In January 1956, Swami Poornabodhananda, a dearly loved disciple, was severely bitten by a rabid dog. The Master rushed him to Kasauli, doing all he could to give him the best medical treatment. The wounds healed but the disciple died after some time, maybe as an aftermath of the suffering he had undergone. The Master, who did so much to treat the disciple, did not even care to look at the dead body before it was lowered into the sacred Ganges. The Master believed more in serving the living than in needlessly moaning for the dead.
The Master loved everyone, and intensely, too; but this love was not tainted by attachment. It was pure love. It was Shuddha Prem. His love was rooted in divinity.
It was this divine love of the Master which made Dr Sutherland, the New Zealand missionary who spent many years in the Jagadhri Hospital, remark with folded palms and a voice choking with emotion, "Swamiji, I am very, very grateful to you for your courtesy and kindness during my brief three hours stay at your Ashram. I have today spent the most fruitful hours of my life in India."
It was this overflowing love of the Master which made the saintly Ma Aparna of Calcutta call him a "God of Sympathy". It was his cosmic compassion which made Shuddhananda Bharati say that the Master "had all heart and no body."
Swami Sivananda was a living commentary on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. His life was a fulfillment of that noble prayer. The Lord made him an instrument of His peace. The Master shed love where there was hatred, forgiveness where there was injury, faith where there was doubt, hope where there was despair, light where there was darkness, joy where there was sadness. He lived but to comfort others.
Sri N. Ananthanarayanan
To be continued ...