On 1st January 2013, Ganga Darshan greeted the new year with the chanting of Sundarkand, Vishnusahasranama havan and the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa 108 times. Established in 2008, this chanting sadhana has become a tradition of Ganga Darshan to welcome and prepare for the year ahead.
On 12th February, the Basant Panchami celebrations began with a special havan and Sri Vidya pooja conducted by the yoginis from Lalita Mahila Samajam at Thirueengoimalai in Tamil Nadu.
Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda inaugurated 'Satyam Vatika', a memory park dedicated to the life and mission of Swami Satyananda. Over thirty plaques in a beautifully landscaped garden depict the history of the institution and its inspirers.
Swami Dharmashakti, fondly known as Ammaji, who was Swami Satyananda's first disciple and Swami Niranjan's mother, breathed her last on 12th. Dedicating her life to her guru, her faith never wavered and she always spread hope and optimism in the lives of people.
The next day, Ganga Darshan bid a final farewell to Swami Dharmashakti. She was given bhu samadhi, earth burial, in the Akhara, where she was placed in the lap of Mother Earth.
Special invitee, Swami Girishananda, acharya of Saket Dham ashram in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, and an eminent kathakar gave daily discourses on Sri Krishna.
Every evening, Ganga Darshan car park was converted into a theatre. For two nights, a group from Chennai presented a dance-drama on the life of Swami Satyananda. Participants of the three-year sannyasa training also presented an audio-visual-cum-dance-drama performance on the lives of Swamis Satyananda and Swami Niranjan.
On 15th, Bihar School of Yoga turned 50. The final pooja and poornahuti were conducted by the yoginis.
Swami Suryaprakash, President of Bihar School of Yoga, addressed the gathering saying that three things must be kept in mind: furthering the work of yoga, individual effort for self-improvement, and social application of the tools given to us.
Eminent citizens of Munger including Shiv Kumar Rungta, Dhananjay Sharma and D. P. Yadav expressed their sentiments. Swami Shankarananda, the senior-most sannyasin of the ashram and a pillar of the institution, referred to the Bhagavad Gita.
Swami Satsangi said that Swami Satyananda had given two tools to his followers: yoga and yajna. If these are used appropriately, a new state of awareness will be attained.
Swami Niranjan said that an institution is not made of buildings, but of people, and congratulations must be offered to all present who helped BSY reach the milestone of 50 years. BSY is the sankalpa of a sannyasin and it is the grace of guru and God that has guided its path.
From 11th to 20th April, Navaratri was celebrated in dedication to Devi. The Navaratri sadhana included morning and evening sessions of bhajan, kirtan, havan and satsang. The sadhana was conducted at Ganga Darshan and Paduka Darshan.
On 13th May, Akshaya Tritiya was celebrated at Ganga Darshan with the chanting of Sri Vishnusahasranama Stotram three times.
On 25th May, the Akhara invited guests and visitors to celebrate Buddha Poornima, the day Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. All present remembered Swami Dharmashakti who was born this day in 1924. Swami Niranjan conducted havan as her samadhi was being consecrated. The chanting was dedicated to guru and Sri Rama.
Guru is the person who has traveled the path through which we are traveling. Guru has experienced the attractions and repulsions of avidya, ignorance, and andhakar, darkness; he has come through as a winner and has established himself in light.
Guru is a person who was an ordinary person like each one of us but who fought against his ignorance, the darkness of his mind, senses, desires, needs, hate, jealousy, anger, frustration, love, compulsion, freedom, everything. He maintained sanity and balance and established himself in light due to four things: the conviction which was personal, the sadhana which he was taught, the guidance and instruction of the Guru which was given and the grace of God which was inherent.
Guru, therefore, is somebody who has faced ignorance and darkness, and come out of that stage. On Guru Poornima day we offer our respects to such people who have attained that stage of light.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
From 19th to 21st July, Swami Niranajan conducted the Guru Poornima satsang. Swamiji spoke on how the six enemies, kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya (desire, anger, greed, infatuation, pride and jealousy) influence our thoughts and behaviour.
On 22nd July, Ganga Darshan welcomed thousands of local guests who had come to pay their respects to the guru. The havan was conducted by Swamiji and acharyas of the tradition. The chanting filled the pandal with blissful vibrations.
Music is not played to please one's self but to evoke a feeling which is uplifting and pure. The awakening of the bhav, feeling and emotion is important. Knowledge of literature helps to open the intellect; knowledge of music helps to open the heart; and knowledge of arts in life helps to improve the character and the behaviour. We need to focus on these three areas to become good human beings. Music has much force and can induce every kind of mood, it can change the environment and nature.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
From 26th to 28th August, Ganga Darshan was under the spell of Prahlad Singh Tipanya. He enchanted all as he combined singing and explanation of Kabir bhajans in the folk style of the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh. His concerts are more than entertaining music. They are deep engagements with the spiritual and social thought of Kabir. They stress the need to rise above petty divisiveness, sectarianism, empty ritualism and hypocrisy, and the need to adopt love as the ultimate religion.
