N. Ananthanarayanan in From Man to God-Man wrote, “Swami Sivananda blasted old superstitions about God and religion. In equal measure he exploded modern fairy tales about Yoga and Yogis. By teaching and by personal example, he made it plain that there was no easy way to Moksha or liberation, no short-cut to God. The laborious, orthodox way was the only way. It was the way of service and love, of abstraction and meditation, of dispassion and discrimination.”
In paying homage to the Divine Master, we read a poem written by Sri Swami Sahajananda, entitled “Hail to Thee—My Love, My Life”. We quote an excerpt from this poem:
To serve with love His Lotus Feet, in pleasure, in cold and heat;
To serve the sick, to serve the poor,
To spread God’s knowledge from door to door
This is the teaching of Siva Divine,
Oh! Let it enter this heart of mine.
In Pujya Swamiji’s audio message we heard, “It is all a matter of receptivity because God is available to all of us. Gurudev is available to all of us. Gurudev is very dynamic. He created opportunities. He created a wonderful field for us. We must grasp every opportunity that comes our way. We look for Grace everywhere but Grace is ever before us. If you don’t take it, the loser is you.”
Talking about the school building projects Swamiji said, “Gurudev says think big. In order to substantiate what he said, he is also providing the funds. Saints are not born, they are made. Every little act goes toward the making of a saint. If we think big and if we do difficult tasks, then we will be able to grow and the will power will also grow. We find today, not only in the spiritual field but in other fields also, people do not have a strong will power. They give up with a little effort. They don’t make a sturdy effort. So that is why when a problem arises, when a moral crisis arises, we find that we are completely defeated by the mind. So that is why we are asked to do difficult things. Then you will grow; then the power will come because bliss and peace won’t come until the system is purified and strengthened and courage and faith are developed. Boundless faith is required”.
In concluding this powerful message, Pujya Swamiji gave us the key to solving our problems. He continued, “Coming back to the main point, talking about Gurudev, I always like to feel that Gurudev was none other than God Himself. Because God Himself comes to the level of man and serves man. And, Gurudev was like that. I had written a letter to him in 1950 with perhaps some problems. Gurudev replied immediately in his own handwriting. He wrote, ‘I am ever at thy back. I am ever ready to serve thee.’ And that has been my solace. Whenever I have any difficulty or any overpowering problem, I reflect on that and I feel that if Gurudev is right in me, there is nothing for me to fear at all. What is going to happen is going to happen if it is necessary for my Sadhana.”
In a powerful inspirational DVD message, entitled “You are the Master of your Destiny”, the Master exhorted us to exert, to overcome the negative through positive thoughts and thereby break the chains of destiny: “Pain, sorrow and ignorance are illusory. These cannot live. Bliss, joy and knowledge are true. They cannot die. You are the architect of your own fate. You are the master of your own destiny. You can do and undo things. You sow an action and reap a tendency. You sow a tendency and reap a habit. You sow a habit and reap a character. You sow your character and reap your destiny. Therefore, destiny is your own creation. You can undo it if you like! Destiny is a bundle of habits. Change your habits! Change your mode of thinking! You can conquer destiny. By virtuous deeds and right thoughts you can change your destiny. You are free to act.
“By self-exertion Ratnakar became Valmiki. By self-exertion Markandeya conquered death. By self-exertion Savitri brought back her husband, Satyavan to life. Therefore, apply yourself tenaciously to Atmic enquiry and meditation. Be vigilant and diligent. Kill the thoughts and desires. Overcome tomorrow’s evil by today’s self-exertion. Slay unholy thoughts by holy thoughts and gain victory over destiny. There is a magazine of power within you. All faculties are latent in you. Unfold them and become a liberated soul.”
In a Satsang with children the Master invited the children to ask riddles and he too will ask riddles. This is first riddle the Master asked,
I often murmur but never weep.
I always lie in bed, but never sleep.
My mouth is larger than my head.
I am never fed, but I excrete much.
I have no feet, but run swiftly
With regular, ‘tin-tin’!
The more falls I get
The faster I run.
Now tell me sir, ‘Who am I?’
The children admitted defeat. The Master gave them a clue. “If you come to my cottage you will see it.” Still, they were unable to give the answer and so the Master gave them the answer: RIVER. By highlighting the wonderful qualities of the river, the Master indirectly paid homage to Ganga Mata. Riddle after riddle followed, in humour and mirth and the Master was not able to answer any of their riddles. In the end, the Master admitted defeat and gave the children special awards for their victory.
As dissemination of spiritual literature was close to the heart of Sri Gurudev and Pujya Swamiji, in commemoration of this auspicious event, a unique initiative was launched—the Sivananda Jnana Yajna Sadhana. This project enables devotees to request the Society to post any book or set of books to the address they specify. Apart from the normal charges, a nominal cost will be levied to cover the price of postage. It is hoped that devotees will take advantage of this facility which aims at encouraging one to continue with the dissemination of Sri Gurudev’s literature on a larger scale. The parcel posted can be a surprise gift to a friend or relative and will certainly serve as a benevolent gesture for any festival or occasion.
The large gathering that assembled enjoyed the inspiring messages, the reading and the melodious Bhajans and Kirtans, and would certainly have carried with them these spiritual vibrations to their homes.