I am just Swami Satyananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda, struggling on my spiritual path. Swami Sivananda had endurance like a mountain and his forgiveness can only be compared to that of Mother Earth. Mother Earth forgives you for all the mistakes you make on her bosom, enjoying and destroying her at the same time. Just as she is totally forgiving, so Swami Sivananda was full of forgiveness too. He was also very alert. From his kutir he would call, “Satyananda, Mr Jambar has come. See if he has eaten.” I would say, “Swamiji, he has eaten, but he is not vegetarian so he just took half a piece of bread.” He would say, “Why don’t you go and get him some meat?” So of course I had to do it.
Swami Sivananda always told me never to hurt another’s feelings. He himself practised this throughout his life. I have met many sadhus, mahatmas and saints. I haven’t seen Ramakrishna or Vivekananda, but I have seen Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Ramdas, Swami Nityananda of Vajreshwari, Dhuniwale Dada of Karwa, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and Acharya Rajneesh. However, the person who has had the greatest influencein my life was Swami Sivananda.
He convinced me, not because he was my guru, but because he was a man who lived in accordance with the laws of divinity.
—30 November 1994, Rikhia
Only one who has already been to Badrinath will be able to tell you the road leading to it. In the case of the spiritual path, it is still more difficult to find your way. The mind will mislead you very often. The guru will be able to remove pitfalls and obstacles, and lead you along the right path. He will tell you, “This road leads you to moksha; this one leads to bondage.”Without this guidance, you might want to go to Badrinath, but find yourself in Delhi!
Guru’s grace is needed by the disciple. This does not mean that the disciple should sit idle and expect a miracle from the Guru to push him directly into samadhi. The Guru cannot do sadhana or spiritual practice for the student. He can guide the aspirant, clear his doubts, pave the way, remove snares, pitfalls and obstacles and throw light on the path. The disciple himself will have to place each footstep on the spiritual path. He will himself have to place his footstep on each rung of the ladder of yoga.
—Swami Sivananda Saraswati