Wednesday December 19, 2018

Swami Chinmayananda: The man who found Supreme Consciousness through Vedanta

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By Gaurav Sharma

Words such as, ‘India is free, but are Indians free ?’ have a deep impact on the psyche and compel one to reflect upon the reality of life.

Proclamations, such as “Without the touch of life (read God), a sinner cannot sin neither can a monk meditate,” are more than just dry philosophical words. They are powerful realizations, which can leave the believer, the seeker and the non-believer, all at once, bemused with their own existence.

One does not require an astrologer to fathom that the aforementioned words are affirmations of a monk, in this case, Swami Chinmayananda, a Vedantist, a teacher, and the founder of Chinmaya mission.

Well, you might be wondering that there are countless Swamis donning the ochre robe nowadays, then what is so special about Swami Chinmayananda?

For starters, the man holds quite a few parallels with the modern-educated-man of the today’s age: Highly sceptical about the existence of a higher power, yet immensely curious to know more about himself. Extremely talented yet restless.

One can also safely assume that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases coins commemorating the birth centenary of Swami Chinmayananda, the person must hold some importance.

Born as Balakrishna Menon in 1916 in Ernakulam, Kerala, Swami Chinmayananda was a student of Lucknow University. As a freedom fighter, who was jailed by the British in 1941, Balakrishna had to bear the torture for rebellion and for supporting the cause of freedom.

He was virtually left to die by barbaric British soldiers when a friend’s family managed to scrape him through the grip of death. Soon, however, the death of that very friend set the ball rolling for the future Swami to ponder over life, its meaning and purpose.

Almost immediately, he joined the National Herald as a journalist, and his slick and powerful words started commanding respect from both the masses and the intelligentsia. The paper’s circulation also snowballed to record highs, courtesy Balakrishna’s meaningful articles.

Still, however, something was pricking Balakrishna inside out. Small gestures, such as the prosperous ones bickering over a few extra rupees with rickshawallas, but offering a sumptuous amount of money to the Sadhu, got him utterly disillusioned with holy men.

With deep resentment against such Sadhus, whom Balakrishna thought were nothing but mere charlatans, he set off to Rishikesh to expose the myth of religion. There, he encountered Swami Sivananda, under whom he was again conflicted with the following of meaningless rituals.

Still, the seeker in Balakrishna persisted over the rationalist. He gave up his job and earned the name of Chinmayananda, meaning Bliss or Supreme Consciousness. Soon, he moved further north, where he studied the scriptures for almost 10 years under the tutelage of Swami Tapovan.

The metamorphosis from an unusual non-believer to an inquisitive seeker and finally to a Vedantist is remarkable transition, which renders the life of Swami Chinmayanada unique in the annals of spirituality.

And, he did not stop there. Hardly, any time had passed after his transformation that he launched a spiritual renaissance movement by the name of Chinmaya Mission. The mission, which has branches spread in over 300 centers in India and abroad, conducts spiritual, educational and charitable activities that have revolutionized the lives of innumerable people.

Chinmaya Mission aims to spread Advaita Vedanta, the Vedic philosophy expounded by the 8th century saint Sankaracharya.

Swami Chinmayanada’s life is a testimony to the fact that we all are seekers, in search of bliss.

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Narendra Modi Lays Foundation Stones For Thane Metro, Mass Housing Project

Present on the occasion were Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis besides other dignitaries and he later departed for Pune to lay the foundation stone for a Metro project there

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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

Virtually kicking off the BJP campaign for 2019 elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted the Congress governments for various lapses while laying foundation stones for Thane district Metro Rail and a mass housing project here on Tuesday.

In Kalyan, Modi performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Metro and the Dahisar-Mira-Bhayander Metro corridor projects to ease the transportation problems in these bustling towns, at an estimated cost of around Rs 33,000 crore.

Simultaneously, he also laid the foundation stone for an ambitious project to construct 90,000 homes for poor sections of society under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY) to be completed within three years.

Speaking on the occasion, he said Mumbai and Thane are expanding and exerting huge pressures on the local resources, especially road and rail transports.

To mitigate the sufferings of the masses, many efforts have been taken up to improve the transport systems of the two cities in the past four-and-half years of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, he said.

“India is the world’s only country where urbanisation is taking place at a fast pace. Mumbai is the centre of economic activities and will further expand in the coming time. Hence transportation is a vital link to the development of any city or the country,” Modi pointed out.

Targeting the previous Congress government, he said the first Metro project in Mumbai was taken up in 2006 and after eight years, only 11 km was started in 2014.

According to LocalCircles, each person who voted in the survey is registered with the portal with their detailed information and in many cases they shared their residential address.
PM lays stones for Thane Metro, mass housing project, IANS

“We don’t know why it was stuck. After 2014, we decided to increase the pace of laying Metro lines and the scale in the form of a Metro Net in the city. It will add 35 km within the next three years and between 2022 and 2024, Mumbai will have have around 275 km of Metro network,” Modi said.

To mark the Platinum Jubilee (75 years) of India’s Independence, he said the government is moving to ensure that every family in India has a permanent home to live.

“The goal here is to build 90,000 new homes for the poor which I am told will be ready in three years. Maharashtra will get 800,000 new houses for the weaker sections under the PMAY. Under this, we are directly crediting Rs 250,000 loan into the bank accounts, besides helping the lower and middle classes to get bank housing loans,” Modi said.

He said with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) getting notified in most states, Maharashtra became the first to implement it, and it has resulted in huge transparency in all housing deals, which did not exist in the past 70 years.

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“Around 35,000 real estate projects across India and 27,000 real estate agents have been registered under RERA. According to a report, the speed of buying new homes has doubled in the past seven-eight months compared to the previous year,” Modi pointed out.

He reiterated that in the final four years of the previous UPA government, only 2.55 million homes were construction, but in the past four years of the present NDA government, 12.50 million houses have been constructed under the PMAY.

Present on the occasion were Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis besides other dignitaries and he later departed for Pune to lay the foundation stone for a Metro project there. (IANS)