A Man on a Mission

Talk by Swami Satyananda on Guru Poornima, July 1, 1977 at Satyananda Ashram, Mangrove Mountain, Australia.

Swami Vivekananda (ex Dr. Brian Thomson) is following me to India on a mission. I will make full use of his personality and knowledge. We have already fixed his programs in the medical collages and universities all over India. The medical men must understand that the body is not the first and the body is not the last. They know a lot about medicines and a lot about the body, but the body, mind and soul have to be known in conjunction with each other.

Diseases, their causes, treatment, diagnosis and etiology, have to be redefined in the present circumstances of civilization and society. So, as Swami Vivekananda has been a very eminent successful doctor and psychiatrist, now he will have to redefine human maladies to the intelligent doctors and scientists. The medical profession is a great science, and it has helped mankind. But the unhappiness of man, his inner difficulties, his physical problems, have gone beyond the hands of the great scientists. Here is where yoga comes into the picture.

A lot of research work has already been done regarding the effects of yoga on diseases. In Monghyr we are coordinating the results of medical research from all over the world on rheumatism, asthma, the influence of alpha waves on blood cholesterol, the influence of meditation on the brain waves, blood pressure, the heart and respiration. All sorts of good things are coming out which show that the practices of yoga and meditation are not only mystical and religious, they are immediately practical. They influence from heaven to earth- the spirit, mind and body. The research which has been done in the USA and in many other countries will throw more light on the possibilities of yoga therapy in a few years time. India always has many outstanding and eminent medical scientists who are working with these possibilities, and Swami Vivekananda will be working with them.

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Yoga is the Way

(Courtesy Indian Express)

Five asanas, three basic pranayamas, followed by five minutes of meditation, yes that's what a lot of doctor in Australia are prescribing to their patients. Like Swami Vivekananda who discovered that modern medicine doesn't have all the answers, many others have also discovered the therapeutic advantages of yoga.

Exposed to yoga ten years ago, Swami Vivekananda was a psychiatrist since 1959 with a comfortable private practice in Sydney. It was “when patients persisted in asking, 'Why am I here? What does all this mean?' that I realized psychiatry was just a technique to answer some superficial aspects of the truth. It solved a few things, but always on a superficial level.”

Using yoga to unblock the unconscious, Swami Vivekananda realized the basic 'gestalt' of yoga, its completeness. Yoga became more and more an extension of what he had been doing and learning. Over the last four and a half years he has been using “more concentrated forms of yoga with patients” and he also decided to become a sannyasin. His schizophrenic patients dwell in ashrams too.

Swami Vivekananda was a cynical psychiatrist when he first met Swami Satyananda in Australia. But as scientifically he found more answers in yoga, his interest grew. Three years ago, with twelve others including my wife, we started an ashram. Last year when we had a symposium there were 5,000 paying delegates. Now there are twelve ashrams in Australia.

Now that he has given up his attachment to all worldly things, Swami Vivekananda is on a world wide tour showing and telling other doctors the therapeutic advantages of yoga and how it can be used with medicines to alleviate all kinds of suffering. “I do not think we can dispense with the use of drugs even in psychiatry. Although I myself have treated epilepsy cases with yoga successfully, there are many times when one has to use both.”

His wife has become a sannyasin too and so have his three sons. The eldest two have been in ashrams in India for over three years now and wouldn't opt for any other way of life.

“It's the same all over the world. People are using yoga for many things and it’s not just a wave. People in the west want to experience something before they believe. That's concrete evidence for them. So when they believe in yoga they've already had proof, and that's the best way.”