Reliving The First Jnana Yagna – Part 2

It was December 1951. A young Swami Chinmayananda was ready to launch the first Jnana Yagna, the forerunner of many more to come, and which was to eventually burst forth and grow into the huge tree of Chinmaya Mission. This short video tells us the story.

SIMPLICITY OF THE CHIEF PRIEST

Pujya Gurudev called himself the Chief Priest of the jnana yajna. He stayed in a small place near the temple. He would walk to the house of any person who offered him bhiksha. When his clothes got worn out, he would dye the white material offered traditionally by devotees manually, using a gerua stone. His doors were always open for people to clarify their doubts. Morning and evening, he would walk punctually to the temple to deliver his lectures.

SUSHEELA MUDALIAR

Among the early devotees attracted by the power of the talks and the personality of the speaker was Susheela Mudaliar. She worked in the postal department and was of immense help in handling the heavy correspondence of Pujya Gurudev at this stage and also in dispatching the yajna prasad booklets. Letters poured in and there was a tremendous demand for yajna prasad, which seemed to connect with people immediately and often draw them to the yajnashala also. In fact, they ran out of copies of yajna prasad and then decided to charge one rupee per copy to cover the costs.


Susheela Mudaliar served Gurudev in many ways. She would bring food for him, sometimes wash his clothes, serve as a secretary and do many kinds of odd jobs as well. In fact, she began to function as his right hand and for the subsequent yajnas, Gurudev would often refer people to her to learn how to organize a jnana yajna.

THE UNVEILING

On January 31, 1952, which was also the Basant Panchami Day, a special Guru Puja was held. The portraits of Swami Sivananda Maharaj and Swami Tapovan Maharaj were unveiled formally at the yajnashala by Dr. Shankar from Deccan College. Swami Tapovan Maharaj sent a message in Sanskrit verses, which was read out and explained by the Chief Priest Swami Chinmayananda.


It was also decided that at the end of the evening lecture (7:00 to 8:30) every day, a common meditation session for half an hour would be held and arati performed to both Gurus. The unveiling ceremony was the most appropriate because Pujya Gurudev was unveiling the true essence of the Gurus in the hearts of the listeners.

SWAMIJI FALLS ILL

On Mahashivaratri Day, February 23rd, Pujya Gurudev developed a fever and it was diagnosed as para-typhoid. The lectures had to be suspended for a week. Swami Tapovan Maharaj was informed and he sent a message. On March 10, the sessions were resumed. By this time, Kenopanishad had been completed and they were studying Kathopanishad. The meditation sessions, where the intricacies of Om upasana and the significance of the Brahmajnanavali verses were revealed, created immense interest and people walked from distant places to attend the evening discourses.


At this time, S. Seshadri, the secretary, was relieved and a new secretary appointed. The yajna prasad booklets on Kathopanishad could not be published for lack of funds. Later, by August 1952, they were printed and made available for the devotees

TAPAS OF THE SEEKERS

In the run up to the yajna, Pujya Gurudev had sent out pamphlets and a booklet which explained how the listeners had to prepare themselves to receive the highest knowledge of the Upanishads. In very brief and practical terms, he detailed in simple English the virtues of sadhana chatushtaya, essential for any spiritual seeker. The dos and don’ts were spelt out clearly: maintain celibacy and self-control in all aspects of life, eat simple sattvic food, maintain purity of thoughts, avoid distraction through the radio (now cell phones and television) or cinema, practise regular prayer, japa and meditation and so on.


The booklet also contained the letters from Swami Sivananda, blessing this unique endeavour of his dear disciple and a bird’s eye-view of the yajna scheme, indicating what the seekers were to expect.

AKHANDA KIRTAN AND UPANISHAD HOMA

Active participation of the devotees was ensured through the akhanda kirtan right from the beginning of the yajna. Each one was allowed to offer only one small measure (chatak) of oil for the lamp, making sure that they visited the place every day for the special privilege! People would take turns in batches to continue the kirtan and in the lean hours of late night and early dawn, Gurudev himself would pitch in. The akhanda kirtan culminated in a massive procession in the city on April 6, heralding the conclusion of the yajna on April 8. A caravan of cars and trucks wove through the city, filled with devotees chanting the maha-mantra. The procession ended in silent meditation at the yajnashala.


A week-long Upanishad Homa had been planned by Gurudev months earlier. This was held in the final phase of the jnana yajna, from March 31 to April 6. Five Maharashtrian priests officiated, offering ahuti with the mantras of Kenopanishad and Kathopanishad. On the final day, the devotees were also given the opportunity to offer ahuti.

THE GRAND FINALE

The 100-day ‘Upanishad Gyana Yagna’ concluded on April 8, leaving the devotees yearning for more. After conducting another public meeting in Tilak Nagar on April 9, Gurudev moved on to Palakkad to conduct a sadhana camp. Those who attended the yajna had been transformed forever. The seeds put in their hearts flourished in different ways, in different times, some of them growing in different places, towns and cities in the form of branches of Chinmaya Mission, spreading the message of the Upanishads through the years to come. Today, hundreds of swamis, brahmacharis and householder devotees continue the teaching all over the globe. The strong roots of Chinmaya Mission have spread across countries and continents. It is the duty of each one of us to water and nourish this tree of knowledge planted by Pujya Gurudev.

Pictures from the 1st Jnana Yajna

SIMPLICITY OF THE CHIEF PRIEST

Pujya Gurudev called himself the Chief Priest of the jnana yajna. He stayed in a small place near the temple. He would walk to the house of any person who offered him bhiksha. When his clothes got worn out, he would dye the white material offered traditionally by devotees manually, using a gerua stone. His doors were always open for people to clarify their doubts. Morning and evening, he would walk punctually to the temple to deliver his lectures.

Gallery

SUSHEELA MUDALIAR

Among the early devotees attracted by the power of the talks and the personality of the speaker was Susheela Mudaliar. She worked in the postal department and was of immense help in handling the heavy correspondence of Pujya Gurudev at this stage and also in dispatching the yajna prasad booklets. Letters poured in and there was a tremendous demand for yajna prasad, which seemed to connect with people immediately and often draw them to the yajnashala also. In fact, they ran out of copies of yajna prasad and then decided to charge one rupee per copy to cover the costs.

Susheela Mudaliar served Gurudev in many ways. She would bring food for him, sometimes wash his clothes, serve as a secretary and do many kinds of odd jobs as well. In fact, she began to function as his right hand and for the subsequent yajnas, Gurudev would often refer people to her to learn how to organize a jnana yajna.

Gallery

THE UNVEILING

On January 31, 1952, which was also the Basant Panchami Day, a special Guru Puja was held. The portraits of Swami Sivananda Maharaj and Swami Tapovan Maharaj were unveiled formally at the yajnashala by Dr. Shankar from Deccan College. Swami Tapovan Maharaj sent a message in Sanskrit verses, which was read out and explained by the Chief Priest Swami Chinmayananda.

It was also decided that at the end of the evening lecture (7:00 to 8:30) every day, a common meditation session for half an hour would be held and arati performed to both Gurus. The unveiling ceremony was the most appropriate because Pujya Gurudev was unveiling the true essence of the Gurus in the hearts of the listeners.

View Details

SWAMIJI FALLS ILL

On Mahashivaratri Day, February 23rd, Pujya Gurudev developed a fever and it was diagnosed as para-typhoid. The lectures had to be suspended for a week. Swami Tapovan Maharaj was informed and he sent a message. On March 10, the sessions were resumed. By this time, Kenopanishad had been completed and they were studying Kathopanishad. The meditation sessions, where the intricacies of Om upasana and the significance of the Brahmajnanavali verses were revealed, created immense interest and people walked from distant places to attend the evening discourses.

At this time, S. Seshadri, the secretary, was relieved and a new secretary appointed. The yajna prasad booklets on Kathopanishad could not be published for lack of funds. Later, by August 1952, they were printed and made available for the devotees

Gallery

TAPAS OF THE SEEKERS

In the run up to the yajna, Pujya Gurudev had sent out pamphlets and a booklet which explained how the listeners had to prepare themselves to receive the highest knowledge of the Upanishads. In very brief and practical terms, he detailed in simple English the virtues of sadhana chatushtaya, essential for any spiritual seeker. The dos and don’ts were spelt out clearly: maintain celibacy and self-control in all aspects of life, eat simple sattvic food, maintain purity of thoughts, avoid distraction through the radio (now cell phones and television) or cinema, practise regular prayer, japa and meditation and so on.

