I had the good fortune to spend time with Swami Satchidananda several years ago during my work in Citizen Diplomacy during the Cold War. I directed a non-project organization, Projects for Planetary Peace, and Swamiji was on our Board of Directions. He went on one of our trips to the Soviet Union in 1983, which allowed me to spend a considerable amount of quality time with him. Before my first meeting with him I was sitting outside his room waiting for our appointment. I had a copy of the Yoga Sutras. I silently asked for direction for our work and opened the little book. I turned to the page “ahimsa.” The magic had already begun to happen.

One evening, on the train from Finland to Moscow, Swamiji began to discuss with me the nature of surrender and the rewards that one receives if he/she can find the will to follow that path. He shared with me the following story of his life on the spiritual path.

“I was a young man of 15 and I decided to devote my life to God. I began to walk and spoke to God. You will have to feed me if you want me to live. I will not ask for food or anything. I did not even have a pocket to put a coin in, assuming I had one. I wore only a doty. I decided I would only drink from a public water fountain and God would have to provide the rest.

I walked day after day. Each day I became more and more hungry, but I did not ask anyone for food. After five days, I was very hungry and felt like I was starving. I was sitting on a platform at the train station. Someone came up and gave me a piece of fruit. Then someone else came up and gave me another piece of fruit. Pretty soon, I had so much food I could not keep it all. I began to give the food away.

Ever since then, I have always had more than I need.”

Swamiji stated that all you have to do is to trust and surrender.
I committed, “Yes, assuming you have the strength to survive the tests!”
He laughed.

During that conversation, I really attempted to attune my consciousness with Swamiji’s so I could feel what he was saying. Upon my return home, I was having dinner alone in a small restaurant. I was dining alone. When I attempted to pay the bill, the waitress informed me that someone had already paid my bill.

Swamiji went on to discuss his view on service and the natural results of such a life. I believe it was within the context of being alone outside the context of any personal relationship.

Swamiji asked me, “If you have a good tree and it provides you with a lot of fruit, do you water it and take good care of it? Or do you neglect it?
I replied, “I would take good care of it.”
“Yes, it is the same. If you provide great value to people, they will take care of you because they want you to be around.”

Finally, I asked him about his meditation practice. He confided, “I don’t meditate too much these days. I don’t really feel much difference between meditation and my life. It all seems the same.”

Swami Satchidananda taught me many things and being in his Holy Presence was one of the great gifts of my life.

Swami Satchidanda was the founder of Integral Yoga, a world wide organization.

©2008 Copyright Ron Mann, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Mann obtained a B.A. in Political Science (UCSB), a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology
(UCSB) , and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Organizational Psychology (CSPP-LA). He has specialized training and certifications in Executive Coaching and Hatha Yoga. He is an expert on Spiritual Development and wrote the LA Times Bestselling Book, Sacred Healing: Integrating Spirituality with Psychotherapy. He has studied and practiced Raja Yoga since 1979 with the Self Realization Fellowship. He engaged in International Citizen Diplomacy with the Soviet Union from 1982 through 1986. He has a unique perspective and about life, politics and international relationships as he integrates a deeper understanding of consciousness with everyday life. He is available for Spiritual Counseling Worldwide. You may contact him at mannr@ronmann.com.