Swami Mitrananda, the resident Spiritual Mentor at Chinmaya Mission Chennai is a visionary leader, an inspiring tutor, daring adventurer, vibrant speaker, creative writer, vigilant administrator and a mentor for many youngsters across the world.
Blessed to be under the tutelage of Pujya Gurudev since his childhood, Swamiji was himself an active member of the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra and later took on the role of being the National Director of the All India Chinmaya Yuvakendra, to mastermind many nation-wide projects such as the Youth Empowerment Programme(YEP), Awakening Indians to India, Transforming Indians to Transform India. On completing his graduation in English literature, he took to his inner calling and joined the Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, Mumbai in the year 1989 and was initiated by Swami Chinmayananda as Br. Swabodh Chaitanya in May 1991 after which he was posted and served in a few centres in TamilNadu. He was later initiated into the holy order of sannyasa by Swami Tejomayananda in the year 1999 and named as Swami Mitrananda.
His unbridled energy and enterprise attracts youth from all over the world to engage themselves in dynamic spirituality. He is a master who speaks the language of the youth introducing the lofty ideals of Hinduism and spirituality through travel, adventure activities and theatre to name a few. Each project undertaken by Swamiji, has been a dynamic blend of innovation and creativity, with the eternal values of sanatana dharma at their core.
Born in a family that was rooted in spirituality, Swamiji has been associated with the Chinmaya Mission since his childhood days and worked as a member of the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, Chennai and was drawn to the life and vision of Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda. After fulfilling some family commitments, he joined the 2 years Vedanta Course at Mumbai. The fire to serve the cause of Hinduism was lit early on in Swamiji's heart, which burns to this day as he travels across the globe, as a much sought after speaker, representing Hinduism in global multi-religious forums. With his dynamism and oneness of purpose, Swamiji inspires all who he comes in contact with, into the path of spirituality.
Having spent his entire life serving the vision of His Guru Swami Chinmayananda, Swamiji has the unique distinction of having set goals for scores of seekers across the globe, on how to live a life that centers itself on standard of life, rather than on standard of living. He stands as a stellar example of how one must interact in this world with complete dedication to one’s ideal and yet remain detached and rooted firmly in the Self.
A teacher par excellence, Swami Mitrananda’s camps for the youth and children have been hugely popular across countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom, UAE and the USA.
As a pioneer of several activities of the Chinmaya Mission, Swamiji created the following programs that would introduce spirituality to people of all age groups.
Youth Empowerment Program: Swami Mitrananda initiated the Youth Empowerment Program as a leadership course, where young adults are trained in the basics of Vedanta and equipped with the right skills and then offered an opportunity to serve in Mission centers across the world. The Program has successfully seen 12 batches in English and multiple batches in regional languages such as Hindi and Malayalam. The motto of the program is ‘Learn, Serve, Grow’ which motivates youth to dedicate one-two years of their prime in nation-building and Hindu renaissance work.
Chinmaya Academy of Management: A brainchild of Swamiji, this wing was instituted with the motive to take the management principles from Hindu scriptures to the masses. Swamiji has been instrumental in guiding the coursework, curriculum and module designs of the various programs at Chinmaya Academy of Management.
Chinmaya Academy for Civil Services: Recognising the changing nature of governance and administrative systems in India, Swami Mitrananda emphasized on the need to develop value-based leadership within the country’s bureaucracy. With this thought and objective was born the Chinmaya Academy of Civil Services. It was inaugurated by the Lt. Governor of Puducherry, Dr.Kiran Bedi, in July 2017 at Chennai. The Academy boasts of an advisory board and management team with the likes of Former Election Commissioner of India and several eminent bureaucrats.
Geeta Mahotsav: Just as Swami Chinmayananda took the Bhagavad Gita to the masses, Swami Mitrananda was inspired to present it in a more customized and relatable format for the modern person. The Geeta Mahotsav was envisioned as a multi-day extravaganza that showcased the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita through experiential art, music, dance, panel discussions, games and interactive activities. It was first held in Chennai at YMCA grounds, Royapettah from August 10-15, 2016 and then replicated at the first International Geeta Mahotsav in Kurukshetra, Haryana in December 2016. It invited the likes of Late Raksha Mantri Sri Manohar Parrikar, General Sri Ved Malik, artists such as Sri Sivamani, Sri Blaaze, Sri Sriram Parthasarathy and several celebrities participated in the event.
