This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Blessed Seeker of Truth,
Om Namo Narayanaya. Loving Namaskara.
Salutations in the name of Gurudev Sivananda and in Divine Life. Your worshipful offering and wonderful response has enabled us here to conduct this year's birthday Anniversary of Gurudev in a very befitting and satisfactory manner. I am very thankful and grateful indeed for this noble help that came from very amongst you. Last year upon this date I could not participate in the Birthday functions because the Sivananda Cultural Association of Delhi had insisted upon my presence at their function where the Foundation Stone for their Sivananda Satsang Hall was laid by H.E. Rashtrapatiji. This time however, Gurudev granted me the privilege and joy of joining the Gurubhais in this auspicious worship of our holy Master. It was grand and elevating. All gathered devotees felt blessed by this solemn, sacred annual worship.
A coloured Pada-Puja full pose was set up on Gurudev's big sofa-chair under the spangled pink canopy of a silk umbrella. A profusion of floral garlands and coloured flowers adorned the glowing picture of the Master. The sandalwood Padukas, which Gurudev used to wear during Pada-Puja time, were placed in the centre of a huge brazen plate around which devout disciples sat in a ring for the Puja. There was Abhisheka, with chant of Purusha Sukta, and then offering of fragrant Chandan and Kumkum. Then commenced the Archana and flowers started raining from all directions through numerous hands. Prasad was offered. Beautiful Arati then followed to the singing of the new Arati composed by the family of Chaman Lal Ji of Chaudausi. He and his daughter Gita were present to lead the Arati upon this auspicious day. A beautiful silken cloth, covered with Pranava-Mantra designs all over, was offered by them for Gurudev's decoration during the Puja of that day.
A wonderful event of this occasion was the visit of the Holy Mother, Sri Ananda Mayee Ma, the great saint well known in India and abroad. This worshipful Mother, a great soul illumined with spiritual radiance graced us all with Her Darshan and blessed with her Satsang all the assembled devotees in the Bhajan Hall upstairs. She arrived first at the Sivananda Eye Hospital at the eager request of Dr. S-Hridayananda Mataji, who wished MA to come and sanctify the hospital by her presence and benediction. After a brief halt there and some little refreshment the holy Mother left for the Samadhi, up the hill. She was highly pleased to see the hospital and know of the good work, being done for countless eye-patients.
Offering Her Pushpa-anjali at the Samadhi of Satgurudev, MA shone with a rare light of Divine Prem. Her regard for Gurudev is really immense. She was received by Rani Kumudini Devi of Hyderabad as she arrived at the entrance of Bhajan Hal and then conducted a special dias arranged for her. Swami Vidyanandaji, and his students, gave a Veena recital chanting Sanskrit compositions of great saints, and also did Sankirtan. A blissful atmosphere prevailed, and we all felt spiritually uplifted by Holy MA's divine presence. I share this wonderful experience with you all, through these lines.
I take this opportunity to send you all my greetings and Good wishes for the holy Navaratri period and Dussehra. My VIJAYA greetings specially to Calcutta Gurubandhus and all devotees throughout Bengal. May the Divine Mother PARA-SHAKTI shower her grace and Blessings upon all of you and grant you all prosperity, happiness, success and highest spiritual blessedness. Worship the Mother with the deepest devotion, one-pointed mind and heart and pray to her to make you childlike in nature, namely, innocent, simple, pure, humble, and egoless and unattached. To be born anew in absolute simplicity and humility of nature is the true means of drawing close to God, the Universal Mother Principle, that broods over all existence with Cosmic Love and Protective Grace: Jai Ma Durga:
Last month's function organised by the S. S. Cultural Association at Delhi was indeed very successful and satisfactory. Well attended and keenly appreciated by all who attended them, both the Satsangs created a spiritual atmosphere effectively. It was very glad to participate and observe the success of this programme which was Gurudev's Birthday celebration for the public of Delhi. The two big sized coloured pictures (one was a huge photo-enlargement) of Gurudev dominated the stage and looked beautiful and grand. Exquisite rendering of devotional Bhajana in classical style by artists like Shanta Saxena and others was highly elevating. I am looking forward to this month's Satsang which will probably be on 10th and 11th Oct.
Very glad to tell you all that the Andhra Pradesh D. L. Societies have ultimately fixed up the dates for their 8th Annual D. L. S. Conference. It is to meet at Mehbubabad on 11th, 12th, and 13th December. I have just received a telegram, a few days ago from Sri B.V. Guptaji of that place, who is the convener. I urge upon all the Andhra Pradesh centres of Divine Life to arise and join up and help him in every way to make this year's Conference of theirs a thorough success, even as the last one of Tanuk was successful. This is their promise as also mine to personally attend it. I hope to meet organisers of all the A.P. DLS. branches in December at Mehbubabad. Tanuk and Hyderabad branches must give special help to Sri Gupta Saheb in every way.
Winter weather is gradually setting in now and the breeze has become a wind and it now has a chilly edge that makes you want to draw your cloth closer around you. End of last month after two days of almost non-stop rain the Ganges rose up in flood. One wondered if Gurudev's Kutir would be threatened like last year. But fortunately the rain ceased on the third day and the flood level slowly subsided. Today the sun shone bright and the sky is a beautiful blue and it seems that the rains have taken leave of us for the present. The thatched shed we had put in front of Sri Gurudev's sacred Samadhisthan for the Aradhana functions of 2nd August has indeed weathered the season. It has now become very helpful and convenient for devotees and worshippers, who are visiting the Samadhi in increasing numbers.
Our brother Sri Swami Sharadanandaji who was for five years in the icy upper Himalayas near Gomukh and Gangotri has now returned to Ashram and is taking keen interest in imparting Yoga-training to eager young seekers, who came to this place, seeking practical Yoga instructions. Some students from France are also reaping the benefit of his kind and selfless efforts in this direction. Thus the work of Gurudev goes on under His benign inner guidance and unseen help of His Spiritual Presence. May Gurudev's benediction be upon you all. I shall now leave you to prepare yourselves for the forthcoming solemn and auspicious nine-day Pooja of the blessed Divine Mother of the Universe - the great Bhagawati Para-Shakti. Worship Her with all thy heart's deepest devotion reverence and loving adoration. May SHE grant you all health, long-life, prosperity, all divine Aishvaryas and Vidya, Pushti, Tushti and Parama Shanti. Glory be to the MOTHER. Hari Om Tat Sat. I close with regards, Prem and Pranama.
Yours in Gurudev
1st October, 1964.
Sivanandashram Letter No. XIV