This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Beloved Immortal Atman!
Blessed Seeker after Truth!
Om Namo Narayanaya! Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya!
In the holy name of Sri Gurudev I send you all my Greeting and Good Wishes. On behalf of Sri Gurudev, whose Mahasamadhi Anniversary has just been celebrated two days ago, on Sunday the 30th July, I wish you the best of health, long life, prosperity, success and happiness. May Gurudev Sivanandaji graciously grant you the highest spiritual blessedness and supreme Divine Bliss.
Upon this fourth Anniversary of his Mahasamadhi I am reminded with intensity of the four cardinal tenets of Gurudev's Gospel of Divine Life, namely service, devotion, meditation and realisation. These four comprise the very life and essence of his simple yet sublime spiritual teachings. They sum up his central message to mankind. This Divine Life message he has left for us all, propagate and spread and broadcast all over the land. His Divine Life teachings, he has left to you and me, to live, practise and personify in our daily life. The world should behold the practical expression of Divine Life in the disciples and followers of Sri Gurudev Swami Sivananda. Service is the root of Divine Life. Devotion and worship form the growing tree of spiritual life. Meditation is the flower that blossoms in this life of devotion and worship. Realisation is the fruit of such spiritual life. I call upon you to reflect upon this fourfold principles that constitute the four pillars of Gurudev's great spiritual mission. I commend them to you afresh, in the wake of this recent fourth Anniversary of Gurudev's holy Mahasamadhi.
Base your life upon selflessness and service of others. Grow in devotion and daily worship of God. Train the mind in concentration and meditation through gradual, regular spiritual Sadhana. Obtain the Divine fruit of God-realisation and Immortality. Shine with Divine radiance. Proclaim the Divine message of Gurudev through the length and breadth of the land. Proclaim it wherever you are and wherever you go. Make this Seva part and parcel of your life's activity. Renounce greed, selfishness, anger and jealousy. Become established in Truth, Purity, Love and Selflessness. Value Sadachara above all things. Lead a life of self-control. Live a spiritual life of faith, devotion and aspiration. Seek the Immortal. Move towards the eternal Reality. Realise the transcendental Truth and be in bliss. Rejoice as a liberated soul, freed from the bond of birth and death. This is the servant's earnest exhortation to you upon this occasion, O follower in the footsteps of Gurudev!
Beloved Atman, observe this month as the month of intense prayer, worship and practice of Divine Name. Pray for the welfare of all mankind. Pray for Peace in the whole world. Pray for the relief from suffering and sorrow of all those who are in distress due to war, disease, floods, famine and natural calamity. Pray for the cessation of international tension, violence, hatred, distress and hostility. Pray for the grace of the Lord to grant to man better understanding, spiritual awakening, feeling of brotherhood and oneness, mutual tolerance and spirit of co-operation and service. Pray daily. May the force of united prayer draw man out of darkness of hatred and hostility, and take humanity into a new age of harmony, goodwill, peace and spiritual concord.
Indian religious tradition believes in the occasional descent of Divinity to relieve mankind from travail. Ten such descents of Lord Vishnu are narrated in ancient Puranic texts. On the 11th of this month is the Jayanti of the last of the tenth Avatara, Bhagavan Kalki. He is Lord Vishnu Incarnate, as an invincible spiritual warrior, moving in the world relentlessly destroying every vestige of wickedness, sin and evil and restoring to the earth a state of righteousness, goodness and freedom from sin. Setting aside the universal aspect of this process may you invoke this power within the confines of your own individual personality. Make this month a starting point for the commencement within you of such a process of the total annihilation of all that is undivine and unspiritual of all that is unworthy and impure and a triumphal return to a state of perfect goodness, purity, holiness and spirituality. Eradicate from your nature with resoluteness, determination and dynamic effort, the least vestige of grossness and evil, and grow into a state of lofty virtue, moral beauty and perfection. Set about this task with energy and sound faith in yourself. God speed you to fullest success in this noble task onward unto perfection.
This ideal life of Lord Rama and the Divine Lila of Lord Krishna are very much in my thoughts at this moments when I am writing this letter. Sage Valmiki's Epic biography of the Divine Life of Lord Rama was made available to vast masses of common people through the Immortal poetic work Sri Ramacharita Manas by Sant Tulasidas. This great devotee and saintly poet of Bharatavarsha lives in the hearts of all through this great service he has rendered to the masses. As I mentioned last year his exquisite Hindi poetical work is available in its English version for you to study. The book is replete with thrilling incidents and inspiring spiritual admonitions. The entire work is a marvel of rare beauty of expression and excellence of composition. To be absorbed in his study is a sort of Savikalpa Samadhi as it were. Its study is soul-sanctifying. It is work that has in it the Divine Power of transforming your life. This is because it is filled with spirit of deep devotion, limitless faith and the power of Rama Nama. The whole of India will be celebrating Sri Tulasidas Jayanti on the 12th of this month. Commence a systematic study of Ramayana of Tulasidas upon that auspicious Anniversary day. A spiritual treasure contained in the nectarine lake of Ramacharitamanas will be obtained by those who bathe in it by a daily study of this most beautiful scripture. Two gems from it I place before you here. Sant Tulasidas says: It may be possible to quench your thirst by drinking water of a desert-mirage, it my even be possible to know everything about the horn (non-existent) of a hare, it may even be possible that darkness rises up and destroys the sun (all is that these impossible things may be possible), but impossible it is that by turning away from God one may ever hope to find happiness. Then again: I behold the whole Universe is permeated by the Lord (Siyaram) and has with my two hands folded, I salute everything in this Universe.
