73. SIVANANDA'S 90-YEARS' WORK
In less than thirty years, Siva has done what would have been difficult for even a man of success to do in 90 most active years. Starting from scratch, Siva has himself done what (i) he and his immediate associates, (ii) his direct disciples, and (iii) their disciples ought to have done in due course of time.
This itself is proof positive of his divinity that Siva the mendicant, just a Sadhu living on alms obtained from the Swarg Ashram could give shelter to a good devotee-pilgrim to Badrinath for one night, and the next morning give him a piece of paper on which Siva had jotted down twenty points, suggesting to him (the pilgrim) that he should print and distribute the "Twenty Instructions" widely. This leaflet of Twenty Instructions guides millions all over the world today. How Siva's works could spread so wide, so fast, is a mystery which no one but he could explain.
Siva has combined in himself (a) the sage who is beyond all "organisations" and "institutions," ever eager to give, give, and give everything away, (b) the President or Secretary of an institution who is eager to create, to build, feeling it is his for whatever he wishes to do with it, and (c) a servant of the society, bound to serve the institution, to save its properties, which he does not regard as his, but towards which he has specific responsibilities because mysteriously Siva has been able to play triple role simultaneously, has he been able to turn out such enormous work.
Siva has delivered the message, demonstrated its practicability and its glory, founded an institution to perpetuate this, and strengthened this with his own divine Sat-Sankalpa and the spirit of dedication of his immediate disciples.
Details of this gigantic work are given in the following page.
74. SIVANANDA'S MISSION
Siva's Mission in this incarnation is to re-establish Dharma. Siva's Mission is just this; turning man's gaze towards God, opening out a window in his consciousness through which man would perceive God, immanent in all creation, through transcendent, too. Siva has effectively proved by his glorious life and illuminating teaching that when man's gaze is directed towards the world, his heart generates the undivine current of egoism, desire, hatred, and the like: and that when the gaze of the same man is turned towards God, from him flows the current of love, harmony, peace, selfless service-in short divinity.
Siva's Mission is thus not proselytization but purification. He makes a Jew a real Jew, a Christian a true Christian, a Hindu a real Hindu, a Moslem a faithful Moslem, a Buddhist an ideal Buddhist. He reminds the followers of all the religions, of the ethical bases of the religion they profess, the spiritual goal they have to achieve. Standing on the Supreme Common Ground of all faiths, viz., God-consciousness, Siva roars his message of Divine Life so that people belonging to the various sects and sections might pay attention to their ranks and strengthen their force by rousing themselves to the full realisation of their glory.
Remoulding man in the image of God is Siva's mission. Constantly he reminds each man of his divine nature, raises him to his divine stature, so that he can regain his spiritual heritage. To spiritualise the every-day activity of man, and to make Man'S Life on Earth a Life Divine-is Siva's Mission. The Sivananda Ashram with its multifarious activities is itself Siva's Mission on exhibition. There Sadhakas and Saints may be either cooks or clerks, typists or teachers, doctors or devotees, Sankirtanists or Scavengers, professors or proof-readers. All Work is worship if the angle of vision is changed: to proclaim this Truth is Siva's Mission.
75. SIVANANDA'S ORDER
The Sivananda Sannyas Corps forms the "Front Rank" of the Adhyatmik Divine Life Army that has its Headquarters at Shivanandanagar in the impregnable fortress of Siva's Divine presence. Ganga's all-purifying purity and Himavan's mighty protecting arms. The Advance Bases are found all over the world in every home. A young child in one household, a modest housewife or an aged grandfather in another-is a member of the Divine Life Army: he or she wins others' hearts and their allegiance to Lord Sivananda too. The Sannyas Corps launches mass awakening campaigns. A single member of Sivananda Sannyas Corps armed with the Atomic Bomb of Atmic Knowledge, shielded against "enemy" (Maya's) onslaught by Siva's Saving Grace, spurred on ceaselessly by Sivas Sat-Sankalpa assisted by the invisible forces of sages and saints of all ages can take sin's citadel by storm, rout ignorance hoist the banner of Divine Life and crown YOU the Emperor of emperors, Atma-Samrat.
In Kali Yuga there is bound to be a state of continual emergency: in Sivananda Sannyas Corps, therefore, the emergency regulations operate always. Anyone with a little Vairagya, the mood to renounce and a desire to serve is readily initiated by Siva who invests the new recruit with the inspiration and the power that is Siva's own. This should be seen to be believed: the recruit is quickly made to master Yoga Asanas, taught Kirtans and chants, encouraged to deliver lectures on Yoga and Vedanta, and made to study a few books (Siva's own are the best for a rapid acquisition of a good knowledge), and in a few months he is equipped with enough ammunition to blast the hide-outs of Maya and materialism!
The Sivananda Sannyasa Corps is a composite Unit. Full-fledged Sannyasins. Fledglings who are given Brahmacharya initiation with gerua cloth, "advance-initiates" who are initiated into the Order and given the ochre robe though they are permitted to carry on their avocation for some time more, and householders, who are given the ochre cloth to worship and "keep as an ideal"-all of them are members of the Corps.
76. SIVANANDA'S DISCIPLE
1st September 1947.
If anyone is rude and discourteous, if he cannot do Hari Kirtan, if he does not do prostrations to elders and saints, if he is not doing Nishkamya Karma Yoga, if he does not know Asanas, Pranayama, if he has no knowledge of the Yoga of Synthesis, if he does not serve tke poor, if he is not generous and charitable, if he cannot feel the unity of the Self in all beings, he cannot be my disciple.
77. SIVANANDA'S WAY OF TRAINING DISCIPLES
Siva's way of training disciples is personal example. He is very strict with himself, and very lenient with his disciples. He is very regular in his own service and Sadhana; but he does not find fault with his disciples if they are lax. Every limb of his precious body wails that Siva is an extremely hard taskmaster; but his disciples know that Siva is all milk and honey. We have to learn from his example how to walk the razor's edge, which Siva, by his own personal example and precedence has made smooth and pleasant for us.
The next important method Siva adopts in training his disciples is limitless encouragement and super-glorification. He would magnify a millionfold a modicum of virtue that a disciple might posses, ignoring the million faults of his conduct and character. Constantly glorifying the disciple for that virtue, Siva in his own divine way draws the disciple's attention Godward. Merely to get more appreciation from Siva the disciple strives to grow in that virtue! His faults perish uncared for.
The third is the greatest of all. Siva conquers the hearts of his disciples, by showering his loving grace upon them, by serving them, by making them feel that he lives only for each individual aspirant. He makes them feel at-home in the Ashram. He allows them every liberty. He identifies himself with them. When they have, after years of his Sishya-Seva, "come into his grip", he quickly raises them to high spiritual levels by a few words of advice, to suit the particular needs of each aspirant.
The fourth is a wonder. Siva creates opportunities for the aspirant to grow in virtue, and to manifest his goodness and his talents. He allows each Sadhaka to pursue his own path to God, guiding him by Grace, protecting him from pitfalls, and leading him lightly onwards.
