In Memoriam of Sri Swami Devanandaji

In Memoriam

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

On Friday, 7th January 2000 at 10.20 am Pujya Sri Swami Devanandaji Maharajof our Rishikesh Sivananda Ashram breathed his last while at Hyderabad. Theend came suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly, so to say from the layman’spoint of view, as he was reclining in his hospital bed at the Gita NursingHome in Hyderabad with a few devotees present near him. But, medically thedoctor who had been called in to see him at the place where Swamiji wasresiding and had first felt some uneasiness and shortness of breath on 6thJan night, seems to have realised at once the seriousness of the patient hehad just examined and advised that Swamiji, should be immediately shifted toa 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 somewhatalarming rate. He was shifted to the Gita Nursing Home as a temporarymeasure. On 7th Jan. while they were doing the needful to admit him into theCARE Medical Center which is regarded as the topmost super specialistmedical and surgical facility in the twin cities, providence turned out tobe otherwise. He attained his Samadhi in Gita Nursing Home itself.

The news quickly spread all over the city and devotees in large numberthronged the Sivananda Ashram to have a last Darshan. As the Gita NursingHome authorities saw that the body would have to be kept throughout the dayfor the devotees from outside places to come and have the late Swamiji’sDarshan, they performed the necessary processes for preserving the body innormal condition, with the active help of Smt. Dr. Shanta Krishnan.

The body was brought to the Padmaraonagar Sivananda Ashram and was seated inPadmasana posture upon a platform around a tree immediately in front of theAshram premises within its compound. Devotees gathered together and satbefore the holy remains doing Srimat Bhagavadgita Parayan, Sri VishnusahasraNama, Mahamrityunjaya Mantra Japa and Mahamantra Sankirtan continuously.Even as Revered Swami Sri Chidanandaji Maharaj and Sri P.Venkateswarluji ofKakatiya Cements were discussing the details regarding the final disposal ofthe body in our traditional Hindu religious method as befitting to asannyasin, there came an urgent message from a large group of his AndhraPradesh devotees and disciples from near about Vizianagaram town that theirGuru’s body should not be taken anywhere for the last rites and that theyare wishing to give him Bhu-Samadhi in the birthplace of Late Swamiji. Theytelephoned and informed Hyderabad that thousands of devotees wanted toreceive the body there and give him Bhu-Samadhi. Hence, at about 10.40pm inthe night a van was arranged and the body was taken by a few devotees firstto the premises of the Sri Brahmananda Ashram at Ramapuram where SwamiDevanandaji had been serving his Guru Swami Brahmanandaji before he decidedto come away north to Rishikesh to the banks of the Ganga.. Revered SriSwami Devanandaji’s body was kept for darshan throughout the 8th and thenext day on Wednesday, 9th January, it was lowered into the ground and givenBhu-Samadhi in the presence of numerous grieving devotees chanting theDivine Name. The site was within the new proposed Ashram property in LateSwamiji’s birthplace situated nearby to the backside of the house in whichhe was born. Devotees are making arrangement to build a suitable shrine likestructure over the spot.

Late Revered Swami Devanandaji Maharaj, who was a famed personalitythroughout India (especially in Andhrapradesh, Orissa and some parts ofKarnataka) where he used to tour and electrify vast audiences with hisinspiring and rousing Sankirtan of the Divine Name. He created enthusiasmfor the chant of Nama Sankirtan wherever he went. His powerful voice andelevating tunes created waves of devotional fervour among the big gatheringshe addressed.

He was born in Kothapenta village in District Vishakhapatnam, A.P. in theyear 1937 on the 6th of June which was an Ekadasi day of the brightfortnight. His parents were Sri Guthapudi Ramaswamy and Smt. Simhachalamma.They named the child Sanni Babu. He had his primary education during theyears 1943-1950. He joined the Brahmananda Ashram in 1951 and receivedMantra Diksha from the holy head of the Ashram, Sri Swami Brahmanandaji onSri Ramnavami day of the same year. He did guruseva in that Ashram and thefamous Vyasa Ashram near Tirupati for a few years. Thereafter he travelledto Rishikesh via the holy town Varanasi and reached Rishikesh SivanandaAshram some time in June 1956. Due to much pressure from his Gurusthan hewas obliged to return to the previous Ashram in A.P. where he had tocontinue for a couple of years attending and participating in numerousnumber of spiritual and dharmic programmes until finally returning toSivananda Ashram Rishikesh in April 1959. He remained in Worshipful GurudevSwami Sivanandaji’s personal seva from 1959 until !963 when Gurudev attainedhis Mahasamadhi on July 14th 1963. After that he toured India extensivelyattended many Divine Life Society conferences and programmes. He started aTelugu monthly to propagate Yoga and Vedanta and Gurudev’s teachings. Hetranslated into Telugu language, Gurudev’s book Thought Power (in 1968). Hefurther translated number of Gurudev’s books into Telugu. His DiamondJubilee Birthday Anniversary was celebrated in a big way during 1987. He wasvery kind to children and conducted a children satsang in Gurudev’s Kutirabout the time of Ganga Arati in the evening. He endeared himself tocountless thousands of people by his simple living, polite and courteousnature and cheerful smiling face. He was essentially a renunciate and asadhu. He had very few wants and few personal belongings. Tyaga and Tapasyacharacterised his nature and his day-to-day living. Being intent upon hisown ideals of life and his sadhana interfering and meddling with othermatters were quite alien to his nature. Thus, he was liked by all in theAshram and was always a non-controversial individual. Sri Gurudev used tocall him “Chinna Swami”. His sincere services to Gurudev’s Sivananda Missionare unforgettable. Everyone will always remember his musical chanting ofHanuman Chalisa, The Sankatavimochan Hanuman Stotra and his Sankirtan withkartal upon every Saturday evening during the Ashram Satsang. We pray to thealmighty lord and Sri Gurudev to grant the departed soul Paramashanti andSupreme beatitude. Om Tat Sat. GURU KRIPA HI KEVALAM!

Swami Chidananda

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