When attempting to write down a few impressions of the World Yoga Convention and the Golden Jubilee celebrations, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is beyond words.
This program was not only massive in sheer numbers – over twelve thousand people came from all over India and the world to participate, of which over four thousand delegates were accommodated within the ashram – but also in terms of the multiple layers of activities. This was not one event, but a series of events taking place at the same time, making it the most multidimensional program I have ever seen in my life. What a marvel of superb planning and skilful execution! It is only guru's grace that can pull off something so complex and so inspiring in such a smooth way!
One of the biggest surprises was the full embrace of modern technologies by the usually technologically-conservative Bihar School of Yoga.
Starting 1st October, the dedicated WYC Help lines became available to answer participant's queries. The excellent database helped to give on-the-spot answers and the relief and gratitude was palpable in delegates struggling with the postal service or fax or the ever-busy regular ashram phones.
During the WYC itself, from registration to food to prasad, everywhere was a simple scan of the barcode on the WYC badge, doing away with cumbersome lists and long waits.
Much to the delight of those who couldn't make it to Munger, for the first time ever, live streaming of all sessions was available for viewing via the internet. Thousands were able to watch in awe, wonder and much gratitude.
Then there was the launch of the Bihar Yoga App, another first, loaded with teachings and inspiration. Authentic yoga knowledge and inspiration is now just a click away on the phone, tablet or computer!
Sri Swamiji in his time, and then Swami Niranjan have for years been disseminating yoga from Karna Chaura, where the generous King Karna distributed gold. This year, however, to quote Swamiji, even King Karna would have to bow in respect!
Satyam Yoga Prasad as an idea and as an experience was unbelievable. It was difficult to take in mentally, take out physically and even more difficult to take back home. Hundreds of books, CDs and DVDs, always abundantly stocked, and one was totally free to take as much as one wanted and was able to. The only thing limited was the time one was allowed in, as thousands had to take their prasad too. Catalogues had been thoughtfully provided beforehand so as to help make the best of the time inside, and sevaks were always within easy reach to give out as many bags as asked for.
When I went in to receive the Satyam Yoga Prasad, I saw all types of reactions – some joyfully picking, some greedily gathering – but all struggling to carry the golden load. The cup literally brimmed over! I have now experienced in a material level what is often said about guru's grace; it showers equally on all, is ever-abundant, and what you can get is limited only by your own capacity to receive. In the world where we are constantly feeling that we are not getting enough, here is guru so generously giving us an experience of supreme abundance!
The physical collection is only the first step, and then came the difficulty of it carrying back and carting it home. Some people actually had to return bags as it was not possible to take so much back with them! And of course a lifetime is not enough to truly absorb and assimilate the priceless teachings contained in this prasad.
There were three live events conducted daily and in parallel as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations at Ganga Darshan. One was the non-stop kirtan, from 6 am to 6 pm, conducted by groups from across the world, and the second was the continuous performance of rare tantric havan. Going past the amphitheatre or Akhara transported one to different realms altogether.
The most moving for me was the third, a film on the life ofSatyam. Swamiji's lila manifested a great air-conditioned movie hall on the lawn next to Main Building, and there was shown a film no words can do justice to. From Rishikesh to Munger to Tryambakeshwar to Rikhia, the film traced the journey of Sri Swamiji. Richly infused with Sri Swamiji's poetry, photos, rare video clips and soul-stirring music, the film left many of us in tears. Sri Swamiji's presence is so strong and so palpable in this film. It is a truly inspiring and powerful reminder of the light of our lives, Sri Swamiji.
Last but not the least were the special evening programs.The dance drama performed by the Chennai group, Yoga Chaitanya, was wonderfully produced and enacted.
A special mention about the presentations by the very talented sannyasa trainees. On days three, four and five, they told the life stories of Sri Swami Sivananda, Sri Swami Satyananda and Swami Niranjan in a very creative and original way. The narrations were interspersed with photos and beautiful kirtans, bhajans and songs, accompanied by graceful dancers. It was amazing and inspiring to see so many radiant flowers blossoming under Swamiji's watchful care.
As we return home, laden with prasad, inspiration and blessings, the only thing that comes to mind is to say, again and again: Thank you Gurudev!