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 after Truth!
Om Namo Narayanaya. Loving Namaskars.
Loving salutations and greetings in the holy name of Gurudev Sivananda. May the special grace of Gurudev be granted unto you upon this month, when the most holy day of Vyasa Puja or Gurupurnima occurs. Ashadha Purnima is to us all a most sacred and supremely blessed day sanctified by the ancient tradition and filled with inspiration, elevation and spiritual renewal. A new dawn awaits all Sadhakas and spiritual aspirants upon this great day. There is a subtle inner spiritual wave set up within your heart at this highly auspicious anniversary, which, if you perceive and take hold of, will take you ahead to greater heights of spiritual progress and inner unfoldment. Prepare from this day onward to meet that holy day with receptive spirit and right attitude of faith, reverence and spiritual exception. You will be immensely benefited now. Have special prayers to the Guru every day in the early morning time. Repeat the Guru-stotras with deep Bhava. Do Japa of your Guru Mantra with renewed zeal. Worship the Guru with fervour and Bhakti. Meditate on the Guru for a little while each night before retiring to bed. And observe the Guru-Purnima day befittingly with devout spirit and spiritual Bhava. May Guru-Kripa descend upon you and make your life blessed and Divine.
I shall share with you now last month's special event. After my letter to you in the previous issue, Gurudev sent me south to Tumkur in Mysore State for guiding the Second All-Karnataka Divine Life Conference which was held there on the 10th, 11th and 12th June, under the auspices of the Tumkur Divine Life Society Branch. This was a very inspiring and thrilling event of three days, when the people of the town gathered in good numbers to receive the spiritual message of Sri Gurudev and to get light and inspiration from many holy men and scholars. His Holiness the Jagadaguru Sankaracharya Maharaj, of the Shrada Peeth, Dwaraka, graciously inaugurated the Conference, convened at the Tumkur Town Hall. The people had the great good fortune of getting his Upadesh and blessings. Sri Gokak, the learned Vice-Chancellor of the Mysore University, gave a most enlightening discourse one of the days. Their Holiness Sri Swami Prabodhanandaji of the Ramakrishna Ashram of Bangalore and the Swamiji of Saddhaganga Mutt, blessed the assembly through their illuminating spiritual talks. This Conference has created a unique spiritual wave in the town and stirred the hearts of many persons into spiritual aspiration and thirst for knowledge. Sri C.K. Jai Simha Rao, Sri K. Siddhagangiah and Sri P. Narasimhulu deserve our special congratulations for the event.
On the 13th June Gurudev's Seva was done at Bangalore just as on the 8th June when this Sevak arrived from Delhi. The evening Satsang on the 8th at the Malleswaram Rama Mandir was specially memorable because the assembled devotees all responded wonderfully to call for help of the famine sufferers at Bihar and gave their offerings in the divine Presence of Lord Rama Himself. On this occasion Sri Nikam of Mysore Creations himself donated Rupees One Thousand for this urgent cause of Famine Relief.
The collected amounts were immediately sent to the Bihar Manav Rahat Mandal that is running a Free Kitchen at Rahka near Garhwa in the district of Palamau in Bihar. The Ranka Free Food Kitchen is feeding about 8000 persons daily. The Satsang on the 12th June was in the home of Sri and Smt. C. D. Reddy at Wilson Garden, Bangalore, both of whom are devout followers of His Holiness Sri Swami Chinmayanandaji Maharaj, the renowned spiritual teacher of the present times well known everywhere for his inspiring Gita Yajnas and Upanishad Yajnas. In the evening this servant addressed a gathering at the Indian Institute of World Culture to a very earnest and appreciative audience.
The next engagement was at Rasipuram, near Salem in Madras State, organised by the Divine Life Society at Rasipuram. Sri S. Chandrasekharan had organised several programmes of Satsanga, discourse etc., with the help of his spiritual friends under the guidance of H. H. Sri Swami Sivananda Sreenivasanandaji. Sri M. S. A. Jayaraman was my kind host during the brief stay and served me with great devotion, due to his high adoration of Sri Sadgurudev. The Salem Town D. L. S. Branch also organised one nice Satsang at the Shantashramam on the 16th June before my departure for Tiruvannamalai.
This time Gurudev conferred upon me a unique blessing of undertaking a pilgrimage to the sacred Samadhisthan of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi at Ramanashram, near the holy temple town of Tiruvannamalai. The solemn ceremony of Kumbhabhishekam to the new Mandapam raised over Sri Bhagawan's Samadhi, took place on the 18th of June and the Sevak was present there at the loving invitation of Sri T. N. Venkataraman, the present head of the Ramanashramam. It was really a grand and an inspiring event and during the three days I was there, the blessed presence of Sri Bhagawan Ramana was felt as a tangible inner experience at once purifying, sanctifying and spiritually elevating. I recalled the visit of Sri Gurudev to this holy Ashramam during his youthful and vigorous Parivrajaka days. I had the unique good fortune of meeting people like revered Sri Muruganar, Sri Arthur Osborne, Sri Nagamma and Sri Venkataratnam and such others, all of whom had the supreme blessedness of close contact with Sri Bhagavan during his life-time. Also, I had the privilege of getting the Darshan, of bowing before holy Sri Janakibai Mata, the God-intoxicated devotee of Sri Ramana Bhagavan. I was happy to be there and to meet them all and also revered Dr. T. M. P. Mahadevan and to listen to his beautiful speech in Tamil. The entire Kumbhabhishekam ceremony conducted by a select group of a large number of learned Vedapathis and Shastries with meticulous care according to strict Vedic ritual was most befittingly conducted and it was a great success. My warmest congratulations to the Trustees of the Ashram for raising this worthy memorial over the Divine resting place of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. His Presence and Power indeed radiate from this vibrant Shrine.
