Spiritual Message for the Day – “Swami Krishnananda” – The Ideal Saint by Swami Chidananda

Baba Times Digest© | 26 April 2014 18:48 EST | New York Edition

“Swami Krishnananda” – The Ideal Saint

Divine Life Society Publication:  The Ideal Saint from the inspiring pen of Swami Chidananda

(Released on the auspicious occasion of the 82nd Birth Anniversary of H.H. sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj on 25th April 2004)


Celebration of Krishnanandaji’s birthday is worship of Brahman. Many people’s faculties are developed. Every man’s eyes are opened. Everyone begins to think such celebrations are very necessary.

Krishnanandaji is a wonder to me! He has excelled me. He has excelled Sankara. He has excelled Dakshinamoorthy.

He is very quick in his work. He has vast and deep knowledge of Vedanta. It is all God’s Grace. It is not merely due to study in this birth. It is all due to Purva Samskaras. His knowledge is a treasure for those aspirants, who care to learn, study and imbibe the knowledge from him.


“Swami Krishnananda” – The Ideal Saint

From the inspiring pen of Swami Chidananda

Great is my happiness to express my homage and high regards to our most revered Swami Krishnananda Saraswati, my beloved spiritual brother and fellow disciple at the feet of our most worshipful Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, upon this joyful and auspicious anniversary of his Birthday.

Sri Swami Krishnanandaji is the foremost spiritual personality of our Gurudev’s holy Ashram, who has inspired, guided and enlightened countless spiritual seekers ever since his advent at the Headquarters of The Divine Life Society in 1944.

Today, Swami Krishnanandaji is enshrined in the hearts of countless Sadhakas and students of Yoga and Vedanta all over the world by his loving disposition, his kindness to them and his genuine keen interest in their spiritual progress and welfare. Beloved Swami Krishnanandaji shines as the leading light of our monastic brotherhood at the Sivananda Ashram and as the foremost amongst the spiritual teachers of The Divine Life Society, whom worshipful Gurudev left behind to carry forward his spiritual.

Early Life

It makes a most interesting as well as a rewarding study to look into the early life of this eminent spiritual son of India, shining with highest knowledge, supreme dispassion, unequalled renunciation, simplicity, austerity, desirelessness and dedication. Swami Krishnanandaji is Vedanta and Virakti personified, and as such an embodiment of Dharma, of Gurubhakti and of Samadrishti (equal vision) that the very presence of this truly great-souled Mahatma adds luster to the order of Sanyasins today. He was a Jignyasu right from his earliest days, and this trait later on naturally took the form of spiritual Jignyasa for divine knowledge.

Gradually  the spirit of liberation and the spirit of renunciation was being awakened in the youth’s heart. Subbaraya began to feel more and more that the only thing worth striving for was Kaivalya Moksha or a divine state of spiritual liberation. Thus he became convinced that this was the highest ultimate goal of human existence.

Sometime in 1943, Subbaraya took up Government service at Hospet in Bellary district. But this phase lasted only for a short period. The powerful pull of renunciation and monasticism now drew him to itself, and the spiritual world claimed him once for all.

Arriving at Rishikesh in the year 1944, the brilliant young seeker came face to face with his Guru, upon the holy banks of the sacred river Ganga. Filled with the spirit of renunciation, young Subbaraya met His Worshipful Holiness Sadguru, Sri Swami Sivananda, filled with the radiant light of divine realization. Most blessed is that day when the aspiring young Subbaraya obtained the supreme emperor among Gurus, and the saintly Swami Sivananda found a rare gem among seekers and got a precious jewel among his disciples.


Yoga – Way of Life


Ashram Life

Young Subbaraya now became a Sadhak resident of the holy Sivananda Ashram. I could see that revered Gurudev perceived in the newcomer certain very rare and unique spiritual qualities that marked him out as being a class by himself. His conduct and his ideal behavior constituted a model for others to copy. There was an innate saintliness in him which none could fail to perceive. Even persons much elder to him in age felt impelled to show reverence to him and behave with respect towards him. It is no wonder then that within a short time he came to be regarded as an Acharya in the Ashram, to whom doubts were taken for their explanation, questions posed for answers, and disputes for settlements on the basis of scriptural injunction. His opinion was sought in religious matters, and Subbaraya was consulted upon questions of philosophy and metaphysics.

Knowledge and Clarity of Thought

Hailing, as we both did, from the same part of India and consequently our mother tongue being the same, we were drawn together in a close friendship and spiritual fellowship which has steadily grown and progressed over the past more than a quarter of a century of our companionship at the feet of the holy Master. Our daily duties were not too many. Hence we had time for long religious talks and frequent philosophical discussions. Even at that time, Swami Krishnanandaji made a deep impression upon me by the exactness of his scriptural knowledge and his thoroughness of grasp on any subject discussed. His thinking was precise and clear, and characterized by a correct-logic. He would never allow prejudice or bias of any sort to cloud his thoughts and opinions, nor permit mere emotions or personal sentiment to blur his vision.

