Chinmaya Mission Chicago: Badri
'Badri' 11 S. 80 Route 83
Willowbrook, Illinois 60527
Phone: (630) 654-3370
E-mail : chicago [a|t] chinmayamission [d|o|t] org
Web Site: http://www.chinmayamission.org/chicago
Shanker Pillai comes from humble beginnings, and a religious and traditional family background. His greatest influence in life has been Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, as well as his parents and teachers. Even as a student, he was inclined toward service that benefits others.
During his college years, in 1956-57, he met Pujya Gurudev for the first time, who had arrived as a keynote speaker at a university event. As an NCC cadet, Shankerji was posted as an orderly in the home hosting Pujya Gurudev. He was riveted by his personality, appearance, and overpowering presence.
After ten years of residence in Chicago, in 1977, he received a call from someone he never met and was asked if he wanted to be part of the committee inviting Swami Chinmayananda for spiritual discourses. He agreed, and as a founding member of a Malayali cultural organization, also invited Pujya Gurudev to lecture in Chicago. After this, Shankerji became fully dedicated to Pujya Gurudev and Chinmaya Mission.
He attributes the changes in his habits, thoughts, and outlook to Pujya Gurudev and the Vedantic teachings and understanding gained through Chinmaya Study Groups.
As President of Chinmaya Mission Chicago, he has been instrumental in the establishment and growth of the four Mission hubs of the Badri ashram, Yamunotri ashram, Springfield, and the new ashram soon to come up in northwest Indiana.
Because of his extraordinary devotion and selfless service to Pujya Gurudev, Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda conferred on him the title of â€˜Acharyaâ€™ in 2009. Acharya Shankerji continues to serve as the president of CM Chicago and a director of CMW, conducts Chinmaya Study Groups, and administers various programs and events at the Badri and Yamunotri ashrams.
Acharya Dhiren Khatri was born and raised in Mumbai, India. He came to the U.S. as a child with his family and completed his high school and university studies here. After working for three years, he experienced a sense of discontentment that led him to seek a higher, more fulfilling purpose than a routine life of labor. With an intensified longing to know more about God, Hindu scriptures, and Vedantic philosophy, he soon learned of an opportunity to fulfill all these needs. And so he left to join the two-year course of study at 'Sandeepany Sadhanalaya' in Mumbai, India. There, under the guidance of Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda, he studied under Swami Advayananda, the resident course acharya, and Swami Sharadananda, the resident upacharya. On the successful completion of the Vedanta Course in 2013, he became an acharya of Chinmaya Mission and was posted to CM Chicago, where he currently conducts Vedanta classes.
Swami Sharanananda hails from Jagannath Dham (Puri) in Orissa, India.
Inspired by Pujya Swami Chinmayananda, he joined the two-year brahmachari Vedanta course in 'Sandeepany Sadhanalaya,' Mumbai, in 1986, where he studied under the tutelage of Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda. He received brahmachari diksha as Brahmachari Sharan Chaitanya in 1988, and served at different CM centers in India, including Angul, Rourkela, Berhampur, and Kolkata.
Sharanji became the resident acharya of Chinmaya Mission Chicago in March 1993, and has been there since. On July 9, 1995, Pujya Guruji initiated him into sannyasa as Swami Sharanananda.
Swamiji conducts discourses on "Bhagavad Gita" and the Upanishads, CHYK classes and Study Groups, guided meditation classes, and yoga classes for all age groups. He also teaches various spiritual classes at CM family camps throughout North America. Swamiji enjoys teaching and spending time with children, and places great importance on alertness and value-based living.
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