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 Bhagavate Vasudevaya! Loving salutations and good wishes to you. I am happy to greet you all upon the eve of Sadguru Swami Sivanandaji's auspicious Birthday Anniversary (80th), that devotees all over the world will be celebrating on the 8th of this month. This time the day is made doubly auspicious, due to the holy Sri Ganesh Chaturthi festival also falling on the same date. As you know, the sacred Ganesh Chaturthi worship is an annual day, specially regarded and highly suitable for making any auspicious beginning, Spiritual life and spiritual endeavour are a process of continuous renewals and new beginnings every day, as it were. It is a process of dynamic progress. You are reborn afresh in the spirit at each moment, when you make a new determination, when you take a fresh step forward, upon this path of Divine Life. It is even as we human beings look upon a new dawn and a new radiant sunrise day after day. Such is the spiritual life.
May the 8th of September, therefore, be to you a glorious new stage in your spiritual journey in every way. I pray that Sri Ganesha, the Lord of success and fulfilment, may shower his choicest blessings upon you and grant you all success in your sincere efforts to attain God-realisation and Divine perfection in this very life.
Success in any field of human life, success in self-management and character building, success in moral culture, success in spiritual Sadhana is all the result of patient and persevering effort. It is the continuous effort without impatience that enables one to reach the end of the journey. Failure to persevere is usually due to distractions by other petty goals and attractions. One should be wise enough not to be lured away by the attraction of unworthy immediate ends while upon the path. The ultimate end should ever be kept before you, in your vision, as the blazing beacon light that calls you onward and ever onward. That should be the greatest attraction more than all other attractions in this Universe. You must move towards it as a piece of iron towards a powerful magnet. Divine Life is a life where God occupies the most central position. It is a life where God is the one Supreme value and dominates all else. It is a life delighting in God. Divine Life is life where there is no room for sorrow or dejection or depression, where there is no room for grumbling or complaining, for, you feel that the all Blissful Divine One is your Treasure of treasures, that He belongs to you and you before to him. Then what can you lack or want, and what more can you desire or wish for? When you have Him, you feel full and complete. You desire for naught else. This is the spirit of Divine Life. You feel that you dwell in Him and He dwells in you. When this is the fact, the glorious fact, the beautiful and blissful fact, where is the room for sorrow or dissatisfaction. Divine Life, therefore, is a life of fullness and joy.
It is a life of never-ending sweetness and ever-present inspiration. There is no life more sublime, more lofty and supremely satisfying than such Divine Life. We had in Gurudev a visible and shining embodiment of this Divine Life in His own grand person. Does he not radiate still the self-same light before your inner vision. Walk in that light. That is the Divine path. That is the Birthday celebration. You are bound to succeed. Nothing can deter one who perseveres, who has patience, who does not lose heart and who cheerfully keeps moving onward, with faith and love.
I must now express my keen appreciation and admiration for all those Sadhakas and Devotees, who participated in the Gurupurnima, Aradhana and Sadhana week functions. We had a very good attendance and conduct of all the Sadhakas, who had come from different centres of Divine Life Society, from many parts of the country was ideal and exemplary in every way. They strictly adhered to the daily programmes and went through all the disciplines of the three Sadhana sessions of each day, with keen aspiration, earnestness and enthusiasm. They are really most blessed.
I am immensely happy to tell you all that the Ahmedabad Branch of the Divine Life Society conducted very nicely a similar Sadhana-week programme, as well as the Gurupurnima and Aradhana Utsave under the enthusiastic guidance of Acharya Manuvaryaji Maharaj, brother Suryakant B. Shah and Sri Chaturbhujdas Chimanlal Sheth, an ardent devotee of Gurudev and his noble spiritual work. My warmest congratulations to them and all Ahmedabad Devotees. The Bellary Branch of Divine Life Society gave me a pleasant surprise by organising a similar ten-day programme through the earnest efforts of Sri Y. Rama Raoji of that Branch. In different parts of the city, programmes were held on different days and Sri Rama Raoji has created a spiritual stir in the city due to the unique programmes. I warmly congratulate him and his friends and colleagues of Divine Life, who co-operated in making this undertaking a success. Sri Joogalal Sheth of the Sri Radhakrishna Mandir helped greatly in these celebrations. May God bless them all.
