Swami Chidananda’s Letter to Devotees (January ’98)

January ’98

President Swamiji Writes:


Blessed Immortal Atman!
My Beloved Spiritual Brethren of our global human family,

May peace and joy prevail in your heart as you enter into this auspicious New Year 1998. May this peace and joy stay with you throughout this 12-months period of this year which is a gift of God to you to make use of in a wise, worthy and gainful manner. May this peace and joy within you be shared with all persons with whom you come into contact as you live your life day by day. As you pass along the highway of life keep on bringing this peace and joy into the lives of one and all, young and old alike. May you live as a centre of light and radiance. May your life and actions be a blessing to the world of today. This is indeed the life sublime worthy to be lived. Such a life is indeed a befitting and most appropriate votive offering to the Supreme Being. This is my New Year good wish for you.

To this end live in a creative and progressive way: You need to keep your interior robustly positive, enthusiastic and keenly interested in this way of life. Because, whatever has to be manifested and expressed on the outer plane of daily activity first has its origin in your mind. Thoughts and desires, intentions and inner decisions become translated into outer actions. They tend to partake on the same quality as that of their interior origin. Hence, the need for cultivating and developing a positive optimistic and enthusiastic interior state of your psychological self. There is a cryptic Hindi language saying, “Jaisa Mati Vaisa Gati” which means, as the mind so the actions. Everybody knows the oft quoted dictum, “as a man thinketh so he becometh.” A similar saying proclaims that the mind alone is the cause of a human being’s bondage as well as liberation (Mana-eva Manushyanam Karanam Bandha-Mokshayoh). All this finally lead us to a logical conclusion that the inner state of one’s mind is of prime importance and should be given top priority in our self-culture and self-management. This is the plain truth, a fact about which there can be no dispute.

In the light of this, all negative states in the mind and all negative moods of the mind should be cut short and ended summarily and nipped in the bud by evoking a healthy and positive Sattvic state within. Through the allegorical story, A Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan brings this out graphically. All negative states like dejection, depression, despair, melancholy, inferiority feelings, self-condemnation, pessimism are all unspiritual and undivine. They are regarded as the devil’s tools. But, of them all the first place is taken by discouragement. If you lose heart, and get discouraged, downward plunge commences. Therefore, in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna comes out strongly against this. He pulls up Arjuna sharply asking to snap out of his disheartened mood. He rebukes Arjuna and tells him to give up his faint-heartedness and stand up and act to fulfil his duty. One is reminded of the lines: Act, act in the living present, heart within and God overhead. The following little narrative will serve to throw some interesting light upon this matter.


It was once announced that the devil was going out of business and would offer all tools for sale to whosoever would pay his price.

On the night of the sale they were all attractively displayed–a bad looking lot. Malice, Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Sensuality and Deceit, and all the other implements of evil were spread out, each marked with its price.

Apart from the rest lay a harmless looking wedge shaped tool, much worn and priced higher than any of them. Someone asked the devil what it was.

“That’s Discouragement”, was the reply. “Why do you have it priced so high?”

“Because”, replied the devil, “It is more useful to me than any of the others. I can pry open and get inside a man’s conscience with that when I could not get near him with any of the others, and when once inside, I can use him in whatever way suits me best. It is so much worn because I use it with everybody, as very few people know it belongs to me”.

It hardly need be added that the devil’s price for Discouragement was so high that it was never sold. He still owns it and is still using it.

Beloved friends, make this New Year a gainful and progressive period of enthusiasm, optimism and a resolute positive approach to life.

Radiant divinity! Blessed children of light, peace be unto all. May the joy of the indwelling presence of God be experienced by you at this moment when you are receiving His gift of a New Year. May God’s divine grace accompany His gift of 1998. Also my loving prayers to our worshipful and beloved Gurudev Sivananda Bhagawan to bestow his choicest blessings upon you and enrich your entry into this New Year 1998. Thus, let Gurudev graciously make this auspicious new beginning a double gift by granting you the gift of a Divine life.

Make this coming twelve months and the three hundred and sixty five days contained therein be a very special period by sincerely living it in a divine manner day by day, in thought, word and action. May all your movements and activities become enriched by a worthy divine quality. Because, the full potential and the ability to do this is over and above your temporary human nature. Your real essential nature is suprahuman. It is divine. To be divine is your birthright. To be divine is the natural way for you. To be divine is to be what you actually are. To be divine is to be true to your real Self. Hence, to be divine is to be genuine and authentic in the living of your life in all its details. Therefore, be divine and let your life be a Divine Life. Otherwise you will be failing to live up to your real nature. Your life will not be genuine. It will be a caricature. It will be an anomaly of life. God or the Almighty universal Divine Spirit is your source, origin, the basis and support of your being. A tree is the source and origin of fruits. An apple tree produces an apple fruit. You, as a fruit of God’s creation constitute therefore an outward expression and manifestation of the divine nature of God. This New Year is indeed like a golden book of 365 fresh unwritten pages. Now you have it in your hands. Each day a fresh page. It is to be filled by you. Filled, not in alphabets, words and sentences. In this book of life the contents of each page are your innermost thoughts, motives, sentiments, words and deeds. It is for you, to be filled in 365 pages whether by burnished words of gold or of shining silver or of dull base acts of littleness. You don’t have to be little. Be great. Be noble. Make your life sublime. Become thrice blessed by the very manner of the living of your life. God speed you upon this glorious path. May health and prosperity attend upon you. This is my New Year’s greetings and good wishes for you. This is also my New Year’s message for you.

God and Gurudev shower Grace upon you now and always.

Swami Chidananda

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