He stood facing the Himalayas, his palms folded like a lotus bud. Embracing his feet were the gentle waves of the Ganges.
His young and youthful face resplendent in the morning sun, His saffron clothes fluttered in the cool mountain breeze.
He bellowed from the innermost core of his self “SING SING SING ALOUD TILL YOUR HEART BREAKS” HE sang his way into the hearts of people awakening them into that blissful ocean of Prem and Bhakti through Namajapam.
‘Namapremi Namaroopi Namarthi Namadayaka
Nameva Jeevitham Vande Sri Abhedananda Sadgurum
He was SADGURU SWAMI ABHEDANANDA BHARATI- Simplicity, Devotion and Love personified’
Gurudev was born on 26th Meenam 1084 Malayalam Era (8th April 1909) in star ‘Visakham’ to Sri Krishna Pillai and Smt Lakshmi Pillai of Kodivilakkom family at Parassala, Trivandrum. His uncle, Sree Padmanabha Pillai, himself a God realized soul noticed an unusual divine spark in Velayudhan , his young nephew. Little Velayudhan grew up listening to stories of Bhaktas and hymns of the Supreme Lord from his mother and uncle who further kindled his urge to understand and realize the ultimate truth.
THE DIVINE JOURNEY
Chattambi Swamigal (1853 – 1924)
In 1923, at the age of 14, He met the great saint and social reformer of Kerala, Sree Vidyadhiraja Chattambi Swamigal. This meeting proved an infinite blessing to Young Velayudhan, who easily renounced worldly pursuits to tread the divine path in search of a higher purpose in life to lead millions into a path of devotion and peace.
Gurudev was studying in Fifth Form (9th Grade) when He left home. He travelled through the length and breadth of this country, mostly by foot. As a wandering yogi, His life was one of austerities and studies. He mastered spiritual texts and treatises like: Vedas, Bhagawad Gita , Upanishads, Bhagavatham, Puranas etc.. He became well versed in Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil and many other Indian languages other than his own mother tongue, Malayalam.
Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi (1879 - 1950)
As a Paarivrajaka (Wandering Medicant), of the many encounters with spiritual masters, Gurudev used to mention the one with Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi of Thiruvannamalai, with extreme reverence and fondness. He stayed with Bhagwaan for about two months.
In 1936, at an early age of 27, Gurudev was formally initiated into Sanyas by Swamy Swaroopananda of Kailas Ashram Rishikesh.
The 27 year old Velayudhan became Swami Abhedananda Bharati. True to His name, Gurudev’s Abheda- Darshan, non discriminative perspective to see Gods creation alike as ONE; without any difference became His hallmark till the last breath.
Chaitanya Maha prabhu (1486 - 1534)
Gurudev was immensely influenced by the life of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu , the 15th century saint from West Bengal .Devotees drew many parallels in the lives of Mahaprabhu and Gurudev.
NAMAPRACHARANAM was Gurudev’s life mission .He instilled in his devotees unstinted faith in Lord’s name, not only to purify one’s within, but to cleanse and restore the whole atmosphere with peace and joy. Gurudev undertook many NAMAPRACHARANA YATRAS along the busy streets in different parts of India.
Blessed were those ears who heard His divine melodious voice.
Blessed were those eyes which saw his tall, towering handsome and cheerful personality and
Blessed was that land where Gurudev‘s divine feet treaded singing the Mahamantra.
With hands held high’ Gurudev’s thunderous ‘Hari bol’ was a clarion call to an inner awakening.
At a period when religion, caste and creed divided people, Gurudev conceptualized programmes to bring people together irrespective of any differences. Kodi Archana was a simple Sadhana in which people from all walks of life irrespective of caste, creed or gender sat closely together to perform ARCHANA directly, chanting lord’s name for One Crore times .Thus, He subtly reinforced that all are equal before God and everyone has equal rights to pray or chant without any discrimination. One has to participate in such Nama Yajnas, to experience that Power of Oneness, when all divisive boundaries created by man fall apart and finally cease to exist.
The first Vishnu Sahasranama Kodi Archana was conducted at Chennai in January 1959 , which drew many devotees from Coimabatore, Salem, Bhavani, Pollachi, Madurai, Chidambaram ,Rajapalayam and other places around Tamilnadu.
Kodi Archana Yajnas are regular events in Abhedashram which attracts devotees in large numbers even today.
BHAJANS – NAMA SANKEETHANAM
Gurudev was a musical genius, adept in singing Bhajans. He used to enthrall every one present with his melodious voice, singing musical compositions in different languages. Gurudev could render intricate ragaas with tremendous ease in both Carnatic and Hindustani styles of music.
Gurudev’s Nama Sankeertanam , aptly remarked by Swami Chinmayanandaji as NamaSankeertanam from ‘MEERA KANT’ (MEERA THROAT) was indeed a divine treat to His devotees. Devotees used to get enchanted and intoxicated with devotion that, Bhajans on occasions used to continue nonstop for hours and hours together. According to Gurudev, there is no audience for Bhajans, which means; there is no performer or listener and this differentiates Bhajans from Musical performances.
“Sing Sing Sing Aloud Till Your Heart Breaks”, He exhorted
Devotees to this date reminisces with awe, Gurudev’s unique style of beginning a simple Bhajan , gradually progressing, through vocal notes and scales, wondrously taking along every single person in the bhajan hall, ascending step by step and finally rocketing to heights of musical and devotional ecstasy and then after maneuvering vocally with accuracy and precision , the brilliant descending and finally concluding the bhajan, breaking into an innocent child like smile that can melt the toughest hearts.
Gurudev’s Satsang never had any set formats or any particular venue. Satsangs were usually heart to heart conversation where He was totally available to His devotees, be- it at Ashramom Satsang Hall or any devotee’s home or temple or during any yatra, underneath the shade of a wayside tree.
While few would question him on high spiritual principles, there were few who would ask Him about a certain Raga in Music or Bhajan. Gurudev used to discuss and explain Bhagawad Gita and other textbooks in His simple lucid style, which endeared Him to young and old alike. His mere presence radiated immense joy and peace that alone was enough to explore deeper dimensions within one-self.
Gurudev attained Maha Samadhi on 29th October, 1983 at Hardwar. Jalasamadhi of Gurudev was presided by His Holiness Swami Chidanandaji of Divine Life Society.
Within an year of His Samadhi, a new Ashram was set up in the banks of river Ganges at Kankhal , Hardwar. This was as per Gurudev’s final instruction.
Few days before He relinquished His physical body, He had an ineffable vision, which was deciphered as an ardent need of Namajapam along the banks of mother Ganga. Gurudev’s wish was duly carried out by establishing the Abheda Gangamayi Ashram at Kankhal, primarily for Akanda Nama japam.
Along with Namajapam, the Ashram has evolved to be a center for spiritual seekers for their, sadhana and spiritual upliftment.