Prostrating ourselves before Sri Bhagavan Ramana, we took our leave on 19th morning and returned to Sri Gurudev's holy Ashram on Ganga making a brief halt enroute at Hyderabad where I had the joy of meeting a number of noble Sadhakas and seekers of God and at New Delhi where I spent a day at Shivanandam, the blessed home of Smt. Sivananda Vanibai to hold a special Satsanga in the evening of the 20th June. Since returning to Gurudev's abode on Thursday the 22nd, I have been filled with thoughts of distressing famine situation in Bihar.
Please let me know what you have done after seeing my letter sent to you in the May Issue of this journal. Have you taken any step to offer your Seva to the suffering brothers and sisters there? Did you send your substantial contribution to the relief work being carried on there by revered Acharya Sri Vinobha Bhave, Sri Jayaprakash Narayanji or by the Manav Rahat Mandal (under the holy guidance of Sant Ranchod Dasji) that is running Famine Relief Camps at Ranka Chinia and Bhandria in the district of Palamau in Bihar. Did you organise any kind of relief work through the help of your friends, relatives and associates? Or have allowed my appeal to go in vain? Will you do it urgently just now? Can you not actually feel the suffering and the agony of the helpless people at this moment? They are a part of us. Their suffering should not go unheeded by even one single true son or daughter of Bharatavarsha. Here is an example of a sincere soul feeling genuinely for his fellow country-men. Sri Bishen Sarup Sharma of Chandigarh sent Rs. 44/- and wrote in his letter: After going through your letter No. 40 appearing in Divine Life' for May, 67, I was greatly moved and impressed and decided then and there in consultation with my wife to contribute Rs. 44/- towards Living God, who have been hard hit by scarcity of food in Bihar. This sum of money was in fact specially kept apart by Sri B. Sharmaji to perform a Ramayana Akhandapath to which he had made a Sankalpa (intention) sometime back. Sri Sharmaji writes, It was to be done in third week of May, 1967 and sum of Rs. 44/- was exclusively kept for this purpose. This religious ceremony would have given me some mental satisfaction and glory. But after going through your letter I earnestly feel that this little donation of Rs. 44/- towards the people of drought-hit area would really go a long way to benefit the cause of Real Religion so strongly pleaded by your Holiness. This is noble. This is great. This is grand. This is the spirit we want and I may tell you that this donor is a man of very modest means not drawing a big salary and has a family of six persons to support. Similar too has been the gesture of Sri A. R. Nikam of Mysore Creation who spontaneously offered Rs. 1000/-.
I specially call upon the devotees of Gurudev residing in Bihar to stir themselves up and immediately go to the aid of the distressed. Noble souls like Sri Vedanta Jha (Jamshedpur), Sri Shiva Madhavi Devi (Arrah), Rani Chandravati Singh (Gaya), Sri Jittan Singh (Dhanbad), Sri Gopinath (Sitarampur), Srimati Adyavati Sahai (Bhagalpur), Sri M. K. Sinha (Patna), Vinoy Vihariji, and such others must now rise to this occasion and freely give of themselves in works of charity, compassion, selfless Seva and help in various ways. I request them to organise Seva, or offer help towards work being done by Sri Vinobhaji as well as Manav Rahat Mandal. Pujya Vinobhaji and Sri Jayaparkash Narayanji are engaging themselves in Darbhanga area in North Bihar and the address of the other organisation is Manav Rahat Mandal, P. O. Ranka (Via Garhwa), Distt. Palamau (Bihar); A latest report from this spot-worker tells me that the actual famine conditions are more or less under fair control now. The present urgent need seems to be rather of opening up of deep wells for supply of water and also provision of medical aid. With coming of rains may be the fodder-situation for cattle might ease somewhat. But water-problem still continues to be acute, as also medical aid for disease that now prevails as a result of the starvation and under nutrition. Contacting these agencies is the best way of making it clear what is the type of help you may best offer in this situation. May God inspire you to enter into this noble work with your heart and soul. I Pray without fail every day that through His grace and to the earnest effort of all the people of this land that trials of these suffering-brothers may soon be over. May health, prosperity, wealth and welfare prevail in this land and all over the world. God bless you all.
With regards, Prem and Om,
1st July, 1967
Sivanandashram Letter No. XLIII