Life of Swami Venkatesananda

41. Our Guide

The Divine Life Trust Society

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Venkatesaya

Gist of a Speech delivered by Swami Chidananda

Ever since Sri Swami Venkatesananda came here, my feeling towards him has been that of an elder brother. I have great regard for many of my Gurubhais. I have respect and reverence to a good number of them, and have got an admiration for several of them, and in my heart of hearts I worship them. I always consider myself as a speck at their feet. This is all due to the Grace of Gurudev.

Yet, a peculiar affection and love which partakes of the element which a brother has to another brother has been always a special feature of my attitude towards Venkatesananda, and due to that I was in a fix as to how I was responsible to make an address. This brotherly feeling that I have for him is because I often consult him. Sometimes I do not find solutions to some problems. Then it is to Venkatesananda that I go for suggestion, and suggestion of an extraordinary nature. I would ask him: 'What do you think Swamiji's opinion will be on this?', and if he says, 'This will be Swamiji's opinion', I would straightaway act accordingly. If he says, 'Keep quiet', I would keep quiet. If he asks me to do something else, I would do something else. This has always been my attitude.

The reason is I have a feeling that he is more in close harmony with Gurudev, due to constant close contact, and due to various circumstances. Some of us are, in this respect, unfortunate; we are so near to Gurudev, yet so far, and at times due to external state of affairs, we have to do certain things which may not be cent per rent according to Gurudev's way of thinking and feeling; and sometimes we may do things in a way in which he would not want us to do; and sometimes we may fail to do something, which he would have us do in a particular way. But the unique good fortune of Venkatesananda's position is that he is out of this 'janjat'. Therefore, he is in a position to have hundred per cent harmony and attunement with Gurudev. Therefore, I run to him when I do not find solutions to various problems, and one sentence from him is sufficient to determine my course of action.

Therefore, it has been a period of joy to me all these two days when we have had an opportunity granted by Gurudev of expressing what we feel about our peerless, gifted and talented brother, who may be young from the point of view of age, and young from the point of view of seniority, due to entry to the Ashram - young but venerable. He is young, yet adored.

Venkatesananda's laughter and gait behind it have got a very deep spiritual basis. He laughs and plays and makes funs. You all attribute it to his human nature. This is true, but is not the whole truth. The other part of the truth is that he is able to give full expression to the joy of the Spirit. Some people smile and laugh for a while; after that the old samskaras again make their countenance depressed. But that is not the case with Swami Venkatesananda. The reason very few people know. He is saturated with the spirit of the Yoga Vasistha. This spirit of the Yoga Vasistha Gurudev puts in a nutshell. 'Nothing exists, nothing belongs to me. Immortal Self I am.' and that, 'There is no world in the three periods of time'. I know that Venkatesananda has fully absorbed the essence of the spiritual truth which is the heart of the Yoga Vasistha. It is only when you take things to be real that everything becomes important, you become serious, but everything is a matter of laughter to him, because nothing exists. He is always based upon that. There is nothing in the world that exists in the three periods of time. Then why worry? Laugh and be happy. That is spiritual consciousness. But no one knows this. It is spiritual 'do not care'. This is his inner basis. Do not take him to be a merry-going ordinary being. But every speck of his inner consciousness is made up of this brick that everything is a matter for our laughter. There is only one real thing. He has studied the Yoga Vasistha very deeply.

And in the Ashram he is a peace-maker. Wherever there is a little friction between two departments, he will go and cement it. He will see that all people are amicable with each other. He is constantly a peace-maker. He is able to do it because a spirit of friendliness and brotherhood is there.

There are other instances where he imposed austerities upon himself. Gurudev used to come to the library in those days. He once saw Venkatesanandaji's bed in the library. He was lying down on the floor. Only one bit of Kusa Asan was there. It was winter. If his head was on the Asan, his body would be on the floor. If his legs were on the Asan, his other parts would be on the floor. Gurudev was surprised to see his austerities. One of the ways in which Swami Venkatesananda has tried to evolve himself was self-punishment. He used to impose upon himself rigid self-punishment for failure to do Sadhana. I have got great love for Swami Venkatesananda and love for his determination.