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Swami Sri Chidambara


Swami Sri Chidambara Swamiji of Gubbi is a saint extraordinary in the Chidambara tradition. Like his mentors Swami Narayana Bhagavan and Swami Sheshachala Sadguru Maharaj of Anandavana, he preached and practiced the path of devotion and self-less service for God realization. He has become a household name in Karnataka owing to his social work and sustained attempts for the rejuvenation of Indian culture. Shri Chidambara Ashram at Gubbi is a living testimony to his achievements. This institution has carried on social service in the field of education and for the revival of Santana Dharma for over four decades. While the Ashram is one of his facets of the swamiji's personality, his contribution to Karnataka went far beyond it. He had many firsts to his credits. In fact, he was the first to take Bhagavat Geeta to the rural masses in the state. Organizing of Dharmopanyanams on the mass scale that he started doing in the 1930s was also his innovation.

Shir Chidambara Swamiji
The Founder of Sri Chidambarashrama,Gubbi

His life was dedicated to the service of the suffering and the downtrodden brethren of our society. This Saint from Karnataka, born in the small village called Shettikere near Tumkur in Karnataka State in 1889, strove for the betterment of the deprived for over four decades until he passed away in 1966. The Swamiji's Sevakshetra was the Ashram he established in the periphery of Gubbi on the Bangalore-Pune Railway line in 1940. His uniquness was that he administered a spiritual treatment to the suffering rather than offering a palliative or a dole. He had had first-hand experience of poverty right from the begining of his life and had to discontinue education for want of support. Naturally, the hallmark of his life was his overflowing kindness to the poor and the suffering.


He had felt that the Vamshramadharma was no longer operative. Therefore, he advocated Service as the sole duty for all for spiritual progress regardless of caste or creed. His message and work were addressed to the not-so-learned and the womenfolk. As the rich and the scholarly could fend for themselves, it was his endeavor to educate the poor and alleviate the suffering sections such as the destitute widows.

For this purpose, he established an Abalashram at Chandrabhavi in Tumkur district. His apprach to the problem of widows in the Hindu society was not only to provide economic support but also spiritual sustenance fo their growth as individuals.


Way back in 1940s, Swami Sri Chidambara started the work of spreading the message of Srimad Bhagavadgeetha among the people. This he did through discourses and publications. This saint targeted his discourses to the illiterate and the uneducated in villages and hamlets in Karnataka rather than the metros. But, he also chanted the elite audience of Mumbai when he delivered a series of talks at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan under the Presidentship of Dr. K.M.Munshi. His approach to peoples' education was novel, instance, he authered the primers on Geetha-"Geetha Balabodhe" for children, setting out its message and organizing quiz/ recitation competitions on Geetha in order to enthuse them early to study this great work.

At another level was his magnum opus "Nishkama Karma Yoga", a lucid and personalized interpretation of the Geetha which was addressed to the more advanced seekers. As one of his devotees recalls, during his talks, every person in the audience felt that the Swamiji was talking to him alone and dealing with his won problems. Such was the authenticity and intimacy of the Swamiji's discourses.


The Swamiji set up the Veda Vidya Mandira as an experimental education institution. The mission of this institution was to provide modern education based on our cultural roots. The attempt was to synthesize the economic aspects with the spiritual dimensions of life and equip students to become fully developed individuals.


Being a maha tapaswi, he had initially decided to make the Himalyan Ranges his abode where he had lived for many years doing penance. But, it was his overflowing love for the suffering and the poor made him change his plan and locate himself right in the midst of society to provide guidance and succor to the suffering.

Being a realized soul, he bestowed peace and grace on countless number of suffering persons. In fact, he was a fountain of inspirationa nd a source of support to the poor and suffering. He always used to emphasize that God should be served through service of Daridranarayana i.e. the needy and the poor.

Being a worshipper of Lord Dattatreya, he used all his powers for alleviation of the physical and spiritual suffering of people. He continues to bless those who worship him with devotion and sincerity even to this day.

Swamiji's message continues inspire people to become better beings and to contribute to the building of a new society which is based on the eternal values of Indian culture!



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