Transforming the normal feelings into universal feelings should be our aim when we practise yoga.
—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
On 15th January, the car park at Ganga Darshan became a big outdoor class-room. Residents, students and guests practised twelve rounds of surya namaskara, salutation to the sun. With this yogic practice the commencement of the sun’s northbound journey is being observed every year.
From 9th to 13th February, the 53rd Foundation Day of Bihar School of Yoga was celebrated at Ganga Darshan during Basant Panchami.
Swami Shankarananda, Swami Gorakhnath and Swami Suryaprakash spoke on the history and the mission of BSY.
The children of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal added joy and laughter to the program along with their beautiful kirtan.
In 1963 Sri Swami Satyananda had lit the first akhanda deepak during the foundation ceremony of Bihar School of Yoga. This year, Swami Niranjanananda lit an akhanda deepak as a symbol of the second chapter of yoga at the Bihar School of Yoga. To mark the occasion, the poem Maha Saraswati was read out in English and Hindi as it was Sri Swamiji’s sankalpa for Bihar School of Yoga.
In his final address, Swamiji spoke on the importance of yamas and niyamas which are the base of every branch of yoga. He said that yoga practice was to be seen in three parts: the practice which is for the body, the sadhana which is for the mind, and lifestyle which is for the spirit.
On 21st June, Bihar School of Yoga conducted a program from 6 to 7.30 am at Paduka Darshan on the occasion of the second International Day of Yoga. More than 500 participants attended and were guided through practices of asana, pranayama, relaxation, concentration and a meditation on yama-niyama.
In Munger, ‘City of Yoga’, similar programs were conducted by members of BYMM, YYMM and the Ramayan Mandali at over 120 venues, in which more than 8,000 people participated. More than 10,000 people in over 2,000 private homes followed the prescribed program on their own.
Programs were conducted by ashrams and centres in Bihar, including Asarganj, Barh, Bariyarpur, Haveli Kharagpur, Lakhisarai, Patna, Saharsa, Sangrampur, Sheikhpura, Supaul, Suryagarha and Tarapur; nationally in Bengaluru, Bokaro, Bhopal, Bhuj, Chennai, Delhi, Jamshedpur, Mumbai, Rajnandgaon, Ranchi, Satna and other locations; and around the world in many countries, including Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Nepal, New Zealand, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain and Thailand.
From 15th to 19th July, Guru Poornima was celebrated at Paduka Darshan, Sannyasa Peeth. The daily program consisted of havan, chanting of stotra and kirtan, and dance performances of the children of the Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal and members of the Yuva Yoga Mitra Mandal. Some of the children read out the poems they had written themselves as a dedication to the guru. The depth of their feeling and creativity touched all present. Srimati Krishna Devi from Bhagalpur and the renowned musicians accompanying her enchanted the audience with her rendering of scriptural tales.
Swami Niranjanananda gave satsang every day. He started with Shiva, the first guru, and then spoke on the continuous tradition of the guru-disciple relationship. He described the shining examples of Milarepa and Eklavya who had perfected discipleship. Absolute faith and trust is only possible in the absence of ego, pride and arrogance. These are the obstacles which the disciple needs to overcome by developing obedience, awareness and making constant effort to manage the six enemies of passion, anger, greed, attachment, pride and envy.
There must be mutual respect and love for the teachings that are imparted by the guru and shared with the disciple. The guidance of the guru is always present for those aspirants who are open and eager to improve the quality of their experience in life.
The sankalpa given by Swamiji for this Guru Poornima was to renounce the negative and destructive, and to relate to the beautiful and positive in life. In this way, one can journey from the dark moon to the full moon and experience fullness.
On Guru Poornima day, havan and paduka poojan were performed. More than five thousand people came to pay their respect to the guru.
Swamiji initiated 204 aspirants into mantra, 69 into jignasu and 37 into karma sannyasa. Swami Atmamaitri, President of Bihar School of Yoga, received poorna sannyasa initiation.
On 30th October, Diwali was celebrated at Satyam Vatika. Students of the four-month Yogic Studies and participants of the Progressive Yoga Vidya Training had chosen the theme of pratipaksha bhavana, of changing the negative into a positive expression. Through dance anger was replaced with peace; jealousy with contentment and friendship; greed with happiness; desire with detachment; infatuation with viveka and vairagya; and pride and arrogance with purity.
Swamiji spoke on the necessity to overcome the six negative traits and bring luminosity into our lives which is the message of Diwali.
On 24th December, Christmas Eve was celebrated at Ganga Darshan with havan dedicated to Jesus. Soulful carols were sung by residents and guests. An inspiring Christmas message by Swami Sivananda was read out on the occasion. In his satsang, Swamiji said that the yogic tradition recognizes Jesus as a yogi of the highest calibre, and the Ishu Namavali, the hundred names of Jesus compiled under Sri Swamiji’s guidance, reflects this awareness.
On 25th December, Sri Swami Satyananda’s birthday was celebrated in the morning with havan and kirtan in Satyam Vatika. In the evening, the grand Christmas celebrations were held to song and dance. The highlight of the evening was the Christmas song, ‘Silent Night’, rendered beautifully in different languages like Hindi, Bulgarian, German and Chinese.
On 26th December, children from Notre Dame Academy, Munger, presented a follow-up Christmas program with a nativity play, songs and beautiful dances.
New Year’s Eve was celebrated with performances by the international group of students of the four-month Yogic Studies and the three-month Yoga Lifestyle Experience. Exuberant dancing, singing and an impressive presentation of yogasana held the audience spell-bound.