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 one and all of you! I send you my loving good wishes from the sacred abode of Gurudev by the holy Ganges once again after an absence of one month and a half from headquarters.
On Sunday, the 22nd May I arrived back at Sri Gurudev's Ashram a little before sunset in the evening of a very warm day. My heart was filled with joy by the loving welcome extended by the many Guru-bandhus who cherish a gracious regard toward this servant of Gurudev and His institution and its work. Though fatigued by much journeying yet I was not unwilling to climb up with them all to the holy Samadhi Shrine of our worshipful Master and offer my homage there as also at the Sri Vishwanath Mandir. We then went over to the Bhajan Hall where your servant spoke to the assembled Ashramites and visitors and conveyed to them all the love, regards and greetings of their fellow-seekers in Malaysia and Hong Kong and South India, (Karnataka). They were also told about the wonderful devotion of the seekers and spiritual aspirants of Malaya have for Gurudev Swami Sivananda and His noble spiritual work and His Divine Life Message. The inspiration of speaking to people fully receptive to your message was also related and I spoke to them also about the perseverance of the Hong Kong D.L.S. Yoga Institute group in keeping up the Yoga activities initiated there by His Holiness Swami Vishnudevanandaji Yogiraj nearly nine years ago in 1957. The Chinese students of Swami Vishnu Ji have now become very excellent instructors, many of them and are conducting regular Yoga classes in different parts of the city with great earnestness and tenacity. An admirable feature of their Yoga activities is their unfailing regularity over these past nine years. I have been extremely pleased with their work. They have acquired the spirit of service to a considerable degree thanks to the influence of Swami Vishnudevananda, their teacher.
I am making this letter brief, as the travel has tired me somewhat physically and the summer heat has been fully turned on this week with 111 degree F. in the shade. Caught between the two hillsides on north and south, this tiny valley is seared with burning hot winds during the day and through a good part of the evening and early night. The ice cold Ganges is the sole saving grace in this place at this time of the year. A last bath at 10 p.m., before bedtime relieves the body of the heat of the daytime. Leaving Hong Kong on the evening of Tuesday, 10th May, I entered India via Calcutta and landed at Bombay airport at midnight. Friends of the Bombay Divine Life Centre had graciously denied themselves sleep and turned up at the Airport to receive me. After the usual formal delays inevitable in re-entry, we reached residence a couple of hours after midnight as the flight also was about an hour late on that day. Two days, comparatively quiet ones at Bombay, with only an evening Satsang each day, I left for Bangalore on the 13th May and arrived there in the afternoon. Upon arrival I had the good fortune of having the holy Darshan of a large number of devotees and Sadhaks who had all come to Bangalore for the forthcoming D.L.S. Conference to take place on the morrow (14thMay). Sri T.M. Sreenivasan, the Convener was there to meet this Swami upon arrival as also veterans like V.L. Nagarajan, Balu and others.
The three-day Conference was a good success and was inaugurated by His Holiness the Jagadguru Sankaracharya of the Sharada Peetha of Dwaraka in Western India and addressed by eminent speakers like Sri R.R. Divakar, Mir Iqbal Hussein, Swami Poornananda Teertha Maharaj, Sri Y. Ramachand, Smt. Grace Tucker, G.V. Hallikere, G. Venkatasubbiah, M.P.L. Sastri Ji, the Hon. Dr. K.L. Shrimali Ji, H.H. Radhakrishna Swami and others. The Upanishad Chanting by Kumaris Jayashree, Surekha and Shanta was most thrilling indeed. I wish these gifted children will keep on progressing along this line. It seems they are from the Malleswaram Divine Life group. Congratulations.
The conveners of this first All-Karnataka Divine Life Conference deserve our special congratulations and thanks also for bringing out a very nice and valuable Souvenir which was released during the very first day of the Conference. Well done!
While at Bangalore I took the opportunity of visiting and paying my respectful homage to the renowned saint His Holiness SWAMI ANAND ASHRAM MAHARAJ, Chitrapur Mutt, the religious head of the Saraswat community as he happened to be camping at Bangalore at the time. Gurudev held him in much regard. I also had the happiness of meeting my old friend Sri Swami Sureshanandaji of the Ramakrishna Mutt at Basavangudi, who kindly took me to their beautiful Ashram one evening when I was able to bow down in reverence before Sri Sri Ramakrishna Dev at the shrine just at the evening Arati time. Immediately after the Conference a trip was undertaken to Tirukoyilur to visit the well-known Jnanananda Tapovanam, the holy Ashram of the renowned venerable saint and Siddha-Yogi Pujya Sri SWAMI JNANANANDA GIRIJI HAHARAJ. On our way back on the morning of the 17th we stopped at the holy Sri RAMANASHRAM in Tiruvannamalai to adore in silence the Great Sage of Arunachala whose radiant Presence pervades that Ashram at the foot of sacred Arunachala Hill. It was a hot midday hour, yet Sri Venkataramanji, the President in-charge, very graciously welcomed this servant and was extremely hospitable and courteous. As I wished to see some literature of the Ashram he insisted upon my receiving the books I asked for as a gift saying, This is Bhagavan's Prasad. You must receive it. I remember this gesture with sincere appreciation.
