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Monday, 17 July 2017

535) Swami Chinmayananda (08.05.1916- 03.08.1993): Celebrating his Birth Centenary: A commemorative coin of Rs.10/- issued by the India Government Mint, Hyderabad in 2016:

535) Swami Chinmayananda (08.05.1916- 03.08.1993): Celebrating his Birth Centenary: A commemorative coin of Rs.10/- issued by the India Government Mint, Hyderabad in 2016: 

Last week, I received four coins from the India Government Mint, Hyderabad, booked through online orders in December 2016. One of the coins of Rs.10/- denomination commemorates the “Birth Centenary of Swami Chinmayananda”. The details of this coin contained in this album are as under:

       The cover of the six page album containing the Rs. 10/- coin

It is inscribed “Smarak Sikka” (in Hindi) and “Commemorative Coin” (in English). Below this inscription is mentioned “Swami Chinmayanand Ki Janamshati-2016” (in Hindi) and “BIRTH CENTENARY OF SWAMI CHINMAYANADA - 2016” (in English).

The cover shows Swami Chinmayananda standing with a peaceful and serene look on his face, radiant in the rays of the rising sun from behind a mountain range.

                            The inner pages 2 & 3 of the coin album

The inner page 2 gives a brief description of Swami Chinmayananda’s life and spiritual work:

“Swami Chinmayananda was born in Ernakulum district of Kerala on 8th May 1916. His parents had given him the name was Balakrishna Menon (Balan). He completed his graduation from Lucknow University. Chinmayananda is counted (as) one amongst the most notable spiritual leaders in India. He was considered as an authority on the ancient Indian scriptures, especially the sacred Bhagwad Gita and the Upanishads. Chinmayananda met Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh. Studying under Swami Topovan proved to be a turning point in (the) life of Chinmayananda. He was the founder of the Chinmaya Mission and also the author of more than30 books dedicated to the philosophical beliefs behind religion.

The Government of India has released a Commemorative Coin on the occasion of the Birth Centenary of Swami Chinmayananda on 08th May 2015”.

Page 2 also shows a front facing portrait of Swami Chinmayananda.

Page 3 shows the Obverse of the coin and mentions the specifications of the coin

An image of the Obverse of the Rs.10/- coin on a stand-alone basis

It shows the name of the issuing country “Bharat” (in Hindi) on the left periphery in the centre and “India” on the right periphery in the centre. In the centre is the emblem of the Government of India, the Lion Capitol derived from the Ashok pillar emblem of the legendary “Samrat” (Emperor) of Ancient India “Ashok the Great”. Below the emblem is inscribed “Satyameva Jayate” (meaning “Truth will always Prevail”), a term coined by Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya, the founder of the Banaras Hindu University located at Varanasi in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh.

                  This image shows Pages 4 and 5 of the coin album

Page 4 of the album shows the Reverse face of the coin and mentions the coin’s specifications supplementary information.

This page of the album also an image of Swami Chinmayananda giving an animated discourse.

         The Reverse of the Rs.10/-coin on a stand-alone basis

It shows a portrait of Swami Chinmayananda in the centre. On the outer upper periphery is mentioned “Swami Chinmayanand Ki Janamshati” (in Hindi) and “BIRTH CENTENARY OF SWAMI CHINMAYANADA” (in English). The year of issue “2015” is below Swami Chinmayananda’s portrait. The five pointed “Star” mint mark of the Hyderabad Mint is below the numerals “01” below the year of issue.

The specifications of this coin as described on Page 3 & Page 4 are:

Denomination of the coin: Rs.10/-; Outer Ring: (ALUMINIUM BRONZE): Copper – 92%, Aluminium – 6%, Nickel – 2%; Centre Piece: (CUPRO NICKEL): Copper – 75%, Nickel – 25%; Diameter: 27.0 mm; Weight: 7.71 grams. Year of issue: 2016.

Page 5 of the coin album shows Swami Chinmayananda sitting cross-legged facing right.  
 A larger image of the Reverse of the coin has been placed on this page of top right.

