Outstanding Features of Siva’s Personality
Sri C. H. Divanji, Bombay
This article is from the book Sivananda: His Mission and Message.
I happened to meet an old Sannyasi who has a profound love and respect for Swami Sivanandaji. I asked him, being older than Swamiji and having himself embraced Sannyas even before Swamiji, why he had so much love and respect for him. The old Sannyasi told me that he took Sannyas because forty-nine years ago he had lost his wife and three children in a fortnight’s time. So, he said, his Sannyas was a Karana Sannyas. While Swami Sivanandaji, as Dr. Kuppuswami, could have led a most comfortable worldly life having had a lucrative practice with popularity which few could command. Renouncing all these worldly comforts and fame, he embraced Sannyas through real Vairagya. That, from the old Sannyasi’s point of view, was one of the outstanding features of Swamiji’s life which earned for him the love and respect of Sannyasins in general.
My own experience about Swamiji has only been through his books and twenty minutes’ personal contact during his four-day stay in Bombay in October 1950. It is no exaggeration to mention that this short period was one of the happiest in my life. On all the four days I was in constant attendance at Swamiji’s camp.
The most remarkable feature that I observed then was that whatever Swamiji received through one hand, he distributed through the other. Over and above that he gave away several books as gifts to the visitors. I then felt that our Hindu religious leaders should be brought before Swamiji and made to understand that, instead of the “one-way traffic” of receiving only, they should also learn “the other way traffic” of giving, too!
I have read commentaries on Gita by different writers, but somehow or other Swamiji’s commentary appealed to me most. I, therefore, asked a Sanskrit scholar and a profound student of Gita the reason why Swamiji’s Gita appealed to me more than that of other writers. After perusing the book, he remarked that Swamiji’s Gita would naturally appeal to anybody as it has not been written with a view to showing his knowledge, but with a view to making a student understand it. This can be said about all the books that Swamiji has written. His, Mind, Its Mysteries and Control has been written in a simple language, easily understandable, though it is a difficult subject.
One of the great characteristics of Swamiji’s teachings has been that he himself comes down to the level of the Sadhaka and then gradually takes him up to the higher level. The other Masters insist that the Sadhaka should himself come up to a certain level before they would direct him further. Thus we find among Swamiji’s followers people of all castes, creeds, religions, and of different stages of evolution.
Swamiji is training a number of Sadhakas who will be able to spread the teachings of the wise throughout the country in course of time. A prominent Indian leader rightly said that, after Swami Vivekananda, Swami Sivanandaji is the fittest person to tour the world for shedding the light of the Hindu Philosophy all over the world. Swamiji’s hurricane All-India Tour (1950) has made him known throughout the country and his contemplated Continental Tour will not only make him known throughout the world but will be of immense value for the forthcoming Parliament of Religions.
In spite of his being engaged in all the activities of the Ashram and being in touch with the minutest details thereof, Swamiji is very easily approachable and gives prompt replies to all the letters addressed to him. There is a magnetic attraction in Swamiji which draws to him the millions. Whoever meets him, is convinced that he is real Satchidananda Swarupa.