This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Blissful Immortal Atman!
Beloved Seeker after Truth!
Om Namo Narayanaya. Salutations and greetings in the holy name of Gurudev Sivananda. May the grace of the Divine be upon you. As I write this letter I hear the rushing waters of the Ganges and see the clouds upon the mountain top and the entire mountains' side green with fresh forest foliage, for the monsoon rains are upon us now. The intense heat of the last few weeks has now given place to heavy downpour of rains and the Ganges is in flood. The earth and the forest that had been parched and dried up have now become soaked and green everywhere. The Badri-Kedar Yatra has been in full swing and a record number of pilgrims have travelled this year for the holy Darshan in these sacred shrines It is a great joy to note that our country's beloved Prime Minister Srimati Indira Gandhiji has also availed herself of an opportunity of visiting the Holy Badrikashrama Punyakshetra and obtained the blessed Darshan of Bhagawan Narayana. India is a land of faith and devotion. Religion is our very life. It is but fit and proper that the leaders of people should themselves set the right example of piety, righteousness, love of God and service of mankind.
Today the world is facing hard times. An uncertain future seems to loom ahead of the nation. India is the part of this world situation and thus we too are facing numerous problems. Want, scarcity, near-famine condition, economic plugs present a complex situation for both people as well as their administrator to deal with. Each and every individual must participate in resolving it and everyone must help in easing the pressure by voluntary self-denials and self-imposed austerity cheerfully adopted with spiritual courage. All these things will pass away by and by. Firm trust in God, complete reliance in His Divine Name and unremitting fulfilment of Dharma will bring you safe through all crises and victories in all situations. God is the Supreme Director of this Universe. He is the Invisible Inner Controller of all things. He listens even to the footfall of an ant. He repairs the damage of even the wing of a little fly. Have faith. He is the Solver, the real Solver of all problems. He Himself is the real solution too, to all your troubles. Know Him to be thus and the burden will be lifted from your shoulders.
Strive with calmness and courage to overcome all adversities. Repose thy faith in God. To make effort is man's duty. Results are safe in Divine hands. Wisdom and Justice prevail in Divine dispensation. Earnestly act with optimism and good cheer. Rely on God and do the needful. Where there is distress, bring relief, where there is despair, strive to infuse hope. Where there is want, give generously. Where there is famine, feed the hungry. Where there is disease, bring aid to heal and restore health. Let every man be such a helper and bringer of relief in the name of God. Thus may the whole nation become firmly based upon self-help and spontaneous selfless service. This is the need of the hour.
This month commences with an extremely solemn and auspicious day, namely the day of Vyasapuja, also known as Guru Purnima, This is a day specially observed during each year as a day of grateful adoration of the great Masters of Wisdom, all the Brahma-Vidya Gurus of most ancient times as well as of today. This is an effective and powerful reminder to you all that your greatest wealth and treasure in life is the Wisdom teaching of these illumined spiritual Masters. For, it is the nectar of their Divine teachings alone which can destroy death and suffering and bestow upon you immortality. This alone can make you eternally free. This Jnana is therefore your most precious heritage. The unbroken lines of spiritual teachers or Gurus have handed down these teachings through each succeeding generation and thus kept alive radiant fire of living Wisdom that burns away the dross of worldliness and makes man Divine. To them, we owe the deepest debt of gratitude. The sacred Gurupurnima day is thus a glorious day set apart for Guru-worship so as to enable us to express our gratitude, reverence, love and adorations to the great Masters of humanity, through solemn worship and homage. Guru Puja is offered on this full-moon day of the month of Ashadha throughout the length and breadth of our blessed mother country. From the Himalayas to Cape Comorin this land will be filled with fervour of Gurubhakti, the fragrance of humble discipleship and thrilled with the vibrations of worship, glorification and dedication. You will be inspired by the lives and the lofty teachings of the great Gurus of all times. Shri Vedavyasa Bhagawan is adored everywhere as the great father of our country's culture. He is one of the brilliant lights upon the spiritual firmament of Bharatavarsha. Let us also adore upon this day Lord Jesus, Zoroaster, Moses, Mahavira, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, Nanak and the great Acharyas. May the choicest blessings of all the great saints of ancient times as well as present modern times be upon you all. Be guided by their Divine teachings, lead a pure life and attain blessedness.
