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Swami Vishnu-devanadna's AntimaYatra (Final Pilgrimage)

Article by Swami Karthikeyananda:

Om Namo Narayanaya Dasohnm Tavakeshava
Om Dum Durgayai Namaha
Om Hrim l\{ahalakshmyai Namaha
Om Aim Saraswatyai Swaha
Om Namo Bhagavathe Sivanandaya
Om Namo Bhagavathe Vishnu devanandaya
Sri Raama Raama Raameti Rame Raame l!(anorame
Sahasranaama TatfuIyam Raama Naema Yaraanane

As th-e summer programs started to wind down,
Swamiii started to prepare to go to India; often h6
would say that he wanted to spend his h3t days in
Ildia, in Uttar Kashi, and leave his body iri the
Ganga. The impulse to go was very stronel and bv
the end of theATTC tickets were teirtatively Uookei
for the middle of September. Plans'were first made
to g^o in Algrrstitself,-b-ut Swamdi decided to delay
as Swami Chidanandaji confrmed he would bb
vi siting S wami- ji. at the Camp on Sept. 1 5th. S wamij i' s
physical cg.nditign was no-ticeably deteriorating to
those working closely with him., bookings were repeatedly changed, as
Swamiji -was 31_so focussing his eriergiesln'the
construction of the. Subramanya/Ayyappa temple at
Jhe Qa14p, ("Illl gq to India oirce the temple is Uuitt
but finish it quickly so I can go fast') Workhad not
started and there were many setbacks and delays.
Finally,. through Qrace, an architept designed'an
appro_priate plan with grgat devotion. Then, at the
conclusion of a very rapidly called-EBM
meeti:rg,(called inmid Oct.) iiwamiji with finality
said that he was going to go to India. It seemed tha:t
he had to wait until he felt that all the senior staff
realised the grqqt irypqrtance of thi t"rpt., *a ttr"it
enqrgy was _behind_this project. At this?neeting, the
Trhi!*J, Usha Dhir *as-presenr wirh tfre ftlans.
_Sryan1iji leverently touched- each page to his'head;
a finalpuja was offered at the temile-site before th6
different board members departed.
Tickets were confirmed for 2 days time (22nd) to
London. Many long-time students of Swamiji's,
some who had not seen Swamiji for many many
yeqrs, had been turning up to visit in the several days
before departure. Some reminisced about the early
days at the Camp and Montreal center. John and
Marilyn Rossner, Rose Rosenstone, Monique Boulet,
'Pr,e,nra, Jaya and others would visit, some frequently.
Some tried to dissuade Swamiji from
travelling, but he was very firm.
Swamijihad also done something unprecedent€d, in
going to the private homes of some-of these devotees,
forworship and firnd-raising forthe temple. As
well he went to the Toronto center for an evening
program with puja, for firnd-raising, on Oct L?th.
Everywhere he would tellpeople that he was going
{o India, to Uttarlftshi, and ifMother allows, would
leave his body in the Ganga.
,The day of departure came, Accompanying S wamiji
on this trip were to be Swami Ikrtikeyananda,
Swami Atmaramananda, Prahlad and Gayatri.
Throughout the day preparations for the trip were
finalised, while Swamiji went through the mail,
attended to visitors etc. Former staff Sarada, who
had been an early secretary to Swamiji many years
ago, camein the midday and stayed throughout the
afternoon, reading all the reports, and mail to . .
Swamiji; Swamdi applied the vibhuri etc., and
applied to her also, Camp staff came down to
Swamiji's house in the early eveninE, and after the
usual manffas Swamiji has been in the habit of 'ff
reciting before departing from the house, finishing
with the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra, Swamiji and
parfy left for the airport.


As there was no "c4rry on" chair on the aircraft,
Swaniji had to be carried the few yards to the exit
door. Afterproceeding through the iirport, Swamiji
was met by staff and students of the Delhi center,
who conveyed to Swamiii news. On arrival at the
center, Swamiji was met outside by Uma Sharma as
well as Radhika and other IGthtk students, who
Iyere rehearsing for the Maharaas Lila. Although
Uma hoping Swarniji would stay downstaiis,
fwgrniji wantedto go up to stay in the center, sayrng
he "only want(s) to go up"! -
Onenews giv-en by staff was notpleasing to Swamiji:
a former sAff whom Swamiji had had-to request to
leave.after v-e-ry negatiye actions was apparently
planning to visit Swamiji thatnight, 10pm; this was
supposed to be a secret from Swamiji and staff.
Swarniii spent some time talking to Ddlhi center staff
about the actions of this perion. It seemed this
individual was blaming certain EBM for his disq.
usql; Swam{ii told the staff that it was Swamiji that
dismissed him; that the former staff blames Swami
Kartike.yananda etc because he cannot directly blame
Swarniji. Swamiji did not want to see him. When
this person finally came, he was refused access to
Swarniji; but said that he would retum in the
morning. When Swamiji, heard, he was visibly
agitated; commenting t@! thery negarive tlpepeopli:
qrecp-rying tomorrow. (Herefused to seoliini again
the following day.)
{q*! dqy Q6fir)Swamiji, deeply exhausted, rested
a little. I{e saw some visitors in-the evenin e. ahd then
left for the Dethi Ayyappa temple w[6re Uma
Sharma's troupe was pi:ifo-rming th-e Maharaas Lila.