Perfect Sadhak - Dharma, Yoga and Mind Control

This young Sadhak had such a highly developed ethical sense that he would never do anything without first weighing the ethical implications, and until and unless he was convinced that his action was in conformity with Dharma. He was scrupulous in the observance of his daily duties of the Brahmacharya-ashram to which he belonged, and very regular in his Sandhya-vandana, Arghya and Gayatri Japa. All this I observed, and also saw how he was possessed of a settled calmness in his nature, which is rare indeed to come across in present times. Praise and insult were the same to him. He did not get annoyed or irritated on any account. Next to Sri Gurudev, whom I have never seen to manifest anger, Subbaraya was the one person in the Ashram in whom anger seemed to have met its defeat. One could call him a "Jitakrodha" Shanta-murthi without exaggeration. His calmness and absence of anger were the outcome of his "Amaanitvam" and "Adambitvam", and these were prominent among the numerous Daivi-sampatthi, of which he was a repository, and the indications of wisdom which he personified. His nature and conduct would be found totally with the description found in the five verses (7th to the 11th) of the 13th chapter of the Gita.

Aspiration for the highest realization

Swami Sivanandaji, noticing his love of study, encouraged him to use the books in the Ashram library, and also provided for his study whatever books he wished to have. Austerity went hand in hand with his study. His life at the time was of the utmost simplicity and absolute self-control. He would never open his mouth and ask anything, even if it was badly needed. His practice of "Aparigraha" was perfect. And all the time he was ever-filled with an intense burning aspiration for the highest realization. By temperament he was inclined more towards silence, seclusion and inward living than towards external preoccupation or too much activity.

However, finding that the Ashram life necessarily implied some extent of participation in the general service in one form or other done by all Ashramites, young Subbaraya willingly undertook to work at the Ashram outdoor dispensary. He made a most compassionate medical assistant and nurse combined to the afflicted and the sick.


Brahma Nishta and Sidha Mahapurusha

Spiritual Stature and Eminence

Of souls like Swami Krishanandaji, all cannot give estimations and opinions. It is said that one of the rarest of qualities in this world is understanding. No man can understand another man. We cannot  understand spiritual people of high spiritual eminence.

We cannot understand a saint of the eminence of Swami Krishnanandaji. We will be able to appreciate some of his human qualities. We may say that he expounds Vedanta wonderfully,—that is not a very great complement to a soul who has dived into the very depth of Vedantic knowledge and also has to his credit inner experience of the Vedantic truths. Even so, we may say he does not waste his time, he leads a very regulated life,—but all this is like trying to say that the sun shines, that it rises punctually every day in the east. You bypass what the splendor is, and say only what you can see.

To understand the secret of  Swami Krishnananda’s great spiritual stature and eminence, is a thing which we can try only by a devout and humble emulation or imitation of his life. We must observe,  learn and be filled with a spirit of discipleship. Then alone will we be able to understand. Or else, we will admire, but we will not be able to thoroughly understand what they are.

Specially so is the case with persons with whom we are constantly living. By constant association, you lose the real worth of a being. A sort of carelessness develops in you. It is only people who don’t live with him, who visit him once in a while and hear something from him which goes right into their hearts and at once flashes there the light of illumination, of Atma-vichara,—they will treasure the light that he has been able to kindle in their hearts. They will prize this experience of contact with him and enshrine it in their hearts beacon light.

Spiritual man and a Sanyasin

The first is that Swami Krishnanandaji is an unusual being—Manushyanaam Sahasreshu Kaschit Yatati Siddhaye; Yatatamapi Siddaanam Kaschinmam Vetti Tatwatah. He is one of those who belong to the latter category, the rare few who, having striven, attain Him and know Him in essence, and who come in order to lead men towards Self-knowledge. As this only we must view our Vedanta Acharya and Sanyasa Acharya.

Viveka, Vairagya, Sadhana Chatushtaya, Mumukshutva

His life, I have found, is based upon absolute Vairagya. His renunciation and spiritual life is one that is based upon Poorna Vairagya. It is the best foundation for spiritual life. The exceptional feature of the Vairagya of Krishnanandaji is that it is Viveka-Vichara-Janita Vairagya. It is Vairagya that slowly grew and beautifully developed within his consciousness through the ceaseless pondering the facts of life, and bringing to bear upon these phenomena of life a very penetrating and a very highly discriminating mind. It is this discrimination and constant enquiry that has brought out his Vairagya. Upon this Vairagya he has based his spiritual life; thus it stands upon the surest of bases, upon a most permanent and unshakable basis.

