This article is a chapter from the book Chidanandam: The Joy of Knowing Him.
Speech on the Thirty-Ninth Birthday Celebrations
I am happy that this Birthday was celebrated.
At first I told Sri Swamiji that I might be excused for this. But, on account of these celebrations we have just now heard the essence of all scriptures, the core of the teachings of all saints of all climes and ages from his lips. We have heard the Upanishads in simple language.
We have heard the Quran, the Bible, the Gita, the Puranas – all the scriptures given in simple, forceful, thrilling, fiery, inspiring, direct living words from Gurudev. For this one thing, it is worthwhile that the Birthday was celebrated. I can’t say how happy I am.
What countless merits of previous births have given us this wonderful opportunity of sitting in this sacred place and hearing this fire coming out of this living blaze of infinite spirituality, infinite divinity that Gurudev embodies. What you have heard just now is something that cannot be described. He has simply poured out the divine light into us. Every word is a flaming fire of living spirituality. And, as Gurudev has said, we will get up tomorrow morning the same old people. To ensure against this, God has sent Swami Venkatesananda. Every word is now recorded and it will be printed. I pray to each one of you to treasure this copy of the printed report of Swamiji’s speech. Read it daily, the first thing in the morning and the last thing before going to be bed. This one talk of his is sufficient for our whole life, to give us the ideal pattern for our whole life, to transform us from jivas to infinite satchidananda atman, to elevate us to the Highest Divinity.
Soon after Swami Krishnanandaji’s Birthday celebrations, I had requested Sri Gurudev that in my case the birthday celebrations may be dropped. After some days he said “Whether you want it or not, I am going to celebrate it.” Then he gave me a wonderful prescription. This has been a test; and by Gurudev’s Grace I have passed. “Why do you worry?” he said, “Let them celebrate the birthday. Think it is someone else’s birthday. Feel: I am Akarta, Abhokta. Be a witness.” This spiritual pill he gave me. That is the spirit I have maintained the whole morning. But, just now I am all the more convinced that it is somebody’s birthday. You have all given such a wonderful description of this person called Chidananda that I think some day I would like to meet him.
You have all praised the spirit of selfless service. When we have got the example of Gurudev, how can we not do such service? Among Swamiji’s papers, I got a small diary which he had maintained in Swarga Ashram; it is printed in the book “Light Fountain.” In it you find items like “Serve Bhangis, Serve rogues. Go to the …. Kshettar where you are insulted.” He made all this part of his discipline. When this dazzling light is before us, is it possible that we can do anything else but follow some of it?
You may give me credit for one thing: I am trying to obey Swamiji. But that is my duty as a disciple.
All goodness is in God. All glory be to God. We will only glorify Him by trying to manifest goodness in our nature, in our thoughts, words, feelings, sentiments. If we look at Swamiji, we can understand to what great perfection and magnificent extent he is really glorifying God in and through his life. I am humbly trying to obey what Swamiji says.
You are all admiring a statue. The glory belongs to the sculptor! It is the wisdom and the genius of the sculptor that is visible in the statue. You forget all about the sculptor and go on saying all sorts of things about the statue! The sculptor is there in Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. The divine engineer of Swami Chidananda is Swami Sivananda. All glorification is due to those lotus-feet.
Therefore, let us always enshrine in the temple of our hearts the ideal that is Sri Gurudev, a perfect example of living divinity that we have before us. Let us meditate upon him.
Dhyanamulam guror murtih
Pujamulam guroh padam
Mantramulam guror vakyam
Whatever he says should be our gospel. Let us make our entire life a living, practical and dynamic worship of this divine idol before us in the form of Sri Gurudev, so that we shall be able to fulfil the purpose of our existence, viz. the realisation of the inner nature of Sri Gurudev in this very life. If we, indescribably lucky disciples at the feet of this divinity, are fortunate to accomplish that, our lives will be doubly blessed. All praise, all glory to God. All praise, all glory to Gurudev Bhagawan, between whom and God there is no distinction. Bhagawan is nirakara, nirguna, avyakta; Gurudev is sakara, saguna, vyakta. Let us humbly offer our prayers at his divine feet that he may bless us that in this very life we may try to work up towards the fulfilment of our ideal that he is for us all.