The booklet also contained the letters from Swami Sivananda, blessing this unique endeavour of his dear disciple and a bird’s eye-view of the yajna scheme, indicating what the seekers were to expect.

Gallery

AKHANDA KIRTAN & UPANISHAD HOMA

Active participation of the devotees was ensured through the akhanda kirtan right from the beginning of the yajna. Each one was allowed to offer only one small measure (chatak) of oil for the lamp, making sure that they visited the place every day for the special privilege! People would take turns in batches to continue the kirtan and in the lean hours of late night and early dawn, Gurudev himself would pitch in. The akhanda kirtan culminated in a massive procession in the city on April 6, heralding the conclusion of the yajna on April 8. A caravan of cars and trucks wove through the city, filled with devotees chanting the maha-mantra. The procession ended in silent meditation at the yajnashala.

A week-long Upanishad Homa had been planned by Gurudev months earlier. This was held in the final phase of the jnana yajna, from March 31 to April 6. Five Maharashtrian priests officiated, offering ahuti with the mantras of Kenopanishad and Kathopanishad. On the final day, the devotees were also given the opportunity to offer ahuti.

Gallery

THE GRAND FINALE

The 100-day ‘Upanishad Gyana Yagna’ concluded on April 8, leaving the devotees yearning for more. After conducting another public meeting in Tilak Nagar on April 9, Gurudev moved on to Palakkad to conduct a sadhana camp. Those who attended the yajna had been transformed forever. The seeds put in their hearts flourished in different ways, in different times, some of them growing in different places, towns and cities in the form of branches of Chinmaya Mission, spreading the message of the Upanishads through the years to come. Today, hundreds of swamis, brahmacharis and householder devotees continue the teaching all over the globe. The strong roots of Chinmaya Mission have spread across countries and continents. It is the duty of each one of us to water and nourish this tree of knowledge planted by Pujya Gurudev.

Gallery

Let Us Be Hindus


LET US BE HINDUS

A report on Shree Swami Chinmayananda’s address at a public meeting held in Poona on Sunday, December 23rd 1951.

Compiled by: Shree S.P.Sarma, F.T.S

Brother pilgrims to Truth,

A Mahatma to talk. A temple for the background. A crowded hall of Hindu audience, and the subject for discussion, “Let us be Hindus”. Strange! It is almost a ridiculous paradox and a meaningless contradiction. And I can very well see that you are surprised at the audacity of this Sadhu!

It has become a new fashion with the educated Hindu to turn up his nose and sneer in contempt at the very mention of his religion in any discussion. Personally, I too belong in my sympathies to these critics of our religion. But when this thoughtless team begins to declare that we would benefit ourselves socially and nationally by running away from our sacred religion, I pause to reconsider my own stand.

At the present state of moral, ethical and cultural degradation in our country, to totally dispose off religion would be making our dash to ruin the quicker. However decadent our religion may be, it is far better than having none at all. My proposal is that the wise thing would be for us to try and bring about a renaissance of Hinduism so that under its greatness – proved through many centuries – we may come to grow into the very heights of culture and civilization that was ours in the historical past.

No doubt, in India, Hinduism has come to mean nothing more than a bundle of sacred superstitions, or a certain way of dressing, cooking, eating, talking, and so on. Our gods have fallen to the mortal level of administration officers at whose altars the faithful Hindu might pray and get special permits for the things he desires; that is, if he pays the required fee to the priest!

This degradation is not the product of any accidental and sudden historical upheaval. For two hundred years Hinduism has remained an unwanted orphan without any patronage of the state and little encouragement of the rich. Once upon a time, the learned philosophers were rightly advisers of the state. But the quality of the adviser class (Brahmin) and the ruler class (Kshatriya) deteriorated. By slowly putrefying themselves in the leprous warmth of luxury and power, they have taken us to the regrettable stage in which we find ourselves now. The general cry of the educated class is really against this un-religion. However, it is only the thoughtless, uninformed leaders who call this Hinduism.

Certainly, if Hinduism can breed for us only heartless lalas (shopkeepers), corrupt babus (clerks), cowardly men, loveless masters and faithless servants; if Hinduism can give us only a state of social living in which each man is put up against his brother, if Hinduism can give us only starvation, nakedness and destitution; if Hinduism can only encourage us only to plunder, to loot and to steal; if Hinduism can preach to us only intolerance, fanaticism, hard heartedness, and cruelty; then I too cry, “Down, Down ” with that Hinduism.

And yet the above is a realistic picture of the sad condition and plight into which the Hindu people, as a nation, have allowed themselves to fall. This is the tragic picture of the great Hindu disaster in the present day India.

But Hinduism is not this external show that we have learned to parade it about in our daily lives. Hinduism is a Perfect science of PERFECTION. There is in it an answer to every individual, social, national, or international problem. But, unfortunately, the religion which we have come to follow blindly, is not the Grand True Hinduism. It is only the treacherous scheme thrust upon us some time in the past by the selfish, arrogant, power-mad priest class whose intention was to make us slaves of their plans and our own passions. The present days Hindu ignomini is the tragic success of these religious saboteurs of the past. In our sacred books we miss many of our beliefs which are taught to us as the very backbone of Hinduism. Hinduism is the religion of VEDANTA, the Eternal Religion of Upanishads.

The Upanishads declare in unmistakable terms that in reality man – at the peak of his achievements – is God Himself. He is advised to live his day-to-day experiences in life in such a systematic and scientific way that hour by hour, he is consciously cleansing himself of all the encrustation of imperfections that have gathered to conceal the beauty and divinity of the true Eternal Personality in him. The methods by which an individual can consciously purify and evolve by his self–effort to regain the status of his True Nature is the content of Hinduism. Hinduism in its vast amphitheater has preserved and worshipped, under the camouflage of the heavy descriptions contained in the puranas, shastras (scriptures), and their commentaries of thousand different interpretations. This overgrowth has so effectively come to conceal the real beauty and grandeur of this tiny temple of Truth that today the college educated illiterates, in their ignorance of the language and style of the ancient Sanskrit writers, miss the temple amidst its own festoons.

To inquire into the very textbooks of our religion with a view to knowing what Hinduism has to teach, and how its message can be used to save us as we face the problems of our daily lives, is the aim of the One hundred days’ Upanishad Gnana Yagna, which is now proposed to commence on December 31, 1951, here in Poona.

Religion becomes dead and ineffectual if the seekers are not ready to live its ideals. For that matter, is there any philosophy – political, social, or cultural – which can take us to its promised land of success, without our following its principles in our day – to – day living?

However great our culture might have been in the past, that dead glory, reported in the pages of history books, is not going to help us in our present trials. If the barbarous cavemen of the unexplored jungles want to become as civilized as the men of modern nations, they cannot achieve this total revolution through mere discourses, or even through an exhaustive study of the literature describing the ways of the modern civilized nations. They will have to know and then live the civilized values of life. A mere knowing of it will not help them. They can claim the blessings of their knowledge only if they are ready to live what they know. In order to live as civilized men, they will have to renounce completely their ways of uncivilized thinking and acting.

In fact, without renunciation no progress is ever possible. We must renounce the thrills of our childhood games in order to grow to be young men of noble actions. Again, unless we renounce our youthful spirit, we cannot come to the reverence of old age.
Unless we are ready to renounce the low animal values of material life and replace them with the noble values of the truly religious life, we cannot hope to gain the blessings of religion. A study of a cookbook, however thorough it might be, will not satisfy our hunger. No matter how long we meditate upon and repeat the name of the medicine, we cannot get the cure we need until we actually take the medicine. Similarly, the blessings of religion can be ours only when we are ready to live the recommended values. To condemn unpracticed religion is as meaningless as those cavemen sitting around their open fire, and querulously decrying advanced civilization.