He scolded the staff for leaving v-ery late and missing
some.of the -program (obdously upset for thE
musicians and dancers, who weie elpecting his
presence). The staff had not wanted to itisturf trim
as he seemed so very tired. Returning to the center
arou-nd l0pm, Swaniijilistened to woitdnews; staff
continued with packing/unpacking etc for the iest of
the journey. When Uma Sharma arrived later after
theperformance, Swamiji told her to take medicine
for her cold!
Swamijihad wanted to go to South India first, before
going to Uttarl(ashi. (Direct fliehts to Madras from
London were booked out for ieveral weeks, and
hance.Ltrir qtop in Delhi.) So ar 4.30 am eTth)
lygtttji qng group_ left 1!e cenrer, to catch ftighi
41404 to Madras. Swamdi and group were aflotled
seats in the L2throw, and-Swamiii trid to be carried
by accompanying staff to his seai. He was not well,
3n$ ye5y restless throughout the flight. Upon arrival
in Madras, close student of the ceiter, Frema, met
Swamiji on theplane. After clearing baggage Swamiji
was met bv staff Sabu Chaitanva and Sunil and
Swami Ayyappanandaji; as well Dr Bob Vinetz was
there with bouquets of flowers. Dr Bob had visited
the Camp for the first time a few weels ago. At
erening satsang then held in Swamiji's house,
Swamiji (first meeting him) invited Bob to go to
India with him. Bob was very touched by this and
decided to havel to India, even though Swamiji's
final dates of travel did not coincide with his own
vacation time. Dr Bob stayed in the Neyyar Dam
Ashram, and staff Sunil'travelled wifti him to
Madras, showing him sights en route. Due to leave
tomorrow evening back to California,, DrBob told
Swamiji that he had had a wonderful trip and had
been treated very well by the staff - like-family.
On the drive to Swami Ayyappananda's residence,
where Swamiji was to say, Swamiji asked Swami
Ayyappanandaji about Anjali (his young granddaughter)
- joking - does- she drivb'yef? Is she
guarding my m:Lngoes? etc. He inquired about Dr
Vinq and others, and referred to -his fust trip to
Madras, when he was a teenager and joined ttre
Bhargavi (Tapaswini) had just arrived back from
Calcutta theprevious day, not knowing Swamiji was
to arrive, and had readied everydring Tor Swarniji's
I-ater in the afternoon Chitra came to visit Swamiji.
There was a lengthy conversation, with Chitra
asking many qlestions and Swamiji grving succinct
replies. Seeming in a high state of devotion, at one
point Swamiji asked Swami l(artikeyananda to tell
the story of Radha's complete identification with her
Lord (the story of the Charanamritam to stop
Krishni's stomich ache). Others came in to ttie
room, and satsang with the usual format with
Swamiji (singing ofNama Ramayanam, LingasAkam
etc). Swam[ii asked Swami Kartikeyananda to relate
an incident ttrat happened when Swamiji and party
visited Guruvayur temple during a previous tip.
(On this trip iravelling westeri s6ff wete nbt
permitted into the temple, perhaps due to one
travelling priest that made a great ileal of fuss. So
Swamis Saradananda, Kartikeyananda, and
Atmaramanand4ii, and Gayati, sai outside'while
Swamiji went in, mentally focussing on Swamiji and
Iord Guruvayur. After-some time a beautific old
woman came out of the temple, ild despite the
crowds came difectly to the party. Saying * tirtham','
she offered each the milk from'the doritrio of Lord
Guruvayur. Then she disappeared, and Sw-amij i just
then came out of a side entrance . when hearing bf the
incident, hehad crJLel., sying - you weren't ailowed

in to see Krishna, so He sent Radha to you.)-
Swa.niii was tak6n outside, where he rested. Ali*
Afiiting very little for several weeks, Swam[ii
bareiy touched his food dl daY.
Ca[iire Swami Kartikeya for " news" at 4am the next
*ornifie. Swamiii fslened to world news for a
;hile. -dv 8.15am he left for the Tamil Nadu
Hoipitrt'+s mins. away for a checkup after the
trav6,[ine. bv Dr G. Abratram - who has treate
Swaniii-on ttre last visits to India, and the e4r
*""i.tist Dr Krishna Kumat, who puformed the
r'"iew otSwamiji's left ear in the sfring. -sytotji
ieoiesteC Dr Bob
Swami Ayyappanandaji to go
"to'ne "lro.
At the hospital Swaiiijiwas busy intrgduciie
Dr Bob to the doctors and initiating theu
conJeisation - it seemed Swamiji had gone !o qe
hosoital specifically to show Dr Bob everything he
couid on his hst.dlay in India, and
Swarniii. Swamiji was given a prescnp[on -ror a
drops, for a minor fungal growth in the
ears. when Swamiji visits the hospital, he did
not leavL before watering the tree he has named
;iapaiwini" (after Bhargivi, whom Swamiji named
Taoaswini aftbr she stated in a cave in Gangotri).
ittis tre" was planted driring Swamiji's first visit to
the hosPital
Finattvieavine thehospital, Swamiji wanted to go
Aiii"tiy to tf,e 'Sanfiar Narayan' Institute of
Maseniobiology - about an hours drive across town'
it uEiog uew hS[, bumpy and dusty, it was su-ggested
that we stop at the house for a while to rest..Swamilr
would haG none of it - so to the Institute!
fnfei Uv n Ohabai, Dr Sankar Narayan and Dr Sarada
SuUrainaniam, Swamiji made sure a full tour of the
Institute was made, ahd ttrat Dr Bob was given a
Back at the house, Swamiji rested for a while after
thJshower, but was not l:eeling so well and in the
evenine took tvlenol for a headache. Periodically he
would isk the staff how was DrBob - did he eat? etc.
ioni s*utni and devotees came to see Swamiji for a
few minutes. Swamiji, as usual, retired on a cot
ouisiOe for the night, where he-would keep Prahlad
and Swami Atmaramanandaji busY.
