In February 1961, at the age of 82, Gurdeva fell ill.
He refused to see any doctor.
Some events prior to Gurudev's mahasamadhi have been described by Swami Nirvedanandaji.
"An important episode took place on Saturday, the eleventh day of the month, during Ekadashi. Regardless of his illness, Swamiji bathed early in the morning. Then he called all the disciples of the Ashrama to his room. He asked if everyone had after daily ablutions, etc., he asked those who had not done so to do it quickly; to wash their face, feet etc. and return immediately.
When everyone was ready, he said to sit upright or in some asana (Padmasana etc.), without touching each other.
Sitting on the couch he had some Slokas and Vedic hymns recited.
After giving some advice and giving the assembly a beautiful sermon on the eternal and pure Atman, he underlined the importance of total surrender to God and how everything depended on Him.
He cited his life as an example of divine grace, that is, how Ashrama had grown without the least effort or anxiety on his part, and so on.
Another important point that he advised was about how man must be sincere in everything, pray to the Lord with a pure heart and live with mutual love.
To some of his disciples who lived far away, he gave certain instructions through letters that were written by others under Swamiji's dictation. He did not want to talk about his illness, so he asked all the disciples to read each letter and when he found, in one or two letters, references on his illness he had them destroyed, asking to be rewritten strictly according to his instructions. Therefore, even though the Ashramites wished to inform some gurus or devotees who were distant at the time, they were unable to send those messages.
In addition to various general spiritual advice, Swamiji also gave individual instructions to some present. Then urging everyone not to lose courage when everything was over - he explained, that he would soon leave physical form. He blessed some of them with a pat on the back when they knelt in front of him.
This way of saying goodbye reminds us of what his Guru, Swami Brahmanandaji, said during his last days. Her biographer says:
"Then he called all the disciples and devotees who were present at his side. He gave each one a blessing and an affectionate word." "Oh my children," he said to them tenderly: "Never forget God and you will achieve the supreme good. Do not be sad. I will always be with you.
The following day, that is, February 12, Gurudeva's conditions showed no improvement. Two doctors and a specialist came to see him and recommended full rest. But Purushottamananda also spoke energetically to them giving some advice on spiritual matters and giving a copy of his book "Spiritual Talents".
Gurudeva kept asking on what day the MahaShivratri had been.
Monday 13 February 1961 the day of Mahsivaratri arrived.
The master woke up early in the morning and took his bath. The Ashramites who kept watch day and night, taking care of him from the day he was sick, saw him.
He asked a disciple to sit by the door and read the eighth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita ("The speech on the Immortal Brahman") and the eleventh chapter of Sri Durga Saptasati.
On all sacred occasions like Shivaratri, it was a custom of the people of
neighboring villages, which visited Guha, bathe in the Ganges. Despite the humidity and the cold that year, many people came, among them there was an elderly Brahmin woman very devoted to Gurudev. It was the first that had bhiksha
by Gurudev, when he settled in Vasishtha Guha. His son was the boy who had given the teacher some salt some time before.
The swami had never forgotten that action.
When she arrived to greet Gurudeva, a brahmacharia brought her a new dress (jari and dhoti) and two rupees. The woman did not want to accept it but when the Swami told her to take them, she accepted them as Prasad.
So it was that during the savrous and blessed event of the Mahasivaratri, on 13 February 1961 at 10.50 in the evening Swami Purushottamananda entered mahasamadhi.
It was the second quarter (prahara) of the Mahasivaratri.
Of the four praharas, the second is considered the most auspicious one as midnight (Sandhya) occurred at the end of this quarter. It is also believed that in this period (second "quarter") the Supreme Brahman manifests itself in the form of Jyotir lingam. (In fact, it happened at the exact moment when Sai Baba's Lingodbhava appeared)
Mother Earth rose to see her beloved son leave. There was a slight earthquake right at the time of Samadhi.
Fortunate are those who lived under Gurudev's teaching and spiritual companionship. Gurudev's life was his message. The central message of Guha Gurudev still appears at the entrance to the ashram. It reads like this:
"What are we looking for? Bliss!
What we are looking for is within us. Within us there is a huge roaring ocean of divine and infinite bliss, a single drop can completely destroy all our pains forever and transport us to the highest state of ecstasy. But we foolishly look for it outside.
Imagining that wife, children, wealth, name, fame etc., can bring happiness is a mere illusion. Our state is like that of a deer that contains the moss in its own navel but out of ignorance seeks that divine perfume around him, in the environment, in the trees, creepers, grass, etc.
the teachings of our great sages can therefore give us pure and eternal