78. SIVANANDA'S TRISULA
Lord Siva had his Trisula ready at hand, even Yama, the Lord of Death, trembled before It. Our Siva (Bhagavan Sivananda), holds a Trisula which saves us from death, save us from rebirth and makes us immortal.
Siva's Trisula is "Regular Sadhana". Regularity in Sadhana is more easily professed than practised. Therefore, the first prong of the Trisula is THE RESOLVES FORM. Every New Year's Day, the earnest disciple of Siva takes "Resolves" to do a certain minimum Sadhana, to have some control over his habits, etc.
Resolves are as easily broken as they are taken! It won't do to postpone all the Japa and all the meditation, etc., that we have "Resolved to do" per day, to the last hour. There must be a DAILY ROUTINE which contains in it the elements of positive Sadhana that the resolve forms "promised". The resolves are now "pinned down" to fixed hours of the day.
Avoidable and unavoidable obstacles, inevitable omission and wilful remissness-find "lame excuses" why "I Just couldn't adhere to the routine". We discover how rigidly one day follows the other in its routine, only when we have loosened the reigns of the mind, and let our evil tendencies have the upper hand. Soon we roll down to a depth where we have never been in this birth. THE SPIRITUAL DIARY prevents this. It is a record of our spiritual assets and liabilities. It is a Divine Master that keeps us vigilant and watchful. One day an item is missed: unavoidable. The Diary points out that there is no reason for the repetition of the fault. Siva raises the finger of warning from the columns of the diary. "Beware". We can't err twice if we maintain the diary.
The Three together-the Resolves, the Daily Routine and the Spiritual Diary-save us from ourselves !
79. SIVANANDA'S DISCIPLINE
Siva's Discipline is a unique, bold experiment at self-discipline. Siva's discipline is an experience of Self-realisation at every step.
Siva's discipline is comparable to a fond mother's eagerness to make her young son walk. She hopes he would eventually win a marathon race. But she knows the tiny legs aren't strong enough to provide a firm and steady support for the body. She makes the child walk, but would not let it overexert itself or overtax its capacity.
Siva asks his disciples to keep the ideal before them, of perfect Vairagya, absolute spirit of renunciation, supreme control over mind and senses. But he makes generous allowances to cover each aspirant's defects and shortcomings.
Siva's discipline is the disciplined of the spirit. It is the readiness, the eagerness and the willingness that count. Sincerity is the greatest virtue. Rarely does he "test" his disciples to see if they are sincere in their sincerity!
Siva's discipline is the discipline of love and spirit. By loving the most indisciplined, and by forgiving even the incorrigible, Siva "touches" their heart and in an extremely subtle way makes them feel the discipline is delight.
Siva's Discipline is discipline inspired by personal example. The rigid discipline which he demonstrates in his own personal life, and the supreme compassion which he shows towards the recalcitrant disciple but the latter to shame which generates a spirit that disciplines the disciple in spite of himself.
Siva's Discipline is Discipline by Choice, where the disciple is allowed absolute freedom to make or mar his career, but with resplendent Sivananda, illumining the path of Discipline by the Light of His Life, thus leading the disciple to self-discipline the disciple cannot go astray.
80. SIVANANDA'S ASHRAM
The Sivananda Ashram is Paradise on earth, a real Vaikuntha, Kailasa, Saket-Puri of Lord Rama, Go loka of Lord Sri Krishna, heaven and the Param Dham, in truth. It is the abode of the Living God, the shrine of His Incarnation.
The Sivananda Ashram is a world in miniature. A month's stay there will enable you to gain more experience than a life time elsewhere. You will meet these people of multifarious temperaments, from all parts of the world, seeking after a wide range of goals.
The Sivananda Ashram is the loving bosom of a Cosmic Mother, Sivananda. It is the refuge of the destitute and the desperate. It is the last resort of everyone who has lost all hope and interest in life-where the hope and the interest are revived.
The Sivananda Ashram is the retired officer's spiritual home, the Sadhaka's Tapovana, the devotee's Temple, and the Karma Yogi's Yajnashala. It is the fountain-source of the Yoga of Synthesis, at which the thirsty aspirant might drink deep the nectar of wisdom that, perennially wells from the heart of Sivananda.
The Sivananda Ashram is an asylum. Those on the verge of a nervous breakdown, they who might go insane any moment, those who cannot find peace and harmony in their own home or the society they live in-they are welcomed, looked after, and transformed into useful citizens and householders.
The Sivananda Ashram is the place in which to search for a "lost son"; every young man whose previous good Samskaras generate dispassion at heart goes straight to Siva, the only modern sage who joyously welcomes such young men. So parents immediately wire to Siva: "Please look after my son who has run away from home and who, I am sure, has come to you."
Sivananda Ashram is what its name implies: the place, which affords refuge to those who seek auspiciousness and spiritual bliss.
81. SIVANANDA'S NAGAR
Sivananda Nagar is the Heart of the Universe; for there dwells the Lord Incarnate of the present Age, radiating life, light and love to all beings all over the universe.
Sivananda Nagar is the Capital of the Spiritual World, the Realm of Life Divine; for there dwells the mighty spiritual emperor of mankind.
It is a wonderful township whose citizens are all heroes, gems and geniuses. Its soil trodden by the divine feet of Bhagavan Sivananda is such that he who comes in contact with it is mysteriously transformed. Everyone greets the other with an "Om" or "Om Namo Narayanaya". Humility and reverence are in the air. Love and selflessness are in the very atmosphere. Spirituality permeates the entire township. One can't escape the beneficent spiritual influence of the place; though one may not be quite aware how it has affected him.
It is a township far away from the din and bustle and the unholy "air" of modern cities; but it commands all modern amenities. A school and playground for children, shops and hotels, hospitals and pharmaceutical works, a Post Office, convenient bathing ghats on the Ganges bank, and the complete seclusion that only the Himalayan jungle can provide an earnest seeker after Truth-these are all found in this township. A first-rate Photographic Studio where Yoga films are also shown, good Libraries of spiritual books, and temples for devotees, are all found here. Art, music, dance, drama, films-everything is given the spiritual touch here.
It was a jungle hardly twenty years ago. A lonely Sadhu, living on alms, entered the locality and took up his abode in a dilapidated old room. Disciples tried to make it habitable. Some time later the Maharaja of Tehri gave a plot of hill-side land to Siva. Devotees contributed funds for building a few Kutirs. So, it grew into an ever busy township, a pilgrim-centre for people from all over the world. Sivananda Nagar is the glory of a sage's Satsankalpa.
82. SIVANANDA'S ANNAKSHETRA
Siva's Annakshetra, aptly named the Annapoorna Annakshetra, is presided over by Mother Annapurna (the Goddess of Food Herself): no one else would be able to manage it. There are Annakshetras in Rishikesh, whose sole concern is to feed Sadhus and Sannyasins. It is not one of the declared aims and objects of the Divine Life Society. That is because Siva does not regard feeding of Sadhus, Sadhakas and visitors, as a special "Mission". It is part of his very nature: his Mission is dissemination of spiritual knowledge.