COOL Camp: Creating Optimistic OutLook (COOL) Camp is the trademark summer camp for children in Chennai where they get to learn about India, Hinduism, Nature, culture, life-skills and more through interactive sessions, story-telling, games, art, craft and celebrations. Swami Mitrananda is the Camp Mentor and with a dynamic team of Yuva Kendra organisers and volunteers, COOL Camp reaches out to over 500 children every year. The Camp has gone through 16 successful editions and each year the theme has varied from Lord Surya, Hanuman Chalisa, COOL Gurus, Rivers of India, COOL Rajas, Mahabharata and so on. Recently, the Camp and its modules have also been replicated in centres across Amritsar, UAE and the US.
On a Quest: One of the tributes offered in the Chinmaya Birth Centenary Celebrations (2015-16) was the biopic on Swami Chinmayananda called ‘On a Quest’. Swami Mitrananda was instrumental in the scripting, casting, production and creation of the movie. It has later been dubbed into Hindi, Tamil and Sanskrit. This was screened world over in CM centres and other places.
Stage Plays: Swami Mitrananda, as a Chyk, had been a part of the first ever stage production by Chinmaya Mission, Chennai under the guidance of Swami Chinmayananda, ‘Kamban Tharum Katchi’. Ever since then, the theatre bug has greatly shaped Swamiji’s creative endeavors. Through the All India Chinmaya Yuva Kendra and the CHYK Chennai banner, Swamiji has scripted and produced several dance-drama and theatre productions including, ‘Bharati-yaar?’, ‘Line of Control/Confusion’, ‘Death’, ‘Surya 108’, ‘India 2047’ and ‘Campus’.
Quiz Programs & Workshops: Swami Mitrananda has guided national level quiz programs such as Awakening Indians to India and Transforming Indians to India, during his time as the Director of AICHYK. The Chennai-based, ‘For the Family: PACT’ quiz and workshops were also a brainchild of Swamiji. All the quizzes saw participation of people in lakhs, with the winners being sponsored for trips abroad, a car/ other big winnings, by major corporate houses in the country.
Nation-wide Rallys to showcase themes: To bring about nation-wide awareness especially to inspire youth, Swamiji took up the Sandesh Vahini project and presented the following themes in a mobile bus, that carried innovative exhibits that were open to public during pit-stops:
A well-read speaker, Swami Mitrananda has a creative flair for writing too and has spearheaded various publication works with and for the youth. Swamiji is also the Publisher of Chinmaya Mission’s international youth magazine Chinmaya Udghosh.. Following are few of the publications penned or co-authored by Swamiji.
Sea-king/ Seeking: Born from Swami Mitrananda’s experiences through sea- travel, this book talks about various lessons learnt at sea. It easily mixes deep philosophical questions with everyday observations about the Universe.
Drop:A Novel: Co-scripted with a team of Yuva Veers from Batch 5 of the Youth Empowerment Program, this novel tracks the life of a group of youngsters who undertake a journey from Gomukh to Ganga Sagar. It urges the reader to ‘drop’ a negative quality at every milestone on the journey.
Team Work: Drawing inspiration from the lines of the Chinmaya Mission pledge, Swami Mitrananda shares simple and practical insights on how to build a team, keep it growing and dedicate it to the Higher cause.
Tales of Swatman: A Series of 7 Stories, these are more than just mere stories. For a child, these brilliantly simple tales will inspire them with positive values and for the adult, they contain profound lessons from the enriching philosophy of Vedanta. If understood well, these stories can prove to be inspirational material for deep reflection when the child evolves into adulthood.
Apart from the above works, Swami Mitrananda has guided, shaped and helped in the publication of several youth and child centric books such as Geeta for Yuva, Illusions Decoded, 108 Shorter than Short Stories, The Other Way, For the Family- With Love & Respect, Illustrations of the Illustrator and Ram: the Man of Treta Yuga. Click here to buy these books
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