Swami Chinmayananda was more a missionary than a saint. He was born in Ernakulam Kerala in 1916, to an aristocratic conservative family, and was named Balakrishna Menon. Even at an early age he was attracted by many saintly persons who were visiting his house. He studied Malayalam and English in school and showed excellence in all activities.
He was very humorous and dynamic, it was the tradition of the house that all members of family should join in making Puja daily. He became an ardent devotee of Lord Siva. He joined the Lucknow University to study Law and English, he used to partake in many extra-curricular activities and was found to be excellent speaker and writer, he later joined the Indian Freedom Movement where he was jailed and fell ill, he was released and a Christian lady took care of him, during his jail term he had pondered over the mysteries of Life and Death.
When he completed his university career he took up journalism with the National Herald and became famous as a dynamic and controversial reporter on current topics and social life, his mind was restless with the thoughts on Creation and the Creator and he looked to Swami Sivananda for further understanding. He joined the Sivanada Ashram in 1949, although he was sometimes deluged by material activities, he was attracted to spiritual disciplines. He was then given the name of Chinmayananda Saraswathi, and following the advice of Swami Sivananda, he went to Swami Tapovan at Uttarkashi to study the scriptures, he spent nearly eight year over there and attained considerable spiritual experiences and disciplines.
With the blessings of his Guru, Swami Tapovan, he toured many places in India and preached Vedantic philosophy. He started Gyana Yagnas, Yuva Kendras, Bal Viharas, schools, study circles etc. He may be called a pioneer of renaissance of spiritual culture in modern times. He wrote commentaries on some Vedantic texts, and established mission centres not only in India but in U S A and other countries. He gave an address to United Nations on “planet in crisis”. He was elected President of the Hindu Religion for the Centennial Conference of the Parliament of World Religions which was addressed by Swami Vivekananda nearly a hundred years ago.