The moment a visitor comes into Siva's presence, Siva MUST GIVE him something to eat or drink. If the visitor says: "I have just had my lunch at Hardwar" or "I had my tea at Rishikesh" Siva would brush the statement aside with "Oh, that is already digested!" Siva MUST GIVE. Then comes the gifts of books, the spiritual food.
Such is Siva's divine heart that the Annakshetra has gone on growing from strength to strength. From 4 to 400 in less than 20 years! Today it provides food, tea, milk and fruits to 200 resident-Sadhakas, 100 resident visitors, 100 passing pilgrims, besides the Ashram servants.
The Annakshetra is cosmic love in action. It is a cosmic kitchen. It has fed people from all parts of the globe. Siva himself used to take the greatest delight in serving food with his own hand, asking every guest "Do you want rotti, Bhagavan?" "Dhal, Bhagavan" Ganga-Amrit, Bhagavan". Thus he set an example in service of guest: Atithi Devo Bhava-may guest be your God.
The Annakshetra is conducted on the daily income of the Ashram! Even when the Ashram is in debt, the service and the feeding of Sadhus and Atithi-Narayans goes on! Such is Siva's Sankalpa that no obstacle or impediment can stand in the way. When the Ministers of the old Tehri State were taking tea with jaggery for want of sugar (in the 1940s), there was a roomful of laddus during the Sivananda Diamond Jubilee celebration (1947)!
83. SIVANANDA'S MAHASAMSTHANAM
Prativadi Bhayankaram Annangaracharya Swami, a renowned savant and spiritual leader of South India, regards Siva's Satsanga as "Devendra-Sabha". The Sabha or the Mahasamasthanam is presided over by the Lord of the Spiritual World. Those who are endowed with spiritual vision can perceive the tremedous spiritual power that is generated at Ananda Kutir. The Mahasamasthanam is the Abode of the Supreme Being, the Fountain-Source of Sivam and Anandam, from a minute part of the Ananda (bliss) of which, in the words of Annangaracharya Swami, all the beings in the entire universe derive delight.
Sivananda Mahasamasthanam is a great centre of art, culture and learning. Music, dance and drama have not only received great encouragement at the divine hands of Siva, but have received his spiritual touch. Music and dance as integral parts of Sankirtana Yoga, and drama as a great medium for conveying sublime thought have earned Siva's fullest support. The foremost among the Nada-Yogins (musicians) from all over India, the best among those endowed with histrionic talents have offered their art at the lotus-feet of Bhagavan Sivananda. Siva has honoured them all suitably, and has awarded Titles in token of his appreciation of their merit.
Srimati Rukmini Arundale of the Kalakshetra (Madras), one of the greatest exponents of Bharata Natyam, said "Swamiji, You have the extarordinary knack of attracting all talents to yourself". Among Siva's direct disciples are men and women who are highly talented in music, dance, drama, photography, painting, engineering, medicine and surgery, Yoga (theory and practice), Vedanta, and literature (English, Sanskrit, French, Tamil, etc). In the Sivananda Mahasamasthanam everyone is a genius: Siva has the divine power to awaken all latent faculties in his disciples.
84. SIVANANDA'S ART STUDIO
If Siva has excelled his own previous Incarnations has excelled all prophet, saints and sages of all times (even the modern ones), it is because he will literally live forever. A thousand years hence, he will be right in front of those who will live then-on the screen: and he will talk to them and inspire them with his divine voice, through the magnetic tape and gramophone records.
"Uttishthata Jagrata Prapya Varaannibodhata" is an Upanishad Mantra: but no one who utters it can command the fiery spirit of the original Divine Author. Not so in the case of Siva's powerful utterances. "Do real Sadhana my dear Children". "Within you is hidden God" "Eko Devah Sarva-Bhuteshu Gudah"-these and such other thrilling utterances of Siva people will be able to hear direct from him, in his own divine voice, for all time to come. This is the service that the Sivananda Art Studio has rendered to humanity; who can estimate it?
The Studio is the Sadhaka's greatest friend; it provides him with the object of his meditation-Siva's soul-elevating photograph. It is a permanent blue-print for saints: it faithfully preserves the life and works of the greatest living saint and divine being-Siva. It is a boon to foreign Yoga-students: it has fine films depicting Yoga Asanas, and other Yogic Kriyas, with the help of which anyone can learn the correct technique. It is humanity's everlasting treasure house.
Art students and photo enthusiasts have unbounded admiration for the Sivananda Art Studio. A visitor-Cabinet Minister of the Indian Union-was surprised when Saradanandaji presented him an enlarged picture taken on the Minister's arrival-15 minutes earlier. Everyone admits, it is one of the best equipped studios in the world, which does better work than any other.
85. SIVANANDA'S REGALIA
The Sivananda Regalia is the only real regalia in the world: for, while the crowns of mighty kings have rolled on the dust, and the sceptres of monarchs have been broken by relentless Time, the suzerainty of Siva will last forever. His glory is beyond Time, even as his crown is of the Immortal Spirit.
The Sivananda Regalia will forever remind the world of the future that God, the Ruler of the entire universe, lived in it as Man for the sake of mankind. The Regalia will sing the glory of the awe-inspiring sacrifices he made to free Man from the shackle of sense-hankering. Siva's "begging bowl" will remind you of his warning that real happiness lies, not in the objects, but in dispassion and renunciation.
The Sivananda Regalia will forever proclaim to mankind the Gospel of Selfless Service. The manuscripts in His Own Handwriting will remind humanity that Divinity which dwelt on this very earth, served man, and rendered the greatest of all services-the service of spiritual awakening. The several volumes of "Inspiring Letters of Paramananda" will reveal the intense zeal with which Siva worked day and night, utilising every avenue of service, to reach the ends of the earth, in the shortest period of time.
The caskets containing Addresses of Welcome presented to Siva by the Public and by the Civic Bodies of India and Ceylon, during the Tour, will silently pay homage to the World Honoured Sage who demonstrated the mightly power of cosmic love and selfless service.
The Sivananda Regalia gives you within the half-hour you may spend in it, an idea of Siva's Life and Mission. Every aspect of his divine life and work is represented in it. It is the Divine Life "Noah's Ark".
86. SIVANANDA'S SOCIETY
The Divine Life Society is a unique institution in that it is the great gift of a divine being who paradoxically combines in himself the Cosmic Consciousness of a God-realised sage, the dynamism of an enterprising industrialist, the "originality" of a film producer, the tact of a business magnate, the daring of an adventurer, the love of a cosmic mother, the anchorite's spirit of renunciation and the supreme indifference and detachment of one disinterested in the affairs of the world!
Siva is truly Satchidananda Param Brahman, Infinite and Unconditioned. His creation shares these qualities. It is established in Supreme Truth: and it radiates wisdom and bliss. Infinite are the ways in which the Society serves humanity: and its service is unconditioned by any rigid rules or regulations.
The Headquarters of the Society, at Shivananda Nagar, is Cosmic Consciousness concretised. It is open to all; it keeps doors ever open in loving invitation to every sincere seeker after Truth. It has no boundaries, literally and metaphorically.