During these one hundred days of the Upanishad Gnana Yagna, we shall be trying to discover the Eternal Happiness and Bliss that is the succulent essence of all true religions. In light of the principles of Truth declared in the Upanishads, we shall be trying to get at the scientific significance of the various practices that are considered part of our religion. In a spirit of communal living for these one hundred days we shall come to discover the science of PERFECTION, the true essence of Hinduism.

Let us know what Hinduism is! Let us take an honest oath for ourselves, not only for our own sake, but for the sake of the entire world:, that we shall, when once we are convinced of the validity of the Eternal Truth, try honestly to live as consistently as possible the values advocated by this ancient and sacred religion.

LET US BE HINDUS, and thus build up a true HINDUSTAN (Home of the Hindus) peopled with thousands of Shankaras, hundreds of Buddhas, and dozens of Vivekanandas!

OM ! OM ! OM !

Reliving The First Jnana Yagna – Part 1

It was December 1951. A young Swami Chinmayananda was ready to launch the first Jnana Yagna, the forerunner of many more to come, and which was to eventually burst forth and grow into the huge tree of Chinmaya Mission. This short video tells us the story.

CHINMAYA’S PRAYER TO HIS GURU

A recently discovered letter by Pujya Gurudev reveals a very moving poem addressed to his Guru, Swami Tapovanam, on the occasion of the Guru Purnima in 1968. Having attained supreme Bliss with the guidance of his Guru, he yearns to pass it on to others. It is this yearning which led him to start the first jnana yajna.

PUJYA GURUDEV ARRIVES IN PUNE

It was a small step from the train to the railway platform, but a momentous and historic event in the annals of Chinmaya Mission, when Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda stepped out of the train on 23rd of December 1951 and set foot on the punya bhumi (holy land) of Pune. He was received by a big gathering of the important citizens of the city, headed by the Yajna Committee, with Vedic chants and purna kumbham. He had arrived with the whole-hearted blessings of Swami Sivananda and the reluctant blessings of Swami Tapovan Maharaj.

LECTURES HERALDING THE YAJNA

A lot of work had already been done to create public awareness through newspapers, pamphlets, letters and by word of mouth. All these culminated in a series of public lectures in Pune in the week before the inauguration of the yajna. On the 23rd, Swamiji delivered a lecture on the topic ‘Let Us be Hindus’. He talked on ‘What is Religion’ in the Deccan College Estate on the 25th and on ‘Vedanta – The Religion of Detachment’ on the 26th in yet another venue. On the 30th, in the Kirkee branch of the Divine Life Society, he lectured on ‘Our Relationship with the Absolute’. The gist of these talks were published in the form of articles in the very first yajna prasad booklet that was brought out. Except for the first of these, which can be seen below, all the others were included as a part of the introduction to the commentary on Kenopanishad, compiled from the yajna prasad booklets, available as a book today.

BIRTH OF THE JNANA YAJNA

In those days, yajna meant the long traditional havans, the elaborate fire rituals, and yajna prasad meant either the edible offerings sanctified in the ritual or the residual ashes of the fire itself. In this epoch-making event, Pujya Gurudev transformed the whole thing and raised it to a different plane altogether. Taking the cue from the Bhagavad Gita which mentions it, he brought alive the jnana yajna, where the fire of spiritual knowledge is kindled and our primal ignorance burnt forever. And the gist of the talks in printed form was offered as yajna prasad. The true prasad would be the knowledge, peace and bliss that descends on the heart of the devotee.

IMPORTANCE OF YAJNA PRASAD

“Upanishad Yagna, lectures and pamphlet distribution – immediate reproduction of the lecture – this is a unique feature – unprecedented in the annals of Indian history. May Lord bless you all.” Thus wrote Swami Sivananda Maharaj from Rishikesh on February 1st. Gurudev had planned it all beforehand.

Pujya Gurudev sent the first copy of the first yajna prasad to his own Guru, Swami Tapovan Maharaj, in Uttarkashi, with the message, “Thy Knowledge Broadcasted through Thy own Voice-box”, signed Chinmaya. He was merely the instrument to spread the vital message of Vedanta. This first copy is preserved carefully in Chinmaya Archives. A total of six numbers on Kenopanishad were published at this time.

THE YAJNASHALA

Apparently, the venue was finalised just a week or two before the yajna began on December 31, 1951. The very cosmic forces seem to have been at work, because this momentous jnana yajna, the forerunner of many more to come, and which was to eventually burst forth and grow into the huge tree of Chinmaya Mission, was blessed by Lord Ganesha and held in His own temple in Rastha Peth. This small temple built by Sri Harihara Bhajana Samajam is still there, a place of pilgrimage for staunch devotees of Pujya Gurudev.

THE GLORIOUS SUCCESS OF THE YAJNA

“On the opening day in Poona, I had an audience of 18 to address …” writes Pujya Gurudev in ‘The Genesis’. The talks were held in the small premises of the temple, but very soon the word spread and more people started pouring in, necessitating arrangements to seat people outside the temple as well. A permanent microphone was fixed. The crowd swelled to about 400-500 in the first month itself. Anyone who came even once was mesmerized and became a regular listener.

The morning classes from 6 to 7 a.m., where Gurudev explained the Shankara Bhashyam, also attracted a good number of people. The Yajnashala report says: “Sree Swamiji is compelled to drop the old orthodox way of Upanishad study and give more and more general discussions in the morning classes also.”

Sri Naidu was a teenager when he entered the Ganesh temple that evening to get Prasad as usual. He was surprised to see a tall slender figure giving a discourse in English.

CHINMAYA’S PRAYER TO HIS GURU

A recently discovered letter by Pujya Gurudev reveals a very moving poem addressed to his Guru, Swami Tapovanam, on the occasion of the Guru Purnima in 1968. Having attained supreme Bliss with the guidance of his Guru, he yearns to pass it on to others. It is this yearning which led him to start the first jnana yajna.

View Details

PUJYA GURUDEV ARRIVES IN PUNE

It was a small step from the train to the railway platform, but a momentous and historic event in the annals of Chinmaya Mission, when Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda stepped out of the train on 23rd of December 1951 and set foot on the punya bhumi (holy land) of Pune. He was received by a big gathering of the important citizens of the city, headed by the Yajna Committee, with Vedic chants and purna kumbham. He had arrived with the whole-hearted blessings of Swami Sivananda and the reluctant blessings of Swami Tapovan Maharaj.

Gallery

LECTURES HERALDING THE YAJNA

A lot of work had already been done to create public awareness through newspapers, pamphlets, letters and by word of mouth. All these culminated in a series of public lectures in Pune in the week before the inauguration of the yajna. On the 23rd, Swamiji delivered a lecture on the topic ‘Let Us be Hindus’. He talked on ‘What is Religion’ in the Deccan College Estate on the 25th and on ‘Vedanta – The Religion of Detachment’ on the 26th in yet another venue. On the 30th, in the Kirkee branch of the Divine Life Society, he lectured on ‘Our Relationship with the Absolute’. The gist of these talks were published in the form of articles in the very first yajna prasad booklet that was brought out. Except for the first of these, which can be seen below, all the others were included as a part of the introduction to the commentary on Kenopanishad, compiled from the yajna prasad booklets, available as a book today.

View Details

BIRTH OF THE JNANA YAJNA

In those days, yajna meant the long traditional havans, the elaborate fire rituals, and yajna prasad meant either the edible offerings sanctified in the ritual or the residual ashes of the fire itself. In this epoch-making event, Pujya Gurudev transformed the whole thing and raised it to a different plane altogether. Taking the cue from the Bhagavad Gita which mentions it, he brought alive the jnana yajna, where the fire of spiritual knowledge is kindled and our primal ignorance burnt forever. And the gist of the talks in printed form was offered as yajna prasad. The true prasad would be the knowledge, peace and bliss that descends on the heart of the devotee.

Gallery

IMPORTANCE OF YAJNA PRASAD

“Upanishad Yagna, lectures and pamphlet distribution – immediate reproduction of the lecture – this is a unique feature – unprecedented in the annals of Indian history. May Lord bless you all.” Thus wrote Swami Sivananda Maharaj from Rishikesh on February 1st. Gurudev had planned it all beforehand.
Pujya Gurudev sent the first copy of the first yajna prasad to his own Guru, Swami Tapovan Maharaj, in Uttarkashi, with the message, “Thy Knowledge Broadcasted through Thy own Voice-box”, signed Chinmaya. He was merely the instrument to spread the vital message of Vedanta. This first copy is preserved carefully in Chinmaya Archives. A total of six numbers on Kenopanishad were published at this time.

