Vedantin, sage, sanyasin, friend and guru—Swami Krishnananda Is a many-splendored personality. This personality is what is described by the Vedic term hamsa, the Swan. The hamsa abides on the surface of the waters of the phenomenal world and in the ocean of cosmic consciousness—in the Absolute. And yet he takes Interest in our mundane problems and issues and clarifies them for us. All problems disappear in his presence.
Sri Swami Krishnananda's maiden attempt at writing was his commentary on Swami Sivananda's Moksha Gita. Swamiji was very young, hardly twenty-three, when he wrote it. Yet the commentary reads as coming from a mature mind of a full blown jnani. Even earlier Sri Gurudev had conferred on him the title of “Vedanta Kesari”. This first work of Swamiji at once earned the admiration of Sri Gurudev:
How many Sankaras have been rolled into this young Sanyasin. He is a great tapaswin, he is a great jnani. Beyond that I should not say in his presence. When a man performs tapas, he is a well that will never dry up thereafter. Swami Krishnananda is our Dakshinamurti; and Dakshinamurti was young too.
Since then Sri Swami Krishnananda has written many books, among which are two philosophical works of outstanding worth: Realisation of the Absolute and The Philosophy of Life. He has also written minor works like Bhagavad Gita Explained and A Short History of Religion and Philosophical Thought in India. In the words of Sri Chidananda Swami Maharaj:
Inestimable indeed are the services that he has been rendering ever since his advent in the Ashram, to Gurudev's spiritual institution and to Gurudev's great mission of the dissemination of spiritual knowledge. In fact, he is the institution. The Divine Life Society and the Divine Life Mission live in Swami Krishnanandaji.
This book attempts to present him informally and is in a sense a diary of the morning darshan-hours or satsangas with Swami Krishnananda. When I had felt the urge to collect and record Swamijis' conversations through which spiritual knowledge and subtle truths got passed from the speaker to the listener, I asked him for a message of blessing. He wrote, “The aim of life is God-realisation and every other duty is only contributory to this supreme duty.” And this message is in fact what emerges from the compassionate words collected here. Areas like metaphysics, meditation and yoga are rendered intelligible through these responses to a variety of doubts raised by the advanced yogi, the aspirant, down to the curious, casual tourist or visitor.
It is not as if Swami Krishnananda did nothing all these years but write and give discourses. A karmayogi that he is, he has rendered exemplary service to the sick in the Sivananda Hospital.
Multifarious were the activities the young Swami was called upon to do. From sweeping the floor and arranging in detail for the night satsanga to the polemical level as the professor of Vedanta lecturing in the Brahmamuhurta classes of the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy under Gurudev's auspices in the different categories or subjects, he has gone through the whole gamut of the activities of the Ashram from its very initial stages to the present day.
Swami Sivananda Maharaj, my most honoured Guru, has made this mandate that we give and share everything we have; thus purifying ourselves as a means to God-realisation. It is of such a sharing that Gurudev speaks of in his autobiography when he mentions that his writings were a source of joy to the seeker as these sought to communicate spiritual truths otherwise beyond ordinary comprehension. Swami Krishnananda's words also represent the same spirit of sharing—they are a gift from him to the people. Thus in compiling this volume I feel convinced that I am fulfilling Swami Sivananda Maharaj's mandate.
I am grateful to all who have helped me in various ways in preparing and finalising the volume.