Day three began with an early morning session on the theory and practice of laya yoga conducted by Paramahamsa Niranjanananda in English and translated into Hindi by Swami Kaivalyananda. He said that in the galaxy of yoga, laya yoga is a very special practice which aims to bypass and dissolve the world of name, form and idea, and to make one aware of the dominant, creative form within. The word laya means 'dissolution'. Laya yoga is a practice of directly awakening the maha prana in the human personality.
Paramahamsa Niranjanananda began the proceedings with a short talk on the aim of yoga. He said that on the eve of self surrender, one should have only one desire, "Let Thy will be done. Let me move the way you want me to live." Keeping these feelings in the heart, if one surrenders, then great bliss is derived. During this Convention everyone should take this solemn oath, because that is what yoga stands for. This is the aim of yoga. We are trying to personify surrender through the Paramahamsa Satyananda Tyag Golden Jubilee Convention, by forgetting obstacles and surrendering ourselves to the will of God.
The first speaker of the session was Dr G. B. Kar, Chairman of the Vivekananda Yoga Therapy Research Institute, Bhubaneshwar. He is a yoga researcher and also a practitioner of homeopathy. He spoke about the compatibility of homeopathy and yoga.
He said that the homeopathic system of treatment gives prime importance to the vital energy or prana, and in this the yogic method is reflected to its entire extent. According to homeopathy, it is the derangement of this vital force by the dynamic influence of the disease-producing agent, manifesting externally as altered sensations and functions, which gives the symptoms. First the vital force is affected, then this imbalance is manifested in the body in the form of debilitated sensation and function. By restoration of this debilitated vital force in the physical, mental and spiritual aspect, total health is attained. The only difference between the two is that in homeopathy, medicinal force is applied whereas in yoga, various practices are applied.
The next speaker was Swami Sivamurti, founder of Satyananda Ashram, Greece, which has its headquarters in Paiania, outside of Athens. She spoke about the growth of yoga in Greece. She said, "I first visited the old Bihar School of Yoga in 1976. When I left, Paramahamsa Satyananda gave me some words of advice. He told me that the Greek people were bhaktas and that yoga would spread like wildfire in Greece. He also told me that we would evolve through difficulties, and there were difficulties. However, with the inspiration of Paramahamsaji, we soon had a group of dedicated workers and an ashram was built up. Gradually, people from Rumania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia also come to learn yoga. Today they are teaching yoga themselves and the system they are using is that of Bihar School of Yoga."
The third speaker of this session was George Tompkins who is from the USA and now heads the Indian Chapter of the Kundalini Research Association which was inspired by the late Pandit Gopi Krishna from Kashmir. He spoke on the need for research into the phenomenon of kundalini awakening.
He said, "It is an extraordinary privilege for me to address this gathering. In all my travels, I have never come across an assembly of people who are more seriously dedicated, who are truly earnest about their aspirations to become better messengers of spirituality. I consider it a privilege to speak about kundalini because we are talking about the prana shakti which is the creative power of the Absolute, the architect of all existence. This great power basically has two forms - one of a cosmic nature where She is spread everywhere and the other where She has her roots deep in our biological structure. This is the root of life and it is the subject of our research to discover what happens when this sleeping Prana Shakti, who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, awakens".
Following Mr Tompkin's talk, Paramahamsa Niranjanananda spoke about the fulfillment of our human potential as the awakening of the kundalini. He said that according to modern science and psychology, man has uncovered only a small portion of his consciousness. The subconscious, unconscious and super conscious remain unknown. Even in such a limited state man considers himself to be super-endowed with innumerable qualities and abilities. But think, what will happen when the entire brain starts working together? There will be no limit to man's potential. With that expanded potential, he will illumine the world.
Following this message of yoga, Paramahamsa Niranjanananda introduced General V. C. Joshi, Chief of the Army Staff. General Joshi offered flowers and a garland to the life-size photograph of Paramahamsaji on the stage.
During the morning sessions on the 2nd and 4th days, General Joshi performed parikrama (circling) around the entire pandal and Ganga Darshan in his helicopter, showering flowers as a tribute to Paramahamsaji and to this historic gathering of yogic-minded people which Paramahamsaji has inspired by his life of dedication, renunciation and sadhana.
After General Joshi's introduction, Swami Sivapremananda addressed the assembly with a few words of guidance and inspiration. He spoke about the importance of not confusing myth or wishful thinking with reality.
