In the city of Hathras near Aligara which also has the honour of being the birthplace of the holy Saint Shri Dada, was born, in the year 1860, Pundit Kalai Charan.
He was brought up in religious surroundings, his mother being a devout worshipper of Shri Krishna, and his father a schoolmaster of penetrating Intellect, inclined to mysticism. From his earliest childhood, Kalai Charan listened to repetitions of the Ramayana of Tulsidas in his home, and absorbed its holy Influence* he also heard the Holy Truth expounded In Sat-Sangs which his father held under the auspices of his own Teacher.
Kalai Charan received his early education in the usual subjects, and in English, In which he reached a high standard, at the local elementary school, from a brahmin well versed In Vedanta and known for the loving service he gave to the teaching monks who passed that way.
The child prayed to and worshipped Shri Krishna, and was taken on pilgrimages to Brindavan. One day he happened to attend a Sat-Sang of that great poet, Saint and most illustrious devotee of Shri Krishna – Swami Karayanji. The Swami recognised the future Saint in the child and after the Sat-Sang was over, blessed him and said: “Lalji, the lord will favour you with His highest bliss – obtain a Guru and make complete self-surrender to him.”
God tries those souls He wishes to bless. He expects strenuous and persevering endeavours from them on the mystic path. If they stand the tests, they obtain the “Jewel in the Lotus”. Kalai Charon persevered in his study of the Vedanta and the Gita, and eventually acknowledged the Adwaita, as his philosophy and the holy Shankar a as his Acharya. At the same time he was still very young and lived the life of the senses, but one day, when about eighteen years of age, he felt a desire for the spiritual life and distaste for worldliness. He thereupon set out to find his Guru. He was lead to the feet of Pundit Totaramji, subsequently known as the Saint Nirbhyanandajl, who accepted the young man, and made him feel that he loved him even more than his parents were able to do, and who gave him the first Manava Yogic Initiation. On this occasion the Swami said to him: “This is the key; it is in your power to apply it or not – but remember, a Used key is always bright. Sail the boat of life on the Sea of Senear a with a watchful mind and steady hands, and give help to any struggling sailors. Let the light of ‘So hum’ be your guide.
From now on, Kalai Charon became the shadow of his Guru.
He travelled with him, rendering him every personal service – cooking his meals under the spreading mango trees, and writing down his hymns composed by the Saint. Kalai Charon had been married at an early age, but be found that family life did not help his spiritual unfoldment, and therefore made separate arrangements for the comfort of his family. He devoted many hours a day to meditation and holy study* At one time in his early life be become a railway employee, and served as assistant station master on the Oudh and Kahail-Kund Railway, but though his mind was on his work, his heart was with God. When his holy Guru left his mortal body, the Pundit embraced *sannyasa* and was thereafter known by his monastic name – Swami Satchitanandaji Saraswati. He travelled far and wide in the Himalayas as a wandering monk, owning nothing, and carefully hiding his brilliant intellect and great learning. On one occasion be travelled from the source of the Ganges to the mouth of the holy river without passing a single night under a roof. He did not touch money in any form, but lived on food voluntarily offered. He carried on the work of his holy Guru. It was on one of his pilgrimages in the Himalayas, at a place called Rudraprayaga, that the body consciousness and ego of Swam Satchitanandaji were blotted out for ever – the Beloved withdrew the veil and embraced her Saint, heart to heart.
Now Swami Satchitanandaji was a perfect Mahatma. He passed many years teaching his disciples and giving them the Holy Truth of Adwaita as a matter of his own personal experience. How many souls were brought to eternal peace by him is impossible to say. He taught on the banks of the holy River Godavari where some of his disciples from Bombay erected a Temple and hermitage for him. Every second year he passed the summer on the slopes or Holy Shri Kund, and went to Rishikesha to confer with Swami Mangalnath.
Swami Satchitananda entered the perpetual snowline or the holy Himalayas in 1930, but appeared in Northern India, in the year 1950, when he left this life.
The following are a few of the sayings attributed to the Saint.
“Spiritual life assumed a real meaning for me when I cut out all hate from my heart, and devoted my mind to the cultivation of love truth and daily meditation on the holy Gayatri.”
“When I died to all show of vanity and fault-finding, I saw a new light in my heart which has been a sure guide to me.
“I see society in solitude, friends in strangers, and God in beauty – within and without. Blessed be my Holy Guru Bhagwan.”