Swami Chinmayananda (May 8, 1916 - Aug 3, 1993) was born Balakrishna Menon (Balan) in Ernakulam, Kerala in a devout Hindu noble family called "Poothampalli". Graduating from Lucknow University, he entered the field of journalism where he felt he could influence political, economic and social reform in India. But his life was changed when he met Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh and became interested in the Hindu spiritual path.
Balakrishna Menon took sanyas(monkhood) from Swami Sivananda to become Swami Chinmayananda - the one who is saturated in Bliss and Consciousness. Swami Sivananda saw the potential in Swami Chinmayananda and sent him to study under a guru in the Himalayas - Swami Tapovan Maharaj under whom he studied for 8 years. At the end of the education he decided to spread his teaching all over the world.
During his forty years of travelling and teaching, Swami Chinmayananda opened numerous centres and ashrams worldwide, he also built many schools, hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. As well as reinvigorating India's rich cultural heritage, he made Vedanta accessible to everybody regardless of age, nationality, or religious background.
Pujya Gurudev taught the logic of spirituality, while emphasizing the balance of head and heart. Selfless work, study, and meditation are the cornerstones of spiritual practice, he said. He is credited with the renaissance of spiritual and cultural values in India and with awakening the rest of the world to the ageless wisdom of Advaitic Vedanta as expounded by Adi Sankaracharya. He attained Mahasamadhi in August 1993. His legacy remains in the form of books, audio and video tapes, schools and social service projects. Vedanta teachers from whom he taught and inspired, and Chinmaya Mission centers around the world serving the spiritual and cultural needs of local communities.