The Divine Master's love, compassion and legacy are aptly summed up by Pujya Swami Sahajananda, in an ex-tempore message on 1 June 2001, when he said, "A father leaves all his material wealth to his children. Similarly, the Guru leaves all his spiritual wealth, as well as his material wealth, to his devotees. So, we are enjoying all the spiritual and material wealth left by our Master. His heart was as soft as butter. His love and compassion are rare in spiritual history. There is no doubt that our Master was the Lord Himself".
In another ex-tempore speech delivered by beloved Pujya Swamiji on 9 September 1987, during the Divine Master's 100th Birth Centenary celebrations, which went on for one week, Pujya Swamiji, addressing the Master in the first-person, said, "We hope and pray that on this auspicious day you will give us enlightenment, guide us, protect us, save us from all perils and all dangers. We pray that you will give us the strength to call you, because we know that if we call you, you will always be there, like Lord Krishna. You will never fail. But that is the condition that you have laid. You said that if we call, then you will come. You said, 'If you take care of my mission, I shall take care of you'."
In the reading from, Greatest Miracles of Sivananda, Sri Swami Venkatesananda says, "Devotees of Siva, all over the world, have recounted the astounding experiences they have had of the divine powers of Bhagavan Sivananda; how he appeared in their dreams and gave them wholesome advice, how they saw him in a vision and got his blessings, how he saved them from calamity and healed them of their illness.
"To a great Yogi, space and time are no great impediments. If the X-ray can see through flesh and the meteorological instruments can probe into the weather of tomorrow, what cannot the spiritually enlightened mind of a Yogi do? Clairvoyance, thought-transference, distant-healing, etc., are so commonplace with Siva that he might not even be aware of them.
"The conduct of The Divine Life Society's affairs is a great miracle. Without a budget, without a reserve fund, without a bank-balance and without a regular source of income to run a big institution on such a lavish scale is a miracle".
Further, Sri Swami Venkatesananda said of the Master, that to recruit everyone with the least inclination and lesser qualification into his fold and to transform everyone into saintly personalities without the rigours of austerity or regimented life of Sadhana—that is a miracle of the highest order. The Master sat in his simple Kutir on the banks of the Ganga in a corner of the Himalayas and spread the light of divine knowledge to the four corners of the world. To let his life-transforming message resound in every nation of the world, is the greatest miracle of Sri Swami Sivananda's all-pervading Divinity.
Sri Swami Venkatesananda quotes the following incidents where "Siva's Prasad has worked wonders":
"I started for Hyderabad (Sind) to bring my moveables from there with your blessing and your Prasad as my protection. By the miraculous effect of your Prasad and blessings several other passengers in the train coming to Bombay were saved and all of us returned to our home safely with our lives and moveables unharmed. Whenever I was in need of help or in any trouble I concentrated, meditating upon you and also used the Prasad sent to me by Your Holiness. My words cannot describe your invincible divine power in the matter of how I have been saved and how I have been brought out from entanglement. I pray that Your Holiness's miraculous blessings may be showered on me, and I request Your Holiness to shower your blessings on my mother and wife as they are sometimes ailing from sickness". (Sri Dwarakadas, Madras)
"When I was a student, I was suffering from a pain in the stomach. Your Holiness was pleased to send me Prasad and give me Upadesh of 'Om Namah Sivaya' Mantra for Japa. I have been doing Japa regularly for the last three or four years. I have gained good improvement in my health. I have no pain now". (Sri Gopal Rao Bapat)
"The Divine programme was such that the Prasad reached me the very day when the previously sent Prasad was finished and nothing was left for the next morning. That is my medicine". (Sri Vidyananda - Raja of Atgarh)
Pujya Swami Sahajananda, in his audio message, spoke glowingly about the qualities of a true disciple, the relationship between a disciple and his Guru, that final illumination can only be got through the Guru, and the stupendous bliss of God. Excerpts from the message that exemplify these concepts follow. Pujya Swamiji said, "The Guru gives himself fully to the disciple. The disciple matches that equally, and gives himself completely to the Guru; surrenders his past, present and future, his body, mind and soul, his desires – even in God-realisation he surrenders to the Guru". He narrated the anecdote of Lord Krishna appearing before Sri Hanuman, and Lord Krishna telling Sri Hanuman that He (Lord Krishna) is God. Sri Hanuman replied that He bows only to Lord Rama. Lord Krishna then changed His form into Lord Rama, and then Sri Hanuman prostrated to Lord Krishna in the form of Lord Rama. Pujya Swamiji continued, "...So we worship the Guru first even if God comes in front of us, our devotion goes to the Guru first, because it is the Guru who leads us to God. Guru is greater than God, they say, because it's the same God who assumes a human form and comes in the form of a Guru".
