Saints and Sages are messengers and representatives of God on earth. It is impossible to know God without the grace of saints and sages. It is only by grace of God that one gets the opportunity to meet them [Binu Hari Krupaa Milehi nahi santaa - Sri Ram Charit Manas]. Association with saints and sages is a very powerful inspiration for spiritual aspirants.
In the pages here we attempt to give a brief description of some such saints and sages who have influenced us very much.
In Gurudev Swami Sivananda’s words, excerpted from the Introduction to His Book “Lives of Saints and Sages”, which was written in the year 1947:
“Who is a Saint ? He who lives in God or the Eternal, who is free from egoism, likes and dislikes, selfishness, vanity, mine-ness, lust, greed and anger, who is endowed with equal vision, balanced mind, mercy, tolerance, righteousness and cosmic love, and who has divine knowledge, is a saint.
Saints and Sages are a blessing to the world at large. They are the custodians of superior divine wisdom, spiritual powers and inexhaustible spiritual wealth. Even kings bow their heads at their lotus feet. King Janaka said to Sage Yajnavalkya, ‘O Venerable Sage ! I am grateful to your exalted holiness for obtaining the ancient wisdom of the Upanishads through your lofty and sublime instructions. I offer my whole kingdom at thy feet. Further, I am thy servant. I will wait on Thee like a servant.’
Such is the magnanimous nature of saints and sages. Their very existence inspires others and goads them to become like them and attain the same state of bloss achieved by them. Had it not been for their existence, there would not have been spiritual uplift and salvation for you all. Their glory is indescribable. Their wisdom is unfathomable. They are deep like the ocean, steady like the Himalayas, pure like the Himalayan snow, effulgent like the Sun. One crosses this terrible ocean of Samsara of births and deaths through their grace and Satsang. To be in their company is the highest education. To love them is the highest happiness. To be near them is the real education.
The saints wander from village to village and disseminate divine knowledge. They move from door to door and impart wisdom. They take little for their bare maintenance and give the highest education, culture and enlightenment to the people. Their very life is exemplary. Whether they deliver lectures or not, whether they hold discourses or not, it matters little.
Saints and Sages only can become real advisers to the kings, because they are selfless and possess the highest wisdom. They only can improve the morality of the masses. They only can show the way to attain eternal bliss and immortality. Shivaji has Swami Ramadas as his adviser. King Dasaratha had Maharshi Vasishtha as his adviser.
Study the lives of Saints; you are inspired at once. Remember their sayings; you are elevated immediately. Walk in their footsteps: you are freed from pain and sorrow.
Do not superimpose defects in saints on account of your ignorance and wrong thinking. You cannot judge their merits. Be humble and sit at their feet. Serve them with your heart and soul, keep them in your garden of heart, clear your doubts. Get instructions and practice them in the right earnest. You will certainly be blessed.
Every school, every college, every boarding-house, every jail, every institution, every house should have a saint for guidance. Saints are in abundance. You do not want them. You do not wish to approach them. You do not wish to serve them. You do not aspire for higher things. You are perfectly satisfied with some broken shells and glass-pieces. There is no thirst or spiritual hunger in you for achieving higher divine knowledge and inner peace.
There is no caste among saints and sages. Do not look to their caste. You will not be benefitted. You cannot imbibe their virtues. In higher religion, there is neither caste not creed. Cobblers, weavers, and untouchables had become the best saints. Wisdom and Self-realisation are not the monopoly of Brahmins alone.
Saints, to whatever clime they may belong, have left their footprints on the sands of time, so that others, who are true and faithful, may follow their track in search for Eternal Truth. Their lives have ever remained an inspiration to us. Their glory has ever been green in our memory. Their teachings have ever flowed with the tide of life. May they inspire us and guide us for ever.
Man feels that he is weak and helpless. He has to counteract such evil tendencies through right exertion and through proper lead. To such persons the lives of saints serve as a guide. They mould their life, their character and their future. They change their mental outlook and convert them to the faith and teachings of their guide. Such true and reliable guides are the saints who have come and gone.
May this world be filled with good saints and sages ! May you all attain the supreme goal through their Satsang and advice !! May the blessings of Saints and Sages be upon you all !!! “
8th January, 1947