Worshipful Atma Swarup!
Beloved seekers after Truth!

Om Namo Narayanaya! May the blessings of Sadgurudev be upon you. May He grant health and happiness, peace and prosperity to you. I am writing this monthly letter from Andhra Pradesh, where we just had the sanctifying Darshan of Lord Ramachandra at the Bhadrachalam temple. The living Deity of this temple is a unique aspect of Lord Sri Rama, as the transcendental Divine Being. The Lord is worshipped here not as Dasaratha-Rama, but as Vaikuntha-Rama. The Lord here is in the Chaturbhuja of four-handed form. He bears the Sudarshan Chakra, the sacred Shaukha and He has the bow and arrow at the other hands. The famous saint Bhadrachalam Ramadasa Swami was supremely graced by Lord Sri Rama here. Through him I pray to the Lord to bestow upon you all Vidya, Tushti, Pushti and Paramashanti.

After taking leave of you in my January, '68 letter, I came away the same day to Delhi and thence to Gujarat, where was held the All-Gujarat Divine Life Conference on 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th January at Baroda. The Gujarat Conference was indeed a great success and created a spiritual thrill in that city. It was hailed as a great event, where the light of Indian Culture shone resplendently once again and the call of the Motherland was sounded to bring people back into the path of Dharma and to the message of the great souls. Men of wisdom were brought to the eager citizens of Gujarat in general, and Baroda in particular, during the four momentous days. A soul-nourishing feast of wisdom and inspiration and practical guidance for noble living was verily offered to the thousands of people, who turned up day after day, by outstanding personalities like the most revered and worshipful Sri Narahari Shastriji Maharaj, the renowned exponent of the holy Srimad Bhagavatham, Acharya Sri Panduranaga Shastriji Maharaj of Bombay, H.H. Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharyaji Maharaj of Dwaraka Mutt, H.H. Revered Yogiraj Sri Manuvaryaji Maharaj of Yoga Sadhana Ashram of Ahmedabad, Sri Swami Krishnanandaji, Bhadran, Sri Goswami Indu Bhushanji Maharaj, revered Swami Mahadevanandaji Maharaj of Brindaban, Sri Swami Narayanaji Maharaj, revered Swami Bhadraji, venerable Jain Muni Yatish Hemchandraji, the venerable Jivandas K. Mehta, revered Sri Nalinbhai Bhatt, Sri Vishnudev S. Pundit, Sri Prabhakar Dongre and Sri Moulvi Moulana Mohammud Sakir Saheb.

Shri P.C. Mankodiji and U. V. Swadiaji together with their very sincere group of devoted friends worked earnestly day and night to make this holy event a successful and noble Seva to the citizens of Baroda and Gujarat, by bringing to them the message of Yoga, Bhakti and Vedanta and the Satsanga of holy people and the venerable leaders and providing them with period of invaluable spiritual regeneration through Satsanga, prayer, Shravana-Sadhana and Nama-sankirtana and Katha. The chief guests on the various days dwelt upon the present social and ethical problems of the country and drew the attention of the audience to their solutions and appealed to them for co-ordinated efforts by all in working for the progress of Bharata. A sublime spiritual atmosphere was created in the city and may felt uplifted as the result of the conference and Darshana of numerous holy people, who had graced the occasion. I verily felt blessed to be in their sacred company. All the organisers deserve our most grateful thanks for this noble undertaking. We left Gujarat for Andhra Pradesh on midnight of the 7th and reaching Bombay on the 8th morning, we proceeded to Kovvur via Hyderabad for the Andhra Pradesh Divine Life Conference on the 11th, 12th and 13th January.

