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 of Truth,
Om Namo Narayanaya. Loving salutations and greetings in the holy name of Gurudev Swami Sivananda. May the divine grace, of the great God, the Lord of the Universe, Jagadishwara, Mahadeva be upon you and may He grant you, progress, prosperity, success and supreme happiness both in your secular and spiritual fields of life.
I am most happy to tell you in this letter about the very successful conduct of the 21st All India Divine of the 21st All-India Divine Life Conference and the 3rd Orissa Divine Life Conference conducted at Berhampur through the sincere efforts of the Berhampur D.L.S. Branch and the Orissa D. L. S. Central Committee with a well represented local Reception Committee headed by Sri P. V. N. Murthyji, Sri Ramachandra Rao, Kedarnath Raju and others. It was excellently organised and the three days' sessions provided great spiritual inspiration and awakening to the numerous people who attended in large numbers day after day. Revered Sri Sarat Candra Debo, the Chief organiser of our Orissa tour itinerary was host to me at Berhampur, and as usual looked after me and my party with great love and hospitality. During our one-week's stay Berhampur, Revered Mataji Srimati Sivananda Narayana Rao was hostess to us one day and Sri Murthy Garu and Sri Kedarnath Rajuji were hosts upon different days.
The Conference was addressed by a number of saints and holy men and eminent thinkers. H. H Maharshi Kavi Yogi Sri Shuddhananda Bharatiji Maharaj inaugurated the All-India Divine Life Conference on the 21st January morning after having hoisted aloft the Divine Life banner, amidst the roaring chant of the sacred Pranava (AUM). Next, after his address followed the inauguration of the 3rd All-Orissa Divine life Conference by revered Sri Vishwanath Dasji, ex-Governor of Uttar Pradesh and a great Bhakta of Lord Jagannath. H. H. Sri Swami Avadhootendra Samswatiji, the great Sankirtanist Bhakta, thrilled the gathering daily, with his most elevating Sankirtans of the Divine Name of the Lord. Sri Swami Bodhendra Puriji gave an inspiring discourse in Telugu. H.H. Sri Swami Ekatmanandaji of the Sri Ramakrishna Math of Bhubaneswar lovingly participated in this spiritual conference and blessed all by his beautiful spiritual discourse on the spiritual path and the Goal of Divine Realisation. Prof. Venkateswara Rao of Vizianagaram College, Dr. G. S. N. Murthy of Kharagpur, D. C. Chaudhuryji of Berhampur and others gave inspiring lectures, and a very impressive Yoga-Asana-demonstration was given by Sri N. S. V. Row of Tanuku and his nephew, an able young Yoga student. Another excellent feature of this Conference programme was the large-scale poor-feeding, that was arranged on the day after the Conference. It was well organised and a large number of deserving people partook of this feeding. Dakshina was also given to them. An effective spiritual awakening was brought about in this city through this conference and a religious wave created by the three days' programme. The Conference has brought out a valuable tri-lingual Souvenir to mark this important spiritual event in the cultural history of Orissa State.
After this 3rd D. L. Conference within the month of January, there was a week's tour of Orissa to fulfil engagements in different D. L. S. Centres like Dighopahandi, Bomaki, Govardhanpur, Chatrapur, Khurda Road, Keonjhar and Balasore. Sacred Puri was visited to pay homage to the Lord of the Universe in the famous temple of Jagannath. At Keonjhargarh mammoth gathering turned out to hear and receive Gurudev's Message of Divine Life and of Yoga and Vedanta. The Nagar-Kirtan filled the entire town with the Divine Name of the Lord. At Balasore I met brother Sri Ram Premiji at Ram Niketan after more than twelve years. We were both happy at this meeting. From Balasore we travelled onward to Calcutta at the special request of beloved Sri Sivananda-Nilakantanji who had arranged a public function to release the first Bengali edition of the book God As Mother' which describes the mystery, the glory and the greatness of the Divine Mother. On Thursday, 1st February, we arrived at Calcutta. That afternoon after paying our homage to Divine Mother Bhavatarini at the holy temple of Dakshineswar and paying my respects to H. H. Sri Swami Vireshwaranandaji Maharaji at Belur Math we proceeded straight to the Ravindra Sarobar Hall for the Public meeting. The Bengali Book was duly released after prayers to Gurudev and the Divine Mother. The publication of this book is the result of the loving labour of Sri Rajani Mohan Chakravartyji, Sri Sivananda-Nilakantan, Sri Niranjan Sen and Sri N.C. Ghosh. May the Blessings and Grace of the Divine Mother be upon them all for this noble Seva rendered to the brothers of Bengal.
At Calcutta Sri Ram Ratan Prasadji of Koderma (Gaya) took leave of me to go to Gaya to meet Sri Swami Venkatesanandaji, who was coming from Rishikesh. Sri Ram Ratanji had been of immense Seva to the servant throughout this tour during the entire month of January. Our next programme was at Rourkela where the D. L. S. Branch had fixed up suitable public engagements in different parts of the township. This included the inauguration of an Eye Camp organised by the Lion's Club and an address to the young engineers of the Steel Town at the Gopabandhu Auditorium. Sri Kasipathy, Taneja, Sarthy and others looked after us all with great care and devotion, and made all arrangements nicely during our two days' stay. Raigarh (M. P.) was our next camp for two days, on the 5th and 6th February. Sri G. P. Sharma had made suitable arrangements for a number of Satsangas and public meetings. The discourse to the students of the Science College received rapt attention and warm response by the gathered students and staff. We visited the School of Yoga set up there under the auspices of the Raigarh Divine Life Society Branch. It is doing excellent Yoga training work under the direct guidance and inspiration of H. H. Paramahamsa Swami Satyanandaji Maharaj. Dr. Sharma, Sri Chottelal, Prahlad Rai and friends were all full of devotion and took keen interest in this Jnana Yajna.
