It’s all His name, it’s all His form, it’s all His deed, and it’s all for good.
Sri Gurudev Swami Satchidanandaji’s early life was spent in South India, a lad steeped in ageless scriptures and filled with holy men and women who found in God a peace and happiness more permanent than the fleeting wonders of the passing world could ever give.
Desiring to conceive a child that would grow up to be like those saintly ones, his parents traveled to the sacred Palani Hill to seek God’s blessings. Here his mother was given a mantram to repeat that would develop a vibration within conducive to receiving such a soul. It is not surprising that when the child she bore grew to manhood, he gave himself completely to spiritual life, and his mantram became this: “To spend every breath I take in serving God and His humanity.” Today, Sri Gurudev has become well-known around the globe for his guidance, his teachings, his inspiration, his insight, his wisdom, his example, his universal love, and his all-embracing approach to religion. He respected the various names and forms, and saw the one universal Lord behind them all. He did not deny any individual, but accepted all people as his brothers and sisters in the one family of God.
The lesson I learned from all the great Masters was service; always serve, serve and serve.
This is a lesson Sri Gurudev learned by heart as a disciple, and one he had lived with all his heart ever since. In his remarkable life, Sri Gurudev had personally known many of the saints and sages described in the booklet Lives of Luminaries. Throughout his long life he worked together for the cause of peace with many of the leaders of their organizations.
The devout family into which he was born on 22 December 1914 were cousins of Kandaswami Swamigal. His family Guru was Sri Sadhu Swamigal, and many times as a child he visited Swamigal’s ashram. His first school lessons were the alphabet poems of Avvaiyar. As a young man, he often visited Ananda Ashram to spend time at the holy feet of Papa Ramdas and Mother Krishnabai; later he entered the Ramakrishna Thapovanam, where he received pre-sannyas initiation from Swami Chidbhavanandaji. During this time he received the blessings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. And he was privileged to spend some time at Ramanashram during Ramana Maharshi’s last days.
Finally, in 1949, he arrived at Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, where he received sannyas initiation from Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. Soon after, he was called out into the world as a servant of God to minister to His children around the globe. Since then he touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of spiritual seekers with the light of truth and the love of God. We too can learn the great lesson Sri Gurudev learned: to serve, serve and serve—and to thereby know ourselves the peace, the health, and the joy that have won him the love of so many dedicated friends, the reverence of so many devoted disciples, and the respect of so many other leaders in the world today.
(Excerpt from Lives of Luminaries, reprinted in the IYTA Newsletter, August 2006)