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THE PERFECT MASTER
by Swami Narayanananda
Table of Contents
Salutations to the Preceptor
Sri Sivananda Vijayam
I. A Life Sketch
II. Health and Features of Siva
III. Siva’s Spiritual Heritage
IV. Siva–His Daily Routine
V. Siva–The Sevak
VI. Siva–His Writings
VII. Siva–An Orator
VIII Secret of Siva’s Sadhana
IX. Siva-His Self-reliance
X. Siva–His Love for Seclusion
XI. Siva–His Special Virtues
XII. Siva–His Method of Meditation
XIII. Karma Yoga of Siva
XIV. Siva–His Austerities
XV. Siva–A Friend of All
XVI. Siva–A Capable Master
XVII. Siva–A True Guide
XVIII. Siva–His Work for Spiritual Uplift
XIX. Siva–His Hospitality
XX. Siva–A Unique Personality
XXI. Siva–His Sankirtan Propaganda
XXII. Siva–His Lecture Tour
XXIII. Sadhana Week at ‘Ananda Kutir’
XXIV. Siva–His Training of Aspirants
XXV. Siva–How He Trains Aspirants
XXVI. Siva-His Training of Children
XXVII. The Divine Life Society
XXIX. Ananda Kutir Forest University
XXX. Salient Points From Siva’s Life
XXXI. Siva–His Philosophy
XXXII. Siva–His Sayings
XXXIII. Buddha and Siva
Appendix Some Memorable Dates in Swami Sivananda’s Life and Mission
Complete Works of Swami Sivananda
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands, of time
History is made, not in the palaces of kings, not in the fields of battle, nor over conference tables. History is truly made in the hearts of sages, the men of wisdom, the men of God, whose divine thought-radiations go round the world and effect a great change in the heart of Man. The result is not immediately apparent: it is not intended to be, either, for the purpose is evolution of humanity and not revolution.
Gurudev’s place in the history of the world is that of a Buddha or a Jesus. Historians will regard him as not only the greatest among modern religious leaders but also as an incarnate Divine Power that was able to work a miracle in the Heart of Man. Buddha himself was a king; so, his religion soon earned royal patronage. Lord Jesus and his immediate followers won mass adherence to his religion by spectacular martyrdom. Eventually, Christianity, too, ascended the thrones of Europe.
Over a hundred biographies have been published detailing Gurudev’s qualities, his life-transforming mission and his life-saving grace. ‘Sivananda–The Perfect Master’ is a beautiful, touching and realistic biography of Sri Gurudev, which should be considered even today as a model of the utterly real facets and faces of Gurudev’s life as observed by the author in those days. In this volume were brought together the many interesting anecdotes about Sri Gurudev from his boyhood till the year 1945. The book was written in 1945. We have reproduced the matter as it is. In the Appendix we have reproduced some memorable dates in the life of Gurudev’s life and mission, and a list of Gurudev’s complete works.
Sri Swami Narayananandaji Maharaj, the author of this book, was born at Trichur in Kerala on 16th September, 1915. He first came to know of Sri Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, in the year 1932, through the latter’s spiritual teachings in the columns of the ‘My Magazine of India.’ The earnest young seeker reached Ananda Kutir, on the banks of the Ganga, on the 4th January, 1938. Recognising his spiritual worth, Sri Gurudev initiated him into the holy order of Brahmacharya on 20th January, 1938, and gave him the DikshaName, Narayana Chaitanya. Perceiving his holiness and purity, Gurudev allowed him the privilege of doing personal service to him.
Gurudev gave him the important work of typing of the hand-written manuscript of his spiritual writings. Sri Narayan thus became filled with the teachings of Gurudev’s thrilling spiritual Upadesa. He also undertook the work of editing these manuscripts and getting them printed at Lahore or Calcutta, correcting the proofs and supervising the entire publishing work. He was unsparing in his dedicated labour in service of Guru Maharaj. All work was sacred to him. He did such worshipful work with absolute selflessness but at the same time with the keenest interest. Swamiji always insisted that Nishkama-Karma Yoga and Seva meant selfless service, not without interest, but with keen interest, earnestness and genuine sincerity. He faced great danger and even the risk of death during the Hindu-Muslim riot in 1946-47 when he was in Lahore supervising the intense publication work at the Mercantile Press there. With city in flames all around him and with violence and murder let loose everywhere, he stuck to his duty and by miracle managed to bring away safely valuable spiritual books of Gurudev. He renounced even the blessing of Gurudev’s company and the holy Ganga to go and stay at the General Printing Works at Calcutta to reprint numerous precious out-of-print works of Guru Maharaj. He took Sannyasa on 16th September 1954, when Gurudev initiated him into the holy Monastic Order, and named him Swami Narayanananda Saraswati.
