About Cif

Chinmaya International Foundation stands as a bridge between the past and present, East and West, science and spirituality, and pundit and public. ~ Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda

Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF), the Academia of Sanskrit Research and Indology, is the research wing of the Chinmaya Mission Worldwide. It is a centre of excellence for the study, research and dissemination of knowledge in the areas of Indian philosophy, culture, art and science, business management, both modern and ancient.

Established in the year 1989, CIF is housed in Adi Sankara Nilayam, the hallowed maternal birth home of the great saint, savant and philosopher Sri Adi Sankara. Located in a small hamlet, Veliyanad, in Ernakulam District, Kerala, India, CIF stands on a 10-acre plot of land amidst luxuriant sun-blessed greenery, temple shrines and lotus ponds. It offers an ambience of peace and solitude for study, research and contemplation to aspirants from the world over.

Various research activities, academic workshops and seminars, home study courses, publication of research works and preservation of manuscripts, are taken up at CIF. All these are aimed at unravelling India's hidden and lost knowledge-traditions, taking it to the modern world and preserving it for posterity.

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The property, despite the passage of time, continues to exude the same old-world charm and grandeur of the era to which it belongs. Time has not diminished the architecture or the stone work. What makes Adi Sankara Nilayam grand and heart-warming are the temples from the era of Sri Sankara (where he likely worshipped with his mother, the noble Aryamba), built in that unmistakable style, typical of the ancient era of yore. To have and to hold a little mansion of that era, and to know and behold the great seer's childhood home, makes CIF's work in Sanskrit and Indology, that much more precious and charming.

To dedicate a part of the Chinmaya Mission to Sanskrit Research and Indic Studies was Gurudev’s dream. It must have been buzzing in his heart for a long time, for he often talked about research and the need for the country to keep alive its traditional knowledge and not let it crumble into the annals of time. Maybe to exemplify this, he himself picked up Vedanta and taught it in English, a move that was considered taboo and so raised many an eyebrow. But he knew that language and idioms change with time, and that was no reason for tradition to die. So he revived the Vedic tradition in the English language and thence, drove his followers to study Sanskrit!

There was no stopping him or his efforts as he ran from power to power, whipping up such enthusiasm, such purity, such drive that he also went and visited 26 US Universities to share with them why he thought they should come to India and study Indian culture in India, at CIF and not in a foreign university! He had his agenda clearly in place: Indic Studies, Sanskrit language study, propagation and enhancement of Sanskrit and Vedanta, and then dissemination of Indian Knowledge Traditions all over the world. Sri AdiSankara was the fountainhead; Gurudev's CIF became the gushing waters that burst forth, taking India's knowledge tradition, once again around the globe, shimmering with its robust glory!

Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF) is the platform for both study and research, naturally, interdependent as they are. This was the primary intention or guiding vision that went into its inception. Swami Chinmayananda had painted a four-fold vision where Sanskrit goes beyond language to the very culture that is the bedrock on which stands India; for Sanskrit is both the spoken language and the lived lifestyle. Capturing this in a four-pronged statement, Gurudev placed the vision for CIF to be the bridge between the East and the West, the Past and Present, Science and Spirituality, and lastly, the Pundit and Public.


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Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth

As early as in 1991, soon after CIF was christened and established, Gurudev talked about wanting to establish a Sanskrit University! At a time when even the role of CIF had not evolved into a Vision Statement, Gurudev’s enunciation was staggering. Keep in mind during this time, the closest CIF came to defining its programs was to create the Sanskrit home study course. To evolve from that fledgling course to a full service university, definitely boggled the mind.

And when Gurudev spoke about it, he didn’t do so casually. He spoke of it as a vision. What is more, he said, “Five years down the line, we will have a university for Sanskrit. It will be called Adi Sankara Sanskrit University!” Gurudev also spoke of a possible collaboration with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Today, 25 years after Gurudev’s prophetic statement, Chinmaya University is a reality. The University, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, was established in the year 2016 with recognition from the UGC under section 3 of 1956. The University will open its doors to the first batch of students to courses in Sanskrit and Indic Traditions at its two campuses – Kochi and Pune – from the academic year 2017-18.

Visit www.chinmayauniversity.ac.in to know more.

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