On 1st January 2015, Ganga Darshan commenced the new year with havan and the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa 108 times. Established in 2008, this sadhana has become a tradition of Ganga Darshan to welcome and prepare for the year ahead.
In the evening, ashram residents and guests were transported back to the World Yoga Convention as they watched a wonderful collage of impressions and magic moments of the historic event.
On 15th January, between 11 and 11.30 am, residents, students and guests converted the car park at Ganga Darshan into a giant classroom. With twelve rounds of surya namaskar they greeted the sun as it entered it’s northbound journey.
From 21st to 24th January, Basant Panchami was celebrated at Ganga Darshan. The yoginis from Lalita Mahila Samajam at Thirueengoimalai in Tamil Nadu, conducted daily Sri Vidya Aradhana. The blessings of Devi Ma were invoked through the Sri Chandi, Sri Lalita and Saraswati havan.
In the afternoons, sannyasins of Ganga Darshan presented the Yoga Chakra, the wheel of yoga. They spoke on the history of yoga and the six branches of yoga as taught at the Bihar School of Yoga: hatha, raja and kriya yoga, the bahiranga branches; and karma, bhakti and jnana yoga, the antaranga branches of the yoga system.
The children of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal (BYMM) brought their smiles and contagious good cheer to the pandal as they were singing kirtan and bhajan, and performing their many new dances.
On 24th January, the day of Basant Panchami and 52nd Foundation Day of the Bihar School of Yoga, Swami Suryaprakash, President of BSY, addressed the assembled guests and residents. Chinmayananda and Pran Mohan Keshri, senior citizens of Munger, spoke on their long association with Sri Swami Satyananda and the Bihar School of Yoga.
Chief Guest, Swami Niranjanananda, concluded the celebration by referring to Ma Saraswati, the goddess of learning. He said that on the spiritual journey, aspirants need knowledge, understanding and wisdom in regard to their being and personality, the society they live in and the relation with the transcendental. The three levels of learning have to be developed within the three areas of one’s involvement.
Over five hundred guests attended the four-day program.
On 17th February, Sivaratri was celebrated at Sivalaya and Satyam Udyan with havan, abhisheka and the chanting of stotras. Swamiji gave an inspiring satsang on Shiva’s family and the difficulties he had to face managing the various animals and family members. The teaching which Shiva imparts to aspirants is that the best way to control the conflicting situations of the mind and the environment is to adapt, adjust and accommodate.
On 6th March, residents and guests celebrated Holi with joyful kirtan and many colourful faces.
From 21st to 28th March, Chaitra Navaratri was celebrated at Satyam Vatika. Havan was conducted to the chanting of stotras and bhajans dedicated to Durga Ma, Lakshmi Ma and Saraswati Ma. Swami Niranjan initiated 4 aspirants into jignasu sannyasa and gave mantra diksha to 27 aspirants.
On Ramnavami, Swamiji spoke on Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. He said how different the time of their births was and how it reflected their character.
Sri Rama was born at midday, when the season was gentle and everything in nature was in balance. He is known as maryadapurushottama, the perfect being. Sri Krishna was born at midnight. He came like a thief in the dark and is known as chitchor, the thief of hearts.
On 4th April, Hanuman Jayanti was celebrated with the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa 108 times. Ashram residents, students and guests participated wholeheartedly in the daylong chanting.
On 21st April, Akshaya Tritiya was celebrated at Ganga Darshan with havan and kirtan.
On 14th May, on the occasion of Buddha Poornima, a special program was conducted at Satyam Vartika in memory of Swami Dharmashakti (Ammaji). After the havan a slide show on the life of Ammaji was shown.
Forty-two children from the SKILL foundation, Patna, visited Ganga Darshan from 7th to 15th June. Together with the BYMM children from Munger, they participated in morning yoga classes conducted by swamis Shivadhyanam, Satyamurti, Daksharaj and sannyasi Yogashraddha. Afternoon chanting sessions were conducted by Sannyasis Priyaratna and Paramananda, and the yoga nidra classes by BYMM children. In the evenings the children participated in karma yoga in the garden and kitchen. On 12th evening, they presented a beautiful program of song and dance in Satyam Vatika.
On 21st June, BSY conducted a program from 6 to 8 am at Paduka Darshan on the occasion of the first International Day of Yoga. The more than 600 participants who attended were led through simple practices of asana, pranayama, relaxation and meditation. An audio CD on the subject of yoga was also released on the occasion.
