HH Swami Dayanandaji
On 24th early morning, my Bangalore based Journalist son brought me the sad news of the passing away of one of the versatile exponents of Bhagwat Gita Swami Dayananda Saraswathi , the first and prime disciple of Swami Chinmayananada of Chinmaya Mission in his ashram at Rishikesh..
Swami Dayananda’s Ashram in Rishikesh where Swamiji spent his last days.
In this Sunday Story of ENVIUS THOUGHTS I would reflect on my deathless memories about Dayananda and my mind flashes back to early 1960s.
My highly respected viewers of ENVIUS THOUGHTS may recollect my Tryst with LIC of India for more than four decades in different capacities and in different stations all over my great India that is Bharath. In the course of my group meetings and Training Sessions I would have referred to Swami Chinmayananda several scores of times!
HH Swami Chinmayanadaji
Yes; I used to start with a small quiz with the participants. I would ask them whether they can name the person who was a Bar-at-Law turned Spiritual master to thousands. It was the days of “KOWN BANEGA CROREPATHI” where Amitab Bachan used to give clues to elicit right answers. I will say in his ‘purvashrama’ his name started with “B” and later with”C’. Next clue will be “He is one of the most versatile exponents of “Bhagwat Gita”. At times I used to get the right answer Swami Chinmayananda and most of the times get disappointed and attribute the phenomenon to the present generations’ devaluation and demonetization of values and virtues!!!!
PUNCTUALITY-THE PRIME VIRTUE
I used to refer to Swami Chinmayananda who had the assiduous attachment towards the virtue of “PUNCTUALITY” in the success of human beings.
In whichever part of the globe Swami Chinmayananda will have morning lectures for one hour 7.00 am to 8.00 am and evening Geetha Gnana Yagna for 90 minutes during 6.30 pm to 8.00 pm. I have heard a few of his Geetha lectures in my mid teens in Chordia Mansions, Mount Road, Chennai. Where ever he is staying in any city, he will be exactly to his time and start at 6.30 with “Brahmmanandham, parama sukhadham, kevalam , njaanamoorthim……….”
and end with “OM, Thath sath” at 8.00pm. He used to tell the audience that “My six thirty means it is six thirty- neither six twenty nine nor six thirty one. My eight o’clock means eight- neither seven fifty nine nor eight zero one; if you have an appointment at 8.05 next building, you can have it on time without fail!”
We have been brought up in that tradition quite intolerant to being ‘not punctual’.
Mahatma Gandhi on the borrowed cycle to reach prayer meeting on time.
Another incident I used to quote on ‘punctuality’ is from Mahatma Gandhi’s life. We all know, he has his prayer meetings at six sharp in the evenings. Once when he was in Wardha, he went outside and was rushing back for his evening prayer. As the time was running out, he just requested a passing by cyclist to lend his cycle for a few minutes and collect it from his Ashram at any time and cycling his way, he was there on time at six pm sharp for his prayer. In such a great country with culture and principles, when any one fails to keep punctual, I get into trouble shivering due to what I call it ”punctophobia”!!!??
When someone makes a comment that this is “Indian punctuality” I used to be harsh saying: “take a dictionary and see for the word ‘punctuality’ and you will find only one word and not ”Indian punctuality”, “American punctuality” or “British punctuality” etc.”
Manjakkudi village in the then Thanjavur district where Swamiji was born in 1930.
Yes; Swami Dayananda who was known as “Natarajan” in his ‘purvashrama’ starting his career as a Steno in the Lucas group in Chennai was born in Manjakkudi- a place in the then ‘my’ Thanjavur District in the year 1930.
Entrance to Sandeepani Sadanalaya in Powai Hills, Bombay.
Attracted by Vedantha teachings of Swami Chinmayananda, he joined Sandeepani Sadanalaya in Powai Hills, Mumbai as Brahmachari Natarajan. He was so dear to Swami Chinmayanandaji that he gave Natarjan sanyas and thus Natarajan became Swami Dayananda Saraswathi-first and prime disciple of Swamiji. Sandeepani Sadhanalaya under the Central Chinmaya Mission Trust used to select Bachelors who decide to spend their life as Brahmachari till they attain sufficient knowledge on Hinduism, its Vedic and other literature and undertake to propagate the message of Geetha throughout the world in the centers chosen by the CCMT. Later they can opt for family life or continue to serve as Brahmacharis.
As prime disciple Dayanandaji used to travel far and wide and in the pattern of his Guru Swami Chinmayanandaji, Dayananda used to take one hour session in the mornings wherever he is on camp and usually in the morning sessions Upanishads, Ramana’s Upadesa saram like works will be discussed and in the evenings GEETHA JNANA YAGNA” lasting for about 20 days will be performed and in such Yagnas- JNANA YAGNAS- no fire or homa, no samith– it is connecting “YUJ” to “JNANA”-knowledge- of GEETHA- And one chapter out of 18 will be explained threadbare in ninety minutes an evening.
In that way, by HIS grace, I had the privilege and pleasure of organizing Chinmaya Mission activities in Thanjavur- my home town- as the Secretary of Chinmaya Mission Branch from 1962 to 1969 till I was transferred to Coimbatore. . With the kind and unstinting cooperation of many of my close friends- to mention a few names- Dr.S S Venkatakrishnan, Thasildar Vaidyanathan, Sarvodaya Venkataraamani, Dr. Shantha Devi, Dr. Thiyagarajan, FCI Krishnan, Prof. Chandra, TNCSC Sambamurthy, LIC Gurunathan and others.
Normally the following were the Mission activities in 1960s and I do believe it must continue in the same pattern even today.
