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A Messenger of Peace and Wisdom
A Souvenir released on Swami Krishnananda's 75th Birthday


Swami Krishnananda: A God-Man

by Swami Narayanananda Mataji

On the holy and auspicious occasion of the 75th anniversary of the coming on earth of His Holiness Most Revered Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj, I would like to write a few words about this great God-man.

I met Swamiji in 1983 and for the past many years have had the privilege and blessing of serving Swamiji and of spending time in his holy presence. Swamiji's greatness is really unfathomable but there are certain aspects that can be mentioned here.

What has impressed me enormously about Swamiji is that he is established in God-awareness and does not need the approval or recognition of anyone to confirm his greatness. Swamiji knows that his real worth does not increase or decrease according to public opinion, and is free from all the paraphernalia and entrapments of name and fame. Therefore it is very joyful to be in Swamiji's presence – no formality is required and there is no tension or fear of inadvertently offending him in any way. He expresses himself spontaneously and allows us the same freedom without requiring the rigidity that is expected of many Gurus. In fact, Swamiji is so immersed in the universality of his being that most of the time he does not even defend himself from criticisms of those who misunderstand and condemn him. It is very rare indeed to meet such a great Saint who is liberated from the encumbrance of ego-identification.

Yet despite being unaffected by public opinion, Swamiji is known throughout India and all over the world as a great seer and God-man, a master of Eastern and Western philosophy, a knower of Truth. Though Swamiji never leaves the Ashram or travels anywhere, his reputation as a stalwart of highest thinking has attracted countless devotees and seekers from every part of the globe. They come to meet the exalted personage of Swami Krishnananda after learning about him or reading his excellent books, many of which have been translated into different languages. These visitors ask a variety of questions and it is a wonder for all of us to see how he replies to each one, always leading our attention to the highest universality, Self-awareness. Countless people have been totally transformed after meeting Swamiji and bathing in the bliss of his divine love. Every evening Swamiji presides over an hour-long meditation during which time all are free to apply their own meditation techniques. Not a word is spoken, not a sound is made, but the meditational vibrations emanating from Swamiji are so powerful that we are whisked away into a state of pure being, unaffected by time and space. With the holy blessings of Swamiji, the meditators merge into the One Self that Alone Is.

Swamiji's writings can be classified under the following headings:
1. Commentaries on Scriptures
2. Poems
3. Independent Monographs
4. Conversations

Under the first category comes Swamiji's magnificent expositions of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Swamiji's commentaries on the Brihadaranyaka and Chhandogya Upanishads are especially superb and they read as a harmonious flow in a soft and touching style revealing an indepth insight into the profundities of the Upanishads. Swamiji's Philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita is a masterpiece which has evoked praise from scholars and seekers as the best revelation of the true import of the Bhagavad Gita; these lecture delivered extempore are a comprehensive textbook that serves as a philosophical and spiritual guide.

Swamiji's poems include an independent classified portrayal of the Bhagavad Gita in poetry arranged subject-wise, called The Song of God Almighty, a novel presentation in Swamiji's own characteristic style of poetry. Swamiji's major poem, in five parts, is The Epic of Consciousness written in Miltonian style of epic majesty which touches the whole of the cosmology of the descent and the ascent of creation, to be read, to be lived.

Swamiji's monographs are the most important contributions to philosophical literature. They are The Philosophy of Life, The Ascent of the Spirit, Essays in Life and Eternity, Self-Realisation: Its Meaning and Method, The Philosophy of Religion, Studies in Comparative Philosophy, The Philosophy of the Panchadasi and The Realisation of the Absolute.

The Yoga of Meditation and The Yoga System are highly penetrating and comprehensive. Swamiji's major books on the practice of Yoga are: Introduction to the Philosophy of Yoga and Yoga As a Universal Science.

Among conversations, Swamiji's encounter with a Canadian lawyer in The Problems of Spiritual Life is a great treasure of insight, clarity and profundity. Your Questions Answered touches upon practically every aspect of spiritual inquiry, analysis and contemplation.

Also, there are a number of Swamiji's manuscripts lying unknown to the world as they are yet to be published.

But Swamiji is much more than all the intellectual and philosophical attainments for which he is so famous. Swamiji is at heart a true lover of God, immersed in ecstasy of the Divine, constantly aware of the bliss that permeates his entire being. Sometimes tears well up in his eyes; often Swamiji bursts into a devotional song, and there are occasions when he dances to express his joy.

Swamiji has a wonderful sense of humour, rather Swamiji's humour is an expression of the joy he always feels. He sees himself in every aspect of creation and is a master of histrionics. Swamiji can imitate any person, any animal, he can even produce the sounds of trains and aeroplanes. When Swamiji tells a story he moves the hearts of his listeners by identifying himself with each character of the tale, becoming one with their thoughts, emotions and actions. One day he mono-acted Bhagavan Sri Krishna as ambassador for the Pandavas; every scene and role was played by Swamiji alone, commencing with Krishna telling Yudhishthira that he would try for peace and concluding with Krishna showing the Vishwarupa in the Kuru's court. Each character was played in such detail and perfection that it appeared as though the entire drama was actually unfolding at that very moment. Even Draupadi's expression of grief and demand for retribution were a wonder to see, not to mention the magnificent portrayal of Sri Krishna and His manifestation of the Vishwarupa.

Finally, a few words regarding Swamiji's contribution to The Divine Life Society. Swamiji has been a resident of the Sivananda Ashram since 1944, and Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj loved him as his own dearest son. Swamiji has made an incalculable contribution to the spiritual development of this Ashram by his mere presence, and also by giving guidance to so many seekers in person and by correspondence, by giving countless invaluable discourses over the years, and through his many illuminating writings. Ever since Swamiji became the Secretary of The Divine Life Society in 1957 and General Secretary in 1961, he has protected the Society from all kinds of administrative interference, moving heaven and earth to free the Headquarters Ashram even from several acts of the Government by means of official exemptions. This monumental feat has been accomplished by the positive influence that Swamiji has exerted on persons of every level and rank, as well as by managing the Society in a straightforward and transparent manner which leaves no room for doubt about its his integrity.

So many different types of people reside in the Ashram, each with a unique temperament and manner of expression. That they are all able to live and work together peacefully is a great credit to Swamiji's remarkable flexibility and administrative skill.

The outstanding characteristic of Swami Krishnananda is a thorough going blend of Eastern thought and Western logic simultaneously with an extraordinary capacity to speak and write in a classical style with great literary merit, and above all Swamiji's rootedness throughout in his aspiration for unity with the Absolute – a rare example indeed to emulate by everyone who seeks perfection in their approach to life. Perfection – in everything from all sides – that is Swami Krishnananda.

May Most Worshipful and Revered Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj remain with us for a very long time to come.