Today is not my birthday although you are all celebrating it today. The social birthday is considered to be of the body but I feel very strongly that it is the inspiration and direction in life which counts more. Thousands and thousands of people take birth every day but how many of those thousands actually receive inspiration and direction in life, remains to be seen.
For me, birth actually took place on the 11th January 1971, when my Guru gave me a direction and an inspiration, a dream and a vision. If there is anything that I ask of you today then it is the good wishes and the blessings from each one of you to follow that direction and inspiration, to fulfil that vision and aim. That is more important, because the work has to continue and we all have only one opportunity and only one life to do all the things that need to be done. There cannot be any repeat performance. Therefore, it is better that, with clarity, we follow the vision and dream in life. This clarity of vision, clarity of direction and the inspiration to walk in that direction will only come if there is the desire of 'seva' and that is also the aim of Yoga.
Since the World-wide Yoga Convention in November new directions have come up, and I would like to give you a brief resume of these new directions. First of all, we have started with the village work, which consists of taking up one village per month and looking after their moral, spiritual and physio-social development. For this work we need people, we need dedication, and I have officially nominated Swami Satyabindu to conduct this programme. He will select his team and volunteers.
The second area which has opened up is a project of the Government of Bihar. Each month a medical college is to be selected and Yoga education provided for the doctors. Last month was the beginning of the programme which started in Bhagalpur. The programme was conducted by Dr. Dharmavrat under the guidance of Swami Omkaranandaji. The next programmes take place at Patna, Nalanda, Darbhanga and Ranchi medical colleges. Official nominations to conduct medical programmes throughout the state of Bihar are Dr. Dharmavrat and Swami Swayambhunathji. These two along with their team, will be going to those places.
The third project concerns the army. High altitude problems, psychological problems are to be managed through the practices of Yoga. The first camp will be conducted in the highest battlefield in the entire world. The next camp will be conducted in the desert. So far the official nominations are Swami Vigyan Chaitanya and Swami Yogavijay who will be going with their teams. It will be a challenge, because it is not just a matter of going there, conducting the course and that is finished. They themselves will have to become the guinea pigs and acclimatise to the high altitude problems like lack of oxygen, hallucination, depression etc.
The fourth area is the conversion of the Bihar School of Yoga into the first Yoga University in the world having three faculties and the same facilities that a university can offer by way of certificates, degrees and diplomas, exclusively in Yoga. The first faculty will be Yogic Philosophy, the second will be Yoga Psychology and the third will be Applied Yoga. To conduct the formalities, the official nominations are Swami Shankaranandaji, Swami Gyanbhikshuji and Swami Suryamani.
Apart from this, the normal activities of the ashram - the camps, seminars, courses and classes -will be regularly conducted, and for that we need proper people.
One thing you should remember is that the aim of Yoga is service, it is not God-realisation or Self-realisation. Our normal belief is that the more we meditate the quicker we will get Self-realisation. That is the biggest misconception that can ever exist in our minds. The aim of Yoga is not to separate you from other human beings and from life.
If you separate yourselves from being fully involved in the world, from constructively helping the world by thinking, "If I can live in isolation, if I practise meditation for twelve hours, I will quickly realise my Self", then God goes further away from you - that is definite I God will only say, "This guy is just thinking of himself. He is not bothered about other people who are suffering, so why should I bother about him?" But if God knows that you care for other people as well as yourself, and that you have the same feeling towards them as you have towards your own people, then He will say, "Oh, this poor guy is working very hard, let me go and help him". Then He comes, either physically or as a vision or as an inspiration.
That is the culmination of Yoga, not isolation and self-centred vision, but having a universal vision. This is the approach we will have to adopt in relation to today's world and environment- Maybe isolation was necessary once upon a time when the mentality of each and every individual was different, when the aspirations were different, when the environment was different, when the social structure was different and everything was conducive to that form of experience, but tell me, out of the millions that practised how many have actually had some experience? None! Why?
We have put ourselves first. The cart has been put before the horse. The horse is God, we are the cart, but we have put ourselves in front and now God is behind. However, if we keep the horse in front and the cart behind then the horse can pull the cart also. This can only happen when, along with your own practices and sadhana, meditation and Yoga, you develop the attitude of 'Seva'. Seva is not service. Seva is not a good deed that you do. Seva is both a quality and a science. It is a science in the respect that you have to be await. You have to develop certain things within yourself to establish yourself in seva.
In order to become a perfect sevak it is necessary that you eliminate your selfish qualities. It is necessary that you do not follow the whims of ego. It is necessary that you do not follow the tendencies of mind. For this you need to practise sadhana, Yoga and meditation, but the ultimate aim is to be a 'sevak' and that is the aim of Yoga also. Once you become a sevak you put the horse before the cart and the horse can then move the cart.
So, keeping this in mind, if you want to give something today, then give your good wishes and blessings so that such work can continue and ultimately be beneficial to humanity.