Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda
The mere presence of Swami Tejomayananda (affectionately known as Guruji) radiates a feeling of warmth and love, and upon meeting him, it’s hard to believe that a person who is so down to earth, so humble, and so accessible, is the head of a vast organisation with more than 250 centres worldwide.
Sudhakar Kaitwade was born in Madhya Pradesh on 30th June 1950. As a student, he took a keen interest in music and drama, but ended up studying physics at university. But during his college days, he was greatly inspired by the writings of Swami Vivekananda, and even at such a young age, sought something beyond the ordinary material ambitions that most people harbour. The spiritual call came to him in 1970 when he met Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, and attended one of his Gītā discourses.
He was immediately inspired to join the Vedānta Course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai, and after his graduation in 1975, he served in the field for a few years as Brahmachari Vivek Chaitanya. He was subsequently posted as A cārya for the Hindi Brahmachari Training Course in Sandeepany Himalayas, and in 1983, was initiated into Sannyāsa by Pujya Gurudev under the name Swami Tejomayananda. He was then appointed as Acārya of Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai, where he taught two batches of students. In 1989, Guruji was sent to San Jose (USA) as A cārya of Chinmaya Mission West.
Upon Swami Chinmayananda’s mahāsamādhi in August 1993, Swami Tejomayananda returned to India and was appointed as the head of the Chinmaya Mission. He assumed this new role with characteristic humility, and said "I am not in Swamiji’s shoes, I am at his feet."
Since 1993, Guruji has worked tirelessly to fulfill the vision of his Master. Several major projects including the Chinmaya International Residential School (CIRS) in Coimbatore, the Chinmaya Center of World Understanding in New Delhi, and the Chinmaya International Foundation in Cochin (CIF) have been completed under his guidance. At present, he is overseeing the development of the latest vision centre dedicated to Gurudev - Chinmaya Viboothi in Pune.
In recognition of this remarkable dedication , ‘Hinduism Today’ recently honoured Swami Tejomayanandaji with the prestigious "Hindu of the Year” (2005) award.
Not only is Swami Tejomayananda a dynamic worker and able adminstrator, he is one of the most accomplished masters of Vedānta today. Guruji has conducted over 300 Gnana Yajnas throughout the world, and he excels in expounding upon a wide spectrum of Hindu scriptures, including Rāmāyaņa, Bhāgavatham, the Bhagavad Gīta, and the Upanishads.
His genius lies in his skill of combining the knowledge and clarity of Vedānta with the divine nectar of bhakti. Furthermore, his sharp wit and keen sense of humour, helps him build a quick rapport with his audience, and his easy manner and logical rendering of Vedantic texts have drawn many newcomers into the spiritual fold.
Guruji is fluent in English, Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit, and has written commentaries on many scriptural texts, translated many of Swami Chinmayananda’s commentaries into Hindi, and authored a number of original works in Sanskrit including Bhakti Sudhā, Jnāna Sāra, Manah Śodhanam and Dhyāna-svarūpam. Another key contribution of his is Hindu Culture: An Introduction, a text acclaimed for its clear description of the basics of Hinduism, which has been adopted as a reference text in some American high schools.
Guruji's talents as an accomplished poet, musical composer, and soul-stirring singer adds further charm to his personality. His melodious bhajans and kirtans are filled with devotion, and often hold listeners spellbound.
This great saint has seen the establishment of many new centers and under his loving guidance, the Chinmaya Mission continues to grow and flourish in its many spheres of activity.