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The Early Days of the Ashram
by Swami Krishnananda

The thought of incarnations such as Rama, Krishna, Jesus Christ and others is not of any particular thing. It is the thought of everything that is created, at one stroke. They think like God Himself. God does not think of any object. There are no objects before God because the whole universe is God's manifestation. So what does God think? He thinks Himself as a whole manifestation of the universe. Whoever can think like that is a superman. Can you imagine what the vision of a superman is? You don't think that you are coming from any place. You are coming from all places at one stroke. Your personality is transformed and transmuted into the structure of every level of existence, so that you are everywhere in your essence.

But who can think like that? You will never be able to think that you are everywhere. The substance of your personality is the cosmic substance, so the cosmos is operating through you. Therefore, you do not belong to any particular place, nor do you belong to any person. You belong to the entire creation. Whoever can think like this is a superman. Therefore, they have got no personal desires, no likes and dislikes because God has no likes and dislikes. He is all. Whoever can think like that is also a divine being, and he is called a Godman, so a superman is also a Godman. There is no use of merely taking their name; you must be able to think like them. Then you will be a saint in one second. Do you want to become a saint? If you can think like this and the idea has entered into you, you are a saint from just now.

This ashram is Swami Sivanandaji. He established it, he founded it, he worked for it, and all the values that you find in this ashram are inculcated by Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. He has written so many books, some 300 books almost. Swami Sivanandaji came in the year 1924, and he did not stay in this place because this ashram did not exist. He stayed on the other side of the Ganga in a place called Swargashram. He stayed there for about twelve years, eating the chapatti given by the Kali Kamli Wala Kshetra with no ghee, no milk, nothing. It seems he dipped the chapatti in the Ganga water and ate that. Twelve years of tapas he did, and he became a very strong, indomitable figure.

After that, Swami Sivanandaji shifted to this place. There was no ashram here. There was only a little thatched hut where cattle used to stay, and some of his disciples cleaned the whole thing. Cow dung, grass and hay were removed, and he stayed there. There was no food because there was no ashram, so one or two of his disciples used to go to the Kali Kamli Wala Kshetra in Rishikesh, which caters food to all people. They brought some chapatti and dhal, heated it on the little chula, gave it to Swamiji, and then had to go straight back to the Kali Kamli Wala Kshetra and eat there. Swami Sivanandaji could not go there, so it was brought to him.

Slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly the ashram rose up like that. There was no Divine Life Society, etc. Swamiji officially registered The Divine Life Society in Ambala in the year 1936 under the Societies Registration Act. It is also registered under the Trust Act. He went on a very virulent pilgrimage through U.P. and Punjab. Swamiji was a master of sankirtan, and conducted sankirtan tours. The Society was only on paper; physically it did not exist. Afterwards, Swamiji came back and stayed in a little single room and started writing.

But how could he write? There was no money for paper. He used to collect old newspapers and write his message on the margins of the newspapers. Can you imagine such a thing? And those little writings on the margins of newspapers, who will publish them? There was no press here; nothing was here. Swamiji sent it to some printing press in Madras, called Natesan & Company. They said, “We don't do job work. Somebody cannot give us a manuscript and ask us to print it. But as you are a great man, we will do the work.” Some of his earliest writings were 'Sure Ways of Success in Life and God-Realisation' – I think it is the first book that he wrote. It was printed in Madras.

Slowly, people came to know of him. Some little donations also came. Some people used to send a one-rupee donation. One rupee was a great thing in 1924-1926. Now even a thousand rupees has no meaning. At that time one rupee was sufficient. A schoolmaster in Nagpur used to regularly send a monthly donation of one rupee, and Swamiji never used that money for himself. He purchased a little kullar of milk and gave it to the poor sadhus in Swargashram. Sadhus do not accept any gift, so he came to know that they would not take it. They used to go to the kshetra for food. While they were gone he would keep the kullar of milk there, and when they come back, they did not know who had kept it.

Such kind of renunciation spirit Swamiji had. He never took anything for himself. It was all for others. If someone offered a tokari of fruits, he would immediately distribute it to people. He used to be nicknamed not Sivanandaji, but Givananda. Always give, give, give, give, give, give. Remember the great statement of Jesus Christ: “Give, give, give and it shall be given back to you a hundredfold, shaken and overfilled.” You do not lose anything by giving in the name of God. If with two hands you give to charity, with a million hands God will give to you. You will have no place to keep that gift of God.

Such trust you must have in the immediacy of God. He is not far away in some heaven. He is just here, like the vibrations of radio and television, which are just here. You need not have to travel a hundred miles to catch the radio waves. Only a receiver is necessary; immediately it will speak. You are also the receiver. You can receive through the mechanism of your own heart and feelings the vibrations coming from the cosmos. That is why I said if you understand this principle correctly and the ideas have entered into you, in one second you are a saint and God will protect you.