There are over dozen departments of dynamic activity at the Headquarters: if you have "new" talent, you can join up and Siva will provide a department for the manifestation and fuller development of your talent! "The Society is yours" he says.
The whole world passes through this strange institution almost every day. Even God has imposed some restriction upon arrivals into and departures from the world He has created; but in Siva's Society you can walk in whenever you like and be looked after with intense love and affection and you can leave it whenever you like and be quickly "forgotten", or immortalise yourself by glorious dedicated service. Perhaps, this Divine Being is experimenting in his laboratory, laws which may come into force in the next Creation of the world.
87. SIVANANDA'S UNIVERSITY
The Yoga-Vedanta Forest University founded in 1948 by Siva is unique in many respects. Its Professors are lifelong students of Yoga and Vedanta: and its students are all over the world. Resident Sadhakas, passing visitors, and thousands of others who are in contact with Siva, are the students. Every aspirant's own daily life, led in accordance with Siva's precepts is his curriculum.
The University has no buildings apart from the Sivanandashram, but it is built on the surest foundation of the Holy Wish of a Man-of-God to bring Divine Life and Light to every seeker in the world. Resident-Sadhakas and visitors attend the University classes and Satsanga: they get practical training in Yoga Asanas, Suryanamaskara and Pranayama, and they receive lessons in the theory and practice of Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.
Aspirants endowed with a little bit of dispassion and discrimination, with a lot of sincerity and earnestness, ready to "adapt, adjust and accommodate" and eager to dedicate themselves to life-long selfless service of humanity, join the University. Besides, a number of Indian and foreign students have undergone training at the University for short periods, and have received Siva's Titles at the time of their departure.
Siva moulds the students into saints. Atma-Jnana is the only "diploma" that the student is encouraged to get. The best facilities are provided to PRACTISE Yoga, not merely to learn about it. The General Hospital and the offices of the Divine Life Society provide fields for Karma Yoga; the temple and Bhajan Hall and also the Satsanga, are ideal for the practice of Bhakti Yoga; the jungles and Ganges bank invite you to meditate and realise God. Siva the Lord Incarnate allows each Sadhaka to pursue his own path and attain Him.
88. SIVANANDA'S SCHOOL OF YOGA
Advanced students of Siva have founded schools in various parts of the world. A Sivananda school of Yoga and Vedanta is conducted by Sri Swami Sivananda-Radha in Vancouver; another by Sri Swami Vishnudevananda in Montreal, Canada. Sri Yogiraj Louis Brinkfort and Srimati Edith Enna conduct Schools in Denmark; and Sri Swami Swaroopananda (Erich Pierschel) has a School of Yoga in Germany. Sri H. Schwab has established a Yoga, Vedanta Academy in Germany. A sincere seeker has established what he has termed as 'Sivananda University' in Havana, Cuba. These Schools are the Yoga Vedanta Forest University in miniature. Siva provides the inspiration and the guidance. Worthy students spread the message.
The Divine Life Society has, similarly, over three hundred Branches all over the world. Satsang is conducted, group meditation is practised, mass prayers are offered-each Branch is a spiritual power house.
The Sivananda Ashram, too, has its "branches" or prototypes in various places.
Everyone schooled in Sivananda Yoga-the Yoga Of Synthesis-is a Sivananda School of Yoga. Professors of the Yoga-Vedanta Forest University often tour the country and go abroad, too, and they are really Peripetetic Schools of Sivananda Yoga.
It is the greatest wonder-greater than the Nine Wonders of the world-that sitting, in his lonely hut on the banks of the Ganga, Siva has been able to found, establish and conduct, dynamic centres of divine life, all over the world. This itself is proof positive of his omnipresent divine nature.
Yet another School of Yoga functions in Copenhagen, founded by Sri Robert C. Christensen, Norway has a school conducted by Sri Kulsrud; another in Holland led by Sri Marinus. Egypt has its own school of Yoga, too-all of them spreading Siva's Message of Divine Life.
89. SIVANANDA'S YOGA MUSEUM
In a world full of vulgar noise, with all kinds of rubbish poured into print and smeared over miles of paper every day, the Modern Man has neither the time nor the inner tranquillity to listen to learned discourses on Philosophy, nor to study at leisure, deeply philosophical tomes. When the channels to the 'Head' are thus clogged, it is art which appeals to the 'Heart' and elevates the soul straightaway. The Yoga Museum is a thing of Divine Art, the sublime creation of the Supreme Artist, Siva.
It was born in Siva's Heart. His Illumination (Self-realisation) was its father, and His Compassion the mother. The offspring, the Yoga Museum shares these two virtues. It is very pleasing to the eye: so, it is kind and affectionate towards you and teaches you all about Vedanta and Yoga in half an hour without the aid of any 'weighty' text or perplexing perorations! It is the House of Divine Life; every section contains a few well-chosen illustrations which give a succinct, clear and comprehensive idea of the fundamentals of Yoga.
The nature of the Absolute, and the nature of phenomena; the Transcendental Being and the Immanent God-head; the Path of Inward Contemplation (Jnana Yoga); the Path of Mystic Communion (Raja Yoga); the Path of Devotion (Bhakti Yoga), as well as the Path of Contemplative Dynamism (Karma Yoga)-are all 'shown' in the Museum through such pleasing pictures, that self-forgetfully you assimilate the great ideas 'framed' in them, without irksome toil.
Western aspirants (particularly) have acclaimed it as a marvel. Eastern philosophers have reverently admired the ingenuity of the sage. But, to me, the Museum stands as a monument to Siva's compassion which saves us, His children, from the sweat and the toil of acquiring Knowledge which he got the hard way. Wearing the diving outfit of renunciation, he fathomed the ocean of austerities and meditation; and the pearls of Truth he thus got he has strung into a lovely necklace and presented in to us as Yoga Museum.
90. SIVANANDA'S YOGA MOVIE
The silver screen has undoubtedly come to stay as men's best counsellor. Curiosity enough it represents a grotesque externalisation of an inwards approach to Truth. "Make the mind blank, put out the flickering flame of the senses, and let the light of intuition in", is the sage's advice. That in effect is what the cinema theatre does, outside; and so it has the power to externalise powerfully the consciousness of man.
Siva does not shy away from any modern invention. To him anything that can be made good use of, towards a spiritual end, is good enough. So he exhorts us to spiritualise the celluloid. Produce spiritual films, films that will inspire man to aspire for Self-realisation.
Siva has given the lead. The Yoga-Vedanta Forest University has three excellent movie cameras both 8 mm and 16 mm. Thousands of feet of film can unroll before you a great variety of inspiring subjects of absorbing interest.
Yoga Asanas performed by different people-a Yoga-student, a householder, a foreign student, a foreign lady-disciple, an Indian woman, a small child, a muscular gymnast, a lean and thin Hatha Yogi, a young Yogi, and an old ascetic. Siva's own Asana-performances are also filmed. No one who sees this will excuse himself for not practising Asanas daily.
