Birthday of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj
- 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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