Vairagya is not an easy thing. People may suffer again and again; yet they cling to worldly life. By merely coming to know of the harmful and painful nature of sense-objects, by Viveka alone, Swami Krishnanandaji has got himself established in Para-vairagya.

There is nothing that he wants in this universe. He does not care for these names and forms. He has acquired that sense of Paripoornata which springs from the constant consciousness that ‘I am Nitya, Shudha, Buddha, Satchidananda Atma’. His Viveka and Vichara have given him a very correct lead in the spiritual life.

If you want to know about Parabrahman: Tadviddhi Pranipatena Pariprasnena Sevaya. Eradication of egoism, Seva—all these mean a complete change of your entire old, unregenerate, self-arrogating nature. Then alone have you to approach the Guru. Krishnanandaji has made his Vedantic life to be based upon perfect Adikaritwa. As such, you see in him an ideal exemplar or Sadhana Chatushtaya. His Viveka is twenty-four hours’ Viveka. Every moment of his life he is ever discriminating. His mind is never slumbering, never relaxed. This is his criterion,—whatever he does, whatever experience comes to him, ‘will this help my spiritual life or retard my spiritual life?’ This is the measuring rod which he has. He is absolutely firm in his principles and in using this measuring rod. If it is unspiritual, he rejects it without a second thought. It is a discrimination which always chooses the Sreya Marga.

Swami Krishnanandaji is an embodiment of the Nachiketas element. Sadhana Chatushtaya are proud to come and have their dwelling in such a worthy receptacle. Whatever suffering, whatever diseases, and whatever troubles and difficulties come to him, he would never mention it to anybody, and never make any effort to correct it. This is Titiksha. Swami Krishnanandaji has always tried to keep this ideal of Titiksha before him in his daily life. For that, he always goes to the original source of wisdom. Whatever definition Sankara has given for all these Sadhanas, he always takes Sankara’s definitions as his ideal, and tries to keep to them.

His inner life is a shining flame of aspiration. Day and night he is consumed with the aspiration for the realization of the Absolute. All other things don’t exist for him. That is the type of inner life that Swami Krishnanandaji has got.

Yoga of Synthesis – Hand, Head and Heart (Karma Yogi, Jnana Yogi, Bhakti Yogi)

Even though ordinarily Vedantins are supposed to be theoretical and do not take part in Karma Yoga, Swami Krishnanandaji has done wonderful service in our dispensary. Day and night he has served as the sole ‘in-charge’ of the dispensary. Even though his nature was something inward, introspective, yet when the call of duty came, he, in spite of his nature, came out and served wonderfully. He never wastes a single moment. His is a most systematic life in this Ashram.

I have never heard him raise his voice and speak or utter a harsh word. He has made himself an embodiment of tolerance that Gurudev is.

His life is one permeated by one of pure Brahma Abhyasa. He is constantly thinking, dwelling in, and absorbed in the thought of the Highest Reality, in the thought of that One Transcendental, Imperishable, Infinite, Nameless, Formless, Ever-present, All-pervading Reality. That is the sort of spontaneous Sadhana which he does, and he lives as a Jivanmukta would live.

His life is an ideal which everyone should try to emulate. Socially and individually, his conduct and behavior may well be the enviable ideal of a perfect gentleman. His speech, the decorum of his behavior, his conduct, his social interaction,—everything is that of an ideal gentleman.In his daily life, in his routine, in the discipline which he practises, he is an ideal for a Sadhaka.His attitude towards life, and his vision of the world, is an ideal pattern for any saint to adopt.The consciousness which he always holds within himself is the ideal for a Jivanmukta.

He has tried to mould himself upon the highest ideal of perfection in which Indians and Hindus have, viz., the life of Purna-avatara Sri Krishna. Early in life, Krishnanandaji was inspired by the Gita; he has followed and striven earnestly and successfully to grow into the likeness of the Gita ideal and the Krishna ideal. Happily, in his intuitive wisdom, Sri Gurudev has given him the name ‘Swami Krishnananda’, one who partakes of the Bliss of the Krishna-consciousnes. Krishnanandaji knows that the entire world is a shadow play; he is not affected by it. At the same time, he is ever centered in the consciousness of the Highest Reality, Satchidananda.

We should realize this, and reflect seriously on what he stands for, and the ideal he embodies in his life. The highest compliment we can pay to these great people is to emulate them and become blessed.

Excerpts from:

“Swami Krishnananda” - The Ideal Saint  from the Inspiring pen of Sri Swami Chidananda

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