Conclusion of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations and the New World of Yoga

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Akhara, Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yogapeeth, Munger, 6th November 2013

We have come to the conclusion of the year-long Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Bihar School of Yoga, with this Sri Yantra Abhisheka conducted in the sacred grounds of Akhara in commemoration of the Mahasamadhi of our guru Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

The journey of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations

swan-akhara-satsang-253x300The journey of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations began in 2009 in the month of June, when one day Paramahamsaji said to me that the Golden Jubilee of Bihar School of Yoga is approaching in 2013. He said, “You are going to celebrate it, right?” and I said, “Of course!” Then he said in Hindi: “Khoob dhoom dham se manana”, which literally means “Celebrate it with pomp and splendour”, and I replied, “It will be as you wish.”

Then in December of 2009 Sri Swamiji attained Mahasamadhi, and there was no time to think about the Convention. After all the formalities of Shraddhanjali for Sri Swamiji were complete, on 6th February 2012 after conducting the Sri Yantra Abhisheka in Akhara I went to my room and practised yoga nidra. While I was practising yoga nidra I felt that there was a download of information into my brain. The next morning, on 7th February 2012, I called one sannyasi and said: “Come with a clean diary.” She came with the diary, and I said: “Now sit down and start writing!” For three hours I dictated to her and filled the whole diary of 364 pages with the entire detailed plan of the Convention, day-wise, week-wise, month-wise, department-wise, and person-wise – everything was outlined. After that I said: “Now remind me of the Convention after Guru Poornima 2013.” Until then everything which was downloaded was written down.

Then we started the work of preparing for the Golden Jubilee and the World Yoga Convention, and I was thinking as to what should be the theme of this World Yoga Convention. The spiritual and yogic tradition and culture in India has become like a huge Banyan tree, under whose shade the yogis meditate and under whose shade even the thieves, robbers and dacoits count their money. This is the umbrella of spirituality under which we all sit. Some sit as tapasvis, yogis and sadhakas, and some sit as commercial opportunists, to propagate their own agendas.

Purity of the tradition and teachings

We belong to a tradition whose luminaries sit under the umbrella of spirituality as tapasvis, as yogis and as sadhakas. This tradition is visible from the time of our paramguru Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati. He did not make any effort for any commercial gain through his wisdom, knowledge and power. Although he was a very popular and famous person there were times when there was nothing to eat in the ashram. His motto and his ideal was selfless service and not self-oriented accumulation of wealth and power. He lived the life of a tapasvi, a yogi, a siddha, and a sevak.

The same spirit we see effulgent in our own guru Sri Swamiji. While having all the options and opportunities to “become the messiah”, he chose the path of tyaga, renunciation, tapasya, austerity, yoga, and selfless service. He did not desire anything for himself, or for his status, name or fame. The only motivation in his life, and the only inspiration he gave to all who came in contact with him, was to bring a smile of happiness to people’s faces and to wipe away the tears of pain and sadness.

These tapasvsis and siddhas created the foundation for the propagation of yoga and spirituality which Bihar School of Yoga has been doing for the last fifty years and continues to do. It is a very solid foundation, and we hope that the future generations maintain the purity, the sanctity, and the classical and traditional aspects of spirituality and yoga. It is that which survives, not the add-ons, not the fluff that people add to the subject of spirituality or yoga. All the fluff that people add in the form of hot and cold yoga, power and no power yoga, are only indications of a mind-set: to be identified differently, to acquire name and fame, and to be guided by financial and commercial motivations. That is the reality, the truth.

Therefore it becomes important, if one wants to help humanity through a tradition and through a science, a vidya, that the purity, integrity and sanctity of the tradition and the teachings are maintained. Otherwise, despite all the vidyas in the world, there will be no salvation, no growth and no evolution for humankind. It has been the attempt of Bihar School of Yoga and Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yogapeeth to maintain the systems and the teachings of spirituality and yoga as taught by Sri Swami Sivananda and Sri Swami Satyananda pure and intact from the influences and the impositions of people and society.

If you come to Ganga Darshan, remember that this is a place where discipline and yogic culture has to be imbibed. It is not a place for flirting away one’s time under the guise of spiritual life. This was the inspiration that we see in the life of Sri Swami Sivananda and Sri Swami Satyananda and this is the foundation of the Bihar Yoga tradition, of Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yogapeeth, Munger.

