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Birthday of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj

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  • Pannirselvam Kanagaratnam
    Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya! Namaste! Today (Sept. 8) is the holy occasion of worshipful Holy Master Sri Swami Sivanandaji s 113th birthday anniversary. To
    Message 1 of 2 , 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!
    • Pannirselvam Kanagaratnam
      Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya! Namaste! Today (Sept. 8) is the holy occasion of worshipful Holy Master Sri Swami Sivanandaji s 114th birthday anniversary. To
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 8, 2001
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        Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya!


        Today (Sept. 8) is the holy occasion of worshipful Holy Master Sri Swami
        Sivanandaji's 114th birthday anniversary. To celebrate this holiest of
        occasions for the devotees of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, we have
        uploaded a recent short form biography of Sri Gurudev titled "Swami
        Sivananda--A Modern Sage". This book can be downloaded from:

        For our meditation today, I have attached below an excerpt from the
        above mentioned book on the spiritual practice adpated by Sri Gurudev.

        Yours in the service of Gurudev,




        Swamiji took his abode near Lakshman Jhula. Being a Sannyasin, he wanted
        to abstain from worldly activity but found he was powerless to resist
        the temptation to go to the bedside of sick Mahatmas in the
        neighbourhood. In him the spirit of service burned brighter than ever.
        Walking through the gullies of Lakshmanjhula, Sivananda saw many Sadhus
        suffering from extreme cold and malnutrition, with frequent attacks of
        fever and dysentery. Swamiji could not bear to see the helpless plight
        of those holy men, but he had no money for the necessary diet and

        A thought flashed in Swamiji's mind that money itself was not evil. It
        could be put to good use as much as bad. And he remembered his savings
        in the insurance company. A lawyer friend helped him to salvage about
        Rs. 5000/-. Vowing not to touch any for his personal needs, he put it
        into a Post Office Savings account. Thus equipped, Swamiji started his
        daily pilgrimage to the huts of sick Mahatmas. Mere food and medicine
        are not all, he would also disperse a word of cheer, encouragement and a
        splash of delightful humour. Without a word Swamiji would take aside the
        sick man's soiled clothes and they would be back in their place in a few
        hours, washed and neatly folded. He would not leave the water pot
        unfilled, nor the floor unswept.

        One of the Mahatmas in the neighbourhood, Swami Kalikananda, watched
        with interest the service that the doctor from Malaysia rendered the
        Sadhus. The opportunity, he thought, should not be lost.

        He approached Swamiji with a proposal to run a charitable dispensary.
        Satya Sevashram Dispensary came into being. Housed in a small room a few
        yards to the north of the Lakshmanjhula bridge, the dispensary lay at
        the entrance to the popular pedestrian route used by pilgrims to the
        famous Himalayan shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath. It was a unique
        location to reach the maximum number of pilgrims, Sadhus and people of
        the surrounding villages.

        One evening a pilgrim enroute to Badrinath came to see him. Later it
        occurred to Swamiji that he should have given a different medicine which
        would have been more helpful. The thought filled his mind that he had
        not done his utmost. So, early the next morning, even before the dawn,
        he took the medicine and started at a steady uphill run to catch up with
        the traveller. When he reached the next halt, he found that the pilgrim
        was an even earlier riser and had already proceeded on his way.

        Undaunted, Swamiji pressed on until he caught up with the pilgrim near
        the fifth mile and there gave him the precious medicine.

        Swamiji's persistent interest was to fill the entire day with good
        turns. Service was his motto.

        "Ever be on the look-out for an opportunity to serve; never miss a
        chance. You must be like a watch-dog, alert and keen to grasp at once
        any possibility that presents itself of being useful... you must create
        opportunities to do something for others. Do not wait for a chance but
        create means of making yourself useful and helpful. Do it in whatever
        way you are particularly suited by temperament, talent and natural

        "On rare occasions you must even be aggressive in your service.
        Sometimes helpless persons in need of aid will foolishly refuse it. In
        such cases do the required service in spite of their hesitation.

        "Service is 'love in expression'. This coupled with a strong positive
        desire for universal weal, becomes an effective and higher sort of
        service. By generating a current of helpful and healing vibration, it
        will contribute to common welfare in a subtle but powerful way
        especially if you use the power of prayer."

        Swamiji himself was very emphatic in his convictions about the efficacy
        of prayer that is earnest and genuine. He once said, "Prayer has
        tremendous influence. It can do anything, provided you are sincere. It
        is heard at once and responded to. Do it in the daily struggle of life
        and realise for yourself its high efficacy. Pray in any way you like.
        Become as simple as a child. Have no cunningness or crookedness. Then
        you will get everything."

        From the very beginning, Swamiji followed his own innate tendency with
        regard to Sadhana. He imitated none in this respect, service being a
        natural part of his nature. He attended to the needs of the sick Sadhus
        with added zeal; for him work itself was worship. Deep meditation,
        austerities such as fasting, standing in the ice cold waters of the
        Ganga during the early hours of the morning--all of these he combined
        with his daily round of service to the sick and needy mendicants and

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