September 12th was the 59th anniversary of the day Swami Kriyananda met Master. We celebrated it here in India as the first day of his 60th year of discipleship.
In a sense the celebration began on Monday, because we ran a large full color ad in the Times of India, advertising the event on Wednesday the 12th. We ran a second ad on Wednesday itself.
Both ads were surprise gifts to Swami. When he discovered the ad in Monday’s paper he said with a smile, “I’m a little embarrassed, but not really.” When he saw Wednesday’s ad, he was similarly touched.
The celebration began in the morning with a discipleship ceremony in our temple. Many devotees gathered together to renew their vows of discipleship to Master. In addition, the Life Members of the Ananda’s Sevaka Order renewed their Life Vows–we are blessed to have 26 of them serving here.
After lunching at the ashram with about 80 of our closest friends, we went to the town Community Center to finish decorating and to prepare for the evening.
The event began at 5:00pm with chanting by Haridas and some of the monks. We had a capacity crowd of 400, due largely, we believe, to the Times of India ads. At 5:30 Swamiji arrived, and the choir stood up to sing.
The great news is that many Indians have joined the choir and now make up about half of the singers! We sang Invocation, Lord Most High, Walk Like a Man, and Dark Eyes. We also sang Swami’s chant, Lord I am Thine, in Hindi–Prabhu Mai Tumhara. It is the first of many of his chants and songs that we hope to translate. Singing has been a wonderful way for all of us to share in the music together.
Sri D.R. Kaarthikeyan, Nirmala, and Dharmadas introduced Swamiji. Swamiji gave a powerful talk on the meaning of discipleship, including his own experience of it. He ended with an exhortation for us all to start a community in India, so that others can see the value of living in community not as an idea merely, but as a reality.
Swamiji asked Ruby and Amol to join him onstage. They described a plan to fund and build our first community here in India. Swamiji then stood and said, “I pray with all my heart that we can get something like this going soon.”
He next invited his long-time friend Indu Bhan to join him for a yagya (Vedic fire ceremony). He said that they performed this ceremony together in January of 1961, repeating the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra for the whole world.
After the recitation of mantras over the flames, Swamiji returned to his seat and invited the audience to come to him to a receive a gift: his translation of the 1st chapter and part of the 2nd chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.
These translations are part of his latest project: to publish the complete Gita, containing the verses only. He left out these particular verses from the commentary, The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, because they require extensive commentary that would impede the flow of the overall book.
He gave these verses in a little booklet to each guest at the program. Peopled gathered along the walls to greet Swamiji–the line stretched almost all the way around the hall. Swamiji personally greeted each one, and each departed the stage with the booklet and a smile.
Swamiji said he was so happy with the all the aspects of the day. It was a blessed event, full of light, and a glorious beginning of Swami’s sixtieth year of service to his guru, and to all the world.