The development of yoga

In the last fifty years yoga has become a household word. Fifty years ago Sri Swamiji pronounced that yoga is the culture of tomorrow. Fifty years ago Sri Swami Sivananda gave the mandate, “Spread yoga from door to door and from shore to shore”. Since the mandate and the pronouncement fifty years have gone by, and yoga has gone from door to door and from shore to shore – as a practice, as a way of life, as an academic subject, as a subject of research, and as a subject for implementing into one’s own life. Yoga has become a household word. The mandate given to Sri Swamiji by his guru Sri Swami Sivananda is fulfilled; there is nothing lacking and that mandate is complete and over.

In the course of these fifty years we have also seen the aspiration and pronouncement of Sri Swamiji that yoga will become the culture of tomorrow being realized, as more and more people become aware of what yoga has to offer – not only in terms of physical health and physical practise, but also for mental health and mental practise, and for spiritual awareness and spiritual practise. People are realizing that yoga is not a religion, that the aspirations of yoga are different to those of religion.

Many types of yoga have arisen in the world, some focusing on the physical, some focusing on the mental, and some focusing on the pseudo spiritual-religious aspect of yoga. However, in these last fifty years that I have been a witness to the development of yoga around the globe and seen the effort made for the propagation of yoga by my guru and others who have followed him, including myself, we find that even today the understanding of yoga is incomplete in the East as well as in the West.

If one looks at human society and the yoga studios and centres that exist in India and in different countries around the world, what are they doing, what are they teaching? They are teaching hatha yoga to slim the waistline: that defeats the purpose of yoga. Teaching asana and pranayama for health: that also defeats the purpose of yoga. If one looks at the hatha yoga centres around the world, they are only teaching one tenth of yoga. The raja yoga centres around the world are only teaching one tenth of yoga, the gyana yoga centres around the world are only teaching one fifth of yoga, and the bhakti yoga centres around the world are only teaching one tenth of yoga. How many centres are there in the world that teach holistic yoga as conceived by Sri Swami Sivananda and as propagated by Sri Swami Satyananda? A handful. While the hatha yoga centres and the raja yoga centres will fail in the next five years, and please take note, the need for yoga for the development of an integrated human personality is going to increase manifold. In this area Satyananda Yoga has a lot to offer and to contribute.

Seriousness, sincerity and commitment

Therefore, when thinking as to what the theme of the World Yoga Convention in 2013 should be, I chose three ideas: seriousness, sincerity, and commitment to yoga. I am using three very specific words which are not abstract at all. Sincerity: how one understands it is up to each person. If one is sincere, one will know what it means, and whoever is not sincere will never know the meaning of the word sincerity.

Seriousness means to go deep into something. Sri Swamiji used to say many times that if you want to get water from the ground, don’t dig fifty holes one foot deep, but dig one hole fifty feet deep and you will find water. The yoga teachers and students of today are like those people who dig a hundred holes which are only one foot deep. Therefore, people are still not enlightened, still don’t have their kundalini awakened, and still can’t face their own moods and stresses, despite being involved with yoga for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years. Still people don’t have that control over the vrittis. Therefore seriousness, sincerity and commitment have to become the words which every yoga aspirant follows and emanates and lives. This is the statement of the Bihar School of Yoga and Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yogapeeth. Bihar School of Yoga is Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda and Swami Niranjanananda. It is the spirit of these three, and no other – no fourth will be added.

The new world of yoga

This tradition, which we have received from Sri Swami Sivananda through Sri Swami Satyananda to us, is going to be the tradition of the future. Mark these words. This Convention has become the stepping stone into the new world of yoga which will develop and evolve in the years to come. As the outcome of this Convention many things are going to replace the old systems and methods. Within one year you will see the new methods and the new systems that will be put in place. Those people who follow this system and tradition will be called the official Satyananda Yoga teachers and trainers. Those who don’t, but have been trained here, are free to call themselves yoga teachers, but definitely not Satyananda Yoga teachers. I do not mind that there may only be ten Satyananda yoga teachers in the world while the rest will be yoga teachers. These ten will have the responsibility to ensure that the sanctity and purity of the tradition is not diluted.

In the coming years a new direction and a new motivation will be given to all the yoga aspirants, teachers and students. Those who have the ability will become part of it and those who don’t have the ability will be a witness to the development of something much more sustainable and substantial, much more intense and powerful, which will touch people’s lives. This is the vision of the World Yoga Convention, this is the vision of Bihar School of Yoga whose Golden Jubilee we have celebrated in 2013, and this is the offering from all of us to our guru parampara Sri Swami Sivananda and Sri Swami Satyananda.