Swami Sivananda was unique; in fact, he was daringly unique, often attracting the ridicule of the more orthodox seekers dwelling around him. From the time, whilst still in Malaysia when discrimination dawned in him, one may say that he was truly obsessed with his goal. The goal of God-realisation! Our Master broke old established practices and plunged himself into God and the service of others. He once ran 6 kilometres after a patient to deliver a medicine to him. His soul was tenacious! The spirit of giving freely, of sharing without restraint, was ingrained in our Master. Our Master excluded none and showed compassion for all!
In the reading that evening, we heard, "About his own realisation of God, the Master revealed to one of his students: 'I did not have any outstanding experiences during the period of my spiritual practice. There was no external or internal obstruction in the progress of my practice. That was the only outstanding feature. I made meditation—deep meditation—the keynote of my inner life. It gave me smooth and continuous progress and rapid arrival at the final spiritual experience.'"
Pujya Swamiji, in the pre-recorded audio message, spoke about experiences in meditation. "Let the experiences come. If you can bear insult and injury it is a greater experience than seeing something in meditation. If a heavy loss comes and you are serene, it is a greater experience than seeing something in meditation." Pujya Swamiji went on to give details of the centres of concentration during meditation. He concluded with the following, "We cannot know anything from the mind. Unless your mind is stilled, when all thought waves subside in the mind then you get a glimpse of what all-pervading means."
In the DVD presentation, we were privileged to see the various divine "poses" of the Master, writing, serving disciples, meditating, playing the harmonium, being worshipped, etc. We also heard the melodious voice of the Master instructing,
"Be up and doing in Yogic Sadhana, you will enjoy supreme bliss.
Be up and doing in Brahma Vichar, you will attain immortality
Can you expect real Shanti if you waste your time in idle gossiping?..."
Just as a father bequeaths his wealth to his children, we as devotees of our Master, are the sole inheritors of all his great deeds and all his great spiritual merits and Grace, but we need to become worthy of receiving his Grace. We need to emulate the dedication and the determination that our Master possessed. We have the perfect example in our beloved Pujya Swami Sahajananda who was a worthy disciple of our Master and who enjoyed his bountiful Grace.
Report: Sri Swami Sivananda's 56th Mahasamadhi Anniversary (according to the Sanskrit calendar)
The Mahasamadhi Day of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, was observed on Friday, 26 July at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Fifty-six years ago, our Master withdrew from his physical body, leaving behind thousands of grief-stricken devotees and disciples all over the world. Whilst he is no more with us in the physical form, one must bear in mind that great souls never pass away from the world with the demise of the physical sheath. They are always alive, now more than ever. They pervade and permeate the whole Universe and are always available to those who call sincerely. This is what out saints and sages say.
The purpose and intention of our Divine Master coming into this world is the waking of the slumbering soul of mankind. This is what our Divine Master and Pujya Swami Sahajananda accomplished in South Africa. "I will insist on taking birth after birth to work, worship, study and teach Yoga." These words of our Master are so stirring and prophetic! To him, his work was all important. There is no doubt that the Master's writings and teachings have had a profound impact on spiritual seekers the world over. This being the primary objective of the Society, on this auspicious day, we as devotees should dedicate ourselves not only to distributing the literature to all parts of the country, but indeed to all parts of the globe. This is what Pujya Swamiji wished.
In an article entitled Death and how to conquer it, by Sri Swami Sivananda, we heard that "Death is only a change of form. It is only separation of the astral body from the physical body. Birth follows death just as waking follows sleep. You will again resume the work that was left off by you in your previous life. Therefore, do not be afraid of death. O man, do not be afraid of death at all. Thou art immortal. Death is not the opposite of life. It is only a phase of life. Life flows on ceaselessly. The fruit perishes but the seed is full of life. The seed dies but a huge tree grows out of the seed. The tree perishes, but it becomes coal which has a rich life. Water disappears, but it becomes invisible steam which contains the seed of a new life. The stone disappears but it becomes lime which is full of new life. The physical sheath only is thrown out but life persists."
We, of the world, are so fortunate to have inherited his legacy. We are all beneficiaries of this spiritual treasure. What we do with it is all important. Do we squander it or utilise it wisely? What do we do to help ourselves? How do we honour His mission? He will guide us if we call. It is something which each one of us must do within ourselves. That is the only hope of survival in this sorely divided world. The followers of Swami Sivananda and Swami Sahajananda can pay no higher and better tribute to their memories than by resolving to live as they had taught to: serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize, be good, do good, be kind, be compassionate.