On the last night, Krishna Janmashtami, the children of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal joined in with singing kirtan. Kumar Satvik (10 years old) and Kumari Aahuti (8 years old) from Delhi held the audience spellbound with their beautiful rendering of classical Indian bhajans. Swami Niranjan concluded the program with an uplifting kirtan.
From 5th to 14th October, Navaratri sadhana was conducted by residents, sannyasa trainees and the children of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal. Bhajan, kirtan, havan and satsang were held at Satyam Vatika.
From 23rd to 27th October, the town of Munger was host to the World Yoga Convention at the Polo Ground while the Golden Jubilee of Bihar School of Yoga was held and celebrated at Ganga Darshan. Swami Niranjanananda was ever present, inspiring and guiding the proceedings with humour, clarity and a deep understanding of the challenge Satyananda Yoga has to face in times to come. Swami Satyasangananda graced the function with her presence and enlightening satsangs. Saints, acharyas from various traditions and eminent scholars spoke on topics related to yoga and spiritual life. The programs were attended by 20,000 delegates from 56 countries and 23 states of India. At the same time, 15,000 people from 62 countries watched the WYC live via the internet.
Workshops were held both at the Polo Ground and at Ganga Darshan.
Swami Girishananda from Saket Dham Ashram, Jabalpur, MP, delighted all with his rendering of the episode of the nine yogeshwaras from the Srimad Bhagavat Purana.
At the ashram, pandits from Varanasi performed havan at Satyam Udyan, at Akhara, throughout the five days and people could share in the beautiful creative energies.
A feature film on the life and teaching of Sri Swami Satyananda was shown, and the new Kundalini Centre, a 5D experience in a small theatre, was inaugurated. From six in the morning to six in the evening, kirtan were being chanted at the amphitheatre by groups from countries around the globe. The car park turned into an open-air theatre where dance, song and drama were dedicated to the lives of the masters of the Satyananda Yoga Tradition.
In the pandal of Satyam Yoga Prasad all delegates were invited to choose from the hundreds of book, CD and DVD titles produced by BSY.
Over 300 aspirants received mantra diksha, over 200 aspirants jignasu and over 150 aspirants karma sannyasa diksha.
Paduka Darshan was offering to over 3000 national delegates three meals a day.
Apart from the ashram sevaks, a team of over 300 children of BYMM and 600 youth of Yuva Yoga Mitra Mandal had the task of directing and assisting in every area of the event.
Diwali means 'festival of lights'. When Sri Rama vanquished his nemesis Ravana and returned to his kingdom, the people of Ayodhya lit up the entire city and the kingdom with little oil candles. At night the whole kingdom was shining like a diamond, glittering in the dark.
For yogis lamp, light and flame is the symbol of anahata chakra which represents love. Sri Rama represented love. Therefore, when Rama came to Ayodhya there was not darkness, when the light of love awakens in anahata, the darkness of selfish qualities disappears. It is the selfish qualities which bring darkness into our life. Yogis have seen the event of Diwali as the opening of the heart and lighting the lamp of love, compassion and positive feelings in the heart.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
On 3rd November, Diwali was celebrated at the Amphitheatre, where havan was conducted. It was followed by singing of kirtan and bhajan, a fire dance and and fireworks. Swami Niranjan spoke on the significance of Diwali as the festival of light or the festival of the light of hope. Ganga Darshan was shining bright in the light of thousands of candles and the beautifully lit Akhara charmed all as they came for darshan.
The impact of Jesus' teachings has left their mark in history, and we remember this day as his birthday. It is the inspiration of his life that continues to guide and inspire millions across the world even today. The love, goodness and compassion which he embodied is what is inspiring millions today to tread a virtuous path. It is a day of rejoicing and reflection: that we can also become the recipient of God's grace. It is always possible to cross the river of life. Some people have the strength, some don't.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
On 25th December, Christmas was celebrated at Ganga Darshan with a morning and an evening program. The inspiring morning program was held in Jyoti Mandir. The havan, of Ishu Namavali and Sri Swami Satyananda Ashtottarashata Namavali, was followed by bhajans and kirtans dedicated to Jesus Christ and Swami Satyananda.
In the evening, amongst the elaborately decorated sadhana hall, a choir of residents, sannyasa trainees and guests of the ashram presented songs and carols for all to enjoy and sing to. The highlight was the BYMM dance performance of jingle bells, accompanied by Santa Claus. In remembrance of Swami Satyananda's birthday, the program concluded with the screening of Part One of the feature film, Satyam.
Ganga Darshan celebrated New Year's Eve with a program of Ganesh Mahimna Stotram and the Vishnusahasranama havan followed by various dance and singing acts dedicated to highlighting the events and inspiration of 2013 and setting a sankalpa for the year to come.