As you all know this year the Guru Purnima falls on the 2nd July and the holy Anniversary of Gurudev's Mahasamadhi on the 12th July. This ten-day period is a time of Sadhana and total spiritual renewal. Observe it as such. Simplicity, austerity, earnestness and prayerfulness should mark this period. Observe Mouna or silence as long as possible during these ten days. Practise self-control. Engage in spiritual practise as much as time permits you. Here at Headquarters, Sivanandashram, simplicity will mark the entire function and due to food-scarcity conditions in the country and famine-like situation in certain areas, we have cancelled the idea of any large scale public feeding on the Aradhana day. There will be no Bhandara here but instead the Ashram is donating a sum of Rs. 1008/- in the sacred memory of Gurudev to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. I suggest that each one of you may similarly contribute your own mite directly whatever such relief fund there is in your own state or send it to Delhi. Next to Jnana Dana, Anna Dana is verily the greatest of Yajnas in this Iron Age. Individually and collectively help the Government by all possible means in overcoming the problem of food-scarcity. Do not waste food. Be frugal. Miss a meal. Eat moderately. Learn to use non-cereal food. Fast on Ekadasi. Share what you have with others in need. May God bless you. Thus will you please Sri Gurudev.
By the time it reaches you the Aradhana functions would have commenced. The entire Ashram will be absorbed deeply in Sadhana programme. I must conclude now. However, before closing I wish to share with you a beautiful letter filled with sincere Bhava and the spirit of devotion, enthusiasm and dedication to Gurudev's spiritual teachings and His Divine Life Mission. This letter is from Centro Sivananda de Estudios Yoga Vedanta Del Uruguay which means, the Sivananda Centre of Yoga Vedanta Studies of Uruguay. This is our Divine Life Branch at Montevideo, capital of Uruguay in South America. They are an exceptional group of very earnest Spiritual seekers with genuine aspirations and devotion to the ideal of God-realization. They are one of our best groups abroad and are working in a very systematic way with well organised regular activities. The letter has been singed by 17 of the Sadhakas of the Centre (There was no more space for further signatures!)
May 21, 1966.
Revered and beloved Swamiji,
Today it is exactly five years ago that for the first time the Uruguayan ground was blessed with the touch of your holy feet.
With gratitude and devotion in the heart, we remember that on this day you started the spreading of Sri Gurudev's teachings here, planting the seed of the Uruguayan branch of the Divine Life Society, which is growing steadily; thanks to God's and the Masters' Grace, as well as to the gracious guidance of beloved Swami Shivapremanandaji.
On this occasion we reaffirm our ideal to contribute with our effort so that the glorious blessings which this Centre received may flower as a stronghold of Sri Gurudev's mission in this area.
With the best wishes for your good health and personal welfare, we are always, with Prem and Om, Yours, and here follow the many signatures. Among others I recognize the familiar signature of Roberta Dix, Lotti Dix, M. Luisa Costa, C. W. Hartschuh, H. Hartschuh, de Bouton, Ledia Pesquera etc.
Most certainly this growing plant of Uruguayan Divine Life will grow further into a towering tree spreading ITS Branches not only all over Uruguay but throughout many countries of South America where Gurudev's teachings are so much pressingly needed at this time. This servant is most gratified indeed to read the beautiful 3rd paragraph of their letter wherein they reaffirm their objective of strengthening their noble work. This indeed is a spirit which we require from each and every individual member and each and every organised branch of the Divine Life Society. What more can I say unto you all than what I have just now said, as we are gathering together to pay our reverential homage to our spiritual Master, on the holy occasion of the 3rd Anniversary of Gurudev's departure from this world of physical manifestation. As the sacred day draws near even as our beloved friends of the Uruguay Centre, May all of you also similarly reaffirm your ideals to contribute your efforts so that the glorious blessings of Gurudev's teachings and Divine Life Mission may become firmly and strongly established in the place where you, dear Reader, His devotee and representative are living. The outer expression of true love is service. Those who cherish such love unto Gurudev's feet cannot but actively serve Him through His Divine Life Institution. When you love you naturally serve whom you love. May you all rededicate yourself afresh to such love and service upon the sacred Guru Aradhana day. May Gurudev's choicest blessings shower upon you and grant you joy, peace, and immortality.
With regards, Prem and Om,
Yours in Gurudev,
Sivanandashram Letter No. XXXI