Inaugural Session: 8 to 11 a.m.
Evening Session: 4 to 7 p.m.
Workshops in English (at Ganga Darshan)
Workshops in Hindi (at the Polo Ground)
Revered Sadguru Swami Sivanandaji, beloved Sri Swamiji, distinguished guests and all you yoga lovers, welcome to the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Bihar School of Yoga in this hallowed place which is bathed by the waters of the Ganga.
This gathering of so many people is an expression of love and gratitude towards the person who made it all possible, who made it possible for us to sit here today and talk about yoga, to understand and implement it in our lives. This is an expression of love and gratitude towards that person because, when we speak of the Bihar School of Yoga, it is synonymous with Swami Satyananda. The practices of yoga that we are going to discuss, that we have been learning, that many of us know, that we are going to have workshops on, in which all of you are going to participate and further your experience, these are all the gift of Swami Satyananda, at a time when yoga was not known to people. Today, there is no need to discuss the popularity of yoga.
On Makar Sankranti, 14th of January, all traffic on every street of Manhattan came to a halt because everyone stopped, got out of their vehicles and practised surya namaskara. At an auspicious moment during Makar Sankranti, which is a festival of the sun, everyone practised surya namaskara. Therefore, to prove the popularity of yoga or to say that yoga is not needed is not the intention of this gathering.
The first tribute is to Swami Satyananda, the visionary, who could see how society would evolve. Society is not static; the society of today did not exist ten years ago and it will not exist ten years from now. Society keeps evolving and with that evolution there is change. Needs change and what will be the need of man two hundred or five hundred years later, is the challenge that yoga has to face. Right now, we practise yoga and feel good, and we are impressed with yoga and its great impact on the whole world, which Sri Swamiji had predicted way back in the 1960s. He had said that it will alter world events, it will become the culture of tomorrow, and that is evident.
However, what are the challenges that yoga will have to face? That was definitely in Sri Swamiji's mind when he thought about giving the practices of yoga to future generations. It is important for future generations, not just us, but the children for they are the future. To understand the concepts of yoga and the challenge that yoga will have to face tomorrow is important for the future. This was definitely on his mind; that in the future the only thing that will solve the difficulty of man is a set of practices, which he called yoga. You may call it anything you like. A set of practices that can empower man.
No government can empower an individual, no religion can empower you. At the time of grief, no government can help you. Even your loved ones cannot help you, society cannot help you, your religion cannot help you. You feel the grief, you feel the pain, you feel the agony, you feel the difficulty. What can help you? You have to empower yourself, and that is what he envisaged: yoga would come as a boon. He gave it as a boon to mankind. He lived for others his whole life, not for himself. He gave yoga not because he was an ambassador of yoga, but because he believed that it will help man, and it is helping him.
We have to think of this gathering in that light: the evolution of awareness, the evolution of consciousness through yoga to alter the quality of life. Evolution of consciousness does not mean that you have to link yourself with some abstract principles, that you have to link yourself with God. No. It means you have to transform yourself, you have to alter yourself, you have to bring about a change, because evolution means change. If you don't want to change, forget about evolution, and most of us don't want to change. We want to change others, we want to change the world, but we don't want to change ourselves. Evolution means change, change within our basic structure. What are we composed of? We are not only feelings; we are composed of certain elements and qualities. We could be tamasic, rajasic or sattwic. So when we talk about evolution, we are talking about evolution at that level, the basic change; the genetic change within an individual through yoga, so that the quality of his life and of his experience changes.
Each one of us experiences grief individually. The loss of someone or separation may arouse grief in you but not in me. So, is grief the event or is it in my mind? Definitely it is in the mind. Otherwise, everybody should feel grief at loss and separation. However, some people don't feel that grief. This shows that grief is in the mind and I can change it. It is not necessary that how I feel now, whether I am very worried, full of anguish and full of hatred or sorrow, is how I have to live for the rest of my life. Yoga agrees, indicating evolution, evolution of events.
