In Johannesburg, Jyotsna Mata made her home available to Swami and a few of his close disciples. The early morning meditations in his presence during the last days were very special indeed.
We would often lunch together with him and share vigorous walks around the neighbourhood. Then there would be the afternoon satsangs where we would all sit on the floor around Swami and he would entertain and instruct us in question and answer sessions or short discourses. Tea and biscuits were brought in after an hour or so and days would pass in bliss.
In the evenings there was often a talk and many people would cram the hall to hear him. In Cape Town on previous years Swami would stay with Sushila and Ramani in their house near to the centre of Cape Town. From here his program would be coordinated and satsangs and outings arranged. There was always a steady stream of devotees and disciples to the house where he was staying and each would have a task or duty allotted.
Ananda Kutir Yoga Centre run by Yogeshwari played host to many of his evening speeches. From modest beginnings in a small hall in the back garden of a suburban house, Ananda Kutir Cape Town later grew steadily and soon an ashram took shape. Today it is a vibrant hub of community service and an ashram in the truest sense of the word.
Swami Venkatesananda took Maha samadhi in Johannesburg, South Africa on 2nd December 1982. Leading up to this time he had been playful and warned us repeatedly that he was about to go. None of us wanted to accept or believe it, we all wanted him to stay and be with us in his physical form. The last years in South Africa were profound. Days spent in his presence were like rare gems. Each opportunity to sit close to him and imbibe his wisdom was precious.