We have ashrams, large and small, all over the world. By now many people are acquainted with the sort of work we are doing, the services that the ashrams are giving to society, to individuals and seekers. The purpose is to bring about a spiritual feeling, to bring every person towards a spiritual awakening. Of course, the disciples of Swami Satyananda Saraswati teach yoga, but that is not the purpose of either Swamiji or his disciples. You must try to understand the real purpose. It is wrong to think that Swamiji wants to create a yoga sect, an exclusive group, or to make a lot of disciples. He has created these teachings, these groups, and he has initiated sannyasin disciples only to help others contact their higher being. All the ashrams are trying their level best to bring people to the path of spirituality. The best way, the best medium for this is yoga, as our guru has taught us. He has shown us the way through his own life.
All the religious teachings have failed to raise people towards spirituality, a spiritual manner, spiritual thinking. Religion has not brought us to higher consciousness, to higher feeling, to a higher way of living. At least nobody has taught me this through religion. Yoga is not a religion, as you may have heard. Yoga is only a medium for bringing people to a higher way of living, a purer way of thinking. It has certain scientific techniques which individuals can understand, whether they are devotional or intellectual, and which they can practice. It awakens us, it leads us to the super consciousness, to the supreme being.
Now this is what the world is struggling for. Everywhere I go people are attracted to this idea. In the United States everybody is talking about spirituality, and on every continent it is the same. In India, of course, the people believe in spiritual life, but here and everywhere, it is practiced far less than it is discussed. Everybody has their own understanding; they have created their own meaning; but they are not practicing it.
Now Swamiji is teaching you spirituality through yoga. He is trying to bring you to spirituality through his own words and blessings, and through his disciples. You must try to understand correctly what he is doing. The yogashrams are for you. The sannyasins are not being initiated just for themselves. They have a mission which will take them out further and further to teach everybody the higher, more practical way of life, the pure way of thinking.
Swamiji has given instructions that a sannyasa training course be held in Australia. Many sannyasa courses have been held by Swamiji and some of his disciples, and now Swami Akhandananda will conduct a course. The object of the course is to create more and more sannyasis and to train them in spirituality, so that they can go and help people anywhere in Australia and, if possible, out of Australia. I am sure that the course will help many.
Do not hesitate to take the sannyasa training course. You do not have to divorce your husband or wife; you do not have to renounce your home. After the training you can go back to your usual life with wife or husband as director or manager, or whatever you are now. You can be the same person as you were before, except that you will know a higher manner of living, a higher way of thinking, and a more consistent and practical approach to higher consciousness. If you are not able to take advantage of this training, tell your friends or relatives who may have the time to devote. But you must not miss the opportunity, if it is at all possible. You will learn what spirituality really is, what spiritual life really means.
When you come to the ashram you may have to do the same secretarial job as you have now, or you may work in the printing department, or anywhere else. But here you will be practicing karma yoga. It will certainly give you a different feeling, different thoughts, and a higher awakening, than the same work that you do now in your home or at your office or factory. Many of you may have experienced by now that living and eating in the ashram has a different effect from the same living and eating at home. Why is living in the ashram different from living at home? At home you have partiality, attachment, expectation, and many problems, which block your mental energy and your higher thinking. Here, at the ashram, the little attachments which hold you down and block your mental energy, do not bother you. Of course, the same ego is working here, the same attachments, the same partiality, but there is no hitching pin, there is nothing for them to hold on to, and they do not have the same effect. So, make sure that you, or one of your family or friends takes part in this sannyasa training course in order to spread the higher thinking, the higher way of living all over the world.
Even if you cannot join the sannyasa training course, live the ashram life for a week or two. Live it fully, like an ashramite, the same way of eating and dressing, the same rules and regulations. Ashram life is not only a training but a recharging of energy within the self for the whole year.