:: Our Gurus

Acharya Shailaja Nadkarni

Dr. Shailaja Nadkarni and her husband, Dr. Shyam Nadkarni, first met Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda in Pittsburgh, at a Gita jnana yajna, in August 1984. Inspired by his divine presence, during their first bhiksha with him, they asked Pujya Gurudev how they could learn more about Bhagavad Gita and introduce their children to Hindu culture and religion. Pujya Gurudev personally guided and instructed them to start Chinmaya Bala Vihar for children and Chinmaya Study Group for adults.

In 1987, Chinmaya Mission Orlando began, along with Bala Vihar classes and Study Groups. Pujya Gurudev appointed Shyam Nadkarni the president of Chinmaya Mission Orlando in 1989. Shortly thereafter, the Mission acquired some property in Orlando, and Pujya Gurudev inaugurated the Tapovan Ashram in 1990, and it has been expanding ever since.

Shailaja traveled with Pujya Gurudev on many occassions, including His University tour in 1991, and His Hong Kong and India tour in 1992. She also has the good fortune to be present during Gurudev's memorable address to the Untied Nations. Gurudev also appointed Shailaja to CMWest Board of Directors of Chinmaya Mission West. After Shyam's passing in 2008, Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda appointed Shailaja the president of Chinmaya Mission Orlando. Two months later, Pujya Guruji conferred on her the title of Acharya.

Acharya Shailaja keeps an extremely busy schedule with various study groups at the Ashram and around town. She is currently spearheading the expansion of the facilities in Orlando and serves on the Board of Chinmaya Mission Kissimmee.