AkhandanandaBholanath DidimaGurupriya Didi Paramananda
HaribabaBhaijiGopinath KavirajAtmananda
Swami SwarupanandaSwami ChinmayanandaSwami VirajanandaSwami Vijayananda
Swami BhaskaranandaSwami SivanandaSwami BhajananandaSwami Omkarananda
Br KamalakantaBr YogeshdaBr AtuldaBr Hari Harda
Sri AbhaydaBr TanmayanandaPanudaSwami Keshavananda

Swami Chinmayananda

(1919-1996)

‘Kheyal’ – an indescribable word as Sri Sri Anandamayee Ma termed it to explain Her ‘free will,’ had once been experienced by Mrinmay, a young and trustworthy soldier of the Indian Freedom Movement. Through this ‘Kheyal’ Mother’s invaluable bless­ings were bestowed upon him to transmute his life from ‘Mrinmay’ to ‘Chinmay’ i.e. a manifestation of materialistic instinct to the extent of immortal eternity.

 

Mrinmay was then evading the British Police to avoid certain punishment by them. In course of his living incognito, one day he came to a lonely Shiva temple at Dehradun. Sri Sri Anandamayee Ma along with some of Her devotees was already there. Police suddenly came there with a photograph of the absconding Mrinmay and asked Mother whether She had seen this criminal enter the temple? Mother answered that many devotees used to come to that temple – if the said person was there the Police could easily search him out and arrest him. Then the Police entered the temple but very astonishingly returned unsuccessful, having failed to identify Mrinmay, who was already in the temple in front of all.

This incident changed the life of Mrinmay, the former best stu­dent of Missionary High School of Shilong, later a dangerous ex­tremist freedom fighter. He fell down at the lotus feet of Mother and was initiated into Bramhacharya (having undergone a long proc­ess of austerity) prior to joining an order of hermits) by Sri Sri Muktananda Giri Maharaj (Mokshada Sundari Devi – mother of Sri Sri Anandamayee Ma.)

Mrinmay Chowdhury was born in the year 1919 in a well to-do family. His father, Jogendronath Chowdhury,was a high ranking Brit­ish Government employee in the Accounts Department posted at Shilong. He was loyal to his service. Mrinmoy’s mother was a pious lady and was the host of many religious dignitaries like Brahmajna Ma, Sri Sri Ram Thakur, etc.

Despite a religious atmosphere prevailing in his family since his childhood Mrinmay could not resist revolting against the state, observing the distress of his countrymen under British Rule. He left his promising academic career. As a result a search warrant was issued in his name. He fled to Calcutta and took refuge with a restaurant owner there, who was compassionate to these young rebels and used to help confidentially in many ways.

British detectives were hunting Mrinmay enthusiastically and one day, to avoid them, he entered a Cinema Hall and had succeeded in hiding himself in the midst of the crowd so as to arrive at Howrah Railway Station. He took the train in front of him which was about to depart, and at last reached at Dehradun. He managed to find shelter at the residence of Sri Bhattacharya, one of his father’s friends, who was a bachelor and used to practice Yoga, besides his profession of private tutorial for I.C.S preparations (now I.A.S). He loved Mrinmay very much. Since he was a strict in his diet and only took milk and boiled rice in his meals, he, himself used to cook non- veg dishes for Mrinmay.

Sri Bhattacharya became very expert in Yoga. He even could float in the air during his Yoga practice. Mrinmay was charmed viewing such activities and one day requested Sri Bhattacharya to make him his student. But he expressed his inability to do that since he could predict that Mrinmay was destined to be a disciple of a Bengali Mother who at present was staying at an ancient Shiva temple, situated at a solitary place, near to the hills. Mrinmay was disappointed initially but afterwards he went to that temple and met Sri Sri Anandarnayee Ma where the aforesaid remarkable incident took place and totally changed his mission in life. Mother provided him with Bramacharya and later on Sanyasa through Sri Sri Muktananda Giri and Sri Sri Mangal Giri Maharaj respectively. Mrinmay had been transformed into Swami Chinmayananda Giri be­ing initiated into Sanyasa.

The life of Chinmayanandaji consists of a series of many of such events. A revolutionist in nature he always used to protest at any deviation or deflection from the ideal. During his stay at Agarpara Ashram one day the local M.L.A., a Marxist Communist leader came along with his followers for a visit. The leader was infamous for his rough and autocratic behaviour. He did not wear Poita (sacred thread) though he belonged to a Bramhin family. Knowing this, Chinmayanandaji rebuked him severely for such deviation from the culture and tradition. Everyone present there were afraid, an­ticipating adverse consequences, since his party was in power. But strangely the leader kept quiet, returned back and after a few days left politics to devote himself to social service according to the ideal of Swami Vivekananda, and started to observe all the statutory rites and duties of a Brahmin.

