On the 8th of May 1916, a visionary was born
Born as Balakrishna Menon in Kerala, he was a freedom fighter and then a successful journalist. As a result of his deep inquiry of the human condition and the nature of the Self, he took Sannyasa as Swami Chinmayananda (Gurudev) and further studied under the tutelage of Swami Tapovanam in the Himalayas. As the founder of Chinmaya Mission and who is also renowned for his Bhagavad Geeta Jnana Yagnas, He was a roaring lion who descended from the Himalayas and spread the teachings of Vedanta to the masses and captivated the hearts of all, not only just in India, but worldwide.
The day of 8th of May 2016 dawned – the Birth Centenary day of Gurudev. Chinmaya Mission centres all over the world had been preparing for this momentous occasion for many months, and Sydney’s Chinmaya Sannidhi Ashram was no exception.
Devotees gathered at the Ashram (38 Carrington Road, Castle Hill), after finishing final preparations with a sense of anticipation and joy. The entire ashram was filled with the sweet chanting of “Om Shri Chinmaya Satgurave Namah”. The Chinmaya Jyoti was lit, along with the light of knowledge and devotion in our hearts few days before part of Swami Chinmayanandaji’s Gnana Video Yagna. Swami Shrikarananda, resident Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Sydney, carried the Jyoti along with Gurudev’s blessed padukas in a procession around the ashram, to be received by the Chinmaya Family. Swamiji then guided Kaushal Bhuta and Prarthna Bhuta, as well as 107 other yajmans, through a most divine paduka puja dedicated to Gurudev.
And so began the grand celebration. Devotees shared inspirational stories of Gurudev. The glory of Gurudev – His profound work to lift humanity to the higher – was revealed. A splendid feast of 27 varieties of food was served in traditional Kerala fashion, with devotees seated on the floor eating from banana leaves. CHYK Swaranjali and the adult Swaranjali delivered moving bhajans dedicated to Gurudev. The day long celebration ended with screening of the inspirational movie ON A QUEST in which one could experience the transformation of Balakrishna Menon to Swami Chinmayananda.
The entire day was so incredibly uplifting. The glowing faces of the devotees were but a reflection of their glowing hearts, filled with gratitude, humility, devotion and inspiration. One could not help but feel Gurudev’s presence with us. This celebration, along with messages from Swami Tejomayanandaji, Swami Swaroopanandaji and Swami Shrikaranandaji, served as a reminder that Gurudev continues to live on, in the hearts of His devotees and in His mission.