Next morning Q9th, Swamijiagain took medicine
for a headadhe. P6tti swami was conducting a
homam at the Madras center, so Swamiji went there
about 6:30am. After the conclusion he returned to
-tttJ trout. around 8:15am, where he read the fa:ces
ttrit nuA arrived from Camp regarding the temple,
ila from South Rmeiicd wh-ere Swami
S*uoopunandaji was on lecture tour, and heard
telephone reports etc as usual-
Swimiii wai uncomfortable and a little dizzy, but
continied to listen to news. Later in the afternoon he
listened as DeviBhagavatam was read - oftenin the
last manv weels. wh-ether day or night, staff would
toAftoit pevi bhagavatam. Radhabai visited and
introduced Shailia. saung she would like to become
oermanent staff in theAsf,ram (NeyyarDam). After
Devi Bhagavatam, Swamiii *-nt for a (wheelchair)
*qrelk" around the block.
Chitrhvisited in theearly evening, and continued to
read to Swamiii for a while, befoie Swamiji led intoi
conversatioir with her, going right to the hi:art of
a matter that had Oeerilv roubled her. Swamiji
eventually finished thdcbnversation by.asting to
continue fo read Devi Bhagavatam. Swamiji listened
to reports ofphone calls. Ee-had by ttris time almost
sffieO eatiig, and was being prbplteg t9 d{a$t
fhiinigtrt thei6 was a storm. Sbmetimes in the niqlt
he wouid have Pratrlad or Swami Atma make calls
also. Asusualinthenight, this timearound 1am, he
called Swami Kartikeyananda for news.
g0th - Swamiji was a little wak; he ate very titttt ut
the late mornirg, only after greatpersuasion. Swami
Matradevanandaji arrived ioon-after, having just
arrived from Cairada after theEBM meeting, stop'
ping over en route to Trivandrumi some studentsof
came with him. Swamiji asked him for
news, and afterbeing given th9 reports, Swarniji told
him lie wanted to glve Swami Ayyappananda some
Chocolates, since- it was his
-6irthday. Swami
Mahadevariandaji pulled somg puropean chocolates
out of his suircis-e - he had been-given them in
London - and handed them to Swamiji, who gave
them to Swami Ayyappanandaji, who promptly
started to disEibute some to those present.
Swamiji's body was paining and restlqss, so he was
atterna,:tety sitting an4 lylng down with- great frequency
frjr a wtrile, tivehtGlly settling in a sitting
ricsitiSn with num6rous cushions supporting him
wtrite Gavafri read to him the news. In the evening
Swamiji'fuas still not willing to eat, eating very little
snacks-after much coaxing.
Meanwhile staff were piiking up tickets for the
flight to Mangalore orf the 1st Nov. At 6:20pm
S#amiii left t6 attend the satsang arranged at thg
Madris center, arriving just as Swami
finishing- the -(aily chants,
and then beean io speak about Swamiji. There was
no electriciE, - it hdd just gone out before Swamiji
and partv arfived - and ttreie was heavy rain. At the
conciusion of his talk, Swami Mahadevanandaji
asrcA Swamiji to say a few words. fust before, the
electricity came back on.
Swamiji iaiA - I'm going to Uttar Kashi. I want to leave my body on the Ganges bank. Mother Ganges
will take me I hope.
Following SwamiJi's few words Saumya, a beautiful
classical singer and student ofthe center, sA4g fo!
several minutes. Afterwards she prostrated, &d
Swarniji invited her, as he had so many people
recenfiy, to come to Uttar Kashi. Otleq gifted
singels followed on theprogram, which finished as
usu-al with arati and distribution of prasad. Some
people came to receive blessings from Swamiji - he
touched them on the head.
Then - back down the stairs, and back to Swami
Ayyappanandaj i' s residence.
Onb rnbre day was spent in Madras; bags etc were
organised for the trip tomorrow. Then on the 1 st Nov
Prahlad and Sabu, who was also accompanying
Swamiji to Mookambika, went ahead to theairport
with the luggage. Swamiji and the rest of the group
left about 61 30 am, after arati. As usual S wamij i was
particular to ensure that incense was waved to the
Ganesha murthi outside, which Swamiji had installed
during Sivaratri, 1985. On the drive to the
airport staff in the car sang the Jaya Ganesha daily
chants. Prema met Swamiji at the airport and
escorted him to the plane. Swamiji sat (and lay) in
row 2,between Swami Atnaramanandaji and Prihlad
- Swamiji was weak, and travelled mostly lytng
down, as usual with his head on oneperson and legs
on the other. After a slight delay and the ll?hour
stop over in Bangalore, the flight landed in Mangalore
around 9:45 am. Swami Hariomananda was there to
meet Swamdi. Bags were collected, then people and
luggage were loaded on the Neyyar Dam Ashram
van, fitted out with a wooden cot for Swamiji. When
asked if he wanted to rest in Mangalore, or go
directly to Kollur (town of the Mookambika temple,
about4-5 hours drive), Swamiji told that we should
was a hot drive.:As usual when travelling in lndia
with Swamiji, staff chanted for several hours in the
van en route. Swamiji was very frd, and unusually
Upon arrival, Swamiji and staff stayed at the
Ramakrishna mission Ashram there. This Ashram is
located on the road down to the holy Sowparnika
river, and was started by Swami Acharya Thirta,
whose 4th year after Matrasamadhi was being celebrated
the next day.
