On 3rd of August 1993, after 42 years of tireless service to mankind,this great Master, my beloved Guru, merged into the Infinite Bliss of Brahman.
OM SUHRDE NAMAH Salutations to the one who has a good heart
(This is one of the 108 names that was composed for Swami Chinmayanandaji, my Guru).
The word ‘heart’ is so connected with Pujya Swamiji (as I called Him)….physically,
emotionally, intellectually and spiritually!
Writing about Swamiji’s kind-heartedness feels somewhat limiting, as words are simply inadequate to describe His goodness. On one hand, many people saw Him as a great commentator and orator, a living spiritual Master of high intellectual caliber. Those however, who came close to Him realized that He lived every moment from His heart, gushing out in pure love to serve humanity.
From the podium to the living room, wherever Swamiji was, He communicated with complete integration of the head and heart. He was sensitive to those who worked for Him and served His cause. Even when we were reprimanded – it was out of His sheer love and concern for our growth.
As I sit here writing, a couple of incidents among many others come to my mind.
I had met Swamiji when I was fourteen years old. To me He was the father I had lost when I was eight. My relationship with Him began as a father figure and transformed slowly into a Guru as well. He was always caring and protective about me, making sure I had eaten, had traveled properly and was taken care of. As a teenager I had the good fortune of spending vacations, both in India and in USA with Him.
In the late 1970’s I was studying in Pennsylvania, America on a shoestring budget. By 1980, it was time to return to India. Swamiji was in USA for His yagna series and He had told me I could accompany Him back to India after His scheduled visit to Pennsylvania. The plan was to travel with Him as He completed His global itinerary and reach India via Chicago, Detroit, and a few cities in Europe. I was thrilled yet I felt dejected. Where would I get the money for such an expensive ticket traveling multi cities? I had just enough dollars for a direct flight to India. I wrote to Him expressing my concern.
Pat came His reply, “….You can certainly accompany me. Don’t worry about the tickets etc. We will somehow find a ticket for you. Anyway you have to go to India. Let us calculate and find the difference. I think I can pay the difference. Let me come there. Everything can be arranged.”
My heart melted. I remember crying on reading that letter which I still treasure. How could He be so busy, so involved in teaching and traveling and shoulder a hundred other organizational responsibilities – and yet have such large heartedness and magnanimity to take care and provide for me! This incident opened my eyes to His greatness adding another layer to my relationship with Him.
When He came to Pennsylvania he told me it would be better that I go directly to India. I thought there must be a reason for this instruction. I never questioned it, nor did I feel disappointed. I knew that when Swamiji said something it held great spiritual significance, as He knew the bigger picture. To complete this story – He knew from within that His return would be delayed – for a few weeks later He underwent heart surgery in Texas and the remaining itinerary was cancelled.
When Dr. Denton Cooley operated on Swamiji’s heart in Houston in 1980, Swamiji presented the doctor His commentary on the Holy Geeta and inscribed it with, “thank you for saving my life may this book save yours!”
Another incident etched in my memory is during the Mandukya Karika Camp in Sidhabari in May 1991. Swamiji suddenly took ill three weeks into the camp and was hospitalized in the nearest local hospital. It was then decided that He would be flown to Mumbai for treatment. Swamiji who was frail, in need of special care and medical attention could have left for Mumbai directly from the hospital. He announced that He would come back to the ashram and give ‘darshan’ to all the delegates who had come from all over the world to attend the Camp. Even though we tried to dissuade Him, He would not listen. He asked us to put a bed in the courtyard and said to let each and every person come and do his or her pranams.
I still remember the scene. Swamiji was lying down on a bed smiling and acknowledging every person as about three hundred people filed past Him. The people were so touched that even in His condition He felt their disappointment and wanted to console and bless them. They stayed on as the text was completed by the Acharya of the ashram – but their hearts were filled with humble awe at the greatness of such a ‘suhrd’ being – a living example of Advaita Vedanta expressing itself in Love for humanity.
One could go on ceaselessly about Swamiji’s nature….He was a strict disciplinarian, a teacher par excellence, a Guru who had no personal agenda except for the transformation of His disciples.
Friday August 3, 2018 marks the 25th Mahasamadhi Anniversary of my Guru Pujya Swami Chinmayanandaji’s transition from this earth. The day in San Diego,California,USA- is still fresh in my memory. On 3rd of August 1993, after 42 years of tireless service to mankind,this great Mahatma merged into the Infinite Bliss.
While living He blessed us with a fountain of Knowledge and Love, and even today He continues to bless those who invoke Him in love and devotion.
I offer my prostrations at the lotus feet of such a Master. A sage, who has touched the lives of thousands around the globe. He truly lived his words: In life to handle yourself, use your head, but to handle others, use your heart.
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