Many in the Bay Area have listened to Swami Chidananda’s discourses and will be happy to have him in their midst again. Many others will have an opportunity to listen to his lectures, meet with him, and be glad to know him. He is on a U.S. tour from the holy city of Varanasi, where he has lived for the past three years. On his Bay Area stop, Swami Chidananda will give a series of lectures in English on the Ramana Gita in Milpitas.

Swami Chidananda’s approach to philosophy is rooted in immense bhakti, which is strengthened by an analytical approach he developed while obtaining an M.Tech. degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. After studying the Hindu scriptures from Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Chidananda served the Chinmaya Mission in its various spiritual, cultural, and educational projects for 16 years. It was during that period that he stayed at Sandeeepany, San Jose, as the resident acharya from 1993 to 1998. While he was there, he won the hearts of his audiences with his stimulating talks on the Gita, the Upanishads, and the Ramayana.

At present, Swami Chidananda lives a monastic life on the banks of the Ganga, rigorously pursuing self-study, giving inspiring talks, and volunteering his time for managing a rural school for the poor which is attached to the Krishnamurti Foundation in Varanasi.
Beneath his ever-calm, ever-gentle, and soft-spoken nature Swami Chidananda maintains a steely determination to persist in his quest for the Truth, for personal discovery in the mind-boggling domain of self-inquiry. It is this relentless examination of the fundamental question of life, “Who am I?” and his open-minded but rigorous investigation of contemporary thought that sets him apart.

While his Vedanta guru supplied him with the foundation in spiritual thought, his understanding of metaphysical themes gained extra dimensions thanks to the profound teachings of other great masters like Ramana Maharshi and Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti’s powerful words awakened in him an awareness of the need to see the whole of life without the limitations of institutionalized ideas or ideals. The formalities of tradition may have their own beauty, charm, and a legitimate place in the scheme of human society. But a true seeker of the Universal Truth will necessarily be forced to re-examine those traditional values and the restraints they impose on his ability to arrive at the Supreme Truth.

Swami Chidananda’s study of Ramana Maharshi’s works helped him see the importance of putting aside a number of secondary questions and hold on to the vital query of “Who am I?”

His talks in Milpitas will be on the Sanskrit text, Ramana Gita, written by the Sanskrit scholar Ganapati Muni. It is one of the important works that describes the teachings of Ramana Maharshi. The author recorded the Maharishi’s responses to the various questions that were posed to him by his devotees. Swami Chidananda will cover mukhya-kartavya-nirupanam, a discussion on the paramount duty of human life, contained in chapter 3 of the text.

June 5-9. Jain Mandir Auditorium, 722 S. Main St., Milpitas. 7:30 p.m. Free. (408) 263-2961.


Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 36-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...