise above their weaknesses and strive for greater perfection in life.
In this book "Swami Chinmayananda As I know him" we get a glimpse into the above mentioned aspect of Swamiji's work in the words of his devotees. I sincerely appreciate the hard work put forth our Chinmaya Yuva Kendra students in interviewing these devotees and compiling their thoughts.
May Pujya Gurudev's blessing be ever with all.
Swami Chinmayananda is one of the Greatest Mahatmas of this era-a contemporary spiritualist who worked tirelessly for the cause of Hinduism and practised what can be described as dynamic Vedanta.
As a student, Shri Balakrishna Menon actively participated in the struggle for Indian Independence. He took part in a range of political activities in Kashmir, Punjab and other parts of India.
As a journalist, he contributed to "The Free Press" and "National Herald". His radical and aggressive articles were highly acclaimed. He used the newspapers as a medium to voice his critiques and to suggest solutions for India's problems. His writing also reflected his sensitivity to the plight of the poor and the under-privileged.
Inspired by the validity of Vedanta, Shri Balakrishanan was initiated into sanyasa by Swami Sivananda and became Swami Chinmayananda. He then studied under Swami Tapovan Maharaj at Uttarkasi and came down to the plains to spread the message of the Rishis.
In doing this, besides having had a direct influence on the Bramacharis and Swamis of the Chinmaya Mission, Gurudev has also had a great impact on the lives of common people people like us who lead normal, ordinary lives, never expecting miracles. Gurudev has touched our lives and left His impression there. Directly or indirectly-His magnificent personality, His compelling voice, His boundless knowledge and His inspiring speeches have inspired us, changed us and propelled our lives in the right direction
to rise above the ordinary, to look beyond, to seek the Ultimate.
This book is a small attempt by The All India Chinmaya Yuva Kendra to spread His message to keep His flame alive. Total personal attention and hence, even after a dialogue lasting only a few seconds, the devotees found a surge of joy flooding their hearts, a sense of satisfaction pervading their beings.
In the past years, whenever Pujya Gurudev came to Bombay. I was fortunate enough to meet Him and observe Him. On all occasions, I found that hundreds of devotees came to meet Him. Many came as devotees attracted by His aura. A few came to seek the Truth. To all of them, He was a Master revealing the science and art of religion, as per their individual needs.
In the ensuing pages, you will find refreshing experiences narrated lovingly by the devotees. We thank them all for parting with their treasures. The CHYK (Chinmaya Yuva Kendra) members started this project when Swamiji was physically present amongst us and continued the work even more vigorously after His Mahasamadhi. They we truly His instruments and deserve our congratulations. Shri Sandeep Verma who began the project with zeal and the Data Bank co-ordinator of CHYK, Kum Sujatha K.J. who carried forward the work of compiling and editing, deserve our heart-felt thanks. But for Sujatha's tireless efforts, we would not have got this inspiring reading material.
May this book inspire the reader to live a noble and virtuous life.
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