The Eternal Link

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

What was it about Sivananda Maharaja of Rishikesh that attracted you?

The destiny of guru and disciple is linked. No matter how much they try they cannot run away from each other. They follow each other life after life. Disciple is always on the lookout for the guru, and guru also is on the lookout for his disciple. Guru is not senior and disciple is not a junior element. they are complementary units; they make one whole. Guru is the transmitter and disciple is the receiver. If there is only a transmitter and there is no receiver can you imagine what will happen? Radio stations singing but there is no radio and no transistor. There has to be combination between the transmission and the reception.

Guru is the power in the powerhouse of energy, and disciple is the conductor, carrier and communicator. Prior to my coming to Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh, I had already been to a number of great men in this country. I had had initiations into the dakshina marga and vama marga. At the age of eighteen, I was initiated by a yogini into vama marga. After I left my home I met another yogi, who gave me instructions into dakshina marga. Whatever I learnt from them was very important for me. I was contented.

However, there was something in me which did not make me stay with them. I was not sure that what I was experiencing was the real experience. Then I met a sadhu with matted locks on the train. I did not really know who he was because I was a convent-educated boy, therefore, my vision was totally westernized. I thought he was a magician, but then he was smoking. I asked him, ‘Can you give me a cigarette?’ He gave me and said, ‘Where are you going?’ I told him that I was going in search of a guru. He seemed to be a very wonderful man. He said, ‘Okay I will tell you where to go.’ After a few stations he asked me to get down from the train. That was the station called Baderi, and he told me the train I had to take to Rishikesh.

In Rishikesh, I went and lived for about five or six days going to different ashrams. Fortunately, I went to one ashram whose head was a great wise man. He wanted to know why I had come to Rishikesh. I said I had come for a guru. He indicated that I should go to Sivananda Ashram. I went there and met Swami Sivananda on 19 March 1943, at nine o’clock in the morning. He asked me why I had come. I said that I had been meditating for many years and come to a point of experience where my consciousness became completely inert and hibernated, and that I did not know how to get out of that crisis. I said, “I have lived both ways of tantra which has given me a lot of willpower. I can manipulate my mind, my emotion, my willpower and others as well, but I am unable to go beyond that point and manipulate that state of mind.”

He just gave a very brief reply, “Stay here, serve your guru. Undergo sufferings, purify you mind.” It seemed to be very logical to me because unless the mirror is clean you cannot see your face. If your mind is not pure, you cannot see the self. There is no use going into higher realms of meditation without pacifying the mind. Because I had a strong mind, I forced myself into the higher realm. But then there were certain preparations which I had not made. I had not subdued my ego. I had not exhausted my karma. I had not undergone the necessary suffering for the purification of the soul. I had just followed the academic side of yoga, not the real side of yoga. I had forced myself into meditation.

I can definitely say that the time I lived with him was the most fruitful and most deeply impressive part of my life. He was not a scholarly type of personality. Though he has written over 250 or 300 books on different subjects he was not a scholar. He wrote of his experiences. He was very simple. Not at all shrewd. Very intelligent, very wise, but not clever. You could easily cheat him. If you give a lot of money or jewellery to your little baby, anybody can take it from him. For him it was the same. You could take anything from him.

For some time, all my communication was physical. Then a chain of astral communications took place. I do not work on my own. Nor do I think too much. I am the most relaxed person, because I know I have a commander, and I am a servant. He tells me to do it, I do it. If he does not tell me to do it, I will not. If he tells me the right thing and the consequences are positive – perfect; if he guides me and the consequences are negative – perfect. I do not own any allegiance to success and failure, because it is not my work. I am the servant, instrument or medium. That is why I am happy to be a disciple of Swami Sivananda.

28 December 1981, Munger