BR. DAMODARA CHAITANYA, Chinmaya Mission Sooral - Our Swamiji ....to the World
Brahmachari Damodara Chaitanya is the resident Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Sooral (Udupi District), a new Centre of Chinmaya Missing being established there. Br. Damodara was chosen to study Vedanta Shastra by his Acharya, Poojya Swami Bodhatmananda and initiated into the path by Poojya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda, the then Global Head of Chinmaya Mission. Chinmaya Mission is the globally renowned spiritual organisation established in early 50s by the devotees of the legendary Vedanta Guru, Poojya Gurudeva Swami Chinmayananda, as mark of their love and gratitude for him. Swami Chinmayananda, having attained from his Guru, Poojya Swami Tapovanam, this supreme Knowledge of subtle message of ancient Rishis as enshrined in Vedanta, took up the task of reaching this teaching through his discourses all over the world to benefit the modern-day man, who is feeling insecure, incomplete and longs for elusive happiness, despite scientific and material progress at such immense scale.
Br. Damodara was a student of 16th batch of international residential Vedanta Course (2014-16) conducted at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, Powai, Mumbai. After his initiation as Brahmachari as per Vedantic tradition, before his relocation to Sooral in January 2018, Br. Damodara had served as the Resident Acharya at Chinmaya Bhakti Centre at Borivali, Mumbai, till December 2017. Now, under the blessings and guidance of Poojya Swami Brahmananda, Head-Chinmaya Mission Karnataka, and the support of friends and involvement of people in the locality, efforts are in progress for establishing a new Chinmaya Mission Centre near Sooral, Udupi District, even as he continues his studies as Vedanta student.
Now, a background about Br. Damodara Chaitanya and what guided him to this noble path. His poorvaashrama name was Janardana Sherigar. He was the youngest son of a modest Devadiga couple, Smt. Rukku and Shri Muthanna from Sooral. Even in the midst of prevailing poverty, Janardana had the fortune to begin life as a happy young child.
With the encouragement of local teachers, Janardana completed his SSLC with flying colours. Accordingly, he was blessed to get admission as resident student in Ujire’s famous Shree Siddhavana Gurukula to pursue graduation studies at Shree Dharmasthla Manjunatheshwara College, thanks to Sooral Aramane Shri Chandrashekharayya and Poojya Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade. A brilliant student throughout his academic career, Janardana was a favorite student of his teachers and loving friend of peers. Even while in Shree Siddhavana Gurukula, he got elected as the Prime Minister to the students’ Council of Ministers.
Janardana completed his graduation with first class and chose the great city Mumbai as his second home to earn and learn, thanks to the initial support of his uncle Shri Bhaskar.
Fortunately, securing a decent placement in a reputed Central Government organisation, i.e. Mumbai Port Trust, came easily to him, though not immediately, even as he was studying computers. Mumbai Port Trust, like his second mother he says, oversaw his rapid progress, finally lifting him to the highest office of the organisation as O.S.D. to the top boss, i.e. Chairman, which indeed was a cherished position to serve the organisation. At the end of that posting, having nothing fascinating to accomplish there, Janardana decided to separate himself from his dear organisation, though with a heavy heart, after serving for over 25 years. It was probably God’s will to make way for his spiritual endevours, as he had unexpectedly come in contact with Chinmaya Mission by then.
Even while he was in service, in early 90s, Janardana was brought into Devadiga Sangha Mumbai, an organisation which had awarded him scholarships during his graduation studies. A grateful and a concerned member, Janardana, despite his official responsibilities, served the Sangha with great interest and dedication for over 25 years in various capacities including its Hon. Gen. Secretary. During this period, he was guided and supported by the distinguished leaders of the Sangha, like Shri P. Dayanand, Shri K. Bhujangaadhar, Shri Diwakar Devadiga, Shri Hiriadka Mohandas, Shri Gopal Moily, Shri Dharmapal Devadiga, Shri S.P. Karmaran, Shri Vasu S. Devadiga, Shri Ravi S. Devadiga, Shri Suresh S. Rao, Shri K.N. Devadiga, Shri J.K. Moily, Shri S.K. Shriyan, Shri S.A. Adiyar, Shri Jaya Devadiga, Shri Anand Sherigar, Shri Anand Devadiga and others with younger friends like, Shri Krishna N. Sherigar, Shri Padmanabha A. Devadiga, Shri Vishwanath B. Devadiga, Shri Sunder C. Moily, Shri Ramesh Devadiga and so on.
In between, Janardana served in an overseas organisation for two years. He had also associated himself with quite a few social and spiritual organisations, including Theosophical Society, before destiny took him to Chinmaya Mission in 2014.
So, what enabled and made Janardana to come to this sacred path as Swamiji?. Swamiji attributes it to the blessings of his parents & teachers and love of friends and colleagues. He adds that his service at Mumbai Port Trust and involvement in the social activities of Devadiga Sangha greatly contributed in his better understanding of life and the efforts needed to reach the goal of life. He shares the mantra that he adopted in life, i.e. adding a little ‘extra’ in all that he did and that turned the ordinary into somewhat ‘extra-ordinary’, besides his developing a little bit of truthfulness and sincerity coupled with a sense of compassion in all that he did, under all circumstances.
Thus, he says, by the grace of Paramaatma, everything happened so swiftly like a fairy tale, got almost everything that he wished for, eventually guiding him to path of ultimate goal of life.
Indeed, it is a long journey within a short time and on a road less travelled! We, Devadigas, are privileged to have Swamiji as our own gift to the society at large