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Showing posts from September, 2015

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -14.

Swami Sivananda

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


He had no disciples, and he never said that he had any disciples.

On the other hand, he positively used to say, “I have no disciples.”

He also used to say that he had no organisation or ashram.

He was the same Swami Sivananda who came to Rishikesh in the year 1922 under the name of Kuppuswamy,

the same Swami Sivananda who lived through the life of Sannyasa and spirituality and service to mankind,

and it was the same Swami Sivananda who attained Mahasamadhi in the year 1963 without any change in his attitude to this world.

Such are the sparkling ideals that he set forth before us.

Every first of June,

we celebrate and observe the anniversary of this momentous event of his entering into Sannyasa, many years back.

And no greater homage could be conceived to this saint than a sincere determination to lead the life that he himself intensely led,

and to develop a similar attitude towards life as a whole : -

that the whole…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -13.

Swami Sivananda

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


We need not make another statement about it.

Vairagya, or sannyasa, is the necessary result that follows spontaneously and logically from the acceptance of the reality that the goal of life is God-realisation.

If the goal of life should be God-realisation, God should be the Reality, because we cannot regard an unreality or a lesser reality as the goal of life.

Only that which is Real can be the goal; the unreal cannot be the goal of life, nor can a partial reality be the goal of life. It is the full Reality that alone can be the goal of life.

So, God has to be the fullest of realities.

And that which is fully Real has to exclude everything else that is tagged on to it externally by associations temporarily contrived by the weaknesses of the flesh.

So the Sannyasa of Satgurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj was an inner spiritual fire which burnt forth in his practical life and in his teachings, and in the instructions w…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -12.

Swami Sivananda Asramam-

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


Most of his earlier writings began with this proclamation :

“The goal of life is God-realisation.”

He would commence his work—be it a book, or an essay, or a message, or even a lecture—with the sentence, “The goal of life is God-realisation.”

Slowly, this concept is becoming more and more academic these days, i.e., it is accepted only by the intellect as a logical conviction and a rational acceptance of spiritual values but has little bearing on the practical life of people.

But to saints of the type of Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, it was a calling of life and not a mere intellectual conviction or a rational acceptance.

When we say that the goal of life is God-realisation, we have said everything that needs to be said.

Vairagya, renunciation or sannyasa, spontaneously flows from the acceptance, from the heart, of the fact that the goal of life is God-realisation.

It follows as a necessary consequence.

Swami K…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -11.

Swami Sivananda Asramam-

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


1st of June,  being Sri Gurudev’s Sannyasa anniversary, we should contemplate on the spiritual spark that blazed itself forth as the great Swami Sivananda Saraswati whose presence and tapas, whose spirituality, goodness and large-heartedness became the nucleus and the seed for this large institution which vibrates today in the hearts of many people in the world—not as buildings or constitutions, not as visible bodies or institutions, but as spiritual aspirations, noble longings for God-realisation, charitableness in nature and a conviction that the realisation of God is the only goal of life.

“God-realisation first, everything else afterwards.”

This was, is and will forever be the teaching of this saint.

Everything else follows automatically from this great surging longing of the heart.

There are very few who could so forcibly proclaim this most unpalatable of truths that God-realisation is the primary aim …

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -10.

Swami Sivananda Asramam-

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


It is very unfortunate that we have no information as to what transpired between him and his Guru, his austerities, and what sort of meditation he practised.

His reply to queries from his disciples was: “You do not bother about what I did, but you do what I say.”

From the attitude he held in regard to life, till late in his life, we could gather by reading between lines that he was a combination of the heights of Vedanta philosophy and the pinnacle of austerity or tapas.

He used to define tapas as “flaming like fire by sense-control”.

One day he put a question to me: “What is tapas?

Can you define it?”

But, before I could say anything, he himself gave the definition: “Tapas is burning like fire by sense-control.” I remember this definition even today.

Tapas is the heat that is produced in our spiritual body by the control of the senses, as their outward movement depletes our energy and makes us the weakling…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -9.

Swami Sivananda Asramam-

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


But this one rupee, Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj never used to spend for himself.

He purchased some medicines or a cup of curd—not for himself, but for a neighbour who was sick, suffering from dysentery.

We know very well that dysentery was quite common among sadhus, as they were compelled to eat a diet without any fat or anything soothing to the walls of the stomach and intestines.

Illness was very common, especially diarrhoea and dysentery.

They were the common illnesses of having a dry stomach, without any lubrication.

