Welcome back Swami Chandikananda!
The 23rd April of this year is a red-letter day for the Ramakrishna Movement in South Africa when K K Pillay returned from India after embracing sannyasa. He had acquired a new ‘yoga-patta’ – a formal title – Swami Chandikananda.
Sri K K Pillay is an old devotee of our Master, Mother and Swamiji. He has been associated with this organization from 1964 as a young man of 17 years when he, in due course, came under the spiritual influence of late revered Swami Shivapadanandaji, the second President of the Centre. Besides his getting diksha, he was sent to Kailash Ashram where he studied Sanskrit and some Vedanta scriptures staying as a resident there for three years. He has been Chairman of our Chatsworth Sub-centre for 8 years off and on at different times.
On the last Maha Shivaratri night (27th Feb 2014) he was blessed with sannyasa initiation from Sadhana Sadan, Hardwar. This was approved by Belur Math also. It seems his Gurudev had instructed him to get into sannyasa ashrama after 65 years and hence his keen interest in embracing monastic way of life now.
Intro to insight
He was accorded a cordial welcome during our weekly Satsang on 26th April, 2014. Dan Maharaj, one of the Treasurers of our Exco garlanded him. Anand Mahabeer of the Functions Committee welcomed him and requested me to introduce the new Swami.
In my intro, I traced the Vedic system of life of an individual spanning the four ashramas and sannyasa being the fourth and ultimate ashrama that enriches one’s last leg of life called a journey towards the Goal. One person getting into sannyasa ashrama would make his family’s seven generations in the past and seven generations in the future be endowed with progressive spiritual life. Wherever Chandikananda would stay and travel, he would spread the fragrance of thoughts of the principles of Vedanta as exemplified and enumerated by Master, Mother and Swamiji. His life would be an example to all those who aspire to reach the last stage of Vedic life. I then requested him to address the satsang audience.
Swami Chandikananda while thanking our Centre for all the kindness extended to him, gave a short account of his recent pilgrimage to India. He explained how on the cold shivering night of Maha Shivaratri, he and sixteen other brothers from various parts of India had gathered at the bank of river Ganga in Hardwar and went through the initiation ceremony. The ceremony included an half an hour standing in the icy waters of mother Ganga while the mantras were being chanted. When the ceremony was completed he put on a warm jersey that was, he nostalgically recounted, presented to him lovingly by his Gurudev Swami Shivapadananadaji many years ago.
He felt blessed when the ochre robes were presented to him by his sannyasa guru Sri Swami Vishwatmanandaji Maharaj, the Mahamadaleshwar of Sadhana Sadan, Rishikesh. In this connection he also felt elevated in spirits when he found the robes were handed over to his Guru by one of the senior monk of the Ramakrishna Mission, Kankhal who remained there for the ceremony. He expressed his gratefulness to all the monks of the Ramakrishna Mission, Kankhal who extended all help.
Thereafter he enjoyed solitude at our Dehradun ashram which is situated amidst beautiful woods. He did stay in Belur Math also where he had the opportunity to meet all the senior Swamis. Most Revered Swami Smarananandaji Maharaj, the senior Vice-President of the world-wide Ramakrishna Order blessed him during his stay by giving him audience three times.
He also reminisced his experience in attending a rural celebration of Master’s birthday function in Tamil Nadu when he visited our Coimbatore Educational complex centre. Swami Abhiramanandaji, the Head of the Coimbatore Mission, who endeared himself to South African devotees here during his recent visit, asked him to hand over a Cow to a poor family. In Thiruvanantapuram, he visited a few traditional temples too. In this India pilgrimage he covered other places of pilgrimage like Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Varanasi, Vrindaban, Belur Math, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad also.
Here is a slideshow of five pictures of Swami Chandikananda at the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa Durban main centre during his reception on 26th April 2014.
|| Aum Shri Ramakrishnarpanamastu ||