Gallery

THE YAJNASHALA

Apparently, the venue was finalised just a week or two before the yajna began on December 31, 1951. The very cosmic forces seem to have been at work, because this momentous jnana yajna, the forerunner of many more to come, and which was to eventually burst forth and grow into the huge tree of Chinmaya Mission, was blessed by Lord Ganesha and held in His own temple in Rastha Peth. This small temple built by Sri Harihara Bhajana Samajam is still there, a place of pilgrimage for staunch devotees of Pujya Gurudev.

Gallery

The Glorious Success of the Yajna

“On the opening day in Poona, I had an audience of 18 to address …” writes Pujya Gurudev in ‘The Genesis’. The talks were held in the small premises of the temple, but very soon the word spread and more people started pouring in, necessitating arrangements to seat people outside the temple as well. A permanent microphone was fixed. The crowd swelled to about 400-500 in the first month itself. Anyone who came even once was mesmerized and became a regular listener.

The morning classes from 6 to 7 a.m., where Gurudev explained the Shankara Bhashyam, also attracted a good number of people. The Yajnashala report says: “Sree Swamiji is compelled to drop the old orthodox way of Upanishad study and give more and more general discussions in the morning classes also.”

View Details

Test1

Introductory Letter Dec 12 1956

INTRODUCTORY LETTER

Chief sewak
Sree Swami Chinmayananda
16 PARK AREA, KAROL BAGH, NEW DELHI – 5

20-12-‘56

Dear Seekers

Om Namo Narayana!
Salutations!

On the Plant of Life the flower of Renaissance opens up petal by petal. The gardner has but to wait patiently watering the plant and protecting it from the grazing cattles around.

The budding Hindu Renaissance has pushed itself out, throbbing with its fragrant content. Let us water the Hindu Life with the waters of our faith born out of right understanding and right living.

Wake up and dance in joy. The dull relief of sleep is not the total cure that we are demanding. Hail Renaissance.

Thy own Self
Om Chinmayananda

Story Behind The First Jnana Yajna

This video describes the fascinating effort of a young Swami Chinmayananda in the year 1951, to launch the Jnana Yajna program, with the help of a young Madrasi boy from Pune. For detailed information on this story, please continue to scroll below.

INTRODUCTION

Encouraging the brahmacharis entering the field of prachar work to spread the message of our scriptures, Pujya Gurudev would say, “In my first jnana yajna in Poona, there were only four people, including the speaker!” No one knew at that time how much effort and preparation had gone into the organization of the first yajna in the Ganesh Temple in Rasthapeth, Pune. It was only when Swamini Kaivalyananda unearthed the letters to Sri Seshadri, who helped in organizing that first yajna, that the micro details behind that historic event tumbled out.

THE GENESIS: IN HIS OWN WORDS

A souvenir named “Hail Renaissance” was released to mark the 25th jnana yajna in Hyderabad, held from December 16, 1956 to January 5, 1957. There, Pujya Gurudev wrote about the story of the birth and growth of the jnana yajna in an article titled “The Genesis”. This gives us very important information about how it all happened in his own words.

THE PLANS CRYSTALLIZE

Pujya Gurudev had gone on an All India Tour from December 1950 to April 1951, at which time he had visited Pune and met Seshadri, “the young Madrasi boy” he mentions in The Genesis. Having already obtained the permission of his Guru Swami Tapovan Maharaj, he proceeded to plan the first jnana yajna in Pune. In a letter dated October 1, 1951, written from Uttarkashi, he follows up his discussions with Seshadri regarding the finances and publicity of the yajna. He has also taken into account the cost of converting the talks into small booklets and posting them to people, showing meticulous planning and an eye for details.

THE PLAN PROGRESSES

From Uttarkashi to Pune was a long distance in those days when letters travelled by snail mail, taking anywhere from ten days to a month to reach. If there was a landslide or some other natural disaster, the letter might never reach its destination. Pujya Gurudev functioned under these difficult circumstances. He wrote to Swami Sivananda about his plans and received his blessings for this historic endeavour. He arranged for printed notices and sent a block of his own image to Seshadri for printing. He wrote personal letters to 100 people enlisting their support.

INSPIRING THE WORKER

Letters were too slow to keep pace with the amazing speed of the Swami at work. A new telegraph office had opened in Uttarkashi and he sent a telegram to Seshadri from there. He had published a notice about the yajna in a newspaper and had the pamphlets with details of the yajna program, all ready to be posted. And yet, no news from Seshadri about the progress of the arrangements in Pune! So he wrote on October 30, 1951, inspiring him to march ahead: “Even the mightiest mountain is crossed step by step; only be careful and earnest about each step.”

INAUGURAL DATE FOR THE YAJNA

At last Seshadri’s reply reached the Swami. Immediately he wrote back, appreciating the devotee’s commitment to do anything: “What Chinmaya wants is an Arjun!” He suggested three dates for the inauguration of the yajna. The letter spills over with his boundless enthusiasm and positive energy, his immense self-confidence and total surrender to God’s Will, his utter faith in the words of the Guru and his blessings. “Kubera is our Treasurer. Sree Lakshmi our Secretary. And Lord of all Aiswarya, our Master. Worry not.” At the same time, he does not lose sight of the details and gives a volley of instructions to Seshadri.

MISGIVINGS GALORE: GURUDEV'S RESPONSE

Seshadri must have wondered what he had let himself in for! He voiced his misgivings: “Here people are discouraging me to venture on this …” People had said, “It will be very difficult to keep a Sadhu for 100 days.” Gurudev wrote back, lashing at the sheer cowardice of Hindus who pay only lip service to religion. “We are seasoned workers … Any old temple ruin is place comfortable enough for us. And as to our food – we are not Rajas, but Bhikshus at eating!!” Dismissing his worries and brushing aside all the difficulties, he asserts, “Money is not everything … His Grace is gold and silver.” By that time, he had contacted 800 persons already, in India and abroad. “Be resolved. This yagna, if it be in His plan, WILL take place even if the whole world be against it.”

COMMITTEE MEETING IN PUNE

Seshadri seems to have been so rattled at what he had taken on that he wrote to Swami Sivananda, “Now I am afraid of this great task that Swami Chinmayanandaji has put on my shoulders.” However, with Gurudev’s replies, he rallied round and called for a meeting in Pune on November 25, 1951. Stirred into activity, he started writing to the editors of the local papers about the jnana yajna. He also prepared some ‘cinema slides’ to be exhibited in the ‘talkies’ (cinema halls) in Pune.

GATHERING MOMENTUM

By November 24, Pujya Gurudev had reached Delhi and was personally contacting people for support. A new hurdle was that the swami with shorthand and typing skills who was to accompany him to Pune became sick and opted out. Gurudev wrote to Seshadri, “Someone else will (come) then … Everything as He Wills. He is our Bank, Money, Worker, Helper, Patron … all to us must be He.” He also wrote personal letters to the editors of Pune newspapers – The Lokashakti, Poona Daily News, Kal, The Prabhat Marathi Daily, Sakal – each one different and personalized. And he sent an article about himself to Seshadri, “The press is generally curious and thirsty for personal news. Enclosed is an article …”

BOOKLET FOR SEEKERS

Pujya Gurudev had prepared a detailed booklet to guide the participants in the jnana yajna – how they had to live a disciplined life, following a sattvic pattern of life, observing brahmacharya, moderation in food, purity of thoughts and so on. These will be taken up in detail in our next update about the first yajna. However, we present here an intensely poetic and mystic outpouring, an open letter addressed to all seekers, written on November 20, 1951, which was published in this booklet. This booklet was sent to 2,500 persons from Delhi.

