Ennapadam Bhagavati

Bhagavathi at Ennapadam Temple at Kerala

Sunday, February 14, 2010



In the ultimate analysis what marks a great man is the spiritual climate he cre­ates in his own soul; it is that repeated, almost uninterrupted, exercise which con­ditions his instincts and attitudes, his feel­ings, thoughts and actions, and finally his aura, that personal emanation which reaches out in ever-widening circles to in­spire and to move his fellow men, even after his death. One such great soul was Sri Swami Satchidananda who passed away in Chennai City on 19-8-2002.

He was born on December 22nd 1914 as the son of a wealthy landowner of Chettipalayam village near Coimbatore. His father was Kalyanasundaram Gounder. Ramaswamy as he was christened in his Poorvashrama, pursued highly skilled op­erations like working in the automobile companies, operating workshop machines and supervising factories. His great skill in copper welding first got him a job in the welding unit at a chemical factory in Nilgiris where he did not stay for long. G D Naidu, who was known as the 'Automobile King of Coimbatore' came to know of the ex­traordinary skill of Ramaswamy as a cop­per welder. So, he invited him to join his National Electric Works (NEW) as a Welder. Ramaswamy got married and af­ter the birth of two boys suffered the griev­ous misfortune of the demise of his wife. This was the turning point in his life. He took his children to his mother in Chettipalayam village. Leaving them in her safe custody, he embarked on an unknown and uncharted spiritual voyage of self-dis­covery and self-realization. After spending a few years in Palani and Madras, he fi­nally reached the Sivananda Ashram at Rishikesh where his Guru Swami Sivananda Saraswathi initiated him to Sanyasa and gave him the name Satchidananda. His Holiness Swami Sivananda sent him to Sri Lanka with au­thority to set up a branch of the Divine Life Society at Kandy. In Kandy Sri Satchidananda became a mighty and powerful spiritual force gathering around him many devotees and disciples. Many Sri Lankans rushed to him to learn Yoga. Conrad Rooks, an American movie-maker, also came to learn Yoga. A few weeks stay with Sri Swami Satchidananda convinced Conrad Rooks that Sri Swami Satchidananda had a definite role to play in the west. On his invitation, in the late 1960's Sri.Swami Satchidananda went to Paris and from there to USA, where the great painter Peter Max, an associate of Conrad Rooks was his host. Finding him­self then in the midst of an exploding Ameri­can landscape---raked with drugs, politics, revolutionary change, the quest for salva­tion and personal identity---he agreed to stay in America.

Both Rooks and Max helped him to es­tablish the Integral Yoga Institutes first at New York and later at Connecticut. Within a few years His Holiness sold the Connecticut property and bought the present property of 750 acres at Yogaville, Virginia, where the headquarters of the In­tegral Yoga Institutes was established.
saw the inauguration of the LOTUS temple dedicated to the Light Of All Faiths The Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LO­TUS). This is a unique shrine where people of all faiths from all countries can silently meditate according to their individual tra­ditions. Different faiths like Hinduism, Judaism, Shintism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, African Re­ligions and Native American Religions have separate altars in the Lotus Temple.

LOTUS TEMPLE (Yogaville, Virginia)
This shrine is built in the shape of a Lotus Flower. The ascending light in the sanctu­ary at the upper level of the shrine is beau­tiful. This column of Light rises from the central altar to the top of the dome where it divides into individual rays to illuminate the ten altars set within each petal of the LOTUS. Each major faith is represented by an altar on which rests a carved inscrip­tion about LIGHT (Jyothi) from the sacred scripture of that faith.

At the time of the inauguration of the LO­TUS Temple on July 21st /22nd 1986, His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda said: "The inauguration of this Lotus Temple was indeed begun earlier than the offi­cial ritual with the blessings of ARUT PRAKASHA VALLALAR (1823-1874) of Vadalur in South Arcot District (now Cuddalore District) in Tamil Nadu". From this it will be clear that great sages like Arut Prakash Vallalar continue to speak across centuries in a live manner. The ce­lestial orbits, the fiery sun, the gyrations of earth and moon are not more inexorable than the dedication of a great human be­ing, man, woman and child, to his chosen way. For, indeed, as the compelling direc­tion or purpose stretches into the future, so by the same token it is continuous with the past--an initial propulsion which was present already at birth gives the infant a life-direction.

Sri.Swami Satchinanda was a world spiri­tual teacher, and Guru of the students of Integral Yoga. He wanted his disciples to dedicate themselves to his ecumenical movement, his motto being "Truth is One, Paths Are Many". In response to public invitations from all parts of the world, he travelled widely. Through every possible medium, lectures, conferences, radio, tele­vision and newspaper interviews, books and visits to centres around the world, he shared his knowledge in the field of edu­cation, religion, health and yoga.
Sri.Swami Satchinanda was a prolific writer. He wrote many books on Yoga and Spiritual practice. I am presenting below the front cover of one of his most popular books titled ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’.

This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. The classic Sutras (thought-threads), are at least 4,000 years old and are the core text of yoga covering ethics, meditation, physical postures, and provide directions for dealing with situations in daily life. Sri Swamiji offers practical advice, based on his own experience, for mastering the mind and achieving physical, mental and emotional harmony.

Swami Satchidananda observed: "Tapas means to burn yourself---your body, your mind, your intellect---in order to cleanse them, to purify them. Just as you burn dirt to convert into pure ash, so also all the impurities should get burnt by the fire of purity in the practice of Tapas. It means austerity, the accep­tance of hardship and pain. The highest of Tapas is giving pleasure and joy to others while accepting pain for yourself." He was indeed in the long and unbroken chain of great Saints and Sages of India going back to the dawn of Indian history. His was indeed a life of love, light and com­passion, guided and governed by Sanatana Dharma and Vedic Knowledge.

In conclusion I would quote the irreplaceable words of Dr.S.Radhakrishnan: “Spiritual life is the true genius of India. Those who make the greatest appeal to the Indian mind are not the military conquerors, not the rich merchants or the great diplomats, but the holy sages, the Rishis who embody spirituality at its finest and purest. India’s pride is that almost in every generation and in every part of the country, from the time of her recorded history, she has produced those Holy Men who embody for her all that the country holds most dear and sacred”.
Sri.Swami Satchidananda belonged to this great and holy tradition.

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