Other Yogic Kriyas like Neti, Dhauti, Basti, Nauli, etc., as also Suryanamaskara and Eye Exercises are also filmed.
For all time to come you can see on the screen distinguished statesmen, scholars, leaders and saints meeting Siva in the Ashram. The Immortal Glory of a Divinity's Inspiring Life Divine is captured by the Sivananda Art Studio on the celluloid.
Many Yogins (like Sri Sivananda-Radha of Vancouver and Sri Edward Hain of London) have copies of the films which they exhibit in those cities.
91. SIVANANDA'S PRINTING PRESS
The literary output of no other single individual (who is at the same time the most hard-worked president of an international institution) has been so enormous in the world as to keep a well-equipped modern printing plant with an automatic printing machine, a crown cylinder Press, and a smaller traddle, a linotype, twenty compositors, and equal number of "binders" with an automatic folding-machine and a thread-sewing machine to assist them, busy day-in and day-out, and yet unable to fulfil the author's modest demands that the Press should release a book at least in the time taken for him to write it! Siva has no equals even in the enormity of literary production: We can't think of anyone creating just one paragraph as inspiring as every line of the countless volumes from his pen is.
This is the greatest secret of the success of Siva's Mission. His service-expectancy is just a little greater than the service-opportunities that present themselves to him. He works for the higher degree; and without allowing himself to lapse into complacency he promotes the expectancy, too, to a higher degree! Thus this Wonder Man of the Age who is none but God Incarnate, is not "satisfied" even today (when the whole world has been flooded with his Divine Life Message) with what has been achieved. Only he uses the eyes for the purpose for which He put them on the forehead-to look always forward to greater achievements-and not to look back and rest on the laurels.
What is most miraculous, however, is that since the Press was established, wonderful devotees of Siva, who have thoroughly imbibed his spirit of cosmic service, liberally donate for the publication of books. What a great glory is theirs! They have immortalised themselves by taking an active part in the Jnana Yajna of Siva. They have become one with him; and their munificence enables His Message to reach thousands of His Children.
92. SIVANANDA'S MEDICAL ORGANISATION
Though Siva asserts that God can be realised through the selfless, egoless and desireless performance of one's own duties, whatever they are, yet he undoubtedly grants a soft corner in his divine heart to service of the sick; and often declares that the doctor is nearest to Divinity, if he serves the patients with Narayana Bhava, feeling that he serves the Lord in the patient.
The Sivananda Medical Organisation is therefore, an offshoot of his heart. Even after he renounced the world, the call of the sick was irresistible for him-and it was capable of drawing him from his meditation-chamber. People even now recall that wherever he went, a hand-bag of common drugs was ever with him-with which he could serve the sick lying on the roadside. He lived on alms but provided the sick Sadhus with fruits and milk. The first organisation that owed its existence to him, after Renunciation, was the Satyasevashram Dispensary. A small Charitable Dispensary grew up even before the present Sivananda Ashram was established.
The sage's Sankalpa works wonders. The late Capt. T.N. Srivastava bequeathed Rs. 20,000 for a Hospital at Sivananda Nagar. Several eminent doctors and surgeons became actively associated with Siva's Mission at this stage. General A.N. Sharma retired from the Indiam Army Medical Service, and immediately organised the Sivanada Medical Organisation. Famous Eye Surgeons like Sivananda-Adhwaryoo, Dr. Sivananda-Ramjass and Dr. Sivananda Hridayananda conduct Eye Relief Camps; eminent Lady Doctors like Dr. Devaki Kutti, Dr. Padma Mudholkar, Dr. Sivananda Saroj and Dr. Amar Kaur conduct Women's Medical Relief Camps. Recently, the Red Cross Society has opened a Maternity and Chief Welfare Centre to supplement the Sivananda Medical Organisation's Services. The Organisation thrives on Siva's Miracles!
93. SIVANANDA'S PATHIES
Siva is a divine doctor who is one with the Origin of all pathies which is the Lord's Compassion. It matters not how: pain must be relieved and the patient made well.
Siva, therefore, recognises that just as different Yogas are necessary for people of different temperaments, and different religions are necessary for people of different mental equipment, different systems of treatment are necessary to bring quick relief to different constitutions. By his own example, he teaches us that to all pathies which we might adopt in the treatment of the sick we should add a good deal of sympathy.
In his own Ashram, under the aegis of the Sivananda Medical Organisation there is a well-equipped modern Allopathic Dispensary-with X-ray plant, microscope, diathermy, ultra-violet and infra-red lamps, an operation theatre and several wards. There is an Ayurvedic Pharmacy which produces wonderful specifics for the treatment of various diseases and tonics for toning up the system. There is a Nature Cure Sanatorium for those who are tired of drugs and would prefer the natural way to health and healing. There is a Homeopathic Dispensary for those who are inclined to that system. Recently a Unani Hakim started a Unani Dispensary!
To those who with their inner eye opened, perceive that through all these pathies it is Siva's Grace that flows, and so, prefer to resort to him, Siva prescribes a suitable medicine and Namopathy, too, viz., Japa of one's own Mantra and also the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra.
Some Karmic diseases are incurable. To those who suffer from them, Siva prescribes Omopathy; repetition of the Pranava, feeling "I am different from the body and mind: Immortal Self I am".
They say that Siva practised Allopathy. There is a slight error in this. He was Pathy-of-all: Pathy means Lord, and in Siva Siddhanta Literature is the term applied to God Himself. Siva is the Lord of all systems of Yoga and medicine.
94. SIVANANDA'S TOOTH POWDER
Next to "service of the sick", if there is one motto which has become synonymous with Sivananda, it is the motto "share what you have with others". Food, clothing, medicines, thoughts, spiritual experience and Knowledge of the Self-everything that He has Siva must share with others.
A good Ayurvedic physician prescribed a good tooth powder. It was prepared and given to Siva for his personal use. He found it very effective and gave his own valuable suggestions to make it more effective. He found it wonderful! The very next day, a good quantity had to be prepared, for every Ashramite to be immediately supplied with the Tooth Powder that Siva has had manufactured for himself! Shortly afterwards, the Sivananda Ayuurvedic Pharmeceutical Works had to prepare tons of the Sivananda Tooth Powder for use by spiritual aspirants and Siva's disciples all over the world.
This Tooth Powder and the Brahmi Amla Medicated Oil along with Chyavanaprash, have become so famous throughout the world that Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Works find it difficult to cope with the demand!
Siva himself is regular in the use of the Tooth powder. He himself samples every fresh stock and gives valuable ideas to the manufacturers to improve its quality and effectiveness. The Tooth Powder is vitalised by the blessings, compassion and grace of the Supreme Sannyasin, Siva.
Those who have used the Tooth Powder have testified to the fact that it is marvellous for the teeth and the gums-and puts off toothless old age indefinitely. At 70 Siva's teeth are as strong as ever; and the regular use of Sivananda Tooth powder will enable you to enjoy a similar privilege.
95. SIVANANDA'S AYURVEDIC PHARMACEUTICAL WORKS
The Sivananda Tooth Powder gave birth to the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Works; every Ayurvedic Vaidya of repute suggesting a good tonic for maintaining Siva's precious body in sound health opended up a fresh avenue for Siva's loving service to flow to humanity.
