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YoungBites. Dated: 5/8/2017 2:26:19 PM

8 May 1916: Chinmayananda Saraswati, Indian spiritual leader, was born

By realizing the best in us, not only do we open up a few windows in our own personality to bring in more light, but we become a source of joy for others to draw inspiration. This in short explains the life of Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati himself. One of the most famous proponents of the ancient Hindu religious scriptures, Swami Chinmayananda is a well renowned spiritual teacher, who spread the Holy word all around the world. His manner of teaching was so understandable, logical, and relatable that he is believed to have popularised the Hindu religion more than anyone before him. He is best known to have inspired the establishment of the international non-profit organisation, Chinmaya Mission. He is also the first person ever to have translated Bhagwad Gita into English.
Swami Chinmayananda was born as Balakrishnan Menon, on 8 May 1961, in Ernakulam (Kerala). His father was an eminent judge. After completing his schooling and graduation, Balakrishnan did post graduate courses in Literature, Law, and Journalism, from Lucknow University. In his early life, Balakrishnan did not have much of a religious bend. He is believed to have met a famous sage during the time, Shri Ramana Maharshi, in the presence of whom he felt a spiritual surge. At that time he thought it was “hypnotism.”
With the country heating up, in the struggle for freedom against the British government, Balakrishnan was all set to join the National Movement. He was then a student in college, when he and other students propagated the unjust British policies through leaflets. When the British police issued an arrest warrant, he went into hiding for about two years. He was eventually caught and put into prison. Due to insanitary conditions in the prison, he contracted Typhus, after which he was released and left on the city’s outskirts. A Christian lady is believed to have saved him by admitting him to a hospital. Balakrishnan began his career in 1945, as a sub-editor under K. Rama Rao, a prominent editor at the National Herald. The articles he wrote highlighted the downtrodden and poverty-affected India before independence. Balakrishnan also wrote controversial pieces on topics like Politics, Society, History and Culture. Some of the articles he wrote include, Honor to Released INA Men and The Mochi – Symbol of Craftsmanship. In 1947, Balakrishnan started a series named Commonweal, under the pseudonym Mr. Tramp.
Balakrishnan had always been a person who would question everything critically. This inquiring mind led him to read books on Philosophy and Spiritualism. The journey of transformation of Balakrishnan to Swami Chinmayananda began when he decided to get his answers from the sages in the Himalayas.


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