In Munger, ‘the city of yoga’, similar programs were conducted by the members of BYMM, YYMM and the Ramayan Mandali at 108 places, in which more than 7,500 people participated. More than 10,000 people in over 2,000 homes followed the prescribed program on their own as well.
Programs were also conducted by associated centres in different parts of India (including Akaltara, Bengaluru, Bhilai, Bhilwara, Bhuj, Bargarh, Balangir, Bhuvaneshwar, Chennai, Dhanbad, Katni, Jamshedpur, Lucknow, Patna, Raipur and Rajnandgaon) and the world (including Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the USA).
From 27th to 31st July, Guru Poornima was celebrated at Paduka Darshan. The daily program consisted of havan, chanting of stotra and kirtan dedicated to the guru, and satsang by Swami Niranjanananda.
Swamiji described the many aspects of the guru-disciple relationship. Guru is the guide, the torchbearer, and the disciple or shishya is the one who makes the effort to imbibe the guru’s teaching and who expresses the teaching in his life.
The journey of the disciple is from tamas to sattwa, from ignorance to jnana, and from negativity to positivity. The guru gives the method and shows the way. The disciple’s effort is ‘to be good and to do good’, and for that a change in his lifestyle is necessary. His final message was: To learn and learn and learn: that should be the motto of the disciple.
Every day, the children of BYMM performed beautiful dances, and the yuvas of the YYMM presented their stunning demonstration of asana. About 250 yuvas and 230 children participated and contributed to the program through their seva and with their joy.
About 5,000 people came to pay their respect to the guru. Swamiji initiated 366 aspirants into mantra and 129 into jignasu sannyasa.
On 12th September, Sri Swami Satyananda’s Sannyasa Diwas, the Chhaya Samadhi of Sri Swamiji was inaugurated in the presence of Swami Satyasangananda, Peethadishwari of Rikhiapeeth. Bridging Rikhia and Munger, the karmabhumi and tapobhumi of Sri Swamiji, this extraordinary glass diamond surrounded by golden lotus petals symbolizes the qualities of purity and love as lived by Sri Swamiji.
From 14th to 22nd October, Navaratri sadhana was observed at Ganga Darshan. The children of BYMM conducted the chanting dedicated to Ma Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, and compared the process of transformation to the barren land which becomes a beautiful garden through one’s effort.
Swami Niranjanananda spoke on the need of the present day: “It is happiness that has to define our future and not suffering. We have to overcome suffering and pain to attain happiness, and with happiness we can give our life a positive, creative and constructive direction. Then we can rise as a spiritual civilization. It should be the aim of humanity now to overcome the destructive, that which causes separation, and the six aspects of our nature, and to connect with happiness, to smile and make others smile.”
On 10th November, Ganga Darshan celebrated Diwali at Satyam Vatika. Students of the one-year Diploma Course and the four-month Yogic Studies Course, residents and the children of the BYMM told the story of Sri Rama’s return to Ayodhya through song, dance and narration. The culmination of the program was a superb juggling act with a crystal ball, and a fire dance. Many citizens from Munger were invited and enjoyed the program in the presence of Swamiji.
On 24th December, Christmas Eve was celebrated in Jyoti Mandir with havan dedicated to Jesus and Narayana. Carols sung by the residents of Ganga Darshan concluded the evening.
On 25th December, the poornahuti of the year-long anushthana of Sundarkand chanting was conducted at Yajnashala with havan, chanting and kirtan.
In the evening, Christmas and Sri Swami Satyananda’s birthday was celebrated in Jyoti Mandir with havan, carols and kirtan.
On 26th December, the grand Christmas celebrations were held to song and dance. Children from Notre Dame Academy, Munger, gave the Christmas message and performed beautiful dances dressed as little angels. The children of BYMM joined with another dance and guests, residents and children were in high spirits.
Swamiji spoke on Jesus whose teaching could be summed up with the word ‘innocence’. Being free of negative and harmful behaviour allows one to come closer to the Father, to God and the Divine. This was expressed by Jesus when he said ’To enter the kingdom of heaven you must become innocent like children’.
New Year’s Eve was celebrated with performances by the international group of students of the one-year Diploma Course and the four-month Yogic Studies Course. Juggling, dancing, singing and a stunning presentation of martial arts combined with advanced yogasanas held the audience spellbound.