For this we have to thank Swami Satyananda, because it is he who has given the practices to make this possible in your life. The practices are concerned with you, and it concerns your daily life. He has made it possible. If you read about yoga in its original format of the texts, you will not understand anything, you cannot apply it. Knowledge on its own is nothing. Knowledge has to be applied. It has to be an applied science, and Sri Swamiji has made it an applied science. Every single person, whether he is a layperson, whether or not he understands the yogic terms or is able to pronounce the words, can still benefit from yoga. That is the tribute and the gratitude we have all gathered here for today.
Please don't forget that yoga is important. For Sri Swamiji yoga was a means, not an end. He said that until the basic awareness does not change in an individual, all philosophies, all religions, even yoga is a farce. Yoga always has to change the individual. Without that, everything is a farce, it is all just philosophy. It is hypocrisy. It is a sham. So, yoga has to be dedicated. That is the challenge that yoga is going to face in the future. Can it meet the demands of changing the awareness in society? Without that, society is doomed. The kind of intolerance that people have for each other, the kind of feelings that people have for each other, the feelings people have for themselves; they are ridden with guilt, with complexes, with neuroses, with phobias, with depression. What quality of life will you have with that?
The evolution of awareness is to improve the quality of life. Yoga has to meet that challenge, and it can. It is difficult to substantiate everything in terms of science, but science also has to think about quality, not just quantity. Everything cannot be defined in a quantitative way. It has to be defined also in a qualitative way. What is the quality of my experience when I start practising yoga? I experience that myself. I don't need anybody to prove it. As I begin the practice of yoga, everything begins to change for me. My energy level changes, my attitude changes, my response changes, my outlook changes, my whole day changes. I am more creative, I am more productive.
That is what this gathering is about and that is a true tribute to Sri Swamiji, because that was his vision. He did not intend yoga to become just a current of religion. No. And he was not even limited to institutions. For him yoga was a way to accelerate, enhance and contribute towards the evolution of mankind.
My best wishes to this gathering. For all of us it is a journey, it is not just a convention. It is a journey within ourselves. It is not just the yoga. It is the connection with guru, which each person here is feeling, and the joy and the bliss that it brings to us today. I would also like to thank all the people who have made it possible, which includes the people of Munger who have just been introduced, our honoured guests, and of course Swami Niranjan.
My thanks to all, and Namo Narayana.
We have come from Australia to participate in the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the Bihar School of Yoga, and to express our solidarity with the mission of Sri Swami Sivananda, Sri Swami Satyananda and Sri Swami Niranjanananda, and the yogic vision that they have propagated through the Bihar School of Yoga.
Australia will be forever grateful to Sri Swami Satyananda for having come to our country over forty years ago, and for teaching us not only yoga practices but the way to live, to think and to evolve. Sri Swamiji's practical advice, esoteric knowledge and wisdom captured hearts across the country, and the yoga movement in Australia has become an indomitable force.
Sri Swamiji has given us a positive legacy, a solid foundation of how to live a balanced life and how to evolve and expand the consciousness. This legacy is deepened and expanded with Swami Niranjanananda's and Swami Satyasangananda's further insights and inspiration into the traditions of Vedanta, tantra and yoga. On behalf of all Australians, thank you Swamiji.
My pranams to Sri Swamiji, Swami Niranjananandaji, Swami Satsangiji. My pranams also to other distinguished guests on the dais. Hari Om, to all of you.
It is my privilege to be present here on this historic occasion, the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Bihar School of Yoga. Those of us who participated in our guru Sri Swami Satyananda's yoga movement from the early days, feel very nostalgic about it.