We left Raigarh for Hyderabad via Gondia and Nagaur. On 7th morning we arrived at Gondia for a brief visit to the Sivananda Public School, whose dedication was to take place on the 13th. Sri Amubhai Seth very kindly received us and took us home for our brief halt and sent us by car to Nagpur to board the train for Hyderabad. Sri Patwardhanji, D. F. O. who has been taking very enthusiastic part in the progress of the Sivananda Public School work met me at Nagpur, and I was glad to hear from him about the plans for the commencement of the work at the Public School this summer.
At Hyderabad a sacred Nam-Saptah had been arranged by the devout Mataji Sri Lalita Deviji who had accompanied worshipful Swami Ramadas Maharaj on his world tour in 1954. For a whole week, from the 8th to the 14th of February, we experienced veritable Vaikuntha at her residence Durga Nivas. It was converted into a blissful spiritual Centre resounding with the all-purifying chant of the all Powerful Divine Name day and night. The thrilling Sankirtan of H. H. Swami Avadhootanandji lifted the audience into elevated moods of devotion and fervour. Three separate booklets expounding the glory and greatness of the Divine Name were published for distribution to the devotees who come to this spiritual feast. It was a rare blessedness in this age of scepticism and disbelief. From Hyderabad this Sevak visited Bombay briefly to attend the inauguration of the Bombay School of Yoga and its Yoga Seminar on 18-2-1968 and thence came to Jaipur on the 19th for a three-day programme of Satsanga and spiritual discourse arranged by the Jaipur Branches of the Divine Life Society. Thus through the Seva of this body and mind the Lord gets done the work of His great messenger Gurudev Sivananda at whose feet this servant's life is dedicated in devotion.
This present letter would really be incomplete without my expressing once again my deepest appreciation, admiration and joyful thanks to the organisers of the three Divine Life Conferences at Baroda (Gujarat), Kovvur (A. P.) and Berhampur (Orissa) in particular and the organisers of all the different Satsanga and lecture programmes in different Centres in general for their noble participation in furtherance of Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji's holy Mission of revitalising and spreading the culture of our Mother-Land. I am immensely happy and most grateful to them all. They are doing a noble service to the people of Bharatavarsha by their work in the field of Jnana Yajna and the propagation of the message of Divine Life of selfless service, devotion to God, unfailing and regular daily meditation (inner spiritual communion with Divinity) and aspiration for Divine Realisation. Theirs is indeed a truly national service by the spread of Yoga and Vedanta without which our culture cannot survive and without the knowledge of which no Indian can be really a true Indian. Yoga and Vedanta constitute the very essence of Indian Culture. The recent tour undertaken by this servant has shown him the good work being done in this special field of our national life by the various followers of Sadguru Swami Sivananda Dev and the various Centres of Divine Life Society in different States of India. May God shower His Grace upon all these noble souls engaged in this worthy spiritual work, even amidst their multifarious day-to-day domestic and professional activities. Let them carry forward this noble good work with confidence and enthusiasm and progress onwards in their spiritual service to the country and their inner life of Yoga and Vedanta. They are playing a humble yet vital role in the reconstruction of Dharma and the rebuilding of spiritual India. This is a sacred task, which will contribute to human welfare and world-peace in the days to come. This Karma Yoga in the form of Loka-seva is the need of New India that is struggling to emerge out of a world crisis through which She emerged undamaged in spirit and yet with a new and clear knowledge of Her proper role in the world ahead and with the fitness and the power to fulfil this role for the benefit of all mankind. May God grant the people of Bharatavarsha the needful vision for this lofty task and also the unity, nobility and the sense of mission to rise up to it at this crucial turning point in world history which is also her own history inevitably! May the followers of Gurudev Sivananda Dev and the votaries of Divine Life recognise this historic significance of their work and work dedicatedly to contribute their highest and best in this great national spiritual resurgence and service through Her Cultural re-emergence.
The last place to visit upon this tour was Delhi enroute Hardwar. Here I had the very great joy of meeting beloved Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa Maharaj, the worshipful head of the Gurudev Ashram at Vajreshwari near Bombay. Sri Swamiji Maharaj is an illustrious disciple of the renowned Siddha Purusha Sri Swami Nityananda Yogi of Ganeshpuri. Revered Muktanandaji received this servant with great love and showered his divine affection upon me when I visited him at the house of his ardent devotee Capt. Pratap where he was residing at Delhi. I feel very blessed indeed for having had the good fortune of the holy Darshan of this holy man of God. We had a joyous Satsanga for an hour during this visit. Great is the blessedness of meeting saints.
I take leave of you all now with love, regards and good wishes. Remember that this year is a special year. It is the 25th Anniversary year of the Pratistha of the holy Sri Vishwanath Mandir as well as the Silver Jubilee of the Akhanda Maha-Mantra Kirtan at the Ashram. May you take to the Likhit Japa of this Holy Mahamantra with earnest devotion. The prince among Bhaktas, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu revived this Mahamantra and spread in throughout India by his wonderful Prachar during his lifetime. This month is most appropriate indeed of such a similar nation-wide propagation of this wonderful Mantra because on 14th March falls the holy Birthday anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Lord Gouranga. May you all celebrate this divine Birthday and make it the starting point of a wave of Prachar of this wonderful Mantra given by God, for the redemption of man in this Kali Yuga. Let all the quarters resound with the chant ofHare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare;
May all beings be uplifted from bondage, sorrow and ignorance and may all attain the supreme realm of Freedom, Bliss and Divine wisdom. God bless you all!
Yours in Sri Gurudev,
Sivanandashram Letter No. LI