PUBLIC TALKS: RUN UP TO THE YAJNA

On December 4, 1951, Gurudev wrote to Seshadri that he would arrive in Pune on the 20th and to arrange the public meeting on the 23rd on the topic “Let us be Hindus”. He rejected Seshadri’s suggestion that the yajna talks may be spread over different venues: “A certain very subtle force of spiritual benefaction is generated in the hall where Sruti is discussed.” He also sent a beautiful and inspiring article titled “Talks with Aspirants” for the press and another one titled “What is True Hinduism” to explain the aim of the yajna. Other letters followed, giving instructions about many details. “We shall succeed always when the Yagna is His; He is the Yajaman; He the Ahuti; His the merit; His the success – and we but His instruments only.”

ARRIVES FOR THE YAJNA IN PUNE

Gurudev reached Bombay and wrote to Seshadri on December 16, to say that he would reach Pune on the 23rd. On the 19th, with barely ten days to go for the yajna, Seshadri wrote to him, “I have not yet succeeded in getting a place for performing this Yagna.” Everything was set for the yajna, except the venue!! However, we do not have any more letters after this to tell us how it was settled finally. “I am sure everything will end well by the grace of God,” wrote Seshadri calmly. He had learnt a lesson or two in this whole process! Here ends the story of how Gurudev organized the first jnana yajna with the help of a sole “Madrasi boy” in Pune.

INTRODUCTION

Encouraging the brahmacharis entering the field of prachar work to spread the message of our scriptures, Pujya Gurudev would say, “In my first jnana yajna in Poona, there were only four people, including the speaker!” No one knew at that time how much effort and preparation had gone into the organization of the first yajna in the Ganesh Temple in Rasthapeth, Pune. It was only when Swamini Kaivalyananda unearthed the letters to Sri Seshadri, who helped in organizing that first yajna, that the micro details behind that historic event tumbled out.

Gallery

THE GENESIS: IN HIS OWN WORDS

A souvenir named “Hail Renaissance” was released to mark the 25th jnana yajna in Hyderabad, held from December 16, 1956 to January 5, 1957. There, Pujya Gurudev wrote about the story of the birth and growth of the jnana yajna in an article titled “The Genesis”. This gives us very important information about how it all happened in his own words.

View Details

THE PLANS CRYSTALLIZE

Pujya Gurudev had gone on an All India Tour from December 1950 to April 1951, at which time he had visited Pune and met Seshadri, “the young Madrasi boy” he mentions in The Genesis. Having already obtained the permission of his Guru Swami Tapovan Maharaj, he proceeded to plan the first jnana yajna in Pune. In a letter dated October 1, 1951, written from Uttarkashi, he follows up his discussions with Seshadri regarding the finances and publicity of the yajna. He has also taken into account the cost of converting the talks into small booklets and posting them to people, showing meticulous planning and an eye for details.

View Details

THE PLAN PROGRESSES

From Uttarkashi to Pune was a long distance in those days when letters travelled by snail mail, taking anywhere from ten days to a month to reach. If there was a landslide or some other natural disaster, the letter might never reach its destination. Pujya Gurudev functioned under these difficult circumstances. He wrote to Swami Sivananda about his plans and received his blessings for this historic endeavour. He arranged for printed notices and sent a block of his own image to Seshadri for printing. He wrote personal letters to 100 people enlisting their support.

View Details

INSPIRING THE WORKER

Letters were too slow to keep pace with the amazing speed of the Swami at work. A new telegraph office had opened in Uttarkashi and he sent a telegram to Seshadri from there. He had published a notice about the yajna in a newspaper and had the pamphlets with details of the yajna program, all ready to be posted. And yet, no news from Seshadri about the progress of the arrangements in Pune! So he wrote on October 30, 1951, inspiring him to march ahead: “Even the mightiest mountain is crossed step by step; only be careful and earnest about each step.”

View Details

Inaugural Date for the Yajna

At last Seshadri’s reply reached the Swami. Immediately he wrote back, appreciating the devotee’s commitment to do anything: “What Chinmaya wants is an Arjun!” He suggested three dates for the inauguration of the yajna. The letter spills over with his boundless enthusiasm and positive energy, his immense self-confidence and total surrender to God’s Will, his utter faith in the words of the Guru and his blessings. “Kubera is our Treasurer. Sree Lakshmi our Secretary. And Lord of all Aiswarya, our Master. Worry not.” At the same time, he does not lose sight of the details and gives a volley of instructions to Seshadri.

View Details

Misgivings Galore: Gurudev’s Response

Seshadri must have wondered what he had let himself in for! He voiced his misgivings: “Here people are discouraging me to venture on this …” People had said, “It will be very difficult to keep a Sadhu for 100 days.” Gurudev wrote back, lashing at the sheer cowardice of Hindus who pay only lip service to religion. “We are seasoned workers … Any old temple ruin is place comfortable enough for us. And as to our food – we are not Rajas, but Bhikshus at eating!!” Dismissing his worries and brushing aside all the difficulties, he asserts, “Money is not everything … His Grace is gold and silver.” By that time, he had contacted 800 persons already, in India and abroad. “Be resolved. This yagna, if it be in His plan, WILL take place even if the whole world be against it.”

View Details

Committee Meeting in Pune

Seshadri seems to have been so rattled at what he had taken on that he wrote to Swami Sivananda, “Now I am afraid of this great task that Swami Chinmayanandaji has put on my shoulders.” However, with Gurudev’s replies, he rallied round and called for a meeting in Pune on November 25, 1951. Stirred into activity, he started writing to the editors of the local papers about the jnana yajna. He also prepared some ‘cinema slides’ to be exhibited in the ‘talkies’ (cinema halls) in Pune.

View Details

Gathering Momentum

By November 24, Pujya Gurudev had reached Delhi and was personally contacting people for support. A new hurdle was that the swami with shorthand and typing skills who was to accompany him to Pune became sick and opted out. Gurudev wrote to Seshadri, “Someone else will (come) then … Everything as He Wills. He is our Bank, Money, Worker, Helper, Patron … all to us must be He.” He also wrote personal letters to the editors of Pune newspapers – The Lokashakti, Poona Daily News, Kal, The Prabhat Marathi Daily, Sakal – each one different and personalized. And he sent an article about himself to Seshadri, “The press is generally curious and thirsty for personal news. Enclosed is an article …”

View Details

BOOKLET FOR SEEKERS

Pujya Gurudev had prepared a detailed booklet to guide the participants in the jnana yajna – how they had to live a disciplined life, following a sattvic pattern of life, observing brahmacharya, moderation in food, purity of thoughts and so on. These will be taken up in detail in our next update about the first yajna. However, we present here an intensely poetic and mystic outpouring, an open letter addressed to all seekers, written on November 20, 1951, which was published in this booklet. This booklet was sent to 2,500 persons from Delhi.

View Details

Public Talks: Run Up to the Yajna

On December 4, 1951, Gurudev wrote to Seshadri that he would arrive in Pune on the 20th and to arrange the public meeting on the 23rd on the topic “Let us be Hindus”. He rejected Seshadri’s suggestion that the yajna talks may be spread over different venues: “A certain very subtle force of spiritual benefaction is generated in the hall where Sruti is discussed.” He also sent a beautiful and inspiring article titled “Talks with Aspirants” for the press and another one titled “What is True Hinduism” to explain the aim of the yajna. Other letters followed, giving instructions about many details. “We shall succeed always when the Yagna is His; He is the Yajaman; He the Ahuti; His the merit; His the success – and we but His instruments only.”

View Details

Arrives For the Yajna in Pune

Gurudev reached Bombay and wrote to Seshadri on December 16, to say that he would reach Pune on the 23rd. On the 19th, with barely ten days to go for the yajna, Seshadri wrote to him, “I have not yet succeeded in getting a place for performing this Yagna.” Everything was set for the yajna, except the venue!! However, we do not have any more letters after this to tell us how it was settled finally. “I am sure everything will end well by the grace of God,” wrote Seshadri calmly. He had learnt a lesson or two in this whole process! Here ends the story of how Gurudev organized the first jnana yajna with the help of a sole “Madrasi boy” in Pune.

View Details

Love For Mother

KOCHU AMMA ALL-IN-ALL FOR LITTLE BALAN

Having lost his biological mother at a very young age, Kochu Amma was the only mother Balan knew. She brought him up along with her children and lavished so much love on him that he firmly believed that she was his mother. In fact, when his father remarried and moved to Thrissur, little Balan refused to go with him. For the child, Kochu Amma was the mother and Poothampalli House the only home.

