The first time I was graced by Swamiji's darshan was in the Interstate Yoga Seminar held at Gondia in 1966. Approximately ninety people including scientists, doctors and psychologists from all over the world attended the seminar and they were dressed in ochre (geru) robes too. They also took part in the 9-month Sannyasa Course, which was held in Munger at the time. Many of them delivered lectures on yoga in their respective languages viz., German, French and Spanish. Swamiji subsequently translated them into English. The Hon'ble Deputy.
Prime Minister of India, Morarji Desai, and the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra attended the seminar and also addressed the gathering. This inspired me to join Swamiji's yoga mission.
I took mantra diksha at the Yoga Seminar in Raigarh. Later during a yoga seminar in Bilaspur, we had the good fortune of having Swamiji come home for lunch. While leaving, to my utter surprise, he asked my wife to attend the yoga program, which she did in spite of her unwillingness. In November 1969, I attended a 7-day Kriya Yoga course in Munger under Swamiji's personal guidance.
I have fond memories of my 8-year-old daughter (now Atmajyoti, a gynaecologist in Indore) being initiated by Swamiji into mantra diksha. As she found it difficult to do 12 malas of japa daily, she wanted me to request Swamiji to reduce it. Thus when Swamiji was on his way to Bombay via Bilaspur, we went to the Railway Station for darshan. My daughter was hesitant to express her dilemma to Swamiji and the train began to move. We found ourselves running along Swamiji's carriage until he looked at my daughter and asked her what the matter was. She had barely said, "Swamiji 12," when she got the reply, "6 will do -chhah chalega." It was her first miraculous experience with her guru.
Yoga seminars were held under Swamiji's guidance at Umaria and Amlai. In 1972, I met Swamiji in Katni and informed him that I was waiting for my next posting. Swamiji had glanced skywards at the time and kept silent. Soon afterwards, to my surprise, I received my posting order as DFO Raipur. When I told Swamiji about it, he directed me that a myriad of yoga activities would soon begin in Raipur and other places in Madhya Pradesh, under his guidance.
With Swamiji's guidance, Satya Darshan Yoga Ashram, Raipur, was registered and government land was procured for it. In 1973, my family, friends and a lot of my relatives attended the Swami Satyananda Golden Jubilee Convention in Munger. We also attended the Kriya Yoga course that was held soon afterwards. I was suffering from a severe case of piles at the time and was relieved of it permanently by Swamiji's grace.
Swamiji performed the bhumipujan of the ashram and inaugurated it in 1976 at the time of the National Yoga Convention, Raipur. I conducted yoga classes in the ashram with Swamiji's blessings until Swami Vajrapani Saraswati took charge.
Swamiji had instructed me to oversee the Chhattisgarh Yoga Seminar to be held in Rajnandgaon and had also sent sannyasis from Munger to conduct yoga classes all over Chhattisgarh. The seminar at Rajnandgaon was a great success, and later more were organized by the Raipur ashram under Swamiji's guidance at various places, viz; Dhamtari, Jagdalpur, Balaghat, Seoni, Betul, Itarsi, Indore, Bhopal, Sagar, Jabalpur, Satna, Rewa, etc. During the National Yoga Convention, Raipur, in 1981, I received the first copy of Yoga and Kriya with Swamiji's blessings. Guru Poornima was celebrated in 1983 in Raipur in Swamiji's presence.
After my daughter got married in Raipur in 1985, my wife and I went to Munger to take karma sannyasa. Both of us were taken ill with high fever. A day before Swamiji's departure to Australia on 24th February 1985, we recovered suddenly and were summoned for diksha. My wife Nilamani noticed that Swamiji looked unwell and asked him how he felt. He replied that he was fine.
After Swamiji's departure, Swami Niranjananandaji Saraswati told us that Swamiji had taken our fever onto himself. We felt very guilty. We reached Jamalpur on our way back to Raipur the next day. To our surprise, Swami Vajrapani Saraswati was back from Patna and waiting to see us off at the railway station. I jocularly remarked that we were grown-ups and could take care of ourselves, when just before the departure of the train I noticed that my wallet was missing. I told Swami Vajrapani about it and he got into the train with us and made all the necessary arrangements for our journey thereon.
We joined Swamiji for a Continental Meal at Ganga Darshan and received ochre (geru) robes before his nomadic parivrajaka tour. I attended the Forestry Conference in Dehradun in 1989 and on my return enquired about Swamiji at Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh. I was informed that he had left for Uttarkashi about an hour ago. I followed him and was lucky enough to receive his darshan there. We accompanied Swamiji the next day and took a dip at Gangotri for the first time in my life. I started searching land in MP as directed by Swamiji which he subsequently finalized at Rikhia. In 1990, I retired from the top position of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests with Swamiji's blessings.
Swamiji told me to perform the poornahuti of the Sat Chandi Mahayajna along with Swami Niranjananandaji Saraswati and the pandits at Rikhia. He assigned me the task of future yoga activities to be conducted from Bhopal. The yoga seminars, 2003 and 2005 at Indore and Bhopal, and 2006 at Raipur, were organized in consequence thereof.
Regular yoga classes are held at the Satyananda Yoga Kendra Bhopal, located at my residence in Bhopal. My granddaughter, Diksha, also joins me and conducts yoga classes for ladies. I continue on an endless journey with My Great Master, Swamiji.
When I recollect how Swamiji's grace and blessings have affected my life, my eyes brim over with tears. My prostrations to Swamiji, a great New Age Yoga Seer.
Late Swami Vyasananda Saraswati, Bhopal, MP