(Spoken on September 7, 1997 the day before Swami Sivananda's birth anniversary.)
Living, existing – that is the greatest desire. “I want only to exist; I don't want anything else because if I do not exist, all the other qualities have no meaning.” But what kind of existence? A stone also exists, a pig exists; trees, animals, everything is existing. Do you want to exist like a pig? That you want only to exist is not a complete answer. It has to be qualified. Now you are putting a condition: I want to exist not as a tree or as a stone or as a pig, but as a human being.
Would you like to exist as a human being with nobody wanting you in this world? They spit at you, condemn you, throw stones at you and drive you out wherever you go. Would you like to exist as a human being in that condition? So it is not that you want to exist, merely. Then you modified it by saying that you want to exist as a human being. Now you are saying, “That also is not sufficient. I must be existing as a human being recognised by other human beings also.” So you want to expand your consciousness of existence to the social atmosphere. That also is not sufficient because your existence may be recognised by all people, but you are so poor that you have no food to eat. Now there is another condition. “If they recognise me as existing but I am starving, that is no good. I want food to eat also, because I have to live.”
Now the question is, suppose people recognise your existence and give you food today, but tomorrow you are going to die. Is it all right? Then again you are putting another condition. “That also is not sufficient. I want to live long.” How long? Three hundred years. Happy? Very good, But when two hundred and ninety-nine years are over, what will you think? “Oh, it is no good. I want to live.” A person does not want to pass away after forty or fifty years. He would like to live a hundred years, but when ninety-nine comes, he is frightened in the same way as before. There is no difference. Even if you live a thousand years, when nine hundred and ninety-nine comes you will say, “Oh no, now I am going.” So it is not true that you want to live long. This answer also is not correct.
Yamaraj told Nachiketas, “I will give you such a long life, as long as the world lasts and the sun and the moon and the stars exist.”
Nachiketas replied, “My great Lord, you are very kind in giving me such a long life, but when the sun and moon and stars don't exist and the world also goes, what will happen to my long life? It will come to an end. I don't want it.” Even the longest life is short when it ends. So how long do you want to live?
One by one I am mentioning that firstly, you want to exist only. Then your existence must be recognised by others. Then it must be a comfortable life. Then it must be not for a few days, but a long, endless life you want. You want to defy time itself, finally. Even then, you don't like to exist as an individual person in one corner like a tall tree existing for a long, long time. You must be recognised by all the people everywhere, and you must control the whole world, if possible. And what is above this earth? That also you want – the sun, the moon and the stars. You want to expand your being to universal dimensions. 'Universal dimension' means defying space itself. You want to defy space and defy time. This is what you want, finally.
I have never seen a person like Swami Sivananda, and we do not hope to see another like that. Givananda. He is not Sivananda, but Givananda. Give, give, and it shall be given unto you pressed and shaken and overflowing. You will weep at the greatness of this wonderful Mahatma Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. We are alive, comfortable here. We have got full security from the government. We have no problems. Every kind of medicine for treatment is here. A wonderful library is here. And daily, unasked, you get food. You need not ask for food. Sivananda is everywhere – in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Australia. Everywhere they know Swami Sivananda.
Tomorrow is the birthday of Sri Gurudev. For thanksgiving, as an offering of gratitude, we should try to be as he was, at least in a small modicum in our own selves, knowing at the same time what we want. The answer has come already. We want perpetual existence, universal existence, and eternal existence. That means to say, we want God-existence, Brahma-sakshat.
So we shall pray to the Almighty to give us strength to remember this great Master of the twentieth century who has shaken the minds of all slumbering people everywhere and awakened them to the consciousness of the existence of a higher life. Our obeisance to Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj!