Life of Swami Venkatesananda

7. The Self of Siva

The Divine Life Trust Society

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Venkatesaya

Swami Sivananda-Krishnananda

Revered Swami Venkatesananda in the self of my Gurudev. The whole world is indebted to you, for the blessed ones like your noble-self sanctify our earth from time to time: Teerthee-Kurvanti Teerthani. All talk about such a noble soul like you in terms of praise as a Yogi or a great person will be a poor estimate of the sublime and supreme achievements that you have made, because one who has become identical with the divinity becomes immanent as well as transcendent.

Verily, you have become identical with Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati. It will be sheer injustice to say that you are a very great Sannyasi, serving the Guru at his feet and sharing in his glorious mission. The fact is that you have no longer maintained or reserved your individual identity as a Sevak or a Sannyasi or as a self-controlled Yogi. Every aspect of your life, every thought of your mind, and every work that proceeds from your hands is that of Sri Swami Maharaj. It is not Swami Venkatesananda as a separate entity in the capacity of a disciple or a servant that is working out the Divine plan of Sri Swami Maharaj. It is not Swami Venkatesananda of a human stature who has been accomplishing the task of a radiator or a gramophone record of Sri Swamiji Maharaj. Again it is not Swami Venkatesananda who can be given the honour of being the voice of Swami Sivananda Maharaj.

Is it right if we say that what Lord Ganesha was to the great Vyasa in recording down his immortal work or what blessed Ananda was, to keep on the torch of Buddha's illumination eternally kindled; that Swami Venkatesananda is to the great mission of the philosopher-saint Swami Sivananda Saraswati? To judge and analyse the relative phenomenon of Swami Venkatesananda's life and work in terms of a servant and an ardent disciple and an efficient instrument will be to underestimate his true position and value.

Then what exactly is the personality of Swami Venkatesananda? He has become identical with Swami Sivananda Maharaj. He is beyond the limiting functions of time, space, and causation. His mission or his achievements are his clock, calendar, etc. Every moment of his life is lived in tune with Sri Swami's mission, and there arises no need to say that he has all his senses under control, because he has no senses of his own. Just as we have in the Upanishad the illustration ot salt dissolved in water; and the father asks: 'Which part of the water, say my son, is not saltish?', and the son replies, 'Father, every part of the water is saltish and not a drop of it is unsaltish.' Yes, every part, may it be physical or spiritual, is Sri Swami's immanence.

Those blessed ones who feel by the virtue of the knowledge of the Supreme, we shall become the Supreme, rightly and justly value and examine the life of Swami Venkatesananda. It is not because Swami Venkatesananda eats what we eat or wears what is worn by every common man - it is not for that that Swami Venkatesananda is loved by all. It is for the mere fact that his entire personality has become identical and is in a state of merger with our revered Gurudev, the divinity incarnate, that we see in him no other than our Gurudev.

Wherever the ailing body of Siva moved, there moved Swami Venkatesananda; wherever the healthy Gurudev went, with him went, too, Swami Venkatesananda. How can a body remain in parts at two different places? The symphony of Swami's divine music plays in Venkatesananda's fingers and he sounds the rhythm of Gurudev's holy sermon. He is not merely the Voice of Sivananda, for this will be to charge him with imitation. He is Siva himself. It is in this spirit that we the members of Siva's home of fraternity introspect on the life and work of Swami Venkatesananda and on his philosophy.

The Blessed One said at his last moment to Ananda. 'Beloved Ananda, I have told you what I should: you are the light, life and the path, Blessed Ananda, you have to cover up this long distance by yourself.'

Swami Venkatesananda embodies in himself this independent spirit of evolution. The long and weary journey of existence on this earth he feels he has to cover up independently, but, nevertheless, he is ever conscious of the pains, sorrows and turmoils of the existence. He has transcended the plane of discursive consciousness where we mortals are, and has become one with the all-blissful Saint Siva. Then the philosophy of Siva has become his philosophy, the religion of Siva is his religion, and the mission of Siva is his mission. He is the material as well as the efficient cause for effecting the spiritual awakening in the hearth and home of mankind. He has no philosophy independent of that of Siva; he has no existence independent of Siva, who is his own self.

But in this relative plane, the parts of the Cosmic Being play in a mysterious manner. In the drama of life he plays the part of a king and a servant, great and small, the saint and the sinner, of Guru and disciple. Even as it is said: 'My dear son, He is Prana when he breathes, he is ear when he hears, he is mind when he thinks, and so on'. These are but names due to His functions; but people do not realise that the description is ever incomplete. The Self of Siva has penetrated into the entire body of Venkatesananda. up to his nails'.

It is our rare privilege to have participated in these sacred celebrations, not merely to eulogise a personality, but to meditate upon true spirituality, divinity, personified in the form of Swami Venkatesananda, the self of Sri Gurudev.

It is our prayer to Swami Venkatesananda to grace us with his choicest and profound blessings, so that we too may become one with our Gurudev in form, knowledge and spirit.