To the sorrow of his innumerable devotees and well-wishers world-wide, the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, merged in God on 14th July, 1963. But his divine guidance, which is even more noticeable after his passing, enables his mission to flourish. The words of Paramhansa Yogananda, the eminent founder of the Self-realization Fellowship, and author of the well-known spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, paid a glowing tribute to the Master in the following inspiring words, "The life of the great Rishi, Swami Sivananda, serves as a perfect example of selfless activity. He blesses India and the work by his presence".
Our reading for the Satsang was taken from the book, From Man to God-man by Sri N. Ananthanarayanan, significantly capturing the last hours of the Master.
"I HAVE MANY THINGS TO DO!"
On July 14, Colonel Puri came to examine the Master. As he tapped with his rod to test the reflexes, the Master said; "Doctors are very cruel."
"Yes, Swamiji, what can be done? It is our duty," said the doctor, and added, "Swamiji, you will be all right shortly."
"Yes, I must," said the Master, "I have many things to do."
"You will do, Swamiji, but with a handicap."
The Master heard the doctor's words clearly and gave him a steady look. Then in his unfailing hospitality, saw to it that the doctor was offered uppama, coffee and books. He finally concluded with a farewell and an "Om Namo Narayanaya".
After the doctor had left, and before he could take his own food, the Master developed fever and began to shiver. The breathing hardened. He took two or three spoonsful of Horlicks, and at about 3pm asked for water. As was the usual practice, the disciples wanted to give him barley water or jeera water, but he wished to have Ganges water, pure and simple. The water was brought. The Master, who had experienced difficulty in taking the smallest quantity of solid or liquid, gulped down half a glassful of Ganges water without apparent trouble−and with that the Being that was Swami Sivananda laid aside its mortal vesture. It was now 11.15pm.
The time the Master chose to merge with the Supreme proved to be a holy Muhurta of extreme auspiciousness. An expert horologist, who was also a capable astrologer, had mentioned only upon the morning of that fateful Sunday, that round about midnight there was going to be such an unparalleled and auspicious planetary conjunction that any Yogi who was getting ready to depart would never wish to miss it. The prediction proved correct and the Master chose the moment.
Tribute by Pujya Swamiji
Pujya Swami Sahajananda, referring to Gurudev as Swamiji wrote the following, "I came to know of Swamiji in 1947 through his book, Practice of Karma Yoga. At that time, I did not know the real meaning of Yoga or that a wonderful state called God-realisation was possible. I was merely attracted by the title of the book and purchased it. Swamiji's book effected an immediate transformation—all desire for success in secular education was given up and a deep yearning for God-realisation was substituted—a yearning that was thereafter constantly nourished by Swamiji's Grace".
We also read a few poems written by our Divine Master which reveal his exalted state:
I am not Afraid,
Let the whole world oppose me,
Let all turn out as my enemies,
Let all my friends and disciples leave,
Let me be put into prison,
Let me be sent on lifelong exile,
Let me be burnt alive,
Let me die of hunger,
Let me be poisoned or crucified,
Let my body be cut to pieces,
Let people come to stab or cut my throat,
Let me remain without anyone for help,
Let a thunderbolt fall upon my head,
Let me be thrown into the sea,
Let me be trampled upon by an elephant,
Let me be rolled down from a mountain summit.
There is no fear in my heart, no more.
I have powdered death, Maya and its effects;
I am the immortal Soul, Sivoham, Sivoham.
We reproduce two extracts from "I have won the game of Life" and "Cup of Bliss".
I have won the game of Life
I have attained perfection and freedom.
I live in pure consciousness.
I have won the game of life.
I have won. I have won. I have won.
Cup of Bliss
My exhalation is the universe,
My inhalation is dissolution.
The world is my body.
All bodies are mine.
In the pre-recorded audio message, Pujya Swamiji spoke at first about the magnetic, divine personality of Swami Rama Tirtha who travelled to the United States in 1902, and through his powerful aura, was able to influence and mould seekers. He was always in an exalted spiritual state. How to attain this exalted state? In the message Pujya Swamiji answers that by focussing on the importance of chanting the Divine Name continuously in order to make rapid spiritual progress to attain that exalted state. Speaking impromptu, Pujya Swamiji said, "A tremendous faith in the Divine Name, an unshakeable faith in one Guru, and follow one method will take us to the goal. Changing the method will not help us at all. We should take whatever method the Guru had chalked out and whatever method we've got; if it is Ram-Nam we should stick to it, or whatever Divine Name, stick to it with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul and see if you don't make any progress. Howevermuch you forget the Name, you should again and again bring it back. The last thing you have in your mind before you go to sleep should be the Divine Name and the first thing should be the Divine Name also. Then it will come in your dreams also. You will find that you will be chanting God's Name in your dream. That shows in the waking state, it is going on unconsciously too. Gandhiji had that power. He was saying God's Name for 24 hours of the day. He was a superhuman being. How he achieved that state, it is very difficult to know. He said that it went on automatically. Gandhiji never slept like the ordinary person. He had a yogic sleep, and even in that sleep, he was conscious that Ram-Nam was going on.
"Later on, the Divine Name becomes automatic. It settles in the heart and then nothing disturbs it. You are quite conscious that it is going on and your work is not disturbed. The work doesn't disturb the Name and the Name doesn't disturb the work. Gurudev calls this double consciousness. It is a very, very high state but it is achievable by everyone. Whether you are doing office work or mental work we can achieve that state. Gandhiji said that it took nearly 40 years. He had that unflagging will. All this is possible. Each one has a unique method". Pujya Swamiji spoke about two contrasting approaches to spiritual life‒the life of Swami Ramdas and that of Mother Krishnabai. Both attained the exalted state mentioned earlier, in their own unique way, through perseverance, sincerity and deep aspiration. We too, can attain that state, said Pujya Swamiji.
Pujya Swamiji continued, "We worry about the little things. Instead of clinging to God's Name, we worry about all the little things. So, we must divert the mind from there. Bring it back to God and the problem that is confronting us will settle itself. The Divine power from the Name will get that problem settled. So, our whole aim, our whole duty, first and foremost duty, is to take the Divine Name. Try to make it as continuous as possible. The more continuous you can make it, you can be quite sure that the Divine Grace is working actively. Regardless of your mental condition, whether you have worries or whether bad thoughts are coming, that is not so important at that time. If the Name is going on continuously, you can be quite sure that the higher Divine Grace is working actively. So that is the message. Take the Divine Name and see the results, especially in these troubled times".
We, of the world, are so fortunate to have inherited the legacy of our Divine Master. We are all beneficiaries of this spiritual treasure. What we do with it is all important. Do we squander it or utilise it wisely? What do we do to help ourselves? How do we honour His mission? He will guide us if we call. It is something which each one of us must do within ourselves. That is the only hope of survival in this sorely divided world. The followers of Swami Sivananda and Swami Sahajananda can pay no higher and better tribute to their memories than by resolving to live as they had taught to: serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize, be good, do good, be kind and be compassionate.