There are many different stages in the lift of a sannyasin. First he builds an ashram at one place and serves; this is one stage. Then he abandons the ashram and his working place; this is the second stage. At first he works with a limited group and then, having been united with the universal consciousness, he works to achieve a universal aim, having the limited group. This higher state is then traditionally called kshetra sannyasa. The aim of Swamiji in leaving the ashram over a year ago was not merely to visit the different teerthas, but he had decided to take kshetra sannyasa.
In accordance with Swami Sivananda's instructions, when Swamiji started the work of spreading yoga, he had to stop paramahansa sadhana for some time in order to make yoga available for all. The first instruction Swamiji received from Swami Sivananda was to serve. When free from this service, that is, when all the inner samskaras are burnt, then sadhana begins.
I had an opportunity to live with Swamiji from 5-11 August in Tryambakeshwar. He was living in a small room (8' x 8') which he cleaned himself. He slept on the floor, spreading a mat, he took only sprouted mung for lunch and brahma khichari for dinner which he prepared himself. There was no running water or electricity. He did not even meet with anyone. He was totally absorbed in sadhana, observing complete silence the whole day.
Swamiji said that a time must come in our lives when remembrance of the name goes on with total awareness. It should not be like ajapa japa where unconscious repetition of the mantra takes place. This japa should be continuous with total awareness. Swamiji told me that the only aim of his sadhana is unbroken repetition of name. If he can be aware of name even in the dissipated state of mind, then the perception of anahata nada will arise.
However, during this period when guru's consciousness is directed towards the universal or cosmic dimension, the disciples still wish to meet him at their level of consciousness. This causes disturbance in his sadhana. Therefore, Swamiji does not tell anyone where he is and what he is doing, Swamiji will continue his sadhana and austere life, not for one or two years, but for a long period of time. The state which he aims to achieve is total merging with the atma without leaving the physical body. In order to complete that, he needs our help.
Disciples should not think emotionally about how Swamiji cooks his own food and cleans his room himself. Instead they should think about how they can help him to achieve his aim. As disciples, we must follow his instructions word for word. He has given us many Instructions, but we only follow those which appeal to us and forget about the others, claiming that we will do it when some inner inspiration comes. This is hypocrisy. If this is the way, then it is meaningless to become a disciple. If we follow the guru's instructions in this way, it is because of our ignorance. If we tread the path of ignorance and think we are doing what is right, then there is no solution at all. Such a person will ever remain backward in life. Now you have to decide which path to choose for yourself.