Swamiji went to 5ed immediately, and seemed
completely exhausted - and hot. Staff were all
exhausted - some went to eat, others were too tired.
Swamiji would not eat. Efforts were made to keep
him drinking. Finally all went to bed, leaving
S wami Atmaramandaj i and Prahlad as usual on night
duty attending Swamiji.
Around 2arn Swami Kartikeyananda got up very
worried about Swamiji's condition. Going into his
room, she asked if Swamlii had been drinking at all
during the night. He had not. Swamiji's_body was
burning hot and he was shaking with fever. She
started applying cold compresses, and gave coconut
water to?rii*. ft was clear Swamiji was very sick,
so iurangements were made to take him fast to a
hospital - Swamiji agreed to go, The van was
reaiiied, laundry collected off the lines and everything
loaded; Ashramites paid their respects, and,
still-dark, Swamiji was lifted into the van. I{e was
hardly able to open his eyes. Some local villagers
and sidhus on ttieir way fbr early morning worship
and dip in the rivet, stopped to watch.
As usual, chanting was done in the van. The next
mqior town was Kundurapura, and from there the
group stopped so thatPratrlad could callDrAbraham
at his home in Madras, to obtain from him ttre name
of a doctor he could recommend us to contact at the
Manipal hospital, located just out of Udupi. Dr
Abraham recommended- Dr Unni, head of
Nephrology Dept at the hospital.
The journey continued - about 3 hours in all -
Swuniji was very quiet and very feverish.
Upon Cnival at the-Iftsturba lvftdical College -that
is the name of the large hospital teaching college in
Manipal, it was evident that admission would take
sorne time. Inside the van was very hot, so an air
conditioned room in the hotel opposite was quickly
acquired, and Swamiji wasplaced on thebed while
prahtad went back to the hoqpital to mafte all the
arrangements. Swamiii was taken to the hospital - by
now i[ was midday, as the doctor was able to see him.
Dr Unni was out of station, but his assistant Dr
Satyanarayan saw Swamiji. Septacemia was suspot
0. Sdcuring a room in the hoqpital would still
take a little time-, so Swamiji was tdcen back to the
hotel room for a short while before final adminance.
A private room had been arranged in ward N2.
SwamiSi wanted to go immediately to ttre hospttal.
Treatment started; Swamiji was put on an IV drip -
it was very difficult to access a vein. Antibiotics
were also administered. (As usual there were always
at least.2 staff round the clock with Swarniji.)
Swamiji was very feverish, and during ttre night his
blood pressure was very unstable, and dropped very
low. He had involuntary movements of the eyes.
The doctor on night dutychecked Swamijiacouple
of times. By now the IV was no longer working- as
the vein was now no good and no other accessible
veins were found.
On the 3rd (the next day) Swamijis blood.pressure
r"*"in O ldw; Swamij-i was- cognisant-bgl ve.{.y
il;[H; washrintingalot - but losing fluids wittt
;ir-lil. ;hictr recuri-ed throughout the night and
ilid". Swamiji made an effort to eat on the 4th
-ihti "iil"to soine kongee (soupy tio) : but toof<
verv little. Up to now, satsangs were hero -quleuy
nto*i"i and evening, wiih arati etc at the altar
;;;;ilidroom. Pho-n-e calls continued to be
;ridrd: uut s*utiji was too wealS to take the
*iir"gti, although he listened to Devi Bhagavatam
6-;6g ieab ror so-me time in the morning'
After uking some kongeewater around 2pm' $qmlji
vomited. By now his B.P. was constanuy .lo11
Swarniii cotild not sit up as he would pqss out; there
was soine involuntary moaning. Diarrhea was pe-r-
.irtiot. The nurse ri'as calleii. several times; she
inforfreO Swamiji's staff that the doctor was comins^
Dr Sawanaravan came with Dr Unni (out of
it:ti"n until'today). Rfter
Swamiji, Dr
b""i ;41"d Swarni Kartikeyananda and
iatiotnananOa out, and informed them Swamiji was
i^nf. nu"Erw ietious condition. They replied that they 'rtr"iifttnfJ"tt*.a rSdt1avf,f were happy-the-doctor talked
his manirti and ability seenpd
;GTlent and ali were very comfortable with Dr
iinni in Ch-ee. Preliminarydiagnosis was probable
seotacemia 6tooO infection), the primary source as
vel not known, although lung infection orposslble
beritonitis were at fust suspected.
b;-Ut"i had Swamiji transferred immediately to
tntensiive Care, wher? avein was accessed and new'
rJimentt starteO immediately; Swamiji's- B'P'
seemed to improve slightly for a while. Staff were
iotJilit i] tti itauitisea-ne iould be transferred back
io-itt" orivate room, so all could be there - but that
nt uitiitots *"t" atto-weC in fntensive Care' However
*ni" S*iniKartikeyananda had to go in later the
odl,iot it ttt*ge in iniensivg-Fry @llyo$ noticed
how she undeistood Swamiji's hand gestures etc''
and seemed to understand the need for someone to
rtrn *itt t itn. From then on there was always at least
on6 staff in attendance (except rarely during certatn
medical Drocedures when the medical personnel
required Staff to leave).
