(Join the Integral Yoga sangha for the 20th Anniversary Mahasamadhi Memorial of Sri Swami Satchidananda in person and livestreamed from Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville on Saturday, August 20th, beginning at 9:30am EDT, with programs throughout the day. The evening program begins at 7:30pm EDT.)
Sri Swami Satchidananda entered Mahasamadhi on 19 August 2002 in South India. When a saint or sage leaves their body and is capable of remaining in a superconscious state without the body, it is called Mahasamadhi. Such spiritual masters are in a state of Mahasamadhi, (i.e., a continued state of samadhi even after leaving the body). For them, death is not a process of total annihilation but only a discarding of the body, which they had been occupying to carry on certain duties toward humanity.
What we learn from the sacred text, Sri Guru Gita (all translations of verses cited here courtesy of Christopher Hareesh Wallis, PhD) is that the Satguru is one who is carrying out a universal divine role. Such a Guru is an access point to the infinite flow of wisdom energy that comes through lineage. This is also known as the “Guru-tattva,” or Guru Principle. If an aspirant’s longing and devotion for the Truth is sufficiently strong and pure enough, they open an access point to the flow of wisdom.
Verse 10 of the Sri Guru Gita explains:
Gūḍhavidyā jaganmāyā dehe cājñāna-sambhavā |
Udayaḥ yatprakāśena guru-śabdena kathyate ||10||
“In the body there lives both hidden wisdom and powerful delusion born of ignorance. The one whose illuminating teaching causes [the hidden wisdom] to surge up within is designated by the word ‘Guru.’”
The one by whose Grace that wisdom is accessed is known as “Guru.” And the sole dharma of the Satguru is to lead the disciple to the inner Guru. Swami Satchidananda often explained that the function of the outer Guru is to introduce the disciple to the inner wisdom, the inner Guru which enables you recognize to recognize your own essential nature.
Gukāraṁ ca guṇātītaṁ rukāraṁ rūpavarjitam|
Guṇātīta svarūpaṁ ca yo dadyātsa guruh ̣ smṛtah|̣ |46||
“The syllable ‘gu’ transcends the gunas; the syllable ‘ru’ is free from form or appearance (rūpa). The Guru is said to be the one who grants [access to] the essence-nature that transcends the gunas.”
As Dr. Wallis describes in his commentary on Sri Guru Gita: “If the Guru successfully points this out, and there is recognition, then you have access to this inner Guru. This is lineage transmission. The sadhana of Sri Guru Gita teaches the disciple how to relate to the external Guru in such a way that it maximizes the transmission and cultivates the inner Guru.”
The Integral Yoga sangha offers our deepest and infinite love, reverence, and gratitude to our Satguru, Sri Swami Satchidananda, on this milestone anniversary of the Mahasamadhi. May Sri Gurudev’s abundant blessings continue to enable all of his disciples and devotees to even more fully open the door to the flow of Grace that makes total spiritual awakening possible.
Yasya smaranạ mātreṇa jñānamn utpadyate svayam|
Ya eva sarva samprāptiḥ tasmai śrī gurave namaḥ |̣ |69||
“Salutations to the Blessed Guru who is all-attainments and by merely remembering whom, wisdom rises spontaneously.”
We repeat the following verse from the Sri Guru Gita daily during morning meditation at Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville. It so beautifully expresses the gratitude we feel to our Beloved Gurudev for his teachings, as we re-dedicate ourselves to our sadhana each day:
Brahmānandaṁ parama sukhadaṁ kevalaṁ jñāna mūrtiṁ
dvandvātītaṁ gaganasadṛśaṁ tat tvam asyādilakṣyam|
Ekaṁ nityaṁ vimalamacalaṁ sarva dhīsākṣi bhūtaṁ
bhāvātītaṁ triguṇarahitaṁ sadguruṁ taṁ namāmi||89||
“I bow to that true Teacher (Satguru) who is all these things: the bliss of the Absolute, who bestows Supreme Happiness, and whose form is nothing but insight (that comes from the Satguru and arises in you as a result of successful sadhana). “This enlightened insight transcends and subsumes all pairs of opposites and it is like the sky (expansive). The Satguru is the object of sayings such as Tat Tvam Asi (“that’s how you are;” and others in the Upanishads). This Satguru is One, singular (there’s only one Guru-tattva—the transmission of awakened awareness that comes to us from lineage). The Guru is steady and the witness of all thoughts/intellection. This Guru is also beyond all mental/emotional states and free of the three gunas.” May we recognize and express our divine nature in every moment. Om Shanti.
Om Aim Paramashivarūpāya Shrīgurave Satchidānandaya Namah!