Swami Tapovan Maharaj
Swami Tapovan Maharaj was the Guru of Swami Chinmayananda, the architect of the Chinmaya Movement.
About Swami Tapovan Maharaj
Childhood And Youth
The Spiritual Quest
Swami Chinmayananda, the founder of Chinmaya Mission spread the sublime knowledge of the Upanishads to modern man.
About Swami Chinmayananda
The life of Swami Chinmayananda was one of extraordinary spiritual strength, immeasurable love and tireless service. In less than half a century, he has left behind a worldwide organisation, hundreds of institutions, and millions of devotees. This was all aimed at a single theme, discovering the Eternal within.
Swami Chinmayananda was born on May 8th, 1916 as Balakrishna Menon (Balan) in Ernakulam, Kerala. His family was very devout in their religious life and had regular contact with holy men. This influence moulded Balan’s mental and moral make-up preparing him for the mission of his life ahead. Balan excelled with his education graduating in Science, Political Science, Law and English Literature at Lucknow University. A man of strong ideas and idealism he entered the field of journalism where he felt he could influence political, economic and social reform in India. At this time he met Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh and became very interested in the spiritual path. Here he found the answers that he was seeking.
Swami Chinmayananda Is Born
Balakrishna Menon took monkhood from Swami Sivananda to become Swami Chinmayananda – the one who is saturated in Bliss and Consciousness. Swami Sivananda saw the potential in Swami Chinmayananda and sent him to study under the greatest Teacher in the Himalayas – Swami Tapovan Maharaj. Swami Chinmayananda studied for 12 years under Swami Tapovan’s guidance, leading a very austere and rigorous life. Then he felt a deep inner urge to share his knowledge and wisdom with the mass of humanity. He descended to the plains and held his first yagna in Pune to a small group of three people. This humble beginning rapidly expanded to more than 500 series of lectures given to audiences numbering thousands.
Rapid Growth Of Chinmaya Mission
During his 40 years of traveling and teaching, Gurudev opened numerous centres and centres worldwide, he also built many schools, hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. As well as reinvigorating India’s rich cultural heritage, Swami Chinmayananda made Vedanta accessible to everybody regardless of age, nationality, or religious background. On 3 August 1993, in San Diego, USA, Swami Chinmayananda attained Mahasamadhi. He worked tirelessly to the very last moment and created an international spiritual revolution.
Since 1993, Swami Tejomayananda has worked tirelessly to fulfill the vision of his Master, initiating major projects to advance Swami Chinmayananda’s vision, teachings and glory.
Guruji, as he is affectionately known, is a living portrait of simplicity with depth, humility with courage, and wisdom with devotion. Always jovial, smiling, and welcoming, he is readily accessible and approachable to all who seek the knowledge of Vedanta from him.
Childhood And Education
Born into a Maharashtrian family on June 30, 1950, in Madhya Pradesh, India, Sudhakar Kaitwade was not spiritually inclined as such. At the age of 20, a year away from getting his Master’s degree in Physics, Sudhakar intended to pursue a teaching career.
Renunciation And Spiritual Quest
Sudhakar’s revolutionary change came about the day he was attracted to a large banner announcing Swami Chinmayananda’s talks on Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta, Chapter 3. A couple of talks later, he was so thoroughly inspired that he sought the permission of his mother to join the Chinmaya Mission’s residential Vedanta course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai.
Upon completion of the Vedanta course in 1975, Sudhakar was initiated into the Chinmaya Mission’s monastic order of acharyas (teachers) as Brahmachari Vivek Chaitanya. Over the years, he served as acharya at the Mission centres in Bhopal, Kanpur, and Sidhbari. He conducted the first residential Vedanta course in Hindi at ‘Sandeepany Himalayas’ in Sidhbari. On October 21, 1983, Swami Chinmayananda initiated him into sannyasa, bestowing upon him the name, Swami Tejomayananda. He was then appointed as acharya of the Sandeepany Sadhanalaya ashram in Mumbai, where he taught two consecutive residential Vedanta courses in English. In 1989, Swami Tejomayananda was posted to Chinmaya Mission’s U.S. Centre in San Jose, California, where he remained as acharya until 1993. After Pujya Gurudev attained Mahasamadhi he became the Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide.
As the Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide, Swami Tejomayananda-now known in the Mission as ‘Pujya Guruji’- has continuously and dynamically pursued his guru’s grand spiritual and organisational vision. Progressive in thinking and precise in decision-making, he has inspired and executed many notable, innovative projects, including the Chinmaya International Residential School in Coimbatore, the Chinmaya Centre of World Understanding in New Delhi, the Chinmaya International Foundation near Cochin, the Chinmaya Heritage Centre in Chennai, the expansion of the Chinmaya Mission Hospital in Bangalore and the Chinmaya Vibhooti Vision Centre and Chinmaya Naada Bindu music and dance school in Kolwan, Maharashtra. In overseeing the Mission’s global activities and projects, Swami Tejomayananda’s tours around the world are extensive and continuous. Throughout his travels, he conducts gyana yagnas (3-7 day Vedanta lecture series) in different cities and various countries every week. His gentle manner, devotional heart, intellectual clarity, joyful wit, and open availability have earned him intergenerational appeal and endeared him to millions across the globe.
Fluent in Hindi, Marathi, English, and Sanskrit, Swami Tejomayananda’s talks, written commentaries, and original music, poetry, and text compositions exude lofty spiritual insights, incisive Vedantic scholarship, and universal harmony. His original Vedantic texts include Bhakti Sudha, Jnana Sarah, Manah Shodhanam, Dhyanasvarupam and Jivanasutrani. His acclaimed commentaries include Adi Sankara’s Drg-Drshya Viveka, Ramana Maharshi’s Upadesha Saram, Kapila Gita, and Yoga Vasistha. He has also translated into Hindi Swami Chinmayananda’s English commentaries on Shrimad Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. His book ‘Hindu Culture: An Introduction’ has been adopted as an academic text by some American schools. As a laudable devotional singer, he has recorded several albums with original music and lyrics. His profound, poignant, and pictorial talks on Sant Tulsidasa’s Ramacharitamanasa and Veda Vyasa’s Shrimad Bhagavatam are world-renowned, highlighting his spiritual wisdom and masterful storytelling.