A- A+

Glorious Fifty Years of Wisdom and Service
A Souvenir released on Swami Krishnananda's 50th Birthday

The Neo Vidyaranya

by S. Subba Rao, Secunderbad

Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj is one of the younger monks of the Sivananda family. Though young in age is very old in erudition and wisdom, a living example of what is called 'a grey head on green shoulders'. He may aptly be styled Vidyaranya of the modern age. He is a great exponent of Vidyaranya's "Panchadasi" and in my opinion a worthy disciple of the worthy master. My personal contact with Swamiji dates as far back as April 1959, when I first visited Sivanandashram. Even a casual observer can see how simple and unostentatious Swamiji is. He occupies an important post in the Ashram as the General Secretary. Even before taking up this responsible post the greater part of the arduous task of the administration of the Ashram was entrusted to him by Gurudev.

In good old days before the advent of steamers there were sailing vessel each vessel had one or more sails for its forward march on the bosom of the sea, while there was a heavy weight at the bottom of each vessel called the ballast which kept the boat stable. If Sivanandashram can be compared to a sailing ship, Swami Chidanandaji is its sail and Krishnanandaji its ballast. Swami Chidanandaji goes abroad and disseminates the Gospel of Gurudev to the four quarters of the Globe, while Krishnanandaji stays at home and manages all the affairs of the Ashram in a befitting manner.

During my annual visits to the Ashram, I had several opportunities of coming into close contact with Swamiji and know something of his personality. He may be said to be a supreme example of plain living and high thinking. He is a man of regular habits. very simple in his mode of dress, and systematic in his work. He is highly intellectual and a consummate master of the spiritual treasures of all our religious scriptures as may dearly be evidenced from his masterly treatment of the subject in his small but invaluable volume entitled "A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India". His approach to the abstruse and recondite subjects of Truth, God, Life etc., are no doubt eminently practical, but they are highly intellectual and I feel too high for the average mind. There are two authoritative works on Vedanta commonly expounded in the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy—"The Panchadasi" and "Yoga Vasishta". Both are simple in language but treat the subject differently. The former is a logical intellectual presentation in the briefest compass, while the latter is an elaborate treatment of the subject in the popular kavya style, where the imagination plays a greater part. Swami Krishnanandaji who is a greater exponent of the "Panchadasi" follows the method of its another, Vidyaranya. He deals with the Vedanic subjects in a direct and practical way and in the simplest language but his manner of exposition is very terse and aphoristic. In spite of what may be called purple patches by way of quotations and illustrations from the Upanishads, he always soars in the transcendental heights of the Upanishads and is beyond the reach or the common man. Swamiji's lectures on "Resurgent Culture" are as instructive as they are interesting. They present to a student world the fundamental necessities of life and what primary principles should guide the educational system and institutions in order that students may not be misled into the devious, erroneous methods of modern education based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of life and education.

Swami Krishnanandaji is not only a writer but a good speaker too. He can make himself interesting to his audience and keep his audience spell bound. His words are so packed with thought that those who listen to him are afraid that even if they miss a word or two they may lose the thread of thought. Once I had the good fortune to attend to a lecture of his on Mumukshutva. I was startled by the novelty of his approach and the originality of his treatment with his incisive intellect he cut asunder all conventional explanations of the subject and finally concluded that Mumukshutva is not getting rid of something or going somewhere but is an intense desire to get out of one state of consciousness into another. It is so simple but so difficult to understand because of its very naivety. He provides his audience with an intellectual feast and I heard several remark at the end of his discourses Oh! Wonderful!  Swamiji has given us pearls and diamonds of thought. This Swamiji of ours completes fifty years of his physical existence on the 25th of April. In spite of periodical fits of Asthma and consequent ill health he has been rendering yeoman service to the Ashram as its General Secretary and the D.L. Magazine as its Editor. Perhaps if he can be relieved of these strenuous items of service he will be able to spare more time for his spiritual pursuits and enlighten humanity by his talks and writings. But God's ways are mysterious, and it is perhaps best as it is Let us all pray on this auspicious occasion of his golden jubilee celebrations that God Almighty be pleased to spare him for many years to come and afford him ever increasing opportunities to serve Sivanandashram and humanity at large.