After return and a farewell Satsang gathering at the holy Ram Mandir of Malleswaram, we left for Bellary for a programme there on the 18th May. Back at Bangalore on the next day, the 19th I had the great joy of visiting the new PANDURANGA TEMPLE being built by Keertana Kesari Dasaratna Sri Bhadragiri Kesavadasji at Purandharapura (Rajajinagar) and worshipping the beloved Lord Vitthala present therein. The kindness of the Bhakta Mandali there was great indeed! Then, just before leaving for Bombay at midday there was a final Satsanga at the house of the devotee Sri Venkatachalapathy at Nandidurg extension where the D.L.S. members from Tumkur had a pair of silver Guru-Charanas consecrated with prayers and special chanting of the Lord's Name, for being taken and kept for worship at Tumkur. Sri SWAMI DEVANANDAJI, who had been valuably helping me together with Swami Raghunathanandaji during my entire stay at Bangalore for the Conference, took leave of me at the airport to take his train for Venkatagiri Town where he went to represent Sri Gurudev and my self at the All-India D.L. Conference there. Arriving at Bombay the same afternoon this Sevak spent a very quiet evening by the seaside at Juhu at sunset. That day, 19th May happened to be a very significant anniversary for me because it was upon this very day full twenty-three years ago that I had for the first time in my life, the sanctifying Darshan of the lotus-feet of Satguru Bhagavan Sivananda Dev at Ananda Kutir by the holy Ganges bank when the evening twilight was fading away on 19th May 1943. We had a little Kirtan when the hour arrived and returned to Pramod Villa at Khar at about 8.30 p.m. I spent that night at the home of Sri G.V. Parameswaranji of Bombay D.L.S and left the next morning for Delhi en route Ashram which, as mentioned already, was reached on Sunday 22nd May after a day's break at Hardwar for Darshan of Goddess Mansa Devi and Mother Chandi Devi on the mountain top across the Ganga.
From here, Gurudev's holy abode, I wish to say my thanks and deep appreciations to all the good friends and seekers of Malaysia and Hong Kong who have shown me and my helper Devendar Bhargav so much kindness, hospitality and gracious care during our entire tour in their country during the six weeks from 5th April to 10th May. I shall be writing to all these wonderful people of the different centres such as Kuala Lumpur, Raub, Seremban, Ipoh, Penang, Prai, Singapore, Johore Baru, Kluang, Sungai Siput, Kuala Kangsar, Taiping and Hong Kong and Kowloon. Besides H.H. Sri Swami Pranavanandaji, Sri Thuraiappahji Maharaj, Sri Sivananda Boteju and Sri Arunachalam (whose loving kindness and help I have no adequate words to express). I also remember with special affection such persons as Sri Karthigesu of Kampong Attap, K.L., Sri Chen Yoke Chen, Sri Rasaratnam and family, Tan Sri Dato V.T. Sambandan and the gracious Datin who are both great devotees of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Deva and Sri Ma Sarada Devi, Mr. and Mrs. T. Mahesan of the Chinmaya Mission, Mrs. Ariyanayagam of Raub, Krishna Pillay of Raub, the revered Dr. C.H. Yeang of Penang, Sri Ramanujam of Singapore, Dr. Vasudevan of Kluang, Sri M.S. Kandiah of Ipoh, Sardar Sri Kripal Singh Gill of D.L., Sri Lall of K.L., Sri N. Thambidurai of Seremban (who arranged for our Port Dickson Retreat), Sri S. Narayanan and Sri S. Sivagnanam of Seremban, Mrs. R. Senan of Penang, Sri Linga Nathan of Radio Malaysia who kindly came and interviewed me at Batu Caves Sivanandashram. I remember also the very gracious hospitality and kindness of His Holiness Sri Swami Siddhatmanandaji Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram at Singapore who invited me for the blessed birthday anniversary of Bhagavan Ramakrishna Dev and Swami Vivekananda celebrated at their Ashram on 23rd April when I also had the holy pleasure of meeting H.H. Sri Swami Chidatmanandaji Maharaj of the Mayavati Advaita Ashram in the Himalayas. The latter Swamiji was on a visit to Singapore at that time.
At Hong Kong great has been the kindness and Seva of Sri Khanchand H. Moorjaniji, Sri Virumalji, Sri Uttam Chand, Sri J. K. (Raja of Gurudev), Mrs. Thelma Heitmeyer v.c. of the Yoga Institute, D.L.S., Mr. Li Che-Kong, Yogiraj Au-Yeung Hao-Man, Mr. Lo Wing-Lok, Mr. Wong Kang-Sai, Mr. Wong Ping Lai and others. Mr. Heitmeyer though busy was yet graciously helpful many a time. My meeting with the most venerable Sri Dinshaw Paowalla alias RAMDAS and mother Banu Ruttonjee was memorable and I shall ever cherish it in my memory. The authorities of the Hindu Association and Temple where I stayed merit my grateful thanks. May God bless them all! My regards to you, dear Reader.
God Grace you too! I take leave of you until the first week of next month, July, when we shall be observing the most sacred Sri GURU PURNIMA DAY. Prepare for it with more Japa of your Guru Mantra and a Mandala of Sadhana from now up till the Third Anniversary of the Holy Mahasamadhi day of Gurudev. May His benedictions ever be upon you!
Yours in Gurudev,
1st June, 1966
Sivanandashram Letter No. XXX