Referring to the bliss of God, Pujya Swamiji said, "The bliss of God is so stupendous, so marvellous, so stunning – you can never believe that this bliss is yours. Therefore, if you get it at this instance, we'll just go mad. You won't be able to contain it. Therefore, they say it's 'bliss absolute', because you cannot describe it; you can't limit it. So that precious knowledge is guarded; guarded by the forces that God has put".
Divine Life Society of South Africa has made special offerings as a tribute to the Divine Master on his 60th Mahasamadhi Anniversary. Devotees have been encouraged to intensify their Sadhana. There was daily Akhanda Chanting from 8 to 14 July 2023 from 5am until 4pm, and daily Satsang during this auspicious period. In addition, devotees have been encouraged to take or renew their Spiritual Resolves in keeping with the Master's teachings. Our youth boys did a special Panel Discussion on 2 July 2023 at the Sivananda Day Satsang on the topic, "Some of Sri Swami Sivananda's Cardinal Teachings", as an offering to the Divine Master on his 60th Mahasamadhi Anniversary. We pray that our humble offering will act as catalysts to sustain our spiritual aspirations and practices beyond our Master's 60th Mahasamadhi Anniversary.
Sri Swami Sivananda's Mahasamadhi Anniversary (according to the English calendar)
Divine Life Society of South Africa observed Sri Swami Sivananda's 60th Mahasamadhi Anniversary (according to the English calendar) at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills on Friday 14 July 2023. There was a morning Sadhana Programme from 6am until 6.25am, after which devotees circumambulated Sahaja Kutir and then visited the Sivananda Sahajananda Diamond Jubilee Centre. There was Akhanda Chanting from 5am until 4pm. Ganga Arati commenced at 5.30pm followed by Satsang. The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, Pujya Swamiji's audio message, readings from Swami Sivananda in Pictures, excerpts culled from a book containing intimate glimpses of Sri Gurudev's last days by N. Anathanarayanan, author of From Man to Godman, and a DVD on Swami Sivananda.
Appropriate to this sacred occasion, the following poem, "I have won the Game of Life" from Swami Sivananda in Pictures, poignantly encapsulated the Master's state of "perfection and freedom".
I HAVE WON THE GAME OF LIFE
Through the Grace of the Lord and Satguru
I am unattached and free.
All doubts and delusions have vanished.
I am free and ever blissful.
I am free from fear,
As I rest in that non-dual state.
Fear is due to duality.
I am Brahman-intoxicated.
I have attained perfection and freedom.
I live in the pure consciousness.
I have won the game of life.
I have won! I have won! I have won!
Reproduced below are N. Anathanarayanan's accounts of intimate glimpses of the Master's last days:
"July 13, Saturday night: About 9pm.: electric massage was being administered to Gurudev. The machine made a croaking sound as it worked. Swamiji commented: 'You see, frog is crying!'. People around Gurudev were sad over the Master's health, but they could not help a smile at Swamiji's remark. A close disciple of Gurudev came there. He was not wearing his shirt at the time and his stomach was rather bulging. Gurudev saw him and jocularly exclaimed, 'Oh, put the machine on his belly!'. Gurudev's mood became a little serious, however, when the doctors began to apply the electric massage to Swamiji's face. Overtired as he was, Gurudev said, 'Enough, enough'. His comment at that moment revealed extreme dispassion. He wanted nothing. After all, what could all the doctors in the world do when the call had come to him? He lay on his bed totally relaxed like a child, tapping the pillow with the fingers of his right hand. Or he moved his right palm lightly over his stomach in gentle circles. He had nothing to accomplish now; his work was over".
