Swami Chidanandaji’s Samadhi Instructions
It is the usual practice in Monastic circles that when the Head of the Monastery or of a Monastic Spiritual organisation like an Ashram or of a Math dies it is the usual practice to keep the body in a certain customary manner in a sitting pose adorned with numerous flower garlands, sandal paste, sacred ash (vibhuti) and inform by telegram, telephone, email etc. all the numerous disciples, devotees, followers and members of that organisation. They do this in order to give them an opportunity to come and get a last “darshan” of the saint and a chance to pay their final homage before disposing of the mortal remains. It is a very solemn and devotion filled period when a group of disciples chant the Divine Name of God continuously day and night, while another small group of devotees read some Holy Scriptures like SRI BHAGVAD GEETA. Disciples sometimes come even all the way from foreign countries. There is somewhat parallel to this in the secular field also. They refer to this as “LYING IN STATE”. Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers etc. “lying in state” for a certain period after their demise so that their counter parts of other nations may come and honor them.
Now, contrary to all this prevailing practice, our Revered and Worshipful President Swamiji of the Divine Life Society has issued clear written instructions that when he gives up his body, his physical remains should not be kept beyond the maximum period of 3 hours. Originally he had actually mentioned 2 hours but upon the earnest plea of his nearby personal helpers he yielded to their request and extended the 2 hours limit by an hour more and made it 3 hours. Before 3 hours whatever they wish to do must be done and over and beyond 3 hours the body should no longer be there. There is some logic behind this wish of His. Because, unlike most of the Senior Swamis of the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, Revered Swami Chidandandaji Maharaj had been constantly travelling throughout the length and breadth of India visiting all the different branches of the Divine Life Society, fulfilling engagements, attending functions, conducting spiritual camps, presiding over the conferences, state-wise as well as All-India, inaugurating special projects, etc. What to say of India, Pujya Swamiji Maharaj has been travelling all over the World, both in the occident as well as the Far East to countries like Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, even Hawai etc. So it covers not only the occident and Far East, but also both hemispheres. Swamiji’s travels in the Service of Gurudev’s Divine Life Mission has taken him to far South America to countries like Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, etc.
We are reproducing worshipful Swamiji’s written instructions verbatim for the benefit of all the readers. Swami Maharaj has wished this has to be published because his health condition has deteriorated very much during the past 3 months. His heart condition has worsened. The concerned doctors have stated the necessity of a two months bed rest as indispensable for him. He is at present resting in retirement away from Rishikesh Sivananda Ashram. Visitors are not allowed. Only such persons are allowed to see him briefly whom Swamiji Maharaj permits or persons whom he himself wishes to see for some valid reason or other.
Herewith the text……
Wednesday, November 22, 2000
The Trustees of the Divine Life Society Trust,
both collectively as the D.L.S. Trust Board,
as well as official individual members of the D.L.S. Trust.
This clear-cut directive and various instructions contained therein, is given for your attention and necessary action without deviating even one whit from it in action as well as in spirit. I thank you for your compliance.
This directive is being given in my capacity as the seniormost inmate of the Sivananda Ashram, DLS Hqrs. both from the point of view of my physical age as well as from the point of view of the length of the duration of my stay in this Ashram of Gurudev as well as the length of the tenure of my discipleship to Gurudev Bhagavan H.H. the late Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj.
I am giving herein below the detailed instructions that comprise the directive just mentioned in foregoing paragraph. Whenever and wherever my departure occurs from this physical body (which I have been occupying and residing in for well over 3 quarters of a century) the disposal of the physical remains will be done as follows only. The authority with which I give this directive derives from the fact that except three beings, I am the only person who exercise the whole and sole authority over the physical vehicle through which I act. The first is God, the Supreme Being who ordained the formation of a body to receive me when HE sent me down here and HE also took up residence in it as the Antaryamin and secondly, the two natural parents of this body who were responsible for the formation of its structure and additionally the mother personality who kept and nourished the body within herself for the traditional 9 months and gladly and willingly underwent the aches and pains and difficulty of delivering it at its destined time.
Next to these three I have the sole and maximum authority over the body both from the point of view of long ownership and a prolonged duration of sole tenancy of full 84 years, a period that nears the last decade that is required to complete a century.
The body will not be brought over to any place desired by the Divine Life Society Authorities or important persons or devotees of the Divine Life Society Organisation. Only these instructions will be carried out. It will be carried out by those persons who constitute my junior helpers and almost always travel with me and accompany me during my tours outside Headquarters Ashram. Normally they are Swami Sharanagatananda and Swami Yatidharmananda etc.
The body shall be disposed off the same day of my departure of it provided this is not late evening at sunset or after sunset. In which case, it should be disposed off early dawn just before sunrise. This is in order that people could have their bath after sunrise, immediately after the disposal is finished.
The body shall not be buried under the ground. Bhu-Samadhi should not be given.
The disposal shall be done in the manner of the bodies of the sannyasins belonging to Adi-Sankaracharya’s Dashanami Sannyasa Order and the Sampradaya generally prevailing.
Wherever the departure from this world occurs, nearby local people will identify a place with a flowing river nearest to the place of demise. By proper arrangement the mortal body will be shifted by suitable road transport to the bank of the river decided upon with minimal spiritual rituals, the body should be taken to the midstream and bestowed Jal-Samadhi. The entire rite from start to finish should be done within three hours of the arrival of the dead body at the finish should be done within three hours of the arrival of the dead body at the river bank site. Chanting of Gurudev’s name, chanting the Mritunjaya Mantra 5 times and culminating with the chanting of Pranava (OM), a minimum of 16 times will be the only chanting permitted upon this final moment. The name Chidananda will not be articulately uttered by anyone present. After the group or the party that has very kindly done this task has taken its purifying bath, they will arrange feeding of brahmins, feeding on a large scale of school children, poor beggars, feeding of leprosy patients and feeding of cows, dogs, cats, monkeys, birds and ants and should be done with earnestness and sincerity. This is pleasing to the Lord Almighty, our creator. During feeding of Human beings, suitable dakshina should be given to one and all.
Divine Life Society Branches and DLS devotees will be informed only through the columns of the Divine Life Journal of the next month issue after the demise. There will be no information by telegram, telephone or speed post letter or courier letter.
All school children of the Muni-Ki-Reti Primary School will be treated to a very tasty and sumptuous feast and with Dakshina to all. The Teaching Staff will also be included. No other Ashram would be informed. A Tokri of fruit and prasad will be sent to the local police Thana in our neighbourhood. All the drivers of the taxis, tempos and threewheelers will receive suitable prasad, both consumable and usable for a longer duration upon a more permanent basis. The exact items of the last mentioned prasad is left to be decided by the Guru Niwas upstairs residents like Swami Pranavaswarupananda, Swami Sharanagatananda, Swami Yatidharmananda, Swami Guruprasadananda, Swami Chitswarupananda.
It is also a special item in this directive that the following list of persons should not be in-charge of the disposal process and should not be given any prominent authority to interfere in the carrying out of these instructions. They may only act as observers (without active participation) and witness things being done. They are:
Sri Swami Ramaswarupananda Saraswati
Sri Swami Sivachidananda Saraswati
Sri H.D. Sharmaji of New Delhi
Sri K. Arumugham of DLS Branch, Pattamadai
Sri V. L. Nagaraj ji of Bangalore
Thank you again for your compliance without deviation.
Hari Om Tat Sat!