Ashram Routine

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Introductory lecture by Swami Satyananda Saraswati for the Pan European Yoga Teachers Seminar held at Bihar School of Yoga, Munger

I am sure that during the period of your stay, you will learn a lot about yoga. During this time, we will arrange the classes in such a way that you will learn kriya yoga as well as other forms. The science of kriya yoga is a very important practice in the process of development. Right from the beginning, the ancient sages and saints developed their spiritual personalities by the practice of kriya yoga. It is at once a dynamic and practical system. During the period of your stay we will give you, stage by stage, the practices of kriya yoga for your personal spiritual evolution.

At first kriya yoga may sound difficult to you and you may feel that you are lost, but at the end of a week everything will be sorted out properly. During the first three days, we will have two classes of preparatory lessons in kriya yoga, two in raja yoga, and one of satsang. We shall wake you up at four am. After three days of preparatory practices, we will start with kriya yoga proper. We shall also devote one day to shankhaprakshalana and one day to complete silence, but this will be done after two weeks. By this time, you will have imbibed a lot of yogic practice, and many things will be clear.

We shall also try to give you a taste of ashram life and I am sure that you will appreciate it. During this period, we will all be living together as a community and this will give us a chance to investigate our real personalities. Unless we come into association with each other, live together and face the idiosyncrasies of the human mind, we do not know the prides and prejudices we have in us. So during this period of living in the community, if you see a change in your mind, you must take it as part of your experience. No matter how unpleasant it may be, it should be precious to you. This is how balance and peace of mind are developed so that outside, when you practise kriya yoga, the evolution of consciousness will proceed at great speed.

The evening program is community singing called kirtan, a part of nada yoga. When ten or twenty people sit together and sing in rhythm, it intensifies the alpha waves in the brain and acts like concentration. We have harmonium, drum and guitar players, and most people know how to clap. During kirtan you can let out your devotional emotions; you can get up and dance. The body follows the rhythm, the sound, and becomes the instrument. First the harmonium is the instrument, the drum, the guitar, the clapping is the instrument, then you become the instrument as you accompany the rhythm.

After five or six days, we shall set apart one hour for any of you who would like to have an individual audience either with me or with any of the swamis, for your personal, spiritual and training questions.

The teachers who are in charge of your classes will take special care of all of you. In fact, they represent me personally because I think that you must eat well, you must sleep well, you must get up on time and attend the classes on time. Everything in the class, in the rooms and in the bathrooms should be nice. So these personal feelings of mine will be represented by the swamis.

Our seminar is formally inaugurated today and you represent the whole occident. You are the cream of society, and I hope that in times to come you will be able to guide others in the same way.

6 July 1978