Although there are no words which can fully express the magnificence and the beauty of the event, I will attempt to find the best way to transmit, if not all, at least some of the fascinating impressions imprinted on my memory.
From the moment we arrived we were overtaken by a special joy due to the warm and loving welcome we received. There was a very special, exulting, and motivating energy in the air, full of peace, and it was the energy of Sri Swamiji.
Upon entering the ashram, our mirth only grew when we saw the gardens, the decorations of the various stages where the events would take place and the enthusiasm with which everyone worked. Everything flowed in a tranquil, orderly and perfectly synchronized manner. The swamis, the sannyasa trainees and all the volunteers were consecrated with total dedication to each and every one of their respective duties so that we could all thoroughly enjoy every activity, while the children and the youths of BYMM and YYMM made us feel at home. They were dedicated to their duties: some were guiding the participants, others were the guards of order and discipline, and yet others were messengers for the various instructions from Swamiji to his helpers and the participants.
Swami Niranjan himself was resplendent! He was present everywhere, and his creative and constructive energy was contagious to all. Each of his words transmitted a message of love, understanding, commitment and total surrender to Sri Swamiji's mission. Swami Satsangi, always by his side, reinforced the importance of the continuity of this mission.
Over the five days of the Convention, we saw and experienced creativity in all its artistic expressions. We felt it in the architecture, through the beautiful design of the Polo Ground and other event pavilions erected to host the different programs. We felt it in music, through the kirtans and bhajans sung during the day, and through dance, as the children danced spontaneously to the rhythm of the kirtans. We felt it in worship, through the yajna in Akhara. Creativity was experienced in the decorations, expressed in an elegant and colourful manner, and finally in nature, through the gardens filled with flowers, butterflies, squirrels and birds, all attracted by the special circulating energy.
The Polo Ground pavilion, where the Convention took place, was immense and filled with light and circulating air. Its capacity was for over twenty thousand people and had enough space for each participant to find an ample, comfortable spot. The crowd management was astonishing, although people indeed came and left twice each day, it was hardly noticed, we came and went in peace, calm and joy. It was the circulating energy, absorbed by all of us, that kept order and discipline in reign.
From this beautiful pavilion, Swamiji would translate each lecture into a fantastic synthesis of the topic, in Hindi if the talk was in English or in English if the talk was in Hindi, so that all of us could understand what the speakers were expressing. The motto of the Convention, 'Sincerity, Seriousness and Commitment', given by Swamiji on the final day, summarized the essence of our practice, our sadhana and our lives.
Following the morning pooja that commenced each session, the children of the BYMM sang kirtan and Swamiji would sing along with them, inspiring all present to join in. This created a magical energy in the hall that focused everyone's full attention on the present moment.
On the first afternoon, Sri Swamiji's energy could be felt when a group of kanyas and batuks, the girls and boys of Rikhia, performed the Bharatnatyam with so much innocence and elegance that they appeared to be classical dancers. We could see Sri Swamiji guiding these children and youths to achieve excellence in everything they embark on.
Over in Satyam Vatika, Ganga Darshan, where there was continuous kirtan, we sang and danced with the leading groups. Whether staying for a while or simply passing by, our joy, mirth and enthusiasm was awakened by the experience.
The moments of creative inspiration, joy and enthusiasm continued in the evenings with five nights of special dance -drama presentations. On the first and second nights, the group of actors and dancers from Chennai, who recreated the life of Sri Swamiji through acting and dance were not only fantastic performers, but also transmitted their devotion and conviction to recreating moments of the life of the saint who illumined their lives.
On the third night, the Rudrashtakam, a powerful prayer to Shiva performed by the sannyasa trainees, vibrated mesmerizingly in the heart, in the mind and in the surroundings, while the fourth night's English songs, 'Lord of the Dance' and 'Another You', were hymns that led us to appreciate the light and guidance that our gurus represent. The same night's demonstration of karate performed by the children of BYMM was an impressive display of their defensive skills and self-reliance, especially that of the girls. Thanks to the training received in the ashram, these girls know how to defend themselves, and now nobody can mess with them since they have learnt well how to take care of themselves!
The fifth and last day, dedicated to Swami Niranjan, was a wonderful closure with the allegorical story of Swamiji conveyed by the sannyasa trainees, garmented with special costumes, pretty and luminous, alongside clips of the movie Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Each night we would go to bed feeling full of energy, joy and optimism.
While the evenings ended joyfully and energetically, the days began in the same vein. Each morning of the Convention started with Swamiji's sadhana for invoking the Goddess Katyayani. Upon getting up and going for breakfast, we could hear the mantras and feel their power transmitting the energy that preserves, unites, strengthens, soothes and sweetens life. It was the best way to start the day.
The Akhara felt like the power centre of the ashram, a power which grew each day with the mantras and tantric ceremonies taking place there by the Varanasi pandits. It was a power felt by all of us as it descended and showered its blessings upon us, the ashram, and the entire universe.
Eagles are the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, the deity that protects and preserves. Attracted by the creativity and energy of the ashram, Garuda sent his fleet of emissaries, who were spotted every day doing rounds of all the places, especially the Akhara, with their numbers increasing every day. It was a magnificent sight. On the last day, coming back from the closing session of the yajna, it was very exciting to watch them above the Akhara and the Main Building. It was a parade of eagles, flying from one place to another, seeming to shoot headlong down into the building only to rise and soar again, like an aerial show. What a beautiful demonstration!
Nature also displayed her generosity. When I arrived in India, the news of cyclones, torrential rain and flooding in Bihar was a matter of worry. I was wondering what Swamiji would do with so much rain and how he would handle the floods. A few days before the first day of the Convention, the downpours stopped, with only some refreshing rain falling the night before the commencement. In the ashram, Nature was in her full glory. All the plants were blooming, the trees and palms stood erect and overflowing with green and freshness, the mango trees bore fruit out of season, butterflies of all colours were flying everywhere, and the birds and squirrels played.
There were many, many highlights during the Convention. The movie, especially, gave very emotional, constructive and inspiring moments as Sri Swamiji spoke to us and personally commented on aspects of his life and relationship with his guru, Swami Sivananda.
The prasad pavilions left a lasting impression. Although we were given a catalogue of all the publications in advance so we could choose the ones we wanted before visiting, once inside, our eyes opened wide and our greed did too. Before such generosity, we wanted to take everything!
The latest technology was presented at KAC, the 'Kundalini Awakening Centre'. It was something very special. All of us were wondering what that place could be. The external appearance was that of a completely enclosed room. "What's happening in there?" we would ask those who had already attended and they would answer, "It is a fantastic experience of five dimensions. You must live through it!" Our curiosity grew. When we entered, it was a hall with very comfortable chairs and a big screen. Our bodies vibrated; there was lightning, mist, sparks and bubbles falling. It was indeed a supreme experience for the body, mind and spirit!
Definitely, an event of this magnitude only becomes possible when a superior intelligence connects to a powerful, creative, constructive and inspiring energy and channels it into a magnificent success like the Golden Jubilee of the Bihar School of Yoga Convention.
I thank our gurus, Sri Swami Sivananda and Sri Swami Satyananda, for always being present, and Sri Swami Niranjanananda for channelling, crystallizing and materializing their energy into this event that has become a part of the history of humanity. It was an event to be remembered forever.