Siva's Heart is the Abode of all; and Siva dwells in the hearts of all. Siva's Ashram welcomes all; and Siva's service is extended to all. Men, women and children adore Siva with equal fervour; and men, women and children receive his love in equal measure. The Ayurvedic Pharmacy reflects this attitude. It caters to your entire family, Bala Jeevanamritam for your child; Ashokamritam for the queen of the household; Arjunarishta for you. And the rest of the preparations for all.
Siva's books contain all the knowledge you need; Siva's life radiates all the wisdom that you need, Siva's Ayurvedic Tonics cater to your physical needs throughout the year! Brahmi-leaves and Brahmi oil specially for the summer; Shilajit specially for the winter! B.M.K. Trichoorna is ready to deal with the cold and cough that might assail you in the rainy season.
The young Sadhaka might need Brahmacharya Sudha; to an old dyspeptic Kshudha Vardhak Churna is a boon. Cureczema, Netra Jyoti Surma, Pada Raksha Malam and Medhu Maha Nivarak deal with the chronic ailments that sap people's vitality. So also the other preparations of the Pharmaceutical Works.
More than anything else, the Ayurvedic Pharmacy is an illustration of Siva's business ethics. Minimum of profit and maximum service, purity of preparation and scrupulous adherence to lofty medical ethics; these are illustrated in the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Works, for other business-houses to follow.
96. SIVANANDA'S ALL-WORLD RELIGIONS FEDERATION
The All-World Religions Federation of Siva represents a revolutionary step which the future evolution of Man towards a better understanding of his fellow-men. It is a Federation in the truest sense of the term. It is a union of all world religions, each preserving its individuality, but conceding common plan of action where the fundamental common factors are concerned. By calling for religious unity, Siva does not aim at creating a "One World Religion". While conceding individuality to each religion Siva warns the heads of each religion that they should not lose sight of the fundamentals, in an effort to distinguish themselves from others. The Middle Path which is the hall mark of Siva's Life, Teachings and Mission, shows itself in clear relief in the Federation.
Siva infuses enough faith in each man for his own religion, to feel that, that is the best religion on earth for him. At the same time, Siva makes each men feel that, similarly, other religions are best for other people. This remarkable Doctrine of Understanding, prevents the person on the one hand from becoming gradually irreligious as a consequence of lack of devout yet zealous faith in his own religion; and, on the other, it prevents him from letting his faith and zeal exceed their limits and encroach (often with violence) on others' faith.
The one direct effect of this great doctrine of Siva is that he has today disciples all over the world, each growing stronger in faith in one's own religion, and yet feeling drawn to the Great Unifying Factor of Diverse Denominations. Thus Siva himself is the All-World Religion Federation, in a way.
The world of tomorrow would certainly be a better place on account of the unostentatious labours of this Federation. Sufficient religious fervour would have been created to keep irreligion away: and sufficient love would have been instilled in man's hearts to make them live in harmony.
97. SIVANANDA'S ALL-WORLD SADHUS' FEDERATION
What was said of the All-World Religions Federation applies with equal force to the All-World Sadhus Federation also. The aim of this Federation is to bring together the men and women of renunciation, to which-ever religion they belonged. To ensure that they themselves adhere to the high standards of Sadhus is the Federation's task; but to perform their duties of radiating spiritual light and spreading the gospel of religion is their responsibility.
Who can be a better exemplar of the Sadhu quality than Siva himself? A firm adherent to his own principles-the highest standard of an Indian Sadhu-Siva illustrates in his life the truth that loving admiration (not merely indulgent tolerance) of everyone else's approach to Truth is the supreme sine qua non of a Sadhu.
Thus Siva's Sadhu becomes a peace-maker in the Daily Battle of Life, a Bliss-vendor in this impermanent misery-ridden world, and a spiritual transformer of all the currents of earthly life. Siva as a Sadhu, does not exclude himself from the world, but identifies himself with everybody and towers above all. He tells you how, by discovering the inner fountain of peace, you can enjoy peace and happiness in all conditions. Anyone who has seen him at close quarters when his physical sheath was assailed by illness, would have noticed the miracle of making a miserable condition yield joy, pain give rise humour, and of converting suffering and its concomitants into service of humanity (e.g., when a prescription for Siva's own illness is given by an eminent doctor, it would be developed by Siva into a book, for the benefit of all!) That is the Sadhu, the benefactor of humanity. A Federation of such Sadhus to whichever religion they belong is a boon to mankind.
98. SIVANANDA'S ALL-INDIA TOUR
Only the weapons were different: because the enemy was different this time. In the former Incarnations the Lord had given battle to powerful demons, the perpetrators of Adharma, and by destroying them had re-established Dharma. In the present age of materialism, the demon of selfishness and greed, is hidden in the heart of man. The weapons with which he could be annihilated were Siva's own radiant personality, his message of Divine Life, and the Lord's Name. Through the five gateways into human fortress, Siva entered and attacked the demon. Through the eyes, the radiance of his divine personality entered; through the ears, his message was thurst in; and the mouth was made to sing the Lord's Name. The tears of joy and devotion that millions shed during Siva's All-India Tour as they had his Darshan, were nothing but the life blood of the demon inside, drained away by Siva's missiles. Siva's Darshan and his soul awakening discourses and his ecstatic Sankirtan had purified the millions.
For two months Siva toured the whole of India and Ceylon. On the 9th September, 1950, he left Rishikesh, and returned to it on the 8th November. Indescribable were the scenes of devout reception that awaited him at all the centres he visited. Soul-stirring were his lectures at all gatherings over 180 of which he addressed. The Lord's Name filled the entire atmosphere of the country. The gospel of selflessness, the gospel of love, the gospel of true renunciation, the gospel of meditation-in short the gospel of Divine Life was broadcast throughout the length and breadth of the country. Millions had their rebirth in the life divine. The sage, the foremost son of Free India, by raising the banner of spiritual independence, restored India to her rightful place as the spiritual guide to all mankind.
Living Divinity, during those two months, flowed into a stream of supreme compassion, and flooded the hearts of millions with the nectar of Divine Life.
99. SIVANANDA'S WORLD PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS
April 1953 witnessed a modern resuscitation of an ancient spirit whose eternal home is the hoary Himalaya,-the spirit of cosmic unity. Significantly it was Siva, the sage of cosmic vision, the living answer to the sincere prayers of the Vedic Rishis, who brought about this great event.
Intense work for a whole year materialised this miracle on the bank of Mother Ganga. Delegates from all over the world representing various World Religions gathered at Ananda Kutir. Dr. Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer, a renowned scholar, savant and administrator, inaugurated the Parliament on the 3rd April. Continuously for three days the Parliament sat hearing the illuminating discourses of great authorities on various schools of thought. Everyday Siva's soul-stirring discourse concluded that day's session. The third day's final session came to a glorious and successful termination in the early morning hours of the next day!
