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Report: Sri Swami Sivananda's 95th Sannyas Anniversary

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The 95th Sannyas Anniversary of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda was held on Saturday, 1 June 2019 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Devotees paid homage to the Master at a short Satsang commencing at 6am.

After reading the book, Jiva-Brahma Aikya Vedanta Rahasyam, our Master developed an ardent desire to tread the path of spirituality. He longed desperately for absolute bliss, for unmixed happiness and for perpetual peace. He resigned from his job as a doctor in Malaya and left for India. On arrival at his home in Pattamadai, the Master went missing as his goods were being offloaded. What happened was that he set out immediately to the railway station to commence his journey to Varanasi, the abode of Lord Siva. The Master had one burning desire and that was to realise God now. To his dismay, the Master discovered that Varanasi was a big crowded city and he was advised by a kind-hearted stranger to go to Pandharpur. The Master visited several holy places. The wandering life helped our Master to develop equal vision, forbearance and serenity of outlook in pleasure and pain. He eventually reached Rishikesh where he met Swami Vishwananda who gave him Sannyas. It was on this day, the 1st of June 1924, 95 years ago, that Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born.

At the Satsang in the evening, we read a message from the Master taken from Bliss Divine, "Every religion has a band of anchorites who lead a life of seclusion and meditation. The glory of a religion will be absolutely lost if you remove the hermits and Sannyasins or those who lead a life of renunciation and divine contemplation. It is these people who maintain and preserve the religions of the world. They give solace to the householders when they are in trouble and distress. They bring hope to the hopeless, joy to the depressed, strength to the weak and courage to the timid." In Yoga Lessons for Children our Master goes on to say, "When a man becomes a Sannyasin, he gives up all his possessions, all distinctions of caste, all rites and ceremonies, and all attachment to any particular country, nation or religion. He spends his time in meditation. Such a Sannyasin is an ideal man. He has attained peace, bliss, freedom and perfection. He is like God Himself. He is a liberated sage."

Many have not understood what true renunciation is, says our Master in Bliss Divine. "Renunciation of physical objects is no renunciation at all. True renunciation lies in the abnegation of the mind. It consists in renouncing all desires and egoism, and not merely renouncing the world. Real renunciation consists in the renunciation of egoism. If you can renounce the ego, you have renounced everything else in the world. If the subtle ego is given up, then identification with the body automatically dies."

Pujya Swami Sahajananda's audio message was taken from an address delivered on 1 June 1981 on the occasion of Sri Gurudev's 57th Sannyas Anniversary. On this day also, Swami Atmananda, a young disciple at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, was ordained by Pujya Swamiji as a Sannyasin. Swami Atmananda was the only Swami ordained by Pujya Swamiji in his 58-year spiritual ministry. Pujya Swamiji read from the book Necessity for Sannyas. The speech, which was delivered by the Master on 28 December 1945 to the inmates of the Ashram in Rishikesh, was delivered in a fiery style by the Master, and read with equal intensity by Pujya Swamiji. We reproduce a few excerpts from this inspiring speech:

Sannyasa is an absolute necessity. The mere desire to remain aloof and alone shows that there is an Advaitic inclination in you. Every moment you should be ready to take Sannyas. The very longing for Sannyas shows that there is growth of spirituality. Sannyasa destroys all worldliness, all evil Samskaras and establishes you in Advaitic meditation.

You want to eat, drink and enjoy all the day and night. You are immersed in sensual pleasures. There is no dispassion, no Vairagya, no renunciation. That is why you are afraid to take Sannyasa and try to justify your worldliness through foolish arguments. You are afraid to bear suffering. You always want to be carried away by your sense craving. How, then, can you know the glory of Sannyasa? The attachment to men and women, friends and relatives, money and gold, has to be ruthlessly burnt down to ashes. All the so-called duties of the world have to be kicked away for the sake of the glorious state of Self-realisation. The Mahabharata proclaims that for the sake of Self-realisation, even the whole world should be renounced without hesitation.

Why do you roll in this miserable Samsara? Are you not ashamed? If you have real manliness, you must break the chains of earthly bondage, the bondage of birth and death, old age and disease, hunger and thirst. That is courage! That is heroism! That is manliness! Do not be cowards, start now! Fight for that state of absolute freedom.

What is the use of working in an office with a slavish mentality, which is but the outcome of ignorance? The pay you receive in the office is only bait in this world of Maya. How much have you eaten, how much you have drunk, how much you have enjoyed, how much you have slept? Is there any end for this?

Remember that all you see in this world and get attached to is the object of your own imagination. Open your eyes! All this is pure Satchidananda. All this is undivided and immortal Consciousness. Where is father, where is mother, where is wife, where are children? Where is the world? Where is society, where are nations? You are moving and breathing in the mass of universal Consciousness. Wake up now! There is no way in this world to get eternal happiness and supreme satisfaction. You do not know where lies the real cause of misery and suffering? You do know where lies the source of real knowledge and bliss? You are sunk in ignorance. Assert now your real birthright, the freedom of Self-realisation!

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