In 1957, Sri Swamiji came to Munger and started observing chaturmas at Anand Bhavan, now Paduka Darshan, in the small outhouse there, the Gol Kothi. It was a tradition he continued thereafter every year. In 1963, Sri Swamiji expressed the desire, for he had decided so, to settle down in a small ashram. The objective at that time, as expressed by him, was to have a very small ashram; only a few rooms where his disciples could stay when they visited Munger and he could teach yoga, asana, pranayama and meditation. My father earnestly requested him to select Munger as his destination and offered him a place on the banks of the Ganges. That particular place had been selected as a site for a factory to be constructed and the foundation was already laid, but on Sri Swamiji's consent my father immediately took up construction of the ashram building, as designed by Sri Swamiji. It took just a few months and on the day of Basant Panchami, the Bihar School of Yoga was inaugurated.
It has been a great privilege for me to have been present while Sri Swamiji, my guru, lit the akhand deep in Jyoti Mandir, signifying the inauguration of the Bihar School of Yoga. I also had the privilege of garlanding him on that occasion. In his inaugural speech he pronounced that yoga would become the culture of tomorrow and he would put Munger on the world map. In those days yoga was not seen as something to be practised in households. It was meant for sannyasins to be done in the mountains.
We can see the far-reaching effects of yoga now, as you can see that people from 22 states of India and 56 countries are here. It is indicative of the sanctity of Sri Guruji's words spoken at that time. I feel extremely blessed that I had the rare opportunity to serve Sri Swamiji since 1958 and thereafter to serve as the secretary of the Bihar School of Yoga from 1964 to 1979. My whole family is indebted to Swami Niranjanji and Swami Satsangiji for their continuing guidance, blessings and love.
|5.30 a.m.–6.30 a.m.
started in 2012 as part of the three-year sannyasa training course.
|6 a.m.–6 p.m.
conducted by over 30 groups of overseas and national delegates.
|7 a.m.–5 p.m.
offered to the many aspects of the divine was conducted by pandits of Varanasi. Poornahuti was conducted on the afternoon of 27th October.
|12 noon–3 p.m.
took place for all national and overseas delegates of the Convention. The distribution continued until 6th of November, in which citizens of Munger were invited to receive prasad and have darshan of Satyam Vatika.
|12 noon–3 p.m.
|Satyam Yoga Prasad
the book, CD and DVD releases and publications of the Bihar School of Yoga, were available for all delegates to pick and choose to their hearts' content – and their muscles' strength.
|12 noon–3 p.m.
is a collection of seven volumes of special Convention publications of the Bihar School of Yoga.
|12 noon–3 p.m.
was the movie-pandal showing the new realease titled 'Satyam, Life, Mission and Sankalpa', a full feature film on the life of Sri Swami Satyananda.
|12 noon–3 p.m.
|The new Yoga Drishti
5D Theatre is taking the viewer along the 'Ascent of Kundalini'.
consisted of presentations of song, dance and drama.
I recall an experience while away from the ashram for a few weeks on shivir travel. While living in the ashram, I was accustomed to hearing Swamiji's voice a few times during the week. Being away, I had not heard it for some time. I felt deeply its effect on me when someone played a SwaN Sings CD in a hall. It was like the first draw of air after swimming underwater for an extended period, or having a juicy slice of orange not having eaten fruit for some time. It was nourishing. And it was made possible by technology.
I had the pleasure of observing a positive response from everyone with whom I shared relevant news – a sense of surprise, a hint of relief, a flash of excitement in what to experience. It culminated on this most appropriate year – the World Yoga Convention and Golden Jubilee of the Bihar School of Yoga. For many of us, it has been a long time coming: the Satyananda Yoga–Bihar Yoga Tradition goes digital.
Adoption of digital devices is wide-spread and rapidly increasing. Long established social norms are changing in response. Where one might have consulted an elder or visited a library for guidance or information on a little-known topic, today it can be more practical or effective to search online. Search engine programmers, however, like publishers and authors, singers and cinematographers are human and their expressions reflect their interests. This is what makes the recent technological contributions by the tradition so significant. It is all for the single purpose of seeding, spreading and sharing spirituality to all who seek it.