The Back Cover of the coin album describes the evolution of the Government Mint, Hyderabad and its present functions and capabilities

More about Swami Chinmayananda:


He completed his formal schooling in Sree Rama Varma High School, Kochi (1921-1928) and Vivekodayam School, Thrissur (1928-1932). He completed his FA (Fellow of Arts) at the Maharaja’s College, Trichur (1935-1937).

Thereafter, he went to Lucknow University (1940-1943) to earn post-graduate degrees in literature and law, while completing courses in journalism.

He even joined the National Herald (a newspaper being published out of Lucknow) and wrote several articles on the imperative of socialism in a society where the vast majority of citizens were poor. His articles covered a wide range of issues – from history and culture to social and political. Articles such as “In praise of the Postman” and “The Mochi – Symbol of Craftsmanship” met with a lot of controversy.

(Incidentally Lucknow University is where I too have studied English literature and law in 1977-1982, almost four decades later and was contributing as a free-lancer for newspapers – Northern India Patrika & The Pioneer being published from Lucknow, during this period).

Participating in India’s Independence Movement to make the British “Quit India”:

Around 1942, as a student at Lucknow University, he wrote several articles supporting the cause of Indian Independence and distributed leaflets, earning the ire of the local British Raj authorities who issued an arrest warrant against him. To evade arrest, he moved to Abbottabad and later to Delhi.

In Punjab, he associated himself with several freedom groups, where his activities on advising students to distribute leaflets for the cause of India’s Independence and organising public strikes led to another warrant being issued against him and he was arrested and imprisoned  in very unhygienic conditions, where he contracted  typhus. The scared jail authorities took several sick prisoners including him out at night and left them on a roadside outside the city limits. He was rescued by an Indian Christian lady whose son was serving in the British Raj army and taken to her home and to a hospital.

Encounter with Sri Ramanna Maharishi and Swami Sivananda:

During his student years, he had no idea that he would go on to become a celebrated spiritual teacher.

In 1936, he visited the eminent sage Sri Ramanna Maharishi which changed his entire life. In his own narration, when Ramanna Maharishi looked at him, he experienced a thrill of spiritual enlightenment, which at that time he rationalised “as being mere hypnotism”.

In fact, while working as a journalist for National Herald, during his Lucknow University years, he wrote an article “exposing sadhus”. For the purpose of “finding evidence” to support his article, he went to the “Divine Life Society” ashram of Swami Sivananda. The interaction at the Ashram, transformed his life from “being a sceptic to enthusiast” and finally becoming a “renunciate monk”. He began reading more about Hindu scriptures and reviewing spiritual books.

On 25.02.1949, the auspicious day of the Hindu festival of “Mahashivratri”, he was initiated into “sannyasa” (renunciation from the materialistic world & formally entering the spiritual world) by Swami Sivananda. He was given the name “Swami Chinmayananda” (or “Bliss of pure Consciousness”).

Thereafter, he underwent an intensive study of Vedanta under the guidance of one of the greatest Vedantic masters of his time – Tapovan Maharaj of Uttarkashi - leading an austere lifestyle and focussing only on his study of the scriptures under the master.

In 1951, Chinmayananda made it his mission to bring the teachings of Vedanta, hitherto a preserve of the Brahmins (Upper Caste) to the masses. He visited several places of worship in the Himalayas to study how Hindu religious heritage was being handed down for centuries, but was rather disappointed during his tour and resolved to hold his lecture series all over India.

In December 1951, he held his first lecture series at a Ganesha Temple in Pune. His audiences swelled to several thousands, including army officers from the Southern Command, women, teenagers, persons of all castes etc. The “Jnana Yajna” (Vedic ritual) although performed by Brahmin priests, had participation from everyone in the audience across social strata, which was hitherto the prerogative of Brahmins only.

The Chinmaya Mission:

On 08.08.1953, after the second “Jnana Yajna” at Madras (present day Chennai), the Chinmaya Mission was formed.

Within no time at all, hundreds of study groups were set up by persons in small batches to study religion and philosophy in a systematic manner. Devi groups were organised for women to take up regular spiritual study and social work.

In 1956, the 23rd Jnana Yajna in Delhi was inaugurated by the President of India, Rajendra Prasad who commended Chinmayananda’s work done to restore India’s cultural glory within a short time.

