How I Came to Teach Vedanta

At the age of eight, I lost my father and instantly my belief in God was shaken. By fourteen I was an atheist and a rebellious teenager. Although I continued to take part in religious ceremonies in my hometown of Lucknow, India, my heart wasn't in them. I felt lonely and angry, sure that God had let me down.

"Shubhraji is a leading light in Vedanta teachings. Her tireless energy and deep knowledge as well as her ability to explain teachings in a manner anyone can understand makes her very special."
— Vaneet Malhotra, financial services
London, UK

"Over the last years that I have known Shubhraji, I have learned the meaning of 'Vedanta in action.'"
— Shalini R. Gagoomal, homemaker
Manila, Philippines

During a family vacation in Bangalore, my eldest sister insisted I go with her to visit a monk she had recently met named Swami Chinmayananda. Reluctantly I agreed and went to his residence expecting to meet someone serious and boring. Instead, I encountered a smiling, six-foot-tall man with a vibrant personality, and immediately I was drawn to him.

The next evening I found myself amidst a crowd of ten thousand people listening raptly to his discourse on a chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, a popular Vedantic text. I could understand only about half the lecture; however, his definition of the word sin caught my attention. In a booming voice, Swamiji defined sin as an angle of deviation between what we know and what we do. "There is no such thing as a sinner," he added. "Sin is simply an error of judgment. When we change, our whole world changes." His words had a profound impact on me.

Infused with a new sense of hope, I continued attending the talks and began to develop a relationship with Swamiji, who treated me like a loving father. He indicated that we have the freedom to choose how we respond to situations and the power to overcome our destiny by facing it in its entirety. Feeling suddenly connected to the totality of the universe and able to invoke inner strength, peace, and courage by drawing on that mysterious power, I started to meditate every day, chant verses of scripture in Sanskrit, and delve deeply into books on Vedanta. The teachings anchored me and instilled in me a feeling of joy independent of outside circumstances.

"Shubhraji is a sincere teacher of fierce intellect and genuine heart."
— Johannes Pong, writer and travel editor
Hong Kong

"Shubhraji doesn't 'talk' about Vedanta — instead, the knowledge flows from her very expressions, words, and actions."
— Donatella Prabodhi Levi, translator
Rome, Italy

"Shubhraji has brought the teachings of Vedanta into my life in a practical and logical manner, providing fulfilling answers to my every problem. I have no words to express my utmost gratitude at the feet of my beloved teacher and guru, Shubhraji."
— Nisha Dadlani, corporate lawyer
Hong Kong

Following the lecture series, my mother invited Swamiji to stay at our home in Lucknow and offer a series of public talks. Subsequently, during my vacations I traveled with him and a group of devotees, assisting him with a variety of tasks. We then forged a teacher-disciple relationship.a hallmark of the Vedanta which he became my guru and guided me in different aspects of my life.

After several years, I started my own advertising business. When negative situations arose at work, I would go back to the Vedanta teachings. Even if I had lost my composure, I could then work out the issues with cheerfulness positive interactions. Eventually I noticed my personality had changed radically. I was calmer and lived in the spirit that even the most difficult problems could be resolved because the answers are within us.

By then I had fully integrated Vedanta into my busy life. Feeling energized by spiritual education I decided to devote my energy to various projects within Swamiji.s organization, known as Chinmaya Mission. At the time, this mission consisted of over two hundred centers worldwide involving schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics, as well as rural development projects for villagers in India. Within eleven years of meeting my teacher, I had dedicated myself to spiritual work in the Vedanta tradition.

In 1993, shortly before Swamiji left his body I came to the United States. After spending a few years working and pursuing my spiritual practice, I moved to Woodstock, New York, and devoted myself full time to sharing the wisdom of Vedanta. My goal was always to give people practical tools to use in meeting their daily challenges. Now, as I continue this work worldwide, I am grateful for the opportunity to present this timeless teaching so individuals can draw on the love, strength, and resilience already present within them.

For additional information, or to book Shubhraji, please visit her website.

Shrine dedicated to Swami Chinmayananda