How Chinmaya Mission Trains Leaders

The two-year Vedanta course at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai demands rigorous personal discipline, deep devotion and intense scriptural study Chinmaya Mission’s training program is no ordinary course of study. It is a 24/7 commitment of body, mind and soul to an immersive spiritual adventure. A recent graduate, Acharya Vivek, recounts his extraordinary experience.
Challenges and Fulfillment. When I lived in a university residence, I often heard students complain about how difficult it is to live in close quarters with others. I also heard some of my married friends whine endlessly about living with their spouse. Both these situations are trying, but there is always a chance to escape—which is what we always do. We try to run away from our mind via entertainment, relationships, even work.

Living in Sandeepany was a thousand times more challenging. All that I had ever depended on was taken away: cell phone, television, restaurants, friends—I was only left with my mind. I was forced to live with the minimum; and if I could not handle this, I suffered. There was no escape from this suffering but to face it and transcend it. Classmate Vimal had a similar experience: “Only after studying at Sandeepany did I realize that happiness is independent of outer circumstances; that it resides in my own heart. One is forced to spend time in solitude, in ruminating, in silent searching, in discovering, in fighting the uprising of negative tendencies within.” For some, the experience was too much. Of the 60 of us who began, ten left before completion for a variety of reasons, including being dismissed.