Om Namah Sivaya
The core strength of the organisation that Swami Vishnudevanandaji created is discipline, not an easy task for our rebellious minds and the mundane life we live in. When seekers visit the ashrams and centres that Swamiji created as spiritual homes, people fall in love with the discipline and when they go back home they often miss that the most.
The following excerpt about Master Swami Sivananda’s life is quite inspiring: “The Master practiced intense spiritual discipline for years altogether. He, who in later life impressed upon his devotees that spiritual discipline was not military discipline, but essentially self-discipline, had trained himself in a most systematic manner.” That same discipline was evident all through Swamiji’s life and teachings, and he passed that on to his disciples and students.
Realised saints often crave for seclusion, even as they strive to impart what they have learned to students and show how to be healthy, happy, and peaceful. Swamiji always wanted to stop what he was doing and go to the Himalayas to stay in seclusion, meditating and contemplating, however, his disciples and students were so attached to him that they never let him.
When we consider why Swamiji created so many ashrams and spiritual homes, what happened in Master Sivananda’s own life gives us an idea. Even after God Realization, the Master did not want to build an ashram of his own. To spiritual aspirants who sought his guidance at that time he said, “I am only a common Sadhu. I may not be able to help you much. Further, I do not make disciples. I can be your sincere friend till the end of my life. I do not like to keep aspirants by my side for a long time. I give lessons for a couple of months and then ask my students to meditate in some solitary place in Kashmir or Uttarakhand.”
So let’s take inspiration from the above and see how Master and Swamiji impacted many lives, rather than simply judging them, and try to analyse from a practical perspective.
To conclude on a practical note, Madurai ashram’s compound wall came out very nicely and landscaping is taking shape, making it a real ashram with a proper structure. We are in the final setup of the Sivananda Free Rural Medical Hospital whose inauguration is set for the 24th August. We are expecting various dignitaries including the Health Minister for Tamil Nadu, the Excise Minister, the local MLA and the District Collector to join us in the much-awaited opening of the hospital to serve the local villages who are without access to medical and specialist attention.
May Master and Swamiji’s blessings be with you all.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams & Centres, India