The same thing occurred when the only son of a former chief judge of Allahabad High Court (a devotee of Mother) visited Agarpara Ashram. He was a foreign-educated very rich business tycoon, well dressed with suit, neck tie and shoes, having his own workshop at Jamshedpur. As soon as he came upstairs wearing shoes Chinmayanandaji came in front of him and shouted to him to get out immediately so that sanctity of the Ashram could be mai­tained properly. The person apologised before him for his misdeed of entering Mother’s place wearing shoes. Within a fortnight the person took Sanyasa, leaving all his worldly belongings, to go to the caves of the Himalays to observe a vow of austerity. It was totally different from his previous life style of extreme lavishness.

Thus Chinmayanandaji’s harsh words came as a boon to those two persons, only to direct their lives towards spirituality, but they also instigated self-quest in the minds of a considerable number of people. He was a splendid combination of hardness in one hand and the tenderness on the other. To define the character of Lord Rama Bhawabhuti in ‘Uttara Rarna Charita’ declared

‘Vajradapi Kathorani – Mriduna Kusumdapi’ i.e, “even more severe than a calamity like light­ning, and at the same time even softer than flower petals.”The na­ture of Swami Chinmayananda was like that. He always used to shed tears for the distressed and helped them by dint of his own spiritual power to evoking self reliance in their minds.

Once a poor Brahmin Pundit of Sansktit of a local high school was able to reach him at Agarpara Ashram. Chinmayanandaji advised him to recite the Bhagawat at the Ashram in regularly. The Pundit had three daughters and always remained worried because of the expenses he would have to bear for his daughters’ weddings -with his meager income it was very difficult for him to pay the dowries and cover the other expenses. According to Chinmayanandaji he was very particular to recite the Bhagawat in the Ashram.

One day when the Pundit bowed down before him after comple­tion of that day’s discourse, Chinmayanandaji suddenly told him that he should not worry for his daughters because God’s blessings were always with a person like him who was habituated to recite the holy Bhagawat regularly. In fact Swami Chinmayananda was completely ignorant about the family affairs of the Pundit. But very surprisingly within a very short period one after another his three daughters were married to well- off bridegrooms without any dowry or other trou­ble.

Chinmayandaji was so open-hearted that even during serious dissension with Swarupanandaji in different important issues, he never disengaged from his duties. He was grateful to Swarupanandaji because during a prolonged pe­riod of suffering from the deadly disease smallpox Swarupanandaji regularly nursed him with great care, even ignoring that dreadful contagious disease, so that soon he had recovered from that fell disease. Chinmayanandaji used to say that disagreement is superficial when true relationship resides in the core of the heart.

He might have realised this truth when during the initial stages of his Ashram life someone called him a swine. With much anger he was about to set out from the Ashram forever. In the meantime Muktananda Giriji came to him and asked him whether he knew the story of the Puranas where the Boar had been described as the third incarnation of the Lord Vishnu and therefore it was a matter to be glorified. Chinmayanandaji could not cut off his relations with the Ashram, and he realised that it is the only relationship that exists forever.

Chinmayananda Maharaj often used to declare that the relation of a mother with her child is the only lasting thing. He always thought himself a mere child of Mother and with such a childlike mentality one day he directly asked Sri Ma – addressing Her as Annapurna (Goddess of Food & Wealth) – since She is consid­ered by Her devotees to be the supreme entity and creator of the whole universe, why could She not eliminate the burning poverty of Her own family, which included the whole World?

Mother smiled affectionately at him, appreciating his rare qual­ity of kind heartedness towards the downtrodden. She then answered that She belonged to a spiritually rich family which could go beyond any worldly want. Unless and until people confronted the misery, adversity or disaster in their lives, which should be considered as the blessings of God, they would obviously remain involved with superficial worldly matters. She added that aversion to these things comes from the core of heart. It can never be imposed from outside.

He could realise Mother’s sayings that the only requirement of life is the basic need to attain God and the only long-lasting relationship is the relation with God – according to him ‘the relation between mother and her child.’ On that occasion Mother spoke of the highest philosophy, but at the same time both Mother and her devotees appreciated his great heart that always shed tears for the distressed.

During the concluding phase of his life Chinmayanandaji used to remain almost continuously immersed in an ever blissful trans­cendental state of realization, the essence of union of the bodily soul with the supreme soul – an everlasting bond of a child with his mother.

At last on the 13th October in the year 1996 on the auspicious day Devi Paksha (onset of Durga Puja Festival) Chinmayanandaji, the beloved of his Mother, slept forever in his Moth­er’s lap at Agarpara Ashram situated on the bank of the holy Ganges River. Vedic chants were being recited by Nirmalanandaji ” Asado Ma Sadgamaya – Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya I ………….. ‘ i.e. ‘Lead me towards the supreme truth exterminating all evils ….. enlightening me eradicating all darkness.” It was a twilight. The flowing water of the Ganges was reflecting the mild and reddish melancholic light of the sun beginning to set on the horizon. The birds were returning to their nests. Swami Chinmayananda Giri Maharaj set off for his desired destination to his Mother Sri Sri Anandamaayee’s lotus feet.

 

By courtesey of Milan Kusum Bhattacharyee

from “Of those who have surrendered at Her Feet.