4 February 2009

Swami Satchidananda

In 1985 I was fortunate enough to be able to spend two months at Anandashram, Kanhangad, Kerala. Many devotees of Arunachala know of this beautiful ashram and of its long, loving links with the Hill. During my stay there I spent time with Mother Krishnabai and Swami Satchidananda and thereafter over the years occasionally wrote to Swamiji with spiritual questions. Even though he probably didn’t remember me, he always wrote lovingly and at length in response to my queries. Because of the link with Anandashram and Swami Ramdas, it was Swami Satchidananda who inaugurated the ashram of Yogi Ramsuratkumar at Tiruvannamalai.

On October 12th, 2008, Swami Satchidananda cast of his physical body in which he had served humanity for over sixty years. The below narrative is by way of a commemoration of this great soul’s life of service.

My Masters and Yogiji

“Coming to Anandashram in January 1949 was like returning home, my real home. From the next day of my arrival at the Ashram, I kept myself busy serving the Masters Swami Ramdas (Beloved Papa) and Mother Krishnabai (Pujya Mataji) in every possible way. In a very short time I became one with the Ashram. They taught me that Sadhana was not merely sitting still in meditation with closed eyes, but also living a normal life with constant God-remembrance and doing all acts dedicating them to Him, thus making every movement of the Sadhaka an act or worship. Gradually I understood that, they being everything and beyond, serving them meant serving everybody else also. I found in Beloved Papa and Mataji my divine parents and in all the Ashramites and visitors my brothers and sisters. I found real peace and joy in life, the like of which I had never enjoyed till then.

I came to them absolutely raw and shapeless like a lump of clay. I surrendered to them. They graciously took me in hand, pressed, crushed and moulded me to give shape to make me their instrument to serve all. Beloved Papa also gave me a lot of opportunities to move with his spiritual children who came to him as serious seekers and later became Mahatmas like Yogi Ramsuratkumarji Maharaj. How from an apparently possessive and obstinate nature, the Yogiji who took initiation from Beloved Papa, rose to the height of the Divine child of Arunachala is something for all the ardent Sadhakas to emulate. Not caring for even the basic requirements of the body, he threw himself totally at the feet of his Master whom he always addresses as 'my father'. lt is rare to see such intense vairagya. For nearly tour decades, while he continued to deny himself of any of the normal needs, he became a source of solace and protection for innumerable devotees, more so in Tamil Nadu. His surrender to his Guru was total. He always used to say, "My father alone exists. Nothing else, Nobody else'. Even after dropping his body, the Yogiji continues to inspire many in the path of devotion. I still remember the touching reference he made at the time of our meeting at the guest-house of Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai after a long gap of four decades. Answering somebody whether he was waiting for a few hours, he said not hours but for forty years.

To meet saints is a blessing. To be with them is a greater blessing. To be given a chance to serve them is a great privilege.”

[Swami Satchidananda]

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