Life of Swami Venkatesananda

34. The 34th Birthday of Swami Venkatesananda

The Divine Life Trust Society

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Venkatesaya

The 34th Birthday of Sri Swami Venkatesananda was celebrated on tho 26th and 27th December, 1954. The elaborate programme of the grand celebrations commenced with Brahmamuhurta prayer offered en masse by the Sanyasins and Sadhaks of the Ashram, for the health and long life of Venkatesannda. This was followed by an informal party organised by Sri Swami Madhavananda, Secretary of the Divine Life Society. At 9 am. the inmates went in procession from the Viswanath Mandir to Swami Venkatesananda's Kutir, and, after conducting Sankirtan for a while on the Ganga Kutir verandah, went to the Diamond Jubilee Hall, accompanied by Sri Gurudev and Swami Venkatesananda. Sri Gurudev himself, lending a hand to carry Swami Venkatesananda's portrait taken out on this occasion, reminded all of the glorious example of Lord Jesus who took a delight in serving and adoring His own disciples.

At the Diamond Jubilee Hall there was music and then Pada-Puja in which Swami Venkatesananda's mother, and also Dr. Adhwaryoo of Patan, joined. This function was movie-filmed by Sri T. S. Sitapati Iyer of Calcutta. Ayushya Homa was performed in the Viswanath Mandir for the health and long life of Swami Venkatesananda.

Soon after this there was the Birthday Dinner at Sri Gurudev's Kutir, in which Sri Gurudev and the Mahatmas of the Ashram took part.

The evening Satanga had been organised by Sri Swami Paramananda, to include several interesting items. After the Bhagavata-Katha by Sri Ayakudi Venkatarama Sastriar, Swami Vishnudevananda piloted the 'aeroplane' which represented Swami Venkatesananda who is descending from heaven to serve Sri Gurudev. The aeroplane moved forward towards Sri Gurudev and showered flowers at His Feet. Swami Paramananda unveiled a wonderful 'statue' of Swami Venkatesananda, prepared by Swami Vishnudevananda. Immediately Swami Venkatesananda himself introduced the statue to the audience in a humorous autobiographical speech, published in the Souvenir. The effigy was a conical basket clothed in cloth and coat; over this a pumpkin with the eyes, nose, and mouth 'carved' on its surface had been placed to represent the head. This head bore an artistic turban, also. Inside the basket was a typewriter with a lovely small statue of Sri Gurudev Himself placed over it.

Swami Venkatesananda's speech was followed by his own love-offering of various articles to the senior Mahatmas of the Ashram.

Then, Swami Chidananda read and presented to Swami Venkatesananda the Birthday Address. This was followed by Sri Gurudev's conferment of the sacred title of 'Siva- Pada-Renu' upon Swami Venkatesananda; and then the various presentations were made. Sri Yogi Gauri Prasadji's written speech was then read, and Dr. Sri Adhwaryoo also delivered a short but sweet speech. Sri Vasanta, daughter of Dr. K.C. Roy, of the Ashram, and Sri Shanta, Sri Swami Sankarananda's Poorvashram daughter, gave dance performances. Mrs. Padmavati Roy and Srimati Yashoda Devi, as also Sri Kumari Swarna of Chandausi, Sri Tara Devi of Swarg Ashram - all of them sang songs eulogising Sri Gurudev and Swami Venkatesananda. Then Sri Gurudev delivered a thrilling lecture published in this volume. This concluded the first day's celebrations.

On the second night, after the Bhagavata-Katha, a number of senior Mahatmas of the Ashram delivered thrilling speeches, all of which have been published in this Souvenir. On subsequent nights Sri Sita Devi, Gangiah, Sri K.V. Rajamani Bhagavatar, and Sri Swami Nadabrahmananda sang songs composed in honour of Swami Venkatesananda's Birthday.

We take this opportunity of conveying our grateful thanks to all those who took part in the celebrations at the Ashram, to those who have contributed articles for this Souvenir, and all the great ones whose blessings alone crowned the function with success.

To Sri Gurudev, for his most inspiring address, the entire Sadhak-World and all humanity at large owes a deep debt of gratitude. That single soul-elevating address has amply rewarded our efforts at the celebration of the Birthday of Swami Venkatesananda.