During my recent stay at Anandashram, some brother devotees suggested that I
should write a life-sketch of Swami Satchidananda for the benefit of our devotees the world over. In spite of my fairly close contact with the Swami for over four decades I wondered if I could do full justice to the Swami's many-sided personality. Yet, I agreed to write it and share with the devotees what I have known about the Swami.
It was in 1949 I had the joy of making friends with the Swami at the Ashram. His
pre-sannyas name was Anantasivan. The Swami wore then white pyjamas, a white jibba and a kerchief tied round his neck, scout-fashion. He was 30 years of age with bright, black, large eyes which seemed to be seeking something in the distant horizon. He was soft-spoken and it could be said of him that he wore his heart upon his sleeve. We became very friendly and I could discern that he too, like me, had something of spiritual hunger. We used to spend hours savouring Swami Rain Tirtha's ideas, embedded in his seminal work, In The Woods Of God-Realization. What the great soul had said about dispassion made a deep impact on our young minds. We felt life of the spirit alone would enrich the fabric of our lives. From the way we moved with each other, others would have taken us for spiritual twins, despite the disparity in age. I was nine years older than the Swami. God willed that we should have a meeting of minds and hearts in the Abode of Bliss.
It is with amused delight I look back on the pitch-dark night when I had gone with the Swami for a stroll and how, on our return, we had slept, like carefree, homeless children, on a sandpile inside the Ashram compound. We did not like to go into our room at that late hour. We woke up only when the first faint light of the rising sun started shimmering in the eastern sky.
We sat, as often as we could, at Beloved Papa's feet, drinking in the words of ripe
wisdom that flowed out in a stream from His divine lips. It was evident that Papa had scaled the steep, spiritual heights and drunk deep of the nectar of Para-bhakti. On hearing those words, we were lifted out of ourselves. Bliss was it in those distant days, to be seated before Beloved Papa: to be young and receptive, was very heaven. For days, the Swami and I warmed ourselves before the blazing fires of spirituality, Papa and Mataji.
When I met the Swami again, he had embraced sannyas. I rejoiced that God
had guided him to his destiny. The Swami could take the plunge, as he had prepared himself inwardly and was longing for the life of the Spirit. Besides he was a bachelor, with no ties to bind him. In subsequent years, I discovered that he had ripened spiritually as evidenced by the glow of peace on his face. He was a picture of simplicity, purity and humility. I could also see that he was wholly unaware of his inward change. Although basking in the sunshine of Guru's grace and enjoying a measure of detachment and elevation, he had the same love and consideration for his old friend. That drew me still closer to him.
Small wonder that after the Mahasamadhi of Pujya Papa and Pujya Mataji,
He is the guiding spirit of the Ashram. The wonderful service he has rendered to the great Gurus and the sterling qualities he has acquired over the years through tapasya have made him the torchbearer of the Master’s message of Viswa-Prem and Viswa-Seva. The Swami revertly follows in the footsteps of the Great Souls and serves the Ashram devotees with the evenness of vision vouchsafed to him. My humble prostrations at the feet of the dedicated soul!
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