Anticipating what the sannyasa training might entail, the last thing I expected to be doing was working on projects which combine spirituality with technology, but I should not have been surprised. On multiple occasions, Swamiji has commented on yoga being a balance between spiritual and material. Reviewing the writings of Sri Swamiji, one finds him encouraging spiritualizing various spheres of human life, such as education and relationships. During the past two years, there has been a concerted effort to offer the same spiritual truths, inspiration and insights currently available via print, CD, DVD, and live events via a digital medium.
It is now possible to read all the Bihar Yoga magazines on your phone, tablet, or computer – with or without an internet connection. You can chant the three morning mantras prescribed by Swamiji along with him or learn Navaratri chants from a live audio recording of the sadhana. The vast collections of Sri Swamiji's tours through the world, audio and video, are available for what will likely take years to exhaust, much less digest. Yoga teachers and academies have an option for displaying content from APMB without making scans, or organizing lectures and guided practices using original content from the gurus. Devotees from around the world came together, online, to watch the live proceedings of the World Yoga Convention. In Ganga Darshan, hundreds of delegates travelled through sushumna nadi, experiencing actual elements such as water and wind while watching 3D visuals of the chakras.
A new era has surely begun at the Bihar School of Yoga.
The energy centre for the entire Golden Jubilee and World Yoga Convention week was the Satyam Udyan (Akhara) in Ganga Darshan where, from sunrise to sunset, the beneficent forces of the universe were worshipped in the form of daily pooja, prayer, havan and yajna. Though normally closed off to outside visitors, guests had the rare opportunity to visit these hallowed grounds throughout the five-day event and witness for themselves the sustaining force of the Unified Field which Swami Satsangi spoke of on the final day, and which everyone present experienced in the form of harmony, joy, optimism and cosmic, unconditional love.
Following a tradition laid down by Sri Swamiji during the first World Yoga Convention in 1973, Swamiji selected sixteen expert pandits to perform a series of ancient tantric sadhanas which have all but been forgotten in modern-day India. The last time these rituals were performed was during the last yoga convention at Munger in 1993, twenty years ago. Seated around a roaring fire inside a massive vedi constructed especially for this event, the pandits poured their offerings of life-sustaining foods and mantras into the flames while Shiva and Shakti watched on from two sides; the Sri Yantra and Shivalingam from the east and Swamiji and Swami Satsangi from the west. As Swamji mentioned in a satsang during the Convention, there was plenty of evidence to suggest that the divine energies were pleased with their efforts; mango trees bore fruit out of season, flowers blossomed in abundance and flocks of eagles soared over Ganga Darshan daily.
The magic of Akhara was a gift offered to one and all. Some walked through as part of their prasad parikrama and offered their pranams to gurudev; others came to sit in the warming atmosphere of the havan, still others were fortunate to gather there for diksha, as Swamiji initiated hundreds daily into mantra, jignasu and karma sannyasa. Dusk saw the most visitors, as people poured in to take part in the arati, which grew more illuminated and powerful with each passing day.
Though at times the place was overflowing with visitors who came to bear witness to these exceptional activities, the Akhara still maintained its peaceful, soothing and sustaining atmosphere.
In the evening, the car park welcomed an eager audience to song, dance, drama and slide shows. All eyes were on the beautifully decorated stage and the various presentations, and would only occasionally gaze at the wide open starlit sky embracing one and all.
The dance and drama company 'Yoga Chaitanya' from Chennai presented the first part of a performance on Sri Swami Satyananda's life, from the time of his birth through to his experiences with his guru Sri Swami Sivananda and his early years as a sannyasin.
The story focused on his spiritual encounters and experiences during this time and the performers brought them to life in a vibrant way. With spectacular lighting effects and a blend of traditional and contemporary costumes, the dancers delighted the crowd with their interpretation.