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Radha's Life of Service Part IV

December 22, 2007 by Lightwaves

service_1.jpgIn a continuing series of articles, Swami Durgananda will present her research into Swami Radha’s life before and after she met her guru, Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, India. In this installment, Swami Radha opens her Vancouver bookstore and prepares for the visit of one of her guru’s closest disciples, Swami Chidananda.

“In September of 1957 a store was rented in down-town Vancouver. It was overhauled, decorated and furnished by Ashramites. (The idea of a Yoga-Vedanta Bookstore came from Peter Burton, one of the young men who was helping Swami Radha in her beginning days in Burnaby.) Her guru, Swami Sivananda Saraswati sanctioned and blessed it in a personal letter. It was a large task to stock the store….but Peter was up to it.”

In December of 1957 the property and house next door to their Ashram in Burnaby came up for sale. “It was a splendid opportunity….. After counting the pros and cons it was purchased and is now rented out.”

service_2.jpgThey also rented out rooms in the original house and held satsangs and workshops there as well as students having personal time with Swami Radha. There were always various improvements that had to be made in wiring and plumbing etc.

Letter to a friend, July 7, 1959:
“…We have already to take care of winter provisions. If one has a house, it swallows up everything. Always repairs, and heat is running into money. Pipes, wiring, heating, runs terribly into money. Every year the taxes go up. I just took a deep sigh, that we could manage with God’s help and hard work to pay $500.00 in taxes.”

In spite of these issues Swami Radha had an amazing intuition about investing in property. It seemed like she was taking on more problems but when she talked about it a different picture emerged. She said that a contractor was interested in the two properties because he wanted to tear down both houses and build a large complex on the land. I do not know what the selling price was but I am sure this is what paid for the purchase of the next move to Kootenay Bay.

Swami Radha knew that it was important for people to experience in person the wisdom that she found in Swami Sivananda and Swami Chidananda in India so she invited Swami Chidananda, the closest disciple of the Master, to come to the Burnaby Ashram. But she found out that this was not a simple matter.

Letter to a friend, July 5, 1959:
“Ottawa is making difficulties about the Visa for Chidananda. They got him mixed up with somebody else, a young fellow who called himself Sivananda and made some troubles in 1952. So letters go back and forth about that,…..Chidananda has never been out of India so there is no record in Ottawa that proves unfavourable. It is always the same, the innocent have to pay for the mischief of others. As soon as we have his Visa, we will buy his ticket on installments because we have not even $50.00. Of course, it will be different when people meet him, they will have more confidence. He is invited for 3-5months.”

service_3.jpgNov 14,1959
From Swami Chidananda to Swami Radha:

“Would you believe me when I tell you that I finally got the Visa for Canada for 3 months – four hours before my departure on Nov.2nd….. I received the Visa at 10:15 am and flew at 2.15 pm. God did arrange it, though late……So thanks to your revered self’s earnest prayer and “sankalpa” this matter has now concluded satisfactorily.
I am in London on the 16th and reach N.Y. on the 17th morning. In all this God is a guiding factor and will make our paths for the immediate future. Let us both be guided by HIM in our service of humanity in the name of our Holy Master and his Divine Life Cause.”

Swami Chidananda traveled across the United States and Canada making stops for workshops and lectures before his visit to the Burnaby Ashram in April and May of 1960. We have a copy of a letter she wrote to her guru telling him about Swami Chidananda’s visit.

October 10, 1960

“Beloved Gurudev, Are you waiting for some word to hear about Chidananaji? ….he is doing fine work. You know, Swamiji, that I am more the rough type and my language is not very flowery, but I must say that Chidananaji measured up to all expectations. He gathered many friends. He inspired many people. But most of all, he follows Christ’s demand: bring peace; blessed is the one who brings peace. His understanding does not allow separation. He is a peacemaker ever ready to unite people on all levels….How fortunate he was to come to you so young….Letters come to you by the hundreds so I will not waste your time but thank you again for letting us have your “jewel” Chidanandaji.

I try to continue to be your obedient child. May God give you good health to be with us as we still need you more than ever. Always at your service with all my heart and love….Your Radha”

Shortly after this Swami Radha received and followed a message to move to a more rural setting where people would more easily leave their everyday concerns behind and have time for yoga and reflection. She followed the signs that were given and this took her on a journey of discovery.

Read Diary of a Woman’s Search to learn of Swami Radha’s time with her guru Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh.

No Comments »

  1. Dear Durgananda,
    Thanks for your clear, factual ongoing stories. I wonder if Timeless might consider putting them all together as a small format book as has been done with The Rose Ceremony and The Devi of Speech.Another treasured book in this series?
    In the Light,
    Angela Gaffikin

    Comment by Angela Gaffikin — January 8, 2008 @ 2:39 am

  2. Dear Durgananda,
    Thankyou for this, there was something very touching about this article to me. I think perhaps it was the love and
    devotion swami had for her guru and commitment to service. It came so clearly in the letter to him(sivananda)
    In light
    Linda McManaman

    Comment by linda McManaman — January 11, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

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