My Memories of Sri Swamiji

Asha Bharwani, Mumbai

It was in the early sixties (1961—1962) that I first met Swami Satyanandaji. I was about 12 or 13 years old. My parents, my sister and I went to Prem Kutir building in South Bombay to meet a new Swamiji. On the ground floor was a fairly large hall, not very brightly lit. There, on a simple makeshift stage sat Swami Satyananda and by his side sat Ma Yogashakti. This is the scene I remember very distinctly in the several meetings we had with Sri Swamiji. There would be a small group of people, about 10 to 12 persons, sitting on the floor who had come to meet Swamiji and pay their respects. Sometimes, there were more people. We would go to meet him all the days he was there.

Swamiji would speak very enthusiastically about yoga. He would talk for about 15 to 20 minutes and encourage all of us to learn yoga. A few times he showed us a movie of a young lady, Prema Bakshi, doing simple asanas, on a portable screen with a projector. He would explain the postures and benefits of the particular asana being performed.

In those days, people were not at all familiar with yoga or yogasanas. In fact, if someone practised yogasanas, people would think he wanted to become a yogi and did not wish to live in society. So this was something new and interesting for all of us. And thus yoga entered our lives! I met Prema Bakshi several times as she was a staunch follower of Swamiji and was always around when he visited Bombay.

Sometimes Swamiji gave talks on yogic principles, the yogic way of life and meditation, but as I remember, they were never very long, maybe just 20 to 25 minutes.

Swamiji had a beautiful, gentle smile always for everyone. He would speak to us softly and lovingly and give us his blessings. My father took to him the very first time he met him. He was very much in love with Swamiji. He used to say to us in Hindi. 'Main itne saare santon se mila hoon, par pataa nahin kyun, iss swami se mujhe bahut prem ho gayaa hai'. Translating this into English: I have met so many saints, but I don't know why I feel so much love for this Swamiji.

My father very much wanted Swamiji to grace our home by his visit. Swamiji graciously accepted and had dinner with us one evening. We lived in a large joint family and the whole family sat with Swamiji and chatted. Swamiji's visit made my father very happy.

My parents continued to visit Swamiji every time he was in Bombay. I don't remember visiting Swamiji from 1965 onwards. Then one day in 1968, my father told us that this was Swamiji's last visit to Bombay. He had to do the Panchagni Tapasya which was a pre requisite for a Paramahamsa and also he would like to spend more time in meditation. My father was sad on hearing this. But Swamiji told him that it would please him very much if my father would come to Munger to meet him.

My father longed to go to Munger. Many a time he told us of his deep desire to go to Munger to meet his beloved Swami Satyanandaji. Somehow he never got a chance. My father left us forever in 1975.

I feel I have fulfilled my father's wish by visiting Munger finally in 2018 after so many years. He would be very happy with my visit, I know.

Hari Om Tat Sat