Swami Tapovan Maharaj
Swami Tapovan Maharaj was that pristine glacier of Self-knowledge through whom flowed the Ganga of Vedantic Wisdom of Swami Chinmayananda, the architect of the Chinmaya Movement. Swami Tapovanam was a saint of the highest order, a consummate Vedantin, strict teacher, a compassionate mentor, and a poet whose every thought throbbed with ecstatic awareness, and a sage of unsurpassed wisdom and tranquillity. That Truth, which Swami Tapovanam realized and indicated in all his teachings, is beyond words, as much as he himself was. Swami Chinmayananda said of his Guru, “He was a God without temple, a Veda without language”.
Born in 1889 in Kerala, India, Chippu Kutty, as Swami Tapovanam was known, exhibited a marked partiality for spiritual life. Too intelligent to be trained within the formal learning systems of his time, he sought a less materialistic and more of spiritual education. By the age of 17, he proved himself to be a devout Vedantin, and a linguistic genius and litterateur par excellence; mastering both Malayalam and Sanskrit.He adopted the sannyasi’s religious and serene lifestyle long before his initiation into the ochre robe of sannyasa.
The Spiritual Quest
In his late 20s, unable to control his spiritual hunger, Chippu Kutty left home in search of Truth. For seven years he travelled widely, devoutly studying Vedic scriptures and observing austerities. Swami Janardhana Giri of Kailash Ashram in Rishikesh initiated him into sannyasa with the name, Swami Tapovanam “forest of austerities”. Swami Tapovanam chose to live in the then small, remote mountainous area of Uttarkashi in Uttaranchal. His hermitage called Tapovan Kutir, a meagre one-room thatched hut, in front of which the sacred River Ganga flows, would soon acquire great fame the world over for its spiritual luminescence.
The Teacher Filled with divine Light, the compassionate sage shared words of wisdom with all devotees who came to him in search of spiritual knowledge, but rarely did he accept resident disciples. Monks, householders, pilgrims, and seekers from all stages and fields of life continually thronged to Uttarkashi to be in the presence of, and learn from, the Self-realized master and erudite scholar. When Swami Tapovanam did accept a resident disciple, the latter was trained under the strictest conditions. There were few who could undergo and survive such hardships, but those seekers who did, were blessed by the Master with supreme Enlightenment. As a jivanmukta or Self-realized master, Swami Tapovanam was a lover of Nature and saw the supreme Lord in all expressions, within and without. In his inspiring, poetic works of Himagiri Viharam (Wanderings in the Himalayas) and Kailasa Yatra (Pilgrimage to Kailasa) are seen the full flow of his blissful and soulful renderings of Nature, and the profundity of his subtle observations and reflections. However, it is his mystical autobiography, Ishvara Darshan (Vision of the Lord), that sages and seekers the world over have stamped as his masterpiece
Swami Tejomayananda 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.
Born into a Maharashtrian family on June 30, 1950, in Madhya Pradesh, India, Sudhakar Kaitwade was not spiritually inclined as such. Sudhakar’s revolutionary change came about the day he was attracted to a large banner announcing Swami Chinmayananda’s talks on Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, 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. On October 21, 1983, Swami Chinmayananda initiated him into sannyasa, bestowing upon him the name, Swami Tejomayananda.
Swami Tejomayanandaji has served as Acharyas in various Mission Centres in India and abroad. He has conducted Vedanta courses in English and Hindi. 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 organizational vision. Progressive in thinking and precise in decision-making, he has inspired and executed many notable, innovative projects, including the Chinmaya Vibhooti Vision Centre near Pune. 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. He has translated many of Pujya Gurudev’s works into Hindi. His original Vedantic texts include Bhakti Sudha, Jnana Sarah, Manah Shodhanam, Dhyanasvarupam and Jivanasutrani. As a laudable devotional singer, he has recorded several albums with original music and lyrics.
In an era rife with scepticism and confusion about matters spiritual, Swami Swaroopananda is a rare voice that blends authenticity with accessibility; theory with self- practice; logic with heart.
Formerly the Regional Head of Chinmaya Mission Australia, United Kingdom, Middle East, Africa and Far East, and presently Chancellor of the Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth Trust (University for Sanskrit and Indic Traditions) and Chairman 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 Sadhanalaya, 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.
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