REMINISCENCES OF FAMILY MEMBERS

Even after receiving sannyasa diksha, Swamiji did not hesitate to express his affection for his mother openly. Where there is no attachment, love alone shines forth in its full glory. Whenever he visited the ancestral home, Poothampalli House, he would shower her with his love.

During his childhood, his mother used to mix the rice with vegetables and other dishes and make rice balls, called urula, to feed him. In the later years, every time he visited her as a sannyasi, he highlighted his special bond with her by insisting that she give him the first morsel of food, the urula. Kochu Amma’s grandchildren (through Bhaskara Menon), Indira and Sarasa, recall those days.

MOTHER'S LOVE FOR HIM

The son loved her immensely, but the mother also had a very special place in her heart for this unique son. Whenever he was to visit her, she would go into an overdrive, clean up the house personally, make special preparations and wait eagerly for him to arrive. As she grew older, she made her granddaughters do the cleaning up and Swamiji would play pranks on them.

In spite of financial constraints, Kochu Amma would be ready with sadya (special feast food of Kerala) for her favourite son. And she would spend time with him, one on one, confiding in him about all her concerns, problems and worries.

The famous studio picture of Kochu Amma is very special because Swamiji made her wear the traditional Kerala two-piece saree known as kasava mundu, took her to the studio himself, arranged and adjusted her clothes and hair for the picture to be taken.

Spiritual Instructions to His Mother

Swamiji used to give spiritual advice to Kochu Amma periodically, telling her to do japa etc. She followed these instructions scrupulously. She began to observe mauna in the mornings regularly. Gita chanting became an integral part of the puja, along with the chanting of Vishnu Sahasranama. Moreover, she conducted study classes in Poothampalli House.

Service to Mother during her Cataract Surgery

Swamiji served his mother tenderly and diligently, taking care of her needs wherever he could. When she had to undergo a cataract surgery, he called her over to Coimbatore where he was conducting a yajna (sixth jnana yajna from 09.05.1954 to 30.05.1954), arranged for the surgery, stayed with her and served her personally.

Travels with Mother

Having undergone a lot of trials and tribulations in life, Kochu Amma found great peace and solace in Swamiji’s presence. He would attend to all the arrangements of her travel and stay. Once he personally brought her from Delhi to Cochin by flight. In the evening, when the two of them were sitting in the verandah of Poothampalli house, Swamiji asked her, “Amma, when I was small, you would warn me and dissuade me from climbing the window sill because I might fall and hurt myself. Now you have flown at such a great height. Weren’t you scared?”

Mother’s Long Hair

The little child Balan loved Kochu Amma’s long and thick hair that flowed till her knees. He would often play with it. In her old age, she developed psoriasis and the doctors had advised that her hair should be cut short. When Swamiji visited her next and saw her with short hair, he was very upset and scolded the family members.

Mother an Ideal to be Emulated

Many were the occasions when Swamiji referred people to his mother, to be groomed in the traditional values and culture. He sent Leela Rangaswamy (late Swamini Pavitrananda) to Poothampalli House to be taken care of by his mother. She made the young girl eat nourishing food and strengthened her body, as well as her mind. Listen to Leela’s sister Indira Rajaram talk about it.

While recommending Indira, the daughter of Bhaskara Menon (his cousin and Kochu Amma’s biological son), for a marriage alliance, he wrote, “The girl is the daughter of my own ‘mother’s’ son … She reared me up; she reared this girl also.”

Mother Leaves Her Mortal Body

Kochu Amma passed away peacefully on March 26, 1967. At that time, Sarasa was at home by her side and Indira was with Swamiji in Calcutta. On hearing the sad news, Swamiji told Indira, “The whole of last night, I was with my mother.” Kulam pavitram janani kritartha – the entire family is blessed and the mother is fulfilled when a son attains such a high spiritual status.

Gallery

Kochu Amma All-in-All for Little Balan

Having lost his biological mother at a very young age, Kochu Amma was the only mother Balan knew. She brought him up along with her children and lavished so much love on him that he firmly believed that she was his mother. In fact, when his father remarried and moved to Thrissur, little Balan refused to go with him. For the child, Kochu Amma was the mother and Poothampalli House the only home.

Next: Reminiscences of Family Members

Reminiscences of Family Members

Even after receiving sannyasa diksha, Swamiji did not hesitate to express his affection for his mother openly. Where there is no attachment, love alone shines forth in its full glory. Whenever he visited the ancestral home, Poothampalli House, he would shower her with his love.

During his childhood, his mother used to mix the rice with vegetables and other dishes and make rice balls, called urula, to feed him. In the later years, every time he visited her as a sannyasi, he highlighted his special bond with her by insisting that she give him the first morsel of food, the urula. Kochu Amma’s grandchildren (through Bhaskara Menon), Indira and Sarasa, recall those days.

Next: Mother's Love For Him

Mother’s Love for Him

The son loved her immensely, but the mother also had a very special place in her heart for this unique son. Whenever he was to visit her, she would go into an overdrive, clean up the house personally, make special preparations and wait eagerly for him to arrive. As she grew older, she made her granddaughters do the cleaning up and Swamiji would play pranks on them.

In spite of financial constraints, Kochu Amma would be ready with sadya (special feast food of Kerala) for her favourite son. And she would spend time with him, one on one, confiding in him about all her concerns, problems and worries.

The famous studio picture of Kochu Amma is very special because Swamiji made her wear the traditional Kerala two-piece saree known as kasava mundu, took her to the studio himself, arranged and adjusted her clothes and hair for the picture to be taken.

Next: Spiritual Instructions to Mother

Spiritual Instructions to His Mother

Swamiji used to give spiritual advice to Kochu Amma periodically, telling her to do japa etc. She followed these instructions scrupulously. She began to observe mauna in the mornings regularly. Gita chanting became an integral part of the puja, along with the chanting of Vishnu Sahasranama. Moreover, she conducted study classes in Poothampalli House.

Next: Service to Mother

Service to Mother during her Cataract Surgery

Swamiji served his mother tenderly and diligently, taking care of her needs wherever he could. When she had to undergo a cataract surgery, he called her over to Coimbatore where he was conducting a yajna (sixth jnana yajna from 09.05.1954 to 30.05.1954), arranged for the surgery, stayed with her and served her personally.

Next: Travels with Mother

Travels with Mother

Having undergone a lot of trials and tribulations in life, Kochu Amma found great peace and solace in Swamiji’s presence. He would attend to all the arrangements of her travel and stay. Once he personally brought her from Delhi to Cochin by flight. In the evening, when the two of them were sitting in the verandah of Poothampalli house, Swamiji asked her, “Amma, when I was small, you would warn me and dissuade me from climbing the window sill because I might fall and hurt myself. Now you have flown at such a great height. Weren’t you scared?”

Next: Mother's Long Hair

Mother’s Long Hair

The little child Balan loved Kochu Amma’s long and thick hair that flowed till her knees. He would often play with it. In her old age, she developed psoriasis and the doctors had advised that her hair should be cut short. When Swamiji visited her next and saw her with short hair, he was very upset and scolded the family members.

Next: Mother an Ideal to be emulated

Mother an Ideal to be Emulated

Many were the occasions when Swamiji referred people to his mother, to be groomed in the traditional values and culture. He sent Leela Rangaswamy (late Swamini Pavitrananda) to Poothampalli House to be taken care of by his mother. She made the young girl eat nourishing food and strengthened her body, as well as her mind. Listen to Leela’s sister Indira Rajaram talk about it.

While recommending Indira, the daughter of Bhaskara Menon (his cousin and Kochu Amma’s biological son), for a marriage alliance, he wrote, “The girl is the daughter of my own ‘mother’s’ son … She reared me up; she reared this girl also.”

Next: Mother leaves her mortal body

Mother Leaves Her Mortal Body

Kochu Amma passed away peacefully on March 26, 1967. At that time, Sarasa was at home by her side and Indira was with Swamiji in Calcutta. On hearing the sad news, Swamiji told Indira, “The whole of last night, I was with my mother.” Kulam pavitram janani kritartha – the entire family is blessed and the mother is fulfilled when a son attains such a high spiritual status.