Meantime communication was being ryq$ntd
iiequentty wittr Headquarters, London, Munich etc,
ni"itte frtnuent upda:tes of news. Swamiji's b'p'
;ffifu m&e stabie due to the medicines; -SyaTtji
-was still aware though very weak; he complained ot
sorebackand neckOe was notallowed to bemoveo
as his b.p. would be affected); face was very
ilithii;iub"*"t inserted thr6ugh the nose, and
02 mask).
More calls were made to EBM. Pratrlad and Swami
etran"ma"andaji as usual took night shift, alter-
;d"s one in tlie waiting room'-and 9'19 yith
S*"niiii. Throughout tht night Swamlii's b'p'
seemed more stable.
itrr:3*"ri:i inai"ut a often that his stomach was
tt".tinn UiOtv. entaciOs were administered periodiottv
5v tulie; kungee liquid was also tube fed'
rtto'ortin"w weat,-swamiji did seem a little better
ttta" fr" preiious dhy. His
was paining badly,
but he wis not in uiy condition to qlt up.
Swami HariOmananda, Swami Kartikeyananda ancl
C"v"tti .ttt*ated in attending to Swamiji, and
afi;nding to phone calls etc.
S*a*Ui*as turned to his side for a while - for the
r*t ti"ii. if tu-eO out -and fell asleep for mush of
ttt" "ft#;n, the first time in along while. D--ufi{tg
a iaie evenini visit, the doctor informd staff they
mav tate-S*imiii off the antibiotics tomorrow, and
if S'*"*iii is doing better, they would move him to
h-Sis- *ro..oiimi .
*iui very alert by 3am; every time the unit
ort*J"*te. or iioor bvizs went, S-wamiji wog$
ft-"ite - rftio is it? At around 5am he called Prahlad
rni told him - I want to go for a drive.(!)
Swamiji's b.p. plummetei around 6.30am; Swami
Atma'&as seirt out as emergency treatment was
ni"en. The level of dopamine was'increased, Iegs
frred etc. The sourcb of infection causing the
sepAcemia was still not known, nor would it ever be
S*a.iii spoke for probably the last time this morni"
g, dttG underfoing a (traumatic) change of
arliring on his arin - i"yind - I wanlto sit up (of
courselhis was not perniitted); Ram Ram, etc.
fhe medical saff insi-sted Swamij i' s beard be shaven'
in case of necessary treatment, *hich was donelater
in tttJ*o*ing. lLere was something remarkable
ron : s*tti:i;s face looked 91act1.y as-it had before
he;"* up shavine! We had'expebted it would be
smiller, ai tre traO tost weight erc. The intensepower
of his cbncentration, and total serenity' peaqg' $'-as
verv clearly reflecied on the face - despite the
suffering of the physical bodY.
S*"toiii;t U.p. twrit was not inaintaining- andvery
uoJt*ie. rfe naO a temperaturc of 39.7C, an{ ryet
to*JJ*oe placed. Sriami3i's breathing had also
become verylabored. Though-he was.very cgn;
scious all aftLrnoon, it seemed all his bodily energies
were used just to maintain the basic bodUy frlntdPttl:
He did noieven mention the pain in his bac-k, -w-hich ;* Act"tiating throughoul. (Swamiji hqd. lgqe
standing back injuries from the 1976 car accident rn
Spuin.ffoi several days it had almost not been
possibte to change position ; even_a-_neck pillow was
not allowed due to the b.p. instability.
Swarniji was administered a blood transfusion to
raise tfie b.p. It went up to about 108, but after a
while contiirued to slowly fall. I-ater in the night
Swarniji seemed morereldxed, with his eyesclosed,
althouih later he again had eyes open - looking
exhausted in the extreme - his breathing was very
labored. The b.p. wim now being sustained by 2
In theevening morephone calls were 41de;
seas and Indiin staff-were informed of Swamiji's
critical condition, and that he may or may not
survive the night.'Centers were doing repetition of
MahaMrityunjaya mantra and Om Namo Narayanaya
Meanwhib, Swami Ayyappanandaji, who had arrived
from Madras iii thE midday, &d Swami
HariOmanandalii had gone in thd aftemoon to Kollur,
to visit Mookarirbitca temple.They did a special puja
there for Swamiji, and upon their return around
11.30pm, kunkumprasad was applied to Swamiji's
(Swarni Kartikeyananda always travelled with some
Ganga water from Gomuk; a iittle was carefu4ypu!
on S-wamiji's mouth etc on a corrple of oqcasiqtls.)
7th - Swarirdi's body was still witli us! His breathing
was labored but reluhr; eyes closed. B.p at fus-t
being maintained In thb 80s and 90s b-y the 2
intravenously administered medicationsr !u!_grosressivelv
failine and often in the 50s and 60s. When
br lvothi camein she was verv concerned with the
brea[hing; in fact she had expected that Swamiii
would hive left the body by now. By mid-day they
did what she had hoped they wouldn't have !o do ($
she knew he wouldri' t comr! off it) ; they put Swamiji
on a ventilator. The pain and diffrculty associated
with the breathing seemed eased.