Swami Narayananandaji was a most illustrious disciple of Sri Gurudev. He was the repository of many noble virtues. He was a monk of great renunciation, a deep spirit of Vairagya and exceptional Virakti. His devotion to his great Guru was unparalleled. Sri Gurudev’s service was the very life and soul to Swami Narayananandaji. He lived only to serve Gurudev. He endeared himself very greatly to worshipful Gurudev by his total dedication to his Mission, by his absolute selflessness, his purity of conduct, humility and self-effacement. He shone as a silent saint amongst the Sivananda Ashram Monastic Brotherhood.
Though he was not actually connected with the Management of the Ashram, he was later on made the Vice-President of the Divine Life Society, by Sri Gurudev himself, because of his saintly nature.
Gurudev once declared, referring to Swami Narayananandaji, “He is simplicity itself. His is the scriptural ideal of a Paramahamsa. He never likes to wear costly dress. Renunciation of selfishness and egoism,–this is the secret of renunciation and this is the Tyaga that Sri Narayan Swamiji possesses. The world is in need of more such saints. Follow his footsteps and shine as beacon lights.”
He lived a life of intense spiritual quest and Tapasya and attained Mahasamadhi on 17th of September, 1972, in the sacred city of Varanasi.
THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
This book is the outcome of my constant company and Satsanga with the great Yogi and Saint of the Himalayas, Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. He was gracious enough to give out some reminiscences of his life in October last on repeated urge of his devotees.
I have incorporated in this book authentic and first-hand information in respect of the saint gathered from my own experience and from the earlier disciples of the Swamiji. This book is not an attempt to merely narrate the chronological events of his life from his childhood but to describe the saint from different standpoints. An attempt is made to present before the readers the personality behind the saint.
The book contains the key to material as well as spiritual progress. Sri Swamiji Maharaj lives through the pages of this book and hence it is an indispensable companion to all sincere Sadhaks.
It is very difficult to put in writing all that I want to express about the divine personality of the Swamiji because words are finite and language is imperfect.
Sadhaks should necessarily know how the saint developed himself into a godly man, what are the Sadhanas practised by him, what are his virtues, what are the methods adopted by him to control and purify the mind and such other details. They have been included in this book.
I wish to bring to the notice of the readers that Sri Swamiji Maharaj is a cosmic servant toiling day and night for the welfare of the world. He is a living example of selfless service or Nishkamya Karma Yoga. He is full of Prem or divine love. Untiring service unto humanity is his one religion. I have heard him say many a time: “I do not crave for emancipation. Let me serve humanity birth after birth. Let me help you all to achieve Self-realisation. Let me be the last person to enter the portals of Mukti or emancipation. The joy and bliss I derive from service is in no way less than the bliss of Mukti or salvation. Those who want to detach themselves from the world and attain the state of Nirvana through Nirvikalpa Samadhi may very well do so but I shall be satisfied with selfless service unto humanity even in repeated births. The Lord may give me any number of births and utilise me for His service.”
It is quite clear from his actions, utterances, speeches and writings that Nishkamya Karma Yoga is the best and proper Yoga for spiritual evolution. This alone can put the aspirant in the path of Bhakti and Jnana. Sri Swamiji Maharaj says: “A Karma Yogi must be either a Bhakta-Karma Yogi or a Jnani-Karma Yogi. He must follow either Jnana of Bhakti though he is engaged in service. Therefore he also reaches the goal attained by a Bhakta or a Jnani.” May my Master give me strength to live up to the ideal and goal pointed out by him. This is my fervent prayer.
Sri Swamiji Maharaj is a self-made personality. He had no outside help during his Sadhana period. Every help he got from within, the Imperishable source of Joy and Bliss. He has surrendered his body, mind and soul to the Supreme. Aspirants are brought near him as a result of their good Samskaras of the past lives. It is by the grace of the Lord that a Sadhaka gets nearness to him.
Come one! Come all! Enjoy the supreme bliss and spiritual ecstasy in the holy company of the dynamic Yogi of the Himalayas. A mere Darshan will clear all your doubts.
I close this note with my humble prostrations to the Revered Master. I dedicate the work at His Holy Lotus-Feet. It belongs to him and I, therefore, offer it to him.
May the saint of Ananda Kutir ever guide and steer us in the spiritual path! Let him pull us back, when we stoop to worldly temptations, by his powerful thought currents! Let his protecting hand be upon us all!
A disciple at his feet.