"So, his entire life was spent in writing. He was very systematic in all that he did and everyday he would write up till his very last days. We have recorded evidence of that. And, when I met him in 1956, Gurudev was at the steps of the hospital and he was emphasising again the importance of literature and said, 'You see, this hospital is half-built. All the money I am putting into the press.' He did not believe in building a very big institution with hundreds and thousands of people. He said if I build a cottage or a Kutir only 5 Sadhus can stay there, but if I utilise the same money and print a book, 5000 can benefit. So, his literature has gone throughout the world and all his Shakti & power, he infused in his writings. Gurudev has said that the reason for popularity of his writings is that Mother Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning, imparted power and glory to his every word. It is not so much the writing that you do, but the Shakti that goes into it."
Two poems, "One thing is certain here" and "Listen, O Flaming Youth!" written by our Divine Master were read by one of our young devotees. The Master ended the first poem with the words,
"One thing is certain here, God realisation
Alone will make you immortal and happy."
In the second poem, addressing the youth he wrote,
"Doubtless, the days of youth are the days of glory.
In selfless service, devotion and self-restraint,
Then thy life would indeed be blessed."
It was on this day also that Ganga, by Her Divine Grace, came down to earth and uplifted all the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara to the highest abode of immortal bliss. Readers would know that the princes were cursed by Sage Kapila because they falsely accused him of stealing the sacrificial horse, dedicated for the Ashvamedha sacrifice by their father, King Sagara. In India this occasion is celebrated for 10 days to commemorate Ganga Mata's descent to earth. This sacred River, is not an ordinary river as it came directly from the most sacred Feet of Lord Vishnu. Ganga Mata therefore holds a special place in the hearts of all Hindus and is worshiped by millions of devotees throughout the world. In the Skanda Purana there are many verses extolling the glory of Ganga Mata.
Several great sages of our modern times all glorified Mother Ganga. Sri Ramana Maharishi, the sage of Tiruvannamalai, who never left his Ashram during his life-time, had high praise for Mother Ganga. Sri Ramakrishna had immense regard and love for Ganga. The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a great saint, said that Ganga was a great Goddess. Mother Krishnabai, the well-known saint of Anandashram, Kanhangad said that even a drop of Ganga water on the head would purify the whole body. A devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that Ganga water is used "to exorcise every evil".
In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says: "Among streams I am the Ganga". Such is the greatness of Mother Ganga!
Among our modern saints no one had such love and reverence for Mother Ganga as the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. He has written many lines glorifying Ganga. These can be read in the booklet, The Eternal Ganga. Till his last days he had a glimpse of Ganga from his room next to the river.
Pujya Swami Sahajananda wrote, "We are the most fortunate in the world to have Ganga both at Reservoir Hills and at SICC, Sivananda Nagar, La Mercy. At SICC, we can receive the blessings of Ganga at Ganga Rani and Bhagirathi. (Now Yamuna and Saraswati also).
"How did we come to get this great good fortune? Sri Gurudev says that we should not try to delve into such mysteries. We should just enjoy. But to me it is all so simple. The Divine Master gave this priceless gift to us. During his Sadhana days he used to stand in the ice-cold Ganga water from about 3am or 4am and do his Japa. He only came out when the sun made its appearance. What awe-inspiring Tapas this was! His mind must have been completely above body-consciousness while he stood in Ganga.
"Sri Gurudev's love and compassion are boundless. He wanted to give us a gift, and Ganga was that gift. There is no doubt about this, and there is no mystery about it."
You may think that Ganga Mata came to earth a long time ago and She does not dwell on earth anymore. Nothing is further away from the truth! Firstly, the assurance given by Pujya Swami Sahajananda earlier ought to clear this doubt. Furthermore, in the book, Mother Ganga we have several instances where Mother Ganga appeared in this day and age. She appeared to one devotee dressed in red and gold sari. If you doubt this, then you can read about the experience of the great God-realised saint Papaji in 2001 at the Maha Kumbha Mela when Ganga Mata came to Papaji. She said to Papaji, "I vowed to take away the sins of these people and I do." Papaji said, "I looked at her beautiful eyes and knew that they were not human, and I noticed that her body was transparent and that I could see right through it. She stood up and walked out onto the river and slowly became one with the water."
So, clearly, Ganga Mata exists in this day and age and is ready to bless us and rid us of our sins. All we have to do is to pray sincerely and have faith.