Krishnananda: The Purest Crystal
Gurudev Swami Sivananda used to call it battlefield pratyahara. It is the ability to live right in the middle of the intense, multifarious and fiercest activity and yet be able to direct one's attention to the desired objective. He himself used to sit in a crowded office, surrounded by clattering typewriters, chattering children, contemplative sadhaks and chanting pilgrims and carry on his conversations and communicate his instructions as calmly as if he were alone with just the other person in a cave.
Almost the same is the case with his illustrious disciple, Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj. The Ashram has grown enormously since 1963, and so have the duties and responsibilities of the General Secretary. However, these have not diminished the spiritual radiance of Swami Krishnanandaji or his readiness to make himself available to spiritual seekers.
Seated in the courtyard outside his kutir,under a tree with a few seekers in front of him, he reminds one of Dakshinamurti (though the seekers at his feet may not all be aged sages). Interruptions are countless and unpredictable. They may be routine cheques to be signed, bills approved, leave granted and so on; or they may be bothersome problems relating to Ashram administration, personality clashes or complaints and quarrels. Suddenly his discourse on a transcendental mystery is interrupted. For the next ten minutes another universe arises around this mysterious being. That which arises soon ceases; Swamiji returns to his original discourse and continues as if nothing had happened. The interruption, too, had been satisfactorily dealt with.
Each one approaching Swamiji gets the appropriate treatment! One day a young Japanese lady approached Swamiji with some problem. Swamiji curtly silenced her, apparently indifferent to her problem which he was unwilling to listen to. A few minutes after she had left, a young man asked: “Swamiji, why were you not sympathetic to her?” Swamiji quickly answered: “She is all right.” Of course, she was. Later she came and prostrated herself before Swamiji and confessed: “You have saved me. I am perfectly all right.” No one returns without receiving his or her deserts. Even if one is not immediately “satisfied” one is sure to discover that that was precisely what was needed then. Swamiji alone knows it; he alone can administer the right remedy who sees the malady without the least distortion.
People who come to him are not only seekers and Ashram officials. One day a few missionaries had come; their mission was mysterious, perhaps known only to themselves! They were plying Swamiji with questions provoking him to pronounce unfavourable judgements on religious or spiritual leaders they did not approve of. The way Swamiji handled them was classic. It is said of Lord Krishna that “He was a friend of the cats, who at the same time was guarding the milk pots.” Swamiji would not pronounce any judgement and he did not annoy the missionaries either! He had indicated the truth which is beyond all these polemics and conflicts.
Swami Krishnanandaji is the purest crystal which reflects whatever is placed near it. He has placed this crystal close to God, Brahman or the Self: therefore this crystal is ever in communion with the Supreme which is reflected in his very personality. In his vision there is no division, in his thoughts there is no vagueness and in his words there is no ambiguity.
Spend a few minutes at his feet. He will make you crystal clear to yourself!
Some of the scintillating features of the morning satsang with Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj have been captured by his devoted disciple, Srimati Bhagyalakshmi Ammal and presented in the following pages. They may make you thirsty to drink at the source!