My relationship with one of India’s greatest leaders

Yogi Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam—India’s 11th president has just left his body.

Allow me to share a true story. Early in his life, Sri Sir Kalam made a yogic pilgrimage to visit Sivananda in Rishikesh. Sivananda selected him out of a large group of over 200 people to meet with him privately. Sivananda inquired regarding Kalam’s low energy.

Kalam said, “I want to be trained as a pilot to join the Air Force but I have just been rejected admission.”

Sivananda said, “Worry not!  Serve, love, purify, meditate and  one day you will become the President of India. He then gave him 20 of his yoga books and sent him on his way.

Indeed, many years later Kalam became India’s 11th President.

I also was involved with him at EMPI where Dr. Udai Pareek’s (India’s first OD guru) daughter teaches. Kalam frequented to give the annual Innovation awards for all of India.

Kalam often is heard on YouTube proclaiming the teachings of Sivananda.

Sivananda is on my mind each and every day. Right now I am again listening to one of his 400 books in English titled, “Thought Power.”

2 Responses to “My relationship with one of India’s greatest leaders”

  1. rolandsullivan Says:

    Swami Chidananda was Sivananda’s primary successor. I was graced to have him b my spiritual director for more than 25 years.

    I share the following:

    Inspiring speech of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on the occasion of “Chidananda Sevashram” dedication ceremony at Bangalore

    I am delighted to participate in the dedication function of Swami Chidananda Sevashram and share some thoughts with the followers of Swami Chidananda who are seeking the paths of divinity by serving the humanity. My greetings to all the distinguished guests, devotees and monks.

    Citizens will be happy that “Swami Chidananda Sevashram has a mission to teach individuals a wholistic approach to the modern society.

    In 1948, Swami Sivananda blessed Swami Chidananda as the General Secretary of The Divine Life Society and said “Chidananda is a Jeevanmukhta, a great saint, and an ideal Yogi. He was born to fulfil a great mission. He is the torch bearer of my mission”. What a great blessing by a Guru.


  2. rolandsullivan Says:

    “End of an Era: ‘Missile Man’ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (1931 – 2015)” ―Professor M.S.Rao

    India lost an inspiring intellectual, visionary, scientist and legend with the demise of APJ Abdul Kalam who was known as people’s president. He added value to the office of presidency with his knowledge, charm and dignity. He connected with people especially the youth and students with his inspiring speeches. He provided right direction to the people with his simplicity and humility. There are a number of leadership lessons we can learn from him.
    Simplicity. He was a symbol of simplicity. He led a simple life with full of struggles and sacrifices. He was down to earth. He was the first vegetarian bachelor to become president of India.
    Honesty. He was straightforward and honest in his approach and style. He emphasized on achieving success with integrity. He valued more on means than ends.
    Humility. If there were any definition for Kalam, it would be humility. He respected everyone. He didn’t differentiate people on caste, class, region, religion and community. He knew value of life and respected everyone.
    Visionary. He saw what could not be seen by others whether it is about the economic progress of India or the world. He crafted his own vision to build a better India.
    Persistence. As a scientist, he encountered lots of failures. But he never gave up. He believed in what he did and took Indian space and technology to great heights globally. He put India on the global map with his amazing contributions.

    Kalam spread fame during success and accepted blame during failures. He was a self-made scientist. He was gracious to give permission to incorporate his pledge in my award-winning book ‘Student Leaders: Growing From Students To CEOs’ and I am not fortunate to receive his foreword for my upcoming leadership book.

    Roland Sullivan who wrote foreword for one of my 30 leadership books titled ‘Short Stories on Life Leadership: Life is Beautiful!’ (to be released soon globally) unveils about Kalam as follows: “Master Sivananda inspired, and lifted His Excellency, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India when he was depressed in his youth. Sivananda gifted Dr. Kalam 20 of his books filled with stories of how to live a beautiful life. Dr. Kalam gave credit to Sivananda for his leadership success. Reading books can change lives.”

    Kalam was a multifaceted personality – a scientist, president and an author. He was rightly named as Kalam (pen). He was a great orator who inspired beyond national boundaries. The void created due to his demise cannot be filled by anyone.

    Kalam rose from humble origins and provided a ray of hope for poor people. He showed that people with perseverance can reach to the highest office of presidency. He was a role model for many people, and continues to inspire India in future. Let us learn leadership lessons from him to build a better India, and to become better global citizens. Although he is not available physically, he lives in the hearts of all Indians forever. Jai Hind!


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