Swamiji used to purchase a little curd and a little medicine and then started his philanthropic activity in a meagre way, which culminated in a small dispensary in Laxmanjhula called Satya Sevasrama.

It became a government hospital, and it was functioning until recently.

Now it is closed.

Thus he commenced his ministry of humanitarian and spiritual service which continued simultaneously, or si…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -8.

Swami Sivananda Asramam-

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


One of the pilgrims who happened to go to Badrinath, and who was a lover of saints, heard of the name of Swami Sivananda.

He was a teacher in a high school in Nagpur, and his name was Hari Ganesh Ambekar.

He later on joined this Ashram and took Sannyasa.

He was our gurubhai, Swami Hariomananda Saraswati, and he was one of the earliest disciples, if we could call them disciples.

They were disciples not in the sense of students who sat at the feet of the Guru, but in the sense that they admired the saint and wanted to keep him in their memory.

Swami Hariomananda Saraswatiji—Hari Ganesh Ambekar in his purvashrama—used to send a money order of one rupee per month.

That is what we have heard from Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj himself.

In those days, one rupee was a very big amount.

Those were the days when one kilogram of rice used to cost only one and a half annas or nine paise.

So, you know the value of one rupee.

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part 7.

Swami Sivananda Asramam-

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


The calibre and austerity of the life of Swamiji began to be known by people who had occasion to come to Badrinath and Kedarnath.

In those days there were no motorable roads as we have now.

From Haridwar onwards pilgrims had to walk on foot, as there was only a footpath.

There was a possibility of coming by vehicle up to Haridwar only.

I used to hear, in my younger days, that Haridwar was a place full of ice. Perhaps in those days it was very cold, colder than it is now, and people had to carry fire with them to keep themselves warm.

Such legends were in vogue then.

People who used to go by the footpath to Badrinath had to cross the Laxmanjhula Bridge and walk through what is called Phul Chatty, and other wayside halting places.

It was all jungle throughout.

Swami Sivananda was then known as the great mahatma of Swargashram.

There was neither The Divine Life Society nor the Sivananda Ashram, even to dream of…

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -6.

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


As I have already said, he used to absent himself from his kutir to avoid frequentation by visitors and other mahatmas by going to the other side of the bridge.

It was then some kind of a rope bridge.

Now we have a modern iron bridge.

There is a sandy bank which can be seen even now, and Swamiji used to sit there during the night and do his oblations and austerities.

During the nearly 26 years of life that we led, physically, with him, I did not get even an inkling as to what sort of meditation he practised, what was the japa he did, and what was the purpose for which he meditated.

He would never say anything about these things, nor were we in a position to get any information about them.

This is all we knew  :-

that he was staying on the sandy bank on the other side of the Laxmanjhula Bridge during the larger part of the day and night, and he would come to the Swargashram for his bhiksha at the appointed time.

Swami Krishnananda

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -5.

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


From another little information that we gathered from Swamiji himself during his later years, we understood that he used to go to the other side of the Laxmanjhula Bridge.

His kutir was somewhere directly opposite the Darshana Mahavidyalaya of the present day, and he used to be put up there.

But he did not stay in the kutir for most of the daytime because of fear that people would frequent him.

He was a worshipful figure, even from the very beginning of his life in Rishikesh and Swargashram, on account of the distinguished life of austerity that he led.

It is difficult to live a life of austerity.

Only if you live that life will you know what it is.

It is like death itself.

You may even prefer death to a life of that kind.

So it was a terror to see him leading a life of that kind, with no clothes on his body.

Who would give him clothes?

There were no charities of any kind in those days.

Swami Krishnananda
To be continued  ....

Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals :Ch-5. Part -4.

Chapter 5: Sivananda – The Fire of Sannyasa


From the year 1924 till the year 1936—for 12 years—he was an incognito mahatma doing his own tapasya for a purpose which he alone knew.

None of us were there, and no disciples were there.

He had neither associates nor friends.

What we hear from people who had seen him in those days amounts to this: that he wore little clothing and ate no delicious diet—which, of course, was not available at all even if he wanted.

The only food that was available to mahatmas in those days was dry bread (chapattis, rotis, which had no ghee or oil) and dhal which also had no fat, neither ghee nor oil.

People say that Swamiji did even not take the dhal; he used to take only the dry bread from the kshetra and drank Ganga water with it.

You know what will happen if you eat only dry bread and drink Ganga water.

You will have diarrhoea instantaneously in that atmosphere.

Anyhow, he bore it.

He was a doctor himself, but he had no medicines with him.

He conti…