Srimati B. Sita Rai, New Delhi
This article is from the book Sivananda: His Mission and Message.
The sky may be dark and stars may not shine,
The Sun may dwell in the Deep Divine,
But on the stormy night when Fate declines,
The Light of the Himalayas ever shines.
It was the cold month of January. As a ship that was lost in the sea without a compass, so I was lost in this world of worries and sorrows, where there were stormy nights and dark waters. I left Delhi for Rishikesh and reached Hardwar early in the morning. From Hardwar the train sped me through the dense rustic woods to the lofty Himalayan slopes, where Ananda Kutir stands like a Light on the Hills. The heavenly beauty of Nature, the crystal clear water of mother Ganga and the very atmosphere which was surcharged with selfless service and cosmic love stirred my spirit.
The sacred Ashram is surrounded by small Kutirs, wherein are housed a dispensary, a library, a pharmacy, a school for children, a Bhajan hall for ‘Akhanda Kirtan’, a Mandir, a printing press, a photographic studio and a Yoga museum. A number of devout Sadhakas were working in the departments with such earnest zeal that peace reigned all over. There were no conflict or complexities nor was there any confusion or chaos. The whole atmosphere was tuned by the dynamic personality of Swami Sivanandaji for ‘Spiritual Worship’ and ‘Human Brotherhood’. The Self-luminous Saint of Ananda Kutir guides those who are lucky to come in contact with him by some way or the other. In Him one finds the generosity of mother earth, kindness and the love of a mother, discipline of a commander, and magnetism of the Lord Himself. I paused and thought how wonderful it would be to be free from all the worldly bondages like these blissfull aspirants of Ananda Kutir. How could have they liberated themselves when they were in the midst of the world!
Next morning as the shadows were awakening and the scent of the dawn was being carried by the cool breeze, I saw an eagle descending from the mountain tops. It glided without a flutter of wings into the valley and then disappeared amidst the shadows of the black mountains. At the end of the day I saw it return to its abode in the mountain peaks, far away from the strife, the struggle and the jostle of the world.
While watching this from the bank of the Holy Ganga, Swamiji said:
“So is the human being who wants to see the ‘Vision of Truth’ during his or her strife in the world. Though one may wander among the transient things and lose oneself among the shadows, yet all the life will be guided by that Eternal Goal. As the eagle soars to its abode, so will he soar beyond all sorrows, fleeting pleasures and passing joys. The attainment of that eternal goal is of primary importance for one who desires to disentangle oneself from all complications of life. Such a goal of one’s own experience, one’s own sorrows, sufferings, understanding and of Vision will throw Light on all the darkness and confusion of thoughts.”
Pointing to the sacred Ganga Swamiji again said:
“Look at the Ganga Mai. Throw filth in her or any dirty things, she will remain as sacred and pure as ever, and will provide sweet, clear water to the world. Life is a battle. It is a succession of conflicts. Despair not. Patience, perseverance and vigilance will crown your efforts with full success.”
So saying this dynamic personality took me to the Bhajan hall. The day closed with a congregational Kirtan when the very walls began to resound with the Name of the Lord in a blissful atmosphere.
Days passed in such ecstasy. It was my good fortune to have gone there. That great Mahatma treats you as if he had known you for ages. He looks to all the comforts and nurses you like a mother. This ‘Mother Divine’ is not only a spiritual guide but an ardent social worker, too. Not only he guides the devotees when they are with him but also when they are far away. The dedicated Sadhakas who have imbibed the Divine Bliss run to the devotees to serve when service is needed by them. Prayers are offered for the devotees and Prasad is sent. Their selfless service to humanity leaves deep and everlasting impressions on the minds of those who come in contact with Swamiji. He sees the Lord in everything and serves the Lord in everything by imparting the ray of Light to show the path.
The Sun shines during the day and at night he provides light to the moon and the stars to shine, but he fails to provide them light on the dark nights of thunderstorms. But the Saint of Ananda Kutir provides Light even during the darkest hours of life.
O, Mighty Light of Himalayas, may thou shine for ever and ever to guide the world.