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

Swami Krishnananda—The Consolidator

by A.V. Kuppuswami

During the years immediately after the Mahasamadhi of Bhagavan Swami Sivananda, whenever I had visited the Headquarters of the Divine Life Society at Rishikesh, my mind used to go back to the year 1948 when India was just coming out of the innumerable difficulties which arose in the wake of independence. Mahatma Gandhi, who led the nation to Puma Swaraj was no more living to guide the country, he having succumbed to the bullet of a fanatic. The hard won Indian independence had to be tended and nurtured. Communal unity had to be established for achieving lasting peace within the country for its progress and development. Fortunately the country had leaders in whom the people had full confidence. Among them were Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhabai Patel on both of whom the nation had placed the mantel of Gandhiji.

Jawharlal Nehru became the Prime Minister of India and Sarder Patel became the Deputy Prime Minister. Although each of them were in charge of more than one portfolio, Nehru concentrated more on Foreign Affairs and the Sardar gave all his attention to matters relating to Home Affairs. Yet, they both functioned as one man with constant consultations on matters relating to Home or Foreign Affairs.

Similarly, after the Mahasamadhi of Swami Sivanandiji in 1963, the mantle of leadership fell on the shoulders of H.H. Sri Swami Chidananda and H. H. Swami Krishnananda. Like Jawaharlal Neharu taking up Home Affairs in the Union Cabinet, Chidanandaji paid more attention to Divine Life Society activities beyond the shores of India as well as beyond the diameters of the Sivananda Ashram at Rishikesh within in the subcontinent. He tried to visit the Branches of the Society throughout India and abroad, and to spread the message of the Master.

Like Sarder Patel Swami Krishnananda, on the other hand, concentrated on Home Affairs. Although there were pressing and persistent invitations from various Foreign Branches that Swami Krishnananda should visit them, he declined the offers informing them that work at the Headquarters did not allow him any respite for planning even visits within India. Much had to be done at the Headquarters and Swami Krishnananda was very much occupied arranging affairs at the Headquarters. During Swami Sivananandaji's life time even senior disciples never bothered about the management of the affairs and functions of the Ashram. Gurudev was like a big banyan tree spreading his keen administrative acumen into every branch of the Ashram's functions. Guidance, lead, advice and support were available from him for each and every activity to the smallest and to the highest in full detail. Hence, when he was no more, there was a wide void. Loyalties had to be integrated. Economy in expenditure had to be imposed. The various activities of the Ashram had to be properly regulated and systematised. In the process there arose resistance and opposition from interested quarters. In the interest of maintenance of high standards of the Ashram, strictness and discipline had to be imposed and insisted. Thus the home front required a strong and strict hand for administration. It was an unpleasant duty no doubt. But someone had to take up the brunt. Swami Krishnananda cheerfully took up on himself this most vital task. He strove hard to achieve consolidation and systematisation. Slowly and slowly he achieved the set goal.

If the Indian Nation owes to Sardar Patel its gratitude for integrating the country by bringing in the various princely states into the Indian nation, for taming the I. C. S. iron frame and securing the unflinching loyalty of that service in the administrative ambit, similarly the brotherhood of Divine Life Society members hold their gratitude to His Holiness Sri Swami Krishnanandaji for piloting the affairs of the Divine Life Society during the last decade, with a single pointed devotion for achieving efficiency coupled with economy. The D. L. S. fraternity looks up to him to guide their activities in the coming decades as usual. May he see a thousand and one more birthdays in the active service of the Divine Life Society.