By the time the 25th Jnana Yajna was held, more than 50,000 persons had been instructed by Chinmayananda.

On 06.03.1965, he embarked on his first global teaching tour covering 39 cities in 18 countries, including – Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, USA, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Lebanon etc.

In 1975, the Chinmaya Mission West was set up to co-ordinate the growing spiritual movement in the USA.

Chinmayananda’s message finds universal acceptance:

Chinmayananda’s message found universal acceptance.

One of his Yajnas held in Bombay (present day Mumbai) was inaugurated by Cardinal Valerian Gracias, a prominent Catholic archbishop of the time.

The Dalai Lama, head of the Tibetan Buddhist Order, visited him at the Chinmaya Mission Ashram in Sidhbari in 1981.

In 1992, he undertook a lecture tour of 12 US Universities to establish an international library and research centre – the Chinmaya International Foundation – in the village Veliyanad in Ernakulum District of Kerala.

Creation of the “Vishwa Hindu Parishad” (VHP):

In August 1964, with a view to focus on the “survival and development of Hindu culture”, the RSS pracharak S.S. Apte and Swami Chinmayananda jointly organised a conference at the Sandeepany Ashram which led to the founding of the “Vishwa Hindu Parishad, with Swami Chinmayananda as the President and Apte as the General Secretary.

Passing away & legacy:

On 03.08.1993, he attained “mahasamadhi” (passed away).

Apart from the several Ashrams set up around the world, there are presently several devotional, spiritual, cultural and social projects that the Chinmaya mission administers including the “Bala Vihar”, the “Chinmaya Yuva Kendra”, Chinmaya Study Groups etc.

The mission has constructed around 60 temples in India and abroad.

The Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD) which was founded by Chinmayananda himself facilitates integrated sustainable development for the poor through self-employment.

Over 76 “Chinmaya Vidyalayas” (schools), 7 Chinmaya Colleges and Chinmaya Vidyalaya set up in Trinidad, West Indies for the education of school children.

Chinmayananda authored 95 publications in his lifetime including 40 commentaries on classical scriptural texts, 8 compilations, 13 co-authored works and 34 original works.

The BMI (Body Mind Intellect) Chart is a teaching tool innovated by Chinmayananda which categorises the totality of human experience, according to the science of Vedanta, by drawing 11 characters of the English & Devanagri alphabets.


  1. Rattan Nath has commented:
    "Is there more than Rs. 10 worth of metal in the coin and, is it legal tender?"

    1. Rattan Nath has further commented:
      "Can it be obtained for Rs. 10?"

    2. Yes, Rattan. This coin is legal tender. While this is an Uncirculated (U) quality coin,this coin has also been released into circulation and has face value of Rs. 10/- , although they are rarely seen in circulation. This coin would not have metal content of more than Rs. 10/- but, with the 6 page album and various descriptions was priced around Rs.360/- . I buy these coins, because these are collector's items and circulation coins are not readily available and they are one time issues. Only sometimes, there is a re-booking.

  2. Vinod Khurana has commented:
    "So many similarities. Rajeev ji, I hope one day in near future coin in your name may also be issued."

    1. Ha, Ha, Vinodji, the similarities seem to end with a similar University education and writing for newspapers. He was one of the greatest sages who contributed towards a revival of ancient Hindu philosophy without the trappings of "customs" which had crept in through the centuries. I doubt if I will ever measure up to the work done by him. He is one of my favourite icons.

  3. Chervatoor Mohankumar has commented:
    "I heard him speaking during my childhood. Never understood except the manly voice with splendid mix of anecdotes and excellent use of words. After growing up reread and whatever little i know about adhyatma ,a great deal of credit is due to swamiji. Nice to read your summary of his life events. Thanks for posting it."

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

  4. Rajiv Kudesia has commented:
    "Sir ji aapnay Jo coin post kiya hai yeh aapki badaulat hum logo ko dekhnay ko mila .It is wonderful collection."

    1. Thank you for your very encouraging comment, Rajivji

  5. Vineeta Jain has commented:
    "Interesting and informative!"