Life of Swami Venkatesananda

33. An All-Round Personality

The Divine Life Trust Society

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Venkatesaya

Sri Vedanand Jha, M.A., L.B. Chapra

Swami Paramananda's kind invitation to lay my humble flowers on the auspicious occasion of the descent of the spirit as Swami Venkatesananda gave me unalloyed joy at the very idea. Wishing to imbibe the very qualities in which he excels, I had occasions to learn and was very much impressed by the humility and self effacement of this young exemplar of qualities divine. Before meeting him in person, I used to picture the editor of the Forest University Weekly as an august personage, sober as the head of the Department of any University. But, lo, when I find him gay and frolicking, unassuming and easy, as a student in his teens, the contrast makes me ponder: 'Is he really the editor of a weekly teeming with articles of unequalled philosophical import?' But that he is.

And even as a press-reporter he sits down to note most of the important speeches of which there are many in the Satsangas of Gurudev. Considering the frequency of the speeches, their speed and variety, and the faithful manner in which they are later reproduced, as well as the clarity of thought and purity of heart behind his own expressions, one cannot but judge this ideal example of alertness and good sense as one beautifully shaping in the pattern of the Master.

It is this setting which creates joy and satisfaction amongst the fellow brothers of this young prodigy. He has drunk deep the nectar from the fountain of Bliss and expresses it in his own life as purity, cheerfulness and humility, and a ready humour, making himself loved by each and everyone in the Abode of Bliss. It is not for nothing that Gurudev has showered his Kripa on this luminary of the Vaishnava family of the south, one of the foremost of his disciples.

To me he has endeared himself specially by transmitting messages as if from Gurudev. Inadvertently I had got a few letter-heads printed with the Divine Life Society's Crest. He vaguely remarked about the impropriety of such a step and when I pointedly asked him next time about it, he said: 'It referred to an American lady who was almost a crank.' I had, however, got my lesson.

In spite of all the responsibilities he has shouldered, I found him washing dishes after a small feast in the Kutir, with a seriousness of application and alacrity fit for any job of importance, pointedly shaking me out of my vanity of high and low, good work and bad work. Such instances are many in his daily routine, indicating the heights of spiritual grandeur which proximity to Gurudev has conferred upon him.

His lucid, simple and direct style, and an intimate knowledge of men and things, have made him a great exponent and speaker about the Ashram events and personalities. No work is complete without a contribution from his facile pen, portraying exactly the merits of its author. He has written not only the 'Bhagavad-Gita for Students', but the monumental volume 'Sivananda's Lectures All-India Tour'; in addition to his multifarious responsibilities, He has indeed been a tower of both strath and splendour in the grand Spiritual Mission of Swamiji. His capacity for untiring work is astounding, his devotion to his Preceptor matchless and unswerving, and his unflinching adherence to the principles of Divine Life is worthy of emulation. He has done much to spread widely the effulgent personality of Swami Sivananda and the inwardness of his teachings.

One can thus see that he is cent per cent correct in comprehending the mystic formulae of Gurudev, so humbly and ably expounded by him in his brief autobiography published in the Forest Weekly on the occasion of the last birthday celebrations of Gurudev. Those that have come near him in one capacity or the other cannot but wish him, this blossoming rose in the garden of Swami Sivananda, a long life and a perpetual good health for the benefit of humanity. Praise be to the Almighty for presenting this gift to us all.