A Souvenir released on Swami Krishnananda's 75th Birthday
I still remember very well my first visit for the Darshan of revered Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj in the Ashram. I actually came on a tour to Allahabad for the Kumbhamela as a pilgrim from Andhra Pradesh. This happened in the month of December 1988. In Allahabad, the weather was unbearably biting cold. Soon after my dip in the holy waters, I did not stay there even for one hour. Destiny willed it; I finally came to Sivananda Ashram.
In those days, revered Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj was residing in Govardhan Dham. It was about 10 O'clock in the morning when I went there. In front of Swamiji's room, in the verandah, there was already a gathering consisting of devotees from far off countries, Indian devotees, visitors and Ashram inmates, etc. The weather was very chilly. All of them who were squatting covered themselves with woolen shawls of different types. I was the only person covered with a thick Sholapur Blanket, to withstand the cold weather. A few feet away, I sat behind the gathering. In my Academic life, even up to the University level, I used to feel comfortable only in the back-bench.
After a few minutes, Swamiji came out from his room, himself fully covered with ochre robes. The gathering got up and prostrated to Sri Swamiji. It was the first time for me to meet a holy Saint directly. Therefore, I observed every movement of Swamiji meticulously. While taking his chair, Swamiji expressed his feeling thus, "This cold atmosphere is very good for meditation."
Though it seems to be a general statement outwardly, it applies to me also. Because I went there with such sort of ideas only and, therefore, there is a possibility to think that after seeing my incongruous odd attire, Swamiji might have expressed indirectly what was in my mind at that time particularly. I still hold the same impression in the heart of my hearts.
After completing that day's early morning transaction, Swamiji took up my problem. Swamiji very kindly condescended to oblige me and permitted me the good fortune of staying in the Ashram to lead an Ashramite's life. And now, though I am an inmate of the Ashram since eight years, I could not improve my contact with Swamiji further. I have been overcome by a sort of diffidence, due to my health reasons. Even then, Swamiji has been showering his invisible grace on me, for which this recipient is grateful to him for ever in life.
By hearing Swamiji's thrilling discourses and reading his inspiring books, a higher regard and greater veneration are generated in my heart. Swamiji's wisdom-filled spiritual personality may be the only reason for that.
Though Swamiji is leading a simple life, he is devoted to a discipline of high thinking. His innate nature always keeps him in philosophical thought. Swamiji is well versed in English. Even at the age of Twenty, he was able to write a drama in English. His proficiency in Sanskrit, ordinary people like us cannot estimate. He avoids to parade his virtues before the world. Inwardly there is an intense penance to escape from material coils and achieve Perfection. But, outwardly, he behaves as if he is reacting to every minor action of others. He apparently seems to be struggling with the problems of Ashram matters, even though he can immediately switch over to philosophical teaching without any prior preparation. He enjoys inner tranquility but appears to be not having detachment from worldly chores. Just like Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, he is a staunch devotee of Lord Sri Krishna. Being a master of expression, language and diction, he is able to expound convincingly the old beliefs, Yoga, Vedanta and Upanishads besides Gurudev's writings. There is a subtle counter reformation of simplicity in his writings while expressing views on religious matters to suit modern conditions in a novel way. Through his vast knowledge of English and Sanskrit, Swamiji has given a new meaning of the Vedas and the Upanishads to this sceptical generation. For the benefit of mankind he gave a new face to our ancient wisdom contained in our Puranas and Itihasas. He is the repository of all modern knowledge. He studied astrology in his early life itself. Everyday we can perceive his sixth sense in his tackling of people and issues, though he seems to be impulsive outwardly. He knows homoeopathy, physics, astronomy, chemistry, etc. He uses all these sciences as tools to express our ancient wisdom logically. He is an expert in reconciling spiritual injunctions of a contradictory nature when need arises. In fact, Swamiji has a tremendous memory power to remember persons, incidents and things. He feels more at ease with intellectuals of high calibre, and therefore, is capable of giving mental solace by solving their spiritual and mundane problems. Eminent people from all walks of life – scholars, professors, judges, doctors, engineers, ministers, Chief Justices, dignitaries – are coming to the Ashram and sitting at the feet of Swamiji to pay their respects. He knows in profundity about Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha of our religion and is capable of convincing even a rank non-believer with appropriate anecdotes. He is an expert in giving lessons to Westerners as well as to Oriental devotees, with a proper blend of Eastern and Western philosophy, Bible, Koran, etc. He is accessible to everyone at a scheduled hour every day.
There is divine grace in him. To help people to find a way to success even in their failure, to give a start at the point where others have become discouraged and to have the unique ability to succeed in projects which have been abandoned, are some of his outstanding achievements, with the divine grace of Sadgurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. He has done a yeoman service to the Ashram in enhancing its glory and spreading its noble Ideals to all corners of the globe by his remarkable abilities, by his strenuous, constant and untiring effort. To achieve this spiritual and material goal for the Ashram, he employed indirect, subtle psychological methods in dealings and made it a great Ashram of world repute from its humble initial stages. The Sannyasins and Sadhakas feel secure and happy for staying in and belonging to the Sivanandashram. Those who are doing Seva in the Ashram are having great regard for Swamiji's compassionate nature. Solomon expanded the Kingdom given by David without shedding a drop of blood with his knowledge and intelligence.
God's grace was with Sadgurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj Who made it possible for him to have an Ashram in his name for the sake of spiritual aspirants. Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj watered it and nursed it. Now it has become a great tree which is giving shelter to one and all. As a spiritual son of Sadgurudev who is Knowledge-Incarnate, he fulfilled his mission in life like Solomon. Glory to God and H.H. Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj for giving holy Godmen in the form of his disciples.
On the auspicious occasion of Pujya Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj's Amrita Mahotsava, I pray to God and Gurudev to give Sri Swamiji a very good health, to guide humanity for a long time to come.