Not a discordant note was struck, nor were the fundamentals forgotten. Every delegate had a patient hearing from the assemblage; cordiality prevailed throughout-the cosmic love radiated by Siva, the Apostle of Love and Peace permeated the entire atmosphere and filled the hearts of everyone. In a modern way, through Siva, the hoary Himalayas had re-delivered the ancient message of cosmic unity. Modern Maharshis assembled on the banks of divine Ganga had declared that religion was indispensable or man's life and that whatever be the religion of the individual, he should love those belonging to other religions, too. The new scripture embodying these learned discourses, and the numerous papers received for the Parliament is the sumptuous WORLD Parliament Of Religion's Commemoration Volume.
100. SIVANANDA'S GLOBAL TOUR
In a life crowded by miracles, the Global Tour is the greatest. In a pictorial volume entitled Dynamic Spiritual Awakening describing the All-India Tour of Siva, a Global Tour was announced! Copies of the book, with Siva's own autograph had gone round the world, signifying Siva's assurance that he would follow. And, Siva did-but how?
Even the announcement of the Tour had created a great spiritual stir in all the countries on the Tour programme. Branches of the Divine Life Society were formed; older, dormant branches were revived. Regular activities were inevitable if the people were to be kept in touch with Siva's programme. Publishers vied with each other in getting Siva's books translated in the various European languages; they anticipated a large demand on them, during Siva's visit. When the publications were announced, people rushed to get them; Siva's books in their mother-tongue they were waiting for, and many felt it would be better to be familiar with the sage's teachings so that even before he came into their midst they could make enough progress to enable him to lead them quickly to the highest Goal. Invitations poured into Ananda Kutir, praying to Siva to "be my guest during your visit to this country".
Thus had Siva accomplished Global Tour almost overnight. His message had spread to the remotest corners of the world. His pictures had been enshrined in millions of homes. Millions all over the world studied his works in earnest and practised Yoga. They had spiritual communion with him and felt his living presence in their midst. Siva today literally dwells all over the world at the same time.
A devotee firmly believes that the Name is greater than the Nami (the Lord). In the ease of Siva's Global Tour it has been proved that His Name travelling round the globe has achieved at least what He Himself could have, if he had undertaken the Tour.
101. SIVANANDA IN EUROPE AND AMERICA
Thus, without boasting of spiritual powers to dematerialise the physical body here and to materialise it in another country, Siva has not only appeared in dreams, visions, in physical and astral form, in so many places all over the world, but in a spiritual way he actually lives all over the world at the same time.
A good devotee in South Africa feels Siva's presence in her house always. A direct disciple of the Master; living in Canada, realises that Siva alone works through her. A seeker living in Holland writes 'Day after day, minute after minute, I am conscious of your Presence here'.
Through his inspiring books, his illuminating letters, and his invisible presence, Siva is guiding countless men and women in Europe and America, nay the whole world, along the spiritual path. Without the trouble of a physical voyage to these places, he has reached out the heart of those who are fit to receive the spiritual light and enlightened them, and awakened all the rest of humanity to the grandeur and glory of the spiritual life.
Siva is Divine Life. Siva is peace and bliss. Siva is spiritual aspiration. Siva is synonymous with Self-realisation. The light of Atma-Jnana that Siva has transmitted to the West has materialised there as the life divine.
Sivananda Libraries in numberless homes; Siva's portrait on every altar: Siva's names on all lips-Siva dwells in everyone's heart radiating auspiciousness and joy. The Yoga-Vedanta Centres, the Branches of the Divine Life Society, and the great men and women who have stayed at Ananda Kutir for some time and returned to their country, taking with them soul-awakening reminiscences of the Sage's life and presonality-these represent Siva Himself! They have spread to Europe and America.
102. SIVANANDA'S WORLD INFLUENCE
Siva's influence on the world is a beneficent influence for the good. In a world torn by strife and struggle, his is an influence for peace and amity. When the undivine clouds of materialism gather to hide the sun of wisdom, Siva's divine influence serves as the gale of spirituality to disperse the clouds. When the tempests of worldliness (of lust, anger, greed, selfishness and egoism) rage in the heart of man, it is Siva's tranquillising influence of discrimination and dispassion that serve as a protecting fortress. To the ship of humanity caught in the stormy sea of atheism, irreligion and immorality, Siva's wise guidance is like a powerfully favourable wind which gently but assuredly takes it to the harbour of peace and well being.
Siva's influence is so subtle that your scientific instrument can't measure it. It is so strong that, if you expose yourself to it, your heart can't escape feeling it. In your newspapers filled with information about riots, disasters and destruction, you will not find evidence of Siva's world influence: often it so transforms the person it touches that he is himself unaware of it, and even where he is so aware, the realisation of its magnitude makes him hide his insignificant personality in humility-as all good people do. But history-the newspaper-runs after Time whereas Siva stands ahead of it, and leads civilisation itself to its divine destination.
When, a hundred years later, people love one another, and nations abandon violent ideologies and adopt peace as their standard, men of vision would recognise Siva's world influence as the factor that transformed the heart of Man at the crucial hour of civilisation,-the twentieth century.
103. SIVANANDA'S LIFE-TRANSFORMING INFLUENCE
A young school-boy heard Sivananda's lecture during the Sage's early spiritual awakening tours (1930-32); there was a letter on the father's table the next morning: "My last Pranam to you. I heard Swamiji's lecture yesterday. I am going to find my real Father."
"I was an atheist before. I heard your lectures at Roorkee and was completely transformed," writes an Officer-resident of Roorkee.
Most of Siva's foremost Sannyasin-disciples the pillars of his mission-are the products of Siva's pen. A line in "Spiritual Lessons" or "Sure Ways for Success in Life" or "Practice of Yoga" transplanted them from worldly life to divine life. Of "Guru Bhagavan's wonderful message of Cosmic Love!" Sri Padma, M.A., writes: "He even first appeared in my dream and spoke the words Love, Love all, Love Everybody. Prem, which had a different connotation before, struck me as a Divine Quality, only when I SAW it exhibited by Guru Bhagavan towards me as towards many, many others. Guru Bhagavan is my realised God."
Here is a Doctor's testimony: "Somehow or other I have not been able to be a good earning member. I can't charge my poor patients and-to compensate for it when I feel like putting down a heavier rate for the rich the Voice of the Himalayas, Sri Gurudev, prevents me from taking undue advantage of them, either!" That is from Sri Dr. Sivananda-Saroj, M.B.B.S., of Bombay.
What it is to come under the magic spell of Siva's Divine Personality and his chastening message, it is impossible to describe; for, even they who have been transformed by its influence know it not. They, in spite of themselves, become GOOD; and the transformation is so thorough that they feel complete strangers to their own former self!
104. SIVANANDA MANDIR
A mendicant sat on the eastern bank of the Ganga, at Swarg Ashram. As the sun rose, its rays illumined the dense forest on the western side. Who knows what he thought, as he emerged from his deep meditation? And the mendicant, Swami Sivananda, took his abode on the western bank: still living on alms. He roamed the forest. The dense jungle of wood-apple (bael) trees tempted him to raise a temple for Lord Siva in his imagination and to offer all the bael leaves in worship. That was in 1933. In 1943 the temple had sprung up! And, the bael leaves were offered in worship. The mendicant's magic.
Today by the side of the Visvanath Mandir which he constructed, there is a Sivananda Mandir, where in his own time his own Vigraha (image) is worshipped. The career of this mendicant is the miracle of the Age.
There is a greater miracle. In millions of homes all over the world there is a Sivananda Mandir. Countless people literally worship Bhagavan Sivananda. No other Divinity on earth is today worshipped by people belonging to all religions, to all nations, to all creeds and all castes, except Sivananda. To a Hindu he is an Avatar of Krishna or Rama; to a Christian he is reincarnate Jesus; to a Buddhist he is Lord Buddha come again. Here is one whom they can worship without leaving the religion they belong to! And, worshipping him, they discover the true glory and real essence of their own religion.
One became many: one Sivananda Mandir multiplied itself into countless Mandirs all over the world. And the transcendental became immanent. The shrine slipped into the devotee's heart. The dynamic divinity demands a living temple. Today Siva is enshrined in countless hearts, inspiring all from there to be good and do good; to serve, love, meditate and realise.
105. SIVANANDA GRIHA
Dr. Kuppuswamy (Siva before entering the Holy Order) renounced the world, and wandered along the roads of North India. The homeless Sadhu was the abode of Sivam (auspiciousness) and Anandam (bliss). The verandah of a Dharmasala was the first Sivananda Griha (house) in Rishikesh.
Seclusion was what he sought. His mind longed to immolate itself in deep meditation. Three and a half walls enclosing a bed of rubble welcomed him with its stumpy (doorless) arms: this was Sivananda Griha for some time-near Lakshman Jhula.
Irrepressible was Siva's love of selfless service. A man of awe-inspiring austerities, he yet had an extremely soft heart that melted at human suffering. The few moments he spent outside the dwelling, found opportunities for service. The gratitude of the beneficiaries forced him into a small cottage, with a roof. This Kutir in Swarg Ashram became Sivananda Griha.
Devotees put up a fence around it; disciples laid out a garden. But to Siva the Mission of spiritual awakening was more urgent than personal considerations. Once again, when he settled down in Muniki-reti he had to share a dilapidated cow shed with a quadruped. That was the first Sivananda Griha in what is now Sivananda Nagar. In 1942 Siva occupied the present abode on the bank of Ganga.
Living in this humblel old ill-ventilated, cave-like Kutir in a remote corner of India. Siva has constructed a Sivananda Griha in millions of hearts all over the world, in which he dwells. The heart of the Sadhaka who lives the life divine, who sings His Names and selflessly and lovingly serves all, who meditates and strives to reach the goal-that is the real Sivananda Griha.
Rani Kumudini Devi of Hyderabad has named her palace "Sivananda Griha."
106. SIVANANDA CONSCIOUSNESS
By bestowing on his foremost disciples the supreme gift of a prefix of his own name. Siva has wrought a wonderful miracle. The entire household, the entire society, in which the blessed Sadhaka moves, becomes Sivanandamayam (full of auspiciousness and Ananda). Sivananda Srinivasan in Durban (South Africa), Sivananda-Magaritha in Europe, Sivananda-Kumudini in Hyderabad, Sivananda-Adhwaryoo in Gujarat, Sivananda-Vani in Delhi, Sivananda-Nilakanthan in Bengal, Sivananda-Sobha in Roorkee, Sivananda-Saroj in Bombay, Sivananda-Hridayananda at Ananda Kutir, Sivananda-Pannalal in the Punjab, radiate Sivanandam to all around them. Siva is no longer a mere Guru, just a religious preceptor. He is and has thus been recognised the Lord Incarnate. Hundreds of thrice blessed devotees like Sri Pannalal of Amritasar, Sri Padma of Madras, have "Om Namah Sivanandaya" and "Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya" as their Mantra.
To the Sadhaka himself, the gift is a boon. Siva tells him or her "We have become one now, on account of your great devotion and spirit of dedication: so you can prefix my name to yours." Is just the name transferred? No. With it is transferred a mighty power, a divine spiritual force, subtle spiritual power. The aspirant begins to think, and feel that Sivananda is part and parcel of his inner being, and vice versa. When he is confronted by a crucial problem, when he is assailed by temptations, when he has the opportunity to serve others, and when he is engaged in the dissemination of spiritual knowledge, he asks himself "How would Swamiji think, feel and act in such a circumstance as this?" Sivananda from within guides him: the aspirant, too, thinks, feels and acts as if he were for the moment Sivananda Himself.
Not only this ................................
107. SIVANANDA IN EVERY HOUSE
Householder-disciples of Bhagavan Siva have yet another way of getting established in Sivananda-Consciousness. They christen their children with His Name "Sivananda," if the child is a boy, and "Sivanandini" if it is a girl! A wonder of wonders! You can have a Sivananda in your own home. This is one of the best ways of ensuring the growth of the child into a saint, and of warding off evils and wrong doings in the entire household.
For, when the temptation arises to tell a lie, etc., the child may be innocently playing in front of you and the very thought "Sivananda is watching this" will save you from many a pitfall. Once the feeling is deep-rooted that Sivananda dwells in your house, no wrong thought, no fear, no grief and no negative feeling will ever arise in your mind.
Listen to what Sri Meeranaidoo-Soomanah of Mauritius says: Yesterday I uttered your mystic Name 1001 times at the bedside of a sufferer in the hospital. Everybody thought that he would give up the ghost but your spiritual Name revived him. The world would be a real place for Gods and Goddesses if people utter your Name several times. My Lord is Swami Sivananda. The name of my nephew is Sivananda Somanah: so, we will utter your divine Name in our home."
Even so is the case in thousands of homes. Thus has the world recognised that "Sivananda" is not a Sannyasin's name: nobody would call a baby with a Sannyasa-name-people would consider it inauspicious. But, Sivananda is the Lord's Name, the fountain source of all auspiciousness and happiness. My only prayer to the blessed parents of Sivanandas and Sivanandinis is that they should not shorten the name, while calling the child, like 'Seenu' for 'Srinivasan.'
108. SIVANANDA'S PADA-RENU
Lord Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavata that He runs behind the great Bhaktas and saints so that a particle of the Dust of their holy Feet might fall on His Head! Such is the glory of the Divine Feet of God-men. Even inanimate, insentient and impure dust coming in contact with Them is considered blessed, and glorified. It is this divine contact that makes the dumb eloquent and the lame scale mountain-peaks.
It is Siva's divine radiance that shines through these pages: the shadows are cast by the imperfections in the instrument. Yes what a great glory it is to belong to Him, to be the dust of His Lotus-Feet.
Whether He protects the Dust in His Shoes, leads it along the luxurious carpet of material comfort and spiritual evolution or dashes it on the stones and pebbles of the rough and tumble of life, it is a supreme blessing, proudest privilege and greatest good fortune to remain for ever.
Immortal Dust of His Lotus-Feet