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His Holiness SWAMI CHINMAYANANDA

Swami Chinmayananda, is the disciple of Swami Tapovanam of Uttarkashi and a world-renowned teacher of Advaita Vedanta. Seeing the widespread spiritual and social degradation in India, Swamiji decided to come down from the hills and plant the knowledge of Advaita among the people in the cities and towns, for it was Advaita that had brought fulfilment in his own life.

This dissemination of knowledge was done through the medium of ‘Jnana Yajna’ - a series of discourses on the sacred texts ranging across the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and other texts from the knowledge tradition to which Advaita belongs. The first such Yajna was held in December 1951, at a small temple in Pune, Maharashtra. Swamiji's teachings were based on the authority of the Vedas and his direct experience. But he delivered them in the English language – a near taboo for those times, and packaged in wit. This went down extremely well with the people.

Over the next 42 years, Swamiji conducted 576 such Jnana Yajnas and innumerable spiritual camps, reaching millions of people all over the world. And to reach those he could not, he authored ninety-seven books in his lifetime. The Bhagvad Gita was the spine of his yagnas from which emanated all other camps and lectures. His commentary on the Bhagavad Gita in English created a revolution of sorts worldwide, resonating with the need of the times. The Holy Gita as he titled it, is spoken of as one of history's best in English. Saints, sages, intellectuals and critics of the 20th century have not yet found enough superlatives to describe his work.

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