PUJYA Swami Satchidanandaji of Anandashram in Kanhangad, North Kerala, who attained Mahasamadhi on October 12, 2008, was a unique saint. He made Acharyopasana (worship of the Guru as the Supreme Brahman) and devotion to the holy and all-powerful Ram Nam the main planks of his Sadhana (spiritual practices) to scale the heavenly heights of God-Realisation.
Ever since his Sadguru (Perfect Master), Beloved Papa Swami Ramdas, initiated him into Sannyas Ashram in 1950, the life of Pujya Swamiji was always a great, unceasing outpouring of love and sacrifice for the good and the happiness of the many. But his exemplary pure life of an ideal Sannyasin (Renunciate) for almost six decades, Pujya Swamiji demonstrated in his everyday life that it is possible for a Jivatma (individual soul) to recognise its identity with the Paramatma (supreme soul) and the entire creation, which, in our hoary tradition, is but the manifestation of that. All that one needs for this stupendous achievement is the constant remembrance of the Divine coupled with the total acceptance of the Divine will with love in all matters.
Nestling in a picturesque valley amidst sylvan surroundings, about five kms away from Southern Railway’s Kanhangad Station, is the world-renowned Anandashram, founded by Swami Ramdas (endearingly called Beloved Papa by his devotees and admirers across the world) and his first and foremost disciple, Mother Krishnabai, whom the devotees always addressed as Pujya Mataji. Their deep love and compassion for the suffering humanity took concrete shape when, in 1931, they founded Anandashram. Before long, the Ashram had achieved great fame as a haven of peace and bliss for seekers after truth and a refuge for those afflicted with such worldly problems as poverty and sickness.
Before beloved Papa attained Mahasamadhi in 1963 and Pujya Mataji in 1989, they had transformed Pujya Swamiji into a perfect instrument for continuing their divine mission to spread in the world, by example and teaching, the twin ideals of Vishwa Prem (Universal Love) and Vishwa Seva (Universal Service). The earnest practice of these ideals in one’s day-to-day life coupled with the constant remembrance of the Divine and total submission to His will in all matters, will ultimately lead one to the Vishwaroopa Darshan (Universal vision or God-vision, i.e. beholding only God in everyone and everything), which is the supreme goal of human birth.
During Pujya Swamiji’s tenure as the Head of Anandashram (1989-2008), the Ashram witnessed a phenomenal growth and expansion in its charitable activities and the facilities available for visiting devotees and pilgrims. Besides the free Homeopathic and Ayurvedic dispensaries that cater to hundreds of indigent people everyday, the Ashram has its own multi-speciality hospital (Satchidananda Institute of Medical Sciences) that had started functioning during Pujya Swamiji’s lifetime. Here too, a large number of poor patients receive free medical treatment, both as out-petients and in-house patients.
No visitor ever left Pujya Swamiji’s presence empty-handed. He took great delight in feeding the hungry, clothing the ill-clad, building shelters for the homeless and providing health care to the poor sick. He lent a helping hand to the oppressed, gave hope to the depressed and solace to the sorrow-stricken. To the spiritual seeker, he gave the light of knowledge. And, to the saint, he gave himself entirely.
His Universal Vision knew no barriers of caste, creed or colour, region or religion. For him, there is only one God, one world and one humanity; the dedicated service of God in man, woman and child was the religion he always practised and preached. His panacea for all the ills and wails of mankind is: take complete refuge in the holy and all-powerful name of God by chanting it as many times as possible with all love, faith and devotion; practice in one’s day-do-day life the religion of universal love and service.
Here was a unique saint who practised what he preached and preached only what he practised, a true messenger of peace and love. When will come another?
(The writer can be contacted at “Chandralayam”, House No.2, Ward No. V, Pattiam Grama Panchayath, P.O. Pathayakunnu-670 691, Kannur Dist. (Kerala).)