In an era ripe with skepticism and confusion about matters spiritual,
H.H Swami Swaroopananda (lovingly known as Swamiji) is a rare voice that blends authenticity with accessibility; theory with self-practice; logic with heart. In January 2017, Swamiji was bestowed by his Guru – H.H. Swami Tejomayanandaji (Guruji) the privilege to serve as the Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide and was given the title Mukhya Swami. Swamiji was formerly the Regional Head of Chinmaya Mission Australia & New Zealand, United Kingdom, Middle East, Africa and Far East, and presently Chairman of the Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth Trust (University for Sanskrit and Indic Traditions) and Director of the Chinmaya International Residential School in Coimbatore, South India. He is a direct disciple of H.H. Swami Chinmayananda (Gurudev), the founder of Chinmaya Mission.
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.
Completely moved and inspired, in 1984 Swamiji renounced a comfortable life and his family’s thriving business in Hong Kong to undergo intensive training under
Gurudev and Guruji at Sandeepany, Mumbai. Swamiji was initiated into the monastic order in 1992.
Since then, in true spirit of His Gurus, Swamiji 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. Swamiji has authored several commentaries on such important spiritual classics as Ik Onkar, Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and Sankat Mochan, besides numerous books on contemporary lifestyle subjects such as Simplicity in Meditation, Storm to Perform, Avatar, Managing the Manager and Journey into Health.
Swamiji is renowned for his ‘holistic management’ seminars for senior corporate executives. Among the well-known institutes he has been invited to speak at are The Ford, London Business School and Harvard University, to name a few. In fact, a proprietary self-development course he conceived and initially conducted, Make It Happen™, has been adapted and integrated into the human resource training programmes of various corporate organisations in India and beyond.
Swamiji inspires the aged as well as the young ones, with his explanation of Vedantic texts with such ease, clarity and wit. In abiding in his knowledge of The Self, Swamiji has been a true role model to all aspiring to a life of humility, purity, clarity and devotion. He expounds the teachings of the Bhagavad Geeta far and wide, and emphasises the dire need for all seekers to practice ‘Yoga’.
“Yoga of the Geeta”
In this day and age, the word ‘Yoga’ is used liberally, by almost everybody. It is not unusual for us to hear ‘I am learning Yoga’, ‘I am teaching Yoga’, ‘relax with Yoga’, ‘Yoga is good for you’, etc. But what does ‘Yoga’ really mean?
‘Yoga’ means ‘to yoke’. Imagine a picture of a bull ‘yoked’ to a cart to plough the land. Simply put, it means ‘to attach’ or ‘attached’. So in ‘Yoga’, who should attach? What are we being attached to? What or whom should we be attached to?
The Bhagavad Geeta, the Divine Song, deals with the concept and application of ‘Yoga’ extensively through its eighteen chapters. The Geeta is arguably the most well known Hindu scripture, and is also considered an Upanishad. All Hindus know about it, some may have studied it, few may have understood the import of the meaning of the verses, and even fewer rare ones may attempt to live the teachings of this great scripture. The Geeta is presented as a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, a warrior in the battlefield. It is not dissimilar to a ‘Question &Answer session’ between the two. Arjuna represents us, warriors in the battlefield of life, and Lord Krishna is The Supreme Lord/Guru.
Through the verses of the Geeta, Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna the different Yogas with a details explanation of each Yoga, its purpose, and instructions for practical application in one’s day to day life. We can call these KPIs – Krishna’s Powerful Instructions!
For simplicity, Chapters 1-6 explain karmaYoga (the path of selfless action), Chapters 7-12 explain BhaktiYoga (the path of devotion), and Chapters 13-18 explain JnanaYoga (the path of knowledge). These paths are not independent of each other, but very much dependent and intertwined with each other in our spiritual journey. The spiritual path is only one but has different names (Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga,JnanaYoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Raja Yoga) at various distances along the way. Gurudev says that for our spiritual flight the plane needs two wings(Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga) and a tail (Karma Yoga) to successfully fly.
So how does this relate back to ‘Yoga’ meaning ‘to attach’? Through the teachings of the Geeta, Lord Krishna helps us understand that our suffering is due to our misguided and incorrect identification with an assemblage of mere matter (body, mind and intellect). In identifying, or attaching, to these inert instruments as ‘ones self’, we commit ourselves to disappointment and dejection. To be free of this suffering, we must ‘detach’ from this wrong notion and ‘attach’ with the knowledge of the Atman, the Self. Thus, in practicing these ‘Yogas’, we ‘detach’ from the lower and ‘attach’ to the higher.
For a thorough knowledge of the teachings of the Geeta and the ‘Yogas’ with guidance on practical application, we must attend ‘Yogas of the Geeta’. The fruits of our sincere efforts to attend, learn and practice the teachings are many; but most importantly we will be equipped to face all situations in one’s life, and live with greater purpose and fulfilment.
Join us for the Free public talks ‘Yogas of the Geeta’ by H. H. Swami Swaroopananda, Global Head of Chinmaya Mission. Monday 3rd April to Friday 7th April, 7:30pm to 9:00pm, Nirankari Hall, 166 Glendeninng Rd, Glendenning.
There will be special program for children complimentary to Swamiji’s talks.
For further information visit www.chinmaya.com.au. All are welcome.