From bondage to freedom – the journey of Swami Satchidananda

While standing in front of the Samadhi of Swami Satchidananda, my eyes were filled with tears! I do not know why, but I was sobbing within! Undeniably, death is not the end – from the bondage of a body, he has liberated to be a part of the cosmic universe where we are all ought to be!

I remember it was when I was twelve years, puzzled to see the miseries surrounding the childhood I paid a visit to him at Anandashram which is just a few kilometres away from my home. I had heard that there is a Saint who would perhaps help me to find an answer and the question was simple – why am I here?! From amidst the crowd who had gathered in the hall to listen to his wisdom a few people were staring at me. Through the veil of teardrops, I found him smiling and within the smile, there was the compassion of the whole cosmos!

“Tell me whose dress is this…” – he asked me pointing out to my dress. “It’s mine” – I answered. “What about these eyes?” he asked me again. As I was repeating the same answer he continued with the same question pointing out to various things that I ‘owned’. Finally, he asked me – ‘My dear, tell me who is this ‘I’? There was a sudden stroke of silence within. As I sat unable to pronounce any words, he smiled looking at me again – ‘Consider life as an opportunity to find the answer’. I must say his answer further deepened my misery! I was more disturbed, yet there was a spark within!

Probably it was the same spark, led the little Anantasivan to Saint Satchidananda of Anandashram who could bring light into the light of thousands of people in and around the country. Anandashram – the adobe of peace located in the outskirts of Kanhangad of Kerala is still the resort of a number of people in search of solace in life. There are no Swamis who would perform miracles, there are no ‘luxurious’ hermitages to accommodate you – all that you could hear is the chanting accompanied by handheld bells that enrich the silence with divine vibrations.

The ashram was built during the year 1931 by Swami Ramdas endearingly called Beloved Papa, who surrendered his life unto the feet of God and who preached chanting and service to the poor is the worship to attain godliness which is the truest form of life. “The ideal which the Ashram holds before it is Universal Love and Service based upon a vision of divinity in all beings and creatures of the world. Here every man, woman or child, to whatever denomination, creed or caste the person may belong, shall have free access.” Anantasivan, a young man in his 30s, who had spent a miserable life, approached him seeking the light of the reason for all the so-called miseries in life. As per the direction of his Guru, Anantasivan took to Nama Japa and later embraced Sannyas to be known as Swami Satchidananda.

Swami Satchidananda served the two great saints, Swami Ramdas and Mother Krishnabai, for the surrendering to the teaching is the first sign of enlightenment.  After the Mahasamadhi of Swami Ramdas, he assisted Mother Krishnabai in maintaining the Ashram as his Guru wanted and in 1989, when Mother Krishnabai left her mortal body, Swami Satchidananda inherited the mantle of running the Ashram. With his exemplary qualities and managerial skills, Swamiji became not only the guiding spirit of the Ashram but with his tender heart, he became synonymous to the very word compassion. Handing over the mighty flame of his mission to Swami Muktananda, he attained Samadhi in 2008.

From ‘I’ to the understanding of ‘everything is the same ‘I’ when a person grows, the whole perception of life changes, you find everything is just the reflection of your own self and you start loving everyone and everything around you! The harmony thus attained is the key too! Anandashram, the adobe of bliss stands so, bringing the experience of the divine into the heart of the modern man who seeks solace from all his miseries. People even from across the seas visit the Ashram to stay immersed in the silence that probably has all the answers in it!

Tomorrows and tomorrows…life is going on! I do not know where I am nor do I know where I am going to! All that I know is that it is an evening where the colours of the skies disappear into the darkness of the horizon! Like that of a curious child, I am looking at the world around me! Nevertheless, there is a smile within – a smile as beautiful as the smile that I found in the face of Poojya Swami Satchidananda!

(Courtesy: With the inputs from the biography of Pujya Swami Satchidananda. Anandashram, Kanhangad)

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