A commemorative postage stamp on Chidananda Saraswati, an Indian yogi, president of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh :
Issued by India
Issued on May 21, 2016
Issued for : Department of Posts is happy to release a commemorative postage stamp on Swami Chidananda.
Stamp / FDC / Cancellation Cachet : Smt. Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi Colour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 0.403 million
Printing Process : Wet Offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
Name : Sridhar Rao
Born on Sep 24, 1916 at Mangalore, Karnataka, India
Died on Aug 28, 2008
- Sridhar Rao, as Swami Chidanandaji was known before taking Sannyasa, was born to a pious couple Sri Srinivasa Rao and Smt. Sarojini Devi, on 24th September, 1916 at Mangalore. Since childhood, all embracing love, compassion, charity and service of the poor and the sick found an embodiment in Sridhar Rao and doing Tapas for having a vision of the Lord became his ideal.
- The call of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Swami Sivananda to renounce resounded within his heart. On 19th May 1943, the sacred day of Buddha Purnima, he left his hearth and home and dedicated himself at the feet of holy master Sri Swami Sivanandaji and served him and his mission till the last breath of his life. On Guru Purnima day, the 10th of July, 1949, Sridhar Rao was initiated into the holy order of Sannyasa by Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj and came to be known as Swami Chidananda, a name which connotes “one who is in the highest consciousness and bliss”.
- Service to lepers was his ideal from his childhood. He would build huts for them in the vast lawns of his home and look after them. He was deeply moved to see large numbers of lepers living a miserable life in the neighbouring locality to Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh.
- Those days hospitals were forbidden territories for the lepers. It was all very painful to the compassionate Swamiji, and he started giving full attention to their health and himself carrying fruits and medicines to their huts.
- In January 1990, Sri Swamiji inspired all the Divine Life Society Branches to make the last decade of the 20th Century, “Divine Decade”, a divine entry into 21st Century by intensifying their charitable activities to promote social welfare. He recommended working for the three vital sections of our country’s society – (a) the rural people of India who form the backbone of our country, (b) the women of India who are the real and the effective custodians of our sublime culture, and (c) the young people of India, its students and youth who are the real nation of tomorrow and the future India.
- Sri Swamiji Maharaj was a great patriot and an ardent admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda.
- Being a votary of universal religion, he had great regard for all the religions of the world. In one of his articles he affirmed thus – “There is one Universal Spirit addressed variously as Jehovah, Allah, Ahura Mazda, Almighty Father–in–Heaven, Brahman, the Tao or Thing–in–Itself or GOD. This is the Universal Spirit, adored and worshipped in temple, synagogue, church, mosque, fire–temple and all places of worship. This is the Universal Spirit glorified and praised in all the scriptures like the Vedas, the Talmud and the Torah, in Bible, Quran, Zend–Avesta, etc.” In all his discourses, he would invariably commence his address by paying his worshipful homage to the One Absolute who is primal source of all concepts of God in all religions. His universal vision encompassing all religions made him a pioneer in the Inter-faith dialogue. He had great reverence and devotion for the saints and the holy sites of other religions. His tour always included meeting with the saints and sages of different religions and visiting their sacred shrines. His simplicity, humility, unostentatious loving manners earned for him love and reverence from people of all faiths.
- Sri Swamiji was chosen the President of Hindu delegation for the Parliament of the World’s Religions which was convened at Chicago in 1993 to commemorate the centenary of the epochal event of The Parliament of the World’s Religions organized at Chicago in 1893. In his talk on ‘The Authentic Religion We Need Today’, he said that the authentic and genuine religion that we need today is not merely a religion of ceremonies and sacraments, but a practical spirituality – living in such a way to express God within us in our daily life.
- Despite being a well known spiritual teacher, Sri Swamiji, a paragon of unsurpassable humility and simplicity, remained all his life a simple monk considering himself a servant of God, Guru and humanity. Unmindful of his fragile health, Sri Swamiji continued dedicating his service of awakening humanity to its divine destiny and bringing joy and peace in the lives of one and all till he attained Mahasamadhi on 28th August 2008.
- Text : Based on the material received from proponent.