(1)We had Daily Study Groups in different locations of Thanjavur –each group consisting not more than ten sadhakas. It will be again 90 minutes programme consisting of Geetha dhyana slokas, Geetha Chanting, meditation, study of the ART OF LIVING, bhajan and end with taking Chinmaya Mission pledge.
(2) “Monthly Sathsangs”: All the groups will join in a common place and the sathsang will go on for ninety minutes, with geetha dhyana slokas, geetha chanting, a lecture, bajan and to end with Mission Pledge preceded by important announcements.
(3) Quarterly SADHANA CAMPS: A place of spiritual centre within District will be selected and all the Branch Mission members will be leaving in the morning and returning around 8 in the night. Reading of scriptures, Bhajans, lectures, cleaning of roads and temples and so on will be the activities in the Sadhana camps. We had one or two Sadhana Camps in Manjakkudi where the Swami was born and had his elementary education. It is the rare privilege of Thanjavur Mission Members that Swamiji himself on a few occasions accompanied us for Sadhana camps.
(4) Celebrations of important days such as Vinayaka Chathurthi, Saraswathi Puja, Guru poornima, etc.in a fitting manner –all lasting for 90 minutes.
(5) MOST IMPORTANT ANNUAL GEETHA JNANA YAJNAS- by Pujyasri Swami Dayananda Saraswathi.
Thanjavur Big Temple-in the northern prakara where “Geetha Gnana Yagnas” were arranged
In fact what I referred to in the title of this write up as “DEATHLESS MEMORIES ABOUT DAYANANDA” are my memories of these annual events in Thanjavur during those eight precious years in my life. I was born in 1941-these opportunities arose during 1962-1969!.
Swami used to allot a session every year to Thanjavur center. In those eight years eight different chapters were discussed in the evenings. We used to organize the discourses in the Thanjavur Brahadeeshvara temple. Every yagna will be attended by not less than a thousand. We used to accommodate Swamiji in the Raja’s Rest House opposite to the LIC Divisional Office in the Mahatma Gandhi Road-Railway Station Road. As Secretary, it is the protocol that I will accompany him to the ‘yagnasala’ and back to the Rest House. During the day time a number of devotees will be visiting the room to discuss a lot of spiritual matters. I was a witness to what all were discussed and in the process I could also get some insights! In the morning sessions Dayanandaji had taken the works like Bajagovindam, Ramana’s Upadesa saram, Upanishads, Viveka Choodamani etc for his discourses.
Raja’s Rest House in Thanjavur
Normally Swamiji will be accommodated in the A/C room in the Raja’s Guest House, Thanjavur and will be taken to the ‘Yagnasala’ in the A/C car. The people, who were inimical to the spiritual activities, used to derisively question me on the A/C luxurious comforts for a Sanyasi! I used to reply that he never asks for ‘this and that’ and it is just the manifestation of the devotees’ respect and regards. In the Himalayan forests Swami used to walk bare-footed or with a pair of wooden sandals!
Swami Dayananda in his discourse desk.
In the Geetha Gnana Yagnas, on the first day we used to give a booklet to the audience containing the slokas of the chapter Swamiji is going to give his discourses –a sloka a page with the rest of the page blank for taking notes.
On the final day of the Yagna, Swamiji will distribute a book as “YAGNA PRASAD” to all the members of the audience, which has never been less than a thousand, with HIS OWN GRACIOUS hands!
He was a versatile speaker in a number of languages; yet he chooses to give discourses in English interspersed with mellifluous local language and the reasons given for English talks will be quite interesting. When a Sadhu speaks in a local language, normally only the old people will be around to listen; but when saffron clad Sadhu speaks in English, youngsters will be attracted and thus there will be a large number of youths for listening to GEETHA, one of the greatest pieces of Indian literature down the ages!!!!
It was my proud privilege to be so close to Swamiji, that though I lost my Mission activities from 1970- on transfer to Coimbatore- I was in his mind to the extent that even five years ago when I saw Swamiji in Kamarajar Arangam, Chennai he affectionately inquired “என்ன சுப்பராமன், எப்படியிருக்கே?” (What Subbaraman, how are you?)
HH Swami Dayananda Saraswtahi founded his Arsha Vidya Peetam in Yanaikatti near Pollachi in Coimbatore District.
Swami Dayanandaji’s Aanaikatti Ashram in Coimbatore District, Tamilnadu.
One of Swamiji’s great compositions was “Bho, Sambho” in praise of Lord Shiva, excellently rendered by Maharajapuram Santhanam.
Swamiji himself is a good singer and leads Bhajans often- in his mellifluous voice.! The cassette was released in a gala function at Coimbatore which I had the proud privilege of attending with my family members. As usual Swamiji inquired with his usual, graceful smiles “என்ன சுப்பராமன் எப்படியிருக்கே?”
Swami Chinamayananda has rendered yeoman service to our religion which according to him “is to give the MAXIMUM happiness to the MAXIMUM people to the MAXIMUM time”. His commentaries on various Upanishads are indeed unparalleled.
Normally Geetha commentary of Tilak “GEETHA Rahasya” is supposed to be one of the best works; it is also opined that Vinoba Bave’s commentary is also great. Swamiji’s commentary is deemed to be of very high order. HH Swami Chinmayananda’s “THOUSAND Ways to the Transcendental” is another excellent work of commentary on Vishnu Sahasranama.
Swami Dayanandaji had all respects and reverences to his Guru Chinmayanandaji and followed his practices and procedures in all his spiritual journey of more than six decades.
It is indeed remarkable of HH Chinmayanandaji to have given Dayananda Saraswathi to the Indian spiritual world.
And we the people, who had occasions to move with such great sons and messengers of God, deem it really fortunate and blessed by the Almighty. They are indeed deathless and continue to guide the world from their heavenly
Swami Dayanandaji in his usual joyful mood.