Here at Gurudev's holy Ashram, the gathered devotees made this entire period one of blessedness and spiritual inspiration. My most grateful thanks are offered for all of them who contributed in a generous manner towards these functions and enabled us to meet all requirements of the assembled devotees without any difficulty. I must particularly thank Sri Javebhai Bhikhabhai Patel of Petlad, who bore a good part of the feeding expenses at the kitchen. I thank also Sri Sakaram Rao of Bombay, for his devoted gift of Sandalwood pieces for the purpose of daily Chandan at Gurudev's Samadhi Shrine as well as Sri Viswanath Mandir. Also, for his loving presentations of Dhoties and towels for the use of Ashram inmates. This useful offering he brings with him invariably every year during this holy period. I also thank brother Sharadananda Yogi at Gangotri (Himalayas), who sent various kinds of devotional Puja items for that day's Maha-Puja at Gurudev's Samadhi, including a huge garland of the rare Brahma Kamalas, that grow in the Himalayan heights, Sri Chamanlal Sharmaji of Delhi for his offering of clothing for the Samadhi Shrine, Sri B. Srikantiah of Bangalore for Sandalwood oil, Agarbathis and Sandalwood Powder, and Sri A. C. K. Ramaswami Chettiar of Bangalore for packets of Agarbathis so lovingly sent. God bless them all. My joyful thanks.
Upon the organisational side of the functions and their smooth conducting day after day, our revered and beloved Doctor Saheb Sri Sivananda Adhwaryoo did yeoman service and relieved Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj and other concerned by taking upon himself entirely this onerous responsibility at Swami Krishnanandaji's special request to him in this connection. This is a yearly Seva during this period that Sri Adhwaryoo Maharaj does, for which we cannot sufficiently express our gratitude. By Shouldering the entire burden of the conduct of the strenuous Sadhana programmes, he provides a very great relief to the hard-pressed Ashram authorities, during this time of greatly increased pressure of duties. In this task he was helped very greatly by our Chinna Swami Garu (Chota Mahatmaji) Sri Swami Devanandaji Maharaj. My many many thanks to both of them.
And to the many honoured visitors who willingly turned themselves into volunteers and shared many tasks by working with enthusiasm in different Seva including serving meals at Pangat etc., my warmest love and sincere thanks.
The actual celebrations of both the holy Guru-Purnima day (21st July) and the holy Maha-Punyatithi Aradhana day (30th July) were indescribably inspiring, elevating and grand. All were caught up in the waves of devotion, worshipfulness and prayerfulness, and felt uplifted into a feeling of spiritual presence of Gurudev. Upon both these sacred days you were in my thoughts and I personally offered worship to Gurudev, I did on behalf of you and all. I performed the worship in the name of all the members of the Society, of all the Divine Life Society Branches and of all the disciples and devotees of Sri Gurudev all over the world. I also offered Abhisheka, Archana and Arti in the name of our brother Swamis abroad, like Swami Sahajanandaji, Swami Shivpremanandaji, Swami Venkatesanandaji, Swami Vishnudevanandaji, Yogiraj Satchidanandaji, Sivananda Radha of Canada and others. The Aradhana Anniversary night Satsanga continued into the small hours of the early morning of the next day concluding at about 3.30 a.m. On the Punyatithi day, we had the great joy of a visit by our old Gurubhai His Holiness Jeevanmukta Maharaj Sri Swami Visveshwarananda Saraswati, who came from his Jivanmukta Ashram, near Jhandiala Guru, in district Amritsar. The holy Swamiji Maharaj graced our night Satsanga, as also the special afternoon meeting of that day, when he gave a very interesting and inspiring discourse, recalling several experiences of his with Gurudev during the day of his close association in his Seva. You will see a detailed report of the celebrations in the News and Notes Section.
May you all worshipfully celebrate the 8th of September as a Divine Day of rebirth, renewal and a fresh spiritual beginning with new determination to lead an ideal life and to the attainment of Divine perfection. May God bless you with peace, bliss and immortality.
With my deepest regards, best good wishes, love and prayers for your highest welfare and supreme blessedness.
Yours in Sri Gurudev
1st September, 1967.
Sivanandashram Letter No. XLV