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January 2000

A Message for the Third Millennium

Message of Peace
Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Sankalpa
Swami Satyananda Saraswati

The Age of Bhakti
Swami Satyananda Saraswati

The Growth of Satyananda Yoga or Bihar Yoga
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Visit to Rikhia
Swami Chidananda Saraswati

A Call To Freedom
Swami Satyananda Saraswati



A Call To Freedom

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

In order to succeed in yoga and in life, personal attainment and prosperity are not enough. We need three things: commitment, dedication and devotion to that which is beyond ourselves. Unless we are able to develop these three qualities in our yoga and in our lives, we can never find satisfaction or fulfilment. Real success is not measured by status, monetary gain or any personal achievement, but by how much one is able to offer others in their time of need, for their upliftment and for the removal of their distress.

Man is not an island or a separate unit unto himself. We are all part and parcel of this world, of this vast universe. We are in the universe, and the universe is in us. No one is in any way different from another. All are comprised of the same consciousness and energy, the same five elements. All breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat the same food, walk the same earth. All feel the same emotions and think the same thoughts. So, what is it that makes us different. Our illusion about self, our sense of individuality, of self-importance, of egocentricity, which blocks our vision of totality, of oneness with humanity and with the entire creation.

When will we be free? Because freedom is not a commodity which can be purchased politically, socially or professionally. Freedom is an understanding of ourselves in relation to others, the part in relation to the whole. We will never be free until we learn to share with others. There is always someone with less than us, no matter how little we have. There are thousands of ways to share our knowledge, abilities, facilities, experience, faith, belief, money, property, food, clothes, tools, books, ideas.

It is not by accumulating and enriching ourselves that we become free. We become free by giving what we have to others. The different ways and forms of our sharing are the measure of our freedom, of our capacity to realize God. By God, I do not mean that Holy Father who lives up somewhere in heaven, but that divinity which resides in us and in all beings, sentient and insentient, in equal measure.

It is of no use to build up anything for ourselves. All these accumulations become our bondage, our barrier. They keep us fenced off from the higher reality, the vision of totality. The more we give, the greater we become, because we learn to see ourselves in others. Their suffering becomes our suffering and their joy our joy.

A life of selfish acquisition and material satisfaction is not worth living or dying for. At the end of it, what will we have that is still ours? Nothing – no money, no possessions, no property, no house, no car, no job, no family, no relation, no friend, will ever pass out of this life with us. The only thing that will go with us on that last day will be our karmas, our deeds, whether positive or negative, selfish or unselfish, and nothing else.

That is why in this life it is very important to always be on the lookout for opportunities to give, to serve and to contribute something for the welfare and the betterment of another. This is the way to attain happiness, fulfilment. and transcendence, not only in this life, but in the life to come. With every positive deed, we remove the shackles of ten years of negative deeds. We become brighter, younger, healthier and more vital.

What is it that makes us dull, old, sick and oppressed? The cause is not external; it is our internal limitations which bind us to a narrow, selfish view of life. That is the cause of all our suffering. In order to remove our suffering, we must remove our limitations. We must live to help and serve others and not ourselves. We must reach beyond our immediate family, our personal needs and develop a broader identity that encompasses the entire humanity, the entire creation, the entire cosmos. This is freedom – not any political, social or religious ideology.

I have taught only one yoga, that which leads to freedom. All others are paths of bondage. Please do not think that I am speaking against any yoga teacher or institution, but I feel that the present concept and direction of yoga must change. Yoga must be unified, freed of separate ideals, power struggles and narrow concepts of spiritual attainment.

Attitudes must change, barriers must come down, so that a new yoga can emerge. This will be the yoga of unity, of giving, sharing and uplifting, as one team. As organs and parts of one body, we must work together in one connected and concerted effort to serve humanity, to share our knowledge, our gifts, our capacities, our labour, for the common good, for a better world.

When we are able to see the disease, disharmony and distress of others as our own, and begin to alleviate and remove it by our united effort, then our yoga will need only one banner. Call it freedom, call it mukti, call it bliss. If we are involved in any yoga for our personal development, knowledge and evolution, that yoga is not going to help us. Finally we will have to leave it and search for another path.

The ways of the world are many, but the way to God, to spirit, to divinity, is one. Dedication to the upliftment of others, seeing others in ourselves and ourselves in others; this is the ultimate yoga. There is no other way to change our limited, egocentric vision to a cosmic vision. This is the path and this is the yoga of the new millennium – call it 'freedom yoga'.

There is no need to waste time in practising other yogas. Life does not have enough days, hours and minutes to perform all the good deeds that need to be done in order to balance the bad deeds that were done before. In this birth, we have the opportunity to serve the poor and downtrodden by offering food, clothes, money, medicine, books, toys, tools, building materials, bicycles, cows, bullocks, and other things which can help to remove the distress from the lives of individuals, families and communities.

This is my path, and this is the yoga that I wish to propagate in the new millennium for the benefit of all mankind and the highest attainment of yoga. There is no other nirvana, no other enlightenment. This is the way to freedom.

It is not my intention to insult or offend anyone's view, concept or practice of yoga. However, we must bear in mind that the yogas expounded in the twentieth century were suited to the needs and evolution of humanity for that period. Therefore, the form of yoga was limited to self-discipline, self-introspection and self-improvement.

Now, yoga is taking another step forward. It is expanding beyond the personal, selfish and narrow confines of individual practice, teachings and ideals, to encompass a broad spectrum of devotion, dedication and integral participation in human emancipation.

This is not my order. It has been decided by forces which are beyond me. There will be no other way to evolve through yoga. All will eventually have to pull down their separate fences and signboards and begin to work together in one united, consecutive effort to uplift and free humanity from all forms of deprivation and degradation.

The misery of others is our misery. To free another of his misery is our freedom, our happiness and our fulfilment. What to speak of freeing whole families, communities, states, nations and worlds. Freedom is infinite for those who walk in the light of this yoga, who take up the path of giving and sharing with one another, who dedicate and devote themselves, their time and their money to the upliftment of others.

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