Yogic Aspirants and Well-wishers,
The multi-national energies which came together and poured themselves into the creation of the World Yoga Convention and Tyag Golden Jubilee of Paramahamsa Satyananda have now settled down, leaving Ganga Darshan a more solid, purified and rich centre of spiritual learning than ever before. The seat of King Karna is again reborn in all its splendour and the Bihar School of Yoga now vibrates with a fresh beauty and a new expanded vision - the vision of Paramahamsa Niranjanananda to unite all nations under the banner of Yoga.
The igniting flame for this grand movement was the four day Convention, and here we present a report of the events for those who were unable to be present and a constant reminder for those who were. We hope you will join in this stream of Yoga which sweeps proudly and steadily with an ever-increasing current into the twenty-first century to establish inner world peace.
Paramahamsa Niranjanananda delivered the welcoming address in which he extended a hearty welcome to all the delegates representing the various cultural traditions of the west and the different parts of India. He also welcomed the special guest speakers and dignitaries including: H. E. Dr A. K. Kidwai, Governor of Bihar; Srimati Krishna Sahi, Union Minister; and Swami Chidananda Maharaj, President of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh.
Paramahamsa Niranjanananda said that this was a great honour for Munger because such a momentous yoga assembly was being held here, which included delegates from 32 countries and 20 states of India who had gathered together under the canopy of yoga. On this day, he said, we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of renunciation and dedication of a great soul who committed himself to the duty of uplifting humanity through yoga, and in whose life the ideals of sannyasa were illumining the hearts of spiritual seekers like the rays of the sun.
After addressing the convocation, Paramahamsa Niranjanananda requested H. H. Swami Chidananda Saraswati to inaugurate the Convention by lighting the lamp.
Next, Sri S. B. Verma gave a summary of the yoga activities and institutions founded by Paramahamsa Satyananda. He spoke about the International Yoga Fellowship Movement, the Bihar School of Yoga, Sivananda Math and the Yoga Research Foundation. He enumerated their activities and explained their role in social upliftment and in the evolution of consciousness.
Sri Ashok Kumar, I. A. S. Commissioner cum Chairman, Reception Committee, was asked to introduce the special guests. He said that seeing the convergence of thousands of delegates from India and abroad for this colossal yogic event showed the truth of Paramahamsaji's prediction that 'Yoga will emerge as a world culture'. He introduced the Chief Guest, H. E. Dr A. K. Kidwai, as not only the Head of State, but also as a highly qualified thinker and philosopher. He also introduced the special guests, Srimati Krishna Sahi, respected Minister of State, Department of Industrial Development, and Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj, President of the Divine Life Society, a guru bhai of Paramahamsa Satyananda and a Vedanta exponent of the highest order.
The introduction was followed by the inaugural address by the Chief Guest, H. E. Dr A. K. Kidwai, Governor of Bihar. He expressed his delight at being present for this Convention and being able to pay tribute to Paramahamsa Satyananda who, by nil sacrifice, hard work, sincere effort and dedication had advanced yoga to such heights that its teachings were now resonating throughout the globe and innumerable people were now deriving benefit from it. He said that a need is arising to present yoga in a more scientific manner and, therefore, the University Grants Commission had decided to establish a Centre of Yogic Studies at Bhagalpur University in the hope that it would receive inspiration from Paramahamsa Satyananda and guidance from Bihar School of Yoga.
Afterwards, Srimati Krishna Sahi, Honourable Minister of State, was requested to release the Souvenir to the delegates and to address the gathering. She said that she felt overjoyed to see the large numbers of Indian and foreign delegates and that once they had derived great benefit from the proceedings, they would be able to spread the message of universal brotherhood throughout the world. She spoke of the need for yoga in modern society where the technological development has blocked human interaction and internal growth. The acceptance of yoga would bring peace and harmony to society and help to remove the divisions which were responsible for social turmoil and disorder. She said that, at this time, the youth of the country were in great need of proper guidance and direction, which was possible through yoga. The Bihar School of Yoga was responsible for shining the torch of yoga into the dark horizons of today's world.
Following this talk, Swami Rasajananda from Ramakrishna Mission, Calcutta, addressed the assembly on the subject of 'Swami Vivekananda's Message to Modern Man'. He said that modern; man had conquered the external world, but this was not enough.
