Immortal Atma Swarupa!

Om Namo Narayanaya! Jai Gurudev!

Please accept my most reverential salutations at thy holy feet and my loving greetings and good wishes for this NEW YEAR. May all health, prosperity, happiness and fulfilment be yours throughout this year and the years ahead. God grant you joy, wisdom and grace and bless you, thy home and all that are dear to you with auspiciousness and highest good.

My prayerful good thoughts go out to you all, wherever you may be, and I seek from the Almighty thy welfare and advancement, here in this world, as also thy highest blessedness and illumination in the spiritual realm. May the Divine abide with you! And may you abide in Him! At this auspicious beginning of a bright New Year, let us sanctify ourselves by the devout remembrance of the great holy men of God, the saints, sages and divine messengers of this world, who have declared to us the true meaning and lofty purpose of our life, shown us the way of its fulfilment, and inspired us to follow this holy upward path towards God and divine experience. Let us sanctify ourselves by remembering their ideal lives and exalted teachings. Turn your thoughts now, and lift up your thoughts to a devout and joyous contemplation on sage Vyasa and Vasishtha, on Narda and Valmiki. Contemplate on the glorious Lord Buddha, Jesus the Christ, prophet Mohammed, the noble Zoroaster (Zarathushtra), Lord Mahavira, the holy Guru Nanak. Think of the great saints and sages of all ages, like Yajnavalkya, Dattatreya, Sulabha and Gargi, Anasooya and Sabari, Lord Gauranga, Mirabai, Saint Theresa and Francis of Assisi. Remember St. Augustine, Jallaludin Rumi, Kabir, Tukaram, Ramdas, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Vivekananda and Rama Tirtha. Adore in thy heart the sacred memory of Mahatma Gandhi, sage Ramana Maharishi, Aurobindo Ghosh, Gurudev Sivananda and Swami Ramdas. They verily are the inspirers of humanity towards a life of purity, goodness and godliness. Their lives, their lofty examples, their great teachings constitute the real wealth and greatest treasure of mankind today.

To think of these saints, to carefully study their lives and to live by their teachings is the only way of rising above suffering and sin, of going beyond pain and death, and attaining true peace and perennial joy in the Divine. There is no other path to true welfare and blessedness than to follow the footsteps of the holy men and saints. There is no greater blunder than to forget the saints and live an aimless life. It is a great loss to waste away your life in meaningless pursuits of fleeting sensations and perishable objects here. There is no greater folly than to ignore and neglect the teachings of these great souls and destroy your own welfare and weep at the time of death.

Beloved child of God! Awaken to thy great heritage. Walk the way of purity, truth and goodness. Serve the world and worship God. Diligently work out thy supreme welfare. Fulfil Dharma at every step. Remember God at every moment. You do not belong to this material world. Beyond this physical and mental existence, there is a life spiritual. Therein lies your true avocation and true and loftiest function. Live in this Spirit. Know thy true Swarupa. It is Satchidananda. Thou art immortal Spirit. Thou art the deathless Soul. Thou art eternal Self. Thou art divine. Live divinely.

Live in God. Wherever thou art, whatever thou doest, in whatever condition you are whether in joy or sorrow, whether in health or illness, whether at home or in foreign land - live in God always, everywhere, in all conditions. This is wisdom. Herein is happiness. Herein lies thy true good. Do not postpone for tomorrow that which you ought to, and must, do today. “Tomorrow” is a deceptive thought that ensnares soul the unwary and binds him in the net of forgetfulness. Time is fleeting. Days, nights and years pass away. Death snatches you suddenly. This rare opportunity is lost. Beware. Remember death Cultivate virtue. Do good deeds. Live for God. Do not waste time. Be up and doing. Utilise every moment in virtuous living and spiritual Sadhana. Remember death.

There is no pleasure in the perishable objects of this world. There is no true happiness and peace here. Senses deceive. Mind is the enemy. Samsara is full of defects, pain, bondage, fear and a thousand afflictions. You must transcend them all by attaining God and realising the self. This is the true aim of life. This is life's ultimate goal.

God is bliss. God is peace. God is eternal life. To attain Him is to go beyond all sorrow, pain and suffering and enter into a state of unalloyed joy, fearlessness and freedom. This is the supreme blessed state you have come to achieve. The sure and unfailing way to this attainment is shown by the radiant lives of saints. Live in the light of their shining lives. Thus is the path unto perfection. By their lives, the saints show you the gateway to God. O man wander not any longer in this vast forest earthly existence. Tread the radiant path that leads to Divinity. Start now upon this auspicious period of a New Year. One more year has gone by. Life is shorter and time flies away. Be wise. Be resolute. Heedfully awake, alertly vigilant, sincerely aspiring and earnestly striving and praying, live wisely and move towards God, and thus make a true success of this precious life of thine.

May God bless you all. May the spiritual benedictions of all the holy saints and sages be upon you! May you lead a divine life and attain your highest welfare here and now.

With regards, Prem and Pranams,

Yours in Gurudev,
Swami Chidananda
1st January, 1965

Sivanandashram Letter No. XVII