He said, "You must face reality and be truthful to yourself and to each other. Do not make a myth out of what you are doing. There are two kinds of myth. One is a spiritual myth, which is created for spiritual progress, representing spiritual aspirations; the other is to promote self interest by deceiving yourself and others by lying. There is a Biblical saying that 'God created man in His own image'. However, the image of God is yet to be realized. The atman is there, shining within, but it is covered by the opacity of many veils of ignorance by the veils of the pancha kosha. Because of this opacity, the image of God is not able to shine through. The greater truth is that the human being made God in His own image, rather than God making the human being in His".
This scientific session was chaired by our esteemed yoga researcher, Dr Swami Shankardevananda from Australia. He introduced the first speaker who is one of our close associates, Dr Karel Nespor (Sannyasi Swaroopmurti), a psychiatrist and yoga researcher from Czechoslovakia. He has been doing yoga research in Eastern Europe for fifteen years, and has been closely affiliated with Bihar School of Yoga and the Yoga Research Foundation throughout that period. He spoke on the topic of yoga and mental health.
He said, "Since 1979, when I started work at the psychiatric hospital in Prague, I have used yogic techniques on many mental patients together with more conventional mental health approaches. I hope that my experience will increase the interest in yoga research and in the use of yoga in the field of mental health. There are many different yoga techniques and approaches which have proved useful to me and my colleagues in the following areas: (i) psychosomatic disorders, (ii) neurosis and personality disorders, (iii) mental health problems in elderly people, (iv) mental problems in children, (v) alcohol and drug related problems, and (vi) rehabilitative medicine."
The next speaker was Professor M. P. Bhole, Director of Kaivaladhama, Lonavala, Pune who has worked very hard to amalgamate the two sciences of yoga and medicine. He spoke about the application of yogic principles in therapy.
He said that according to yogic texts, diseases are classified under two headings: agantuka vyadhis, suffering because of extraneous factors, and, neeja vyadhis, suffering because of intrinsic factors. Yoga is the best way to tackle the latter under the guidance of a guru. Help of a physician and medicines are required in the case of the former. Originally yoga was not developed as a system of therapy in the strict sense of the term. Ayurveda was dealing with this aspect. Ayurveda and yoga have developed hand in hand for years which shows their complementary rather than competitive nature.
The third speaker in the scientific section, Dr R. N. Bodhe, was a research officer at Kaivalyadhama, Lonavala, Pune. He spoke on the subject of mind from the viewpoint of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swatmarama.
He said that the views on the mind which are expressed in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika are able to provide a foundation for psychology, the modern science of the mind. Swatmarama says that he has viewed the application of mind for the practitioner of yoga in three parts. The first is the role of the mind before taking up yoga, the second is the role of the mind during the practice of yoga, and the third is the role of the mind during the experiences that result from the practices. This is the reason why hatha yoga is called an experiential science, because these experiences arise on the mental plane. In this way Swatmarama has viewed the role of the mind in hatha yoga in a very scientific way.
The first speaker was Professor L. I. Bhushan, Head of Psychology at Bhagalpur University. He has been instrumental in bringing the ancient knowledge of yoga into the fold of the modern educational system. Due to his efforts, yogic psychology is being taught as a subject at Bhagalpur University for the first time in the history of Bihar.
He said that whenever we look into the matter of psychology as opposed to yogic psychology, we can see that the psychology being taught and studied in universities is incomplete. Psychoanalysis, which is an important aspect of psychology, was born in the clinics of Vienna for the purpose of treating mental patients, in order to make them normal and balanced. This is why all the techniques invented, all the postulates framed, all the concepts involved, are useful only up to that point. However, it struck no-one that it is possible to turn a man from the normal state to above normal or supra-normal. The expansion of consciousness which yoga deals with is out of the range of the subject of psychology. Yoga accepts psychology's point of view, but yoga also says that there is another, superior level of mind, the super conscious mind.
Following Professor Bhushan's talk, Paramahamsa Niranjanananda spoke briefly about insecurity and security as forms of attachment and detachment. He said that we are afraid of losing many things, we are afraid to leave behind many things to which we are attached. Yoga views the process of leaving behind, the process of becoming detached, as a form of attainment. It says that when you are climbing a ladder, then you are concentrating on the effort of attaining the next step, because if you lose that step, then you may fall.
So, the entire awareness is directed to the process of attainment, and thus the process of leaving happens naturally, unconsciously. You do not have to think about it consciously. Yoga emphasizes the process of attainment, because it is through attainment that you can naturally and spontaneously overcome many of the insecurities which restrict your vision.
The next speaker was Ramanand Sagar, who is the modern seer of ancient India. He has taken upon himself the stupendous task of making each and every individual in this country aware of the spiritual heritage of India.
