Beloved Immortal Atman!
Beloved Seekers after Truth!

Om Namo Narayanaya. Loving salutations and greetings in the holy name of worshipful Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji, I greet you also in the name of the Compassionate Buddha, the veritable embodiment of divine love and merciful kindness, the Light of mankind, who will be worshipped all over the world upon the coming full-moon Day of Vaisakha Purnima. That is Buddha Jayanti. This is a particularly significant and specially sacred day to this servant because it was on this day, 25 years ago, that I reached the feet of our worshipful Master, whom I had the holy privilege of serving for nearly twenty years. It was on this Sacred Buddha-Purnima-Day that I first beheld his stately radiant personality, bowing down my head in homage at his lotus feet. That blessed moment sustains this servant ever upto this present moment. Hail Buddha! Hail Gurudev Sivananda! May their grace be upon us all.

Since writing to you last in my April letter of the previous issue, the travel formalities have been finalised and as I had already mentioned I shall be mentally bidding good-bye to all of you and departing from India on Thursday, the 2nd May. A most auspicious day indeed as it is Thursday, the Guru's day, and also it happens to be the holy Adi-Sankaracharya Jayanti, the Birthday Anniversary of Jagadguru Sri Adi-Sankaracharya. May this great world teacher's benedictions help me to spread the message of Vedanta and Yoga, wherever the Lord takes me. The steam-ship Cambodge departs from Bombay harbour on 2nd May, and upon it Sri S. Nagarajan, my devoted and faithful Personal Assistant and myself are booked to sail that day. Departing that day, the voyage to Durban is scheduled to be completed in seven days' time, reaching Durban on the 8th day, namely the 10th May. This means, that by the time you receive this letter this servant will be in the open sea. I pray that the gracious blessings and good wishes of you all may go with me to guide me in this Seva.

Now, let me tell you of two auspicious and successful events. One was the visit by a Divine Life party to Assam to bring the message of Yoga and Vedanta there. Devotees of Gauhati had arranged an eight-day spiritual programme from 24th March to 31st March at Gauhati and Shillong. I joined them on the 29th. This eight days' programme has created a spiritual stir and numerous people have responded to the message. A new Branch of the Divine Life Society was inaugurated at Gauhati, and it promises to be an active centre of Satsanga and Jnana Yajna. The other outstanding event was the most successful Third All-Karnataka Divine Life Conference, organised by the Chikmagalur Branch of the Society at Chikmagalur town. This Conference was attended by thousands with tremendous enthusiasm and was graced by eminent holy saints like the revered Shivakumar Swamiji Maharaj of Siddha Ganga Math, a great Jnani Swami Shankaranandaji Maharaj of Ajjampura Ashram, H.H. Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Dwarka, revered Sri Swami Parbuddhananda of the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram of Bangalore, and several others blessed this conference with their presence and spiritual discourses. A large scale feeding of the Lord in the form of the poor was conducted on the 8th April. All credit goes to the very earnest efforts of the sincere organisers Sri B. Subbayaji, Sri M. J. Kodandarama Setty, Sri K. Satyanarayana Rao, Sri Kashi Viswanath Setty and their colleagues of Chikmagalur Branch. May God bless these noble souls and their families as well as their other helpers and associates in this glorious spiritual conference. Truly they have all worked wholeheartedly and brought about a sublime Adhyatma Yajna in this Kali Yuga. My heart overflowed with great joy when I attended and participated in this holy conference. On the concluding day, the afternoon session was highlighted by the addresses of His Holiness Jagadguru Dwarka Sankaracharya, General K.M. Cariappa and Padmashri Shivamurthy Shastriji Maharaj. The holy Jagadguru spoke on the essence of Indian Culture ideal in life, while General Cariappa addressed the audience in deep earnestness, making a fervent appeal to all people of the country to uphold a high standard of purity and morality in public and private life and work for a Nationwide revival of a spirit of selfless service and dedication to the country's welfare. He exhorted all to cast out selfishness, shake off laziness, purify the heart and to serve the Nation at large. His was a stirring call to the nation and the essence of the message is LET US WAKE UP. By your life, conduct and every action to raise high and uphold the good name of your motherland is the first and foremost duty. This is true mother-worship. The Chikmagalur Conference has brought out an excellent bi-lingual Souvenir, entitled Satsanga, which contains 350 pages and a number of valuable instructive articles both in Kannada and in English language as also a number of select illustrations. It is a very fine publication.

This servant had the joy of meeting all the representatives of Divine Life in Karnataka. The next Annual Divine Life Conference in Karnataka will have its venue at Bellary at the request of Bellary Branch of the Divine Life Society. Karnataka is progressing ahead in Divine Life work. Now the Taskar Town Branch at Bangalore has raised its own building. The first floor is to be a Swami Sivananda Mandir with Gurudev's Marble Murty enshrined in it. The ground floor is already housing the printing press. Karnataka is a holy State, which is publishing 5 different monthly journals; Bangalore Branch publishes Divya Jeevana (Kanares), Bhadravati Branch Divya Darshana and the Taskar Town Branch one bulletin in English, one in Tamil and one in English and Tamil combined.

The holy season of Yatra has commenced. This year the Kumbha-Mela at Hardwar has brought lakhs of people and therefore the pilgrimage to the Himalayas will be very large indeed. Innumerable people will also come to offer their worshipful homage at Gurudev's sacred Samadhisthana. They will have the privilege of paying their respects to revered Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj at the Ashram. He is my veritable Self and during coming months he will preside over all gatherings and meet and bless the devotees, who flock to this place. I hope to keep in touch with you through the monthly Sivanandashram letters. All correspondents may henceforth directly address their letters, on matters of guidance, to revered Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj as the Acting President during my absence, or to Sri Swami Madhavanandaji Maharaj, functioning in the former's place.

Beloved Atman! walk in the footsteps of Lord Buddha. Be a man of compassion, love and peace. Hurt not any one. Be generous and kind. Walk the pure way. Be a door of helpful deeds. Live to serve. Then only the Light of the Lord can descend on you.

Be bold. Let the Truth of Vedanta fill thee with strength. You are essentially divine. Fearlessness and freedom are your birthright. Be Divine. May God bless you.

With regards, love and prayerful good wishes,

Yours in Sri Gurudev,
Swami Chidananda
1st May 1968

Sivanandashram Letter No. LIII