Negativity – Swami Satchidananda
Satchidananda was born in 1914 into a pious and devoted Gounder family at Chettipalayam, a small village in Coimbatore, near Podanur in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and was named as C. K. Ramaswamy Gounder. His parents affectionately called him Ramu. He remained a vegetarian all his life and abstained from eating meat at all times. After graduating from an agricultural college, he took a position with his uncle’s firm, which imported motorcycles. By the age of 23 he became a manager at India’s National Electric Works. During this period he got married and had two children. His wife died five years later. Ramaswamy then left his two young sons with their paternal grandmother and decided to go on a spiritual journey
After the sudden death of his wife, Ramaswamy traveled throughout India, meditating at holy shrines and studying with revered spiritual teachers. For years, Ramaswamy searched for real sages, saints, and spiritual masters. Eventually, he was initiated into pre-sannyasa in the Ramakrishna Thapovanam and given the name Brother Sambasiva Chaitanya. While at the ashram, his job was to care for orphaned young boys. During this period, he also studied along with the renowned Sri Ramana Maharshi. He eventually left the ashram when he could not bear the suffering of Sri Ramana’s arm cancer and treatment procedures. Ramana Maharshi died shortly after his departure. He then traveled to Rishikesh, a holy town in the foothills of the Himalayas, located on the banks of the Ganges River. There, he discovered his guru, Sivananda Saraswati who ordained him into the order of sannyasa in 1949 and gave him the name Satchidananda Saraswati.
The name Saccidānanda, Satchidananda, or Sat-cit-ānanda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानंद) is a compound of three Sanskrit words, Sat (सत्), Cit (चित्), and Ānanda (आनंद) (the ā is of longer vocal length), meaning essence, consciousness, and bliss, respectively. The expression is used in yoga and other schools of Indian philosophy to describe the nature of Brahman as experienced by a fully liberated yogi. Satcidānanda may be understood as the energetic state of non-duality, a manifestation of our spiritually natural, primordial, and authentic state which is comparable in quality to that of deity.
During the late 1950s and into the 1960s, Satchidananda headed, along with another disciple of Sivananda Saraswati, to the Kandy Thapovanam, one of Sivananda’s ashrams situated in the hill country of Sri Lanka. Here, Satchidananda taught yoga, conceived and implemented innovative interfaith approaches to traditional Hindu festivals and modernized the ancient mode of living that renunciates had followed for many years. For instance, Satchidanda drove a car (to teach throughout Sri Lanka), wore a watch (to be on time), and actively engaged the questions of seekers. These modernizations were ridiculed by certain individuals in the orthodoxy but he felt them to be necessary natural extensions and serving tools for betterment in his spiritual yogic work.