Sri Swami Sivananda

This article is a chapter from the book Inspiring Stories.

ONCE UPON a time there lived a Mahatma in a beautiful valley of the Himalayas. He had a small cottage made of grass on the banks of the river Bhagirathi. He was content with what he got by chance and was leading a very happy life, spending his time in divine contemplation.

It so happened that one fine morning the thought entered his mind that he should leave his Himalayan solitude and enter the plains and lead a mendicant’s life, wandering from place to place.

So he entered the plains. People were struck by his magnetic spiritual aura. He impressed them by his actions, speech and advice. His charming personality attracted all. He had grown a beautiful beard and had flowing hair, the colour of gold. On account of this he came to be known as Svarnakesa.

As Swami Svarnakesa wended his way through the plains he impressed one and all by his personality. One day he was passing through a village. A lady approached him in tears with a child in her arms. She narrated her awful tale of how six of her children had died one after another. She appealed to the Mahatma to save her seventh child who was seriously suffering from high fever.

Swami Svarnakesa felt pity for the woman and consoled her. He then pulled out one of the hairs from his head and said, “O venerable lady! Take this hair. Preserve it carefully and your child will be all right.”

The lady took leave of the Mahatma in great joy. By God’s Grace the child soon recovered. The news spread everywhere. The Mahatma became very popular. The citizens of the towns and villages all around came to know that there was a Mahatma who could cure the diseases of children by his magical hair. The news spread like wild fire.

The number of devotees who visited him grew more and more. Thousands of women approached him with their children for blessings. For all deserving cases the Mahatma would pull out a hair from his head and bless the patient with a sure cure.

As days passed, the number of patients increased. There was a regular cry for the Mahatma’s hair. Svarnakesa could not cope with the crowd. They could not wait for the Mahatma to pull out his hair from his head.

At last the excited crowd got hold of him and forcibly pulled out all his hair one by one. The Mahatma yelled in agony. People in their anxiety to get themselves cured of their diseases did not mind his anguish, until at last, the poor Svarnakesa breathed his last with wounds all over his body.

A spiritual aspirant should not run after name and fame. He should not run after powers. Flying in the air, drinking nitric acid, swallowing nails, walking on fire, entering into Samadhi on public platforms, burying oneself alive for forty days-these are not the true tests of a Jivanmukta or Siddha.

A Yogi is not one who shows some miraculous feats. A Siddha or Mahatma is not to be tested merely by the wearing of a loin-cloth, or by living in icy regions, or by eating neem leaves, or by living on air and water only. The real test of a Mahatma lies in the peace that he radiates, the joy and bliss that he imparts to those around him. The good that he does for humanity, the peace and bliss that he himself enjoys, absence of anger, lust, greed and desire for name and fame, equanimity in success and failure, cheerfulness, unalloyed bliss, absence of cares, worries and anxieties–know a true Mahatma by such sterling qualities.

A Mahatma is a Kalpa Vriksha. He bestows everything on his devotees. The extent of his power depends upon the degree of devotion he possesses. A Mahatma is a Chintamani. One can get anything and everything from him. Qualify yourself. Purify yourself. Empty yourself. He will then fill you with realisation, light, joy, prosperity, immortality and bliss.

May the blessings of Mahatmas be ever upon you! May you become blessed to receive their Grace!

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