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Birthday of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj (2008)

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  • Pannirselvam Kanagaratnam
    Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya! Namaste! Today (Sept. 8) is the holy occasion of worshipful Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj s 121st birthday anniversary.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 19, 2008
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      Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya!

      Namaste!

      Today (Sept. 8) is the holy occasion of worshipful
      Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj's 121st
      birthday anniversary. In celebration of this occasion
      we uploaded a book by Sri Swami Paramanandaji Maharaj
      titled "Sivananda: The Apostle of Peace and Love" at:
      http://www.dlshq.org/download/download.htm#apostle

      In this book, Sri Swami Paramanandaji reveals many
      intimate traits of Sri Gurudev. Sri Swami
      Paramanandaji joined Gurudev in 1932 and is
      considered to be the foundation of the Divine Life
      Society.

      We also uploaded an article by Sri Swami Chidanandaji
      Maharaj titled "He Is Beside You" at:
      http://www.dlshq.org/discourse/sep2008.htm

      A book by Sri Swami Krishnanandaji titled "Sri Swami
      Sivananda and His Mission" has been uploaded at:
      http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/gurudev_0.html

      This book gives the heart a glimpse into the journey
      of Gurudev, and the struggles, trials and
      tribulations which were the foundation of what is The
      Divine Life Society.

      Here is a chapter from Sri Swami Paramanandaji's book
      on how the birthday celebrations of Gurudev began.

      *****************************************************

      The Origin Of Birthday Celebrations

      We celebrate the Birthday of Krishna (Krishna
      Janmashtami) only once in a year. We celebrate the
      Birthday of Rama (Rama Navami) once in a year. But
      Swamiji's Birthdate is celebrated all over the
      country once a month, on the 8th!

      Let us see: what is the function? Is it one when we
      merely glorify or honour Sri Swami Sivananda? No, it
      is another occasion when we all assemble together and
      do intense Sadhana collectively. If that be our aim,
      we can celebrate his birthday every day!

      In fact, even the annual Birthday celebration had its
      origin that way. Then there were only six or seven
      inmates at "Ananda Kutir". Once Swamiji has been to
      Sitapur to conduct Sankirtan and hold Sadhana classes
      there. I invited some Mahatmas of Rishikesh to join
      us in a Satsanga. We called it Swamiji's Birthday. I
      had not the least idea of the actual birthday of
      Swamiji. That was an occasion for us, disciples of
      Sri Swami Sivananda, to hear the inspiring speeches
      of the Mahatmas of Rishikesh and the Swarga Ashram on
      the life and mission of Sri Swamiji Maharaj. On the
      first occasion Sri Swami Atmanandaji gave a brilliant
      address on Sri Swamiji's Tapasya. I printed a report
      of the proceedings. Some newspapers also published
      the report.

      That encouraged me. Later, I celebrated the Birthday
      every year. Some devotees of Swamiji assembled here;
      they had Swamiji's Darshan and the Satsanga of the
      Mahatmas. They were all benefited. Some new Sadhakas
      who attended these birthday celebrations were also
      benefited; they came to be better acquainted with
      Swamiji and his teachings.

      In 1938 I announced through the newspapers that
      Swamiji's Birthday would be celebrated. Many people
      sent me thrilling accounts of their spiritual
      experiences: how their lives were transformed by
      their contact with Sri Swamiji Maharaj. We collected
      all these and brought out a Birthday souvenir. Thus
      the Birthday celebrations were gaining strength!

      What part did Swath Sivanandaji play in all these
      celebrations?

      Some devotees of Swamiji have added one more stanza
      to his own Song of Arati. They do Arati to him also
      in the end. When they do it here, Swamiji does not
      check them; on the contrary, he, too, sings "Jaya
      Jaya Arati Satgurunatha; Satgurunatha, Sivananda".
      When I asked him about it once, he remarked: "There
      are many Sivanandas." Some people like to see him
      clothed in garlands: we saw this during Swamiji's
      All-India Tour. He calmly bears the load, like an
      idol. Otherwise, the devotees would be displeased! If
      Swamiji does not accede to their request, they would
      be hurt. That, Swamiji does not want. So he keeps
      quiet. Whether you celebrate the Birthday every year
      or every month, or abolish it altogether, he does not
      care. If you celebrate it, he asks you to utilise
      that opportunity for doing intense collective
      Sadhana.

      Some Sannyasins do not allow themselves to be
      photographed. Every one of you would like to be
      photographed standing with Swamiji! Why should he
      deny that pleasure to you? Swamiji accedes to your
      request. He feels that, then, you will evolve nicely;
      the photograph will inspire you to do more Sadhana
      according to Swamiji's teachings; you will evolve and
      progress rapidly on the spiritual path.

      During the All-India Tour at several centres Swamiji
      had to sit like a statue for over an hour, while
      people worshipped him. His desire is not to be so
      worshipped. He is dead against Gurudom. He does not
      even like to be called Satguru or "His Holiness". The
      Sadhus of Rishikesh gathered together and called him
      "Mahamandaleshwar"; he laughed at it and remarked,
      "It is like calling one the Greatest Fool on Earth".
      Similarly he would have stopped the Birthday
      celebrations also; but the devout wish of the
      aspirants prevailed. When Swamiji found that,
      whatever be the occasion, people gathered together on
      his Birthday, he found in it an opportunity to
      inspire people, to conduct collective Sadhana and
      enable aspirants to evolve rapidly.

      *****************************************************

      Yours in the service of Gurudev,

      Pannirselvam
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