Next: Photo Gallery

Gurudev and His Mother - A Gallery

(Click to enlarge and see details)

Ideas1

FOR DESKTOP ONLY

Hello World

Story of the First Jnana Yajna

Encouraging the brahmacharis entering the field of prachar work to spread the message of our scriptures, Pujya Gurudev would say, “In my first jnana yajna in Poona, there were only four people, including the speaker!” No one knew at that time how much effort and preparation had gone into the organization of the first yajna in the Ganesh Temple in Rasthapet, Pune. It was only when Swamini Kaivalyananda unearthed the letters to Sri Seshadri, who helped in organizing that first yajna, that the micro details behind that historic event tumbled out.

The location of the first Jnana Yajna in 1951.
A small Ganesh Temple in  Rastapet, Pune

Inside the Ganesh temple, Rastapet, Pune

Swami Chinmayananda speaking at the first Jnana Yajna, Pune, 1951 

The Genesis: In His Own Words

A souvenir named “Hail Renaissance” was released to mark the 25th jnana yajna in Hyderabad, held from December 16, 1956 to January 5, 1957. There, Pujya Gurudev wrote about the story of the birth and growth of the jnana yajna in an article titled “The Genesis”. This gives us very important information about how it all happened in his own words.

Story of the First Jnana Yajna

Encouraging the brahmacharis entering the field of prachar work to spread the message of our scriptures, Pujya Gurudev would say, “In my first jnana yajna in Poona, there were only four people, including the speaker!” No one knew at that time how much effort and preparation had gone into the organization of the first yajna in the Ganesh Temple in Rasthapet, Pune. It was only when Swamini Kaivalyananda unearthed the letters to Sri Seshadri, who helped in organizing that first yajna, that the micro details behind that historic event tumbled out.

Text on the button

Love For Mother

Kochu Amma All-in-All for Little Balan

Having lost his biological mother at a very young age, Kochu Amma was the only mother Balan knew. She brought him up along with her children and lavished so much love on him that he firmly believed that she was his mother. In fact, when his father remarried and moved to Thrissur, little Balan refused to go with him. For the child, Kochu Amma was the mother and Poothampalli House the only home.

Next: Reminiscences of Family Members

Reminiscences of Family Members

Even after receiving sannyasa diksha, Swamiji did not hesitate to express his affection for his mother openly. Where there is no attachment, love alone shines forth in its full glory. Whenever he visited the ancestral home, Poothampalli House, he would shower her with his love.

During his childhood, his mother used to mix the rice with vegetables and other dishes and make rice balls, called urula, to feed him. In the later years, every time he visited her as a sannyasi, he highlighted his special bond with her by insisting that she give him the first morsel of food, the urula. Kochu Amma’s grandchildren (through Bhaskara Menon), Indira and Sarasa, recall those days.

Next: Mother's Love For Him

Mother’s Love for Him

The son loved her immensely, but the mother also had a very special place in her heart for this unique son. Whenever he was to visit her, she would go into an overdrive, clean up the house personally, make special preparations and wait eagerly for him to arrive. As she grew older, she made her granddaughters do the cleaning up and Swamiji would play pranks on them.

In spite of financial constraints, Kochu Amma would be ready with sadya (special feast food of Kerala) for her favourite son. And she would spend time with him, one on one, confiding in him about all her concerns, problems and worries.

The famous studio picture of Kochu Amma is very special because Swamiji made her wear the traditional Kerala two-piece saree known as kasava mundu, took her to the studio himself, arranged and adjusted her clothes and hair for the picture to be taken.

Next: Spiritual Instructions to Mother

Spiritual Instructions to His Mother

Swamiji used to give spiritual advice to Kochu Amma periodically, telling her to do japa etc. She followed these instructions scrupulously. She began to observe mauna in the mornings regularly. Gita chanting became an integral part of the puja, along with the chanting of Vishnu Sahasranama. Moreover, she conducted study classes in Poothampalli House.

Next: Service to Mother

Service to Mother during her Cataract Surgery

Swamiji served his mother tenderly and diligently, taking care of her needs wherever he could. When she had to undergo a cataract surgery, he called her over to Coimbatore where he was conducting a yajna (sixth jnana yajna from 09.05.1954 to 30.05.1954), arranged for the surgery, stayed with her and served her personally.

Next: Travels with Mother

Travels with Mother

Having undergone a lot of trials and tribulations in life, Kochu Amma found great peace and solace in Swamiji’s presence. He would attend to all the arrangements of her travel and stay. Once he personally brought her from Delhi to Cochin by flight. In the evening, when the two of them were sitting in the verandah of Poothampalli house, Swamiji asked her, “Amma, when I was small, you would warn me and dissuade me from climbing the window sill because I might fall and hurt myself. Now you have flown at such a great height. Weren’t you scared?”

Next: Mother's Long Hair

Mother’s Long Hair

The little child Balan loved Kochu Amma’s long and thick hair that flowed till her knees. He would often play with it. In her old age, she developed psoriasis and the doctors had advised that her hair should be cut short. When Swamiji visited her next and saw her with short hair, he was very upset and scolded the family members.

Next: Mother an Ideal to be emulated

Mother an Ideal to be Emulated

Many were the occasions when Swamiji referred people to his mother, to be groomed in the traditional values and culture. He sent Leela Rangaswamy (late Swamini Pavitrananda) to Poothampalli House to be taken care of by his mother. She made the young girl eat nourishing food and strengthened her body, as well as her mind. Listen to Leela’s sister Indira Rajaram talk about it.

While recommending Indira, the daughter of Bhaskara Menon (his cousin and Kochu Amma’s biological son), for a marriage alliance, he wrote, “The girl is the daughter of my own ‘mother’s’ son … She reared me up; she reared this girl also.”

Next: Mother leaves her mortal body

Mother Leaves Her Mortal Body

Kochu Amma passed away peacefully on March 26, 1967. At that time, Sarasa was at home by her side and Indira was with Swamiji in Calcutta. On hearing the sad news, Swamiji told Indira, “The whole of last night, I was with my mother.” Kulam pavitram janani kritartha – the entire family is blessed and the mother is fulfilled when a son attains such a high spiritual status.

Next: Photo Gallery

Gallery

Gurudev and His Mother - A Gallery

(Click to enlarge and see details)

Let_SC_BM_Jan31_1955

31.1.’55

C/O K. Venkataswami Naidu
Gopalapuram,
Coimbatore

Sree P. Bhaskara Menon
Ernakulam.

Blessed Immortal Self
Om Namo Narayanaya!
Om Sree Murugaua Namaha!
Salutations!!


After a very successful Yagna in Madras we left the City for Coimbatore on 28th and reached here on 29th at 8 AM. At 11 AM Mother was consulted and she was immediately operated upon. Both her eyes could have been together done – but she was too nervous. I was all along with her in the operation theatre. The operation was a 3 mts. affair: the “Crystal” was removed and the eye bandaged. She is steadily improving. No pain and the eye is very healthily progressing.

She is in the hospital in a special ward. Annithi Chechi is with her. I go there morning and evening. Her food also goes from here. Everything OK.


I hope she will be able to come out by the 6th or 7th. If by the 5th you can send somebody from there it will be nice – who can accompany her to Ekm. I may not get time – as I have to go to Madras; and then to Delhi. If there is none – don’t worry. I can arrange here. Balasundaram or somebody who knows her. Sree Venkataswami can arrange it all. That is the best: don’t worry. Need not send anybody – everything will be arranged. By 10th she will be there. My pen was only loosely thinking all through this para.


With Prem and Om
Sd
Chinmayananda

Even the President of India got the Yagna Prasad

Balkrishna from Rashtrapathi Bhavan writes to Sri. S. Seshadri on February 20th 1952

SECRETARY TO THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA,

RASHTRAPATI BHAVAN,

NEW DELHI.

20th February, 1952.

Dear Sir,

I am desired to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of a copy each of the following brochures which you have sent to the President:

1. YAGNA PRASAD:VOLUME
2. YAGNA PRASAD:VOLUME
3. YAGNA PRASAD:VOLUME

Yours faithfully,

Signed Balkrishna

(Balkrishna)

Deputy Private Secretary to the President.

