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193Birthday of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj

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  • Pannirselvam Kanagaratnam
    Sep 8, 2000
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      Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya!


      Today (Sept. 8) is the holy occasion of worshipful Holy Master Sri Swami
      Sivanandaji's 113th birthday anniversary. To celebrate this holiest of
      occasions for the devotees of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, we have
      uploaded Gurudev's inspring Autobiography to our website. This book can
      be downloaded from:

      On this auspicious day we are launching an E-Bookstore for The Divine
      Life Society publications. This new setup will allow seekers to create
      the order form easily. You can print the order form either from the
      browser or the e-mail that will be sent to you. The shipping costs for
      overseas shipment will be computed automatically and included in the
      order form. This form can then be 'snail-mailed' to Rishikesh along with
      your payment. Shipping costs for orders from within India will be billed
      later. Our e-bookstore is at:
      I would appreciate feedbacks on any bugs or problems with using the

      Sri Swami Krishnanandaji's book "Secret of Katha Upanishads" has been
      uploaded today to:
      This book is a psycho-philosophical analysis of the contents of the
      famous Katha Upanishad. The Katha Upanishad traces through the zigzag
      movements of the soul from personal individuality through cosmic vision
      until it reaches the Absolute.

      For our meditation today, I have attached below an excerpt from a
      lecture by Dr. Devaki Kutty Mataji on an aspect of Gurudev's

      May Gurudev's blessings be upon all.

      Yours in the service of Gurudev,



      Excerpts from "Tradition and Philosophy" by Dr. Devaki Kutty Mataji.

      Gurudev was an embodiment of love. His method of Loving also has no
      parallel. At least I have not seen anything like it. He made no
      condition for pouring out His love. I would like to use a word which I
      should not use in connection with a saint--He had an obsession. And that
      obsession was to give the maximum comfort and maximum happiness to the
      maximum number of people for all times to come! "Sarvabhuta Hite Ratah"
      ("rejoicing in the welfare of all beings") It is a phrase in the Geeta
      (V/25), but He lived it to the very letter. That is why scoundrels and
      saints were equally welcome at His feet. For Him there were neither good
      people nor bad people. And this I sensed when I saw Him for the first
      time. I met Him accidentally. I did not even know His name. In those
      days Sivananda Ashram was a halting station for pilgrims to Badrinath.
      There were no hotels, and if people wanted to have a somewhat decent
      accommodation, they came to Sivananda Ashram. Like that I came with some
      friends, without knowing anything about Sivananda Ashram. When you are
      going for a Yatra, you know how many mental preparations you make, and
      you have already reached in your mind. It was the first time for me, I
      was young, and I came with all that enthusiasm. And then we were
      introduced to Gurudev. When He heard that I was a medical person, He
      singled me out from the group and told me: "You don't go to Badrinath,
      you are not going! You stay here and serve the poor and the sick,
      because there is no lady doctor in the vicinity. And if you serve the
      Daridra-Narayana here (Daridra-Narayana means the poor people),
      Badri-Narayana will come down to give you Darshan, you don't have to go
      up". At that time the profundity of the statement did not sink in. I
      practice it still. Who can talk to Gurudev? I stayed back. I cancelled
      my trip and did a camp. I still did not understand much. I only
      understood that for Gurudev the service of the sick was superior to a

      This passion for service was inherent in Gurudev. I recently read the
      autobiography of Tapovan Maharaj. He and Gurudev were contemporaries. He
      was a very great saint and scholar. Both of them were staying in
      Brahmananda Ashram in Muni-Ki-Reti. It was during the very early days of
      Gurudev in Rishikesh and both of them were doing austerities and lived
      on Biksha. One day Gurudev came and asked Tapovan Maharaj for 2 annas.
      Today it would be about 10 to 12 paisa. Tapovan Maharaj was as much a
      pauper as Gurudev. He only had some copper coins. He asked Gurudev: "Why
      do you want these 2 annas?" Gurudev said: "Some old Sadhu is ill, and
      since morning I have been going from Ashram to Ashram to get a little
      bit of milk for him. I failed. Now if I have 2 annas, I'll go to
      Rishikesh and bring some milk." So they put all the coins together to
      make up 2 annas, and Gurudev walked to Rishikesh and bought some milk
      for the sick Sadhu. Tapovan Maharaj mentions this specifically and says
      that Gurudev was an embodiment of love and service and went out of the
      way to do service.

      In those days we did not have a big hospital. It was a small room in the
      basement of Ananda Kutir with three or four beds. Gurudev was the
      doctor, and for some time also Swami Chidananda was doing medical work.
      The Brahmacharis of the Ashram used to do the service. There was no
      paramedical staff, no nurses. Gurudev was very particular that the
      Brahmacharis did the service. And they have done it also, including
      Swami Chidananda and Swami Krishnananda! They had to clean the patients,
      they had to clean the dirty urinals and the dirty bedpans. Gurudev
      called it the bedpan-Yoga and gave this dirty work the dignity of Yoga.
      I will tell you one incident which I have heard from Swami Yagnavalkya;
      I was not there at that time. One Sadhu was admitted with severe
      diarrhoea. He had dirtied his clothes and his linen, but the Brahmachari
      had not done anything to clean it. When Gurudev came and saw this, He
      told the Brahmachari: "Now you clean up the whole thing and wash his
      clothes. He cannot move." And Gurudev went to the office, but He felt
      that this boy would not do anything. So after finishing His work in the
      office, he came out, went to the patient and saw him in the same state.
      Gurudev didn't speak a word, he cleaned the patient Himself, collected
      the dirty clothes and went to His Kutir. But you know how news spread!
      This boy was terrified. He was a young Brahmachari. He came running to
      Gurudev's Kutir expecting a dressing down. But Gurudev only said: "O
      jee, you missed a golden chance! What a wonderful chance you have
      missed! This would have given you an immense help in your Sadhana." That
      was Gurudev's idea of service. As a spiritual aspirant you don't wait
      for somebody to ask for service. You go out of the way and look for
      chances to serve. How much we have deteriorated! Today, even if one asks
      for service, one does not get it.

      He was very insistent that everybody who came to the Ashram did service.
      All come with great enthusiasm for God-Realisation and only want to do
      Japa, Swadyaya and meditation. Only these three things they want to do.
      So Gurudev used to tell them: "O jee, you will sink into a Tamasic
      state, if you don't do service. Nobody in this world can do 24 hours of
      Japa and meditation. It is a virtual impossibility."--It is not the type
      of work that matters. From the sweeper to the king, all are doing
      service. But what makes it spiritual, is the building up of an
      infrastructure of selflessness, purity of motive and love and devotion.
      In addition to these three we have to have humility and the thought of
      God. We are not serving man, we are serving God! Humility will take us
      to Karma-Yoga. If we do all this sincerely, then our mind will regain
      that pristine purity which is expected in an aspirant. Then
      introspection, meditation, Samadhi can follow. Practising like this with
      Gurudev in our heart, we don't have to worry, it is His duty to give us
      emancipation and illumination. Hari OM!
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