Whenever Swamiji's b.p. dropped loo low further
medication was administered. Temperature by now
was progressively dropping; it was quite below
Phone calls continued; Swami Chidanandaji was
keeping regular contact via a devotee in Malaysia,
where he presently was.
8th - Swaririji seerired semi-conscious for a while in
the morning, but by aternoon was unconscious. fire
doctors wo[id probably normally have disconnected
everything by^now, but since iiwas Swamiji, they
wouid not: and requested staff not to even askthem
to do so.
It is difficult to explain in words perhaps, but
throughout the stay in hospital despite the physical
suffering there remained a very strong peacetul
enersv around Swamiii.
gvli6afternoonit see-med Swamiji had already left
de UoaV: there didn't seem-any-pfunain-it,-and his
eves hai no movement at all wlien touched. Howiiir,
ttre machine indicated that the B.p was $ll.ln
the iOs to 70s, and the lungs kept moving with the
The usual phone calls were made-in the evening;
centers wer? stillchanting; Swami Saradananda was
in nombay en routE--to -Man-ipal; Swami
Matradevaniinda would arrive from Madras tomorrow;
Swamis Durgananda and Sankarananda were
flvirie to Delhi onWednesday (10ttr) ; SantKesavadas
atiO f,amaMataji werealsotryingto come. Swami
Chidanandaji wbuld be arriving in Madras tomorrow
9th - it seemed there was no prana in the-body;
although after an inj ection to push the b. p up his eyes
One of the doctors said the obvious - that he was not
breathing by himself, and there was- no real heart
beat -oniy the medicines were showing something
on the machine.
The doctors all agreed - he is gone. When Qe
medications ran out no refills were given. To
disconnect everything however, they waitedJot mg
head of dept.- to -come. Meanwhile, Swami
Saradanandiji arrived around Swami
Mahadevanandaji arrived at 11.30am, and was
sitting next to Sri,amiii's body when everything was
disconnected. Ganga water was applied.
Latct, as SwamiAimaand Pratrlail moled th9 bolV
gently on to a trolley, the nurse told $em slowly,
itowly; careful. Eveij'one was very quietaround the
body. .
tt shouid be mentioned that the hospital persohel that
attended Swamiji were excdlent, 3nd g-ave Swamiji
the proper care in a very reqpectful manner.
Now arrangements were made for the transportation
of the Uodi; all EBM agreed that Swamiji wogld
want the body mken to Uttar IGshi, to be placed in
the Ganga. pratrtaO and Swami Atmaraman*qji
made ali arrangements for the transportation, obtaining
death certifrcate, police clearance, -Fo!Pdures-
at the mortuary' making of casket for the
transporation of the bo6y, settling bills etc. DrUnni
was of considerable assistance. Arrangements were
made with the airlines for the casket to go in cargo
on the flight to Delhi (via Bombay);7 tickets for
accompanying staff were purchased-
S*urngi's poisessions weie moved from the hospiGiiiriitiont. Swamis Saradanandaji,
il,r"riidJt-*aaj i and Hariomar-randaji left around
uiA at".ogements made for a Chandika Homam on
tt" fe*, iiay; th"y returned at 11.30pm'
nieanwhile'the phone was continuously in operation,
and reporte?s from the Malayalam newspapen
-sCho^uwtoi d uP.
S^itot and Lalitha, after travelling all day
frornPalehat, arrived around llpm; everyone was
stavirs tf,at night in the hotel. Swami Gmsananda
Ji6 afrvea aitt.lo pm from Trivandrum'
Umasharma convey& by phone a-dream than her
niecE nuanika had that mbrning, of Swamiji -blgss;
i;;-hr;. Sti Ninus* also reported many people had
diEirns/visions of Swamiji-around this time'
ibih - $umi Chidananaiaii phoned from Madras,
unAtonu.tted for some tinie frith Pratrlad, detailing
il; to ao the lal Samadhi (when Swamiji's body is
otaceO in the waters of the Ganga). IIe was con- ";;a if there would be a placeieep-enough near
i;il;hd in Neytala (8 ktn up from Uttar Kashi)'
kind instructioni ttrat centers around
the world could follow.
ntru,elmeots were finalised at the mortuary; Ialitha
helpef,staff move the body into ttre casket'
'iil5-Canani- Consulate ivas called, to inform of
Swirniii's departure from the physical bod-y.
iii" ttoipit"t ind hotet are on an eievation; from the
*inAo*-t oie can lookacross theplains. Aboutlevel
anO iust below the buildings a great many e4eteq
werd always soaring, or perching in 4e tree-s' Gaun
Sank t pointeo thii'out-in the moming; Garuda's
ielativei were present in this location.
Just after l.0am, the body, in a rented ambulance,
lnO rtuffin the Ashram van left on the 2 hour drive
tr th. .itp"rt; chanting was as usual done all the
*.v.-pofitadiook carJof all arrangements for the
caiGidt; in the cargo; every-one was checked in'
Departurdfor BombaY waP 1-2Qm.^.
fnE castet was transfbrred onto the flight goin-g to
Delhi, which left at 5pm. Joining-tlre.other ravellers
in---g6mUav was h'ajappan-Nair (Swamiji's
poorvastrram cousin) and fis wife Valsalya' It yqs
ttrat newqpaper reports were already pnnrcs'
Ttrere had been a confusion in arrangemenn maoe
i" biltti *a thete *as some delay at tfie airport until
van arriveil, to transport the
Uoav. n mini bus was there for all staff and others
;;itid 6 Uff- Kashi. Potti Swami anived shortly
ifter-from Trivandrum.
