'Say Cheese!' Witty Wisdom by Swami Chinmayananda

'Say Cheese!' Witty Wisdom by Swami Chinmayananda

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Item Code: IDG477
Author: Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 8175972467
Pages: 140 (B & W Illus: 10, Color Illus: 50)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5" X 5.5"
About the Book:

A young girl asked Swami Chinmayananda "Whatever you teach is there in the books. What do I need a Guru for?" His instant answer was "Why don't you ask this question to the books!"

Such quick-witted remarks of Swami Chinmayananda have been collected and placed into 54 photographs in a comic format. Each photograph carries a commentary in Swamiji's own words, explaining the topic of the photograph.

Some of the topics discussed are:

Types of Love

How to mend a broken heart


Striving for Excellence

The Law of Karma


When did Creation start

Spirit and Matter

Good Health

This is an introductory book to Vedanta, something that can be gifted to the youth to help them meet life's challenges.

Swami Chinmayananda, one of the world's greatest exponents of Vedanta, the science of life that underlies all faiths, authored more than 40 books and commentaries. His commentary on the Bhagawad Geeta is acknowledged as one of the best ever written in English.


This book introduces the Science of Life, Vedanta, with wit and logic. Its target audience is the youth. Both wit and logic were hallmarks of the great Vedantic teacher, Swami Chinmayananda, whose images and words we have captured in this publication.

Swami Chinmayananda's ready wit in the photographic section is a reflection of his personality as a keen observer, ever alert, full of laughter and quick repartee. The words in the photographs were said by him at some point in time to someone in particular or to a general audience, but not necessarily to the person in the photograph.

The photographs appear as originally shot, with the place and year indicated in the bottom line. Only two pictures, "Ocean of Change" and "Legacy", are digital combinations. Cartoons have been superimposed on some photographs, and photographs on some cartoons.

The commentary section has been collected in various bits from books, talks, and letters of Swami Chinmayananda and ordered according to topic.

The idea for this book came from Swami Chidananda, President of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, when he was looking for an inspiring booklet to send to a young man. "Why doesn't Chinmaya Mission make a book with some 'sparkles' in it?" he suggested.

The idea progressed further when Swami Mitrananda of Chinmaya Mission was speaking in Delhi on the lives of saints, and while speaking of Sadhu Vaswani, he said that Sadhu Vaswani did not like being photographed, but had to concede when a photograph was required for his passport. "Don't move, or it will blur!" Sadhu Vaswani had said to the photographer. His sentence, with its underlying deep message, was reminiscent of a similar conversation I had with my guru, Swami Chinmayananda, while taking his photograph in Taiwan. "Don't move, Swamiji!" I had said, and he had replied: "I never do!" - reminding me that an immovable Essence defines the true nature of each one of us. Remembering his answer sparked the idea for this book.

If one looks at each photograph in this book (or anything else in life, for that matter) in the light of Vedanta, it will portray an inspiring vision, and if one looks at it light-heartedly, it will portray humour. If one looks at it with both viewpoints combined, it will be seen to portray wisdom laced with engaging wit. One's view of life can be happy or sad, dull or inspiring. This whole book is about changing one's vision of life to embrace joy and unity, and Swamiji shows us how!

Our thanks to Swami Swaroopananda, Swami Mitrananda, and to the Chyks (Chinmaya Yuva Kendra) from Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi, who contributed many of the witty comments of Swamiji that they had overheard; and to Geeta Nanda for enthusiastically typing the entire commentary section.

Swami Tejomayananda, the head of Chinmaya Mission, liked the annotated photographs when they were seen displayed as a photographic exhibition in 2001 in Mumbai. Without hesitation he said "Yes" to the suggestion that the collection come out as a book for the youth. Others are welcome to enjoy it too.

Anjali Singh


Religion-Its utility2
The Purpose of Life4
Demystifying God6
Is seeing believing?8
The need for a Guru10
The Goal12
Striving for Excellence16
Drowned-coated, booted, suited!18
The Vedantic Method20
Gradual Steps22
The Human Personality24
Innate Psychological Tendencies28
Crash Course in Spirituality30
U turn!32
The Bhagwad Geeta-not outdated!34
The Fit Ones36
The Law of Karma38
When did creation start?...Why did God
Incarnations of the Lord48
Man of God Realization52
Spirit and Mater56
Types of Love58
How to mend a Broken Heart62
The Slippery Fall!66
Divorce from Sorrow68
The Power of Prayer70
Stay where you are put72
The Optimist and the Pessimist74
Good Health78
The Gift of Time84
The False Glitter86
Meet the Challenge88
Cultured Living ~ its technique90
Spiritual Ladder96
Change of Vision98
The Grace of a Teacher102
The Legacy104
Mystical Literature110
The Ego112
Alone but not Lonely114
The Unborn, the Undying118
The Supreme Brahman120
Mind the Gap122
Who realizes the Truth?124
At the Portal of Truth125
Youth-Your Future!128
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