Strolling through the sprawling leafy campus of the Chinmaya Mission in Powai is like stepping back in time. No cowdung huts and thatched roofs here, but one is reminded of the forest hermitages of the ancient sages as, far from the snarl of vehicular traffic outside, an air of tranquility and piety pervades within. The reverential hush inside Gurudev’s kuti as the relics bring the memory of the Master to life, the soothing sonority of Sanskrit shlokas chanted in unison, and the proximity of nature help one withdraw within and dwell on the mystery that is life.
Towering over the Mission grounds, built on a hillock, is the architecturally striking Jagdeeshwara Temple; its massive arch built to resemble a Buddhist stupa with an inscription from the Koran on it make for a refreshing assertion of the unity of faiths.In the evenings it is the scene of the electrically charged satsangs held by Swami Tejomayananda or another of the acharyas, as crickets chirp outside and the city lights of Powai glimmer in the distance below.
One notices young boys and girls, their full white outfits distinct from the yellow and ochre worn by the renunciate swamis and acharyas, going about their routines. These are the future torchbearers of the movement, undergoing training at the gurukul that represents the very heart of the Chinmaya Mission. They are participating in the Vedanta Course, also known as the Brahmacharya Course, the 13th batch of its kind held since the establishment of this center.In one sense this Sadhanalaya is a boarding school for those in search of Vedantic knowledge. Of course, unlike a boarding school, which is only affordable by the rich, Chinmaya Mission provides free boarding and lodging to eligible students at the Sandeepany. Normally students stay here for a period of about two and a half years, without any home visits. However they do take trips to holy places for special camps.
The Chinmaya Mission was started in 1953 at the instance of a handful of disciples, to give expression to Swami Chinmayananda’s vision and philosophy.Its purpose, as stated in his own words, “To provide to individuals from any background the wisdom of Vedanta and the practical means for spiritual growth and happiness, enabling them to become positive contributors to society.
The Central Chinmaya Mission Trust office is located right at the entrance of the Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai. For information on enrollment,
Tara Cultural Trust
Saki Vihar Road
Mumbai 400 072
Tel: +91-22-2857-0368/ 5805