The following talk was given by Swami Vishnudevananda on one of his tours in India in the 1950s. It was recorded and edited by Swami Venkatesananda, a fellow swami and disciple of Swami Sivananda and shows the deep devotion Swami Vishnudevananda held for his master. Swami Vishnudevananda never faltered in his devotion to his master. At every opportunity he would refer any of his own personal achievements back to the master’s feet. If he ever accepted praise, he would say that it was because his ego was manifesting. He would say that all that he ever learned had come from his master.
The Voice of the Himalayas
“Time and again great avatars, manifestations of the Lord, like Lord Krishna and so many saints and sages enlightened with perfect wisdom come into our midst to awaken us and to lead us along the path of divine life to the goal of divine light. The voice of Sri Krishna, the voice of the Bhagavad Gita, is heard even today as the ‘Voice of the Himalayas’, the voice of my Gurudev, Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. They all speak with one voice; their message is fundamentally the same. Only the presentation may differ to suit our needs, our temperament and our receptive capacity.
What Lord Krishna taught thousands of years ago, Sri Swami Sivananda places before us through his everyday life and his words that are crystal-clear to us. This ‘Voice of the Himalayas’ awakens us to the reality of God. Who created this universe? Surely, not you or I. By whose power is it maintained? Surely, not yours or mine. If all that has been created progresses towards something, moves towards something—towards Whom do all proceed? That Supreme Something is God. Why do we not reach It, if we are moving towards It from time immemorial? Because It is within us all. Our search outside for something which is within us is bound to be endless and futile. When we turn our gaze within, then we may find It.
The ‘Voice of the Himalayas’ calls us from within, to turn our gaze within, and to recognise that Godhead within all. When we do not recognise the Godhead within us, when we are not in contact with the Godhead within us, we experience pain, evil and misery. Doubts and difficulties torment us. Vague fears and powerful cravings drive us crazy and mad. When we recognise that Godhead and contact the divinity latent in us, we enjoy unbroken peace and infinite bliss.
That is what the ‘Voice of the Himalayas’ assures us from the lofty Godhead.There is a mysterious power which does not allow us to glimpse this reality even for a moment. It veils. It deludes. It presents before us infinite patterns of unreality and makes us feel that this is the reality. It makes us feel there is happiness in the object alone. It makes us feel that only those things which we can experience through our senses are real and that there is nothing beyond. This is maya, cosmic illusion. The pleasure-coating we find in this world is maya. This pleasure does not last. God in His infinite mercy sends us His messengers, the sparks of His grace and love for us: and they take the form of misery, pain and evil. They awaken us to the true nature of the world. And they awaken us to the truth that we are vainly searching for the eternal bliss at wrong quarters and that we should turn our gaze within. The powerful ‘Voice of the Himalayas’ gives us this caution and steals our heart.
What will a person who is awakened to this truth and who desires to commune with God do? How will a person behave who has completely surrendered himself to the omnipotent will of the Lord? Will he sit idly watching the world? No, says the Lord in the Bhagavad Gita and His message is illustrated in the life of Sri Swami Sivananda Maharaj.”