Kovvur received the special love of Sadgurudev during his memorable tour in 1950 as the place that accorded him a most glorious welcome, wherein lakhs of people had gathered from all surrounding villages over a radius of more than 40 miles. The Kovvur Conference was a thorough success due to the keen enthusiasm and devoted efforts of Sri P. Ramalingeshwara Rao Guru, who had organised the wonderful reception in 1950. Very many saintly persons and learned scholars gave the people a spiritual feast of lofty teachings, inspiring admonitions and invaluable ethical and spiritual guidance to help them and to achieve self-conquest and to lead an ideal life conducive to the welfare of all beings and to the attainment of spiritual blessedness. Holy men of erudition and spiritual wisdom like Kavi Yogi Sri Shuddhananda Bharatji of Yoga Samajam, Trivikrama Ramanandaji of Courtallam. H.H. The Gayatri Pithadhipati, revered Swami Avdhutendra Saraswati, revered Swami Nityanandaji Maharaj of Yajnavalkya Ashram, revered Vidyanandaji of Shivagiri Mutt, revered Sri Janabai Mataji of Sadhu Mata Ashram at Rajahmundry, Gita-Vyas Sri Subba Rao of Secundcrabad, Satchidananda Saraswati of Chevendrapalayam - all blessed the Conference with their enlightening Upadesha Messages of India's Ethical and spiritual culture and Gurudev's Gospel of Divine Life were brought into the lives of numerous people by this holy Conference of three days at Kovvur. A unique item in this Conference was the formal unveiling of the Sivananda Stupa (a memorial pillar) to commemorate the historic visit of Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj to this holy Ghoshapadi Kshetra in 1950, during His Holiness' All-India Tour. Situated in the Sivananda Park, this Pillar is topped by a beacon light visible all around and contains the teachings of Gurudev and the Mahamantra engraved upon it. Sri P. Ramalingeshwara Rao, our Gurubhai, exerted himself, day and night, to make the Conference fruitful and successful in giving much spiritual benefit to countless people. He has verily earned the Grace of God by this great and noble Jnana Yajna.

The very next day of the Conference we crossed the river Godavari to visit Rajahmundry, where H. H. Sri Swami Karunyanandaji Maharaj, our Gurubhai is carrying on noble humanitarian service through his well-known institution Gautami Jiva-Karunya Sangha. Sri Swami Karunyanandaji had arranged a very big public function in the evening of the 14th January at the Sri Ramakrishna Samathi Hall in Rajahmundry and we were taken in a grand Kirtan procession to the Hall. This servant rested for that night in the calm, quiet Tapovanam away from the city, before leaving early morning for Bhadrachalam. While we were in Andhra Pradesh we visited two Divine Life Society Branches for functions on the 17th and 18th. The one at the village of Madikondur near Guntur was organised by Sri Lakshmiah, Central Excise Inspector, a very ardent, disciple of Gurudev who had convened a very well attended meeting of the entire village. The second was at the Sivananda Sevashramam at Dendaluru near Eluru. Here, the foundation was laid for a Prayer Hall in front of the Ashram. The last function in Andhra Pradesh was at the beautiful Gita Bhavan at Eluru. Very huge crowds awaited our arrival at Dendaluru. After bowing before Bhagavan's Vigraha with Rukmini by His side, I had the holy privilege of conducting Sankirtan of the Divine Name with the vast gathering and giving them a message of service, devotion, meditation and Self-realisation. Immediately after the meeting I boarded the train at Eluru.

Travelling northwards we went to Orissa State next, where the Divine Life Conference took place on 21st, 22nd and 23rd at Berhampur, about which I shall write later. After the Conference we travelled to Puri, the holy city of the Lord of the Universe, to pay our homage to Sri Bhagavan Jagannath. Then, after a brief tour of some of the Branches in Orissa State, we left for Calcutta. In the last part of the tour I had the joy of meeting beloved Gurubhai Sri Ram Premji Maharaj at Balasore. I was very happy to meet him after many years.

Thus has passed on the month of January. So do pass on days, weeks, months and years of this brief life on earth. Therefore, great is the need for one to be awake, alert and active in the path of God-quest so as to attain the goal, before life passes away. Blessed souls, utilise well every moment of this precious life, that is a divine gift from God. Strive towards this noble goal. Do all the good that you can, at all times that you can, to all beings on earth. Become an ideal person. Have the goal of a perfect moral life and God-attainment before you and live to attain it through purity, truth, selfless service, worship of the Lord and daily meditation. Ever discriminate between the Real and the unreal, between the Eternal and the temporary. Do not postpone this all-important task of life for an uncertain future. Do it now. Be a seeker after Dharma and Atma-Jnana. All else will pass away. These two alone are the enduring values in this universe. Let Dharma and Divine Realisation be your goal. Lead the Divine Life of service, devotion, meditation and ceaseless quest and attain this goal here and now in this very life. May God bless you.

With kind regards, Prem and Om,

Swami Chidananda
February, 1968

Sivanandashram Letter No. L