Swami Chinmayananda, through his appointed sevaks/ brahmacharis, during the years 1970 -73, used to conduct Bala Vihar classes at selected residential premises. One such residence was of Mr K G Krishnan, my neighbor’s house in Ghatkopar, a central suburb in Bombay. Of course, I left for Delhi in the year 1973 since my father got transferred in his job at the Reserve Bank of India. Hence, I am not aware whether such classes were conducted during the later period in Mr Krishnan’s house. I was very young, about 6 years old, so I have only faint memories of meeting Swamiji’s sevaks.
In the year 1986, one of my distant cousins, had enrolled for the two and half years of residential course on Vedanta at the Chinmaya mission in Powai, Bombay. He invited me to his ashram and I was brought in touch with Swamiji’s teachings through his books and one of the books written by him is a running commentary of Srimad Bhagavad Gita ( in English). Clearly, I was quite dumb-founded and inspired by Swamiji’s writings and I wanted to know more about him through his books.
Swamiji writes in one of his letters to his followers, ” Be strong – not merely a physical strength of a bull – but the subtle vitality of a calm mind, diligent in its application, consistent in its logical thinking, replete with a will to win over all negative tendencies that poison and weaken the mind.”
I can only call Swamiji’s life as a disciplined one, a Sadhna, a mission, inspired by and focused on purpose! And, I remember a householder .. my father .. having led such a life in his life span of 82 years. He passed away in the year 2008 but I am still inspired by him and his way of life. Definitely, each one admires his or her parents and are obliged to them, unable to pay back in return ever. So, it is nothing strange .. if I sing praises of my father. But, let me tell you, my father remains to be an example to be followed .. for all his friends and relatives, even today!
Moral living uplifts one! Life is spent in ‘meeting challenges’. Situations and problems, continuously flow towards us and no one needs to search for them! You lose some situations and You gain some! But, we have to meet these challenges or else they will stampede on you trampling whatever comes on the way. It is better to meet the problems that situation demands and I assure you, God will be with you at every step, if you are sincere in your efforts. To meet them, you need to have a mind full of energy and stamina. An exhausted and fatigued mind gets hit by situations, crushed by problems!!
Swamiji further elaborates, “We can revive and strengthen the intellect by living the discipline of moral virtues. These are lived laboriously at first, but soon they become the most enjoyable life-style. Not only they provide a cheerful and joyous life for yourself and to others around you, but in a year or two the discipline brings your discriminating power, out of its clouds of dullness and incompetency, to shine forth brightly. An awakened intellect makes worldly life more readily successful, and also it reveals the deeper significance of the very existence”
I find a lot of Swamiji’s teachings exemplified in the life led by my father. He was very practical and always claimed to be non-spiritual ( though I knew he was actually spiritually inclined but did not want to proclaim so!). He was bright, cheerful, well-informed of happenings around him till the last day of his life. And, he was fit physically as well as in his mind.
‘A morally strong person spends less of his mental powers in facing day to day problems of his life. Therefore, he conserves his potential mental vitality, which he spends in his creative pursuits of study, reflection and meditation’, Swamiji concludes in his letter.