Once I asked Sri Swamiji, “What was Swami Sivananda like?” for I have never seen him. I had darshan of Swami Sivananda as a child, but I was too young to have any memory of it. He blessed me but I don’t recall that moment; I sat on his lap but I don’t recall that moment. So I asked my guru what Swami Sivananda, my grandfather, was like.
Sri Swamiji replied that he was like Christ, very kind, compassionate and caring. He said that he was like Krishna, very practical, he knew how to apply knowledge in the right place at the right time, he lived practical wisdom. He said that he was like Rama, he knew what he could do to help others, he knew what his limitations and boundaries were, and he respected those limitations and boundaries yet they did not deter him from expanding continuously. He said that Swami Sivananda was like Buddha, he was the epitome of peace; anybody who came to him with a confused, conflicted, angry or agitated nature, would instantly fall silent, become quiet and peaceful in his presence.
I asked Sri Swamiji which trait he saw most highlighted in Swami Sivananda, what did he perceive as his innate quality? He said that everybody has an objective in their spiritual life; some people have the objective to be self-realized, some people to meditate and attain samadhi, some people to express their creativity, some people to discover peace. Each one has an aspiration according to their choice.
In the life of Swami Sivananda, the effort was to attain internal purity, harmony and balance. That is what he tried for in his life, and that was the instruction he gave to all his followers and disciples: try to cultivate the faculties of head, heart and hands through yoga, explore the faculties of intelligence, feelings, sentiments, emotions and action, involvement, participation and creativity. Discover the possibility and the potential that lies in head, heart and hands, and live a life in which you do good to everyone.
Swami Sivananda’s principles were to serve, to love, to give, to purify, to be good, do good, to meditate and to realize. These were the eight principles that he followed in his life, starting from serving to loving, to giving, to purification, to being good, to doing good, to meditating, and then ultimately realizing the oneness in everything and everyone. To come to this point, all his efforts and sadhanas were towards attaining inner purification.
Lakshmi-Narayana Mahayajna, 8 September 2015, Paduka Darshan, Munger, printed in Glimpses of the Divine III