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In Memoriam

H. H. Sri Swami Devanandaji Maharaj Attains the Lord.

On Friday, 7th January 2000 at 10.20 am Pujya Sri Swami Devanandaji Maharaj of our Rishikesh Sivananda Ashram breathed his last while at Hyderabad. The end came suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly, so to say from the layman's point of view, as he was reclining in his hospital bed at the Gita Nursing Home in Hyderabad with a few devotees present near him. But, medically the doctor who had been called in to see him at the place where Swamiji was residing and had first felt some uneasiness and shortness of breath on 6th Jan night, seems to have realised at once the seriousness of the patient he had just examined and advised that Swamiji, should be immediately shifted to a Nursing Home for prompt medical attention as his case was urgent. Because, the doctor saw that Swamiji's blood pressure had begun to fall at a somewhat alarming rate. He was shifted to the Gita Nursing Home as a temporary measure. On 7th Jan. while they were doing the needful to admit him into the CARE Medical Center which is regarded as the topmost super specialist medical and surgical facility in the twin cities, providence turned out to be otherwise. He attained his Samadhi in Gita Nursing Home itself.

The news quickly spread all over the city and devotees in large number thronged the Sivananda Ashram to have a last Darshan. As the Gita Nursing Home authorities saw that the body would have to be kept throughout the day for the devotees from outside places to come and have the late Swamiji's Darshan, they performed the necessary processes for preserving the body in normal condition, with the active help of Smt. Dr. Shanta Krishnan.

The body was brought to the Padmaraonagar Sivananda Ashram and was seated in Padmasana posture upon a platform around a tree immediately in front of the Ashram premises within its compound. Devotees gathered together and sat before the holy remains doing Srimat Bhagavadgita Parayan, Sri Vishnusahasra Nama, Mahamrityunjaya Mantra Japa and Mahamantra Sankirtan continuously. Even as Revered Swami Sri Chidanandaji Maharaj and Sri P.Venkateswarluji of Kakatiya Cements were discussing the details regarding the final disposal of the body in our traditional Hindu religious method as befitting to a sannyasin, there came an urgent message from a large group of his Andhra Pradesh devotees and disciples from near about Vizianagaram town that their Guru's body should not be taken anywhere for the last rites and that they are wishing to give him Bhu-Samadhi in the birthplace of Late Swamiji. They telephoned and informed Hyderabad that thousands of devotees wanted to receive the body there and give him Bhu-Samadhi. Hence, at about 10.40pm in the night a van was arranged and the body was taken by a few devotees first to the premises of the Sri Brahmananda Ashram at Ramapuram where Swami Devanandaji had been serving his Guru Swami Brahmanandaji before he decided to come away north to Rishikesh to the banks of the Ganga.. Revered Sri Swami Devanandaji's body was kept for darshan throughout the 8th and the next day on Wednesday, 9th January, it was lowered into the ground and given Bhu-Samadhi in the presence of numerous grieving devotees chanting the Divine Name. The site was within the new proposed Ashram property in Late Swamiji's birthplace situated nearby to the backside of the house in which he was born. Devotees are making arrangement to build a suitable shrine like structure over the spot.

Late Revered Swami Devanandaji Maharaj, who was a famed personality throughout India (especially in Andhrapradesh, Orissa and some parts of Karnataka) where he used to tour and electrify vast audiences with his inspiring and rousing Sankirtan of the Divine Name. He created enthusiasm for the chant of Nama Sankirtan wherever he went. His powerful voice and elevating tunes created waves of devotional fervour among the big gatherings he addressed.

He was born in Kothapenta village in District Vishakhapatnam, A.P. in the year 1937 on the 6th of June which was an Ekadasi day of the bright fortnight. His parents were Sri Guthapudi Ramaswamy and Smt. Simhachalamma. They named the child Sanni Babu. He had his primary education during the years 1943-1950. He joined the Brahmananda Ashram in 1951 and received Mantra Diksha from the holy head of the Ashram, Sri Swami Brahmanandaji on Sri Ramnavami day of the same year. He did guruseva in that Ashram and the famous Vyasa Ashram near Tirupati for a few years. Thereafter he travelled to Rishikesh via the holy town Varanasi and reached Rishikesh Sivananda Ashram some time in June 1956. Due to much pressure from his Gurusthan he was obliged to return to the previous Ashram in A.P. where he had to continue for a couple of years attending and participating in numerous number of spiritual and dharmic programmes until finally returning to Sivananda Ashram Rishikesh in April 1959. He remained in Worshipful Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji's personal seva from 1959 until !963 when Gurudev attained his Mahasamadhi on July 14th 1963. After that he toured India extensively attended many Divine Life Society conferences and programmes. He started a Telugu monthly to propagate Yoga and Vedanta and Gurudev's teachings. He translated into Telugu language, Gurudev's book Thought Power (in 1968). He further translated number of Gurudev's books into Telugu. His Diamond Jubilee Birthday Anniversary was celebrated in a big way during 1987. He was very kind to children and conducted a children satsang in Gurudev's Kutir about the time of Ganga Arati in the evening. He endeared himself to countless thousands of people by his simple living, polite and courteous nature and cheerful smiling face. He was essentially a renunciate and a sadhu. He had very few wants and few personal belongings. Tyaga and Tapasya characterised his nature and his day-to-day living. Being intent upon his own ideals of life and his sadhana interfering and meddling with other matters were quite alien to his nature. Thus, he was liked by all in the Ashram and was always a non-controversial individual. Sri Gurudev used to call him "Chinna Swami". His sincere services to Gurudev's Sivananda Mission are unforgettable. Everyone will always remember his musical chanting of Hanuman Chalisa, The Sankatavimochan Hanuman Stotra and his Sankirtan with kartal upon every Saturday evening during the Ashram Satsang. We pray to the almighty lord and Sri Gurudev to grant the departed soul Paramashanti and Supreme beatitude. Om Tat Sat. GURU KRIPA HI KEVALAM!

Swami Chidananda
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Last Updated: Sunday, 17-Oct-2004 08:44:46 EDT
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