The Founder – Swami Tejomayananda
Swami Tejomayananda is the Founder and Chancellor Emeritus of the Vishwavidyapeeth and Former Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide.gurujiIn his role as Founder, Guruji sees the launch of the Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth as a logical extension of the Chinmaya Mission’s core role of teaching and sharing the wisdom of the Indian knowledge traditions. For over six decades, in the unique institutions called the Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, Chinmaya Mission has focused on training students to become monks who undertake the larger role of spreading the message of Vedanta to society. Monks are trained formally in an intense two-year course of study in the traditional Gurukula mode. Sandeepany Sadhanalayas have existed outside the formal University system and enabled the Chinmaya Mission to sustain and carry the essence of the Upanishads across the world.Building on sixty years of running over hundred Chinmaya Vidyalayas, prestigious primary and secondary schools, across the country, Guruji was convinced that the time was right for a Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, a University for Sanskrit and Indic Traditions. With its focus on a niche area, the Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth will bring excellence, subject matter expertise and an intense commitment to the higher purpose of nation building to tertiary education.
Treading the Spiritual Path
Born Sudhakar Kaitwade to a Maharashtrian family in Madhya Pradesh, Swami Tejomayananda abandoned a career in physics to take to spiritual life. A month before he was to complete his post-graduation, he saw a banner announcing Swami Chinmayananda’s talk on Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad-gita. Curious, Guruji walked in. Entranced by Swami Chinmayananda’s exposition on Karma Yoga, the young listener came back to the lectures every day. By the end of the talks, certain of his calling, he joined the Chinmaya Mission’s residential Vedanta course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai.
Sudhakar was initiated in 1975 into the monastic order as Brahmachari Vivek Chaitanya by Swami Chinmayananda. Br. Vivek Chaitanya served as Acharya at the Chinmaya Mission Centres in Bhopal, Kanpur and Sidhabari, where he gained a reputation for the precision and clarity of his expositions on the Vedanta and for his gentle humour. Soon after, he was assigned to conduct the first residential Vedanta course in Hindi at Sandeepany Himalayas in Sidhabari.
Eight years later, on 21 October, 1983, Swami Chinmayananda initiated Br. Vivek Chaitanya into sannyasa, bestowing upon him the name Swami Tejomayananda.
Swami Tejomayananda was posted to the Chinmaya Mission’s U.S. Centre in San Jose, California, when Swami Chinmayananda attained Mahasamadhi on August 3, 1993, in San Diego, California. At this point, Swami Tejomayananda was appointed Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide. He adopted the mantle of leader of the Mission with a pioneering spirit coupled with intense action.
Under Swami Tejomayananda’s dynamic leadership, Swami Chinmayananda’s vision, mission and dynamism have manifested and expanded through numerous projects. Chief among them are the following:
- Chinmaya International Residential School in Coimbatore
- Chinmaya Centre for World Understanding in New Delhi
- Expansion of the Sanskrit research projects at Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF) near Cochin
- Chinmaya Heritage Centre in Chennai
- Expansion of the Chinmaya Mission Hospital in Bengaluru
- Chinmaya Vibhooti Vision Centre near Pune
- Upanishad Ganga, a 52-episode tele-serial on Sanatana Dharma
- Swami Chinmayananda’s Birth Centenary Celebrations (2015-2016)
- The Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth with headquarters at Chinmaya International Foundation and with two campuses:
- The Chinmaya Eswar Gurukula for Sanskrit and Indic Traditions in Veliyanad, near Ernakulam in Kerala.
- The Chinmaya Naada Bindu Gurukula for Performing Arts in Kolwan, near Pune, in Maharashtra
Along with his work as Head of the Mission, Swami Tejomayananda also conducts Jnana Yajnas, spiritual retreats and camps, talks for youth and children, and corporate seminars for business leaders in different cities and countries. He teaches Vedanta in simple language that everyone understands.
His love and devotion to his Guru, to Vedanta, and his loving manner, his phenomenal ability to continue relationships, his intellectual clarity, joyful wit, simplicity and open availability draw people of all ages and backgrounds to him, seeking his spiritual guidance.
Of his various roles, Swami Tejomayananda is in his element when he is teaching. As an Acharya in Kanpur, Lucknow and Bhopal, Guruji started with conducting Vedanta classes in Hindi for Chinmaya Mission members who were mostly householders as well as a small group of youngsters.
He has a native speaker’s felicitous turn of phrase in English, Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit, and his lectures, marked by his unique sense of humour, draw alike the young and the old.
Guruji’s teaching style emphasizes the back-to-basics approach. He avoids hyperbole and complicated symbolism to cut through to the core of the text. Repeatedly, yet effortlessly, he demonstrates to the seeker the only truth that Vedanta reveals ceaselessly – 'I am That'.
This elegant approach is evident in his Vedantic compositions in Sanskrit as well as his commentaries in English. The beauty of his teaching style is evident in the number of lay seekers who flock to the classes that Guruji conducts for the students of the Vedanta Course.
Guruji’s talks on the Ramcharitamanas, a popular retelling of the epic Ramayana by the 15th century poet-saint Sant Tulsidas, and Sri Veda Vyasa’s Srimad Bhagavatam are world-renowned, highlighting his spiritual wisdom and masterful, vivid storytelling. Differing from the regular, he explores and expounds on the Vedantic aspects of the texts, both of which are otherwise considered devotional texts.
Guruji has committed himself wholly to teaching and writing in the years to come.
Guruji’s devotion often spills over spontaneously, deeply etched in his innumerable musical renditions – many of which he has composed himself. He has recorded several albums with original music and lyrics. Swami Tejomayananda’s talks, written commentaries and original music, poetry and text compositions reveal spiritual insight, incisive Vedantic scholarship and universal harmony.
His book Hindu Culture: An Introduction has been adopted as an academic text by some American schools. Another popular book, Graceful Ageing, has been incorporated as a text into a Chinmaya Mission course for senior citizens.
His original Vedantic texts in Sanskrit include:
- Bhakti Sudhā
- Jñāna Sāra
- Manah Śodhanam
- Ādarsh Jīvana or Life of Vision
Books authored in English:
- Hindu Culture: An Introduction
- Meditation A Vision
- Right Thinking
- Graceful Ageing
Commentaries on the following texts:
- Kapila Gītā
- Yoga Vāsiṣṭha Sāra Saṅgrahaḥ
- Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad
- Amṛtabindu Upaniṣad
- Gaṇapati Atharvashiṛsha Upaniṣad
- Ādi Śaṅkarācārya’s Dṛg-Dṛśya Viveka
- Ādi Śaṅkarācārya’s Tattva-bodha
- Tattva-vivekaḥ – A commentary on Chapter 1 of Vidyāraṇya Svāmi’s Pañcadaśī
- Panchadashi – A commentary on Chapters 5, 10 and 15 of Vidyāraṇya Svāmi’s Pañchadaśī
- Ramana Maharshi’s Upadeśa Sāra
- Ramana Maharshi’s Śaddarśnam
- The Vision of Rāmāyaṇa
- Hanumān Chālisā
- Vision of the Bhagavad Gītā
- The Game of Life
- Right Thinking
- And many more…
Books authored in Hindi:
- Śrimad Bhāgavat Pravachan
- Dhyāna Yoga
Books by Swami Chinmayananda translated into Hindi:
- Holy Geeta