He spoke about bhakti and said that the culmination of yoga is bhakti's devotion, so bhakti is the supreme yoga. Every path, every yoga converges there, like all the rivers converge into the sea. In the same way, all knowledge, all science and scripture, ultimately converge at the feet of the Lord. Nothing lies beyond bhakti except the supreme God. When you reach the final goal of bhakti, you are rendered unto Him, you merge with Him. Bhakti is the zenith of love, climax of love, glory of love. Therefore, always consider yourself to be an instrument of the divine, celestial energy, and without any personal ambition and desire, go on doing what is asked.
The third speaker of the session was Swami Pragyamurti Saraswati, Director of the Satyananda School of Yoga, London. She is presently teaching yoga in the prisons and to people suffering from AIDS. She spoke about her experiences while teaching yoga to people suffering from AIDS and her talk was unanimously voted as the best of this Convention.
She said, "We have had very encouraging results from all the yoga practices, including asanas, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation, and I would like to tell you briefly about the extraordinary results we are getting from amaroli. Applied externally, it is helping to completely clear a number of skin afflictions from which HIV positive people suffer. In addition, many of the students are now taking amaroli internally on their own. They find their energy levels are improving and their T-cell counts are going up. One of my students, who has been HIV positive for nine years and who has been practicing yoga, is now testing negative!"
The last speaker of the session was Dr H R. Nagendra, whose first lecture was received so well that he was requested to speak for a second time. He spoke about the need to deal with man in his totality. He said that over a decade of yoga research at the Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation has shown very positive results in the treatment of many disorders through yoga including, stress, anxiety and neurosis, respiratory ailments, heart conditions, mental retardation and cancer.
The latest in yoga cancer research is the wonderful discovery or innovation of Dr Chauhan from the Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER). He has been using Kirlian photography which he calls "bio-electrography" to catch the pranic field. The pranamaya kosha can be photographed and through analysis of this, we will be able to know whether the disease has already begun in the pranayama kosha long before it starts manifesting in the physical body.
In conclusion, Dr Nagendra emphasized the need for validation through long term scientific research using all the equipment available in the modern world.
The first speaker to be welcomed was Sri Swami Vidyananda Giriji Maharaj, Acharya of Kailash Ashram, Rishikesh. He spoke about the path of the world conqueror.
He said that the Bihar School of Yoga is unparalleled among all the ashrams and places of sadhana in this country. Not only is meditation practiced by the sadhakas, but the special feature of this ashram is karma yoga. Students are given training and teaching for the service of the nation and of humanity. The readiness with which the sadhakas, sannyasins and bhaktas rise to meet the needs of the occasion is an exemplary ideal in itself, and is worthy of imitation. The reason for this lies in the fact that all the ashramites are ascetics, trained to sacrifice, to achieve selflessness and desirelessness, and to rise above the feelings of praise and condemnation.
Paramahamsa Satyananda has taken revolutionary strides in the field of yoga, and the efficiency with which Paramahamsa Niranjanananda is furthering this mission is an example which should be followed by others. Although many yogis and maha rishis undertake foreign tours, they often seem to deviate from their purpose. This is the only mission whose sole purpose is the propagation and extension of the vedic Sanatan Dharma.
"You are all glorified with the status of being servants and sadhaks of this mission. It is the grace of the guru that you have surrendered your whole life for this purpose. May you all further this mission and place an example before the world. Let the entire humanity know that if one wishes to conquer the world, one will have to first conquer the mind. In order to conquer the mind, one must follow the path of yoga, of self restraint, service, upasana. penance and knowledge. This is the way to peace and none other."
Following the illumining lecture of our respected vidyaguru, we had the pleasure of once again hearing the spiritual discourse of Srimati Krishna Devi, from Bhagalpur. It is said that whosoever hears her melodious voice becomes a devotee, if he is not one already.
She said that the discourse of Swami Vidyananda Giriji had reminded her of the story from the Bhagawat. Princess Rukmini wrote a letter to Bhagawan Shyama Sunder that his splendid image was engraved in her heart. After reading her letter, Shyama was mystified as to how this could be, as Princess Rukmini had never met him or even seen him before, so how could she give him a place in her heart?
Rukmini's reply to this was, 'Of course, I have not seen you with my eyes, and you have not entered my heart through the eyes. You have entered my heart through my ears. I have heard so much about you from the saints and sages, so you have entered my heart through their words.' Thus, stories are the medium by which God comes into our hearts. So whenever we meet a saint, we must think that we are meeting God, because God blesses us with his grace through the medium of the saints and sages.