 

Shri S.Seshadri,
100 DAYS PUNISHAD GYANA YAGNA COMMITTEE,
207, Rasta Peth,
POONA.

Gurudev’s extensive global outreach for the 1st Yagna

SHANTI SADAN

29 CHEPSTOW VILLAS

LONDON W 11

18.3.52.

Esteemed Mahatma,

I have received several copies of your little pamphlets, yagna prasad, I am glad Swami Shivanandaji is one of your inspirers.

India cannot live prosperously and free without the study and application of the holy truth of the Bhagavad gita.

Shanti Sadan during the last twenty years has been proclaiming the holy truth of the gita and has published over 20 classics on the subject. Our latest achievement is an English translation of Valimiki Ramayana. Perhaps

the enclosed writings will be found worthy of insertion in your magazine.

Our salutation to you, Swamiji maharaj and others of your holy sangha

your servant

Signature

 

Universal Prayer by Sri Swami Chinmayanada

Universal Prayer by Sri Swami Chinmayananda

Cover Photos of the Chief Priest

Cover Photos of the Chief Priest

Running out of funds

Golden chance – A souvenir volume of all the Yagna Prasads so far is being got ready

Golden chance – A souvenir volume of all the Yagna Prasads so far is being got ready

A Golden Chance

A souvenir volume of all the Yagna Prasads so far is being got ready. This volume contains all the six booklets published so far under the title YAGNA PRASAD and consisting in its two hundred-pages-bulk are the learned discourses upon all the Mantras of the Kenopanishad.  The souvenir YAGNA PRASAD  volume is sent with Sree Swamiji Maharaj’s autograph to those persons who will first reach us with a love offering of Rs. 10 in the Sewa of the Upanishad Rishies. Since the volumes are so limited please be kind enough to send in your letter-of-offerings AT ONCE.

Comparison of this volume from 1951 with our current Kenopanishad text book

Swamiji’s talks on the Kenopanishad during the 1st Yagna in 1951-52, have become our Kenopanishad text book today! Here are some examples.

The volume of correspondence that Sree Swamiji has been receiving

The volume of correspondence that Sree Swamiji has been receiving

Volume of correspondence increases 

The volume of correspondence that Sree Swamiji has been receiving is so heavy that if he were to reply to them all immediately, no other constructive work would be possible.

It is therefore requested that devotees should not be disheartened if their letters are not replied as promptly and as regularly as before. Sree Swamiji wants to inform all his devotees that their doubts would automatically be cleared if they but make themselves available to ‘tune-in’ between 8 and 8.30 PM each day for the communal Waves of Bliss that emanate at this time from the Yagna Sala in Poona.

Below are a few examples of mail requesting the Yagna Prasad.

The word had spread to many parts of India, and overseas. 

Swamiji falls ill

Swamiji falls ill

Swamiji falls ill during the Yagna

On Mahashivarathri day Sri Swamiji Maharaj fell ill and it was diagnosed as Para Typhoid. Sri Swamiji Maharaj cheerfully went through the term of the fever and revived soon. The discourses had to be suspended from February 23 to March 10, on which day, doctors permitted Sri Swamiji to start his daily discourses.

The Guru’s concern

Within minutes of learning about Swami Chinmayananda’s illness, Swami Tapovan wrote to Sri. Seshadri, enquiring about his health, and telling him how to proceed with the Yagna. That letter is below.

A city-wide procession

A city-wide procession

The Akhand Kirtan: The Akhanda Maha Mantra Kirtan that has been going on unbroken round the clock from the day of its inception by Sri, Swami Chinmayanandaji on the 50th Day of the Yagna, will also terminate on April 6. It is now programmed that on Sunday, the 6th April from 3 p.m. to 6-45 p.m. there shall be an all-round the city procession of a caravan of trucks and cars equipped with loudspeakers, etc. The devotees riding in them would be chanting the Maha Mantra and the procession shall stop at every road junction and proceed in creeping pace through the thickly populated parts of the City bathing this land of Thukaram with the thundering songs of the Lord’s Name, The procession is to terminate in the Yagnasala where under the guidance of the Chief Priest it will come to a close at 7 p.m. in a long silent meditation followed by Shanti Path.

Sri Naidu recollects how Gurudev used the parade to bring about unity

Sri Naidu: In 1951, soon after India’s independence, the Hindu-Muslim divide was there. So Gurudev organized a procession through Pune city to bring about unity among the Indians. The procession started from the temple, moved to Apollo Talkies, and then proceeded to the Cantonment area, which was populated with Anglo-Indian and Christian families, and then wound through the Muslim area of Bhavani Peth to end again at the Rastha Peth temple. I was also a part of that procession.

Upanishad Homa

Ganga Kalasa Pooja

Common meditation class

Common Meditation Classes

The 500 and more devotees who are daily visiting the Yagna Sala, at the completion of the daily evening discourse, are being initiated into the technique of Meditation at the Yagna Sala, by our Chief Priest. For this purpose an electrically lit ॐ has been installed in the Yagna Sala. The silence that pervades the atmosphere of the Yagna Sala during community meditation can be really seen and felt. All devotees in all parts of the Globe are requested to turn towards Poona between 8 and 9 p.m. ( I. S. P. ) every day and to meditate for Universal Peace. Undoubtedly, the music of the hearts will be heard and enjoyed as multum in parbo-One in many and many in the One. In that velveteen hush we are feeling transported into an Unknown World of true and divine peace.

Glory !! Glory to Sree Chinmayananda, our Guide and Light !

Some 400 to 500 people sit in breathless silence...

The Bramhavali Jnanavali stanzas which Sree Swamiji Maharaj has selected for repeating during the Common Meditations we are daily having at his feet in the Yagna Sala at the close of each day’s evening discourses. This is indeed one of the greatest spiritual experiment which any great Master has ever tried in the recent times. Some 400,500 persons daily assemble in the Yagna Sala and they in breathless silence sit in meditation. The sitting starts with long chantings of OM and then as the assembly settles down into the silence sweet, Sree Swamiji Maharaj starts his divine “injections” with the Bramhavalis !!

Akhanda Kirtan – Guess who would chant past midnight?

Akhanda Kirtan of Mahamantra

There is another divine suggestion from Shri Chinmayananda which has been worked out.  In front of the light, 24 hours, non-stop chanting of the MAHAMANTRA been started by devotees, taking their turn, one hour each.

THE AKHAND LIGHT will be kept burning and the AKHAND KIRTAN YAGNA will be carried on all throughout the remaining 50-days of the UPANISHAD GYANA YAGNA which concludes on the 8th of April.

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Note: During the wee hours from mid-night to 4 AM when no devotees were available to chant, Swamiji himself would do the chanting.

Akhanda light was lit at Brahmamuhurtha, 4.30 AM

Akhanda light was lit at Brahmamuhurtha, 4.30 AM

Akhanda Light: As a symbol of the Gayatri Light, Oh! Mother Thou art the Light of the World; keep the Light within me always burning”, an Akhanda Light was lit on the 19th Feb. ’52 at Brahmamuhurtha, 4. 30 A. M.; and it is proposed to maintain it burning all the time by the devotees who visit the Meditation Sanctorum set apart for this purpose. May the Light Lit and maintained come to symbolise our urge to lit our within and maintain the Flame of Devotion through our constant Iswara Smaran”, is the ardent prayer voiced forth by H. H. Sree Swami Chinmayanada on the sacred occasion of the Lighting the Lamp.

Guru Aarthi to be started

Guru Aarthi to be started

From today onwards, as per the wish of Sree Swami Chinmayananda, we shall be having every day at the close of the Gyana Yagna common-meditation an Arathi performed to the Gurus. It is only a great blessing that we have among us Brahmachari Sree Rama Premiji who will be daily closing the days Kalyan with his melodious Arathi songs.

No words can express our sense of gratitude to Sree Swami Chinmayanandji but for whose untiring enthusiasm and endless dynamism such a glorious unprecedented Yagna would not have come to pass here. In this Land of Gyaneswari our Chief priest is shining out as a real Gyaneswari Sewak!!

This booklet was with Swami Tapovanam for some years

This booklet was with Swami Tapovanam for some years

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