In these ten months at the ashram living the gurukul life, I had a great experience. This stay gave a new direction to my life. Apart from classes, ashram life was the main area to learn from. In class we learnt asana and meditation, but the most important thing we learnt in the rest of the time during seva: how to make our life happy, balanced and peaceful by applying the yogic style in daily life. This course was a golden time in my life.
What I particularly liked about BSY is that it is the only place in the whole of India where yoga does not mean hatha yoga, nor does yoga mean stuffing the brain with a lot of philosophies and theories which remain undigested and create havoc in one's mind. Instead of talking, lecturing, preaching or discussing yoga, we practise yoga. For us yoga is a lifestyle, which we live. Ganga Darshan is the only place where we can proudly say that we live yoga or at least we try to live yoga. This year in the ashram has been the best time until now in my life.
An important lesson for me was the 'Niranjan Challenge' – I learnt from Swamiji how to change my life, change the negative to positive or rajas to sattwa. All it takes is to smile for some time in my daily life, increase this time to one full day and share this happiness among all people in my daily work.
The evening sadhana was a special moment for me. I felt happiness, growth and the desire to become more aware. The vibration of the kirtan and chanting was contained within me for the whole night and next day. Due to the vibration of the kirtan and chanting, there was no room for any more feeling.
Being a student of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Nepal, I was able to easily adapt to the concept of integral yoga taught at Ganga Darshan.
The experience of teaching practice was vital in helping me build confidence. It helped me believe that I can now pass on the knowledge gained in the diploma course to other aspirants in the proper manner.
During the course I came to understand many secrets of yoga which our ancestors wished to pass on to future generations. I have learnt how to be contented and at peace with myself.
I used to love dancing as well as choreographing when I was younger but as I grew older I somehow lost touch with it. But by Guru's grace I had the opportunity to choreograph dances for the Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal and Yuva Yoga Mitra Mandal students, which got me in tune with that part of me.
Swamiji gave us the opportunity to have teacher training in the last month of our course. This has completely turned the table round and is giving me deeper insight into practising asana, pranayama, meditation and into teaching any practice. I must say this whole experience was like adding a cherry on the cream.
The utmost thing I enjoyed here was karma yoga. It revealed many things to me. I would like to share my experience as a Toilet Cleaner. Initially I enjoyed cleaning toilets, but slowly there was some sort of mental conditioning that this job was ugly. I decided to break this condition. Since I was the co-ordinator in the kitchen, I decided to do this toilet cleaning job for one month continuously. It so happened that I started to enjoy it within a few days. Toilet cleaning was like worship to me. It gave me the understanding that there is nothing such as ugly and beautiful. It is all mental conditioning.
On our first day, we had a class on the 'Philosophy of Yoga'. When it stopped I was disappointed, but after some time, I came to know by myself that there is no worth in theoretical knowledge compared to practical knowledge through karma yoga or seva. Even karma yoga is a medium through which we can live a healthy life full of contentment. Practical karma yoga is the real yoga for me.
I am very lucky to enjoy every moment of ashram life here in Munger. I will definitely adopt yoga as my lifestyle, so that I can live a prosperous and happy life.
—Raj Kumar, Himachal Pradesh
These ten months are like the mountain above the surface; with intent and practice it will reveal the enormous possibility that is under the surface. I am grateful for being provided with such a foundation and I will be grateful when I experience what I will experience or what I am supposed to experience. With all the teachings I feel I am certain to enjoy the uncertainty of life.
All that I need to do now is surround my life with people, things, situations and behaviour that is helpful for this lifestyle and do away with the stimuli that are distracting.
The purpose of coming to the ashram was to become disciplined, equip myself with tools which could help me manage my life and gain a sense of balance.
The bhakti yoga helped me a great deal to open myself, release my pent up emotions and gain strength through the power of mantra. When the chanters read the whole Sundarkand Path I used to wonder whether I would ever be able to chant like that. After a few weeks I was told to be one of the chanters, and that became another opportunity which made me very confident.
Living in the ashram environment, I realized that yogic studies cannot take place in another environment. The ashram discipline and lifestyle, the satsang, yoga classes, karma yoga, chanting mantras and kirtan gradually gave me an experience of witnessing for the first time in my life what awareness is.
It was a precious and unique opportunity for a yoga practitioner to give classes in the ashram environment and to experience how it might be to become gradually a channel of transmission of Guru's energy to one's students.
I feel blessed, happy and lucky for having attended this course. I don't know if I have become spiritual, but I feel I am a slightly better person than I was before.
I feel the whole ashram is like a divine temple of yoga and Swamiji is our God or Aradhya who is guiding us through our experiences. Everything is so blissful, nice and full of joy that I could live forever in the ashram. There is a saying that 'every good thing comes to an end', however I feel that this wide range of experiences shall be our guiding force in our sweet memories. I feel that these sweet memories and experiences of the course will not only inspire me in my future life, but I shall be able to inspire others also to lead a yogic life for their overall development.