Sw Bhavananda Giri (12th Oct 1932 – 29th Sep 2010)
Swami Bhavananda with Daya Mataji, Krishnananda (left) and Smaranananda (right)
Swami Bhavananda would give the Sunday Satsangas
The Satsangas – His talk was a live example/demonstration of how “truth” is spoken by a Master –
He would take the service readings and would start reading – and then his intuitive clavis would open the library of the Infinite – and seemingly effortlessly would pour out – what was very surely a satsanga – which was not cooked or worked on by the mind – but rather – understanding after understanding – truth after truth – realized knowledge – poured out – and each of these had the power to enter into the dark marrows of mind’s and consciousness and to explode and remove ignorance and darkness there with the light of knowledge – that he poured liquid metal like – to form steely determination and understandings which moulded into the skeletal structure of one’s spiritual life – on which to build one’s own personal direct realizations!
After his satsanga of about 45 minutes – Brahmacharini. Mirabai would carry us on her magic carpet of chanting to spiritual heaven – 30 minutes of bliss showers. From listening to and chanting with her we learnt how and what chanting is …and how it is a technique of meditation and how – it is capable in its own right to carry you to mergence with God – a state which Daya Ma often glided into during her chants 🙂.
a YSS devotee
Swami Bhavanandaji was someone who I had the blessing to meet. He was the monk at the Fullerton Temple for awhile back in the early 70’s, before he went to India. I also had seen him at a Hollywood Temple Friday night 3 hour meditation that he led. I remember how he seemed to be very deep in meditation; it took him a few minutes to “come out” of meditation and when he did his voice was filled with an otherworldly-devotional love as he lead the closing prayer. It made quite an impression of this young devotee. Later at Fullerton I again saw this deep mystical side of his. He would sometime pause for a few moments during the sunday services as if he had suddenly “checked-out” into bliss and was having trouble maintaining that state while giving a public lecture. He never faltered, of course. I just thought that he was quite the mystic, a true one.
I had an interview with Swamiji, wherein I asked him how I could stop other’s bad “vibes” from hurting me. He very quickly educated me. He said, the problem isn’t others and what they do to you. Rather, the problem was I wasn’t concerned enough about how I treat others. He made it clear that I needed to work harder on the spiritual path and that then these things would all become much easier. He gave me hope and insight. I remember I gave him a copy of a book by St. Francis de Sales on spiritual love. He was very appreciative.
I never saw him again after his India posting. I followed him through the magazine, where sometimes he would have an article printed. I didn’t know that he’d returned to the states and was very sorry to hear of his passing. He was a wonderful man, an inspiring example, a true man of God.
an SRF devotee
At Play – Volleyball and the game of Life
It was wonderful when Swamiji joining in volleyball.
(Monks have as part of their routine a period of group play of 45 mins – recreation – adhered strictly to during postulant years). As we were a mere 6-8 postulants and 3 Brahmacharis at the time it was necessary sometimes for him to join us (he was the only Swami in residence) so that we could form two teams of five members each – to play against each other.
The days when he joined us were special days – because they gave the opportunity to study Swamiji and absorb his vibrations and the memory of the encounters – he was a living encyclopaedia of spiritual living in that he embodied truth which we study and read about.
One could see Truth manifesting in and through him all the time.
Swamiji was of above average height – tall and slim – and agile. His energy was always controlled – ever still – and calm – but when needed it was focussed and quick. He had the grace of a cat – the attention of a tiger – the agility of a hawk – the power of a puma.
Constantly aware of the Divine within – he directed his attention on the game – participating fully – while simultaneously aware of the thoughts and feelings of all around.
One normally tends to play with vigour and when we play a game we play to
1. Score points and win
2. Have fun (hit the ball or pass successfully and smash an unreturnable shot).
3. Be fully absorbed in the game – giving it our all.
Swamiji played rather differently. He played the game as he played the game of life:
1. With Attunement – or At-One-ment always aware of the Divine which flowed through Him
2. With Awareness aware not only of himself but also of everyone else around playing – and with deep concern for the feelings and thoughts of each
3. With Agility, Energy, Poise, Balance, Perfection. He did his part in the area in which he played extremely well, invisibly helped weak members beside him (if necessary – not to weaken by support but to strengthen by it), hit shots and won points more often than not but with a critical difference which I must speak more about:
As it is a fast game – it is possible to end up hurting each other or causing pain or injury to each other in a competitive game – and it would happen on many occasions that we would end up hitting the ball at each other too hard and overwhelm each other by power causing pain on occasion.
Swamiji always used the appropriate power and placement – His shots were always well directed – usually difficult if not impossible to return – but it would be difficult to get hurt by a shot from him – the power was always just right and just enough to seal the point – and never hurt. One was left with no alternative but to wonder and applaud. And emulate if at all that was possible. One was always aware that he was playing from another plane of consciousness.
And when one played rambunctiously – one’s attention – which tended always to be partly on him 🙂 – one would turn quickly to see if he approved or disapproved – and would often see a quiet or intense expression – or a mildly disapproving look/expression – not even directed at one – but rather at the situation or event just witnessed – which spoke volumes inside one’s heart – drawing one to think about how one could do it better – perhaps be a bit more quiet and less noisy – and less involved – or trying more to keep the attention partly within 🙂 – His unspoken message – always knocked at one’s heart!
He became a personification of one’s conscience – to turn and look at him – and get the inward answer was an amazing experience!
A lifetime blessing – because one can always look within and see him and all the Gurus and Ma – again – and get one’s answers
a YSS devotee
See a nice Facebook page on Swamiji: