Swami Pranavananda is the Spiritual Head of CM Mauritius and CM Reunion Island.
Concerned with the fall of tradition from the beauty of Vedanta and with the vision to keep alive the Vedic tradition, to inspire love and respect for Dharma and the Hindu culture and make everyone see the God residing in all beings, Swamiji has been working incessantly over more than 40 years to communicate the invaluable import of our scriptures. Under Swami Pranavananda's guidance, Chinmaya Mission Mauritius has been a beacon guide for many to live a life enriched by the knowledge of Vedanta, selfless action and sincere devotion.
Swamiji was born in the town of Port Louis, Mauritius on 21 September 1933 into an orthodox and pious family of Tamil origin. Though desirous of becoming a lawyer, he discontinued schooling very early due to prevailing societal circumstances and started work at the age of 12. Being very pious in his childhood and youth, ample time was spent in regularly visiting temples and helping in the celebrations and rituals and also on reading about the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Bhagavan Ramana Maharsi, Sri Buddha, Swami Sivananda and others.
Travel to India
Better work prospects drew him to England in 1960 which was still the colonial power over Mauritius. Though progressing well on the work front, he missed the culture and tradition that had become so dear to him, regular visits to Ramakrishna Mission in London being the only respite. Soon, the eagerness to connect with the Indian culture and traditions and the emptiness of normal workaday life in London made him choose to quit everything and travel to India. Leaving London in 1972 and travelling over land for around 100 days, he ended his journey in the Pasupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, with no further plans in mind.
Debating whether to travel to Tamil Nadu to visit temples or to the Divine Life Society of Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh (with whom he had already been in regular contact), eventually something made him set foot into Divine Life Society. Spending forty days in the midst of great masters like Swami Chidananda and Swami Krishnananda and partaking in all activities of the ashram, on the Diwali of 1972, he was instructed by Swami Chidananda to proceed to Sandeepany Sadhanalaya in Mumbai to study under Swami Chinmayananda.
Accordingly, he reached the Lotus Feet of the inimitable master Swami Chinmayananda on 12 December 1972. His subsequent close association with Swami Chinmayananda determined the life that he would continue to live for the rest of his life. Completing his studies in Vedanta under Swamiji in 1975, he was given Brahmacharya Deeksa with the name of Pranava Chaitanya.
Returning to Mauritius in July 1975, Pranava Chaitanya was invited to reside in the Draupadi Ammen Temple, Rose Hill and later at Chinnatambu Temple, Terre Rouge from where he started the spreading of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita while also trying to refine the religious practices prevalent then. Overcoming many obstacles of language and religious bias prevalent then in Mauritian society purely by the grace and unfailing support of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, Pranava Chaitanya managed to introduce a large section of Mauritian populace to the fundamental thoughts and principles of Hindu philosophy, religion and culture. His efforts were fortified with the visits of Pujya Gurudev to Mauritius in the 70s and 80s. Right from 1975, he also started making regular trips to Reunion Island and soon successfully set up the Chinmaya Mission tradition there too.
He was initiated into Sannyasa on 28 October 1986 in Mumbai by Swami Chinmayananda and was given the monastic name of Swami Pranavananda Saraswati. Concerned with the fall of tradition from the beauty of Vedanta and with the vision to keep alive the Vedic tradition, to inspire love and respect for Dharma and the Hindu culture and make everyone see the God residing in all beings, Swamiji has been working incessantly over more than 40 years to communicate the invaluable import of our scriptures. Under Swami Pranavananda's guidance, Chinmaya Mission Mauritius has been a beacon guide for many to live a life enriched by the knowledge of Vedanta, selfless action and sincere devotion.
Swamiji continues to travel widely around Europe delivering talks and regularly conducts classes and Jnana Yagnas in Mauritius and Reunion Island apart from managing the administration of the centres in Mauritius and Reunion Island.