5ti'i*i Ayyappanand{1(wlrg had returnqd tq Yl:
;;;; *,e tnl and-Di vina also anived' All
boarded the minibus and both vehicles went to the
Delhi center, aniving about 9pm, -- fttJott"t was takenbut and carefullyplaced in the
Utnt ao*stairs room, in Uma Sharma's dance
ilfular;. Swamiji and attending staff ha{ stayed
it tfris room on som-e previous visits to Delhi. It was
Ueautin Uv arranged^with large pictures of Master
and Swaririji. Tlie energy it ttg- room was very
**"tntt. Tima Sharmaf Vinay Bharat Ram and a
few otfrers paiO their repdcts. Pdtti Swami and others
l;i;isit.- wttite staif attended to phone q$s,
;ffd-;d p"Ctine of Swamiji's things etc' Had
ffara tttaitinya (ilho has conducled^Bhag.qyala
Saptaham on a nurirber of occasions for Swamiji' tn
Ndwar Oam. UttarlGshi and Gangotri), arrd Sryami
lu?i"na"Oi (non-staf|, also coming from
Trivlndrum, arrived at the center.
$"mi Sanllaranandaji and Swami Durganandaji
(Munich) wereboth drie to arriveinDelhiat 1.30am
inow ttt6 l1th Nov); Sant Kesavadas' flight was
dehved. T'tre 2 sdamis arrived at the center at
j.fda*; Swami Sankarananda led others in-J-aya
C-anestri ctrants downstairs around the casket' [Ut3
was also there). Sant Kesavadas and Rama Matali
ft"a U* anineh at the airport; Swami Krishnananda
G;;d"t there with dnottier cqr for ttrgrn (thgir
baeHs"wit lost); they would be brought to. the
cefiEianO Devi l{am would accompany them 1o
Utar X"stti. The casket was carefully placed back in
tftJ atnUutan e van. By 4am all bags were loaded on
ttti *iniUus; all boarddi and after Om Tryarnbahms'
deoarted foi the trip to Uttar IGshi.
ffie-vJhictes soed foward Rishikesh, stopping only
for road tolls^and petrol.Sant Kesavadas and co'
oushiuo with the 6thervehicles en route. As they
*JEidfostomed to when travelling with Swamiji'
**L taff
"n "t"0
Om Namo Narayanaya for-much
of the trip to Rishikesh - but due to throatproblems
had almost no voices.
ii" tO. ti"rn the vehicles pulled into ttre Sivananda
Aihd i" Rishikesh. So-me swamijis were on the
ilA to guiAe the vehicles down towards lvfaster's
hrE ;d'td Ganga. A crowd of people were waiting
i" tft"-sttt"t. fte-castet was tak6n out of thevan and
;i*.d A tmatestrift taUle; it was opened' Garlands -*"te oii"t"o and light and incense-were.waved by
."niois*"*iiis ofihe Ashram, direct disciples of
r"r"tiiisi"-i"da. Swami Krislinanandaji, -Gt{tgtl
Secretary, gave a short, pithy speecn, emphasising
[ow S*ffi:i always did- evrJry-project in the nqme
;i th" M*te.. Iiow Swa*ji *ry a complete
i"n*ii"t", o*ning nothing; 6t". (qJk transcribed
seoarateivl. follo*ing ttris, S{vami AdhyaEnanun4aii
rdd out |'taxeamessage from Swami Chidanancla;t

(also given separately).
The casket was closed and refurned to the van, and
by 1lam the vehicles departed, now with another 2
cars of Swamijis from the D.L.S. The Ashram had
kindly arranged snaclcs, so en route all stopped and
pafiook of uppma and tea.
Back on the road, the vehicles were speeding
towards Uttar Kashi. Finally,as it was already
starting to get dark, Uttar Kashi was reached. A
quick stop to check on Swami Chaitanyanandaji - but
he had already gone on to the Ashram, Neytala.
Onward, reaching the Ashram around 5pm at dusk.
A jeep had alsojust arrived, and was unloading a big
wooden slatted box. This hadbeen madefor Swamiji's
body. Many of the sadhus gathered there carried the
box to the Ganga, at the spot near the Ashram where
the Ganga is always very deep, and set it down on
the rocky outgrowtl there.
Meanwhile the casket was unloaded and set on a bed
frame in the central room of the Ashram's newly
constructed la*ir; it was opened. Swamiji's face
looked perfectly relaxed and peaceful, as it had even
when thebody wasundergoing such sufferingin the
hospital. Sadhus filed past, paylng their respects.
Thebox was thenclosedand quickly carried by staff
and others over the rocls to the large rocls jutting
out on the Ganga bank.
Swarniji's body was taken out of the'casket, and
upper clothing removed. Potti Swami was directing
thepuja; milkwas offered on the bodyby Swamiji's
gurubhais and disciples, as well as many others.
Finally Swamiji's body, in new cloths was lift"i into
the large box; flowers were put in and then rocls
were carefully placed around. Many senior swamijis,
both from Uttff Kashi and from D.L.S. Rishikesh,
were assisting throughout. Sadhus and villagers
were crammed on the iocks; many were chanting.
