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The Power of Collective Activity
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on the Golden Jubilee of the Mahamantra Kirtan on December 3rd, 1993.)

Sat Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj stood as a stalwart example of a centralised cumulative force, manifesting in his own personality the essence of spirituality. He himself, in his own personality, has a total cumulative power. Inasmuch as none of us can stand equal to him individually to represent that mighty cumulative power we, in our own humble way by following in his footsteps, have been endeavouring to manifest and live, to the extent practicable, that cumulative spiritual power by the services that we render through the medium of this Ashram and the worships and prayers and meditations which we collectively undertake among ourselves because any one of us cannot be equal to him. Sri Gurudev did not require the assistance of anybody else to manifest this power. But we, not being able to rise to the status of his personality, have to come together in a group of cooperative activity, feeling and service so that even today at this moment that same power is manifest in this Ashram, through this Ashram, and in his name.

There are two ways of generating this power. One way is for you, as an individual by your own self, himself or herself, to raise the potentiality of spirit within oneself to that dimension which was revealed in Sri Gurudev. You can extend, expand the dimension of your own being by deep meditation and a feeling of communion with Reality. If this is not possible for various reasons, we have to create the very same power by collective activity. Sanghe shakti kalyuge is well said: In this age, power is in groups, in collective, cooperative gathering and work for a common cause.

It is in this spirit that hundreds of devotees have come from various parts of India to this Ashram with a single thought in their minds. People are many, but their thought is one, feeling is single, and the purpose for which they have come is identical. So we have honestly created a powerful vibration in this Ashram arising out of the common thought of all the devotees present here physically, as well as those who are not physically present but are sending their prayerful cooperation from different parts of the country, perhaps different parts of the world also.

This is a happy occasion for all of us not only to remember this great divinity before us, Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, the great incomparable specimen of manifest Spirit in this world, and to work for the mission for which he lived and worked. We have no other purpose in our life here. All these services through the departments of the Ashram, whatever the shape they may take, are the forms and the shapes taken by this central motivation, namely, a rousing of a spiritual power in our own selves individually, in the Ashram as a whole, in the community. Our prayers will reach the whole country. A deeply felt prayer and contemplation will reach the corners of the world. There is nothing that prayer cannot effect. Remember the old saying of the poet: More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. We should not imagine that prayer is an uttering of some word as a routine, as a mechanical, practical device of religion. Nothing of the kind. Prayer is the rising of the soul within in its aspiration for the soul above, for which Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj lived and took care of us, and we live today for this very purpose.

In honour of the seed that he sowed in the year 1943 to generate this spiritual power in this Ashram, originally in this sacred Bhajan Hall, in connection with the pratishtha mahotsav of the sacred temple, Lord Vishwanatha temple—Siva's temple, Lord Krishna's temple, as we may call it—in this context we are here to bring to our memories the presence of this great master's vision and his own person, and we invoke in our own hearts this great power, and to honestly try to generate within ourselves this very same power at this moment for the benefit, blessedness of everyone, because spiritual blessedness is not individual. It is not even collective. It is integral, it is final, indivisible, God manifest in life. With this deep feeling, deep concentration, dedication, cooperation and honesty of purpose, may we all render our little might for the success of this great function.

This has been made a grand success by the cooperation and services of many people who came from various parts of the country, undergoing some suffering. Varieties of difficulties are there in travelling from long distances in the climate of this place, adding to the problems here, etc. They underwent all these difficulties and lovingly cooperated in the participation of this great, divine work of Sri Gurudev. Our thanks, our gratitude to all these devotees who have sacrificed their comforts, physical as well as mental, for the purpose of rendering their services in this grand function.

Fifty days of sankirtan of the great mantra initiated and inaugurated by Sri Gurudev have been carried on beautifully in this Ashram with the guidance of the Senior Swamijis and sadhakas of this ashram, and the cooperation of all devotees, and now we are in the process of the celebration of the completion of the 50 years after the pratishtha mahotsav of the Vishwanath Mandir, to be concluded on the 31st of this month. It is the commencement of the New Year also.