The great Purnavtara, the Divine Lord Krishna, too, fills my mind today for we shall all be soon celebrating His blessed Jayanti or Birth-anniversary at the end of this month (27th August). This is a day of great rejoicing. People throughout India, especially, in Mathura and Brindavan, will be filled with ecstasy, and overflowing with bliss upon the occasion of this wondrous day. So, too, in raptures of devotion will the Bhaktas be at Udipi and Guruvayur in the South, at Jagannathpuri, at Dwarka, Dakoor and Nathdwara in the West. Lord Krishna is easily the very heart and the life-centre of the doctrine of Bhakti in this blessed land of Bharatavarsha. Bharatavarsha is the home of Prema-Bhakti. Bhakti is the one invaluable essence in your life. Life without Bhakti is verily a dreary waste. Waste not precious human birth turning away from God. God is the only one unfailing source of Bliss, Peace and Immortality. Attain Immortality and Blessedness by devoting your life by diligent worship of the Lord and ceaseless quest to attain spiritual union with Him.
Beloved Self perform an eight-day Anushthana of the Divine Mantra of Bhagavan Sri Krishna Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya commencing from 20th August and concluding on the 27th August night. Do a minimum of three Malas of Japa every day. Those who find it possible may do 12 Malas a day, otherwise three malas without fail, preferably in the night. The advent of the Divine occurs in your life when you turn your gaze at the Lord and Lord alone. Thus the world recedes from your vision and fades away from your sight even as the darkness of night-fall makes the world and its objects to fade away and vanish from sight leaving you alone. So, too, let it be night for you what to the worldly-minded people attached to sense-objects is the bright day-light of world-awareness. Let your senses be subdued and quiet, as are the senses of a sleeping person at night. Attain this sense-subdual through the spiritual discipline of Yama and Niyama and self-restraint. Make your mind indrawn even as the sleeper's mind has totally withdrawn itself from perception of and contact with the sense-experiences of this objective world. Attain this inwardness through the practice of Pratyahara, Uparati and genuine Vairagya. Even as a sleeper at midnight is deep asleep and dead to the world, so, too, be thou dead to this phenomenal existence and deeply absorbed in the Divine Reality. Ceaselessly work for this attainment through a state of Yoga. Sleep the Yoga-sleep of perfect inward awareness. Experience the Divine. May He manifest Himself within your heart with a dazzling brilliance of a million suns. Significant, therefore, is the advent of Lord Krishna in the darkest hour of the midnight for by it we are shown the conditions that are required to be fulfilled if the Lord's advent in our life is to be made possible.
Beloved seeker, through discrimination and non-attachment gradually turn the senses and the mind away from this phenomenal world, through Yama and Niyama, austerity and discipline and subdue the senses. Through Vichara and Vairagya, through Pratyahara and Virakti make the mind inward and God-ward. Through the practice of deep meditation and continuous remembrance become absorbed in the Lord and attain the full awareness of the Divine presence with the depths of your innermost consciousness. Then Krishna is born. Divinity will fill you. Bliss will pervade your life. Everything will be touched with the beauty of His Divine Presence. Auspiciousness and joy will brighten your days. You will rejoice and rejoice for the Lord has now come into you and He abides in you and you in Him. May Lord Krishna bless you.
Another Anniversary of an outstanding significance is what they term the Upakarma day. It is the day for renewal of the sacred thread by all the twiceborn Hindus throughout Bharatavarsha. In this annual renewal of the sacred thread lies the spirit of eternal renewal of the great principles that uphold the Sanatana-Dharma. The sacred threads stand for the lofty principles of Truth, Purity and Austerity. Satyam, Brahmacharya and Tapas constitute the foundation of the life of Dharma and moral Integrity. Thread constitutes the essence of character and good conduct. Without these three fundamental virtues a human being cannot uphold his true nature. A man is a man in name only, unless his life is based upon good character, and his conduct is based upon Dharma. It is this eternal vitality of Dharma and Sadachara that have upheld our culture through the bygone years. Our allegience and adherence to and faith and steadfastness in these pious moral principles of Truth, Chastity and Self-control are affirmed again and again upon this significant day of Upakarma. Our adoption of these three great principles as the code of life is signified and symbolised through the act of our wearing afresh this sacred thread upon Upakarma day. May these three principles of Satyam, Brahmacharya and Tapas ever hold the rightful place in the life of children of Maha Bharata.
Lastly let me conclude by paying my homage to the memory of the one of the greatest Yogins, the world has ever produced, namely, great Sri Jnaneshwar Maharaj of Maharashtra. He was an Akhanda Brahmachari, a Master Yogi, a great devotee of Lord Krishna and a propounder of the Gospel of the Bhagavad Gita. His Immortal work Jnaneshwary Gita is a priceless mine of spiritual information and instructions. After a marvellous career Sri Jnanadev Maharaj took Jiva Samadhi at Alandi at the young age of twenty years. Thousands of people will be gathering at his living Samadhi of miraculous grace and blessings at Alandi, 14 miles from Poona, upon this holy Jnaneshwar-Jayanti-day on 28th August. It is the invisible presence of these great illumined souls and their subtle spiritual power that uphold India and its Dharma and spiritual culture at the present time. Glory be to the Master Yogi! Glory be to the Lord's Divine Avatara! Glory be to their Immortal and inspiring examples that show us the path of perfection! May we walk in the light of their radiant light and teaching and attain the Divine Goal of life and become supremely blessed.
I am very happy to send you my good wishes.
With kind regards, Prem and Pranams,
Yours at Gurudev's Feet,
1st August, 1967
Sivanandashram Letter No. XLIV