A Glimpse into the Life at Bihar School of Yoga

As viewed by a Greek professor, Dr Demetrios Stylianos Goutas, sociologist from the University of Athens, who visited the ashram earlier this year.

Whenever you decide to tour India, do not neglect to visit the Bihar School of Yoga. But before that, you must make a firm resolve to abandon your ego, that is, the internal and external person who has been completely degraded by habits and concepts that are cheap and miserable, dishonest and false. At the final legs of your journey, the realization will suddenly come to you that in the ashram there will be nothing to remind you of your old style of life and way of thinking.

Once you arrive at the Bihar School of Yoga you will meet with one surprise after another. It will bring you a new feeling of another world, of another community of people that maybe you have heard of or read about, but you have not yet seen and, most important, not yet experienced. Immediately you will realize that without any special effort, without any ostentation, you are being led from ignorance to truth, from darkness to light, from death to immortality. No exaggeration. And you wonder: How is it possible that these people are living here in such a small and limited space... such a peaceful and simple lifestyle, sleeping on wooden beds, on rough mattresses, using oil lamps? But at the same time they possess such a real simplicity, such overflowing understanding and inconceivable solidarity.

The sannyasins are mostly young people - boys and girls - and they apply themselves to daily life with steadiness and seriousness. With their shaven heads, bare feet and geru dhotis like the ancient Greek robes, they cast off the inequality of the male and female roles which has caused so much suffering.

How I wish all the young students could see this way of life that has no relation to that imported behaviour which is found elsewhere. There is absolutely no doubt that all these boys and girls who have found their life's meaning in yoga are facing the future with confidence, optimism and hope. As for the modernized youth of today, and the hordes of the unemployed, I would like them to come and be exposed to this other way of life, even if they don't actually live it. It would not be necessary to try to convince them of its benefits; it would be enough just to present an alternative.

They would become acquainted with that new world that originates from yoga and that heralds a hopeful spring for the tortured people of this century, who have seen two world wars and constant terrorism. That spiritual rather than materialistic rebirth, which has been longed for and sought after by all beings on Earth, is becoming a reality through the illuminated spiritual guidance of Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

Swamiji has distilled the essence of traditional sannyasa and made it possible for new age seekers to follow this ancient path. He is attracting more and more young people around him. He is friendly and he listens to them, he discusses things with them, he advises them and he shows them the right, true and real path in life. This is the same path which he himself has trod and which has brought him to self-realization.

Faithful and devoted disciples who have been following him for years are today transmitting the light, and putting into practice that knowledge which he himself has transferred to them. This yogic knowledge originated thousands of years ago, and the awareness of its purpose and potential has developed and been lost many different times throughout history in various parts of the world. Today, through the teaching of Swami Satyananda, the barriers of time and distance have been overcome and yoga has regained all its original power and freshness, to become a living and contemporary science.