The box was nailed down. Therb with of
2long bamboo poles and much sounds - Om Namo
Narayanaya was being chanted - the box was edged
over the rocks and rolled down into the Ganga. The
head end of the box rose up - and then the whole box
There was apowerfirl feeling that - Swamiji is very
pleased - this, the final wish for his body was
Sadhus and visitors disappeared quickly into the
night. Sant Kesavadas spoke for a while about
Swarniji backin the kutir before he also left, for his
ashram. IIe spoke of the absolute renunciation of
Swamiji, as shown even in the way he went. How
Swamiji never used to show interest in being lecfured
to, but when it came to Hari IGtha, he was
always ready.
The D. t. S Swamiji' s were returning the next morning
to Rishikesh, and departed to Kailash ashram.
Arrangements for the stay of some of the party that
had fiavelled from Delhi- were also made at Kailas
Ashram; Swamiji's assistants and senior staff were
all staying at the Neytala Ashram itself. By next day
most of those who had journeyed up to Uttar IGshi
had left.
On the 25th of November the Shodashi puja had
been arranged. This is done on the 16th day after the
passing of a great Mahatma. The worship was
arrang-ed at the-I(ailash Ashram; 16 senior Swamijis
were invited for the special puja. A11 other sadhus
were invited for the general bandara, as were
villagers from Neytala area. Swami Umananandaji,
in charge of IQilash Ashram, had made all anangements
with consultations with S wami Krishnanandaji
(Neytata Ashram director). After staff made final
preparations, they proceeded to the Kailash Ashram
temple, where worship was made and offerings
givt?il 1i set of gifts as olf *tose to be given to the [6
Mahatmas). Tlien proceeding to the room set aside
for the worship of-the 16 Mahatmas, staff (Swami
Kartikeyanil&, Swami Krishnandaji from Neytala
Ashram and Swami Krishnanandaji, director.of
Delhi center, who had arrived thepreceeding night)
inspected the offerings laid out next to each place.
There were wooden sandals, cloth, mat, walking
stick, umbrella, loti, tali and cup (the tali - plate -
was engftNed lightly with Swamiji's name and date
of Matrasamadhi), nrdralaha mala and Gita.
The Mahatmas entered - Swamis Chaitanyanandaji,
Premanandaji, Sankaranandaji, Umanandaji,
Ganganandaji etc. When all were seated Swami
Krishnanandaji applied the vibhuti, sandalpaste etc,
and. offered flower on the head of each. Swami
Kartikeyananda then offered the dakshina and prostrated
to each mahatma. Swamiji's loving presence
that was felt then was overwel-ming. Gayatri also
personally gave offerings to each Matratma. (She
and Swami- Kartikeyaranda had stayed back in
Neytala specifically for the 16th day worship.) Then
to the main dining hall, where all other Mahatmas -
100 or so, were to be served. Dalshina was given to
each, as well as a tali and cup. Some villagers were
also attending the bandara.
Then those who come for bhilsha but do not stay,
were serrred, receiving dakshina.Next more villagers
as well as Kailas ashram staff were served and
given offerings; Swamiji's disciples also ate now.
Throughout, Swamiji' s presence was trernendously felt. Another st€p had been concluded.
A;tirs-and Aifiranrs" throsgl-rout' the' wdd' #
#-S.,,#"s,*ffi f"?$lff '#?frt,'.'ffi
ijilot Hd'sodfoy Rishibsh trlao atso arranged a
bandara and worstrip of 16 Mahatmm-'
ffiit-n tti-ett ram^in Neytala, drat aftemoon staff
;ffi10s b"tr oot oruuria jafu streets, ald in the
Jr*i"g n* wcre lit and ifacd in the Ganga;
Ganga-arati was done.

Trarucription of the speech Swami lftishnanandqii, General Secretary of the Divine Life Society,
made in Rishikesh llth Nov. (taken from videotape):
We all offer our prayers to the Almighty Lord to bless the soul knowa as Swami Vishnudevanandaji
Maharaj, who lived his life throughout for Sri Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj.
Sri Gurudev was the all-in-all for him, and he 0ook His name only , in every project he undertook. 'The
Masger said" - he would say, whenever he commenced speaking anywhere. The great Masier was the
byword of his projects of every kind, and his heart and soul was in sri Gurudev.
He was very insistent that the principles of Sri Gurudev's universality should prevail eve4rwhere, and he
was any kind of interference by people with this universal concept of equality and inhoduction
of the teachings of Sri Gurudev.
He lived a good life, and ideal life, an exemplary life, a spiritual life, an rmattached life. He possessed
nothing personally; he had no property; he lived life like a real sannyasin and fakir.
Though he did so much work and his name is known throughout the wodd, he orvned nothing for
himself. And he goes as he came, as an example to all seekers of Reality, seekers of God, and devotees
of Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj.
On these holy banks of Mother Ganga, now his mortal rernains get consecrated by the prayers and the
devotions and the regards ofall the people gathered here, physically, visibly, and all those who are not
physically here. The whole ashram has been thinking of him, listening to news about his condition, and
now the whole ashram, Sivananda Ashram, the Divine Life Society, is here with folded hands to the
Almighty Lord, with the prayer that this soul be taken to the abode of the great Eternal Being, for his
We all conclude our holy prayer at this auspicious momeot.

(please apologize for mistakes due to automatic character recognition of a scanned document)

Views: 207

Tags: Swami, Vishnu-devananda, Yatra, final

Comment by Sukadev Bretz on January 26, 2010 at 10:41am
Anybody is welcome to correct any spelling mistake and add the correct transcription here as a comment. Thank you.


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