In order to attain true peace, he must conquer the internal world as well. He said that we do not love our fellow man and that is the tragedy of the modern world. The solution to this problem was to manifest our divinity, then we will experience that we are all one. This was the message of Vivekananda and of Vedanta. There is no harm in our all being different, but we should not forget the 'unity within the diversity'.
Following this, His Holiness Swami Chidananda Saraswati, President of the Divine Life Society, and the successor of Paramguru Swami Sivananda Saraswati, was requested to bless the occasion with his message. He spoke about the divine indwelling presence which exists within all beings. He said that all seekers of every religion and tradition, who have dived deep into the spiritual dimension and experienced the divine reality, have attained liberation, bliss and peace. Anyone who lives a life of intense renunciation and intense aspiration to know the truth will attain the light. Any individual soul, Jivatma, who by his efforts establishes a link with the supreme soul, Paramatma, shall be known as a free man and a yogi. In order to achieve this state, it is necessary to shift the focus of one's efforts from the illusory world to the search for truth.
He said that the awakening of our divine potential is the aim and duty of every human being. We must fulfil that duty by manifesting that light in every word, thought, sentiment and action of our life, so that our whole being becomes filled with divine qualities. We should open up an inner channel through which God's divinity can flow unceasingly. We should make our lives, mentally, verbally and physically, one with the higher reality. We should all become radiant centres of that shining divinity.
He said that the supreme being is the quintessence of pure bliss and yoga enables us to establish ourselves in that inner state. That is why Paramahamsa Satyananda inspired us to follow a yogic way of life. If we make our lives yogic, if we establish ourselves in the yogic state, then only will the world be benefited. We must come to the final stage of yogic consciousness in which there is an unbroken relationship between us and the divine presence within. When we are thus established in yoga, we will experience supreme peace in every condition and situation.
He prayed that out of this Convention and out of the future work of the Bihar School of Yoga and the International Yoga Fellowship Movement, a new era for the evolution of mankind throughout the world may come about. Through yoga and through experiencing oneness of spirit may there come about a spirit of brotherhood, unity and harmony, a spirit of mutual love and goodwill to all people.
The next speaker was Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Swami Sri Poonyananda Giri, Head of Niranjani Akhara, who was requested to bestow his auspicious blessings on the Convention. During his talk he spoke about the greatness of yoga and renunciation. He showed how even the first step of yoga is powerful enough to transform one's life and to change the world.
The greatest pledge that a sannyasin can make is to give the assurance of fearlessness to all beings, by following the path of ahimsa in body, speech and mind. There can be no greater renunciation than this. If a person takes the pledge of ahimsa and starts practicing it, then his sannyasa has begun in the real sense, but it would take at least 30 to 40 years to be established in this practice. However, even if you master ahimsa at the level of speech only, in this lifetime, it is a great achievement. By this alone you can create a global revolution.
So, only one step of yoga, on a superficial level, has such great potential that it can bind the whole globe into one unit. Therefore, yoga is not an ordinary path; it is a miraculous science. The great man, Paramahamsa Satyananda, who has ignited the spark of desire to understand this science within our hearts, has really done a big job. Very rarely such a sage is born who ignites the spark in the sleeping human consciousness. After seeing this, man begins to search again in the enveloping darkness, to find out his true nature, to awaken his spiritual potential.
After this illuminating talk, a speech of gratitude was given by Sri Mahavir Prasad, I. A. S. District Magistrate, Munger. On behalf of the citizens of Munger, he thanked the Chief Guest, the guest speakers, and all the participants for joining this auspicious event.
Swami Sivapremananda was requested to open the session with a few words of blessing. He spoke about the necessity for upgrading the moral ethics of India. Through courses in the Bihar School of Yoga, and through volunteers moving out all over India, it will be possible to teach the people how to live a life which is more hygienic, more responsible, and which is filled with a greater sense of duty.
The afternoon session was cut short by a violent storm and deluge of rain. The electricity was cut and within minutes the entire pandal was flooded as the rain poured in from the top and through the sides. Paramahamsa Niranjanananda stemmed the flood by rousing the spirit of bhakti and dedication in the participants through kirtan. Everyone stood up and sang and danced together in a mood of high exhilaration and unity. The afternoon session was then adjourned and the evening program was cancelled to enable the organizers to arrange for the restoration of the pandal and kitchen.