"On July 14, Colonel Puri came to examine the Master. The doctor assured the Master that he will be well soon, to which the Master replied that he had many things to do. After the doctor had left, the Master developed fever and began to shiver...The breathing hardened. He took two or three spoonsful of Horlicks, and at about 3pm asked for water. As was the usual practice the disciples wanted to give him barley water or jeera water, but he wished to have Ganges water, pure and simple. The water was brought. The Master, who had experienced difficulty in taking the smallest quantity of solid or liquid, gulped down half a glassful of Ganges water without apparent trouble. The Being that was Swami Sivananda laid aside its mortal vesture at 11.15pm that same night.
"The time the Master chose to merge with the Supreme proved to be a holy Muhurta of extreme auspiciousness. An expert horologist, who was also a capable astrologer, had mentioned only on the morning of that fateful Sunday, that round about midnight there was going to be such an unparalleled and auspicious planetary conjunction that any Yogi who was getting ready to depart would never wish to miss it. The prediction proved correct and the Master chose the moment".
The DVD played at the Satsang captured in stark detail and vivid imagery, the Master's last moments in his physical form, as well as rituals and homage, adorations and reverence paid by devotees before and after his Mahasamadhi. The intimate detail of the Master's last rites evoked deep emotion amongst viewers.
In Pujya Swami Sahajananda's audio message, Swamiji spoke about Sri Gurudev's intense dispassion. He quoted anecdotes to illustrate Gurudev's dispassion. When Gurudev returned to his home from Malaya, and while his goods were being off-loaded, he disappeared and did not even enter his home. Gurudev lived on delicious dishes in Malaya but on his way to Rishikesh he survived on fruit and berries. Also, while on his way to Rishikesh, a tongawalla threw some coins at the Master, but he did not even turn a glance at the coins. Pujya Swamiji said, "Look at his dispassion. That's why he realised God very quickly. But how lukewarm is our own dispassion? But still, we have to try....and during this period we'll try to make acquaintance with the Master within us. That is the most important thing".
On surrender to the Divine, Pujya Swamiji said, "We are in an age when there's fear. Yet every moment we have fear. We do not know what is going to happen. We read in the newspapers what is happening every day. And this is the Kali Yuga; a period when there is unrest, disturbance, fear, worry, anxiety, riots, everything that you can think about. But yet it is the most opportune moment to go towards God, because when you have difficulties and troubles, then you can make a quick surrender and go towards God as quick as you can, but very rarely one will really understand that whatever is happening is happening by the Grace of God. God wants to take us towards him. To understand Divine Grace it is very, very difficult. You'll have to be a fairly advanced devotee to really understand how Grace operates. But I want to leave this message this afternoon, that we should have no fear, because often we see a number of our devotees triumphing over their difficulties, but there are others who collapse. When a little test comes, they panic. It is not going to help us at all. We must turn to God. When God protects, nothing can happen". Pujya Swamiji said that we should surrender fully to God and seek God's protection, "but God's protection doesn't always come in its fullness unless we surrender also fully. The classic example of Draupadi should be remembered. Only when she surrendered completely, the protection was there".
Sri Gurudev's words of advice to disciples who survive after their Guru's passing, resonate amongst loyal and serious aspirants and disciples. The Master said, "A true disciple is one who serves his Guru till the end of his life. If the disciple survives after the Guru leaves his mortal body, he should lead the remaining portion of his life in accordance with his Guru's teaching and live to preach them to others by practising them himself". We pray that we will all be that "true disciple who serves his Guru till the end of his life".
Glory to the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda – a man amongst men; a jewel amongst saints and a diamond amongst luminaries.