A Souvenir released on Swami Krishnananda's 75th Birthday
"The chiefest wealth is a heart that overflowth with mercy: for material wealth is found even in the hands of vile men." TIRUKKURAL (TAMIL)
Swami Krishnanandaji, chief executive of The Divine Life Society Headquarters, is the heart of the Sivanandashram. He is a very simple monk, but tirelessly and wholeheartedly dedicated to the Divine Life Mission. He is a great Sage and a famous philosopher of the world.
In 1986, during the Kumba Mela, I stayed in the Sivananda Ashram. Swamiji asked me where I have been accommodated. I told him that I was staying in the dormitory, Ganesh Kutir Hall. At once Swamiji asked the incharge of Reception, 'why not give him a single room? Incharge Reception told Swamiji that I have requested, every time, accommodation in the Hall only. Swamiji told me: "All visitors usually demand a separate room, but you have requested accommodation in Hall." Swamiji thus showed keen interest and enquired every visitor and guest about his stay in Ashram, about his welfare, personal problems and inconvenience, if any, about stay at Ashram.
Swamiji is an Asthma patient. He is living on medicines and his diet is very very poor. Sometimes he suffered with reaction of the wrong dose of medicines. Yet Swamiji used to take his bath in cold Ganga river daily. Sometimes he did not get sound sleep at nights due to Asthma but yet he got up in Brahmamuhurta daily. He observed regularity and punctuality of time. He never refused to meet devotees. He delivered the lectures and attended the administration of Ashram works. He has no Sunday and holidays. Day and night he is working for Ashram activities. His life is a true meaning of every Sloka of the Bhagavad Gita, particularly of "Karmanyevadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana, Ma karmaphalaheturbhurmate sangostva karmani" (II-47): "Thy right is to work only, but never with its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction."
On 20th July, 1989 evening, I reached Ashram from Joshimath. Some persons were rushing to the Hospital and there was commotion. I enquired what happened. They told me that Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj was seriously ill and admitted in Hospital. So I also rushed in. But to my great surprise, I found that our Swamiji was delivering lectures on the Bhagavad Gita to his devotees even though he was unwell. Swamiji is an Ocean of knowledge, ever sharing it with others. The Tirukkural (Tamil) says: "Knowledge is likened to a sandspring: The more thou diggest and drawest thereat, the more excellent is the flow thereof."
Once Swamiji was sitting in front of his room. That was the "Darshan" hour, and devotees were sitting in front and around him. A lively conversation started and Swamiji touched on all matters and subjects. During the conversation, Swamiji solved individual, personal and family problems and cleared the difficult spiritual doubts. The conversations were interesting and absorbing so much so that we had forgotten the surroundings and the time. Swamiji Maharaj had to remind us: "The lunch bell rang long ago. All of you now go for your lunch. Namaskar and God bless you." We left Swamiji Maharaj with folded hands and I recollected that the Tirukkural says:
"Even unto the stomach some food will be offered when there is no food for the time being for the ear."